Local Bites: Armature Works' Heights Public Market

by Jennifer Thai in ,

Get ready for an image-heavy post, because there is so much to discover at the newly-opened Armature Works in Tampa Heights! A beautifully restored, mixed-use building that includes Heights Public Market as well as both event and work spaces, Armature Works is a welcome additional to the ever-thriving neighborhood. Ever since I was invited to the soft opening event, I've been back three times, and I'm still left wanting more.

A few things to take note of about Armature Works:

  • The Gathering space at hosts Tampa Indie Flea every third Sunday of each month and is also available to rent as an event space. In addition, there are five other event spaces at Armature Works that suit any celebration.
  • Heights Public Market features 14 currently-open food and drink vendors with three more on the way.
  • Armature Works is also home to Bay 3, a co-working space offering memberships, dedicated desks and private office space. Applications for founding memberships will be accepted soon.

Scroll through to peek my last four visits and all the noms I've tried so far:

Ichicoro Imoto at Heights Public Market

Shoyu Ramen from Ichicoro Imoto at Heights Public Market: Chicken broth, chasyu asado, ajitama, menma, scallion, nori, fried garlic

Hemingway's Modern Cuban Cuisine at Heights Public Market

Palomilla Steak Cuban Bowl with Cilantro White Rice, Garlic Tostones & Sweet Plantains from Hemingway's at Heights Public Market

Pressure Brew from Union by Commune + Co. at Heights Public Market

Steelbach Southern-Inspired Kitchen & Chophouse at Heights Public Market

Fine & Dandy Cocktail Emporium at Heights Public Market

Graze 1910 Refined American Fare at Heights Public Market

Graze 1910's Milkshake of the Week: Red Velvet Cake

The Courtyard at Armature Works

The Gathering at Armature Works

The Gathering at Armature Works

Overall - I'm in love with this place. It's a fantastic place for a casual date night, meet-up with an old friend, work-home-home day and so much more. Everything that I've eaten has impressed, and if you haven't been yet, you must make plans soon! Next up: I'm checking out Steelbach my next visit.

Local Bites: Bonefish Grill Winter Menu 2018

by Jennifer Thai in ,

Last weekend, my sister and I stopped by the Bonefish Grill in South Tampa to check out the latest specials menu. Bonefish Grill has increasingly become my favorite casual dining chain restaurant, because with each and every visit, they'll pleasantly surprise me with a delicious dish that I wasn't expecting. Keep on scrolling to find out which dish that was!

Wild Orchid Hawaiian Martini: Cruzan Guava rum, pineapple juice, Zico coconut water and desert pear and coconut flavors, finished with a floating edible orchid

Sparkling Mango White Sangria

Bang Bang Shrimp: Crispy shrimp tossed in a creamy, spicy sauce

You just can't go to Bonefish Grill and not order the Bang Bang Shrimp to start - it's just not right! I found out from my sister that there's actually a Bang Bang Chicken option available that's not listed on the menu. The more you know!

While my sister opted for the Sparkling Mango White Sangria, the Wild Orchid Hawaiian Martini was a tropical journey for my taste buds - it tastes like a refreshing island getaway, and I definitely recommend if you're a big fan of rum.

Italian Seafood Risotto: Medley of shrimp, bay scallops, tomatoes and asparagus served over a rich pesto Parmesan risotto.

Oscar-Style Filet Mignon

The Italian Seafood Risotto blew me away - each and every bite was filled with a delicious balance of seafood and cheese, and the dish was bursting with flavor. I had some leftover from our meal, which I chose to reheat in the microwave the next day for lunch, and it was just as delicious as the day before, if not better from the pesto getting the chance to settle into the creamy risotto.

If you're not a seafood fanatic, then the Oscar-Style Filet Mignon is for you. Grilled to a perfect medium rare, the steak was mild in flavor, but still delicious. For the perfect flavor pairing, I recommend ordering the Garlic Whipped Potatoes - they're addicting.

