Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Primos Restaurant and Lounge - Miami, FL

On a recent stay in downtown Miami, my family and I headed out to find someplace near our hotel where we could eat. Our hotel was surrounded by lots of other hotels, so we figured we would venture away from them to find something decent to eat. Making our way through different hotel lobbies to get out of the neighborhood, we passed Primos, which was located in the hotel lobby of Doubletree. I always have this thought that nothing good comes from eating at restaurants that are in hotels, so with that in mind, we passed it by. Well after walking around the area around the hotels for awhile, we found NOTHING. So, we decided to head back to Primos, because we were hopeful that being Italian food, it at least couldn't be that bad. I am so glad there wan't anything else nearby, or we would have missed a gem. Primos itself is a relaxing environment where you can grab a table or a seat at the bar, although we opted for a table.

First, we ordered some white and red wine from their wines by the glass selection. I have to say both wines were nice, which I can't say happens a lot when ordering by the glass. Our server told us about the specials of the day and then we looked over the menu. We opted to try pure comfort food, so we ordered a spaghetti bolgnaise, and a meaty lasagna and both came with a salad. Both dished were out of this world. If you are watching your waistline, these are probably not for you, but they were so delicious. That was a truly enjoyable experience!

(lobby of Doubletree Grand Hotel on Biscayne Bay)
1717 North Bayshore Drive
Miami, FL 33132

Primo's Restaurant and Lounge on Urbanspoon

Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlor and Restaurant - Dania Beach, FL

I went to Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlor, and I have been dreaming about it ever since. My family and I recently met up there with a friend of ours and her family on her recommendation. This is a place our friend had been going to since a teenager, and she introduced it to us. This place has been around a lot longer than our friend, since 1956 it has been serving up ice cream and food. The outside of the restaurant looks like it belongs to a different era. Walking inside Jaxson's, there is a small candy store that sells candy like I remember from back in the day, when I was a young child.

We were all given a table, then we took a few minutes to look over the ice cream menu. My eyes about popped out of my head at the number of delicious choices. My family was going to order an individual ice cream for each person, but noticing that my friend was ordering an ice cream to share with her husband because she said the ice cream desserts are huge, I decided to order one to share. I chose the Towering Short Cakes, which is pound cake topped with vanilla ice cream, strawberries and whipped cream. Oh, my goodness, it was so delicious and words cannot describe how much I enjoyed it. I was so glad that we decided to share, because my husband and I could not finish that ice cream between the two of us. This was supposed to be an afternoon snack, but after that, we were pretty much done eating for the rest of the day. The only sad thing about this place is that it is four hours away from where we live. If you live in the area or are visiting the area, this is a must stop place for the taste and experience.

128 South Federal Highway
Dania Beach, FL 33004

Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlor & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Twisted Cork Grille - St Petersburg, FL

Craving a burger in a bad way, yet wanting to try something new, my search led me to the Twisted Cork Grille in St Petersburg. I had read a lot of reviews about the Twisted Cork Grille and their great burgers and food. The reviews also prepared me for the appearance of the restaurant, which is attached to a rather old motel. From the description of others, I got the idea that if I can get past the outside, everything changes for the better, once you walk in the door. Those descriptions were pretty much spot on. While the inside is not fancy, it is cozy and and I forgot all about the outside of the restaurant. We were told to grab a table wherever we liked, so we found a suitable spot. After we gave our drink order, we took a minute to look over the menu.

As I already knew I wanted a burger, it was a pretty easy decision for me. I ordered a Twisted Cork Burger with cheddar cheese, which is their basic burger. The burger comes with fries and a pickle. After a short wait, my burger was served. This was a yummy and juicy burger and satisfied my burger craving and I loved the ciabatta bread that it was served with instead of a regular bun. On their board, they offered blackberry cobbler served with ice cream as their dessert of the day, so I just had to try that. I love blackberries and cobbler, so that was a winning combination with vanilla ice cream melting over the warm cobbler. I left the Twisted Cork happy and very full.

