It’s live! The Insider’s Guide to Tampa on


I love living in Tampa, Florida! I moved here when I was just a child from Parsippany, New Jersey. It was so long snow and grey skies…hello sunshine and swimming pools! Although I’m always delighted to pack my bags and jet off on a vacation, I just can’t imagine calling any other place home. After reading that, I’m sure you can imagine the excitement I felt when gave me the opportunity to share my top picks for restaurants, cocktails, entertainment and gastronomical food and wine festivals in and around my hometown of Tampa, Florida. I have to admit, narrowing down my favorites to five in each category was incredibly tough. Amazing chefs abound in my neck of the woods! Ask any foodie that lives or has visited here. But, if you dream of bubbling cocktails and gastronomical cuisine…the Insider’s Guide to Tampa on delivers what you’re craving!


Eat, Drink and Enjoy,


Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic



Do you consider yourself a foodie?  Are you a fan of the EPCOT’s Food & Wine Festival? If you’ve answered yes to one of these questions and will be in the Orlando area October 7-8, 2011…I highly recommend you check out the Second Annual Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic located on the causeway between the Swan and Dolphin. Meet celebrity chef, Todd English, listen to sensational musical entertainment and of course, delight in the gastronomical cuisine prepared by culinary geniuses. Looking to learn the art of mixology? Perhaps become a wine or beer aficionado? Sign up to attend one of the many seminars being offered throughout the two day experience.

To learn more about the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic, visit




Enjoy Four Star Hotels On A Budget

Photo Courtesy of [url=]Exquisite Hotels Design[/url]

Comfy beds, designer toiletries, first-class service, soaking tubs, chenille bathrobes…the list goes on. I can’t remember the first time I stayed at a luxurious hotel, but I know once I did, I was hooked! Perhaps you’re thinking I was one of those spoiled rich kids who grew up with a silver spoon in my mouth? Well, I can assure you that wasn’t the case. So, where did my lust for the finer things in life begin? I’m fairly certain I can blame Dynasty, Dallas, Falcon Crest and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous…the TV shows I religiously watched throughout my  childhood, for my lavish taste.

Photo Courtesy of []Pacifica Chamber of Commerce[/url]


With the birth of the Internet, my prayers to be able to afford opulent getaways were answered! Excursion websites are everywhere touting posh travel for less. In order to indulge my jet-setting urges without upsetting the C.P.A. chefy hubby and our family budget, I’ve spent months surfing the Internet for sites that “walk the walk and talk the talk.” If you’ve been stifling your inner travel diva…squelch it no more! I’m divulging the websites I utilize to book champagne adventures on a beer budget!

Photo Courtesy of [url=][/url] – I highly recommend the “Name Your Own Price” section of this site. 90% of the time, I utilize it to reserve four star accommodations. Why? It allows the bidder the chance to select the area of town they want to stay, the star level of the hotel and the price they are willing to pay. The bidder’s credit card is charged only if their offer is accepted. For the years I have been using, I’ve never bid higher than $110.00 a night for a resort level hotel. Most of the time, my submissions between $78 -$90 are accepted for a four star or resort hotel. The same hotel is usually listed on other websites at a nightly rate between $179.00 – $250.00. 

Photo Courtesy of [url=][/url] - Take a look at the vacation packages on this site. When purchasing airfare and hotel together…major savings can be found! Be sure to read the reviews left by former guests before purchasing travel. They are extremely helpful and I always make it a point to read them.  when looking for new places to stay, with or without children.

Photo Courtesy of [url=]Maui Beach Guide[/url] - Check out the “Mystery” hotels this site offers. “Mystery” hotels are ones provides the star rating, reviews from former guests, the area the hotel is located and a room rate at least 50% off the published rate. They call it a “Mystery” hotel, because the buyer only finds out the name of the hotel after they’ve booked it. I’ve purchased several times the “4.5 Star Mystery Hotel” in the Orlando area and have never been disappointed. The accommodations have always been superior. - This is a phenomenal website for Disney enthusiasts and for anyone planning a trip to the parks in Florida and/or California. Sign up on to receive their monthly newsletter, which includes exclusive offers for lodgings around Walt Disney World and Disneyland. 

Photo Courtesy of [url=][/url],,, www.hilton.comSometimes the best deals can be found on a hotel’s own website. Especially if you are a member of their frequent guest program . There’s no charge to sign up and most of the time you’re immediately eligible for discounts that can include “free night stays.” 

The next time you’re aching for an adventure, try booking through one of my favorite sites. After all,  Robin Leach shouldn’t be the only one enjoying “champagne wishes and caviar dreams.”

Photo Courtesy of [url=][/url]


*Disclaimer – Diva With A Fork was not compensated by any of the companies included in this article. They are businesses Diva With A Fork has and continues to purchase travel. Rates noted above are from previous travel. For current room and vacation package rates, visit the websites suggested above or one you frequent.



The Diva’s Trip to the Walt Disney World Dolphin

Swimming, BBQ’s, Camp, Popsicles, Fireworks…Ah! The lazy days of summer are almost upon us. One thing I relish each summer, is vacations with my family. It’s an opportunity for everyone to energize and reconnect. Over Memorial Day weekend, the C.P.A. Chef and I decided to kick off our summer with a trip to Starwood’s Walt Disney World Dolphin in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

As our car approached the hotel, I could feel my body begin to relax. In less than an hour I’d be finding a spot by the pool to people watch and enjoy a swim with my children. While checking in, I inquired if a room with a Disney view was available. Without hesitation, the staff member checked and before we knew it, we were unpacking our suitcases in a room that overlooked EPCOT at no extra charge.




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