food · tampa · travel

eat: Loli’s Mexican Cravings

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The Tampa Food Train is back in action! ALL ABOARD! I wish I could take you all with me to this place- like a foodie field trip- wouldn’t that be fun?  Because this is another place that is near and dear to my heart belly. But first I need to tell you the history of my love for Loli’s..let the “foodie-tale” begin!

Years ago, in 2011, when my lovechunk was still in the U.S. Navy, he was stationed in San Diego. It was a lovely time, featuring great weather, lots of sunshine, and also lots of tacos. Let me start by saying that San Diego has AMAZING cuisine – especially lots of Mexican cuisine- being that it is so close to Mexico there is an abundance of authentic restaurants and taco shops everywhere.

During our 2 year stay in San Diego we enjoyed our fair share of tacos- but me personally, I had my fair share- and then some! Chris had to leave me and go on a deployment for 8 months 😦 and well, what else is a girl to do while her man is gone but eat lots and lots of tacos?? #tacotherapy Let’s just say I became quite an expert on good Mexican food and not-so-good Mexican food.

Anyhow, fast forward to 2014. Since coming back home to Tampa, Chris and I have been on a mission to find some authentic Mexican food #tacosnobs with little to no luck. Some places came close but we just couldn’t seem to find something that was good enough until one fateful night….

It was December 19, 2014- a night I will never forget. We were at my work’s Christmas party, being merry and such, when it was time to eat. I didn’t know what they were serving- I don’t ask a lot of questions when it comes to eating I just grab a plate 🙂 So we got in line and discovered they had food catered and it was tacos & tamales. We stuffed our plates and sat down at our table. I remember taking a bite of that chicken taco – it was like fireworks went off in my mouth! I’m pretty sure I had tears in my eyes from being so happy- I looked at Chris and said “BABE! TASTE THIS!” and I shoved the taco into his mouth…he chewed and I waited for his head nod of approval…and I got it! This food was legit! I found out the name of the place that provided the delicious food…it was called “Lolis Mexican Craving’s”.

We were so excited to go there- I don’t think we even waited a full week! Loli’s is a hole in the wall- when I say that I mean it’s very small, with 5 tables, and that’s basically it. No frills. When the food is THAT good you don’t need any frills! When we arrived we discovered they have more than just tacos and tamales. They also have sopes, tortas, and quesadillas. We’ve never head of a sope before but we thought we’d try it and i’m SO glad we did because they are FANTASTIC!

 

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Sope

A sope is a traditional Mexican dish that is fried masa- formed into a round shape- topped with refried black beans, meat of your choice, lettuce, avocado, crumbed cheese, and sour cream. I like to get the ribeye sope (pictured above) – it’s my personal favorite. I often ask myself, what is better than 1 sope? The answer is…2 sopes!

 

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Chicken sope & Ribeye sope

Let me explain what an authentic Mexican taco consists of- a corn tortilla, your meat of choice, cilantro, and grilled onions. They also have sauces to choose from like an avocado cilantro (my fav) and some other spicy ones that I’m too afraid to try. Chris says the habanero sauce is “on point but proceed with caution as it’s very spicy”. Loli’s has a lot of options to choose from for your taco, sope, quesadilla and torta needs – ribeye, chicken, pastor, campechano, shrimp, fish, lengua, chicarron, chorizo, carnitas, and vegetarian. If the only tacos you are familiar with are from “Taco Bell”- I beg you to come to Loli’s and experience these bad boys! You will thank me 🙂

My favorite tacos are the pastor, ribeye, and fish tacos. The pastor tacos come with onions, cilantro, and pineapple- the sweetness just goes impeccably with the saltiness from the meat.

 

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Pastor Tacos

The fish taco is fried white fish, cabbage, avocados, cilantro, and pico de gallo- squeeze some lime on that- perfection!

 

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Fish taco

Their tamales, tortas, and quesadillas are also delectable. It’s hard not to order half of the menu every time we go.

