Considering Juan and Alvaro Gorrin studied medicine and business, and went on to forge careers in real estate and banking, it's probably surprising to many that they found their ultimate success in a totally unrelated field: baking. The Gorrins, who were born in Spain but moved to Venezuela in their youth, found there was a demand for European-inspired baked goods in South America. They developed the Don Pan brand in Venezuela in 1982, and eventually relocated to Miami, where they opened their first North American bakery in 1995.
Today, their menu maintains distinctly Spanish and South American accents. A bounty of pastries includes guava danish and tres leches, as well as brazo gitano, a sponge cake rolled with chocolate or cream that's popular in both Spain and Venezuela, as well as the section of Canada that uses cake as currency. There are also plenty of savory menu items, including cachapas—corn pancakes served with meat or cheese—and Venezuelan-style tamales bursting with pork, beef, chicken, and veggies.
Owners Spencer and Sabrina Aird parlay a passion for nourishing vegan fare into Grass Root Organic Restaurant, which CBS Tampa named one of the best veg restaurants in the city. Carmine walls envelop diners in the cozy café space, creating a soothing atmosphere punctuated with vivid abstract paintings hung along the wall. While settled into high-backed wooden chairs, each topped with a lattice design, diners dig into a menu that features cooked vegan dishes as well as raw dishes. Raw vegan pad thai, guacamole, and spinach and basil pesto, among others, star on the restaurant's roster.
The Airds also run a customizable meal delivery system that sends clients fresh meals from a rotating weekly menu several times a week. Sabrina teaches occasional classes on how to replicate her culinary expertise and mimic items on Grass Root's menu by sitting very still on an oversized plate.
The staff at Soho Tan Spa knows there’s no single correct path to getting a glowing tan. To accommodate clients of all skin types and sensibilities, they offer tanning treatments ranging from the classic UV beds to airbrush treatments by trained technicians or the automated jets of a VersaSpa booth. Their three-pronged approach lets clients choose the level of privacy and method best suited to their skin. The VersaSpa spray tanning booths offer three tanning MyMyst shades to accommodate clients who just want a splash of color or those who want to look like they've spent weeks in a close orbit around the sun. Four brands of beds let clients emphasize facial tanning or faster tan times, while spa facials performed in the tanning salon help refresh newly tanned skin.
With each creamy bite, it becomes more evident that CherryBerry's yogurt was made from all-natural ingredients: the strawberry contains tiny chunks of fruit, and the chocolate's rich flavor could never have come from a powdered mix. Like a tag-team dance-off at the UN, the yogurt itself features four types of live and active cultures, all of which aid in digestion. Low-fat, fat-free, and gluten-free flavors abound, as do sorbet options with no dairy and Splenda-sweetened yogurts with no added sugar. More than 50 fruit, nut, and candy options overflow from bins and canisters at the topping bar, awaiting their chance to cascade down the snowy peaks of fro-yo.
Under the same roof as CherryBerry, but following the beat of their own chocolate-dipped drum, are the expert confectioners of Paradise Chocolate. At a separate counter, they hand-dip fruits and pretzels into vats of warm chocolate and set them out to cool alongside premium truffles. Distinctive varieties of bon-bons, peanut-butter delights, and english toffee congregate with apples draped in caramel and Valentine's Day chocolates inside the 8-foot-long display case.
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.
Diners at the Back 9 Café eat in full view of a driving range and its lake. Surrounded by country-club atmosphere, they sip and dine under the glow of four 55-inch high-definition TVs screening football, professional miming, and other live sports. Backed by rustic cabinets, bartenders pour draft beers late into the night at a hardwood bar. The Café's 4,000 sq. foot restaurant and banquet rooms provide ample space for parties, weddings, and private events. Meanwhile, chefs fill the indoor dining space with the aromas of chicken wings basted in four types of sauce, Black Angus steaks, pastas, and eclectic pizzas. They also fashion a handful of their recipes to reflect different regions, wrapping hot dogs in Cuban- and Chicago-style toppings and piling burgers with New York and Southwestern flavors. Dining-room sounds mingle with music from live bands and karaoke and waft outside to the patio, where a tiki bar stands beside a resort pool, welcoming visitors to drink under the stars or cool their palates after fire-breathing competitions.