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Yelptucky Derby

by Meghann on April 27, 2013

Last night I had the honor of attending the first – hopefully annual? – Yelptucky Derby.

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Can you believe I’ve never been to a Kentucky Derby party before? This was my first!

I’ve been a bad Yelper lately. Thanks to a crazy start to 2013 (wedding, honeymoon, new job… you know, the usual excuses) I haven’t been able to attend a Yelp event since last December! Yikes! I missed my Yelp buddies and was excited to finally have an event I knew I could attend!

The Yelptucky Derby wasn’t your average Yelp Elite event. It was actually an annual Yelp party where ALL Yelpers were welcomed – no Yelp Elite status required! It was also not your typical one-host event. The Yelptucky Derby was a celebration of multiple restaurants around the Tampa Bay area. Held at the Winthrop Barn Theatre in Riverview (fun fact: I’d never been to Riverview before last night either) there were over a dozen vendors in attendance, all with enough food to feed an army.

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I arrived a little on the early side and had a surprise waiting at check-in.

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I was voted Yelp Tampa Bay’s Best Writer in the 2012 Best of Yelp awards last year. This was a HUGE honor since the Best of Yelp awards are voted on by fellow Yelpers! This baby is going up in my office!

And in true Meghann fashion, I headed straight for the Enjoi Sweets & Co food truck by check-in.

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Best to get in before the lines, right?

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First nibble of the night – a sugar cookie!

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It was sweet, soft, and chewy. I gave it two thumbs up!

Next I was greeted by the welcoming committee (courtesy of Busch Gardens)…

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…before heading to the barn full of food and drinks.

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I was one of the first inside so I thankfully avoided the major crowds that took over later in the evening. I grabbed my one and only drink ( a glass of red wine) before the line for the bar wrapped around the building. There were over a dozen stations for food, but only one bar and the line got long. People like their drinks!

The food! Oh, the food! There was SO MUCH food! I tried to taste a little of everything, but I could only eat so much before I started feeling stuffed.

Some highlights of the evening included:

Sushi from Hula Bay

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Dark chocolate pecan toffee from Toffee To Go

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Sausage bites from Wimauma,

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Black eyed pea salad, pimento spread, and mint tea from the Corner Store (and a goodie bag with dried rosemary and chocolate almonds!)

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Burger sliders from Green Iguana

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Roasted salmon, wilted arugula, and corn pudding from Fred’s Market (my favorite dish of the evening!).

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Balsamic Berries from Pelagia Trattoria

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Strawberry cookies and local fruit from Parkesdale Farms

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That doesn’t even cover all of it! It was great to have so many local restaurants all in one place. Some local staples I hadn’t had the chance to try yet (Hula Bay, Green Iguana, etc.) and some I’d never even heard of (Fred’s Market, Wimuama, etc.). I left happy and full.

Since I headed straight to the event from a work thing in St. Pete I was attending solo. Luckily I wasn’t solo for long, the cool thing about Yelp events is you’re guaranteed to always run into a few people you know. I spent the majority of the evening hanging out with the lovely Megan and Beka.

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(you know I can never turn down a good photo booth!)

And how great is Beka’s necklace?! I want!

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I also saw Caroline and Genna – it was a TBLB reunion!

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I had a BLAST at Yelptucky Derby! I thought the Yelp team did a great job bringing together a ton of great vendors, as well as providing great entertainment and a fun theme. I didn’t have a big hat, but I was rockin’ a floral print in honor of the derby! I missed my Yelp friends and can’t wait to be back for another event in the near future!

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Andrea R. April 27, 2013 at 11:51 am

First of all… your dress and shoes are AWESOME!! You look great!!
Second of all.. I am starving for a burger slider and that salmon!!
Third of all…. I have never been to a kentucky derby party either and I am mad about it! They sound like a great excuse to get me out of my running shorts/sports bra and into something NICE for a change!!
Andrea R. recently posted..So I am running a race today….

