Authors Posts by Melissa Dam

Melissa Dam

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Aspiring Physician's Assistant • University of South Florida Alumna • alpha Kappa Delta Phi International Sorority, Inc • Miss Vietnam Florida First Princess 2018

If you’re in downtown Tampa for Cinco de Mayo/The Kentucky Derby and don’t know what to do, definitely consider visiting the Westin Hotel’s Blue Harbor for their first event since their grand opening, Cinco de Derby, happening from 3PM-12AM! I previewed a few of the specialty drinks that they’re going to be featuring this Saturday. Nonetheless, they have their Happy Hour from 4PM-7PM with some amazing full-sized appetizers for you to much on while you sip away!

First we started off with their calamari and cheese sample platter. The fried calamari sat on top a bed of veggies and then topped off with what reminded me of shrimp chips! The seasoning and sauces of this dish was amazing and probably one of the favorite calamari dishes I’ve had so far. The cheese platter was great, as well! The fruits were so fresh and sweet, and there was a nice assortment of cheeses that paired very nicely with the salami and pepperoni. I really liked how they had a couple of jams on the side with honey too.

Tropical Fire Water (shown above.) This was probably one of my favorite drinks. Though it’s not a featured specialty drink for the event, you should still give it a try! Beware there’s a bit of added spice to it, so if you’re not really into spicy, you may not be a fan.

Passion Fruit Mojito with a Pea Flower Infusion

Featured below are their three specialty drinks that they will be having at the event for just $10 each! Each were so good, my favorite was the Spicy Mia-Rita! All of their featured drinks use fresh ingredients with some Don Julio, yummm!

Cucumber Agave Lime Margarita (shown above)

Hightailing Jalisco Julep (shown above)

Spicy Mia-Rita (shown above)

Meet Will! The man behind the geniusness of these creative drinks. Definitely stop by and say hi and try his creations and tag him on Instagram @cocktailsbyfrost, ask him from a Scorpion Sting (those are good, but beware they have a little kick to them!)

All in all, I had a really great time at Blue Harbor Bar & Eatery! Their drinks are definitely one of a kind with such creativity and thought put into them. Definitely something to check out! Happy eatings though everyone (or maybe in this case drinking), until next time!

I’ve heard about Tampa’s Busch Garden’s Food and Wine Festival over the years, but never had the chance to go until now! With it being my very first foodie festival, I was not disappointed. This year being their 4th annual event, Busch Gardens had an array of cuisines, wines, craft beers, and cocktails to choose from with vegetarian and gluten free options available, as well. Guests have the option of sampling a number of foods and drinks throughout the park, while enjoying the animals and rides too; a plus for parents and their kids.

To start off our evening, our eyes were caught by the Char Siu Duck on a Steamed Bun and the Grilled Lamb Chops with Tabouleh & Tzatziki at Field House Eatery. The grilled lamb was my favorite! The meat was cooked and seasoned nicely and wasn’t gamey at all, when paired with the tabbouleh and tzatziki sauce it balanced the dish perfectly.

Next, we visited Artisan Eats, there we sampled the Duck Fat Truffle Fries with Parmesan Truffle Aioli and the Fleur de Mer Rosé.

Coast to Coast Cookery’s Pan-Seared Steak with Chimichurri & Roasted Poblano Hash, Flourless Chocolate Torte with Raspberry Sauce, and Swamp Head Brewery, Wheat Night Honey Cream Ale.

Garden Gate Café’s Truffle Seafood Mac & Cheese with Shrimp, Scallops, and Cod in a Creamy Gruyere Bechamel with White Truffle, Hawaiian-Seasoned Tuna Poke, You’re My Boy Blue Blueberry Brew, and Graffiti Orange American Wheat Beers. I’m a huge fan of tuna, so that was definitely one of my top dishes.

Now by this point, we were already getting full but we decided to end our night with Chef’s Plantation’s Salmon Cake with Lemon Aioli, Comfort Kitchen’s Fried Plantain Cups filled with Stewed Chicken, and Tasty Taqueria’s Frozen Mojito! The salmon cake and lemon aioli was such a light and refreshing dish that regardless of how full I was, I couldn’t stop eating it.

There were so many other cabins and vendors we missed out on, but the ones we visited definitely didn’t disappoint. From food to entertainment, Busch Garden’s Food and Wine Festival has something for everyone! You can visit Busch Gardens and experience this all yourselves, every weekend from March 3rd – April 29th. Happy eatings, everyone! Until next time.

Author: Melissa Dam
Photo Creds: Cindy Nguyen

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