Can you believe I have lived in Tampa Bay for nine years and had never been to Bahama Breeze? Crazy, I know. I have driven past it countless times and always told myself that I would stop in, but it just never happened. Well, last week I went for the first time and don’t know how I have lived with out it for the last nine years. Bahama Breeze truly captures the essence of living in Florida with its Caribbean inspired menu and tropical libations.
**photo courtesy of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts
Last week I was invited to attend a media event to taste some of Bahama Breeze’s new features from their Legendary Cocktails menu. I invited some of my closest friends and fellow bloggers. The evening was a smashing success and I had the opportunity to try their food for the first time since I have lived in Tampa.
**photo courtesy of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts
Our event was reserved on the outside patio overlooking the bay. It was a warm evening but we all kept cool while sipping on our refreshing cocktails. The new Legendary Island Cocktail menu is nothing short of amazing. All of the cocktails on the menu are straight from the world-famous island bars where they were created. I have never had the opportunity to travel to the Caribbean and it is definitely on my bucket list. Tasting these drinks is like the next best thing. I took a tasting tour of the Caribbean all while enjoying a nice Florida evening amongst good friends.
The first cocktail I tried was the Batida de Coco (Islands of Brazil). Cool and refreshing, this drink made me feel like I was on a tropical beach surrounded by nothing but a nice breeze and the sound of the ocean. Made with Leblon Cachaca Rum, Cream of Coconut and pineapple juice, this is paradise in a glass!
Batida de Coco, photo courtesy of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts
As I chatted with friends, we were presented with several different items from their menu. It was hard for me to try everything since I have the tendency to be quite a chatty Cathy, but I tried most everything and was very impressed with not only the flavors but the presentation. The Chips ‘n Vine-Ripened Tomato Salsa was great. I love salsa and theirs was nice and thick with big chunks of fresh tomatoes. It had a nice bite to it and the chips were fried perfectly.
Chips 'n Vine Ripened Tomato Salsa, photo by of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts
Next up were the Sweet Peruvian Corn Cakes served with roasted pineapple salsa and butter. WOW! These were fantastic. The pineapple salsa was the perfect combination of sweet and savory. I topped my corn cake with butter and the salsa and it melted in my mouth. These disappeared quickly so I was lucky I was able to try one.
Sweet Peruvian Corn Cakes, photo by of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts
Several of my friends were raving about the Goombay Smash (Bahamas) cocktail, so I just had to try it. This legendary cocktail was made famous by the Grandmotherly Miss Emily at her Blue Bee Bar. Made with Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum and Meyer’s Original Dark Rum and then mixed with fresh orange and pineapple juice, this drink was a “smash” (no pun intended).
Goombay Smash, photo by of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts
One of my favorite appetizers of the night was the Lobster and Shrimp Quesadilla. I am a seafood fanatic and these were stuffed with Caribbean lobster, tender shrimp and spinach. What I really liked about these quesadillas was that they were fresh and griddled to perfection. There was plenty of shrimp and lobster in them and they were very filling. They were a huge hit amongst the crowd.
Lobster and Shrimp Quesadilla, photo by of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts
I began to get thirsty again so next I tried the Havana Hotel Special(Cuba). This drink was popularized at the historic Hotel Nacional in Havana and consists of Bacardi Superior Rum, pineapple and fresh lime juice and then topped off with DeKuyper apricot brandy. As I sipped my beverage, I closed my eyes and imagined what it would have been like at the Hotel Nacional circa the 1950’s with guests like Frank Sinatra, Ava Gadner, Pedro Almendaris, Spencer Tracy, Marlon Brando, John Wayne, Mickey Mantle, Walt Disney and Eartha Kitt. This cocktail truly captures the essence of old Havana.
Havana Hotel Special, photo by of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts
As our beautiful evening continued, we were presented with more food such as Firecracker Shrimp, Vine-Ripened Tomato Flatbread and Coconut Shrimp. I was impressed at how everything tasted so fresh and was served piping hot. There must have been close to 100 of us in the group and Bahama Breeze did an outstanding job at bringing everything out and replenish drinks so quickly. I looked around and saw nothing but happy faces enjoying the beautiful night in Tampa.
Firecracker Shrimp, photo by of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts
Vine-Ripened Tomato Flatbread, photo by of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts
Coconut Shrimp, photo by of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts
I had such a wonderful time at this event and am planning to go back very soon. Their menu looks fantastic and I want to go back for dinner as well as to try a few more of the Legendary Cocktails. To keep up with events at Bahama Breeze and to view photos and descriptions of some of the other Legendary Cocktails, be sure and visit them on Facebook by clicking here.
I hope you all are having a wonderful summer!