Chocolate Lava Cake: Rich chocolate cake with molten center, served warm, topped with fresh strawberries and house-made whipped cream

The Chocolate Lava Cake was good, but not totally memorable. I think the best thing about this dish was the strawberries, which were lightly cooked to the perfect texture to complement the cake. I recommend sticking to Bonefish Grill's OG Creme Brulee.

Overall, we had a delicious time, and I plan on coming back to try the remainder of the items on the specials menu, including the Imperial Dip, featuring tender shrimp, bay scallops, lump crab and mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, Thai-Inspired Georges Banks Sea Scallops and Caribbean-Style Fresh Cobia. These specials will run through March 19.

Bonefish Grill South Tampa is located at 3665 Henderson Boulevard in Tampa. The restaurant is open Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Friday from 4 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. You can view all of the menus here. To stay updated on the latest happenings at Bonefish Grill, follow along on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

*Disclosure: The meal featured in this post was provided by Bonefish Grill for editorial consideration. This post was written on my own accord, and opinions expressed here are my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Bonefish Grill.

Imbibe & Energize with Hackamore Energy {Recipe}

by Jennifer Thai in

If you're like me, the hustle, bustle and busyness of the work week makes me feel like by the time I've finally made it to the weekend, I'm completely drained! And while sometimes it's necessary, there's no worse feeling than realizing you've wasted away your weekend by sleeping through it.

Insert Hackamore Energy, a premium, non-alcoholic energy beverage with no sweeteners, sugar or calories. While it can be enjoyed as a shot or sipped on the rocks for a boost of caffeine, it's even better enjoyed in a mixed drink, and I'm partnering with Hackamore Energy to share a yummy, refreshing mocktail version that can easily be transformed into a cocktail with a single shot of vodka:

This recipe serves two people. You'll need:

  • Two glasses
  • Ice cubes
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 2 oz grapefruit juice
  • 2 oz Hackamore Energy
  • Ginger beer
  • Lime and grapefruit slices to garnish
  • Optional: 2 oz vodka 

In a shaker or large glass, stir lime juice, grapefruit juice and Hackamore Energy. If you are making the alcoholic cocktail version, stir in vodka as well. Pour over ice evenly between two glasses and top off with ginger beer. To garnish, place one lime slice and one grapefruit slice atop each glass. It's super easy to make, and even easier to enjoy!

Confession: I've made this mocktail two other times after creating and testing this recipe - I'm not usually a fan of citrus flavors, but it's freaking delicious. And that pumped feeling you get after drinking it, like you're ready to take on whatever adventures the weekend holds - it's the best.

*Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Hackamore Energy. The recipe shared and opinions expressed here are my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Hackamore Energy.

'Tis the Season to Love Yourself

by Jennifer Thai in , , ,

As we near the time when bouquets of freshly picked red and pink shades of flowers, boxes of assorted chocolate truffles and giant heart-shaped balloons strategically line the entrances of stores to remind us that love is in the air, I thought I'd take a moment to remind you to not forget the best love of all: self-love.

Conventionally, there are two sides to this time of year - the one where romantic gestures and love blooms, and the side that holds Anti-Valentine's Day, Singles Awareness Day and Galentine's Day. But regardless of whether you've got a significant other or not, whether you love having someone in your life or are happy experiencing life's adventures by yourself, there is still no more important love than love for yourself.

I've rounded up some of my favorite reads, products and things-to-do that will help you treat yourself, whether mentally, spiritually or physically, any time of day, and at any time of the year:

This Jenn Girl - Tampa Blogger - Unfuck Yourself

Gary John Bishop

Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life

Motivate your mind, and your life. A straightforward, refreshing, BS-free approach to helping overcome challenges.

This Jenn Girl - Tampa Blogger - Massage

Zeel Massage on Demand

Your body deserves this. Book a same-day, in-home massage with the best licensed and vetted massage therapists.

This Jenn Girl - Tampa Blogger - Dune Jewelry

Dune Jewelry

Traveling Heart Necklace

Make the memories in your happy place last. Co-created by Jennie Garth, this piece of .925 sterling silver is handcrafted with your choice of sand, from thousands of locations across the globe.

