Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dome Grill - downtown St. Petersburg, FL

I heard the Dome restaurant is almost like an institution in downtown St. Pete, so I had to go check it out. We enjoyed waking up late on a Sunday, and then took a nice leisurely walk over to the Dome. It is located right on Central Avenue and is nothing remarkable to look at from the outside, but more interesting on the inside. Sports memorabilia was lined up on some portions of the walls, and green was definitely the accent color here. I especially like the boxing belt located up by the counter. When you come in, grab a menu and place your order at the counter and you pay for you food at the same time. The cashier will give you a receipt with your number and you can grab a table and wait for you number to be called. Before grabbing a table, take your cup and pour your coffee, soda, or whatever you ordered. There is seating inside or outside. We opted to dine inside.

It was about a ten minute wait for our food, which was reasonable. For breakfast, we ordered the veggie omelette, with toast and grits on the side. Also, we ordered pancakes and a burger and fries. (Yes, one of us likes breakfast for lunch.) Don't forget to pick up any of your condiments you need upfront, so that you don't need to be running back and forth, while eating. Overall, it was a pleasant dining experience and a nice place for all ages.

Dome Grill
561 Central Avenue
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Dome Grill on Urbanspoon

King & I - downtown St. Petersburg, FL

In the mood for Thai food on a lovely Saturday afternoon, my family and I took a walk over to the King & I restaurant located on Central Avenue. Being the middle of the afternoon, it was a bit quiet, but seemed to have a nice, steady trickle of customers, nonetheless. The restaurant is pleasing to the eyes, with its lovely bright colors. Our server put us in a nice booth with a good view of the restaurant and the sushi bar.

Our server was very efficient and quickly took our order. We ordered the spring rolls, the green curry, and the chicken pad thai. We weren't aware of it when we ordered, but apparently each entree comes with a small spring roll and soup, which was lovely because I really liked the soup. Next, our entrees. I really liked the chicken pad thai, but the green curry with chicken was my absolute favorite. It was refreshing with the taste of coconut and it had just the right amount of heat. There was more than enough food for the three of us to share and we enjoyed our dining experience.

King & I
445 Central Avenue
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

King & I on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 26, 2010

Madeleina Cottage - St. Pete Beach, FL

We noticed this cute little spot on a previous visit to St. Pete Beach, and we were very curious to come back and give it a try. We stopped in on a late Saturday morning, when everyone was just beginning to get out and about. Madeleina's is a British Style pub, but with a bit of everything on the menu. The color blue seems to be the theme, from the booths and walls, to the coasters and salt and pepper shakers on the tables. We grabbed a booth overlooking the huge bar that dominated the room and which was occupied by a number of patrons.

We started our brunch with coffee and mimosas, both of which were very good. Also, I feel I ought to mention that mimosas were a bargain at $3.00. (We noticed later on signs on the window advertising $3.00 mimosas and $2.50 Bloody Mary's - be sure to ask your server for details.) For food, we ordered the corned beef hash and eggs, Welsh Rarebit (melted cheese and beer fondue served over toast), and pancakes. The portions were huge and perfect for sharing with each other. Usually, I have my favorites when I dine out, but in this case, the food was all very good comfort food. The corned beef hash was excellent and the cheesy Welsh Rarebit went great with the mimosas and it was nice to eat something a little bit different for brunch. And the pancake was yummy, only I maybe would have liked it to be served with a different brand of syrup than the one served with it. Altogether, nice service and good food. Now, I just have to go back some evening and try the Shepard's pie.

Madeleina Cottage
357 Corey Avenue
St. Pete Beach, FL 33706

Madeleina Cottage on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A run, then Beverly's La Croisette - St Pete Beach, FL

Now that we have left our sweltering summer weather behind, weather is perfect for outdoor running and I can flee the monotony of the treadmill. With that in mind, my family and I headed over to Fort DeSoto Park and enjoyed a lovely four mile run. After our run, we were more than ready to find something to eat. Even though it was noon, some of us were ready for breakfast and one of us wanted lunch. Beverly's La Croisette was the perfect spot to fit everybody's needs. Beverly's is a nice and bright cafe located on Gulf Boulevard. It is nothing fancy, but it has a lot of character. I especially loved the pencil drawings on the wall of famous people, like Elvis, among others. There is booth seating or tables and chairs. We grabbed a booth next to the window and in the corner, so that we could see the whole room.

