That's right: Sunday is the national day devoted to all things bacon, National Bacon Lovers Day. Which, really, isn't too different from the other 364 days of the year. But here's a little roundup of some special places to celebrate everyone's favorite meat snack (seriously, even vegans have a grudging respect for bacon's splendors).
DATZ AND DOUGH
The bacon king and queen are Datz (2616 S MacDill Ave., Tampa; (813) 831-7000) and Dough (2602 S MacDill Ave., Tampa; (813) 902-1979). At Dough you'll find bacon-topped doughnuts and at Datz you'll encounter, oh, just about everything with a side, garnish or topper of bacon. Current obsession: the MacDaddy, a creamy bacon- and jalapeno-infused macaroni and cheese.
CATCHER AND THE RYE
Fairly new on the scene, Catcher and the Rye (917 11th St., Palm Harbor; (727) 754-7337) has a candied whiskey bacon that crops up across the menu: bacon beer cheese sliders, a monster wedge salad, bacon-wrapped chicken lollipops and shrimp and grits, the cheese grits dotted with bacon.
TOM AND CHEE
A bacon grilled cheese is kind of double indemnity, the Cincinnati-based fast-casual Tom and Chee (6802 22nd Ave. N, St. Petersburg; (727) 317-4790) offering one that is surprisingly addictive, oozing American cheese but with textural interest from barbecue chips and little clods of sturdy bacon.
BOULEVARD BURGERS & TAP HOUSE
You're waiting for a burger, right? Boulevard Burgers & Tap House (5905 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach; (727) 201-4906) has a whole range of unhinge-the-jaw burgers, many of them showcasing excellent applewood smoked bacon. Oh, there's a pool table and kids eat free on Wednesdays.
Even the Trop has a little sumpin-sumpin for bacon-and-baseball lover. This year, the Tampa Bay Rays debuted a shock-and-awe bloody mary ($16) served in a collectible plastic mason jar that sports a skewer as long as a samurai sword impaling two doughnuts, a chicken and waffle assemblage, a hard-boiled egg and a bacon-wrapped sausage. There's a shrimp lurking somewhere in the murky, tomatoey depths.
TEA TIME: One lump or two?
I know for a fact that many of you lament that there aren't more places for high tea. It's one of the topics about which I'm most frequently queried. Yes, there's TeBella at the Oxford Exchange, the Milk n' Honey Tea Room and Empress Tea Room in Tampa; Corner of England in St. Petersburg; and the Tilted Teacup Tea Room & Boutique in Brooksville, but what if you learned to do all the fancy high-tea stuff yourself? William Dean Chocolates is offering a class Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. at its Belleair Bluffs location (2790 West Bay Drive), taught by chef Tim Brown from Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island.
Learn how to make everything you need to throw an afternoon tea: finger sandwiches, scones, jam, Devonshire cream, tarts and pastries. The class will also sample some teas from TeBella and everyone takes home enough items to host an afternoon tea (including tea of your choice). William Dean will provide beverages and light snacks. $45 per person. (727) 593-0656.