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Now, I need to confess something…when we first discovered Loli’s I was very selfish (only child syndrome) and I told Chris that we shouldn’t tell anyone about them because then it will get too popular and busy and we’d have to wait forever to get our food ( #princessproblems) . Well, that didn’t last long- we told everyone we knew how great and authentic this place was. And other people discovered this great place and so on and so on- basically the word got out- because now Loli’s has lines out the door anytime you go there- people even wait outside in the rain for their food- I’ve seen it! And honestly, I’m so happy they have been so successful- they deserve it! And yes, now princess has to wait in line for her tacos and sopes, but it’s definitely worth the wait- I promise you! Don’t believe me? Check out this bulletin board on the wall of the restaurant that people can write notes on. It’s unanimous- Loli’s is the best. Also, they just started opening on Sundays- they are now open 7 days a week! #bestnewsever

reviews

 

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Sope Princess

Bottom Line: Go have some authentic Mexican food at Loli’s Mexican Cravings..tell them “Tiffany Eats Tampa” sent you- and then bring me a sope!!! 🙂

Xoxo,

Tiffany

What is your favorite Mexican food dish? How many sopes can you eat in one sitting? Let me know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bruges · food · travel

eat: Tiffany Eats Bruges

Bruges

Tiff’s Bruges Must Eats!

Imagine an enchanting place with chocolate & waffle shops on every street corner- with serene canals running through and bells echoing in the background. Well I have wonderful news- this place exists! It’s called Bruges and it’s truly magical.

In my last post travel: Bruges,  there were many things we loved to do but eating was, of course, one of our favorite past times in Bruges (and every other place for that matter). Below is a list of some of my favorite foods from our adventure, enjoy!

1. Frites

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I know what you’re thinking…”fries?? really?” but let me tell you what- frites (fries) are a BIG deal in Belgium- they are no joke! And we can taste why…they are delicious! I want to say while we were there for only 2 days we must have eaten at least 3 different orders of frites and they were all so tasty! They are traditionally served with mayo but everywhere you go offers a variety of sauces- but me, I’m a ketchup & mayo kinda girl. They serve them with the tiniest fork I’ve ever seen in my entire life, I felt like a fancy giant  (pinky up) attempting to eat my frites with a little baby fork- but let me just say, as a professional eater, bare hands work much better for dipping. #Tiff’sTips

2. Waffles

Waffle

No words needed, I’m just going to leave that there….

Just kidding 🙂 (butseriously)

You have to get a Belgium waffle when in Belgium! But let me tell you that some waffles are just more exceptional than others. Remember how I said that the guy whose apartment we were renting owned a waffle shop and we were staying above it? Well this waffle is from his shop, Oyya Ice Bar, and let me tell you this was by far, the best waffle we’ve ever had, period, end of story, case closed, that’s all folks! We did try another waffle during our stay from a different place and it just wasn’t anything to write (or blog) home about. But this waffle- this waffle was crispy, flavorful, and scrumptious! We also added gelato and whipped cream to it- a winning combination!

3. Chocolate

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2 words…Belgium Chocolate. First of all, like I said, there is chocolate EVERYWHERE! I’m not even exaggerating! I’m sure if they could figure out a way to make chocolate flow through the canals they would because it is all over the place and I absolutely love it!

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So does Chris!

One of the first things we did was go into several different shops and treat ourselves to some of Belgium’s finest chocolates. All of them were so creamy, rich, and smooth. Simply perfection. You can really taste a difference in quality from back home. We stocked up and brought enough chocolate to last us a few months- but it only lasted a week or so- oops!

We went into a shop and they even had tools that were made out of chocolate!

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All chocolate

 Here is a testament to the deliciousness..we brought some home for my parents to try and my Dad (who is VERY picky by the way) and Mom said “Tiffy, this is the best chocolate I’ve had in my LIFE!” My Mom even said she didn’t want to share the rest of it with my Dad but she felt bad and shared it anyway. #truelove

4. Flemish Stew

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Did you think I was going to go to Belgium and just pig out on fries, waffles, and chocolate all day long? Well, you were right but I also enjoyed some traditional Flemish cuisine. (fun fact: Bruges is located in the West Flanders region of Belgium so they are Flemish).