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2 Stephanie @ Steph's Miles April 27, 2013 at 12:06 pm

These Yelp! events look amazing! Congrats on your award for best writer! I NEED to research if they do anything similar in South Florida. A close friend hails from Riverview, actually.
Stephanie @ Steph’s Miles recently posted..Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin

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3 Michelle @ 3cheaprunners April 27, 2013 at 12:40 pm

How lucky are you…so much great food – ALL in one place.
Congrats on your award – what an accomplishment!!!

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4 Chelsea April 27, 2013 at 2:27 pm

You had me at corn pudding πŸ™‚ looks like you had an awesome night, the Kentucky Derby party theme had always been one of my favorites! How did you get involved with Yelp?
Chelsea recently posted..Finally a run outside

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5 Susie April 27, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Congrats on your award! Looks like such a fun (and delicious event), nice work Yelp!
Susie recently posted..Hiding in Plain Sight

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6 Emily April 27, 2013 at 3:24 pm

You look so cute in your award photo. Congrats!

Reminds me to start finishing up some Yelp drafts I’ve been sitting on …
Emily recently posted..The One Where I Went to Safeway Hungry

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7 beka April 27, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Totally deserved award!! Thanks for hanging out last night- I had a good time! πŸ™‚

Here.you.go!
http://www.forever21.com/Product/Product.aspx?Br=F21&Category=ACC&ProductID=1019571913&VariantID=

I like this one too!
http://www.forever21.com/Product/Product.aspx?Br=F21&Category=ACC&ProductID=1028090304&VariantID=
beka recently posted..On Not Being Present…

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8 PeachyLau April 27, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Crossfit is really changing your body! Loving your shoulder definition!
PeachyLau recently posted..What I packed – makeup

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9 Carli April 27, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Congrats on the award! I’d be hanging it in my office too. Sounds like a really great time.
Carli recently posted..Real Into Reads No. 14

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10 Jane @ Not Plain So Jane April 27, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Toffee to go?? I would buy anything from a company with a name like that! Congrats on the award, the ones voted on by peers are always the most rewarding πŸ™‚
Jane @ Not Plain So Jane recently posted..Work-out with Venus Williams

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11 Jan @ Sprouts n Squats April 27, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Wow all that food looked amazing!

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12 Kelly @ Kelly the Culinarian April 27, 2013 at 8:23 pm

I love being a part of the Yelp Elite Squad! It’s such a great way to make new friends and see new restaurants.

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13 stephanie April 27, 2013 at 8:41 pm

i love your dress!!! where did you find it?! so cute.

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14 MealsAndMiles April 27, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Target last summer

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15 Maggie April 27, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Congrats on your award, you totally deserve it! Also, I know I have said it before, but thank you for eating cookies, having a cocktail, and proving that you do not have to eat Paleo, juice 24/7 or anything else excessive, to be happy & healthy. {I’m feeling a lot of pressure from my CF box these days and you keep it real.}
Maggie recently posted..Virtual {Coffee Date}

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16 Karen @ Runner Girl Eats April 27, 2013 at 10:21 pm

I absolutely love events like this. I could live on little nibbles of different meals forever. Also, anything Derby themed is a win for me πŸ™‚
Karen @ Runner Girl Eats recently posted..Duck, Duck, Goose Attack

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17 Frances April 28, 2013 at 7:35 am

I agree with Maggie, you keep it real! Looks like you had a good time, and you looked great. Your bangs look cute pulled back like that! Oh and congrats on the award πŸ™‚

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18 Natalie @ Free Range Human April 28, 2013 at 10:37 am

How fun! I would’ve definitely used the opportunity to wear a fun hat!
Natalie @ Free Range Human recently posted..Feet Before The Fire

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19 Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed April 29, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Looks like a ton of fun. Love your dress!!!!
Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed recently posted..April Whole30: Week 4.5 Meal Plan

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20 Kaitie April 30, 2013 at 7:16 am

Ah, you were in my neck of the woods! I hope you enjoyed your visit to Riverview. And the strawberry cookies from Parkesdale Farms. Had one a few weeks ago and fell in love!

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