This Jenn Girl - Tampa Blogger - Bali Body

Bali Body

The Golden Traveler Bundle

When you look good, you feel good. Luxe Lotion, Moisturizing Sunscreen, the tanning oil you love, and a BB Cream in your favorite shade, zipped away and ready to go wherever your day, may take you. 

This Jenn Girl - Tampa Blogger - Ullo Wine Purifier

Üllo Wine Purifier

Wine Purifier

Treat yourself to a full glass of wine, without the headache. A revolutionary wine purifier that uses Selective Sulfite Capture™ technology to filter sulfites and sediments, bringing wine back to its natural state.

This Jenn Girl - Tampa Blogger - FarmHouse Fresh

FarmHouse Fresh

Sundae Best - Chocolate Softening Mask

Lady, you better treat yourself. A skin softener, wrinkle defender and skin revitalizer. With soothing wholesome ingredients, it leaves your face feeling tight, smooth, and radiant!


Outside of treating yourself to all the things that will help make you feel and look your best, just remember that self care is the best kind of gift you can give yourself. An hour each day to unplug from the digital world and meditate, do yoga, go for a walk/run does wonders for the body, mind and soul. And if you've been getting a feeling this year, like you want to talk to someone and improve your mental health with perspective and a positive mindset, I 200% encourage you to find a therapist that is the right fit for you. Making the decision last year to see a therapist for my anxiety was one of the best decisions and moments of 2017 for me, and I'm so sure that you'll feel the same after just going for it!

*Disclosure: I was gifted a few of the items featured in this post in exchange for editorial consideration. This post was written on my own accord - items included in this round-up are of my own suggestion and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of any of the featured brands.

Local Bites: MidiCi St. Pete

by Jennifer Thai in ,

It's National Pizza Day weekend, and you want to celebrate properly, right? After trying many pizza spots around the Tampa Bay area, I'm pretty excited to share my most valuable find to-date: MidiCi Neapolitan Pizza at Tyrone Square Mall.

I know what you're thinking - "mall pizza?" But don't let its location fool you - MidiCi offers reasonably-priced, delicious Neapolitan pies with fresh, simple ingredients. Last month, I had the pleasure of attending a wonderful influencer brunch hosted by MidiCi, and I was blown away by the quality and freshness of their dishes. A good friend of mine paid a visit herself and even said the pizza reminded her a lot of Italy - simple and delicious.

Keep scrolling for an inside look at the passion and culture surrounding this gem of a place, along with savory bites, of course:

The Margherita: Italian tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, parmesan, basil, extra virgin olive oil

The Devil's Pizza (on housemade gluten-free Neapolitan crust): Italian tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, housemade spicy sausage, spicy Italian sausage, Fresno chilies, parmesan, basil, extra virgin olive oil

House Cheese Board: Black truffle cheese, fresh mozzarella, goat cheese, gorgonzola, parmigiano-reggiano. Served with pears, dates, king walnuts, honey & wood-fire toasted Neapolitan bread

MidiCi House Salad: Seasonal greens, baby arugula, grape tomatoes, parmigiano-reggiano, tossed with housemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing, garnished with housemade roasted tomato dressing

Signature Nutella Calzone with Fresh Berries: Signature Neapolitan dough, baked fresh with Nutella, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, topped with a hint of balsamic reduction and shredded coconut

Everything was incredibly impressive - the texture of the Neapolitan crust is everything I love about a good pizza: crispy at first bite, then chewy as your teeth sink in. But the flavor, that's the real kicker. Each dish is thoughtfully crafted, and that passion is evident as you watch them prepared. And for my gluten-free friends, you can now enjoy pizza with a crust that has substance. I tried a bite for myself, and although not a fan of the thin-ness, I can't deny that it was pretty damn good for being gluten-free.

