Foodie Alert: Geno Ate Tampa

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Geno Knight (Right) with Eddie Money.

Hey, foodies! Meet Geno Knight of WQYK and Geno Ate Tampa. He’s got some great local recommendations, including Italian and Mexican. Let us know if you try any of Geno’s favorites with the hashtags #GenoAteTampa and #datz4foodies and have a great weekend.

What are 3 words you’d use to describe yourself.

Hungry, fed, full.

What made you start Geno Ate Tampa?

I liked the name because it conveys how much I eat. I’m a big boy… 6’4 and about 270. So Geno Ate Tampa seemed both funny and on point. It was just a hashtag I started using a few months back because my food pics seemed to get the most reaction out of my listeners. Instead of free concert tickets or song requests, my cell phone shots of my food finds were what people reacted to the most. So I bought GenoAteTampa.com, started a secondary Twitter account @GenoAteTampa and started using the hashtag on Twitter and Instagram to isolate my foodie posts from the radio stuff. Geno Ate Tampa just seemed to perfectly convey the size of my appetite.

What’s the best food you’ve discovered from Geno Ate Tampa?

After complaining about the lack of good Mexican food in Tampa Bay, listeners pointed me to Miguel’s on Kennedy. It’s been my go to ever since.  The Alambres is all I ever order. After working for a radio station in California for 6 years, I was spoiled. But Miguel’s has made Tampa my new home.

How about the best cocktail?

I’m more of a beer guy. Before a Rays game last week, I dropped in to try out Brooklyn South. $3 microbrews? You won’t find that in The Trop. The Orange Wheat by St. Pete Brewing was fantastic. It’s a great beer for Florida summer, which is 9 months long. On the Tampa side, I love the dive bars in Ybor.

Best dessert?

Unfortunately my favorite dessert is only available for about 10 days every year.  It’s the funnel bacon on a stick at the Florida Strawberry Festival. I’ve been ranting and raving about it on QYK ever since it was created for the 2015 festival. The vendor that made it, “The Best Around Inc,” usually does a new item every year for Plant City. But I raised such a fuss about it, they brought it back for a second year this year. “Mama Jane” takes a stick of bacon, dips it in funnel cake batter, fries it for about a minute or two, sprinkles powdered sugar over it and finishes it off with a maple butter glaze drizzle.  It’s life changing. It just kills me it’s something you can only get one week a year. But if I had it available to me all the time, that would probably kill me too.

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What’s your favorite food on the Datz menu? 

The doughnut case is my favorite 4 square feet in all of Tampa Bay. The Butterfinger is probably the favorite. Although I think your burgers are often overlooked and underrated too.

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What’s your favorite food and why is it your favorite?

Find me a good spot for chicken parmesan and you’re a friend for life. My family has a big Italian foods business back in Maine. So I grew up with those smells… oregano, olives, cheese, wine.  Bernini’s in Ybor is good, but my favorite is a hole in the wall in a strip mall in St Pete called Italia Mia. The old Italian woman who always waits on my table is my favorite person in Tampa Bay.

chicken parm sub at italia mia

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Share a food with us that you’ve seen on the internet and would love to try.

You accommodated that request. When the doughnut ice cream cone went viral a few months ago, Datz was my first thought. You’re the doughnut king. I tweeted you guys the challenge. You made it happen.

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What do you think about Tampa’s food scene?

This is my 5th year here and I’m still discovering it. Before moving here, I’d heard all about Bern’s. But I love to find the atypical spots… places that cater to transplants like me. I love Cappy’s deep dish Chicago pizza, a bottle of a hard to find German soda called Mezzo Mix in Brandon at Euro Cafe, or if I want a real local experience, the grouper sandwich at I.C. Sharks always works.

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Opening day at Portillo’s in Brandon.

What’s another city’s food scene would you like to try?

Chicago. I’ve been on connecting flights a million times but have never had a chance to explore the city. Flights from Tampa are super cheap. But I’ll wait ’til the cold is gone. I moved to Florida for a reason.

What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever eaten?

I’m a wimp when it comes to exotic food.

What’s your best advice on how to adult?

Never lose the mindset you had as a kid when anything was possible and you didn’t care about carbs.

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Foodie Alert: Eat Tampa

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Happy Friday, foodies (You’ve earned it). Let’s kick off the weekend with some super delicious food, all of which you’ll have to add to your hit list for this weekend. Ryan Rodriguez of @EatTampa on Instagram is gonna tell us about his favorite local stops.

Tell us about yourself! What do you do and what are 3 words you’d use to describe yourself.

Born and raised in sunny Tampa, FL. I am a husband, father and aspirising restaurant owner. 3 words to describe me are Loyal, Adventurous and Driven!

What made you start Eat Tampa? Have you made a lot of foodie friends?

I’ve always had a love for food and my hometown. I wanted to spread the word on new and great restaurants in Tampa. @EatTampa was inevitable. I started following other foodies in the area like @CarlosEats @TampaBayEatsOut and @OfficialFoodGroup which motivated me to create a feed of my own.

 

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What’s the best food you’ve discovered from Eat Tampa?

