I would like to start this review by thanking Tracy Guida for introducing the Dudes Who Dine to the Dishcrawl Tampa. The concept of the Dishcrawl is to sample food from a variety of different restaurants (4 to be exact) in one night while meeting new people. These stops are all within walking distance of each other. In many cases you even get to meet the owners and the chefs as well. How cool is that? At a reasonable $45 per person, the Dishcrawl took us to four very different restaurants in the Hyde Park district of Tampa.
We started at Irish 31 Pub House & Eatery, walked to Piquant, strolled to the Wine Exchange, and finished at Timpano Italian Chop House. I will say that the portions tend to be of a smaller nature at a Dishcrawl, mainly so you can have room to eat at all 4 places, so depending on when it starts (ours started at 7pm) have a light snack before going.
Kicking things off with DishCrawl Tampa Hyde Park Edition
Our first stop was Irish 31 Pub House & Eatery. With a nice patio area and live music, Irish 31 would be a great place to catch a football game or relax and listen to music. As for the food, we had a sampling of their shrimp and grits, legendary boxty, and Ireland pot pie. The shrimp and grits had cheesy grits with diced tomatoes, red onion, bacon, black forrest ham, and topped with tiger shrimp. This was a flavorful dish. I’m picky about the shrimp I eat so I was impressed with how their shrimp came out. The Ireland pot pie consisted of chicken, carrots, celery, onions, mushrooms, and peas in gravy topped with a pastry puff. This was tasty as well. The best of the three samples was the legendary boxty. This was handed rolled mashed potatoes, breaded and fried, and served with a horseradish sauce. The boxty is an appetizer so feel free to order the pot pie, shrimp and grits, or explore the menu for your entree.
Our second stop was Piquant, which serves French cuisine. Only having been open for a few weeks, Piquant currently serves breakfast, lunch, and pastries with a dinner menu coming soon. We sampled three different pastries: an almond croissant, a chocolate croissant, and a passion fruit tart. All three pastries were amazing, with the passion fruit tart being my favorite. We will totally be back to try their dinner menu once it is completed. I might add that the owners and chefs were particularly friendly and inviting as well.
Our third stop was the Wine Exchange. The Wine Exchange offers lunch and dinner, as well as a variety of global wines to choose from. We were given a sample of their Grape~Pecan Chicken Salad and Cuban Salad. The Grape ~Pecan Chicken salad was delicious. The sweetness of the grapes mixed well with the other ingredients making this one of the best chicken salads I’ve eaten. The Cuban salad was good too, with Cuban vinaigrette tossed iceberg with ham, Swiss tomato & green olives served with Cuban garlic bread. The salad tasted similar to Columbia restaurant’s 1905 salad, but comes in second to that iconic salad. The Wine Exchange serves a variety of pizzas, pastas, and serf and turf options. It is one place we will have to review in the future. They also treated us to a sample of Stark Raving White Wine. Doug hates white wine and actually enjoyed it. Very smooth and not too sweet.
Our final stop was Timpano Italian Chop House. There was no section reserved for our dishcrawl crew unlike the other restaurants and therefore we had to stand around the buffet they were serving us. To be fair, Timpano Italian Chop House was busy, with live music and drink specials and was one of a couple of restaurants opened that late (9 o’clock). It does seem like a very nice place and the steaks in the back sure did smell good cooking. The food they served us was mussels, meatballs, and mozzarella bocconcini (fried mozzarella balls). The mussels were cooked perfectly, but I felt a little too salty for me. Doug enjoyed the large chucks on what appeared to be sea salt however. The meatballs were spicy and would complement spaghetti well. The mozzarella bocconcini was good, but fried mozzarella isn’t something new. Knowing that there were 25 people coming to sample their food, I wish Timpano Italian Chop House had served us one of their signature chops, even if it were just a small sample so we could have gotten a feel for what they excel at.
Dishcrawl Tampa Conclusions?
These events are a TON of fun and meeting new people and talking about food was exciting for us as people who enjoy the culture of fine dining. The Dudes are big fans of Dishcrawl at this point and I could not think of a better way to get to know the food of a specific area. The Bayshore event coming up in a few weeks looks like it would be awesome. We will make sure to keep our mailing list members in the loop of all events coming up.
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