Have you heard of Yelp yet? I am amazed with the amount of people and business owners that do not know what Yelp is. Yelp is basically a community for consumers to review and recommend businesses. It is also an amazing tool that gives you information that you need. Say that you are driving around in an area that you are unfamiliar with and you realize that you are starving. Where to eat? No problem, Yelp has you covered. Pull the app up on your smartphone or laptop and click on "Nearby" to see the closest restaurants. It will also tell you their hours, phone number, link you to directions, show you pictures and let you read reviews. Amazing. You can even limit your search to currently open restaurants if you are a night owl like me. Then you read the reviews and tips to find out what that restaurant is best known for and what to avoid. Yelp is a great tool that I recommend to everyone even if you are not interested in doing reviews. If you ARE interested in reviewing restaurants; then I have a goal for you. There is a special group of people on Yelp that are Elite. Yelp Elite members are members that are known for doing honest, helpful reviews often (I typically try to post a few reviews every week or two, some people do more and some do less). I recently obtained the Elite status and trust me, it is worth obtaining.
Yelp Elite perks include a monthly Elite event generally with swag bags and complimentary food and drinks (sometimes alcoholic). You also receive special contests and sometimes bonus events (our awesome Yelp Tampa Community Manager Brett had two bonus events for us last month). Basically you get to experience a lot of the best your area has to offer for free (tipping is suggested).
I have been very busy lately and most of it has been free and amazing events thanks to Yelp. I participated in a Yelp Elite twitter contest and won Lewis Black tickets! So, Thursday I spent my night laughing away with my Husband at the Straz Center. Talk about a great free date. Lewis Black was hilarious. He received a standing ovation upon walking onto stage and said
"I wish I was seeing the show that you people seem to think you are going to see. It sounds f*ing amazing!". This made the crowd clap and holler even more. I highly recommend seeing him if you get a chance to.
On Friday night we attended an Elite event at Fitlife Foods in Tampa. I have actually been to the Fitlife Foods in St. Pete several times and I was excited to check out the Tampa location since it is larger and where they make all of the food. This was my first Elite event, but I have been told that you are treated like royalty at these events and it is true (okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration...but roll with it). They had food stations set up all throughout their kitchen. I was diligent about taking pictures in the beginning, but then I got distracted by the food. :)
|The first station we walked into- a quinoa veggie mixture on the left and surf and turf on the right|
|Next we visited the "freezer man" who spends his entire shift in the freezer (they cut the meat in the freezer to keep it fresh). He showed us how to cut salmon.|
We were offered samples of: steak, salmon, a quinoa veggie salad (I can't remember what this was called and I am not able to find it on their website), fresh veggies and tortilla chips with a Chili Lime Dip, Queso and Spinach Artichoke Dip, Sicilian Chicken Meatballs and lots of dessert items. I honestly tried hard NOT to look at the dessert. Even though it is healthier, it is not something that I am supposed to be eating. I lost my battle when I saw their carrot cake. It is cut into a square almost like a cookie bar. It was so moist and delicious. I definitely picked the right cheat item. There were also brownies, cookies and some other treats. Did I mention that the samples were "eat as much as you want"? My favorite items were the Sicilian Chicken Meatballs and the Carrot Cake. Everything was really good though.
Fitlife Foods also sent us home with swag. Our two bags were slightly different. Between the two we received a water bottle, an energy drink, three cups of granola, 2 free meal vouchers, 3 fruit bars and two cookies. Thanks to Fitlife Foods and to Brett our CM for organizing this.
If you are one of my national readers outside of Tampa, Yelp is everywhere. The above link is to their main page...not the Tampa page. Join and find out if your city has Yelp Elite. If nothing else, you will have an awesome resource for food and services.
Disclaimer: I received all of the mentioned items for free as a Yelp Elite member. I was not asked to write about it and did not receive anything in exchange for this post. All words and opinions are completely my own.