If any of you have ever read my other blog, My Other City By The Bay, or follow me on social media, then you know how much I love Datz in South Tampa. It won my heart after my first visit and my love for Datz has only grown stronger over the last few years. My story is simple. I am a San Francisco Bay Area transplant that found herself relocating to Tampa in the spring of 2003. After seven years of missing home and flying back as often as possible, I decided to cure my homesickness and set out on a quest to fall in love with Florida. The idea to begin a blog occurred to me after a few of my friends told me about this hot new place that had recently opened in South Tampa. I was told it was a true “foodie market” and featured deli-inspired sandwiches on steroids, craft beers, creative desserts and lots of local products. From the sounds of it, I immediately thought of some of my favorite places in San Francisco and was tickled that such a place had opened in my area. I immediately added Datz to my list of places to visit and my first time there was like a fantastic first date. I left with a huge smile on my face and had the “butterflies in my stomach” feeling for days. I kept going back and going back and going back. My friends started telling me I had a problem and still tease me to this day, as I have spent four of my last five birthdays there and my son chose Datz as his birthday dinner spot last year. When I have friends and family visiting from out of town, Datz is our number one stop and is always a hit. In fact, my dad (who lives in Utah) still raves about his first meal there and is anxious to return on his next visit to Tampa Bay.
So, what makes Datz so special? For starters, it is down right delicious. As a girl who gets bored easily, Datz always keeps me on my toes as they are always introducing something new and their stellar service and warm ambiance keep me going back for more. Let me share just a few delicious reasons why you must visit Datz while in the Tampa Bay area.
**Note, as I mentioned, their menu changes often, as they are constantly creating amazing things in their kitchen. Not all of these items are currently available.
1. Delicious Twists on Classics
Only Datz can take the classic Fried Chicken and Waffles and turn it into their version of a savory BLT. Yep, that is right, a Chicken & Waffles BLT. I enjoyed this heavenly creation in December of 2012, right before I began my New Year’s Resolution of healthy eating for 2013 that never lasted. Made with boneless fried chicken, lettuce, tomato, bacon and maple-jalapeño aioli sandwiched between two savory waffles, this monstrosity of deliciousness changed my life. It really did. Is your mouth watering yet? Well head on over and try their Waffles n’ Tweet which features boneless fried chicken tossed in honeyed pecan butter on a rosemary waffle with spicy smoked buffalo trace maple syrup. Oh yes, some of my favorite things are in this dish, FRIED CHICKEN, PECAN BUTTER, ROSEMARY WAFFLE, and SMOKED BUFFALO TRACE MAPLE SYRUP. It doesn’t get better than that folks.
I few weeks ago I turned
39 29 (again) and my amazing son wanted to take me to Datz for the big day, just as we did last year. There was no need to twist my arm and we headed over for a relaxing evening. One of the highlights of my night was their Uptown BLT which features 3 southern-style fried green tomatoes topped with house-made pimento spread, crispy pork belly bacon, shredded lettuce & sweet-spicy tomato bacon jam. Be still my heart! Perfectly fried, the green tomatoes were crispy on the outside, nice and juicy on the inside and blended harmoniously with the pimento spread and tomato bacon jam. As much as I wanted to share, I could not resist eating all of them.
While I have so many delicious memories, there is one that will remain etched in my memory forever: Frito® Pie Grilled Cheese. Imagine, creamy jack-cheddar cheese, thick roadhouse chili, crunchy Fritos® and pickled jalapeños smothered between two slices of their grilled house-baked sourdough bread. It was an epic sandwich and I have fond memories of staining by shirt with drops of gooey chili and cheese. This is one creation that I am hoping with make a comeback.
2. Cocktail Hour Has Never Been More Fun
Not to sound like a lush, but I have spent many nights enjoying cocktails at Datz. What I love about their bar is that there are two and sometimes three of them. With gorgeous bars both upstairs and downstairs as well as additional bar used for cocktail and food demos, Datz is one of my favorite places to relax and sip on an adult beverage. Each visit I try something new and each time I experience the “wow” factor. Here are a few of my favorites over the years:
I will never forget the night in October of 2011 when I first met my friend Lori. We were introduced at Datz via mutual friends and bonded over Smashing Pumpkin Martinis. While I do not remember much from that night (other than that I enjoyed these martinis a little too much), what I do know is that a beautiful friendship emerged because of this drink. Made with Fulton’s Harvest Pumpkin Pie Liqueur, 360 Vanilla Vodka, Mathilde Orange XO, cream, and a gingersnap rim, it is the ultimate fall cocktail. I pray these will return next season.
A few weeks ago I tried their Pink Lady Apple Martini and it brought back sweet childhood memories of one of my favorite candies, Jelly Belly® Jelly Beans. Made with their house-infused apple Jelly Belly® vodka, cranberry juice, lime juice and an apple wheel, it is my new favorite way to enjoy a Jelly Belly®. The perfect blend of sweet and sour, this martini packs a sweet punch.
Datz is like a food and booze playground for those in the industry, so it is of no surprise that they are always hosting cool events. A few weeks ago I attended a liquid nitrogen cocktail demo at Datz which was hosted by the Tampa Chapter of the United States Bartenders’ Guild. I couldn’t think of a better place for such an event and was mesmerized by the drinks we sampled that evening. One of my favorites was called a Mexican Superman and was an exotic blend of tequila, frozen strawberries, frozen mint and liquid nitrogen.
3. Bacon, Bacon and More Bacon
When many people think of Datz, they think of bacon. Known for their love of America’s favorite way to enjoy pork, Datz has secured the bacon market in Tampa. With bacon in everything from doughnuts and mac n’ cheese to cocktails and lattes, , nobody datz is better with bacon than they do. Just last week I enjoyed some chocolate covered bacon with a bacon latte at their sister bakery, Dough. I have to pop in at least once a week to see what new bacon creations they have unveiled.