Last week I embarked on another foodie adventure with fellow bloggers from Tampa Bay Bloggers for a Datz review. We were treated to a glutinous food crawl with one of Tampa’s tastiest families of restaurants, Datz, Dough, and Roux. I wasn’t ready for the amount of yumminess that would be laid before us throughout the night. It was my very first official food crawl and it was a blast. I’ve done a pub crawl but a food crawl is a different beast. You think you want to be Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmerman from Bizarre foods or Adam Richman from Man Vs. Food? Trust me, gorging yourself is way harder than it looks! I know how this sounds. **Gets out tiny violin** Cry me a river, Lauren. You had to eat and drink for free, poor you. But it really is way harder than it looks.
(Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Datz, Datz Dough, and Roux in conjunction with Tampa Bay Bloggers. All of my meals and drinks were free in exchange for sharing my experience with you guys, my awesome readers. As always, my opinions will always be honest and they reflect only my views. See full disclosure for more info.)
Pregame – Roux
The night started at Roux, a fairly new “Creole Nouvelle” foodie hot spot in South Tampa. My interpretation of what that really means – essentially N’awlins style fancy trendy food. Roux is all the rage in my social circles and I hadn’t had a chance to check it out. My expectations were very high based on all the hype I had been hearing about it. The ambiance of the restaurant is nothing short of sexy! Bring your significant other here and it’s pretty much a guaranteed bowchicawawa night. I’m just saying. They even have a back room, dubbed the Absinthe room. It doesn’t get much sexier than that.
The cocktail options for the night were French 75 (gin , lemon, champagne, and lemon zest) and a Hurricane (Kraken Dark, Siesta Key white, orange juice, passion fruit purée, pineapple, lime, and bitters). It’s a creole style restaurant so I had to have the obligatory Hurricane. I’ve been to New Orleans my fair share of times with a couple of Bourbon Street adventures under my belt, so I know a good Hurricane when I taste it. This was an exquisite. The basis of the Roux Hurricane are two very good rums, Kraken which I keep in my personal bar, and Siesta Key, one of my top Rum winners from last summer’s Rumfest. I loved how the drink presentation resembled a grown-up snow cone in the glass. It was every bit as tasty as it looked, but be warned it packs a punch although it tastes fruity and sweet.
We were treated to three of their signature appetizers, crab beignets, boudin balls, and char-grilled oysters. They had me at the char-grilled oysters. I wasn’t an oyster kinda girl until I was introduced to char-grilled oysters several years ago in Savannah, GA. The best ones I’ve ever eaten were in New Orleans and every time I visit my best friend there, it’s a must that we get them. I could probably eat my weight in these tasty cheese covered bites of seafood deliciousness. Roux Tampa, you have my stamp of approval. These char-grilled oysters were a party in my mouth.
The crab beignets were also good and served with an array of roumalades. The boudin balls were a completely new experience for me. Roux’s version was similar to a ball of dirty rice and pork that was battered and deep fried. That’s the best description I can think of. They did have a little kick to them. To be fair, I think the beignets or the boudin balls would both make excellent appetizers if standing on their own stage, but the char-grilled oysters stole the show for me.
Main Event – Datz
The second stop on the #Crawl4Foodies food crawl was Datz. I was already a Datz fan, especially for brunch. On this visit, we were treated to some fun out of the box new menu items. It lived up to a true foodie adventure because I had some truly unique food experiences.
Buffalo Cauliflower – This starter was already on the table when we arrived and the very first thought that came to mind is “What the hell is that”? It looks strange, honestly. Not the kind of strange that makes it not appetizing, but more of an inquisitive strange. I was certainly curious. After my first bite, I tweeted “I like my vegetables fried and saucy!” One of my guilty pleasures I look forward to every year is the Plant City Strawberry festival where I always order a fried vegetable garden. This buffalo cauliflower reminded me of that; it’s like fair food on steroids. It’s just wrong on principle but it’s soooooo good.
Sriracha popcorn – This ain’t Orville. This is extreme popcorn with lots of flavor. Careful, it’s addictive.
The cocktail specials of the night were Hashtag Hot Sex and a Love Stinks.
On the Lamb – Grilled maple soy glazed lamp chops on a bed of roasted butternut squash. These chops were flavorful and very tender. All of those good juices dripped right down into the butternut squash..mmmmm. (Truth moment, I felt kinda bad ordering lamb chops. My childhood was marked with the beloved Lamb Chop’s Play Along children’s show.)
“Cheesy Todd burger is the stuff foodie adventures are made of.”
Cheesy Todd burger – This is the stuff foodie adventures are made of. This is for foodies who fear no calories. Who needs hamburger buns when you can use fried macaroni and cheese patties for buns instead?! Mind blown. It’s a lot to ingest, literally, and it can get pretty messy so you may opt for knife and fork…..or even a bib. This is the kind of creation they would love on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Our table decided to share one, but I think I could handle it by myself.
Some of my other Datz favorites are the waffles n tweet (chicken and waffles), the mac n cheese bites, the stuffed meat loaf, and the shrimp and grits.
After Party – Datz Dough
The last stop on the food crawl was just next door at Datz Dough. I honestly didn’t think I could take another bite but the smell of bakery heaven was drawing me in from outside. It smelled divine. They have all kinds of baked creations. If you can think it they can create it. There were bacon brownies, candy topped doughnuts, cheesecake chocolate balls, buckeyes, pistachio whoopie pie. There were too many treats to name.
They also specialize in the “boozy shake”. Yes, boozy….as in booze….as in an alcoholic shot of a liqueur of your choice in your milkshake. You can’t take this one to go though. You have to sit and enjoy it right there in the shop.
You can’t have doughnuts without coffee right? How does a bacon latte sound? Yes, it’s a thing. Looks like coffee but tastes and smells like bacon. They have a Nutella latte as well. I opted for the red velvet latte. I’m really not a big coffee person. I like the flavor but it usually doesn’t agree with my tummy. But I was willing to risk it in the name of foodie adventure. The red velvet latte was so pretty. I mean seriously, it’s red coffee. It just screams “Drink Me!” And so I did. It was rich and soothing. This one’s a keeper for sure.
Special thanks to the folks at Datz! The Crawl 4 Foodies event was great fun. I live for culinary adventures like this. They take risks and we reap the reward. So if you haven’t been in a while, go check them out and try some of the new things they’ve cooked up.
Lauren G. , Outdoorsy Diva™
“Adventure is a lifestyle”