3405 34th Street North
St Petersburg, FL 33713

Twisted Cork Grille on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 5, 2011

Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish - South Pasadena, FL

A number of years ago, someone told us to try out Ted Peters because they were really good. But, we didn't get around to going. Then, we saw a Food Network show about Ted Peters and how they smoked their fish and we were intrigued, but we still didn't go. Finally, this past weekend, we went and were impressed. Ted Peters is an experience to try. Things are not fancy here and you can sit outside on what are basically picnic tables, although there is an air-conditioned dining room inside. We went for the picnic tables outside. By outside, I do mean a covered area, so don't worry about the sun beating down on your heads.

We ordered some drinks, and I enjoyed a mug of draft root beer. We decided to order the smoked mullet dinner that comes with german potato salad and coleslaw. Along with that, we ordered the jumbo cheeseburger and the smoked fish spread with crackers. Soon our food arrived and our server gave us instructions on how to take the bones out, then we dug in. The smoked mullet was a real treat, and I am glad we only ordered one fish dinner because with the fish spread and burger, it was all more than enough for sharing. The burger was also done very well. As for the fish spread, it was delicious. This was a fun and tasty experience. Now, we have to go back again sometime and try some of the other smoked fish they offer. Besides the smoked mullet, they also have smoked salmon, mahi-mahi, and mackerel.

Some final information to share, make sure you go with cash because this is a cash only business. If you want to visit Ted Peters, they are open six days a week from 11:30 am to 7:30 pm, and closed on Tuesdays.

Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish
1350 Pasadena Avenue South
South Pasadena, FL 33707

Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish on Urbanspoon

Indigo Coffee - Tampa, FL

In need of a pick me up while in downtown Tampa, Indigo Coffee was just the place for us. Inside, Indigo Coffee reminded me a bit of that other famous national coffee chain. I ordered one of their lattes, which was very good and went perfect with a chocolate chunk cookie. If you find yourself in downtown Tampa and need a cup of joe, this is your place to stop.

514 N Franklin St
Tampa, FL 33602

Indigo Coffee on Urbanspoon

Pizzaiolo Bavaro - Tampa, FL

Walking by Pizzaiolo Bavaro in downtown Tampa, we found ourselves drawn in by the delicious scent of Italian food drifting out the open door. Inside was a cozy restaurant with brick walls and a wood fire burning in the oven in the back corner of the restaurant.

We ordered a few drinks and decided to try the Margherita pizza. Soon our pizza came to our table and looked lovely with its melted cheese topped with basil. The pizza was delicious and I especially liked the tomato base on the pizza, which really makes the difference between a good pizza and a great pizza. If you like, they also offer some nice pasta selections on their menu. This is a great find in downtown Tampa.

514 North Franklin St
Suite 101
Tampa, FL 33602

Pizzaiolo Bavaro on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Mise En Place - Tampa, FL

Mise En Place is a lovely restaurant located in Hyde Park. After a fun afternoon at the Tampa Bay History Center, we stopped over for a bite to eat. The best way I can describe the restaurant is quietly elegant. We arrived shortly after the restaurant opened for dinner, so it was very quiet at that hour. We were quickly given a table along one of the comfy padded benches.

After ordering a couple of drinks, we looked over the menu. We tried a couple of items from the second plates menu. First, there was the Moroccan Fried Quail with preserved lemon honey. The quail had a hint of spiciness and was nice, but I felt the taste of the quail was somewhat lost underneath the coating. The other dish we chose was the L.A. Pizza with rock shrimp, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, olives, cipolinni onions, and arugula salad. The pizza was excellent and all of the components of the pizza worked well together. Finally, we tried the homemade ice cream that they make daily. We tried the lemon ice cream which was pure bliss. This is a nice place with a lot of creative dining options on their menu.

