Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Skipper's Smokehouse - Tampa, FL

Go, go, go!!! This is an experience not to be missed. I went to Skipper's on Sunday night for Christie Lenee's cd release celebration, which was a phenomenal performance by Christie. This was my first visit to Skipper's and I wasn't sure what to expect. I am happy to say it was a cool experience. The property is a hodge podge of restaurant, bar, and outdoor concert venue thrown together to form Skipper's. It is simple and basic and that is the charm of the place.

To start off, we ordered dinner from the restaurant. I ordered the breaded shrimp and my husband ordered the smoked mullet. Dinner comes with hush puppies and choice of sides. Both the shrimp and mullet were good and very satisfying. If you like, you can do as we did and take a tray with your food out to the outdoor concert arena to enjoy your food. There are benches and tables of a sort outside.

You can buy your drinks from the bar inside the arena. I have to say the crowd there is a very ecclectic mix and it is a fun venue for all ages. Along with the big kids dancing, there were little kids tearing around and burning off their excess energy dancing. The music was great and the outdoor arena provided plenty of shade, so no worry about being scorched by the sun. With the great live music venue that Skipper's offers, this is a place I plan to drop by often. You can check out their website for upcoming live music shows.

Skipper's Smokehouse
910 Skipper Road
Tampa, FL 33613

Skipper's Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 22, 2009

Datz Delicatessen and Foodie's Market - Tampa, FL

First off, I am going to say that I will go back to this place again and again. I went there on a Friday night to hear Emily Roff and Julie Black sing. Emily sang the first half of the evening and Julie sang the second half. About their singing, all I can say is.... wow! Datz deli was buzzing. What is Datz? Deli, wine bar, or restaurant? It kinda combines all those things into one. There is a cool loft upstairs and downstairs there are a few tables and a small corner set aside for singers. One side of the store is set aside for take away deli items, rustic looking breads, and delicious desserts. They have a case of international beers and microbrews, so you can build your own six pack.

When I was there that night with my family, we ordered a burger, a reuben, and a beef brisket sandwich with green chili's. All of the sandwiches come with sweet-n-salty potato chips with a blue cheese drizzle. The blue cheese drizzle lifted the potato chips to a new height that we all absolutely loved. All of the sandwiches were pure and good comfort food. Next time I want to try the wine because they had a nice selection of wined from around the world. Also, I want to try the cheese flights and the bread there looked very good. Oh, I almost forgot. For dessert, we had the sachertorte. A sachertorte is a chocolate cake with liquer, a thin glaze of almond preserves, and a chocolate ganache over the cake. This cake is very good, and don't forget to ask for whipped cream on the side, just the way they serve it in Austria.

The service was very good here, and the management comes around consistently to see how all the guests are doing. Also, there is no rush to give up your table and head out the door. We observed that people who were there stayed for a long time and there was a huge demand for a table up until about 10 o'clock because this place seems to be very popular. After that, it started to quiet down a bit. This was really a fun place with great music. You can check out their music calendar and menu online.

Datz Delicatessen
2616 S Macdill Ave
Tampa, FL 33629-7220

Datz Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Running in Florida is........Hot

Having lived in Florida for a combined total of almost 8 years, I am still not accustomed to the summer heat. Without fail, every year it takes me by surprise. I am always so sure that it was definitely not that hot last summer. However, yes it was. From about the middle of June to the middle of October, I find those four months very difficult. It wasn't so bad until I took up running almost five years ago. Prior to that, I thought it was okay as long as you move real slowwwwww. But, then I took up running.

During the summer months, I brave the outdoors for my run about once a week, but the rest of the time I stick to the treadmill. Oh, I know, it is rather boring and it is not quite the same workout. Sometimes, I try to start my run on the treadmill and finish outside. It's always interesting because sweat doesn't really evaporate too much in the hot season because Florida is so humid. And there is no relief, such as a cold front moving in. Not gonna happen. I have to applaud those runners who run outside in Florida year round. Me, I can't wait until October comes around. What do you do for your runs in the summer???

Bella Brava - St Petersburg, FL

I have to say I love Bella Brava for the great ambiance and the great menu selection they offer to their customers. It is laid back, yet you feel comfortable whether you choose to dress up or dress down. The mood is very nice in the evening with the candlelight and the pizza oven that dominates the back of the restaurant. I like to go there for a quick lunch sometimes and have one of their panini's.

On my most recent visit there, I sat on the outside balcony that overlooks Central Avenue in downtown St Petersburg. Luckily, they offer fans blowing a cool mist, and the trees provided shade, also. That day, I was eating light and enjoying a cold beer, so I ordered the carrot soup. The soup was delicious and along with that they offered bread and olive oil for dipping. The bread is always very good there, along with everything else. The service was good and prompt.