We started off by ordering a couple of mimosas. We ordered the Bungee omelette with "Krab," mushrooms, and cheese which was good, but not my favorite. However, I loved the Parametier omelette, which was filled with fried potatoes and swiss cheese. Along with your omelette order, you get a choice of sides and we chose the grits and the home fries. The grits weren't very good and we didn't take more than one bite, but the home fries were nicely seasoned and very good. Also, we loved the choice of toast or croissant for bread, and we both chose the croissant, which was nice. My son ordered a burger and fries, which was very good. Along with all of this, we ordered on pancake that was huge and we all enjoyed sharing that as it was a mighty tasty pancake. This was a very lovely spot and great for locals and tourists, alike.

Beverly's La Croisette
7401 Gulf Boulevard
St. Pete Beach, FL 33706

Beverly's la crossete on Urbanspoon

La Croisette on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

La Petite Brasserie - Clearwater, FL

Wow, Wilko did it again! He opened another restaurant that shares the same great quality of its sister restaurant, the St. Pete Brasserie. My family and I took the short trek over to Clearwater to check out the new place that was located in a nice, quiet residential neighborhood. It is great for those who live north of downtown St. Pete and don't want to make the trek downtown, or for those who want to get out of downtown St. Pete. It rather reminded me of Minneapolis, where you would find all sorts of hidden gems in neighborhood spots in the metropolis area. It is a cozy and warm spot to get away from it all after work, or to enjoy a weekend reward after a busy work week. It was a rather romantic spot with walls that were a wonderful burnt orange and covered with wine bottles and lovely art. The ceiling had a nice industrial feel to it, that again was very metropolitan. Grab a spot in the corner if you want to watch the whole room or to be away from the center of things with your sweetheart.

For those of you have dined at the St. Pete Brasserie, the menu looks to be pretty much the same, with good value and quality combined. For those of you who have not dined at St Pete Brasserie, I will tell you about some of my favorite dishes that we tried at La Petite Brasserie. The crab cake is excellent along with the french onion soup. My husband loves the rich vegetable risotto and I love the ultimate comfort food - Beef Bourguignon. My son loves the Brasserie Burger with its Brie cheese. And if you have room, La Petite Brasserie has some of the most amazing fries and you have to try them with their aioli dipping sauce. Altogether, our experience was wonderful, with great food and good service. La Petite Brasserie is sure to be a winner and one that I would recommend you try.

La Petite Brasserie
2245 Nursery Road
Clearwater, FL 33764

La Petite Brasserie (Open Soon) on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Saturday Morning Market - St Petersburg, FL

Some of my favorite places are just steps away. Once such place that doesn't require much of a journey is the Saturday morning market located in downtown St. Petersburg on First Avenue South and First Street. Per the Market's website, here, the market began in November 2002. Back then, I remember when it was a lot smaller and located on Central Avenue. Although I love the market as much as ever, I wish it was still on Central Avenue and they had closed down a few more blocks of Central to accommodate the ever expanding market. One business owner I spoke to back when they first moved to their current location, said they really lost a lot of Saturday morning and early afternoon business when the market moved. I guess the one advantage to the Market's current location is that they don't need to close down any streets as the market is located in the parking lot of Al Lang Field, the old training stadium of the Rays.

After being closed down for the summer months this year, it was great when the Saturday Market opened again this October. Better yet, the weather has been beautiful, so I have seen huge crowds at the market. The market draws an eclectic crowd and it is a great place to people watch, while perusing the market. If you are lucky enough to get one before they are all taken, you can grab a table or a chair and sit down and enjoy your food and listen to the live music that is playing. One of my favorite spots is Empanada World where I almost always get a chicken empanada. On a recent visit, I bought local honey. There is everything to be found from crepes, hot food, breakfast, baked goods, jewelry, clothing, and fresh fruit and vegetables. So, sleep in on Saturday and when you wake up head over to the Saturday Morning Market for a relaxing Saturday.

Saturday Morning Market
Downtown St. Petersburg
Al Lang parking lot
1st Ave South and 1st Street
Open October 2, 2010 - May 28, 2011

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Acropolis Taverna - Ybor City, FL

We have dined several times at the St Petersburg Acropolis since their recent opening and it is fast becoming on of our favorites. Recently, we tried the Acropolis in Ybor and found the same great food. Also, like the St. Petersburg Acropolis, the restaurant is on two different levels. The main difference is the bottom floor of the Ybor is divided into two different rooms and the St Petersburg space feels a lot more open. Like I said, the food is great and the gyros here are perfect, especially with their great greek beer. We always need to end with the baklava, but on our last dining experience we also tried something new along with the baklava - the Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake. It was very rich and decadent and a perfect ending to our meal, but the baklava is still my favorite, mmmmm.

