Mortar & Pestle: Coffee, Food, Alcohol? Sounds Like a Good Time!

There are a lot of opinions about this restaurant. Lets see what the Exploring Tampa crew thinks!
Mortar & Pestle, 2019
Coming from the ashes of a popular food truck, Mortar & Pestle is a concept that thrives to bring back the old timey pharmacies. You know the ones... You go to get a soda from the fountain, you wander the aisles, make your way to the lunch counter, then leave with your prescriptions. Located on the same block as local favorites Angry Chair Brewing and Trip's Diner, there's no lack of business to be had. This is also one of the few places in Seminole Heights with a real parking lot. Had you never read a review of this place and had you not heard about their filing for bankruptcy, you'd be impressed. The inside of the building is a hipster's paradise, with the industrial looking tables and chairs, the high ceiling, the steampunk-esque inspired decor. The inside of this building is cool. Next door is also a fully functional pharmacy that I wasn…

Margarita Fest 2017

It's the end of May! That can only mean one thing....


Stormy first heard about the event when some friends of ours had invited us. I'll admit, I'm not much of a liquor drinker. What am I getting myself into? We had ended up in Downtown early, early enough to get our wristbands at event open. We were meeting our friends there later that night, but we might as well check it out now. I was relieved to find that Tito's Handmade Vodka had a tent set up, as this would mean that I wasn't confined to strictly tequila. I quickly acquired a watermelon and vodka drink, which went down quicker than I would have liked, given the heat.

Now, I am a born and raised Tampanian, I can deal with heat. The one thing I think the event missed out on most was shade for those of us who didn't spring for the VIP experience. When we had looked into VIP, it was an added $275 (on top of the $20 we already paid for general admission). It didn't seem like that good of a deal when we looked deeper into it. After merely an hour at the event, we decided to head home and cool off. We'd be back later.


Later finally came and it was time to join our group (not pictured above). We get to the fest and partake in some more margaritas. It had also come to my attention that the Barenaked Ladies would be playing at the event. I've never seen them live, and I was a HUGE fan when I was much younger. This makes me happy! Unfortunately, the opening acts weren't as exciting. Cowboy Mouth was annoyingly pretentious while asking the crowd, "What's our name?" At the time, I didn't know or care. This happened between every song. This also went on for about two hours. A frozen margarita later, and it was time for the main event...


The Barenaked Ladies finally took the stage, and they didn't disappoint. They were incredibly energetic and just as much fun to listen to in person. This definitely wasn't one of those bands that had a hit in the 90's that ends up sucking live. They played favorites such as "The Old Apartment," "If I Had A Million Dollars," "One Week," and "Falling For The First Time," as well as playing the theme to the "Big Bang Theory" in its entirety. They ended the show by covering some of the most popular pop songs from today and years past (TLC's "No Scrubs" being our favorite). Finally, the show was over and it was time to take the Downtowner to get back to our car.



Now, we had read some reviews from the 2016 events and can safely say that we agree with some of them. First thing's first, Stormy had ordered the blood orange margarita from the Jose Cuervo tent, only for them to give her a margarita made with Publix orange juice because they "couldn't find" the blood orange mix. The overwhelming majority of the event was upstairs, however, they didn't advertise that, so the event looks really dead until you finally venture your way up there. When you do find it, though, you're treated to food tents, sponsor tents, and more margarita tents. As states earlier, there was no shade for those who didn't splurge for VIP, and VIP was way overpriced for what you were getting. I'm also not a fan of festivals that have you pay upfront and then have you pay premium prices for small drinks (bottles of water were being sold for $3.50).



That said, not all was bad. The $20 was well worth seeing the Barenaked Ladies. Once the sun wasn't beating down on you, the event became a lot more enjoyable. There were a lot of people there having a good time. Curtis Hixon is always a great venue to host an event at, and the view of Downtown Tampa is breathtaking. Unfortunately, the Hillsborough River was blocked off by a chain link fence, but the view of Downtown more than made up for it. Would we go back? More than likely. I just hope they fix a few of the minor annoyances we had.

What was your favorite part of the festival? Who had your favorite margarita? Leave a comment below. If you'd like more information on Tampa, check out my YouTube Channel and if you'd like to support my efforts, don't hesitate to buy a shirt from our Spreadshirt. Also, don't be afraid to click subscribe and you'll instantly be notified whenever a new entry is posted. Thank you all and I will see you next time!

Comments