Bella Brava
515 Central Avenue
St Petersburg, FL 33701

Jolli Mon's Grill - Dunedin, FL

On Sunday, my family and I braved the heat to hear local singer Jayne Kelli and friends play at Jolli Mon's in Dunedin. I say brave the heat because it was a late afternoon performance done outside and we all know sweltering Florida can get this time of year. Jayne Kelli gave a wonderful performance and I think she deserves extra points for performing in that heat.

This was my first time at Jolli Mon's and I have to say I enjoyed my time there. It was Sangria Sunday, so I opted to go with that and it was a perfect drink for the weather. We started with the tortilla chips and homemade chipotle salsa which was nice and chunky and smoky tasting. For entrees, my husband ordered the grouper reuben and I ordered the fish tacos. I liked the fish tacos, but I have to say I loved the grouper reuben that my husband ordered. Altogether, it was good food and service. Also, I like the fact that they seem to keep a full musical calendar throughout much of the month.

Jolli Mon's Grill
941 Huntley Avenue
Dunedin, FL

Jolli Mon's Grill on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

SweetBerries Frozen Custard and Eatery - Bradenton, FL

Mmmm... Frozen custard, delicious. I like the Caramel Crunch concrete, or the Hot Fudge Sundae with chocolate sprinkles. They have a ton of mix-ins for creating endless possibilities. I might even like it better than ice cream. I also like the grilled sandwiches. Need I say more?

SweetBerries Frozen Custard and Eatery

4500 Manatee Avenue West
Bradenton, FL 34209

Sweetberries Frozen Custard & Eatery on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Hob Nob - Sarasota, FL

The Hob Nob is a drive in, open air burger joint located in Sarasota along US Highway 301. It has been in Sarasota since 1957 and is rather a bit of an institution in Sarasota.

I went to the Hob Nob and it almost felt a little bit like going back in time. I went there and wanted just the basics, a good greasy burger and a basket of french fries with a shake. They didn't disappoint and the food was good and the open air experience was fun. This is a classic drive in and fun for adults and kids alike.

The Hob Nob
1701 N Washington Blvd
Sarasota, FL

Hob Nob Drive In Restaurant on Urbanspoon

The Oasis Cafe - Sarasota, FL

In the need for breakfast on Sunday morning, my family and I went to the Oasis Cafe in Sarasota. We had checked out its menu previously when dining at it next door neighbor, Shakespeare's Pub and liked the looks of the selections offered.

The cafe is pleasing to the eye with trays of baked goods displayed in the window. We started our breakfast off with coffee and one of the warm cinnamon rolls. The roll was delicious with a hint of orange in the frosting. For breakfast we tried the Spanish omelette, the croissant french toast, and the salmon scramble. We all enjoyed our breakfasts and thought it was a nice way to start the day. Service was good and they made sure to come around often to see if there was anything we needed. They also offer lunch Monday through Saturday.

The Oasis Cafe
3542 S Osprey Avenue
Sarasota, FL

Oasis Cafe on Urbanspoon

Yeomans Pub and Grill - Tampa, FL

Yeoman's is a English style pub situated on Davis Island in Tampa and you will recognize it by the red English phone booth that sits outside the door. It often offers live music, which was our reason for heading there this past Saturday night.

To get things started, we order a beer off of their extensive beer list. They had a number of beers on tap and more by the bottle, but I would like to have seen more English or import beers on tap than what is currently offered. For food they offer some of the usual English pub grub, such as fish and chips, but we just went for the appetizers. We tried the usual medium buffalo wings and the more unusual garlic butter wings and both were good. The service was good with a few light jokes thrown in for good cheer. All in all, a nice experience.

Yeomans Pub and Grill

236 E Davis Blvd
Tampa, FL 33606

Yeoman's Road Pub on Urbanspoon

Banyan Coffee and Tea Company - St Petersburg, FL

My family and I made our way over to the Banyan Coffee and Tea Company in downtown St Pete. I have been wanting to try this for awhile, and I have to say I was glad we made it over this last Saturday morning. First off, the decor inside is very charming and comfortable and I love the long fans hanging from the ceiling. For seating, we could sit at the bar, at some small tables, a booth, or outside on the sidewalk.

We placed our order at the counter. For drinks we ordered the cappuccino, which came in a nice big mug and was deliciously smooth. Along with that, we had the scones which were filled with strawberries and raspberries and had some whipped cream on the side. The scones went perfect with our coffee. Although we weren't interested that morning, they do offer a selection of breakfast sandwiches or breakfast burritos that sounded good. The service was very friendly and helpful there.

Banyan is open until about two in the afternoon and they are open Monday through Saturday. However, one of the girls working there said they would soon be open on Sundays. Also, they offer a lunch selection of sandwiches, soups, or salad, along with various bakery items. This is a very comfortable atmosphere to bring a book along and pass a couple of hours.

Banyan Coffee and Tea Company
689 Martin Luther King Street N
St Petersburg, FL 33701

Banyan Coffee and Tea on Urbanspoon