Yelp’s Livin’ La Vida Local

November 12, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Last night, after a very busy weekend, Chad and I got to leave the boys with a sitter and head out to Datz in south Tampa for an Elite-style community Yelp event, called Yelp’s Livin’ La Vida Local (tons of reviews for the event at that link!).

20121111-DSC03651

Our sitter arrived at 5 p.m. and we were out the door by 5:02. We arrived at Datz at about 5:30 (for the 6:00 p.m. event) and got the very last parking space in Datz’ tiny lot.

20121111-DSC03652

I knew this was going to be a very popular event and that parking was limited. We were happy to get there early and hang out in the front parking lot that had been turned into a patio.

20121111-DSC03653

People lined up to get their wrist bands for the event.

20121111-DSC03655

This event was open to anyone with a Yelp account that included a real photo and a real name. You didn’t even have to have any reviews. There were no +1’s…every one had to have an account and RSVP individually. I created a Yelp account for Chad just for this event.

While we waited for the doors to open we got to peruse the menu for the night.

20121111-DSC03657

20121111-DSC03658

We also got to munch on some truffle parmesan popcorn.

20121111-DSC03661

I was drinking soda water, since they had not started serving real drinks yet.

20121111-DSC03662

I saw spoke to several friends who were also milling about the impromptu patio, and my friend Meghann took this photo for us:

20121111-DSC03664

Arms-length date night:

20121111-DSC03667

As we entered Datz I was handed a Winter White Cosmo, which was tasty and wintry…

20121111-DSC03670

but was also super sweet and didn’t taste very strong.

We also passed the Chicken ‘N Waffle cone bar as we entered.

20121111-DSC03669

The chicken was delicious with maple syrup, but the waffle ice cream cone didn’t add much to the experience. Chad remarked that he would liked to have just had a plate of the chicken.

Datz had stations set up all over the restaurant for various drinks and food. Servers were also walking around serving drinks and food. We continued to explore the restaurant, saying hello to friends as we saw them. I have quite a family of Yelp friends now! It’s fun to see the same people, active Yelpers, at all of the events. A stranger also told me that she reads my blog and that’s always flattering and exciting. It also always freaks me out and makes me immediately self-conscious.

The next food item that magically appeared before us was the house-made chips with blue cheese drizzle.

20121111-DSC03672

I really loved these and so did Chad even though he is usually not a fan of blue cheese. The sauce was kind of sweet, like a Vidalia onion dressing mixed with blue cheese. We gladly ate more of these later when they came around again. Through the course of the night we got to try every item on the food menu and all of the beverage items also except for the wine. We never had to “stalk” a server or hang out by the kitchen. I felt that the food was plentiful and generous, as I will show you.

20121111-DSC03673

One whole area of Datz was sort of the “dessert” area, with a variety of sweets available. Toffee to Go had a cute display and they kept the toffee trays stocked all night. Yes, it was all you can eat toffee!

20121111-DSC03674

Delicious toffee.

20121111-DSC03676

The hummus and crudité shooter:

20121111-DSC03677

This was good, but really nothing special.

We stopped by the Fat Cat hot sauce table and I tried the surprisingly mild ghost pepper sauce.

20121111-DSC03679(Hey, there’s Carlos of Carlos Eats.)

20121111-DSC03688

It was so delicious that we bought a bottle.

20121111-DSC03690

We ventured upstairs…

20121111-DSC03680

where we ordered at the bar. I tried the Local V6 vodka bacon bloody Mary.

20121111-DSC03681

This was my favorite cocktail of the evening. It was very spicy and tasted rich and delicious. There was a piece of formerly crispy bacon in the bottom of my cup at the end. I saw others walking around with pieces of bacon sticking out of their cups. I don’t know if the bacon added anything to the drink, but it was kind of fun. Unless you are a vegetarian.

We did try a vegetarian dish next, the veggie bunny chow.

20121111-DSC03683

The vegetables had a nice curry flavor, but they did not seem to go with the enormous puff pastry.

After exploring the loft area of the restaurant, we decided to head outside to the patio for a minute to just chill out and have a little bit of a romantic moment, just the two of us. Chad got me a mulled cider martini with Siesta Key Rum and V6 vodka.

20121111-DSC03685

This drink was very delicious and seasonal. It tasted like fall, with a kick. I loved it, but still say the bacon bloody Mary was my favorite.

While we were on the patio we were served a short rib bunny chow.

20121111-DSC03686

The short rib was delicious and went with the puff pastry much better than the curry.

Once we had enough togetherness we ventured back inside where Chad procured pulled pork BBQ sliders.

20121111-DSC03692

These were awesome.

We headed back upstairs so that I could hang with a huge group of Tampa Bay Lady Bloggers!

20121111-DSC03695

We are now also known as the Yelp Lady Mafia since we have infiltrated and taken over Yelp Tampa Bay! Hey, follow the bloggers to awesomeness. Yelp is a good thing. Hello awesome free date night filled with delicious food, hand-crafted cocktails, and nice people. Yelp rules, as do the Tampa Bay Lady Bloggers.

I took the opportunity, among friends, to show off my triathlon tattoos, which I had not scrubbed off at the time.

20121111-DSC03696

Other items we were passed which I did not photograph included the Reuben bites, mini Kobe meatloaves (my favorite food of the evening), margherita & piggy flat breads which were all delicious. The food was plentiful and convenient all night for us, as were the drinks. Well done Yelp Tampa Bay and Datz!

Everybody ventured downstairs eventually to get desserts. We tried some gelato from Gelateria del Duomo, and ogled the desserts case.

20121111-DSC03698

20121111-DSC03699

20121111-DSC03701

We redeemed our chocolate tickets for some super fancy William Dean chocolates. These chocolates appeared in The Hunger Games!

20121111-DSC03702

They were beautifully decorated and the chocolatier gave us an explanation of each one.

20121111-DSC03703

Chad gave me his tickets, so I got to choose four pieces.

20121111-DSC03707

I picked out my favorites and we said our goodnights to all of our friends. It was a really fun evening filled with great conversation with friends, time with my love, and lots of food and drinks. Thank you so much Yelp Tampa Bay and Datz!

Once we got home and I drove the babysitter home, we settled in to watch The Walking Dead and I enjoyed my four chocolates:

20121111-DSC03711(pistachio, biscotti, dulce de leche, and the signature dark chocolate)

Ahhh. Great end to a fabulous weekend.

I skipped over the triathlon post because it’s going to be epically long. Maybe even a slide show. Cya.

Datz Tampa on Urbanspoon