One taste of the 24 rotating flavors of premium homemade gelato—including reliable standards of vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and stracciatella, along with a bevy of other possibilities—and you will understand why public-service announcements insist that eating gelato is like tasting ice cream for the first time, every time. Unlike the black-market gelato dealers littering the streets with heaps of dishonorable fake frozens, the staff at Swirls uses the top-of-the-line Carpigiani equipment to make authentic, all-natural gelato with techniques learned from world-renowned gelato expert Luciano Ferrari. For an even-lighter frozen treat, the homemade soft-serve frozen yogurt is 98% fat free, and the sorbetto is fruitastically fresh.
Café Kiln offers a variety of ways to cultivate creativity. Paint and glaze a blank piece of pottery, fuse glass, tile your own mosaic, or nurse a tender hunk of clay into form. The all-inclusive art emporium doesn't charge a studio fee, and all supplies (glaze, tools, instruction, paints) are included. Start by selecting your piece of pottery or mosaic shape. Consult stencils and stamps for design direction if you're stumped on the design—with more than 100 colors to choose from, Café Kiln rivals the Crayola Big Box with its wardrobe of hues. Mosaic creations will be ready for you to take home that day. Allow a week for pottery pieces to be fired and glazed.
Stroll through an Oldsmar farmers market early in the morning and you might run into Andrew Koumi rifling through baskets of tomatoes in search of the ripest ones. The mastermind behind Green Market Cafe, Andrew was still in college when he hatched the plan to open an eatery that served healthy takes on sandwiches and soups. When discussing the inspiration behind the restaurant with reporters from the Tampa Bay Times, Andrew explained, "I wanted to create a place where I'd like to go and eat everyday."
Arms laden with bags of produce, Andrew returns to his café, where his chefs fold the fresh vegetables into crisp salads and toasty grilled flatbreads. Because everything is made to order, chefs are able to accommodate special requests, adding extra tomatoes or picking out any raisins that look too much like a California Raisin. Diners chitchat over cups of organic tea inside the colorful dining room, an open space tinted with greens, purples, and pinks to please the eye. The building is also home to Kiwi Frozen Yogurt, Green Market Cafe's sister shop, which serves wholesome yogurt with candy and fruit toppings.
After greasing the Slip 'n Slide with vegetable oil and shedding winter's fluffy bathrobe and insulated socks, the best way to celebrate summer's approach is with a handful of velvety-soft frozen custard. The Ritter's menu features a cast of five to seven rotating daily flavors, including everything from fruit-based favorites such as cherry cordial and fresh banana to candy-inspired creations like caramel Snickers swirl. Order a cone of the flavor du jour ($1.99 and up), or opt for a signature Glacier ($3.29 and up), Ritter's frozen custard mixed with your topping of choice and served upside down to confuse your already delicate perception of reality and emphasize the delicacy's extreme thickness. If a list of 25+ toppings dizzies your decision-making noodle, submit your fate to the friendly ice-cream slingers and opt for a pre-designed signature sundae ($4.29) such as the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup–filled, whipped-cream-topped peanut-butter mountain. Celebrate your newfound superpowers and exploit your nemeses' weaknesses for chocolate and caramel with a frozen Snickers pie ($25.99).
Britans Yogurt Mill tempts sweet teeth with troves of trans-Atlantic treats and healthy, probiotic substitutes with a regularly-rotating cast of flavors. Britans' stash of Only 8 frozen yogurt, free of fats, sugars, cholesterol, and lava, packs 48 calories per small serving ($2.50) and 64 calories per medium cup ($3.25), letting sweet-seekers indulge without sabotaging waistlines. Churn spoons over gobs of Working Cow Ice Cream ($2.65–$3.95), Florida's own boutique dairy blend brimming with fruit, chocolate, and nuts; or expand horizons with Britans' import selection of candy ($1.25–$5.25) and biscuits from England and South Africa.
With a history that dates back to early-20th-century Chicago, Landers Steakhouse now introduces Tampa townies to dinner and lunch fare hearty enough to withstand the Windy City. Dinner centerpieces include the 20-ounce T-bone ($19), the aged 7-ounce filet mignon ($17), and the twin coldwater lobster tails ($22), which finish each others’ sentences and have an identical taste in overalls. During lunch, steaks coexist with lighter fare, such as fried grouper sandwiches ($9) and vegetarian wraps ($6). Landers’ efficient staff can also deliver cocktails, such as caramel appletinis ($9) or vodka-infused french-vanilla lattes ($8), both of which loosen tongues in time for yodeling contests that determine who gets the check.