Saturday, July 24, 2010

Central Cafe and Organics - St Petersburg, FL

This is a nice spot on Central Avenue to get food that has a focus on fresh, organic products. It is a small space, but they make good use of every inch. If you are in a hurry in the morning, it is a good spot to grab a coffee and a bakery item. Recently, I stopped in to do a grab and go. I ordered the soup and wrap combo. The soup that day was a vegetable beef soup, which I loved. For the wrap, I chose the chicken jerk with chipotle mayo and plenty of shredded vegetables. The wrap was very good with a perfect little kick for added flavor. The meal combo also came with a simple salad and a small cosmickey cookie. I was very happy with my meal choice and love this fast, healthful dining option in downtown St Petersburg.

Central Cafe and Organics
243 Central Avenue
St Petersburg, FL 33701

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O'Bricks Irish Pub and Martini Bar - Bradenton, FL

We were in our old neighborhood, so we decided to stop in to check out O'Brick's Irish Pub and Martini Bar. When we used to live in Bradenton, O'Brick's used to be the former home of the Kangaroo Pub. Since then, the Kangaroo Pub has moved across the street and O'Brick's moved in and totally remodeled the whole place. O'Brick's was very nicely remodeled and I loved what they did with the place. The new bar is great, with comfortable stools just the right height to comfortably sit at the bar.

It was happy hour at, so well drinks and wine by the glass were half price, which was a real bargain. For martini drinkers, they have quite a decent martini menu. We ordered a pint of Boddington's right off, and then took a quick peak at the menu. My only disappointment was the menu at O'Bricks. I knew they served food, so I was expecting Irish pub grub, but that was not to be. Instead, the menu is from Fav's next door which serves Italian food. I like Fav's and I have ate there frequently in the past, but I didn't realize that would be the menu at O'Bricks. However, we were hungry, so we ordered a cheese pizza off the menu. The order is placed over the phone by the server, and the food is brought over from Fav's once it is done. Good pizza, but again not really what I was expecting. However, we still had a good time and like I said, the new remodeling job is beautiful and creates a nice atmosphere to sit down and enjoy a pint.

O'Bricks Irish Pub and Martini Bar
427 Old Main Street
Bradenton, FL 34205

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Baby Cakes Cafe - St Petersburg, FL

I am ever impressed about the growing number of dining options in the Grand Central District. Baby Cakes is another new addition that opened around a month ago. We didn't even know it was there until we drove by, and we decided to stop in and check it out. Baby Cakes is plain from the outside, but step inside and it is a great little spot. My favorite thing was the art on the wall, which was really awesome. The server told us to sit down anywhere, so we made ourselves comfortable and looked over the menu.

We went with a glass of the house red, which was just okay. For lunch, my husband ordered the "Kentucky FRAUD Chicken" sandwich. The sandwich was delicious and was more than enough for two people to share, depending upon your appetite. Potato chips are served along with the sandwiches. My son ordered the Baby Cakes Burger. The burger was good, but there were other things on the menu that I preferred. For myself, I ordered several small bites, just to get a taste sampler. I ordered a cup of the "North of the Border" Chicken Tortilla Soup, which was very delicious and something I could easily make a meal out if I ordered a bowl, rather than a cup. From the munchies, I tried the Baby chicken empanadas and the beef stuffed potato balls. Along with the munchies, I ordered a side of the "Smokin" Chipolte sauce that went perfectly with the munchies. The munchies were both yummy and were perfect to share. Altogether, we were very pleased with this new dining option in the Grand Central District and look forward to stopping by in the future.

Baby Cakes Cafe
2444 Central Avenue
St Petersburg, FL 33712

Baby Cakes Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lighthouse Doughnuts - Indian Rocks Beach, FL

Urbanspoon Tampa Bay led me to this yummy little spot. If you go to the home page of Urbanspoon Tampa Bay, there is a list of the top ten Best Cheap Eats. Lighthouse Doughnuts is on the list. After reading all of the positive reviews, I just had to check it out. I also followed some of the tips that people had in their reviews. The first one was to arrive early because they can run out of some of the doughnuts as the morning goes on. The second thing that seemed to be prevalent was that the apple fritters are a must try. Third, reviewers seemed to like the key lime filled doughnuts.

With all of the above in mind, my family and I headed over to Indian Rocks beach early on a Saturday morning. We arrived early, and even then, the place was hopping. The drive-thru was busy and there was a line inside. However, things moved pretty fast. Soon, it was our turn. We ordered a dozen, so that we could try a bit of everything. (No, we did not eat it all, but tasted it all :) We were surprised to see that they offered espresso drinks. We ordered a cappuccino and an americano. I am not going to say it was the best espresso drink I had, but it was okay. Now, my take on the doughnuts. A few bites of the apple fritter were good for me, after that I felt like it might be too rich for me. I loved the key lime filled doughnuts with the graham cracker topping and felt that if I had stopped with them, the whole trip would have been worth it. My favorite doughnuts are plain old cake doughnuts and glazed, raised doughnuts and I thought they were very tasty here. A coconut topped doughnut was yummy, and my son loved his chocolate frosted chocolate doughnut.

Lighthouse Doughnuts is a very simple establishment with a drive-thru, a few tables inside, and a few tables outside on a patio. The star of the show is the doughnuts and that was yummy enough for me. I am happy to say that this post marks my 100th post on Urbanspoon Tampa Bay! I have some of my favorites that I frequent regularly, but my family and have enjoy dining trying the number of great establishments that we have here in Tampa Bay. I look forward to the next 100!

