Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mr. Dunderbak's - Tampa, FL

A bit of a drive over to north Tampa from St Petersburg, and I found myself at Mr. Dunderbak's, which is a German themed restaurant. I encountered cases of beer and small beer kegs all down the entranceway to the restaurant. In fact, it looked like there was beer stacked throughout different areas of the restaurant. And that's not all. This is a restaurant, but they also have beer for sale along with candy, meat, cheese, chocolate, beer steins, etc. Besides the main room with small tables and long tables for larger parties, there is another room with beer and long tables and a room with a small bar and a couch and chairs. We were seated at a small table in the main room.

The first order of business was to check out the menu of draft beers that numbers around 55 draft beers on tap. The beer menu may be disappointing if you come to Mr. Dunderbak's and expect that a German restaurant might have a large selection of german beers. They had a few german beers, but pretty much stuff you can see on offer at other places along with a few belgian beers. It seemed like a large portion of the draft selection was made up of american beers. There is nothing wrong with american beers, but if you are going to a german themed restaurant, you might hope to try out a few more german beers.

After ordering beer, it was on to the food. We ordered the reuben, which is supposed to be their number one seller. Along with the reuben, we ordered the sauerbraten with red cabbage and potato pancakes and the veal schnitzel sandwich. The schnitzel sandwich was good, but a bit tough. The reuben was very good and tender. Both of the sandwiches were served with potato chips and pickles. Finally, the beef sauerbraten was very tender, and I loved the red cabbage and the potato pancakes served with applesauce. It was a very fun experience and I liked the german music playing over the speakers. If you have a large party of friends, this would be a fun place to gather them all together and enjoy a few beers. Cheers!

14929 Bruce B Downs Blvd
Tampa, FL 33613

Mr. Dunderbak's on Urbanspoon

O'Bistro - St Petersburg, FL

I just had a wonderful breakfast this morning and I am sure I just ate more than was good for me, but it was sooooo good that I couldn't help myself. The O'Bistro is located in a rather blah strip of shops that looks rather uninspiring and an unlikely source of good food. However, appearances can be deceiving, so we continued inside the restaurant where things began to look a bit more promising and you kind of forget at that point that you are in a strip mall. We were given seating at one of the booths in the middle portion of the restaurant.

O'Bistro offers mimosas and martinis if you like, but it was a latte and a plain coffee for us. We ordered the Creme Brulee French Toast, the smoked salmon omelette, and the reuben omelette. With the omelettes, there is a choice of potatoes or grits and a raisin muffin is also served with that. The french toast was made with thick slices of challah bread and served with hot syrup. It was fantastic and it brought to mind warm caramel rolls. The reuben omelette was also good with its corned beef and cheese, and just like your classic reuben, it too includes sauerkraut. I wasn't sure about sauerkraut in an omelette, but it was surprisingly delicious. Then there was the salmon omelette, which was perfect and bursting with a generous serving of smoked salmon inside. I don't want to overlook the sides because the grits, potatoes with onions and peppers, and the raisin muffin were excellent. We had a great breakfast and if I was going to pick on anything it would have to be the latte. If you are going to serve espresso drinks, they should be done right, or not at all because my latte was not very good at all. However, everything else was so very good that I would avoid this next time by sticking with regular coffee because I will definitely be back again sometime to try their lunch or dinner.

6661 Central Avenue
St Petersburg, FL 33710

O Bistro on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A la Mode - Palmetto, FL

After breakfast at The Nook in Palmetto, ice cream seemed the next obvious choice, right? Who doesn't need ice cream after breakfast. Okay, it was more like lunch time, so that makes it okay. Directly across the road from the Nook, sits A la Mode. It had a rather interesting appearance, and that was what drew us across the road in the first place. A la Mode offers ice cream, sandwiches, and various other items for snacking and drinking. As we had just had breakfast, we ordered one scoop of chocolate and one scoop of superman ice cream in a cup for my son. The chocolate ice cream was very good, and not too overwhelming, as some chocolate ice cream tends to be. And of course, what can beat superman ice cream?

A la Mode
336 8th Avenue West
Palmetto, FL 34221

A la Mode on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Verducci Italian Pizzeria - St Pete Beach, FL

One evening, my family and I were venturing over to try Ted Peters, but discovered they were closed on Tuesday's. Undaunted, I pulled out my phone and did a quick search and found a pizzeria over on St Pete Beach that we hadn't tried, called Verducci's. Walking in the door, the delicious aroma of Italian food hinted that we had good food in store for us. Besides that, it was a cozy looking Italian eatery and we felt right at home. We were quickly greeted at the door and given a table.