That is the hardest question. With award winning chefs like @greg__baker (The Refinery / Fodder & Shine) and @chefmichaelmina (Locale Market / Farmtable Kitchen) it’s hard to say what’s the best. I say, get out there and enjoy finding out for yourself!

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Photo by Farmtable Kitchen
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Photo by The Refinery

How about the best cocktail?

Not much of a cocktail drinker but the best one I’ve had recently was the mule at @DocBsKitchen. However, it may have been the side of candied bacon that set it off!

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Best dessert?

The best dessert is for sure the fruity pebbles cheesecake @datz4foodies’ Dough!

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What’s your favorite food on the Datz menu?

My favorite food item on the Datz menu is The Cheesy Todd. As a burger and a mac~n~cheese lover, they go together harmoniously!

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What’s your favorite food and why is it your favorite?

After much thought, my favorite food is a good ol’ burger. There are so many ways to create a burger, from the blend of meats to the type of bun and endless options for toppings. I will also never turn down a taco, a slice of pizza or @portilloshotdogs Italian beef!

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Share a food with us that you’ve seen on the internet and would love to try.

I am dying to try @Slapfish by Chef @andrewgruel for the “Clobster”, a crab and lobster grilled cheese, with a side of chowder fries and a lobster roll to go.💀

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What do you think about Tampa’s food scene?

The Tampa food scene is diverse and ever-growing. We have bold chefs/owners who step outside the box to produce quality food and conquer trends like the doughnut ice cream cone @datz4foodies.

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What’s another city’s food scene you would like to try?

I really want to check out the Los Angeles food scene.

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What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever eaten?

I once ate a scorpion from the bottom of a tequila bottle. It was crunchy and besides the tequila, it was tasteless. I’d do it again if I had too 😉

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What’s your best advice on how to adult?

Do what makes you happy. If you don’t know what makes you happy, try something new until you find it.

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Foodie Alert: Jacqueline Luhrs of Life Simplified

Photo by Angel He
Photo by Angel He

Meet Jacqueline Luhrs! She’s one of our favorite local foodies AND our Monday Motivation. She’s a professional athlete, dancer, & owns her own company. Not only does she split her time between Tampa and L.A., but she also has lots of tips on how to keep the balance between your health and your foodie needs. Take it away, Jacqueline!

Tell us about yourself! What do you do and what are 3 words you’d use to describe yourself.

Well, I’m not originally from Tampa. I grew up in the Midwest and attended the University of Nebraska-Omaha where I studied marketing and management. I’ve lived in Los Angeles two different times where I danced professionally. I moved to Tampa in 2010 for my husbands job. He is the sports dietician for the Bucs and assists with strength and conditioning. We’re both active and love working out. I’ve done a few WBFF fitness competitions and became a pro bikini competitor in June of 2015. I’ve always been entrepreneurial and knew growing up I wanted to have my own business. I have many interests and hobbies and as I’ve become an adult I’ve realized two things I really love that will never go out of style or get old are health & wellness and helping people.  That’s how my business Life Simplified came about. If I had to describe myself in three words I would say I’m ambitious, independent and caring. If you were to see me around South Tampa chances are I would be wearing workout clothes, drinking coffee with friends, eating a healthy meal and on my phone or iPad doing work for Life Simplified.

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When did you start thinking about your health and how have your eating and fitness habits changed since then?

I’ve always been athletic and grew up playing sports and dancing. I danced in college and we competed nationally (yes, like the stuff you see on ESPN), but throughout all of that my main concern wasn’t health, it was just to be thin and look the part. I really got serious about health and wellness when I was doing intense dance training in the hopes of getting picked up by an agent in Los Angeles. It was during that time I really changed my mentality and thought process surrounding food and health in general. I became educated on using nutrition and strength training as a tool to enhance my abilities. I can truly say I became a better dancer and athlete in my late 20’s than I was in college because I came to understand the importance of keeping a healthy body. I now consistently weight train and do various types of cardio. I’m aware of what foods to eat and how different types of foods affect my performance and aesthetic look.

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Do you have “cheat days”? If so, how often and how do you recoup after?

Yes! I definitely have “cheat days” (Datz is a good place for that, haha!). I tend to eat pretty clean Monday-Friday and leave the weekends to be more free. I’ll have one or two “cheat” meals throughout the weekend and then jump back on clean eating for Monday.

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Tell us about splitting your time between LA and Tampa. How do you keep balance in your life? 

Finding the right balance in work and personal life is always tricky. There was a period of time I was in L.A. pretty much full time and only came back to Tampa occasionally. That’s when my main focus was dance so living in L.A. made sense because that’s where my agent, auditions and bookings were. Now that my main focus is Life Simplified, I’m able to spend most of my time in Tampa and only travel back to L.A. when I need to. I have clients in L.A. and I’m still involved with dance there, but now I have more control over my schedule and the projects I want to be involved with so I’m able to have a good balance.

What advice do you have for people who are just starting to change their eating and fitness habits?

