Seminole Heights is the New Portland

And I don’t hate it. Last fall, I took a trip to the west coast to visit a friend who goes to school in Oregon. Along the way, I rented a car and explored Portland. If I could sum it up in a few words: bikes galore, so many hipsters that you start to think they’re mainstream, breathtaking nature, never-ending rain, incredible food/coffee, oh and did I mention rain? Sorry, that was more than a few words.

Last week, I took a much shorter trip to Seminole Heights. I decided to try out Fodder & Shine. Ironically, the owner lived in Portland for a while before returning back to his hometown of Tampa. It’s a restaurant built on the foundation of, “good food is wasted on people who can afford it”. Essentially, poor people should be able to eat like kings too. And we did. It’s Florida cracker cuisine, for lack of better word. We had everything from PBR Mac n’ Cheese to Cornmeal Fried Chicken. The chicken was gluten free…say what? This place was so hipster that it had tables with same-side seating. I think my favorite part of the entire meal was the drink that I had. Is that bad? It was called “The I-75”, containing an orange blossom simple syrup, lemon juice, St. Augustine gin, shaken and topped with champagne. My mind was blown once I realized that it was a Floridian version of the classic “French 75” cocktail.  In typical Florida fashion, and Oregon for that matter, it was pouring outside when we left.

If you still have room for something sweet, you have to try the Bo’s Ice Cream: the official ice cream provider of Tampa. Not really, but it’s been around for over 50 years so it might as well be. I get a soft serve cone with a side of Oreo’s to dip with every bite. It’s a game changer. When it comes to ice cream, Bo’s knows.

This area is definitely on the rise. There are so many other restaurants on this strip that I’m excited to try. If you’re looking to change it up and ditch the chain restaurants for a night, look no further.