442 West Kennedy Blvd
Tampa, FL 33606

Mise En Place on Urbanspoon

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Mellow Mushroom - Tampa, FL

My son and I were over in Tampa, and we needed something to eat, like immediately. Driving down the road, we noticed a Mellow Mushroom, which we have never tried, even though it is a chain that we have seen in various cities that we have traveled to in the past. So, being VERY hungry, this seemed like a good time to try them out and see how they stack up against other pizza chains, which we avoid because chain pizza is generally very bad. Heading inside the restaurant, the Mellow Mushroom appeared to be going for the hippy scene theme. Yes, it was kind of cheesy, but appealing. We were given seating at one of the booths.

We ordered some soda and made a quick choice of basic cheese pizza. For those of you who have read previous posts of mine, we almost always order cheese pizza. I can't remember the last time I ordered a pizza with other toppings because we love our pizza basic. After a short wait, food arrived and we loved the pizza. The crust was unusual, and had a buttery taste to it. I even liked the crust at the back that was dusted with parmesan cheese and slightly garlicky tasting. I would rather go to a mom and pop shop to get my pizza, but it is good to know that there is some good options out their for chain store pizza. The Mellow Mushroom definitely beats some of those other pizza chains, hands down. (No, this is not a paid advertisement.)

Mellow Mushroom
11955 Sheldon Road
Tampa, FL 33626

Mellow Mushroom on Urbanspoon

Mocha Vida - St Petersburg, FL

I stopped over at Mocha Vida to check out a drum circle jam and open mic that they host every Thursday night. Little did I know what a cool place this would be and my only regret is that they aren't close enough to me to be a daily coffee shop stop. This is a place you want to grab your drink and sit down and get comfortable with a good book for a couple of hours. The drum circle they host there is awesome and perfect in such an intimate setting. They have plenty of chairs to gather around in a circle and a cozy couch. In their pastry case, they offer a tantalizing assortment of chocolate fudges and chocolate treats. We tried a latte that was very good along with an ice tea, also very good. To satisfy our sweet tooth, we tried the vanilla cupcakes that had a scrumptious layer of chocolate on the bottom. Try this one, I don't think you will be disappointed!

10468 Roosevelt Blvd
St Petersburg, FL 33716

Mocha Vida on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 2, 2011

Snapper's Sea Grill - St Pete Beach, FL

Snapper's is a cozy and intimate little seafood restaurant located on St Pete Beach. They are open for dinner only. If you are dining on a budget, they offer a early bird special from 4 pm to 5 pm ranging in price from 8.95 to 11.95. The early bird special includes coffee or tea, salad, entree, and a petite slice of their key lime pie (call ahead to confirm the early bird special is still in effect). The night we dined there was later in the evening, so I would love to hear any feedback from anyone who has tried the early bird dining special. When we arrived at Snapper's, we took a seat inside, but as the air conditioning was running a bit cold, we quickly decided to dine at one of the tables outside.

In addition to their regular menu, Snapper's offers a nightly menu of specials that includes wine on it. They had a lovely Bordeaux Clairet that we had never tried before that turned out to be a nice surprise. For one of our entrees, we chose the grouper topped with shrimp, scallops, and a crabmeat stuffing with champagne cream sauce that was served along with vegetables and a potato puff pastry. Next, was the Asian Orange glazed salmon, which my son opted to have served with fries, rather than the rice that was included in the dish. The final entree we chose was the Coconut-Cashew Crusted Mahi-Mahi served over mango chutney with a grilled banana and a potato puff pastry. Prior to the entrees, we enjoyed a spicy hummus with crunchy flat bread and a salad with a delicious, smoky tasting dressing. After that, we were served our nicely presented entrees. The seafood was wonderful and if I was going to pick a favorite, it would have to be the grouper. The potato puff pastry was absolutely divine, too. After all that, we tried the key lime pie, with a chocolate cookie crust. I loved the key lime filling, but I guess I am a traditionalist, when it comes to key lime pie. The chocolate crust was too overpowering for the filling. However, this is my only complaint in an otherwise great experience.

Our server was very attentive and we never lacked for anything throughout the evening. If you want to enjoy great seafood, this would be a definite winner. If you don't happen to be a big fan of seafood, they offer a few meat and chicken entrees on the menu.

5895 Guld Blvd
St Pete Beach, FL 33706

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