Although Tyrone is a bit of a drive for me from South Tampa, I cannot wait to return to indulge in more delicious pizza slices - I'll have to convince pH to take a cheat day for me. ;)

MidiCi is located at 2424 Tyrone Boulevard North in St. Pete. The restaurant is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. You can view the menu here. For the latest updates from MidiCi, follow along on Facebook and Instagram

*Disclosure: The meal featured in this post was provided by MidiCi St. Pete for editorial consideration. This post was written on my own accord, and opinions expressed here are my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of MidiCi St. Pete.

Local Bites: U Poke Spot

by Jennifer Thai in ,

I miss the Temple Terrace area - driving down Fowler and Fletcher Avenues always brings me back to the days when I was a student at USF. These days, I can't find much of an excuse to be over there, unless I'm having a MAJOR craving for boba tea. But even then, a 30-minute drive doesn't sound practical just for a drink - but, add food to the mix, and I'm sold.

So when the folks at U Poke Spot invited me to stop by to try their offerings, I didn't hesitate. A chance to possibly discover a new favorite place for poke and to satisfy my never-ending boba tea cravings? Yes, please

The storefront is a bit inconspicuous, but the food makes quite the statement. When it comes to poke bowls, U Poke Spot takes top place when it comes to the variety of toppings offered.

Proteins: Ahi Tuna, Chicken, Seared White Escolar, Spicy Salmon, Salmon, Steamed Shrimp & Spicy Tuna

Mix-Ins: Cucumber, Jalapeno, Sweet Onions, Sweet Corn, Cilantro, Edamame, Carrot Pineapple, Black Seaweed & Tamago.

Toppings: Avocado, Pickled Ginger, Green Caviar, Green Onions, Krab Delight, Fish Eggs, Wasabi, Mango Salsa, Furikake & Seaweed Salad

Poke Rice Bowl vs. Poke Salad

Close-up of my creation: Spicy Salmon and Octopus, topped with Cilantro, Edamame, Black Seaweed, U Poke Sauce, Gochujang, Yummy Sauce, Avocado, Seaweed Salad, Fish Eggs and Tempura Flakes

Poke Burrito

Everything was absolutely delicious. pH was over the moon about his poke salad - that man is uncontrollable when it comes to the amount of stuff he puts in a sushi bowl, so U Poke Spot was like Heaven on Earth for him. The best part about it is, the prices are incredibly reasonable for how much food you're getting - we've spent upwards of $15 on poke bowls before. U Poke Spot offers bowls starting at just $9.95. 

And I was quite the happy girl with my spicy salmon poke bowl paired with a strawberry-flavored Ramune soda. I'm really excited to say that trips to Temple Terrace will become a more familiar thing now with this discovery - you must head over there for yourself to check it out!

U Poke Spot is located at 5001 East Fowler Avenue in Tampa. The restaurant is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. You can view the menu here. For the latest updates from U Poke Spot, follow along on Facebook and Instagram

*Disclosure: The meal featured in this post was provided by U Poke Spot for editorial consideration. This post was written on my own accord, and opinions expressed here are my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of U Poke Spot.

Local Bites: Dim Sum at Yummy House South

by Jennifer Thai in ,

On a scale of 1 to 10, I'm at an 11 in regards to my excitement of Yummy House South's opening. Now, cravings for weekend dim sum, seafood hot and sour soup and salt and pepper calamari can be satisfied only 15 minutes away!

If you're not familiar with dim sum, it's best explained as a Chinese brunch, best enjoyed with hot tea. Servers bring around various carts with small steamer baskets and small plates, some with steamed buns, some with fried dumplings, and ALL incredibly delicious. It's such a fun and tasty experience, and Yummy House South's lofty space with plenty of beautiful natural light peeking in through all the windows make for a delightful ambiance.

Keep scrolling for all of the dim sum eats!

