A must-see, must-taste, must-experience edible, historical, food extravaganza, all Florida, all the time. A product of The FOOD Museum. For the Archives, please click the file folder icon at right.
Florida Food Issues: Food Deserts Map
"The Florida state Agriculture Department launched an online map (right) identifying "food deserts" and pockets of residents with nutrition-related health problems to help in response. Florida’s Roadmap to Living Healthy is the first use of GIS to identify resource limitations statewide."
Learn more here: http://apb.directionsmag.com/entry/gis-health-news-weekly-floridas-new-food-map/416437
Florida Food Mascots: Captain Citrus Make-over
Florida Cafeteria Heritage Site: The Tramor, St Petersburg
The Tramor Cafeteria, built in 1929 and owned by the Tampa Bay Times since 1981, is under contract to be sold to a Chicago company that plans to open a German restaurant and beer garden.
Hofbrauhaus also has locations in Chicago, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas and Munich.
The 15,000-square-foot space at 123 Fourth St. S has been on the market to sell or lease since 2012. The price was not released. The deal is expected to close Friday.
The Mediterranean-style building with its colorful tiles, balconies, arches and swirling columns started as a seasonal cafeteria for winter visitors and later was a popular lunch spot for downtown workers and area residents.
It first opened as Bob’s Cafeteria in 1930, but was bought and renovated in grand style in 1939 by brothers Lander, Enar and Henry Haige. Charcoal broilers roasted steaks and chops while big ovens turned out 116 pies every 25 minutes.
Lines of loyal patrons wrapped the building each year for the November season opening, which often celebrated with free cake and coffee.
Florida Restaurant Heritage Sites: Versailles, Miami
"One of the top ten places to visit in Miami, Versailles Restaurant has been at the heart of the Cuban-American community for decades. Presidents, politicians, and pop stars routinely stop in for a meal and a photo op.
In 1971, Felipe Valls Sr. opened Versailles in Miami’s Little Havana, fulfilling his vision to create a Cuban hub—a place where friends and families could get together to enjoy high quality food at affordable prices. The restaurant’s success still hinges on this premise.
The Versailles Restaurant Cookbook features some of the most beloved recipes from this Miami institution, including fried yuca, vaca frita (shredded beef with onions), lechón asado (roast pork), ropa vieja (shredded beef in tomato sauce), guava pie, and, of course, the one, the only, the original Cuban sandwich. The simplicity of Cuban cuisine makes it surprisingly easy to prepare these bold and savory dishes for which the restaurant is renowned.
Ask the die-hard patrons of Versailles why it is their favorite restaurant for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even a post-party snack at 2 a.m., and they’ll tell you they keep coming back for the tortilla (potato omelet), the plantain chips with mojo, the croquettes, the moros (mixed black beans and rice), and the rabo encendido (oxtail stew). These flavorful recipes have been passed down through the Valls family for generations; they are the traditional dishes abuela used to make.
Versailles is indeed more than just a celebrated restaurant. For many it is a home away from home—a place where people from all backgrounds congregate to enjoy great food while discussing work, politics, and daily life. This amazing cookbook helps amateur chefs everywhere re-create that same warm feeling right at their own dinner tables.
The new star ingredient on Tampa Bay menus: Florida’s rich history.
For the first time since the 1980s, a style is emerging that feels unique to the Sunshine State, distinct from the foods of the Deep South, Low Country or bayous of Louisiana. It’s Southern-inflected, seafood-centric, with a reliance on Florida ingredients, nods to Spanish roots and down-home “Cracker” and American Indian ingenuity, topped off with a bit of Latin and even Caribbean flair.
Take this dish from the newly opened Ulele in Tampa:
Alligator hush puppies with gator, country ham, duck bacon, fresh corn, jalapeno, St. Augustine datil pepper sauce and fresh-ground horseradish aioli.
In a spate of recent restaurant openings in Tampa Bay, chefs and restaurateurs are mining history books and early Florida native lore for inspiration: swamp cabbage and hearts of palm; wild boar, quail and mullet roe; cooter and coquina; coontie flour and palm berries.
It matters because, in a part of the state long known as a bland breeding ground for chain concepts, this paradigm shift could cause the nation’s foodies, and even the James Beard committee, to take notice. It has the potential to draw lucrative “culinary tourists” and, perhaps more important, young culinary talent eager to master a new regional cuisine.
