Zest’s Best St. Petersburg Restaurant: Head to Mazzaro’s Italian Market to Mangia

It might seem like I only eat what I’ve foraged from the farmers market, and that my diet is solely pasture-fed and all-organic. To an extent that is my philosophy, but don’t expect me to pull a Gwyneth-style mea culpa—I have always loved Italian meats and cheeses and no healthy diet is going to change […]






Zest’s Best Restaurant St. Petersburg: Marchand’s at the Vinoy is a locavore gem

Last week I had the pleasure of sampling the new, hyper-local menu at Marchand’s, the main restaurant at the Renaissance Vinoy in St. Petersburg. Already a fan of the restaurant and its ambiance, the new menu gives me more reasons to return, season after season. Executive Chef Mark Heimann’s vision is to elevate the offerings […]






Happy Pancake Day! Where do Insiders go for great breakfast, pancakes in Florida? {updated}

Does anyone really need an excuse to indulge in the highlight of American breakfast? Interestingly enough, “Pancake Day” or “Pancake Tuesday” didn’t get its name in America. A colloquial term originating in the United Kingdom and Ireland for Shrove Tuesday, i.e. Fat Tuesday or the Tuesday before Lent begins, Christians coined the phrase “Pancake Day” […]






Florida’s most romantic restaurants and best Valentine’s Day dinners | It’s not too late!

Valentine’s Day. Those two seemingly innocuous words can strike dread in even the smoothest of suitors.  In a pinch to find a worthy place to woo your sweetie? No worries, it’s not too late!  Zest is to the rescue with a list of the most romantic places in Florida for Valentine’s Day, or any other […]






ZEST’s Best Tampa Breakfast: The Tahitian is an oldie but goodie

  The Tahitian Inn Cafe is an oldie but goodie. Mister M and I have been there at least 20 times for breakfast and lunch and count on the Tahitian for a quick, go-to breakfast or lunch.  I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to include it in the ZEST’s Best list, but I […]






Zest’s Best Tampa Restaurant: Who needs therapy when you have Datz?

Satirist Peter De Vries once said that “gluttony is an emotional escape, a sign something is eating us.” If the frequency that I visit Datz on MacDill Avenue in South Tampa is an indication of a deep-rooted emotional issue, frankly, I don’t want to be cured. For me, visits to Datz are foodie therapy sessions. Datz is a […]






Zest’s Best Tampa Restaurant | Carmel Café Melds Technology with Modern Mediterranean Food

Tampa has been buzzing about Carmel Café & Wine Bar in the Northwood Plaza in Countryside, and for good reason. Taking inspiration from the casual eateries on the California coast, the convivial ambiance at Carmel Café features a large bar with communal tables, a lounge in the center of the restaurant and an open dining […]






Tampa’s best frozen yogurt stores | Get your Fro-yo on

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m back in Junior High. Much to my dismay, the rad fashions of the 80’s are back, the unemployment rate is in the double digits and frozen yogurt is en vogue. Incidentally, if you see me in my jeggings, it’s Ms. Melton, if you’re nasty. Growing up, it was a […]






KitchenBar sets the bar high for Tampa dining| Zest’s Best Tampa Restaurant

Saturday night me, Mister M and two of our favorite foodie friends got to check out the latest installment of Kitchenbar, Chef Jeannie Pierola’s pop-up restaurant concept. Fashioned after the food trucks that pop-up in various parks and street corners in cities like L.A. and San Francisco, pop-up concepts are advertized by tweets and Facebook […]






Zest’s Best Restaurant Tampa | Bianchi’s Enoteca for wine and Italian snacks

If you blink, you could miss Bianchi’s Enoteca in the Yoko’s strip on MacDill Avenue in South Tampa. The signage is minimal and frontage nondescript. But you won’t want to miss this Enoteca or the delectable food that it offers—so keep your eyes peeled. Thursday, my friend Dolce Debbie and I got away for some […]