What an amazing night and so much for which to be thankful! We love that we are able to host First Friday as a way to bring together new businesses, create a sense of a neighborhood in Albany Square, to say thank you to our clients, to make new friends and to give back to the community.
We welcomed to the neighborhood, Squeeze Juice Works and were honored that they used our venue to unveil the new taste of the holiday, Santa’s Little Helper. A fantastic blend of cold pressed pomegranate and tangerine, all of the vitamin C and antioxidants that you will need to stay energized and healthy through the holidays! We loved this juice so much that we made it our signature cocktail for the night (it pairs very nicely with vodka or champagne for some healthy cheer) and for the first time, we quickly ran out! It was a HUGE hit and I don’t think we have ever seen our celebrity bartender, Nick Peterson so busy! Don’t worry, the guests were not left out in the cold, the ladies from Squeeze, Kelly and Candace, also served up samples of their Daily Mean Greens, Galaxie 500 and One Night in Bangkok for everyone to try. Nick even mixed some of these juice blends in some cocktails. Add a little vodka to One Night in Bangkok and you have yourself a zippy and healthy bloody mary type drink! Cold pressed in small batches to maintain the nutritional integrity of juicing, Squeeze has amazing juice and nut milk flavors. Served up in glass bottles (no BPA allowed here!) that you can return for recycling and they also have a frequent rewards card to earn free juice! Want a little something to nosh on for lunch? Always organic, Squeeze has delicious raw and vegan lunch options. Way more than your typical juice bar, Squeeze is a way of life. Located at 226 South Boulevard, the corner of Platt and Boulevard, stop by and see what fantastically fresh fare they have to offer. Lunch menu and juice options may vary with the seasons. Thank you, Squeeze! It’s great to have you in the neighborhood! And thank you, Nick for once again doing a fabulous job manning the bar.
On to the food! It was a night of health and organics and we were lucky to have our dear friend, Vera Farmen, owner of Fruit of the Vine Organics to provide the delightful appetizers for our guests. Vera shared with us the goodness available from the weeks delivery baskets, a decadent portabello and shitake mushroom bruschetta, a fantastic roasted pepper and gorgonzola bruschetta, along with delicious mozzarella and basil stuffed cherry tomatoes! Light, filling and fabulous! Although, I think the hit of the night and the one thing that we witnessed being snuck out of the store, was Vera’s sinfully delicious chocolate chip cookies. Warm, ooey, gooey, chocolatey goodness that made you stomp your feet with pleasure! In addition to her weekly organic fruit and veggie baskets, make sure check out Vera’s cookies as a corporate office gift option! Place your order today and have all of your Holiday gifts taken care of!
We did something a little different this time with our spotlight charity focus, we joined forces with Feeding America Tampa Bay, Metropolitan Ministries, Zach Bonner and the Little Red Wagon Foundation to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest food drive in a 24 hour period. The event started at noon on Friday and ran until noon on Saturday, of course our deadline was the end of the First Friday celebration. Our clients were encouraged to bring in 10 cans for donation in exchange for a 25% coupon to be used at Clayton Gray Home. We knew how fabulous you all were and now we can share with the world, not only did we overflow our collection box, but with the monetary donations we were able to fill a shopping cart with goods and donated a total of 267 pounds of food! We were the largest individual donation as of 11:07 a.m. on Saturday, not sure if we held on to the title, but we are forever grateful for the generosity of everyone who helped us, help the hungry and needy in the Tampa Bay area. And yes, Zach accomplished his goal and set a new World’s Record! If you want to know more about how you can help out this holiday season, check out Feeding America Tampa Bay for more information on food drives, their upcoming Empty Bowls event on November 20th, or make a monetary donation. Just a $1 donation will provide 7 meals to those in need in the Tampa Bay area and 1o surrounding counties.
Save the date for our next First Friday Event, December 5th. More fabulous food, drinks and charity fundraising to get your holiday season started off just right! Until next month, Cheers!