Laura Reiley, Tampa Bay Times Food Critic and author of the article:
"Emerging New Florida cuisine is like history on a plate"
Florida Food History Books: A Culinary History of Florida
“From the very first prickly pears harvested by Paleo-Indians more than twelve thousand years ago to the Seminole tribe’s staple dish of sofkee, Florida’s culinary history is as diverse as its geography. Italian, French, Creole, Spanish, Cuban, Greek, Mexican, Minorcan and Caribbean influences season southern, soul and Cracker foods to make up Florida’s eclectic flavors. Learn how Florida orange juice changed the look of the American breakfast table and discover the state’s festival-worthy swamp cabbage. Through syllabubs, perloos, frog legs and Tupelo honey, author Joy Sheffield Harris serves up a delectable helping of five hundred years of Florida cuisine—all with a side of key lime pie, of course.”
Florida Food Heritage: Ulele
Tampa restaurant features Florida food traditions.
Richard Gonzmart, president of the Columbia Restaurant Group and ever-passionate civic booster, is on a quest to build a Florida-centric restaurant called Ulele just north of downtown Tampa. He promises it will use Florida-raised beef, tomatoes from a family farm in Parrish and table-tops fashioned from an old North Florida barn.
He’s been at it since January 2012, when Columbia Restaurant Group won a city competition to renovate the old Water Works building — a potable water pumping station located next to a spring. At the time, it was thought the restaurant could open by the end of 2012. (Ulele opened September 2014)
The company planned a unique restaurant, named after a young Native American woman named Ulele and featuring Gulf-caught fish and other local-origin foods. He won’t disclose the menu, but he hinted Tuesday that he’s experimenting with wrapping something in tobacco leaves to mimic a Native American tradition.
However, it’s been anything but an easy ride.
First, skeptics didn’t understand Ulele’s location north of downtown, in a neck of the city closer to homeless missions than gourmet restaurants. Gonzmart’s brother and his own wife were concerned.
“Why would you want to do that?” Gonzmart said, quoting his wife.
When he showed the site to a member of Tampa’s restaurant royalty, former OSI Restaurant Partners senior executive Paul Avery, Avery quipped that, “It’s really going to be a destination restaurant.”
Sure enough, on Tuesday an audience member at the Tampa Downtown Partnership briefing asked about the surrounding area’s homeless population. Won’t they scare away moms from going to Water Works Park?
Gonzmart tried to assuage those fears by saying the city and police will try to keep anyone from sleeping in the park when it opens.
Next, problems surfaced with renovating the Water Works building that dates to the early 1900s. That includes the discovery of tunnels below the building that had to be removed. An original cost estimate of $1.4 million for the restaurant has ballooned to $5 million, Gonzmart said.
Read full article here: http://tbo.com/news/business/gonzmarts-passion-supports-ulele-despite-challenges-20140304/
Ulele website: http://www.ulele.com/
Florida Food Heritage Site: Former Tampa Drinking Water Source Renamed from Magbee to Ulele
"It is November 2005. Chris Longo, a 17-year-old Plant High School senior presents research for his Eagle Scout designation that explores the history of Magbee Spring at the water works.
Longo’s goal: Get the name changed to Ulele Spring in honor of the Pocahontas-style legend related to the daughter of a Timucuan tribal chief who lived during the 1500s in what today is Tampa.
Longo discovers that in 1528, Ulele purportedly saved the life of Juan Ortiz, one of a group sent from Cuba to find the explorer Panfilo de Narvaez, who was in Florida searching for gold.
Ulele’s father, Chief Hirrihigua, took Ortiz prisoner and tortured him in revenge for de Narvaez’s killing the chief’s mother. Ulele eventually whisked Ortiz away to safety on the Hillsborough River.
The spring’s first namesake is not as dignified: James T. Magbee, a circuit judge who presided from 1868 until his forced resignation in 1875. Magbee, who moved to Tampa from Georgia in 1820, owned the spring property and adjacent land.
In 1871, Magbee reportedly fell down drunk at Franklin and Washington streets, after which people poured molasses and corn on him and hogs tore at his clothes.
“Should the alcoholic judge have his name remain on the lifeblood of Tampa’s first water source?” Longo writes to the Tampa City Council. “Changing the name from Magbee Spring to Ulele Spring would put dignity back into the spring and would also establish the Spanish-American Indian connection in early America.”
The city council agrees and votes to rename the spring.”
Read full article here: http://tbo.com/dining/ulele-a-restaurant-for-the-next-century-20140810/