Pan-Fried Turnip Cake (Lo Bak Go)

Fried Sticky Pork Dumplings (Ham Sui Gok)

Steamed BBQ Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao)

Honey Glazed BBQ Pork Buns (Baked Char Siu Bao)

Fried Shrimp Balls

Deep Fried Taro Cake (Wu Gok)

Steamed Chicken Feet in Black Bean Sauce (Feng Zhao)

Steamed Shrimp Dumplings (Har Gow)

Steamed Short Ribs with Black Bean Sauce

Shrimp Stuffed Tofu

Steamed Bean Curd Skin Rolls (Sin Zuk Gyun)

Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts

Apart from my usual 'Local Bites' posts, where I'll highlight my must-order picks, I'm not even going to both here, because you must try them all. Yes, even the chicken feet. Dim sum is such a delicious, cultural experience, that you just have to put on your grown-up panties and try it all, even if it seems a little crazy!

Yummy House South is located at 302 North Dale Mabry Highway in South Tampa. The restaurant open for dim sum daily from 11 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. and dinner Monday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. and Sundays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Local Bites: Platt Street Borough

by Jennifer Thai in ,

If one of your New Year's resolutions is to discover great food in 2018, then please know that I'm here to help you out - the heart of This Jenn Girl lies in sharing all of the places I love to eat in the Tampa Bay area, whether it's an up-and-comer, a hidden gem or an oldie-but-goodie.

One of the new spots I recently got a chance to try that must be added to your food bucket list this year is Platt Street Borough - located on the corner of Platt and Fremont, it's South Tampa's latest and greatest addition to the food scene. Because this post is image-heavy, I'll let the pictures do the talking, then list my must-order picks below!

Crispy Arancini: Pancetta, Sundried Tomatoes & Parmesan

Grilled St. Louis Pork Ribs with Chimichurri Sauce

Poutine: Hand-cut Fries, Short Rib Gravy, Cheese Curds

Chicken Wings: Grilled, Molasses-Glazed

Truffle Nachos: House-Fried Tortilla Chips, Truffle Mornay & Roasted Mushrooms

Ahi Tuna Tataki: Cold-Pressed Olive Oil, Radish & Herb Salad, Roasted Peanut Romesco

Shrimp & Grains: Pistachio Pesto, Warm Farro Salad, Baby Tomatoes & Sicilian Olives

Roasted Cauliflower: Dried Apricot, Pumpkin Seeds, Pickled Red Onions & Curry Vinaigrette

Romaine Salad: Parmesan, Crispy Prosciutto, Roasted Tomatoes, Hardboiled Egg & Creamy Basil Dressing

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich: House-Made Pickles, Coleslaw, Fried Chicken Sauce on a Brioche Bun

The Fremont: Secret Burger Blend, Red Onion Marmalade, Aged Bleu Cheese on a Brioche Bun

Ricotta Gnudi: Roasted Mushrooms, Butternut Squash, Parmesan & Sage Butter

Warm Almond Chocolate Chip Cookie served with Milk

Apple Galette: Fresh Thyme, Lightly Smoked Butterscotch

My must-order picks:

  • Grilled St. Louis Pork Ribs: These ribs are so savory and tender, they left me wanting to gnaw on the bone! 
  • Truffle Nachos: The truffle nachos are amazing because they're so unique - who would have ever thought to top tortilla chips with mushroom slices and truffle-infused cheese?!
  • Poutine: When they say short rib gravy, they literally mean chunks of short rib doused in flavorful gravy atop french fries and paired with cheese curds. OM NOM NOM.
  • Romaine Salad: I can't believe I'm so obsessed with a salad. The prosciutto and creamy basil dressing make this dish - I can't get enough!
  • Ricotta Gnudi: Oh, my gnudi - these fluffy ricotta pillows are paired with a delicious buttery sauce and slices of butternut squash and are absolutely delightful.
  • Warm Cookies: What's better than a trio of freshly baked cookies paired with a carafe of milk? 

Platt Street Borough is located at 1809 West Platt Street in South Tampa. The restaurant is closed on Mondays and open Tuesday and Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. For the latest updates from Platt Street Borough, follow along on Facebook and Instagram

*Disclosure: The meal featured in this post was provided by Platt Street Borough for editorial consideration. This post was written on my own accord, and opinions expressed here are my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Platt Street Borough.