I ended up getting a free restaurant.com coupon to The Avenue in downtown St Pete. Urbanspoon gave mixed reviews. I figured we should go on a week night thinking we’d get better service. Nope.
On a Wednesday night, the place was steamy due to a light evening rain. We ordered the chips with blue cheese and our drinks. Don, Em and I waited patiently as our beverages sweated on the bar for 10 minutes before they were delivered to us. Finally we placed our order. We planned to share a Juicy Lucy, a crab mac n cheese and a tuna burger. The chips arrived and they were pretty good. Had we stopped there, it would have been a great meal. But then we got our meal. Bleh. The crab mac n cheese is best described as a box of Kraft drizzled with truffle oil topped with a bland lump of skittled up crab. The juicy Lucy was neither juicy nor fully cooked. It was cold and the cheese stuffed between the two patties was slightly oily, not even melted. Don complained how the meat was slimy and gray looking. As for his tuna burger, it was still cold and you could not even bite through the meat. The sweat potato fries came coated in honey served as a better desert than a burger side. I’m glad we had a coupon, because paying full price for that would have sucked. Honestly, I don’t know why we paid for any of the meals. Instead of raising a stink about it at the restaurant, I rather mull it over and bitch about it on a blog. On the upside, the drinks and chips were good. That’s it.
We had a craving for burgers the other night, so we headed on down to El Cap. I love all of these Mom & Pop restaurants in St. Pete – there are sooo many and they make for a unique experience. Don, Em and I arrived around dusk and headed on in. The weather right now is perfect, so sitting outside was a must! I ordered a Strongbow and the ol man got a PBR. Where else can you get a PBR in a can?!? I got the World Champ burger with cheese, all the way… and a plain one for Em with a side of fries for all of us to split. Don ordered the Daily Double – 2 burgers in 1.
Their burgers are great – juicy and loaded with lettuce, slice of tomato, pickle strips, and mayo – I love mayo on a burger. Jimmy Jones and I would totally not get along.
Disregard the Spanish subtitles (unless you speak Spanish – in that case – Buenos Dias!), but this is a great compilation of the “No mayo on a burger” scenes from The Whole Nine Yards.
After getting our order, it was then that Don remembered to not order the Daily Double. It’s just too darn big! He was a real trooper though and plowed right on through eating every last bit after taking the belt down a notch. Em ate all of the cheese (typical) and most of the meat from her burger and we all wolf downed the fries. I was tempted to get another order, but decided not to push it.
The El Cap is a great local establishment, we always feel welcome there and love that the chef always comes out to say hello to all the patrons. Sure the service may be spotty and the fries are “meh” but the burgers a good and the beer dirt cheap!
Friday night is pizza night in our household… hey we gotta keep up with our annual cheese quota. On this particular night, we decided to go back to Ciccio’s on 4th; they have a really nice thin crust margarita pizza. As we sit down outside, our waiter tells us that the pizza oven is broke – no pizza. ARGHH!!! He does recommend Cappy’s. Thinking this guy’s gotta know his pizzas, we decided to give it a whirl.
We find the restaurant off 1st Ave N & 29th St. – an old bungalow house converted into a pizzeria serving up New York and Chicago style pizzas! By the time we get there, its about 7:30… on a Friday night… and it’s packed. There was no way we could wait with a starving kid! We ended up going to Tijuana Flats that night, but vowed to return to Cappy’s next Friday.
The following Friday, I bolted out of work, loaded up Em from day care and headed home to pick up Don. We made it to Cappy’s by 6PM. There were still booths available, “sit anywhere you like” the waitress said – perfect timing! We took a booth up front and ordered up a small Greek salad and The Cappy, Chicago style. We all shared the salad – Em devouring all of the black olives and potato salad. While waiting for our deep dish to arrive, Don and I quizzed each other with Trivial Pursuit cards. Just about when Em had enough and started to loose it – The Cappy finally arrived. SO. GOOD. Perfectly cooked, excellent sauce and tasty meats. An excellent treat, homey atmosphere, micro-brews in the fridge, great tunes playing, what’s not to love??
Monday was my birthday – and it’s become a sort of tradition for us to go out for sushi. When we moved to St. Pete, we heard that Hook’s was the place to go for great sushi. We ate there a couple of times, but one night, the place was packed – line out the door. So we thought, why not try the place across the street… Sushi Rock Grill. Ever since that night, we haven’t gone back to Hooks. Sushi Rock has a posh urban feel with blue drop pendant lights and alt rock lightly playing in the background. Sure it’s a little dark inside, but it plays to the hip lounge vibe they are going for.
