Five Courses: Going Locale

My anticipated must-stops at the soon-to-open Locale Market.

click to enlarge SEAFOOD-FARERS: Sous chef Jalal Bellekat, second from left, teaches From the Sea kitchen staffers how to craft a sauce. - Locale Market
Locale Market
SEAFOOD-FARERS: Sous chef Jalal Bellekat, second from left, teaches From the Sea kitchen staffers how to craft a sauce.

click to enlarge SEAFOOD-FARERS: Sous chef Jalal Bellekat, second from left, teaches From the Sea kitchen staffers how to craft a sauce. - Locale Market
Locale Market
SEAFOOD-FARERS: Sous chef Jalal Bellekat, second from left, teaches From the Sea kitchen staffers how to craft a sauce.


Confession: Locale Market doesn’t even open until next week , but I’ve been compiling my bucket list for Michael Mina and Don Pintabona’s chef-driven foodporium for months, ever since getting a sneak peek at the premises earlier this fall. And as any trusted foodie BFF should, I’m sharing it. Divided into five categories, here are my picks for what to try during your first shopping-meets-dining excursion. (Note: This is also the first installment of my semi-regular column of food news and views, Five Courses.)






Flash-freezes. The market has 11 kitchens, and one of them, called Sweet Creams and Dreams (oh?...), is stocked with liquid nitrogen ice cream and gelato. As you walk through Locale’s first-floor plaza entrance, you’ll see flash-frozen, made-to-order sweets to your left — that is, after the white clouds clear. Twelve gelato offerings, gourmet ices, egg creams and house-made waffle cones will be on hand, as well as nifty ice cream flavors (think salted caramel or balsamic fig and mascarpone).



Sandwich creations that need “programs.” To the right of the plaza entrance is The Grill, where market chefs get to work with what I’m told is the “Mac Daddy of sandwich presses.” And it’s better to go big, considering the market’s panini, grilled cheese and burgers, which I’m dubbing the Big Three, have “programs” to plot their tastiness. Since each kitchen carries raw product and ready-to-eat or take-home items, eaters may purchase grab-and-go sandwiches from The Grill, or build their own.



Three beef jerkies, a daily ceviche and more. Deeper into the market, you’ll come across the Butcher Shop (meat) and From the Sea (seafood) kitchens. The meat counter’s highlights include three beef jerky flavors — teriyaki, black pepper and chile; braised greens like collards, callaloo and kale; a daily rotisserie such as porcini-dusted prime rib; and a pork belly BLT. Ninety percent of Locale’s seafood, according to Pintabona, will be from local waters, including its bycatch. Whatever comes in, comes in, essentially. You’ll buy oysters, lobster and more from the seafood counter cold, or prepared as you like. There will also be a ceviche that changes every day and Gulf Coast gumbo with clams from Bradenton’s Two Docks Shellfish.



A quintessential pasta dish in three steps. First, pick your favorite noodle from Locale’s selection of pastas, which you’ll notice rolling out of the machine if you’re strolling near the main entrance along Second Street North. (The counter’s to the right when you enter that way, under the Italian Food Co. signage.) Pick your house-crafted sauce or ragu next, and then finish off your noodles with fresh cheeses such as mozzarella or burrata. Five ravioli will be featured, too.



Upstairs. A staircase next to The Grill leads to the second floor, home to the bakery, charcuterie, wine cellar, craft beer (100 types, more than a dozen of which are local), and the FarmTable Kitchen restaurant and wine bar. The bakery and charcuterie counters will generate goods for the market, as well as for FarmTable, which won’t open until late January. With three online-reservations-only seatings to start, the restaurant will provide farmhouse-style dining Thursday through Saturday, with three communal tables and multiple courses showcasing items like hand-pulled cheese and local ingredients. The wine bar will be open when Locale debuts, offering charcuterie, olives, salads and small-plate entrees. 
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