Tampa Bay food, wine and beer events

Wednesday, April 14: The NoHo Bistro

Wine Wednesdays. The wine and tapas change weekly, so come back regularly and bring your BFFs, blind dates, co-workers, boy/girlfriends or, hell, someone else’s boyfriend. $15 for two glasses of wine paired with two tapas. 1714 N. Armenia Ave., Tampa (813-514-0691)

Friday, April 16: World of Wines

Find Your Style. Just like any personal virtue (or vice), wine preferences must be explored and cultivated. So get to know you palate a little better -- you can start by indulging in a glass of wine at tonight's tasting, which includes Michael Pozzan Cab, Waterbrook Chardonnay, Gator Wine Works Cab, Rutherglen "The Alliance" House Wine, and Waterbrook Melange Zin, all pleasantly paired with hors d'oeuvres. $10. 6-8 p.m., 3431 S. West Shore Blvd., Tampa (813-835-9463)

Friday, April 16: Uncorked Fine Wine and Spirits

Italian Wine Tasting. Tonight's guest pourer (how do I get that job?) is wine importer Kent Wilson, who discusses how he chooses the Italian varietals he brings Stateside and provides samples of his favorite picks, perfectly paired with hand-selected appetizers. $10. 6:30-8:30 p.m., 2706 Fourth St. N., St. Petersburg (727-892-9463)

Friday, April 16: Tosti's Fine Wines

Grand Opening. The fine folks at Tosti's are enticing the wine-drinking public with a free tasting of more than 40 wines and spirits, along with live music and good company. 6:30-9 p.m., 5125 34th St. S., St. Petersburg (727-86-7772)

Friday, April 16: Somme Wine and Martini Bar

Faraon Fridays. End each week with $4 glasses of most of Mendoza, Argentina’s oldest (and lip-smackingest) wine, Bodega Faraon. 5:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m., 13030 N. Dale Mabry Hwy., Tampa (813-990-0797)

Saturday, April 17: Seasons 52

Bordeaux Revealed. In conjunction with it's 11th annual bow to everything Bordeaux, B-21 Fine Wines hosts tonight's wine-paired dinner, where you'll taste a stunning selection that includes: 2009 Gigault Cuvee Viva (Premieres Cotes de Blaye); 2009 La Confession (St. Emilion); 2009 La Croix St Georges (Pomerol); 2008 Croix Mouton (Bordeaux Superieur); 2006 La Confession (St. Emilion); 2006 La Croix St Georges (St. Emilion); 2005 La Gaffeliere (St. Emilion); 2005 Rol Valentin (St. Emilion); and 2005 Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge (Pessac Leognan). It's hosted by wine country insiders Stephane Derenoncourt, Jean-Phillipe Janoueix, and Christophe Reboul Salze, and includes a divine dinner at the newly-opened Seasons 52, about which CL food critic Brian Ries glowed "the menu changes four times a year to reflect the growing season, theoretically allowing the restaurant to focus on better ingredients that don’t have to be shipped from around the world to satisfy a strict corporate formula. It’s refreshing to find such an admirable schtick in a chain restaurant, especially executed as well as it is here...The portions are bigger than you expect, generous even, often combined with powerful flavors and enough luxury to banish diet food fears." Visit b-21.com for details. $85. 6:30-9 p.m., 204 North Westshore Blvd., Tampa  (727-937-5049)

Saturday, April 17: Straz Center for the Performing Arts

Taste the Best of Tampa Bay. Stroll the  scenic Hillsborough River while snacking on scrumptious selections from the best of the Bay's bounty -- including more than 50 eateries like Bin 27, Datz Deli, Oystercatchers, Queen of Sheeba, Roy's Hawaiian Fusion, Teatro on Seventh, The Melting Pot, Viaggio and World of Beer. $60 general, $80 VIP. 6 p.m. VIP admission, 7 p.m. general admission, 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa (813-229-7827)

