As a young girl in England, Deborah Molise could often be found sprawled out on a blanket, munching finger foods at a picnic. Years later, her fond childhood memories have helped inspire foodie tours and customized birthday picnics for adults and children at Eat.Sip.Indulge.
Other food tours include an art and brunch tour that pairs mimosas and brunch with visits to galleries featuring local artists and the Gulfport & Beach Foodie Tour, which combines authentic Southern restaurants, home-brewed beer, and delicious Italian desserts.
At O'Maddy's Bar & Grille, chef Wade Parrish takes ownership for more than the menu; as the man who built O'Maddy's, Wade takes credit for the waterfront view. When construction wrapped up more than 20 years ago, Wade tossed his tools into the Boca Ciega Bay and became a full-time executive chef, cooking starters such as gator bites with Guinness breading ($7.95) and clams with cilantro pesto and toast ($8.95) for soaking up juices or dabbing away drool slicks. From the entrees, Gulf of Mexico red grouper ($15.95) arrives grilled, blackened, or fried, and a 6-ounce grilled Maddy's filet partners with fontina cheese, fresh basil, and a Marsala demi-glace ($17.95). The drink menu promises refreshment with a multitude of wines, beers, and cocktails. An aromatic and fruity glass of Oyster Bay sauvignon blanc ($6) plays well with ocean fruits, and a Gulfport Guava Breeze tropical cocktail gently whistles down gullets. Decorating the restaurant's walls, a beach mural serves as the backdrop for nightly karaoke. When the microphone comes out at 9:30 p.m., guests can belt out a classic or croon "Just the Two of Us" to the last remaining clam.
Lace tablecloths, decorative flowers, and china cabinets filled with ornate teacups and saucers lend A Corner Of England the ambience of a vintage parlor. In these whimsical digs, Danielle Bruning and her mother, Julie Hicks, brew certified organic tea leaves harvested from two century-old gardens in Assam, India. The women pour fragrant brews of black, green, and antioxidant-loaded white tea into teacups, along with concoctions of their own devising that they flavor onsite. Their Green Tea Delight blend, for example, marries the classic potable with chamomile, mint, ginger, and fruit peel.
During the bistro’s signature high tea, guests snack on housemade scones and cakes or savory bites of sausage rolls, quiche, and croissant sandwiches. Parents can stop in with children for a kid-friendly tea experience as tykes dress up in faux-fancy hats and gloves while sipping from cupfuls of a juice-tea blend. Quenched cross-cultural caperers can relive their high-tea hijinks or recreate the boston tea party in the neighbor’s pool with bags of dry tea and teacups, available for purchase.
Brewburgers' chefs hoist the burger to the culinary kingdom's upper echelons by adding a splash of Guinness beer to their six-ounce ground-beef patties and a shot of bourbon to their tangy barbecue sauce. In addition to beef, grill commanders fashion patties from ground turkey, veggies, or steak, and accent the discuses with upscale add-ons such as crumbled blue cheese, roasted red peppers, or deep-fried monocles. The alcohol-tinged menu complements the drink selection of 16 draught beers and 15 wines.
The seasoned chefs of Ai-Mei Thai Sakura transport taste buds to the Far East with a well-stocked menu of classic Thai dishes pleasantly mingling with creative sushi rolls and fresh Japanese favorites, earning them several “Best of Tampa Bay” titles from Tampa Bay Magazine. Taste buds can wade into one of seven curries ($10.95+) in a rainbow of colors or dive into five traditional noodle dishes, such as peanut-laden pad thai ($10.95+) and savory pad se ew, staying afloat atop a choice of proteins ranging from juicy beef and pork to sea-fresh scallops and shrimp ($8.95+). Sushi selections include the Dream roll stuffed with spicy mayo and crawfish under a tempura-eel cap ($12.95), and the Tornado, a deep-fried cyclone of tuna, crabmeat, and cream cheese ($11.95). Adventurous eaters can gnaw on the garlicky deep-fried frog legs ($15.95) or the restaurant’s table legs that the chef suggests consuming without soy sauce.
Using an in-house brand of tangy, sweet sauces, steaming stacks of ribs, and homespun slow rubs, the family recipes behind Quick Q BBQ deliver authentic, smoky, home-style flavor. Strap a bib around wayward beards and take a gander at the menu, on which heaping plates of ribs, chicken, ham, and mullet await the maws of barbecue connoisseurs. The meat not only falls off the bone but also practically hops in the mouth, chews itself, and writes it all off as a business expense. Barbecue plates come with iced tea and a variety of meat choices, including a jaw-dropping, chin-mopping stack of pulled pork with baked beans and mac 'n' cheese ($9.50) or an entire smoked chicken with mac 'n' cheese and fries ($12.50). Light lunchers can stock their own bags of bones with a three-bone rib sandwich with fries ($6.99), paired with 8-ounce house-made Southern sides such as potato salad, coleslaw, and collard greens ($1.99 each). Crank open your auxiliary stomach for dessert; Quick Q's sugary slew of cherry and peach cobblers ($0.93) and rum cake ($2.99/slice) high five tongues and fist pound bellies. Sidle up to one of Quick Q’s tables clad in a checkered tablecloth, or pull up to the drive-thru to bring victuals home to pod people masquerading as your real family.