After giving our drink orders, we took a minute to look over the menu. We already new we wanted the cheese pizza, but what to try along with it? We decided to try Giovanni's Signature Lasagna, with beef. While waiting for our food, we were given a salad which was very nice and a bread basket with rolls and focaccia bread served with a olive tapenade in olive oil. The hot bread was very much appreciated and the tapenade very yummy. We thought the cheese pizza was one of the best we had in a long time and the lasagna was melt in your mouth. The lasagna portion was huge and between that and the pizza we were sharing, we still had leftovers to take home. This place was a definite hit for us!

7736 Blind Pass Road
St Pete Beach, FL 33706

Verducci Italian Pizzera on Urbanspoon

Spice Routes - St Petersburg, FL

I can't tell you how happy I was when I heard that the Morean Arts Center in downtown St Petersburg would have a Spice Routes cafe in their art center. How handy to go and see the art and then stop and have a coffee and a treat, lunch, or perhaps even a wine or beer. There is a nice selection of salads, soups, sandwiches, and desserts on their menu. The space is gorgeous with all those windows. In one section, there is some nice leather chairs and a coffee table and some art books in the bookshelf along the wall. In the room next door, there is an abundance of tables and chairs. One Saturday, after my family and I had looked at the art, we went to the cafe and had some lattes and tried the cranberry muffins, which were delicious. My son eyed up the brownies, until he discovered they had nuts inside. This is a really nice place, and I will visit the cafe, even without stopping to see the art.

701 Central Avenue
St Petersburg, FL 33701

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Dooners - downtown St Petersburg, FL

Dooners opened in the spot previously occupied by Athenian Gardens in downtown St Petersburg, and I was anxious to try the food offered by the new resident. Walking into Dooners for the first time, I liked the way they redecorated and was greeted by friendly staff. The menu and food counter where you order are the first thing you see as you walk in the door. Place your order, get your food, pay, and take your food to your table.

We decided to try a variety of menu items. We ordered the doner sandwich, chicken schnitzel, and the beef borek, which is a pastry filled with beef. I liked the meat in the doner sandwich, but I wasn't sure if I liked the bread that it was served in, because I thought the bread was too thick. I liked the mushroom gravy that was served on top of the chicken schnitzel. The schnitzel was served with a choice of two sides and we had fries and rice with our order. Finally, I really enjoyed the borek filled with beef. Altogether, I liked the food, but I wasn't really wowed by anything. However, it is handy to have close by if you are drinking at the Independent next door and want to grab some food to bring along.

21 3rd Street North
St Petersburg, FL 33701

Dooners on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Nook - Bradenton, FL

Even though I haven't lived in Bradenton for a couple of years, my family and I still like to head over there every so often. One weekend, we made the trip over for a late breakfast. We were on the way to one of our old breakfast haunts, when passing through Palmetto, we spied a restaurant in a converted old house called The Nook. Leaving our old spot for another time, we stopped in at The Nook. This is a spacious place with plenty of tables spread throughout the lower floor of the house. The space was wide open, so we were able to pick a table of our choice.

With our coffee in front of us, we looked over the menu pondering our choices. We ordered a veggie omelette with grits and raisin toast, an egg and cheese croissant sandwich, and chocolate chip pancakes. All around, the food was very good. I especially appreciated the raisin bread as one of the toast choices, and the chocolate chip pancakes were awesome. It was a very pleasant dining experience.

The Nook
337 8th Avenue West
Palmetto, FL 34221

The Nook on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 22, 2011

Modesto - Asheville, NC

While strolling through Grove Arcade one afternoon, we noticed Modesto and checked out their menu and kept it in the back of our minds as a potential place to try during our visit to Asheville. When our son expressed a desire for pizza one evening, we decided Modesto would be the place to try. At Modesto, they have a nice spot on the sidewalk for outdoor dining, or you can dine inside, which is also a nice space to enjoy your food.

The food here tasted as beautiful as it looked. Everything as fantastic from the fish and risotto, the lobster ravioli with mushrooms, and of course the margherita pizza. To complete the package, the service was excellent, which seemed to be the case pretty much everywhere we dined in Asheville.

1 Page Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801

Modesto on Urbanspoon

Fiore's Ristorante Toscana - Asheville, NC

My family and I enjoyed a beautiful lunch at Fiore's, while vacationing in Asheville. Fiore's is in downtown Asheville, just off of Pack Square Park. The restaurant is lovely with warm colors, and seating at their tables or at one of their more intimate booths.

During lunch, they had a special offering two slices of pizza and soup. The soup that day was a hearty chicken and vegetable soup. The soup was delicious with generous chunks of chicken complemented by roasted vegetables. The soup was very filling and was lunch in itself. The pizza that followed was awesome. Along with that, we tried the veggie lasagna that was covered in alfredo sauce. Oh my goodness, the lasagna was so yummy. It was a good thing that the lasagna portion was huge because we were all sharing that lasagna. Nothing better than enjoying good food in a lovely setting.

122 College Street
Asheville, NC 28801

Fiore's Ristorante Toscana on Urbanspoon