THE CAKE DRIP [IN HYDE PARK VILLAGE] OFFERS CUSTOMIZABLE DESSERTS IN A FAIRYTALE SETTING YOU CAN’T FIND ANYWHERE [ELSE] IN TAMPA. My husband, Steven, and I have worked with kids for the past 15 years at our kids’ cooking school, ABC Chefs Cooking Academy. We would always do a customized dessert day with the kids and allow them to make their own desserts and chocolates, and they had so much fun. We have been teaching cooking classes to children for over 10 years now in St. Louis and L.A. We started this business when our daughter Ayla was a toddler, and she was able to be with us. Ayla is now 18. So when we decided to launch The Cake Drip, we decided to do things a little more for us — to fit our personalities and our lifestyle now. We wanted to do something grown and sexy but still playful.
MY LOCAL KNOWLEDGE
WE LOVE TO FREQUENT ROCCA. We love the décor and fine china dishes they use at Rocca, and Chef Bryce [Bonsack] makes some of our favorite dishes. Of course, the mozzarella cart there is phenomenal, and we love their selection of wines. They carry some of our favorite Amarone wines.
WITH ME BEING A CHEF AND MY FAMILY BEING BIG FOODIES, WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING TO TRY DIFFERENT FOODS AND NEW RESTAURANTS FOR NEW EXPERIENCES. Most of the time for my birthday we do a lot of traveling. In town for special occasions, we like to see what local restaurants have special events, like wine tastings, pairing events or even special menu nights. I also really like ocean views. My favorite that I found nearby is Salt Shack on the Bay for drinks and to watch the sunset.
I AM GOING TO SOUND LIKE A CLICHÉ BUT BECAUSE WE TRAVEL SO MUCH WE LIKE OUR COFFEE TO BE CONSISTENT. So we love Starbucks. My order is a grande Pike’s Place with a side of steamed half-and-half and three stevia. When I’m in town, most definitely [I’m going to] Buddy Brew. My order is a small coffee with an espresso shot, two Equals and a side of steamed half-and-half. I am a daily coffee drinker, so toward the evening I also do a midday pick-me-up from Buddy Brew — normally a nitro or cold brew coffee with an added espresso shot. I recently purchased a $200 traveling coffee mug that regulates the coffee temperature to keep it perfect for up to six hours. Probably the best purchase I made recently.
CLEAN JUICE [IN HYDE PARK VILLAGE] IS REALLY GOOD WHEN I’M ON A HEALTHY JUICE CLEANSE. My order is The Immunity One, with carrots, lemons, orange, pineapples and turmeric, and I add ginger. I also like the smoothies with hemp protein.
CAKES PLUS, WHICH IS LOCATED IN SOUTH TAMPA, HAS A PAN-FRIED POUND CAKE (yes, pan-fried pound cake) that I really, really love. It’s my favorite cake place in Tampa outside of my own.
AT THE TAMPA MUSEUM OF ART, I LIKE TO VISIT TO VIEW SOME OF THE ARTWORK THEY HAVE ON DISPLAY. One of my favorites has been the Basquiat exhibit [from the fall of 2019].
WHEN I HAVE A GUEST VISIT, NORMALLY I TAKE THEM TO JACKSON’S BISTRO on Harbour Island. I really enjoy their sushi there. The volcano roll is my favorite. Also Salt Shack on the Bay. The view of the bay from the patio at sunset is always beautiful. I live in the South Tampa area, so what I frequent is mostly over this way.
MY FAVORITE PLACE FOR SELF-CARE IS SPA SUDEVA, WHICH IS ALSO LOCATED IN SOUTH TAMPA. I normally do the “Back to Balance” Swedish massage and the “Sole Rejuvenation” foot massage. The spa is very peaceful, and it smells like lavender, which makes you relax upon entering.
MY FAVORITE BRUNCH SPOT IN TAMPA IS THE OXFORD EXCHANGE. I recently started ordering the crispy avocado wedges (with panko crust, Sambal sour cream, smoked sea salt and lime). They are really good and flavorful but also very light. I typically order the breakfast tacos.
IT’S PROBABLY NOT A HIDDEN GEM, BUT TO ME IT WAS. 7th + Grove in Ybor City has become one of my new faves. They have great food; it’s mostly elevated soul food. And the music! The drinks! It’s a great environment, great staff and great food.