Lighthouse Doughnuts on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mema's Alaskan Tacos - Ybor, FL

Mema's is known for their Alaskan Tacos. I was a bit curious about these because the filling and taco shell are cooked together. They do offer soft tacos, but as we had never been there before, we decided we needed to try the Alaskan tacos, as that is their signature dish. For myself, I ordered the beef Alaskan taco and a chicken tamale. My husband ordered the vegetarian Alaskan taco, which is only offered taco-rito style. Taco-rito style means the crisp Alaskan taco is wrapped with a soft tortilla. Along with that, he also ordered the cheese enchilada. My son wasn't interested in the Alaskan tacos, so he ordered a shrimp quesadilla. I wasn't very fond of the beef Alaskan taco because I didn't really like the fact that the beef was a flat patty. I did enjoy the chicken tamale a bit more. My favorite dish ended up being the vegetarian Alaskan taco that my husband ordered. That had a bit more kick and I liked the contrast of the crispy and soft shell. I am happy that we stopped in to give it a try, but I am not sure if it would be something that I would stop in for again. If I did, I would definitely order the vegetarian Alaskan taco. I would still suggest to anyone to stop in and give it a try and see what they think.

Mema's Alaskan Tacos

1724 East 8th Avenue
Ybor, FL 33605

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Gourmet Pizza Company - Tampa, FL

Always on the look out for the ultimate pizza, my family and I stopped in at the Gourmet Pizza Company. This is a cute little place in Hyde park. A large portion of the establishment is devoted to the kitchen, which you can see when you step up to the counter to place your order. One of the things that impressed me was the large number of toppings and sauces there were to chose from. Some of the more unique toppings that I haven't seen before were: escargot, crushed peanuts, sweet corn, red cabbage, crawfish tails, and guava marmalade.

As usual, we like our pizzas to be pretty basic. We ordered one five cheese pizza, and one pizza margherita. After grabbing some beers and a soda, we paid and sat at one of the tables. Again, this is a cozy spot, and it wasn't a long wait for the pizza. We enjoyed the pizza and decided that it was good, but not exceptional. However, taste when it comes to pizza is very subjective and it may very well be a pizza favorite of another person, when giving it a try. A top mark that Gourmet Pizza gets is for offering a gluten free crust option. If you are sensitive or allergic to gluten, this is a great chance to stop by and ask them about it and see what you think. Not all of the crusts are gluten free, so make sure to ask before ordering. Definitely stop in and give the Gourmet Pizza Company a try.

Gourmet Pizza Company
610 South Armenia Avenue
Tampa, FL 33609

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The Taco Bus - Tampa, FL

I just recently learned of the existence of The Taco Bus in Tampa. How this managed to slip by me, I don't know. However, once I heard about the bus that doesn't move anymore, but still serves tacos out of it, my curiosity took me over to Tampa. They have a place where you can dine inside, but we definitely wanted to order our food from the bus, so that is just what we did. There was a bit of a line, but we were patient, and soon we had our turn at the window. I ordered the burrito prenado and chose stewed beef as the filling. Along with the beef, it was filled with beans, rice, and some veggies. My husband ordered a vegetarian burrito and chose the rajas con queso as his filling, which was a filling of peppers, cheese, salsa, and corn kernels. The food was really great and we loved every bite of it. Along with very good food, it was a really unique experience in the area.

The Taco Bus
913 East Hillsborough Avenue
Tampa, FL 33604

Taco Bus on Urbanspoon

Emilio's Bistro, Bakery, & Bar - downtown St Pete, FL

After noticing that Emilio's on Central Avenue was open, I was quick to head over and give them a try for breakfast. We had a warm welcome at the door and grabbed a seat at the bar, so that we could see all of the action as food is prepared. My son and I shared the breakfast sandwich on a croissant and we had our eggs prepared scrambled and topped with cheese. This was very hearty and delicious, even with two sharing. Along with the sandwich, my son tried the chocolate croissant and I tried a peach and blackberry tart. Both items from the bakery were delicious and we loved the fact that they warm up the bakery items before serving. Along with my breakfast, I had a very good espresso drink. We were so impressed with breakfast, that we decided to come back with my husband in the evening, so that we could try the stuffed burger.

Later that day....... So, we made it back in the evening with the whole family of scalawags present to try dinner. Again, we grabbed a seat at the bar to see the action. Now that it was evening, we were able to more fully appreciate how the warm decor and artwork created a really nice atmosphere. First things first, we ordered our drinks. They have a really well thought out selection of beers on tap and in the bottle. That evening I enjoyed a lovely German beer on tap, followed by a bottled Belgium beer. My husband went with a pinot noir from the wine list, which was very nice. Again, it looks like they put a lot of thought into their selection of wines, which offers the diner a nice choice. Next up........the meal.

Because it was dinner, they offer some specials that are served at dinner, but we were there for one thing only - the stuffed burgers. Or at least, my son and I were there for the burgers. My husband is a vegetarian and he was happy to see that there were a number of choices for vegetarians on the menu. He chose the caprese hot panini. My son chose a burger stuffed with cheddar cheese, and for myself a burger stuffed with brie and mushrooms. Between ourselves, we ordered traditional house fries and the vanilla sweet potato fries as our sides. We all enjoyed our food very much. But, WOW, that was some burger! And it is amazing the number of choices you have to stuff you burger with. I felt the one thing we were missing in downtown St Pete was someplace where I could go and get an amazing burger, and now we have it. Emilio offers a wonderful new choice for downtown diners. Welcome to St Pete!

Emilio's Bistro, Bakery, and Bar

437 Central Avenue
St Petersburg, FL 33701

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