May 09 - long post - Anna Maria Island, Brandon, Gainesville, High Springs, Longboat Key, Pinellas Park, Siesta Key, St. Petersburg, Sun City, Tampa
Below are my May adventures, but first two from April I never posted.
Saturday, April 18th, 2009 (Siesta Key)
Breakfast at the Broken Egg---www.thebrokenegg.com ---was good. My wife Toni had the waffle with Strawberries and we shared scrambled eggs. I had the stuffed french toast with bananas and walnuts which was not quite as good as I thought it would be, but still worth trying. This is a good cafe to go to if you are in the area, but not worth a detour.
[Sometime in April, 2009] (Tampa)
Ate with Toni and my mom at CDB's Southside Italian Restaurant & Bar---www.CDBsSouthside.com . We shared Spinach Lasagne, Spinach Manicotti, and pizza with pepperoni and spinach (my fave combo). All was very good and service was excellent. For me pizza is all about the sauce, and CDBs came through.
Friday, May 15th, 2009 (Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key)
First time eating dinner at the Rod and Reel on Anna Maria island---875 N Shore Dr ---which I assumed was popular primarily for its ambiance, being right on the water, and you are allowed to bring your fishing pole. But the food was decent. I had blackened shrimp and Toni had fried shrimp. My side of yellow rice was decent as well. Afterwards we drove to Longboat Key and picked up dessert from Euphemia Haye---www.euphemiahaye.com . There was a piano player and great balcony seating, so we will definitely be back, but not just for the atmosphere. The dessert was exceptional. I had their signature dessert apple walnut crumble, but even better was the key lime pie that Toni got and let me try. I had thought that no place could hold a candle to the Blonde Giraffe in Key West, but this key lime pie was just as light and just as good, if not better.
Saturday, May 16th, 2009 (Brandon)
Afternoon snack, picked up Sicilian Pepperoni Rolls from Old Chicago in Brandon---www.oldchicago.com ---, always tasty. For dinner went to O'Toole's Irish pub---www.otoolesirishbar.com/ . Appetizer was "Irish Egg Roll - Three crispy rolls filled with savory cabbage, corned beef and Swiss with Russian dipping sauce;" the sauce was really just thousand island, probably with horse radish. Dinner for me was "Drunken Pork Shanks - Braised in Smithwick's Irish Ale and drizzled in mushroom gravy" accompanied by mashed potatoes and green beens. The pork was tender and somewhat lean. Toni had Brie Baked Salmon and my mother had the best meal with Shepherd’s pie. They split apple pie for dessert and told me it was not that good. They had karaoke starting at 9.30pm, but we had to leave. =(
Sunday, May 17th, 2009 (Sun City)
Out running errands, Toni and I stopped by Sonny's Real Pit Bar-B-Q---www.sonnysbbq.com --- in Sun City. I had never had ribs there so I got the Rib Sampler, their St. Louis ribs and their baby back ribs, with a side of corn nuggets (corn and cheese fried...I am surely going to die soon=). The St. Louis ribs were decent, with the "sizzlin/sweet" sauce, but I preferred the baby back ribs, especially since I had never had baby back ribs before, so they were a novelty. Nothing compared to D & R BBQ in Sarasota, but good enough, and we have always had good service at Sonny's.
Monday, May 18th, 2009 (Pinellas Park and St. Petersburg)
Lunch was La Teresita---7101 66th St, Pinellas Park. I grabbed their Monday special, Masitas de Puerco, which was "Pork Chunks marinated Cuban style fried with onions" with yellow rice and fried plantains. All I can say is Yum! Be sure to ask for your bread without butter beforehand, if you do not want butter. For dinner went with my brothers to Chi-Town Dogs---www.chi-towndogs.com . We shared 3 polish sausages. One regular polish grilled with onions and mustard. One regular polish deep fried with hot peppers, neon green relish and onions. And one spicy hot polish/firedog (not really spicy though) with hot peppers and neon green relish. Everything was Vienna Beef brand, including the relish and buns. As a matter of fact, they have a host of Vienna Beef products you can order if you want to cook the stuff yourself, which I am definitely going to take them up on. Their prices seem pretty reasonable, compared to what I used to pay when I lived in Chicago and would drive down Damen and pick the stuff up directly from the Vienna Beef building. Overall, a better than decent dining experience, especially since they will cook everything exactly the way you want it.
Thursday, May 20th, 2009 (High Springs)
There is a new restaurant that replaced Floyds a few months ago that I went to with my in-laws called Fleetwood Diner---http://www.gainesville.com/article/20090520/ARTICLES/905201005 . This is a new location from the Fleetwood Diner in Ann Arbor MI. The food was okay, I stuck with the Greek specialties. The Saganaki was okay, they did do the actual Opa! + flame at the table which is always fun, and the gyro was decent especially the sauce. Also had some sweet potato fries, also okay.
