2 weeks in Florida.
I've just printed out the "must do" restaurant list, but I need a list of "must eats"
Remember the cultural difference, ok?
I'm an Aussie... so the whole concept of a grouper sandwich... or Cuban food is awesomely weird for me!
But Viet food?
I'd argue that I get better here at home.
I want to be able to turn up in Tarpon Springs saying to my hosts, "I want to try...."
So come on Hounds, hit me with yer best shots!
Mexican food. You generally don't find California Mexican here, but can probably find Mexican Mexican, and Tex-Mex where you are with a little bit of digging. And for all the gnashing of teeth about the lack of authenticity, I find many versions of Americanized Mexican tasty as well.
Florida is still technically Southern enough where you can find proper barbecue, which isn't just anything thrown on a grill like some areas use the term but rather meat slow cooked until maximal tender goodness. Just don't get involved in the debate on KC Barbecue v. Carolina barbecue v. Georgia 'cue, as it's almost a religous thing for some people.
Apalachicola Bay oysters- they don't travel terribly well, so the state gets to keep most of the annual crop for a reasonable price. 'Oyster Happy Hour' is common in many coastal areas.
Having lived in Brighton w/ an office in Melbourne for several years I think I can safely say that you will generally not find the Asian cuisine in Florida(I now reside in Orlando but travel throughout the State frequently) on a par w/ OZ. But not bad... Vietnamese w/ in the Orlando Vietnamese community is quite good, decent Cantonese cuisine can be found.
I second the Apalachicola post!
Share where you will be traveling and I am certain there are some Florida Hounds that will tie you in to some exceptionally clasic Florida / Southern eats. Go the Demons!!!
There was a post a while back about florida signature dishes. perhaps I can dig the link up for you.
I'm not sure if you are only going to be in Tarpon Springs area or if you are willing to travel but here are some suggestions arround florida.
I'll start off my by saying the only place I think you would enjoy Vietnamese is in the ViMi District also called Little Saigon in Orlando. Places like Pho 88 and Ba Le Bakery which is vietnamese with a bit of a french influence are stand outs. if you don't happen to get to that area leave vietnamese out of the equation.
Cuban is also prevalent - You should be able to find a good cuban sandwich, some black beans and plantains, cuban coffee or a cuban breakfast.
Puerto Rican cuisine is also very prevelent, I have to say the best puerto rican food I've ever had was cooked by my friends mother, but the tradition pork or beef, beans, rice etc, Is always delicious.
Gator - if you are around an area that serves gator tail, or fried gator bits this is worth a try, I'm not familar enough with autralian cuisine to know if this is something you can get in your home town but it is a florida native food.
Conch fritters or a conch salad if you can find either or, its more prevelant in key west but I bet you could find a place near where you are staying.
Stone Crab - Specifically Joes stone crab in Miami
You mentions a grouper sandwich, I also love a grouper fish taco, or a mahi mahi fish taco
Florida Orange Juice - the good stuff, find it from local farms at your nearest grocery store, publix or whole foods will have some varities.
Orange Blossom Honey or orange blossom pilsner honey beer.
Key Lime Pie - Again more of a florida keys thing, but you can a place near your location.
Also just a mention not food related since you are near tampa/ st. pete. Tampa has the Salvador Dali Museum, if your into art, or like his work you should check it out. I go there every time I'm over there.
Hope you have a wonderful stay. We are just starting to get very beautiful weather.
Good suggestions, Sandwich Sister, but the Salvador Dali Museum is in St. Petersburg, just south of the downtown area, on Tampa Bay. I guess you were generalizing the locale, but would not want to mislead Purple Goddess.
A few more foodie ideas:
Collard Greens - in general - foods of the Southern U.S.
primarily going to be in Tarpon Springs, heading into Miami (for a new tattoo!0 on one day, and staying near St Joseph's for 3 days!
ed to add, I am from Melbourne in OZ, and I work in an area with 197 different and distinct ethnic groups.
I am spoiled by some of the best Greek, Thai, Viet, Japanese, Italian, Ethiopian, Cantonese, Schezhuan, Hunan, Malaysian, Indonesian, Balinese food outside their respective countries.
What we DOn't have is Mex (of any variety), Cajun, South American or "American" food of any description.
Seriously, there is one "American" resto in Melbourne and according to my US friedns it's NOTHING like "American" food.. eg: their Buffalo wings are not authentic and neither are their hot dogs.
I don't know what sliders or hoagies or hush puppies or crawdaddies or Philly cheesesteaks or mufalettas are, so I want to know what's good (and local) to try while I'm there.
If y'all were coming to Melbourne I'd suggest a pie at the footy, and pho in Springvale, and fish and chips at Half Moon Bay (grilled flake being my fish of choice) and a Pine Lime Spice and vegemite on toast and a barbie.
They mightn't be the BEST foods around, but they are a quintessintial Melbourne experience.
THAT's the sort of stuff I am looking for,
re: purple goddess
Here are some spots you'll probably love:
-Cappy's for a Chicago Style Pizza
-Pane Rustica for anything and everything they have (Their burger is amazing)
-Oystercatchers for Sunday brunch (a little expensive, but the best brunch in Tampa)
-Ella's or Queenshead Eurobar for some quirky but creative food