‘Tis the season for food. So in the spirit of the holidays, here are three deals to fill your belly -- and maybe even your heart.
SARASOTA: Dining discounts. The Sarasota-Manatee Originals are back with their 30 percent off sale. The group is a consortium of independently owned restaurants in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Starting Dec. 12, 2013, discounted gift certificates will be available at dineoriginal.com -- perfect for holiday presents, or those nights of wrapping gifts when you’re too busy to cook. Get a $50 certificate for $35, a $25 certificate for $17.50, a $20 certificate for $14 or a $15 certificate for $11. In the past, certificates for some participating restaurants have sold out within hours or even minutes, so act fast. You can always save your certificate to print and use it later.
TAMPA: Eat, sleep, repeat. Tampa’s new “foodie hotel,” the Epicurean, is set to open Dec. 18, 2013. I got a sneak peek for my day job at WUSF Public Media, and let me just say: Wow. We're talkin’ goat cheese in the guest rooms, edible spa treatments and even vegetables growing out of the dining room walls. Nightly room rates start at $269, but active-duty and retired military members can take advantage of the hotel’s “Home for the Holidays” rate of $99 per night. Just bring your military ID when you check in. The offer is valid from Dec. 20, 2013, to Jan. 6, 2014. Call (855) 829-2536 or go to epicureanhotel.com.
ST. PETE BEACH: Football fantasy. I’m not a big football watcher, but I’m pretty pumped about the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl, happening Dec. 23, 2013 at St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field. For starters, East Carolina is taking on my alma mater, Ohio University. (Go Bobcats!) Then there’s all the hoopla surrounding the game. TradeWinds Island Resorts, the event’s official beach resort, is offering a TradeWinds Beach Bowl package. It includes a night of accommodations and 20 percent off food and beverages on the property. The package starts at $119 for two football fans. For reservations, call 866-JUST LET GO (587-8538) or visit justletgo.com/bowl. Extra point: The first 100 people to book the package will get two free general admission game tickets. And everyone is invited to a weekend full of game-related activities, including a tailgate cookout on the beach. Beef ‘O’ Brady’s is a sports restaurant, after all.