Friday, May 21st (Gainesville)
Went to Sisters for the first time with Toni, her sister and her sister's husband---www.oliveyoueatwell.com . Still in the mood for Greek, I had the Meze Breakfast Plate which was okay, but not worth the price. If I go back I will get the Challah Bread French Toast, stuffed with Sauteed Apples and Applewood Smoked Bacon, which Toni's sister had, and was yum. Toni enjoyed her Huevos Rancheros. Afterwards we went to the Village Market---www.villagemarketathaile.com . I had a strawberry/mango fruit bar which was not bad. A little later I stopped by Mi Apa Latin Cafe---112 SW 34th St---and grabbed a freshly made Mango juice, very good! The four of us wanted to go to Steamers for dinner, but it was closed, so we went to their sister restaurant Buddha Belly---www.buddhabelly.us . We tried a number of things, very few of which we were able to finish! The big surprise was the Sweet Romaine salad, with goat cheese, walnuts, craisins, cherry tomatoes and their homemade raspberry vinaigrette. The shrimp fried rice was of course good. The Ocean Monk sandwich was good for me, especially with some of their spicy vegetarian sauce they brought over. We tried all of the tantric fries, which were all okay, but not must-tries.
Friday, May 22nd, 2009 (Brandon)
Met Toni for lunch at Singual---www.sinigualrestaurants.com . It appears as though this is only one of two locations, the other in NYC. It was pretty good, though maybe not worth the prices. The highlight was the fresh guacamole, which they made for us right at the table, a first for me. Toni does not do spicy, so we got it mild, but you have the option of spicy, which I am definitely going to go back and try. Toni had a shrimp enchilada which was not bad, and I had the Chile Relleno, which I liked. The nice thing was that it was also good leftover, just popped it in the toaster oven for 5 minutes.
Saturday, May 23rd, 2009 (Tampa)
Dim Sum at TC Choys, good as usual. Afterwards we went to Schakolad, but it was closed. We drove to SideBerns---www.sideberns.com , also closed. But inside the building was Bern's Fine Wine & Spirits---www.bernsfinewines.com . The fellow behind the counter recommended Pane Rustica---www.panerusticabakery.com ---, so we went there. I had swiss chocolate gelato, my mom had a coconut almond square, and my sister had peanut butter cup gelato. The best was my brother in law's choice, mango gelato. They have just started serving sourdough bread, and so we took some home. I had a bite last night, it was delish.
Tuesday, May 26th, 2009 (Tampa)
Stopped by California Tacos---1450 Skipper Rd---for a snack. We got Tijuana Street tacos, 3 for $3, and only slighly spicy, so Toni could eat them, and we both liked them. Supposedly their fish tacos are the best, according to the owner/manager. Later we grabbed some Swedish meatballs and lingonberry sauce at the new IKEA in Tampa, which were good, but not as good as when we make them at home. That night we made the mistake of going to CDBs on Fowler, forgot the CDBs that is good is on West Shore Blvd. We had spinach lasagna which was too cheesy and somewhat bland. =(
Thursday, May 28th, 2009 (Tampa)
First time visiting the Taco Bus---www.tampatacobus.com . The woman who took my order told me the bus had been around for 5 or 6 years, and had been in this location in 1 or 2 years. I had a Burrito Prenado with Cochinita Pibil and loved it. The green sauce on the table made it even better, I am guessing it was a green chile sauce that was just a little bit spicy, though a little too salty. Washed it down with delicious Jarritos brand sodas---www.mexgrocer.com/brand-jarritos.html --- only slightly carbonated and manufactured in El Paso; the Mango was good, but I think I preferred the Mandarin Orange. The Tamarind tasted a bit too much like apple juice.
Finally tried the "spicy" guacamole at Singual a couple of weeks ago, and it was a strong medium. The server said if I truly wanted it hot, I could ask, but I was content with the medium, it was just enough to make my nose start to run after 1/2 of it was consumed. =)
Mr. Bones: I tried it with 3 other people. food is just OK... Atmosphere sucks. Service was great. He does not allow mustard or ketchup on tables. He says his food is seasoned correctly, and does not need anything else. His beer is in a old fashion ice cooler, and hard to keep cold in Florida in 90 degree weather.
Sorry, just telling you the way it is. There are much much better BBQ joints all around the Sarasota area.
After seeing more and more California Taco posts popping up, I ended up there tonight with my SO. Darn good fish tacos - the first place where I didn't scrape off the cream by the end of the meal. But Taco Bus still has better sauces. Having the agua frescas makes it for me.
I like the sauces at Taco Bus as well, especially the Green chile. I took Toni there and we had tacos, which I have to say were not nearly as good as the burritos, probably because they are able to pack so much more veggies in the burrito. I went one more time, last Sunday morning. Their website said they open at 7am I think, but it said 7.30am when I got there at 6.40am. So I asked them what time they opened, and they replied that they had chorizo ready, so I had a chorizo breakfast burrito. It was good, but wouldn't stay together, so I had to open it up and eat it with a fork before I could re-wrap it. Nice of them to serve early! =)
Thanks for the extra endorsement of CT, I will be sure to go back there when I can to eat a proper entree.