Posted by: Shannon @ A Dash of Sparkle | March 10, 2013

Books at Oxford Exchange & Lunch at Piquant

After my community garden adventures yesterday morning, I made a quick stop at one of my favorite Tampa spots – Oxford Exchange.


I’ve been there a number of times since its opening last fall, and it’s amazing to see this unique spot really blossom into one of the hottest places for locals and visitors alike to shop, eat, meet, and hang out.


The two-story building located right across the street from the University of Tampa on West Kennedy Blvd boasts a restaurant (which is open for breakfast/lunch/tea on weekdays and brunch/tea on the weekends), tea shop, coffee shop, retail shop and a bookstore all on the first floor. The second story is made up of a membership-based Commerce Club and offices.

I have been to the restaurant a few times, but typically I focus my attention on the book store which is made up of the most beautiful volumes and organized in the most creative way I’ve ever seen. Instead of the typical “fiction” and “biography” type sections, they opt for “Just Shy of Chick Lit” and “Romances That Would be Sanctioned by the British Museum” type nooks.


I love perusing the shelves to see what new unique finds they have.

Yesterday, I grabbed a caramel latte from the coffee shop, Buddy Brew (a local Tampa Bay company who uses Melitta products and old-school coffee-purist methods), and headed to the book shop with a very particular book title in mind.



Since I could spend ages looking through everything, I asked the book manager for assistance and she tracked down my book from the “Books BIG Enough to Move Into”…


I can’t wait to dive into this bad boy.

After I trotted off happily with my new book, I went to meet up with Nick for a bit of lunch.

Our pick? A new place that just opened in Hyde Park Village…

Screen shot 2013-03-09 at 7.10.11 PM

I had read about Piquant in the Tampa Tribune in January before they opened and was instantly intrigued by these chefs making delicious French food from scratch with the freshest ingredients.

We hit it just after the lunch rush, so we were offered seating right away. I really liked the modern interior…


I was particularly interested in the bakery display…


But, we opted to eat outside since the weather was so beautiful.

Our waitress, who was also named Shannon (always a good sign) presented us with two menus, the food (breakfast and lunch) and tea.

Since I love herbal tea, I selected the Earl Grey Lavender tea (so did Nick) and was delighted by the way they steep it and then bring it to your table in this funky little pot that just sits on your tea cup and pours out the brewed tea, minus the leaves into your cup.


I so want one of these for home! I would buy loose leaf tea if I had one of these.

For lunch, Nick opted for the chicken salad sandwich served on a croissant with avocado and cheese, and a side of homemade potato chips.


I went for the brie and spinach baguette with tomato jelly and a side of pomme frites (french fries).


The bread was wonderfully soft inside despite the very thin crisp crust and I was thrilled to see the melted brie just oozing over the sides of the bread. The tomato jelly was a real surprise as it added a nice touch of sweetness to the sandwich and complimented the earthy flavor of the spinach.

I also loved how they served the food on a wooden plank/board, but it did make for a crowded table, what with our various drinks and then both our lunches on the table. We were dropping a few things.

Once we cleaned our plates wooden boards, I knew I had to at least try something from their dessert menu. They were a french bakery after all. My choice was the chocolate chip cookie, which came out as a petite little ball…


It was crunchy on the outside, but had plenty of gooey chocolate inside…


With full bellies, Nick and I both agreed that Piquant would be a new favorite weekend stop.

I can’t wait to try the brunch!


  1. […] get a workout in, but followed it up with a decadent breakfast at Piquant (one of my faves since trying it back in March  in Hyde Park […]

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