We asked what a traditional/local dish was and we were recommended the “Flemish Stew”. When it arrived we looked at it and were surprised there weren’t any veggies in the stew- but let me tell you that this little pot of stew stood on it’s own and didn’t need to be showed up by any carrots or potatoes! This had a taste unlike any other stew I’ve ever had. It’s made with a rich dark Belgian beer but it has a sweetness to it from the brown sugar that balances so well with the onions and ale. This dish definitely had depth and I was all about it! Those fries were pretty lovely as well. I even went a little crazy and dipped a frite (when in Bruges) into the stew and suddenly “A Whole New World” from Aladdin started playing in my head because it was such an explosion of flavors and crispiness! Superb!

Bottom Line: Go to Bruges and eat until your pants get too tight! It’s worth it, I promise! 🙂

Xoxo,

Tiffany

 

What are your favorite foods to eat in Belgium? Do you dip your fries into any foods? What sauces do you like with your frites? I’d love to know!

 

 

arepas · food · tampa · travel

eat: Nico’s Arepas Grill

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  • Nico’s Arepas Grill – 8303 N Armenia Ave Tampa, FL 33604
  • Cuisine: Latin American, Venezuelan 
  • Price Range: $

CHOOT CHOOT! The “Tiffany Eats Tampa” train is taking us to a very special place in my belly heart this week- Nico’s Arepas Grill.

sidenote: if you would like to play a game while reading this, you can take a shot every time I say the word “arepa”- spoiler alert: you will get drunk. Don’t drink & drive! 🙂 #tiffstips #PSA

Let me start my foodietale (get it, like “fairytale?” ha- okay, moving on) in London, September of last year. Bae and I went to Camden Market (which is fabulous by the way, I will need to make a separate blog about my love affair with London –stay tuned) which was basically a foodie & shopping paradise. There were tons of different food trucks & restaurants with a wide variety of cuisines to choose from. We stumbled upon a truck that said “AREPA”- it smelled heavenly. We looked at each other and said “what’s an arepa”? I’m SO glad we asked because we soon discovered it’s amazingness. Below is our first ever arepa….

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First ever arepa in London!

It was love at first bite!

For those of you who aren’t familiar, an arepa is a Venezuelan and Columbian dish, it’s  almost like a corn pita/pancake. It is opened up and served with your choice of toppings inside. It’s a bit doughy on the inside and crispy on the outside.

Once we came home from London we went on a quest to find the best arepa in town. We found 3 places in the Tampa Bay area (if there are more, let me know!)- I felt like “Goldie Locks & the 3 Bears Arepas” – one place the arepa was too hard, one the arepa was too soft- but Nico’s…Nico’s was just right! We had a winner!

Nico’s Arepas Grill is an authentic Venezuelan restaurant that has a wide variety of items but their speciality is the almighty arepa. For first timers I would reccomend trying the sampler (below) as it gives you a bit of everything.

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All of these items are fantastic. It comes with tequenos- cheese wrapped in dough (think mozzarella stick meets Pillsbury dough boy- but better!), mini arepas, empanadas, and last but not least CACHAPAS- eating them is even more fun than saying “cachapa!”  (whenever I say it my shoulders do a little dance from left to right to left 🙂 They are sweet corn cakes with salty cheese- SO MUCH YES! The combination of the sweetness from the corn cakes and the saltiness of the cheese is a match made in heaven.

 

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Cachapa!
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Mini Arepa

If you thought the mini arepa looked incredible, wait until you see a full sized one. I, myself, love sweet & salty so I decided to get an arepa with shredded beef, plantains, avocado, cheese, and black beans. I then add some of Nico’s garlic & cilantro relish sauces and BAM…magic happens…IMG_20170422_174013_998

The arepa is almost as big as the size of my head and i’m not gonna lie, I have a big head (#bornthisway)! The taste is exquisite! Each ingredient compliments another. It’s one of those foods that’s so scrumptious but huge so i’m having an internal (and external) struggle while eating it because my bodies like “slow your roll woman! There’s no more room!” but my taste buds are like “KEEP EATING! YOU CAN DO IT” and Bae’s all like “boo, you’re going to get sick, get a box!” SO MANY EMOTIONS but ultimately my body won- I got a to-go box. If you can eat a whole arepa, you should win a t-shirt or something because that’s impressive!

