Happy New Year! I don’t know about you but I am sad the holidays are over. Every January I go through a mini-depression because it seems that every year I spend the entire month of December working and do not get to really enjoy the holiday festivities or get a lot of rest. This December was no different and I must say that one of the highlights of the month was getting together with fellow Tampa Bay Bloggers at Locale Market in St. Pete and attending their FarmTable Kitchen Happy Hour. Each visit to Locale is magical and this night was no exception.
Before I begin with my recap, I must say that I apologize for my less than stellar photos which were from my iPhone. Right before the end of December, my beloved laptop decided to go to heaven and I lost a lot of my photos, hence the reason I had to share pictures from my phone from this delicious evening rather than the photos I took with my Nikon.
FarmTable Kitchen is located on the second floor of Locale Market and features casual, farm-and-Gulf-to-table fare. While I have been to Locale a few times, this was my first time experiencing cuisine from FarmTable kitchen and as expected, everything was stellar. While enjoying delicious conversation with fellow bloggers, we enjoyed everything family style which made the evening even more intimate. Our first tasting was of their Crispy Pork Cracklins with Locale spice blend, garden herbs and Fresno pepper aioli. A low-carb lovers dream, these crispy pieces of heaven paired nicely with my glass of Prosecco.
Ok, let me just say that chicken wings are my absolute weakness and I crave them on a weekly basis. This was the one time during the evening that I did not want to share, as these wings were coated with Grana Padana, sprinkled with crushed red pepper and served with a lemon creme fraiche. Be still my heart, these wings made me smile and I even shamelessly begged for the last wing on the table. I must confess, my favorite combination, aside from pizza or pasta with red wine, is chicken wings and champagne. You will never see me without them on any given football Sunday.
One of the things I love most about living in Tampa Bay is the incredible fish dips offered by local restaurants. Just give me a nice bottle of Pinot Grigio, some crusty bread and a bowl of fish dip and I will be happy. I must say that Locale has set the bar for this delicacy and their smokey fish dip is accentuated with whole grain mustard and salty capers. Yum, yum, yum. Do not get me started on their bread because I had to buy some to take home and pretty much ate the entire loaf in one sitting, hence the reason I am on a bread detox for the month of January. As soon as my detox is over I will be heading back to Locale for more bread, fish dip and wings, all paired with wine of course.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who loves burrata most of all? Why that would be me and I shamelessly went back for seconds, thirds and fourths of this creamy godsend paired with heirloom tomatoes and grilled sourdough. I swear, I could live on cheese, bread, and wine. Man, just thinking about it as I type is making me crazy.
We were presented with two pizzas, one of which was the Funghi (foraged mushrooms, taleggio roasted garlic oil). Unfortunately I did not get to try this one as it quickly disappeared but from the looks of it and the ramblings of happy bloggers, it must have been pretty damn good. This is a must try on my next visit.
I did get a slice, ok two slices, of their Margherita Pizza with heirloom cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and Locale mozzarella. If I could kiss this pizza I would. Simple, yet boasting with garden fresh flavor, it was another highlight of my evening.
I am not sure if it is because I am a Pisces or because I grew up in the incredible San Francisco Bay area, but I am a seafood fanatic. My childhood was filled with memories of clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls and clam digging at Pismo Beach. I got a tad emotional when we were presented with their Steamed Two Docks Clams prepared with Locale Italian sausage, pomodoro, garden herbs and more of that damn good bread. Since December was upon us, I could not help but to reminisce about my dad’s famous seafood dinners every Christmas Eve. I sampled one of the clams, closed my eyes and was instantly brought back to my family dinner table as a child. This is one of the reasons I love food so much, as a simple bite can evoke beautiful memories and bring instant happiness.
I am so honored I was able to spend such a beautiful evening in the presence of some of my favorite people while bonding over incredible bites from Locale. With the new year upon us, I am excited to spend many more occasions at Locale Market and rekindle my romance with food and writing. I would like to thank the staff at Locale and Tampa Bay Bloggers for a remarkable evening. Cheers to a wonderful 2016!
**Disclaimer: Food was provided complimentary by Locale Market in association with Tampa Bay Bloggers in exchange for this review. All delicious opinions are my own.