FROM THE EDITOR: Behind the Scenes at Craft Street Kitchen
When I first visited the new Craft Street Kitchen in Oldsmar, February 7, 2016, I came unannounced and with a friend. If you read my February 9th review, then you already know what happened: we came, we ate, we drank, we loved, and I took pictures. Then I wrote all about it on Florida Illustrated.
It quickly became Florida Illustrated’s most popular post, with over 700 shares on social media. It was through the publication of this initial review that I met Craft Street Kitchen Oldsmar’s social media coordinator and fellow blogger, Laura Gilstrap. Laura had recently written a piece introducing Craft Street Kitchen Oldsmar’s new pastry chef, Monika Rodriguez, for her blog Follow Your Bliss. When she contacted me about sharing this post on Florida Illustrated, I jumped at the opportunity to collaborate.
It’s not often that Florida Illustrated gets to go behind the scenes and work with local residents and business owners, but it has its advantages. This time, it meant being able to photograph every dessert on the menu. Now that you’ve met Craft Street Kitchen’s pastry chef, it is time to meet their desserts.
Introducing Craft Street Kitchen Drinks & Desserts
By Laura Gilstrap
Photographs by Jennifer Ring
A delicious and well-crafted dessert can be hard to come by. Now try finding a great dessert AND a tasty after-dinner cocktail, and one might say it’s like finding a unicorn at the end of a rainbow. However, when we first broke the news of Craft Street Kitchen’s arrival in Oldsmar in February 2016, the dessert menu was just being crafted. Now the team—owner Jon Rehn, Managing Partner Danielle Becker, and Pastry Chef Monika Rodriguez—are set to begin their new dessert crusade. Here is what to look for on your next cocktail and dessert-ing venture:
Playful Drinks and Desserts
The Craft Street Kitchen team in Oldsmar is serious about their drinks and desserts. But the menu also includes a healthy dose of fun, including spirited garnishes like the shot of Trader Vicks Kona Coffee liqueur perfectly placed on the side of their Please Sir Can I Have S’more chocolate and Kona Coffee liqueur mousse. The delicious and playful Lemon Meringue martini concocted by Craft Street Kitchen’s talented bartender Melissa; with Nolet’s gin, extra virgin olive oil, egg whites, lemon juice, and a homemade lemon simple syrup; is garnished with a candied lemon peel.
Your Next Date Night
Already a Craft Street Kitchen dessert fan? Then you’ll be pleased to know your beloved Bourbon Banana Bread Pudding, Founders Raspberry Chocolate Cheesecake, and Peanut Butter Pie are still on the menu. While the Craft Street Kitchen pastry chef did not craft a menu with courtship in mind, all sweets are great as a date-night sharable.
Boozy Desserts and Chocolate Martini’s
Alcohol and dessert are pretty great on their own, but when combined, the results are often epic. Pastry Chef, Monika Rodriguez, created her Strum-Chata Strawberry Shortcake specifically for Craft Street Kitchen. This beauty includes grilled sour cream pound cake, Rum-Chata marinated strawberries, strawberry cheesecake ice cream, whipped cream, balsamic drizzle, and a fresh Florida strawberry. This decedent dessert pairs lovely with Craft Street Kitchen’s Espresso Martini, which includes Three Olives Espresso Trader Vic’s Coffee Liqueur and cream, and is garnished with espresso beans.
Happy Hour, Early and Late, Every Day
The old “never too much of a good thing” adage definitely applies to happy hour, and you’ll find plenty of it here. Craft Street Kitchen in Oldsmar offers hours of happiness from 4–7pm Monday–Friday and 11–7pm on Saturday and Sunday. Happy hour includes $1 off all on-tap beers, $4 house wines, and $4 well drinks. On Tuesday’s their craft cocktails and martinis are $2 off all night, and Thursday nights are ladies nights—$5 craft martini’s and ½ off all house wines.
No one really needs a reason, an occasion, or even a certain time of year to indulge in a tasty drink or playful dessert. Rather, just remember that eating is all about feeding the soul. Ernestine Ulmer said it best…
“Life is short. Eat dessert first.”