Don, Em and I arrived early and we were the first one’s there. Perfect… prompt attention and no one to aggravate if the kid should start to flake out. We started off with the usual – Spicy Tuna Martini. Over the years, the presentation has evolved, but the taste is the same… delicious! Em drummed on the table with chop sticks while we devoured the tuna.
Now Don and I can tear up some sushi… so we ordered 6 rolls: Crystal Roll, Spicy Tuna Roll, Mexican Roll, Screamer, California Roll (spicy), Unakyu and 2 nigiri: Salmon and Eel. The Crystal Roll, ohh the crystal roll. This is the reason why we keep on coming back to Sushi Rock Grill. The Crystal roll is rice paper with spicy tuna, daikon, cilantro, avocado, cucumber, crunchies, wasabi roe and wasabi mayo. It’s so spicy and fresh – the cilantro and cucumber pairs well with the heat! We ordered some Jasmine rice for Em which she gleefully stuffed in her face and scattered everywhere (sorry to our waiter, I’m sure that was a pain to clean up!) and she tried her first roll, the Mexican. She ate all the good stuff and pulled out the nori! The rest of the rolls were tasty as was the Kirin Light and sake.
I love you Sushi Rock – and we will keep on coming back, especially for that crystal roll!
Don, Em and I headed out to downtown St. Pete for an eat. We strolled down Beach and debated on eating at the Parkshore Grill. Based on the menu posted outside, the food sounds good, but it really didn’t look like a place to bring a one year old. All of the patrons sitting outside were so… glum. As we walked by I said to my husband, “look at them, they just sit there, don’t even look at each other… and no one is saying a word.” This just wasn’t our crowd. Maybe another night when Don and I are feeling uppity and such we’ll head on back to try some grilled Cobia and some seafood risotto.
So the 3 of us slip into Gatsby’s Restaurant. It was early so we were able to get a table inside…ahhh AC! The inside is a little cramped, but since the place was fairly empty, we were able to spread out. For starters, Don ordered the French Onion soup and we got a plate of fries for our small fry. The soup – eh. Not what we were expecting. It was slightly better than opening a can of Campbell’s French Onion soup. The fries – great. The kid loved them, especially with ketchup!
Since it was Friday, and Friday is generally pizza night in our household, I ordered the White Pizza for me and Em to split. Don got the Italian Beef. The pizza was decent and Em liked it too. She ate most of the cheese and spinach off. Don’s sandwich was OK. After working in Chicago, he’s been on a mission to find a really good Italian Beef. Gatsby’s tried, but it wasn’t a winner.
After Gatsby’s, Don, Em and I strolled down Beach to work off our carbs, but quickly stopped in at Cassis for dessert. Ok. What is a brasserie? I’ve seen so many of these pop up lately, so I had to Wikipedia it: In France and the francophone world, a brasserie is a type of restaurant with a relaxed, upscale setting, which serves single dishes and other meals. Well that would explain the cheesy French lounge music I used to hear in Express back in 1992 playing on the Cassis website.
We walk in and the place is lively and yes, it has an upscale setting. We grab a seat in the corner booth by the bar and order a few shi shi drinks. Em had such a great time in there, dancing to the music, watching the servers, and checking out another kid 2 tables away. For dessert, Don ordered the creme brulee and I got a berry napoleon to split with Em. Immediately after the server placed the desserts on our table, Em started pecking off the berries one by one shoving them into her mouth. I have never seen her eat so fast! Momma was left with only some crispy wafers and a bit of cream! Don’s creme brulee was delicious – tons of fresh vanilla and a light sweet crust on top. Overall, loved Cassis and can’t wait to go back to try something off their dinner menu.
A while back, the 3 of us headed to Moon Under Water for an early dinner on a hot summer day. This was my first time here – family and friends said it was good pub food, so I was looking forward to a great meal. We ordered drinks – Don a beer and I had a white sangria. OK, big mistake ordering sangria from an English pub. I wasn’t in the mood for a beer, but I should have known better – YETCH!
For appetizers, we started off with Curry and Fries and Chana Masala. The fries were good but the curry tasted like Prego with curry powder. It wasn’t too bad though – my 1 year old liked it on the fries and pita. But then again, she’ll eat pretty much anything dipped on a fry. The Chana Masala (chick pea dip) was decent – my husband cleaned the plate.
I was planning on ordering a salad, but over heard someone ordering a gyro. That sounded perfect – and it was pretty good too! We ordered Em some fried clam strips (she loves them) and Don got the… you know what, I have no idea what he got. Crap. I think it was a special or something Jerk – and I know he got it with black beans and rice. But he didn’t even have the time or the room to eat it. After chowing down on the chick peas, fries, curry, and Em’s clam strips, he was stuffed! (Left overs made it’s way home as a late night snack.) Also since service was slack, Em was at the end of her rope so we had to wrap it up quick and head on out before clam strips were strewn across the room.