Nico’s is truly one of a kind- so far everything I’ve had on the menu has been incredible and there is also a lot more I want to try. We go at least once a month. They also have a food truck & do catering. If only we would have known about Nico’s when we got married 😦 :sigh: It’s also great too because I can try my Spanish out 🙂 “muy delicioso!”

Bottom Line: Hands down, one of my FAVORITE places in Tampa, like top 5, no joke. If you like food- you will LOVE Nico’s Arepas Grill! I’ll see you there! 🙂

xoxo,

Tiffany

Do you love arepas? Did you play the drinking game? Are you okay? What is your favorite arepa toppings? Let me know!

donuts · food · tampa · travel

eat: Jupiter Donut Company

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  • Jupiter Donut Company 32130 US Highway 19 N Palm Harbor, FL 34684
  • Cuisine: Sweets, Donuts
  • Price Range: $

Who has 2 thumbs and is OBSESSED with donuts??? THIS GIRL! I’m serious, they are my weakness- my kryptonite. If I were a character on “Sesame Street” I would be the “Donut Monster”. Still don’t believe me? Okay, here’s an example: I was sick in January with the super flu and my boo tried  everything to get me out of bed.

Chris: “Babe, want to go for a walk”? Me: “No, I can’t, i’m dying”. (#dramaqueen) / Chris: “Want to go to the movies?” Me: “I simply can’t move, my body huurts”/ Chris: “Want to get some ice cream?” Me: “Nooooo, I just cannn’t”. / Chris: “Want to get some donuts?” Me: :gets dressed at Superman speed, runs downstairs and gets into passengers seat of car all within a 3 minute timespan: “LETS GO NOW! I’M READY!”

So yeah, I have #donutproblems. That all being said, I consider myself to be a donut connoisseur. Not all donuts are created equal! I’ve had my share of stale, frozen-pretending-to-be-fresh donuts- I know what made from scratch quality taste like and this place is legit! (warning: the images you are about to see will cause drooling, donut cravings, and salivating.)

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Salted Caramel
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Tooti Fruiti
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Oreo

Continue reading “eat: Jupiter Donut Company”

food · tampa · travel

eat: Ichicoro Ramen


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  • Ichicoro Ramen – 5229 N Florida Ave Tampa, FL 33603  
  • Cuisine: Japanese, Asian
  • Price Range: $$                                                   

Our first stop on the “Tiffany Eats Tampa” train takes us to Ichicoro Ramen. If when you hear the word “ramen” you think of “Cup of Noodles” then you NEED to check this place out- for your mind will be BLOWN. Ichicoro makes everything from scratch, from their noodles, to their homemade broths. You can taste the freshness in the ingredients.

Before I get ahead of myself, let me start with the vibe of this place. The word “hipster chic” comes to mind. Don’t let that turn you off- it’s a very cool, laid back atmosphere with a warm cozy feel. My ONLY complaint was that the tables are very close together(take that with a grain of salt as I suffer from self diagnosed social anxiety with a hint of germaphobia) but the food made up for that.

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Top: Smoked Brisket Steam Bun: pickles, kimuchi-mustard, gochujang sauerkraut; Bottom: Karaage: marinated fried chicken, furikake, spicy garlic sauce.

Continue reading “eat: Ichicoro Ramen”

food

Welcome to Tiffany Eats Tampa!

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This is your one-stop-blog-spot for all things food in Tampa AND BEYOND! I will be dishing out (get it? dishing out? ha ha) all the best hidden gems this great city has to offer.

 I also LOVE LOVE LOVE to travel. It is my passion (aside from eating) so you will see my travel diary and tips to help you have the best adventures of your own!

What is my #1 priority while traveling to new places, you ask? EATING! 🙂

Hope you enjoy! ❤

xoxo,

Tiffany