Sunday, September 1, 2013

Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant

You can never run out of restaurants in Tampa. The choices are as plentiful and varied as your imagination, palette and wallet can handle. The challenge for our dining out group is to pick from hundreds. We put a lot of thought into our choices, trying to find a restaurant that will appeal to various dietary concerns and culinary sensibilities. Remember the mission statement of The Great Escape is to ‘escape’ from Sun City Center while we’re still able to!
This weekend we visited Cooper's Hawk Winery. Not the actual vineyard, but one of their many restaurants that feature the Cooper's Hawk wines and offer a ‘Scratch” kitchen. I asked our waitress Barbara what that meant and as the word implies, everything on the menu is made from scratch. Our waitress graciously served us all a tasting of their special cask wine blended from five grapes. It was delicious. She happily granted requests for a few other tastings before we all settled on our picks for the evening. One couple in our group ordered a “Flight” of wine – something we’d never heard of before. It consisted of four samplings of wine thoughtfully selected to offer the guest a progression of tastes - it’s hard to pick one when they were all great so this was a delightful way to get the full wine tasting experience.
Here you see the Restaurant Manager Joseph Busicchia demonstrating how they draw their featured wine from the cask into a glass tube and then dispense it into our wineglass. He graciously posed for my photo as recognizing a kindred spirit he swapped NYC memories with my husband.
But let’s get to the food now – enough about the wine – or can there ever be enough wine? My husband and I shared the Ahi Tuna appetizer and an iceberg wedge salad – absolutely delicious. I chose the chopped salad with blackened tenderloin, he chose the Jambalaya which was prepared beautifully with flavors rivaling those we sampled during our recent vacation in New Orleans.
All eight of us were very pleased with our choices. The menu offers a wide range of options so you can choose wisely to meet your budget. Hubby and I are of the mindset to “go big or go home” so maybe we’ll be tightening our dining out budget for the coming month. But once in while you gotta splurge, and you don’t mind doing that when you’re getting a quality meal and excellent service.

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