1833 East 7th Avenue
Ybor City(Tampa), FL 33605

Acropolis Greek Taverna on Urbanspoon

Columbia Restaurant - Ybor City, FL

I have dined at the Columbia Restaurant in St. Petersburg and Sarasota, but never at the location that started it all - the Columbia Ybor City. This location was first opened in 1905 and their website details their history throughout six generations. While the other restaurants share the same food, style and flavor, it is an interesting experience to dine at the original. Parking is available for Columbia diners only in a lot behind the restaurant and from behind, one gets a real sense of how huge the restaurant is, in fact. One of my favorite features of the restaurant are the colorful tiles outside and inside the restaurant and it is something to pay close attention. The restaurant is very happy for patrons to get up during their dining experience and wander around the restaurant and check out various rooms. Go upstairs and look down on the floor below or take a peek in the king's room. Also, they have a large banquet room. There are many rooms and it could be easy to get lost. We were seated in the courtyard room, which gave a nice open feel.

The service here is very efficient and friendly. First drink orders of wine and sangria, and then hot cuban bread arrives for each diner with plenty of butter to slather on. I liked the sangria, but after trying a taste of my husband's Don Cesar tinto, I ordered that for my second drink. We decided to try different tapas for our dining experience. We tried the shrimp and crabmeat alcacho, which is baked in a casserole dish and served with crackers for dipping. Also, we tried the devil crab croquettes, the Shrimp Ajillo, and the Albondigas(beef meatballs). It was all very good, and perfect for sharing among the three of us. Altogether, it was a very enjoyable experience with good food in a delightful atmosphere.

2117 East 7th Avenue
Ybor City, FL 33605

Columbia Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Square One Burgers - Tampa, FL

OH MY! I was in burger heaven tonight. A traffic jam led us on a self-chosen detour to this place and it was a very happy turn of events. The tall red cornerstone of the Square One Burger restaurant calls your name. Inside the restaurant is a colorful scene with red walls, red booths, and dark wooden tables, and strings of light. We were promptly seated at one of the tables along the back overlooking the whole restaurant from kitchen to bar.

I am going to devote my only complaint of the evening to this paragraph and I hope management is reading this because this is something that needs to be worked on, in an otherwise perfect establishment. While soft drinks for our son came out fast, getting adult beverages was a slow and tedious process and we were drinking bottled beers, so I am not sure what the hold up was tonight. Our server took our drink order for our beers and she continually went up to the bar and looked at the bartender and even checked in one of the coolers, but no beer. After a long wait, our beers arrived. Again, we later ordered a second round of drinks when our food arrived. We were almost done with our food when our drinks arrived. Our server kept apologizing that our drink was not ready yet, and obviously they are not allowed to grab the beers themselves, due to the proper procedural chain. I am sure there is a reason management does it this way, but a person should not need to wait until their food is almost gone to get a bottle of beer.

Okay, enough of the negative stuff because despite what I wrote above, this was a great place. If you get a chance try the Orange Blossom beer made with orange blossom honey which was very good and I loved the honey taste. For starters, we ordered a half dozen of the "Frickin Hot Sweet Chili Chicken Wings." They were awesome and tasted like something cooked in a smoker. I would go back for the wings alone. Among the three of us, we ordered three different burgers and we all tried a bit of each. We ordered the All-American Squared(double patties), the Old Fashioned Burger, and 3-Mushroom Cheeseburger. For sides, we tried the fries and the fried jalepenos, which were good. All of the burger were juicy and had great flavor. My favorite was the 3-Mushroom with Gruyere Cheese. You can choose your burger from the burger list, or build your own burger with a dizzying assortment of choices. If you like the more exotic, they make ostrich burgers, kobe beef burgers, and a Shashimi Tuna Steak burger. The food was prompt, when it arrived in the kitchen windows, it was immediately brought out to the table. Definitely, a must try burger joint, with a more upscale edge, great food, and one I would not hesitate to pay a visit to again.

Square One Burgers

3701 North Henderson Road
Tampa, FL 33609

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