Chamber of Terror: Tampa's Fall Carnival

It may not be Bozo, but have you met Bubba?

Banner, 2019
Welcome to Tampa's only fall festival. After the fall of the Last Laugh Toy Company, the residents have struggled, looking for some form of refuge... Somewhere to call home. That refuge was found just south of Gandy, at a civic center off Oklahoma. There's tents of fun, games of chance, and even a kissing booth. Do you dare take a step inside and experience the fun for yourself?

 Truck, 2019
Chamber of Terror has consistently been one of Tampa's most terrifying haunted houses since their pro debut on the scene four years ago. Prior to becoming a pro haunt, Chamber of Terror spent many successful years as a backyard Halloween event. After taking a year off to reinvent themselves, Chamber of Terror is back and it's time for an entirely new concept.
Bubba, 2019
Right off that bat, I'll say that I've been critical of Chamber of Terror's sets in the past, mainly using the location they've been in as the s…

Iavarone's Italian Steakhouse: A Tampa Favorite

Well, we had to do something nice for Stormy's birthday!

Iavarone's Sign, 2017

 Iavarone's, 2017

So, this weekend was Stormy's birthday weekend and it was time to introduce her to a favorite of ours: Iavarone's. Iavarone's joins the other two restaurants to create the trifecta of Iavarone family run restaurants (The other two being Malio's and Carmine's). Iavarone's is located just off of Dale Mabry, at the corner of Humphrey and and Himes. If you're not familiar with this restaurant, the outside is definitely deceiving. A plain, white building opens up into a beautiful, wooden interior. You don't tend to think "high class food" when you think of Carrollwood, mostly being chains, basic Chinese joints, or some of the newer, in-and-out type restaurants popping up. The first thing you will notice when you go is that the parking lot is ALWAYS FULL. There has never been a time in which I have gone to Iavarones and haven't had to park in the overflow lot. Even then, finding parking is hard. But you didn't come here to hear about the parking, did you?

 Stormy's birthday drink, 2017
A full bar, with Carmine looking on in the background, 2017

The inside of Iavarone's is a perfect juxtaposition to the plain white walls outside. The beautiful, wooden bar, the dark and intimate atmosphere. Just about the only similarity between the inside and outside would be the crowds. Except, replace cars with people. There also seem to be quite a few waiters and waitresses around, which seems to be a good thing for this restaurant as none of them will be too overwhelmed. Our waitress for the evening was Brooke, and she was awesome! Any questions we had about the menu, she was able to answer, and she was also able to suggest just the right toppings for those who chose to get them. But, we're getting too far ahead!

 Meatballs, 2017
 Meatballs, 2017
Italian Wedding, 2017

Before we settled on dinner, we decided to partake in some good ol' fashioned meatballs. You can't come to an Italian restaurant and not have the meatballs, can you? I will say, I tend to be incredibly disappointed with meatballs when I go out to Italian restaurants. I am happy to report that this isn't one of those Italian joints. The meatballs had just the right amount of spice, topped with the perfect amount of cheese and just a touch of sauce. I will also say that I almost never order soup. Not a fan of broth, at all. However, I was feeling a bit under the weather and the name of this soup intrigued me. The Italian Wedding, eh? Bite sized meatballs with some greens in a tasty, clear broth and it helped my throat slightly. I still ate it with a fork, but I'd order it again. My parents and Stormy settled on some salads and they all seemed happy with them. I really don't know why we ordered an appetizer, though... The meals are HUGE. And we knew this going in.

 Prime Rib, 2017
 Salmon covered Oscar Style, 2017
Veal, 2017

This is the first time I've ever ordered a steak here, and I'm not sure why. Prime rib is always a favorite of mine, and a well-cooked prime rib is one way to make me smile. I went with the prime rib (as did my mom, and the reason for a lack of a picture), my dad went with his veal, and Stormy got herself some salmon covered in crab meat and sauce. I went with the 14oz over the 8oz because $4. Anyways, who doesn't want to wake up with leftover steak? The meals also came with a side, so I went with the Fettuccine Alfredo. I have to be able to review steak and Italian food, no? The steak was (barely) cooked to perfection. The only true way to eat prime rib is rare. Moist, just the right amount of fat. It makes a fat man happy. The Fettuccine Alfredo, on the other hand... Left a little to be desired. The sauce was very watery and lacked a lot of cheese. I've had the Alfredo as a meal before and it didn't come out like that, so maybe they were simply scraping the bottom of the barrel for my meal. Regardless, I will say that it didn't hit the standards that the rest of our meal did. My mom got her prime rib medium (I know, disgusting...), and seemed to really enjoy it. Stormy said that her salmon is one of the best she's ever had. Which speaks volumes, as Stormy orders salmon quite frequently. And my dad enjoyed his veal, which isn't surprising since he always orders the veal. Then came dessert! Wait, no it didn't. We were all INCREDIBLY full by then. Perhaps next time.

Caesar Salad, 2017

Things to know before you go:
- Parking does, and always will, suck.
- The restaurant is always busy. This is a gathering place for the Carrollwood area.
- Reservations are highly encouraged.
- This is my personal favorite of the Iavarone family restaurants.
- Come hungry. You wont leave that way.
- You really can't go wrong with anything on the menu.

What is your favorite steak on the menu? Have you been able to save enough room for dessert? 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 (we have new designs!). Also, don't be afraid to click subscribe and you'll instantly be notified whenever a new entry is posted. If you'd like to meet other people who love Tampa, consider joining our Facebook Group. Thank you all and I will see you next time!

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