Tampa Foodie Photo Tour
Well, it took me a while to write this but I’m finally recapping my Foodie Photo Tour in Tampa! This was my first food tour and I had SO MUCH fun planning it and seeing it come to life. I originally came up with the idea as I was writing my Most Instagrammable Spots in Tampa blog post and thought it would be fun to take some of my followers around to my favorite foodie spots that I know are great for photos!
Stop 1 - Brew Bus Brewing
We started off at The Brew Bus, which has long been one of my favorite breweries in Tampa. Not only was Brew Bus our first stop on the tour for food but they were also the transportation for the day! I’ve ridden the Brew Bus for events including First Friday in St. Pete and Tampa Bay Lightning games, plus a few Local Loops for a Sunday Funday. If you need transportation for a private event I highly recommend them, renting the bus comes with 2 beers per person and is a really fun way to get around!
At The Brew Bus Terminal they also have The Eatery which has some killer food, including the General Tso Wings, which were featured in the new Tampa’s Table cookbook. These were the first bite of the day and everyone continued talking about them the rest of the tour! If you’re a wing lover, you have to check these out. Plus, the Brew Bus Terminal (their brewery) is a pretty photogenic space. They have an awesome map of Seminole Heights mural and my favorite tap list ever - made to look like the front of a bus!
Stop 2 - Nebraska Mini Mart
Our second stop was the new Nebraska Mini Mart in Seminole Heights. From the team behind Rooster & the Till, it’s no surprise that the food here is delicious. Think street food with a modern twist, served out of an old mini-mart that has been completely re-done. We had the Charred Corn with ancho, lime, cotija cheese, and Mexican crema, the Chicken Wings with fried garlic and Malaysian chili paste, and the Glass Noodle Salad with fried shallots, carrots, napa cabbage, and a fermented black bean chili vinaigrette.
In addition to food, there are shuffleboard courts, frozen drinks, & plenty of photo ops: an awesome Seminole Heights double-headed gator mural by Tampa artist Bianca Burrows (@itsbbart), a bright red wall with the NMM logo, and the sign that proclaims “The dream is free, the hustle is sold separately.”
Stop 3 - SOHO Juice Company
Up next was my favorite juice shop in Tampa! I’ve been going to SOHO Juice Co since they opened their first location on South Howard, however we stopped at their newest location on Bay to Bay. In addition to fresh pressed juices they also serve gluten-free toasts, drool worthy acai bowls and soft swerve (vegan) ice cream.
They also have an awesome wing mural that makes the perfect backdrop for a pic of you or your food :) We sampled multiple juices, the SOHO Bowl, and the Cloud 9 Bowl - and everyone got an Activate Chocolate & Magical Vanilla Soft Swerve cone!
Stop 4 - Taco Dirty
Any place with a raining avocado mural has to be included on a foodie photo tour, right? Taco Dirty is a build-your-own taco and bowl concept from the team at Ciccio Restaurant Group, so it is no surprise the branding and photo opportunities here are on point. In addition to the avocado mural there is a “Let’s Taco ‘Bout Love” mural, a pink hopscotch game, and colorful cacti painted on the building. At this stop everyone got to build their taco - I recommend the shrimp & green poblano sauce! I also recommend their queso and frosé - two of my favorite things :)
Stop 5 - Empamamas at Armature Works
When I first started conceptualizing this food tour I knew I wanted Empamamas to be a part of it! Empamamas started as a food truck in Tampa back in 2015 and I quickly fell in love - they now have a permanent home as a vendor at Armature Works. If you haven’t been to Armature Works yet, you are MISSING OUT - it is a huge mixed use space along the river in Tampa Heights housing multiple food vendors, a co-working space, event space, and endless photo ops!
For the food tour we set-up in the Show + Tell Room which is typically used for cooking classes & private dinner events - Stephanie (the Empamama herself) had Cheeseburger in Paradise Empamamas and Tampa Girl Empamamas ready for us to eat! The Tampa Girl has won numerous awards and if you’ve ever had it you know why - it’s inspired by a cuban sandwich with roasted pork, ham, salami, Swiss cheese, pickle and “Tampa Girl” sauce. SO. GOOD.
Stop 6 - Bake’n Babes at The Hall on Franklin
Obviously I wanted to end the day with a dessert and Bake’n Babes at The Hall on Franklin was a no brainer to take on this task! If you haven’t already seen the drool-worthy desserts Bake’n Babes makes, get ready to become addicted :) Cupcakes, waffles, cookies, VEGAN cookies, Freak Shakes, sleazy brownies - the list goes on! Julie (owner & mastermind) really went all out for the tour, the set up was INSANE and super Instagrammable. And the cupcake was easily the best cupcake I’ve ever had - Beer Batter Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting & Candied Praline Bacon on top. Mind. Blown.
I also had partnered with Bake’n Babes in November to create the “This Babe Eats Birthday Freakshake” which was a funfetti milkshake with an ENTIRE piece of funfetti cake on top! We brought one out during the event for everyone to photograph - truly a work of art if you ask me. Make sure to check out the Bake’n Babes social media pages to see what the Freak Shake of the month is, they are always so fun, tasty, & photogenic!
I wanted to make sure everyone who came on the tour had some memories to take home with them so I also put together gift bags with goodies from local Tampa Bay businesses! Here’s what was inside:
Once upon a time a new baker in the Tampa food scene reached out to me via Instagram to send me some cookies… and after that I became a crazy fan girl. So when I thought of doing gift bags, he was the first person I reached out to! Pete creates amazing decorated cookies with an insane amount of detail, and to say he went above and beyond for my food tour would be an understatement. HE SLAYED IT. Each person got to take home one of the party packs - Miso Hungry, Let’s Taco ‘Bout It, and the Brunch themed one I don’t remember the name of (lol). Each pack also had one cookie with a special flavor in it - Toasted Sesame, Candied Jalapeno, and Maple Syrup. They were sooooo good. I ate way more than I should admit. Seriously, if you need custom cookies - reach out to Petey Cake.
MADE Coffee originally started pouring their Cold Brew and Nitro Brew from taps on a coffee bike, but they knew their was a better way to get it to the masses - behold, the can. Genius! You may have seen these photogenic cans before in Publix or around town at local bars/restaurants. Their branding is a DREAM (I’m a huge branding nerd) and I knew these cans would be the perfect addition to the gift bags. In each bag was one of the three types of Cold Brew Con Leche - Traditional, Chocolate, or Chai - the Chai is my absolute favorite!
If you haven’t heard of Toffee to Go - where have you been? Even Oprah knows about it. Well this Tampa business has expanded from just toffee and now has The Dessert Spot which is heaven on earth if you love desserts. Freshly baked pies, toffee (of course), ice cream and all sorts of goodies. They even have a “toffee sauce” you can (and should) add to any slice of pie, cheesecake, or bar that you get. For the gift bag everyone got some of the traditional Milk Chocolate Almond Toffee - this was the one that originally got me hooked!
Murals have become an integral part of the Tampa & St. Pete food scene - we are seeing more and more businesses hire artists to create custom pieces and Bianca of #BBart is one of those artists! You have more than likely come across some of her work if you like to eat in the Tampa Bay area as she has done numerous pieces, including the double headed gator at Nebraska Mini Mart! She also turns some of her art into stickers, mugs, shirts, etc. so for the food tour everyone received a sticker of the Seminole Heights double headed gator piece in their gift bag!
And that was a wrap on my first foodie photo tour! It was SO much fun, I loved getting to meet and interact with some of my followers in person. I can’t wait to do it again - make sure to subscribe to my email list to be the first to hear when I announce new food tour dates!