Sunday, April 18: B-21 Fine Wines & Spirits

11th Annual Grand Bordeaux Tasting and Sale. B-21's not one for schticks and sales to get rid of old stock: when these fine wine conoisseurs host one of their (rare) tastings, you can bet on seeing a few stars of the industry -- this year's guests are Christophe Reboul Salze, owner of Chateau Gigault; Coralie De Bouard, Proprietor of Chateau Angelus; Stephane Derenoncourt of Domaine de L'A and a consultant for over 70 estates in Bordeaux; Jeffrey M. Davies, Bordeaux Negociant; and Jean-Philippe Janoueix of La Confession, Croix Mouton, all of whom host specialized seminars of various vino-related subjects, from terroir to wine trading to rising stars. $25. 2-5 p.m., 43380 US Highway 19 N., Tarpon Springs (727-937-5049)

April 16-19: SideBern’s and Bern’s Steakhouse

Bern’s WineFest. Since tickets went on sale a couple of weeks ago, you may be out of luck for this popular and always sold-out event unless you act fast. It’s self-contained in the Bern’s empire, which means no farflung wine dinners at restaurants scattered across the area, but that also means that the schedule is pretty rigid. Up first is the gala dinner at SideBern’s ($300), followed by a cocktail party/ dance the next night ($100). Then comes the star of the show, the massive grand tasting ($125) featuring hundreds of wines from around the world; get in before the hoi polloi with a VIP pass ($200), if you want to avoid the crowds. Bookend your experience with another blow-out wine dinner at Bern’s ($300) the next night. Makes for an expensive, but decadent and tasty, weekend.  Visit bernswinefest.com for more info. –Brian Ries

Tuesday, April 20: Publix Apron’s Cooking School

French Bistro Classics. Francophiles, rejoice: today’s culinary course celebrates the idyllic French cuisine that inspires amour around the world (and is all but guaranteed to do the same in your kitchen). The menu includes: warm lentil salad with smoked sausage; filet of sole with brown butter; sirloin steak with maitre d’ hotel sauce and fries; creamy parmesan swiss chard gratin; and dark chocolate mousse. $45. 6 p.m., 7835 Gunn Highway, Tampa (813-926-4465)

April 22-25: Sarasota

Florida Winefest & Auction. For a long time, this event down in Sarasota was the biggest thing going on Florida’s Gulf Coast. It’s still a big deal and has an event schedule that makes the most out of the cozy, small-town setting. Start off with dozens of winemaker dinners at local restaurants that range from inexpensive to wallet-draining. The weekend seminars also take advantage of several local venues and cater to a wide range of budgets, and the final outdoor tasting is an absolute bargain at $15. The fest’s main attraction — a dinner at the Ritz-Carlton, including a stripped-down auction — is more of a stretch at $250, but remember that the proceeds are distributed to a grab-bag of local charities. Visit floridawinefest.org for complete schedule. –Brian Ries

May 14-15: Don Cesar Resort

2010 Tampa Bay Food & Wine Festival. This is the third year for the big two-day festival at the Don Cesar on St. Pete Beach. It’s structured like most of these parties, with a giant tasting featuring the produce of dozens of wineries from around the world and food from many local restaurants, followed by wine dinners and seminars starring the fest’s “celebrity” guests. I use the air-quotes mainly because the fame of the presenters is in direct ration with how inside the wine and food world you are. Probably the most recognizable name on the list is JAG (Joshua Adam Garcia), the troublesome dude kicked off of the Next Food Network Star a few years back. The event will benefit Heartbeat International, a charity that provides heart health services to the needy. Visit unleashyourpalate.com for complete schedule of events. –Brian Ries

Tampa Bay Fresh Markets It’s always the perfect season to get fresh, organic local produce at these markets across the Bay:

Corey Sunday Market. The now-annual market returns with more fresh produce, plants and flowers, crafts, foods and live music (9 a.m.-2 p.m., Sundays, Corey Avenue, St. Pete Beach, coreyave.com)

