When I think of Ybor food isn’t something that crosses my mind. The 2nd Annual 2013 Fantasma Feast changed that forever.
The event started with a bang. Registration for this event was seamless, you could just simply show up and pay $10 and participate in the feast. Elmer’s Sports Café greeted guest with spicy homemade gumbo packed with spicy sausage and shrimp with rice in a rich, flattering deep roux. Paula Wood who has been running Elmer’s for the last 20 years and creating tasting homemade treasure for the last 6 years was warm and inviting.
The layout for this crawl span over five blocks, which allowed guest to get a little bit of exercise and not get too full.
In a two-hour period I made the rounds to every venue on this list. Featured Fantasma Feast Food items included, Sunday’s Delicatessen — Asian Caterpillar, Stone Chef Catering — Chicken Quesadilla, ) Bernini of Ybor — Blood Orange Panna Cotta and Carne Chop House — Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake to name a few.
When I arrived at the Stone Chef, the staff wasn’t quite ready for visitors, but Chef Matthew Lie quickly took charge of the situation, not only did he make a sweet barbecue chicken quesadilla with a little bit of crunch, but he was kind enough to give me a tour of the spaces they use.
The Grande Room which is used for parties, weddings, and catering events was well lit and welcoming. I was just lucky we walked in on a night they were preparing for a wedding. The venues along the crawl had some of the most pleasant host and patrons inside.
Since most places are in the Halloween spirits I was expecting to see some frightfully themed food, however this was not the case. Vendors stayed true to who they were as an establishment like King Corona severed Cubans & Hummus and Ybor City Wine Bar — Cheese and Dip Platter (cheese cubes, salsa, brownies, mixed nuts, hummus, and pita chips). Who doesn’t like a good wine paired with fancy cheese.
Best part of my evening was meeting David Sunday who is also the owner and chef of Sunday’s Deli. To make this event happen each participating restaurant used Jim Beam Devil’s Cut in their dish. Some tossed it right in with other ingredients, others used it as a glaze/marinate, but Mr. Sunday went the extra mile. When asked how he incorporated the Jim Beam he said, “I drank it.”
So here’s the major question, would I do this again? Yes, 14 venues for the price of $10, that’s a great deal.