Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Toast Of South Tampa

This past Monday afternoon the Belle of Ballast Point and I attended a Tampa Bay Buccaneers football practice, where adult beverages are not served no matter how hot and dry the spectators get.

After a few hours, we spectators felt the need of a cold one, so we left the practice field and headed south to Toast Wine and Cafe on Manhattan. This was our first visit even though Toast had been on our radar for several months. We were warmly greeted by the delightful Tierney who invited us to sit where we pleased: outdoors on the deck, indoors at several high tops, or at the bar. We chose the bar, looking toward the beer tap wall.

"A couple of those Goose Island 312 drafts, please Tierney." 312 Urban Wheat is a American pale wheat ale style beer brewed by Goose Island Beer Co. in Chicago with a hazy straw color, light orange hop aroma, fruity ale flavor, creamy body. This 312 was a very refreshing brew.

To accompany our 312 drafts, we chose the Antipasto Pairing with a delicious sampling of cheese and meats. This platter was more than enough to dissuade our hunger pangs.

While enjoying our antipasto, we noticed a poster advertising a Halter Ranch Wine Dinner. We asked about this event and Tierney said it would take place the following evening and there was one table left. This dinner would feature four dinner courses with wine pairings from the Halter Ranch Vineyard. At $55 a person this sounded like a good deal, so we signed up.

My bride and I arrived at Toast a bit before seven this past Tuesday and were guided to our very own reserved table (reservation in our name, not the Oracle). Donna was our personable server for this event and promptly brought out our first food and wine tasting.

Without being hurried, our food and wine appeared in the following sequence:

Chilled watermelon gazpacho with sprinkles of dill and the Halter Ranch Rose
Sweet piquillo peppers, slow roasted and stuffed with goat cheese, herbs, spices, and drizzled with olive oil were teamed with a Cote De Passo Blanc
For our third course we had a choice of center cut ham steaks, cedar planked fillet of salmon, or grouper accompanied with mashed potatoes and oven roasted zucchini. The pairing was the Halter Ranch Cabernet.

Even though the dinner was listed as four courses we finished with a dessert and then a cheese plate to compliment several additional Halter Ranch wines.

Classic vanilla bean creme broulee with torched turbinado sugar

Our chef for this event was Hector who did a fantastic job with the foods and was a very gracious and charming host. Hector, by the way, is the chef at the Toast in New Tampa. He was brought in especially for this event. An additional tip-of-the-hat to manager Stone for ensuring the success of this grand evening.

The foods served at this dinner event are not on the usual Toast menu. They were prepared for this event, but the quality bodes well for the dishes on the regular menu. We will be back to Toast of South Tampa, and we are looking forward to their next dinner party.

Unlike other Tampa Bay bloggers who trade "glowing" reviews for free food, the Oracle eschews that somewhat questionable practice. We dined anonymously, and paid $55 per person for this dinner event. We also added a 20% gratuity for Donna.

Toast Wine & Cafe on Urbanspoon 

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