Gulfport Tuesday Fresh Market. This year-round market offers fresh produce and seafood, artwork and live entertainment. (9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Tuesday on Beach Blvd., in Gulfport’s Florida Waterfront district)

Safety Harbor Farmer’s Market. Florida weather is perfect for getting out of the house and finding fresh, organic produce, plants, flowers, baked and gourmet goodies, along with hand-crafted art and jewelry. Visit cityofsafetyharbor.com for more info. (Thursdays, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Continues through May 27, John Wilson Park, 401 Main St., Safety Harbor)

Pinellas County Market. Farm-fresh produce, natural remedies and home-care products and gardening guides make this weekly market a must-see. (Continues every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through April 17. Visit pinellascounty.org/heritage for more info. Heritage Village, 11909 125th St. N., Pinewood Cultural Park, Largo)

Harvest Marketplace. Outdoor shopping for specialty foods, green creations by local crafters, live music and, of course, fresh eats and fall flavors. (Runs 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays through April 23. Ulmer Park, 301 W. Bay Dr., Largo, largo.com)

Sweetwater Market. The organic farm offers straight-from-the-garden produce, fair trade coffee, chocolate and tea, organic clothes and eco-friendly products, all to the tune of live music and often accompanied by yoga or movement classes. (Runs noon to 4 p.m. most Sundays through May 30. Visit sweetwater-organic.org for more info)

Seminole Heights Sunday Morning Market. The newly-inaugurated fresh fest offers an array of seasonal, locally-farmed produce, jams, salsas, fresh-baked desserts, international cuisine, live music, cooking demonstrations, handmade soaps, jewelry and eco-friendly clothing and more. (9 a.m.-1 p.m. second Sunday of each month, Feb.-May, seminoleheightsmarket.com)

April 13-April 25: Jamba Juice

20th Anniversary Celebration. The tasty, healthy frozen concoction, famously slurped by stars like Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie and Joe Jonas celebrates the big 2-0 by giving away BOGO smoothies for the next two weeks (that's buy one, get one free for those of you not up on the lingo). Visit jambajuice.com for a full list of locations.

Tuesday, April 13: New Port Richey Public Library

Meet Author Andy Huse. The Tampa archivist and personal historian of the Columbia Restaurant hosts tonight's Spanish-style dinner. $10. 5:30 p.m., 5939 Main St., New Port Richey (727-853-1279)

Tuesday, April 13: Datz Deli

VinoVersity: Wine 101. Learn the basics of tasting, and figure out what you like in a grape with wine conoisseur (and former CL wine critic) Taylor Eason. Taste six wines (two Chardonnays, two Pinot Noirs and two Cabernet), all paired with palate-pleasing snacks. $29. 6:30-8 p.m., 2616 S. MacDille Ave., Tampa (813-831-7000)

Tuesday, April 13: Somme Wine and Martini Bar

10-10 Tuesdays. I know it’s not even the middle of the week yet, but instead of watching Jeopardy or another rerun of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, get outta the house tonight for one of the best bar deals I’ve seen, well, maybe ever: get $10 bottles of bubbly or wine every Tuesday at Somme. You’ll select from a special 10-bottle wine list culled from their impressive line-up, and you can enjoy the finally-warm Florida weather on the newly-opened patio, too.  5:30-11 p.m., 13030 N. Dale Mabry Hwy., Tampa (813-990-0797)

Wednesday, April 14: Cafe Dufrain

Wine Tasting. Nothing in life is free, especially when you're talking about the world of cuisine, where you pay for every extra, add-on and side of sour cream. Except at tonight's tasting, where you can sample a selection of wines from Cafe Dufrain's impressive line-up for free. That's right: gratis, nil, nada, zip. A deal like this comes along so rarely, it's even worth missing the American Idol results show. Free. 6-7:30 p.m., 707 Harbour Post Drive, Tampa (813-275-9701)

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