Weekend Platter: Brewery chili cook-offs, Haven's Gasparilla Food Truck and more

When in Tampa Bay, amirite?

click to enlarge Weekend Platter: Brewery chili cook-offs, Haven's Gasparilla Food Truck and more
cyclonebill from Copenhagen, Denmark (Chili con carne Uploaded by FAEP) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Five something-for-everyone food and drink happenings, whether you're making plans for Gasparilla or skipping the crowds altogether.

To anyone who hasn't hopped on the hard water train yet, quit putting it off. That shit is goood. South Florida's MIA Beer Company makes its own boozy seltzer, which Jug & Bottle Dept. is set to sample starting at 5 p.m. Friday. You might just become a convert. Free. 6203 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, 813-675-4522.

As if you needed another reason to celebrate The Gallery's 1st Anniversary Weekend during all of that Gasparilla merriment, there are $4 drink specials in store from Captain Morgan and Green Bench Brewing Co. from 6 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Sunday. Plus, the tavern's Cuban sandwich is available at a discount for $7. John Holt, Steve Cary and Will Erickson provide the live tunes. Free, money for food and drinks. 27 Fourth St. N., St. Petersburg, 727-575-7071.

Maybe you couldn't afford the splurgey winemaker dinner that Haven hosted the night before, but you've got enough dough on you for a quick bite on Saturday, right? It's a special occasion, after all. On your way to the annual Invasion — or anytime between noon and 5 p.m. — stop by the sophisticated South Tampa spot's Gasparilla Food Truck for what's sure to be some much-needed sustenance. Free, money for food. 2208 W. Morrison Ave., Tampa, 813-258-2233.

'Tis the season, it seems, for one type of recipe battle in particular: the perennially popular chili-making competition. Cook-offs are planned in Pinellas on Saturday at both Mastry's Brewing Co. and Crooked Thumb Brewery. Luckily, Crooked Thumb's runs from 2 to 5 p.m., which gives locals enough time to get to Mastry's Brewing, where judging kicks off at 6 p.m. Crooked Thumb: Free, money for food. 555 10th Ave. S., Safety Harbor, 727-724-5953. Mastry's Brewing: $5. 7701 Blind Pass Road, St. Pete Beach, 727-202-8045.

On Sunday, learn to make five of HaleLife Bakery's favorite recipes for entertaining from 2 to 4 p.m. Whether you're attending a shindig or hosting your own, the Parties & Gatherings Cooking Class's featured vegan and gluten-free dishes — spinach artichoke dip, avocado salad, jalapeno corn potato salad, a pizza roll and lemon sugar cookies — should do the trick. In addition to a discussion on topics like cross contamination and the best products out there, 12 first-come, first-served participants can expect free wine and cider. Tickets are up online. $55. 3350 Ulmerton Road #13, Clearwater, 727-265-3372.

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