My first bit of advice would be to set realistic goals for yourself. Making and conquering small goals is how you ultimately fulfill your ultimate goal, whatever it may be; losing 20lbs, toning up, doing a fitness competition, etc. The second bit of advice I would give is don’t compare yourself to others. That is a dangerous place to be and is the fastest way to derail you and discourage you from remembering this is YOUR unique journey. And the last thing I would say is DON’T QUIT! If you’ve made a goal to live a healthier lifestyle and want to see results all you have to do is stay consistent, day after day, week after week.

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What are some health or fitness mistakes you’ve made in your path as a professional athlete and dancer?

If I had any regrets with health and fitness it would just be that I didn’t take it more serious earlier in my life. I wasn’t educated enough to understand how much of an edge eating and working out properly could give me. I think it’s great social media has such a strong presence now with fitness motivation and education. It’s hard to deny the amazing results you see from everyday people that set a goal for themselves and use proper nutrition and workouts to achieve it.

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What’s your absolute favorite food to cheat with?

I love pizza!! And I love cake! So basically I’m saying if you invite me to your kids birthday party I would be in heaven! haha. But seriously, Papa Johns and a Publix cupcake are my go-to’s for an actual “cheat meal.”

How about cheat cocktail? 🙂

I love a good Sunday brunch (insert Datz again!), so a bloody mary or mimosa would definitely be on the menu.

 

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What do you hope to achieve in 2016 for yourself and your company, Life Simplified?

Life Simplified is growing in an amazing way! I’m so thankful and humbled when my clients contact me and say how easy it is to achieve their goals or how much time they’ve saved in their week by using Life Simplified.  I have an amazing team of people working with me that are helping take the business to a new level. In 2016 we’ll be adding a more refined door to door concierge delivery service along with adding fresh juices and a new menu of plant based raw food items.

As for me, I’ll be competing in a pro bikini competition in L.A. at the end of April (I always have to have some sort of fitness goal!). I’ll be working a lot on Life Simplified and taking care of my clients to ensure they keep up their motivation and achieve their goals for 2016!

Photo by Angel He
Photo by Angel He

Follow Jacqueline on Instagram and check out her company here.

Photo by Angel He
Photo by Angel He

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Foodie Alert: Jared Dey of Hot 101.5

Tell us about yourself! What do you do and what are 3 words you’d use to describe yourself.

My name is Jared Dey, I’m 26 and I am the executive producer of The Miguel Show on Hot 101.5 here in Tampa. Hmm 3 words that’s tough I’d say 1. – Perfectionist, 2. – Focused, 3. – Quick Witted (or at least I try to be).

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What do you love about working at Hot 101.5 and The Miguel Show?

The thing I love the most has to be the interaction with the people that listen to us. I think that was the thing that got me hooked on radio and it’s the reason I do it. I like to make people laugh or feel happy on their way to work.

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What’s a typical day look like for you? What do you do to make it to Friday?

It’s anything but typical at times. I usually wake up at 4am, try not to fight the snooze button and get to work at 5am. Start working on the show right away and go on air at 6am. The show wraps up about 10am and I’m like a zombie and not the fun Walking Dead kind. So after a nap I’ll start getting the show ready for the next day and then just watch tv till I go to sleep around 10pm. It’s Work. Work. Work. everyday.

To make it to Friday, I usually find a lot a lot of bliss in watching sports or listening to all different kinds of music. It takes the focus off.

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What’s the first concert you ever saw?

My dad probably took me to a concert here or there as a young kid but I can’t remember them. So it would be Linkin Park at the USF Sun Dome, I was in middle school at the time. Still remember that show like it happened yesterday.

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What’s your favorite food and why is it your favorite?

Even though I notoriously love nachos, I would have to say it’s Seafood Fra Diavolo. There’s something you gotta love about a great pasta dish topped with lobster, shrimp, scallops, mussels, and clams (Go big or go home right) in a crazy spicy sauce.

It’s the best of everything to me. You get the pasta, you get seafood, and a massive amount of flavor from the sauce.

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Share a food with us that you’ve seen on the internet and would love to try.

It might sound strange, because it’s not that out of the box but it’s Poutine. It looks awesome and being a hockey fan a food made famous by our brothers to the north is something I’d love to try.

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So we hear you’re not originally from Tampa! What made you come to Tampa?

Wow! You guys really did your research on me. 😉 That’s right, I’m not. I was born in Long Island, New York but raised just outside of Atlanta, Georgia with some time in Las Vegas as well before coming here. Like so many, my grandparents moved here and my family eventually followed them down to Tampa.

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How do you feel about Tampa’s live music scene?

I love it! Tampa is a hot bed for live music. It doesn’t matter what genre you like the most there’s a little something for everyone here. And not to mention many big named artist have been coming through a lot recently.

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How about Tampa Bay’s food scene?

I love music but…. I love food more. And I have to say out of everywhere I’ve lived Tampa’s food scene to me is one of the best. If there is something special you want someone in Bay Area has it. Just look at downtown St. Petersburg where I live you could walk down Central Ave and it’s plethora of flavors and options.

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What’s your best advice on how to Adult?

Can I say “Don’t” lol. Being an adult is too much at times but hey if you gotta do it enjoy it as much as you can with some Datz or Dough.

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Follow Jared on Twitter and Instagram and listen to The Miguel Show here on weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m.

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