With its miniature treats and requisite flair, a proper teatime ceremony is hard to recreate at home, which is why Tampa residents are fortunate to have Milk N’ Honey Tea Room nearby. Experts on the afternoon gathering array 25 varieties of tea, served hot or cold, and assemble the traditional finger sandwiches, fresh fruit, and desserts. Much of the produce is sourced from local growers, and special vegetarian and gluten-free menus cater to all guests. The dress-up area is draped with hats and fluffy boas, which help them get into an elegant, vintage mindset as they sip. The tearoom also hosts birthday parties and baby or bridal showers and sells locally made gifts inside a boutique shop.
With its bamboo walls and palm-tree-shaded yard, Supa D Tropical Bar & Grill’s exterior has all the markings of a modest subtropical hut. But come nightfall, throbbing bass makes the bamboo slats vibrate, shattering any notions of an idyllic island refuge. Behind those bamboo walls, reggae, dance-hall, and soca DJs take to the stage, and a spacious sunken dance floor sports vivid airbrushed murals and subwoofers the size of shopping carts.
By day, though, Supa D Tropical Bar & Grill showcases the culinary side of Jamaican culture. Meats simmer in thick curries, and jerk chicken jolts tongues out of their stamp-licking stupor. Additionally, dining companions can cleanse palates with classic Jamaican beverages such as Irish moss, sorrel, and peanut punch.
Cool Mo's Coffee dishes out piping-hot java creations and nourishing café nibbles to in-store customers and to homes and offices via a speedy delivery service. Café patrons peruse an in-store menu of smoothies, shakes, and caffeinated concoctions, and late risers call in and place orders from the room-service menu before racing to the office. Titillating aromas of fresh-roasted beans rise from cups that hold double-shot espressos ($1.75), breakfast-blend drip coffee ($1.50), and butter-pecan lattes laced with butterscotch, hazelnut, and amaretto ($2.50). Plates of 10 delectable beignets ($2.50) surf down to bellies on steamy waves of coffee, and a deli menu quells wanderlusting palates with hot dogs ($2–$2.50) served in the style of Chicago, Coney Island, New York, and Ybor City. Layering salami, pork, ham, and swiss cheese, the Real Cuban Sandwich ($3.50-$6) rounds out the menu and pairs with a signature cafe con leche ($1.85-$1.95). Office workers without the time or energy to head down to the store can have breakfast sandwiches ($2.25) delivered to keep from drowsily collating embarrassing diary pages to outgoing affidavits. Ordering is available through Cool Mo's own iPhone and Android apps, or via traditional methods such as telephone or carrier pigeon.
For Las Vegas Cafe owner Francies Vega, cooking is about putting smiles on people's faces. So when she designed her menu, she didn't stick to just one cuisine, but instead incorporated all the dishes that make her happy. The result is a fusion of Cuban and Italian recipes such as chorizo spaghetti, vegetable breakfast crepes, and Cuban-style fried rice sprinkled with ham, peppers, and eggs. Vega's signature dish is the chancellor fish fillet stuffed with ham and cheese and fried until it's as crisp as the first day of autumn.
Perched in wrought-iron chairs at a gleaming marble bar, students and artists sip coffee, sharing inspiration and plans for upcoming projects. Nearby, Tampa Bead Cafe's instructors preside over a range of jewelry-crafting materials, which provide the necessary hardware to follow up on the grand artistic plans under discussion. Beneath the terra cotta–hued walls, shelves brim with beads, metal chains, and wire, as well as less conventional media such as metal clay and polymers.
The staff guides visitors along racks of bracelet and necklace supplies, and exclamations of happiness drift from a classroom, where teachers introduce specific styles, such as kumihimo. Students to use real tools such as pliers, cutters, and magnifiers to intimidate their jewelry into making itself, and most courses end with the creation of piece for pupils to treasure. A roster of guest artists, who have included polymer-clay artist Christi Friesen and Maria Rypan, lead style and material-specific workshops.
For more than 15 years, the culinary team at MTC Downtown Cafe has silenced growling stomaches with housemade American delights, as well as a few plates from overseas. In the morning, the chefs demonstrate their cooking talents by fixing up breakfast entrees in full view of diners. To curb midday cravings, guests can sink their teeth into belly-warming gyros and brawny cheeseburgers from the lunch menu. Throughout the day, pastries made from scratch pop out of the oven, filling the cafe with the sweet aroma of muffins and cookies.