Good Eats – Two Gastronomical Attractions Launch on Foodie Fringes
Posted by Rachel S on Tuesday, January 7th, 2014
Today we visit both coasts to talk about food-based attractions and how eats and treats are transforming hospitality in Tampa and faster food in San Francisco. See how the Epicurean Hotel, recently opened in Central Florida, and SoMa StrEat Food Park have changed the local gastronomical landscape in their respective cities and are offering fine fare for foodies.
StrEat Food Park, SoMa District, San Francisco
StrEat Food Park founder Carlos Muela says he created “an oasis in a food desert” when he set up the permanent serving grounds for an array of food trucks last summer. Established on inexplicably bland turf in a former parking lot adjacent to an overpass off the 101, the food park has flourished over the past 20 months and is now hard wired into the fabric of the neighborhood.
Food trucks typically roll out to find customers, but Muela adopted a “build it and they will come” mentality that has exceeded all expectations. What began with a modest roster of trucks, some shaded tables, bathrooms and a couple of bike racks has turned into a go-to destination that attracts foodies from all over San Fran.
Today more than 90 trucks rotate through the former U-Haul parking lot offering a staggering array of savories to sample from “Jewish Soul Food” to Guatemalen and Scandinavian delights. And themed trucks entertain while they nourish – there’s the Astronaut Cafe, Brass Knuckle music/food truck and the Candybar Dessert Truck.
A Skee Ball Truck and Shop, Drop and Roll mobile boutique are fun for after you nosh. The Food Park offers weekly trivia nights, 49ers watching parties, a bubble hockey league and has even played host to a wedding and reception. Free WiFi and dog-friendly environs make this more than just a place to eat and more of a place to plop down and hang for hours.
The Epicurean Hotel, Tampa, Florida
When you think about culinary innovation, central Florida doesn’t spring to mind, but the Epicurean Hotel may convince you otherwise. The 137 room hotel was designed with food in mind – from the throw pillows to the art on the walls, it’s all about gastro – even in the guest rooms of the $37 million boutique hotel.
Each room comes with a gourmet-stocked personal pantry with meats, cheeses, sweets and wine – collections chosen by David Laxer owner of award winning Bern’s Steak House across the street and co-founder of the Epicurean. Artwork is fruit-filled and utensils grace the bed pillows. Guests can browse shelves of cookbooks in the lobby but that’s just the start of the delights to be found.
The hotel design also features an 80 seat restaurant, patisserie, wine shop, rooftop bar, herb gardens and a culinary theater offering cooking and libation appreciation classes. Hotel employees were hand-selected for their love of food and wine so they can curate guest experiences when the hotel kicks off its “Grand Awakening” next weekend.
Designed by Urban Studio Architects, the hotel motto reads in part: “We’re crafting a foodie’s paradise. A wine lover’s dream. A place for connoisseurs of life to come and indulge their appetite.” A taste of the classes includes Mastering Wine Aromas, Champagne 101, Tea Blending, Sustainable Winemaking and more. Epicurean Hotel offers a rare treat in hospitality where you can wine, dine, learn and relax exquisitely – all without leaving the premises.
Bring your appetite and thirst for both fine wine and knowledge when you check into the Epicurean Hotel at 1207 South Howard Avenue, Tampa 33606.
image sources: Geezericious.blogspot.com, FunCheap.com, TBO.com, ConcordMonitor.com