Last night I had the honor of attending the first – hopefully annual? – Yelptucky Derby.
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.
I arrived a little on the early side and had a surprise waiting at check-in.
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.
Best to get in before the lines, right?
First nibble of the night – a sugar cookie!
It was sweet, soft, and chewy. I gave it two thumbs up!
Next I was greeted by the welcoming committee (courtesy of Busch Gardens)…
…before heading to the barn full of food and drinks.
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
Dark chocolate pecan toffee from Toffee To Go
Sausage bites from Wimauma,
Black eyed pea salad, pimento spread, and mint tea from the Corner Store (and a goodie bag with dried rosemary and chocolate almonds!)
Burger sliders from Green Iguana
Roasted salmon, wilted arugula, and corn pudding from Fred’s Market (my favorite dish of the evening!).
Balsamic Berries from Pelagia Trattoria
Strawberry cookies and local fruit from Parkesdale Farms
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.
(you know I can never turn down a good photo booth!)
And how great is Beka’s necklace?! I want!
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!