Although I admit to having missed it when three Tampa restaurants were awarded Michelin Stars last month, I wanted to congratulate the owners of Gorkhali Kitchen, the Tampa Bay area’s only Nepalese-Himalayan restaurant, located in the Cross Creek Center plaza at 10044 Cross Creek Blvd., which was one of only two Tampa eateries to win the Michelin Bib Gourmand award (the other was Psomi, a Greek concept in South Tampa).

Michelin Stars are offered to the best of the most upscale eateries, while the Bib Gourmand awards are given to restaurants with “consistently good quality, good value cooking,” but both awards are presented only after multiple Michelin Guide inspectors make multiple visits and all agree on the restaurant’s quality.

Gorkhali’s Nepalese (and Indian) fare includes the country’s signature Momo dumplings, sizzling Tandoori lamb chops and chicken wings, tender goat dishes and the Nepalese fried rice (with chicken) shown here.

Gorkhali Kitchen co-owners Rajesh Pathak, Reena Widdoes, Poonam Gurung and Menora Panthi have rightfully been inundated with new customers since the announcement.

Gorkhali Kitchen is open every day for lunch and dinner. For more information, call (813) 388-6404 or visit

Grand Hampton: The Movie Series Makes It To Orlando Film Fest!
Photo provided by Antony Capers.

Speaking of congratulations, I also have to give big props to filmmaker Antony Capers and his talented cast and crew of “Grand Hampton the Movie Series – Super Vita,” which has been invited to the nonprofit Orlando International Film Festival (OIFF) the weekend of July 13-16. 

Capers says, “Being a part of the OIFF is huge, and a great accomplishment. We have no celebrity actors or figures in our movie, we had no production budget, nor any high-end specials effects, but yet myself, and Annette (Simmons-Brown)wrote a movie that had a strong enough story to make an impact.”

Capers & crew, who got to present (photo) and even film a portion of the series at the historic Tampa Theatre in downtown Tampa earlier this year, says that although “Grand Hampton” will be one of about 200 short and feature-length films presented at the OIFF, “I think being in this film festival will help expose our ‘Grand Hampton the Movie’ brand to a wider audience… Hopefully being in the festival, we can get enough eyes on it and possibly get a movie or production deal from Netflix, HULU or a service like that because our story is very unique and different.”

To see all episodes of “Grand Hampton,” visit “Grand Hampton the Movie Series” on Youtube.

Sportsman’s Warehouse To Replace Best Buy In August

Those who enjoy outdoor activities — including hunting, shooting, fishing, camping, boating, outdoor cooking, etc. — will be thrilled to know that Sportsman’s Warehouse is expected to open in The Walk at Highwoods Preserve (in the former location of Best Buy) on (or around) Thursday, August 17. 

For more info, including how to register to win a GMC AT4 truck and outdoor gear package, visit

Azteca D’Oro Is Open At The Shops At Wiregrass!

Although it wasn’t yet open when we went to press with this issue, the opening of the new Azteca d’Oro Mexican restaurant at the Shops at Wiregrass (across from The Living Room; left photo) took place last week, with a Grand Opening event the weekend of June 24-25.

We were planning to visit and take both pictures and video last week, so look for updates on as soon as you receive this issue in your mailbox.

I met with co-owner Victor Ramos and the rest of the Azteca team the day this issue went to press, where I got the only picture I could (right photo) of a fully completed area inside this beautiful new, upscale Mexican dining experience. 

Azteca d’Oro (2000 Piazza Ave., Unit 170) is open every day for lunch and dinner, with Azteca’s “Buy One, Get One” Happy Hour available all day on Sunday and Monday-Saturday, 3 p.m.-6 p.m.). For more information, visit

Checking Out The Third Annual Rum & Seafood Festival! 

Our congratulations go out to Florida Penguin Productions for putting on a successful third-annual Rum & Seafood Festival at the Tampa Premium Outlets on June 3, despite the constant threat of bad weather that could have caused the event’s cancellation.

A steady stream of adult visitors paid $15 per person to get into the Festival, which featured live music, dozens of vendors — including Siesta Key and Sailor Jerry rums, FishHawk Spirits and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey — and great seafood food trucks like Charm City Eats, Super Grouper, Got Lobstah? and From the Soul to the Sea. Among this year’s highlights were the Crab Races (that I unfortunately missed) and the “rooftop” bar. 

The  North Tampa Bay Chamber received a portion of the event’s proceeds.

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