Afterward, we took a walk down by the water where Em toddled back and forth waving hi to every body and making friends. She’s such a cutie!
After what seemed like weeks of being sick (thanks to daycare cooties), we finally ventured back out for a few bites.
While Don was out of town, Em and I did a little shopping at Kohl’s. On the way back, I pulled into the drive thru of Zeko’s Mediterranean Grill for some take out.
My feet were beat and I was in no mood to handle a 1 year old while making dinner. I ordered us a Gyro with fries, potato salad and a side of hummus. It was about 6:30 already, and I was cutting into Em’s dinner time. So, we nibbled on some fries on the way home. HOLY CRAP, Zeko’s makes amazing fries! The cut them into long wedges and these were fresh from the fryer sprinkled with spices. Em would wolf them down and cry for more – I had to stop myself from eating them all!
When we got home, I prepared our plate. I thought Em would have loved some gyro meat or some potato salad. Nope, she stuck with the fries. As for me, the sandwich and salad were OK – typical fast Greek food – nothing to write home about. The next day I tried the hummus. Good, but again, nothing fantabulous (trying to coin a word – will it catch on like ginormous?).
Last night, my husband picked up an assortment of goodies from Luckie B’s Bar-B-Que Bar and Grill. My mother-in-law is in town and staying with us for the week. When the topic of dinner came up, she showed me a few coupons for some Lea & Perrins sauces – with some scrumptious looking chicken on a BBQ grill, sizzling away. Since neither myself nor my husband were in the cooking mood after caring for a sick 1 year old (thank you daycare cooties), I thought of Luckie B’s.
Luckie B’s has finally opened in the old Fleming’s location. My husband says it looks pretty much the same inside except the sauce “bar” is replaced with a case for desserts and the bar area has been sectioned off from the dining area. Luckie B’s also has built on an outside eating area… I bet this will be nice during the cool winter months.
Don brought home a smorgasbord of delectable delights: BBQ Pork Spare Ribs, Rotisserie Chicken, and Brisket, with collard greens, macaroni and cheese, barbecue baked beans and waffle cut fries as sides. All of the meat was perfectly cooked with a deep smokey flavor. The meat fell off the ribs, the chicken had a nice spice to it too, and the brisket tasted great even without any of Luckie B’s signature sauces. As for the sides – the mac and cheese and baked beans were terrific! I didn’t try the greens – that’s up my husband’s alley – but he did say they had a nice kick to them. Em loved the fries
We really do miss Fred Fleming’s Famous BBQ, but Luckie B’s looks like it will be a suitable replacement. Hopefully Luckie B’s will succeed where Fleming’s did not – keep those crowds a-comin! I can’t wait to go back and try the pulled pork and get a slice of carrot cake. Until then…
PS: Dear Luckie B’s – the flying pig in your logo kinda looks like a rat. Maybe you should rethink that design. Just a thought.
Last Saturday, my friend Leigh Anne and I decided to get together for a pre-Mother’s Day late lunch. I was in the mood for Ceviche’s, but found out they were not open for lunch. Then I remembered reading about Nola cafe. We looked them up on Urbanspoon and got a glimpse of their menu. Jambalaya, gumbo, etoufee… sounded good to us! So Leigh Anne, Em (my 1 year old) and I piled in the cruiser and headed downtown. We scored a great parking spot and headed up to 300 and Beach Drive.
Nola is tucked away amongst other little kitschy cafes – it’s really easy to pass it up. When inside, we were greeted by cozy seats, New Orleans inspired artwork, and blissful A/C (it’s not even summer yet and already it’s crazy hot outside!). We ordered the white sangrias and a milk for the little one. The sangria was delicious – a must order next time we are at Nola’s! Leigh Anne ordered a cup of Crawfish Etoufee – which the menu claims that it “may change your life” – I ordered the Shrimp Po Boy for Em and I to share. Leigh Anne proclaimed the etoufee as a little cup of heaven – and wished she had ordered a bowl instead. The shrimp Em and I ate were perfectly cooked with a nice light batter. I pulled out a few shrimp for Em then scarfed down the rest! Em loved hers and ate nearly all of the croutons from my side salad. We all shared the Beignet Bits for dessert – YUM! Save yourself the embarrassment of eating a full beignet and getting powdered sugar all over yourself – order the bits instead!
When we returned home, Leigh Anne and I drank another Sangria – Yago this time (not nearly as good-o) and watched Em play around in the dirt. A wonderful start to a Mother’s Day Weekend!
Overall – I’d recommend Nola’s for a quick bite while out and about in Downtown St. Pete. Though their menu is limited (basically soups, salads and sandwiches), they make up for it with taste!