Saturday, November 19, 2011

Moscato's Bella Cucina - downtown St Petersburg, FL

One Saturday afternoon, my family and I decided we wanted to try Moscato's for lunch. An art show was happening on Central Avenue, and Moscato's is located right on one of the blocks where the art show was happening, so we were expecting it to busy, and it was. Nevertheless, one of the tables were open, so we were able to get seated right away. Even though the place was hopping, our server wasn't too long in getting to us to take our drink order and she gave us the abridged menu that they were having for the art weekend. The menu had more than enough options and we decided to order Grandma's Pizza, which was a basic cheese pizza, and the cheese lasagna. While waiting for our food, we were given some bread and dipping oil, and the cheese lasagna came with a nice side salad with cucumbers, almonds, tomatoes, and cranberries. After that, it was a bit of a wait, but it was pretty much what we had expected after eating at another restaurant during last year's art show. Our food arrived and we were very happy with everything. The pizza was a nice sized rectangle with a lovely thick crust, a rich tomato sauce, and a generous cheesy topping. Everything turned out wonderful and I would not hesitate to pay a visit again.

449 Central Avenue
St Petersburg, FL 33701

Moscato's Bella Cucina on Urbanspoon

The Avenue Eatery - downtown St Petersburg, FL

Driving down 2nd Avenue south in downtown St Pete one evening, my family and I spied a new restaurant. Having time on out hands, we decided to stop in and give it a try. When we were greeted at the door, we found out it was only their second night open. The restaurant has a cozy appearance of a cabin with a fireplace on one wall. There is some funky looking see through pails filled with corks that hang from the ceiling with lights in the bottom. For seating, there is a number of options. First, there is the outside seating in the back patio, seating on the sidewalk out front, a long bar with bar stools, big booths along one wall, or tables in the rest of the restaurant. There are flat screen tv's on every wall for your viewing pleasure. After checking out the back patio where music was playing, we decided to grab one of the huge booths.

Our server took our drink order and gave us a few minutes to check out the menu. The house made potato chips with barbecue sauce and blue cheese looked intriguing, and we also decided to try the Lucy Juicy cheeseburger, and the Cajun Crab cake sandwich. Everything came out delicious. The chips were addictive, the burger was just what a burger should be, and the crab cake sandwich was yummy and the server was obliging enough to bring us extra sweet pickles to put on top of our sandwich. This restaurant is the perfect addition to the downtown scene. We liked it so much, that we stopped a few days, and they had started serving the cupcakes that are part of their dessert menu. The cupcakes are provided by an outside caterer and they are a mini cupcake that is just the right size indulgence for ending an already calorie laden meal. They come in some traditional flavors and some flavors that I haven't seen before. You can order three flavors for $5. We tried the chocolate chocolate, the strawberry shortcake, and the apple pie. They were all yummy and I loved the strawberry shortcake with its bit of strawberry inside the cupcake the apple pie with its bit of pie crust in the frosting, and you can never go wrong with chocolate. This is sure to be a great local hang out to grab a drink and a bite.

330 1st Avenue South
St Petersburg, FL 33701

The Avenue Eat/Drink on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fray's Donuts - Northeast St Petersburg, FL

Having a hankering for donuts one rainy morning, I headed over to Fray's Donuts in Northeast St Petersburg. Fray's is an old fashioned sort of place with quaint stools at the counter. The donuts are what really drew my attention, though. Although there was a selection of muffins along with the donuts, I went with a traditional pick of donuts. I ordered a chocolate honey dipped, a sour cream donut, and my favorite, powdered sugar. All three tasted delicious, but my favorite was the powdered sugar. It had a great taste and powdered sugar was dropping everywhere, so it was messy, just how it should be. Along with the donuts, I had a plain old cup of joe with cream and it hit the spot just right. This is a great place to get a donut fix.

5236 16th St North
St Petersburg, FL 33703

Fray's Donuts on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 14, 2011

Nordstrom Cafe Bistro - International Mall, Tampa

On a recent shopping expedition to International Mall in Tampa, my family and I needed a break from the shopping madness and decided to stop in for lunch at Nordstrom's Cafe Bistro. I didn't know whether or not to expect good things from a cafe inside a store, but I was more than pleasantly surprised at my experience. I was worried for a moment when we had to place our order at the cash register before being seated, but after that everything was perfect. After placing our order, we were seated by the hostess and then our server stopped by our table to look at our order receipt and to let us know he would be back with our drink orders. A short while later and he was back with a lovely chardonnay we had ordered.

So, we enjoyed our wine and while waiting for our food, we observed other food orders coming out and thought the fries looked really good and we wanted to order some, but I wasn't sure if we would need to go back to the register to order or if we could place an order at the table. When our server stopped by, he assured us that any further orders could be placed at our table. Soon, our food arrived. We had ordered the crab bisque, margarita pizza, and the yummy looking french fries. The crab bisque was amazing with the perfect spicy kick to it. The margarita pizza was delicious with a nice tender crust. Then there were the fries, which we were glad we ordered. They were wonderful and they had a lovely aioli that tasted like kalamata olives were one of the key ingredients. Finally, we ended our meal with the white chocolate bread pudding, which was pure decadence. The bread pudding was topped with shaved white chocolate and surrounded by a white chocolate sauce, raspberry coulis, and a generous dollop of whip cream. What a perfect way to end the meal. The service there was great and we didn't want for anything. This is a great little oasis to enjoy a great meal when you are ready to get away from all that hustle and bustle in the mall.

Nordstrom Cafe Bistro
2223 North West Shore Blvd #300
Tampa, FL 33607

Nordstrom Cafe Bistro on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 4, 2011

L'Eden Restaurant and Bar - downtown Tampa

My family and I popped into L'Eden one Saturday afternoon and had quite a lovely experience. The inside of the restaurant is quaint with its small tables by the large windows. This space itself is very small and has a european flavor. There is a small bar that had brioche and croissants on it, when we were there. We were seated at a lovely corner spot by the windows.

After a quick look at the menu, we were excited to see they offered sweet and savory crepes. We had one vegetable crepe, of which leeks was the lovely and dominant filling. We also ordered one croissant sandwich with melted brie. Both of these were served a generous serving of roasted potatoes and leafy greens. Both dishes were divine and went lovely with a glass of red wine. After that, we had to try some sweet crepes, so we ordered one filled with chocolate and one butter and sugar crepe. Both were so yummy and the crepes were thin and delicate, just like they should be. I can't wait until I have another lazy Saturday, so we can pay a visit there again.

500 North Tampa Street
Tampa, FL 33602

L'Eden on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Samaria Cafe - Tampa, FL

Looking for breakfast on a beautiful Saturday morning, my family and I headed to downtown Tampa to try the breakfast at Samaria Cafe. We were greeted warmly upon entering the cafe and observed that was the rule for whoever walked in the door. The cafe has a lot of bright and open space and you can be seated at a booth or regular table. We asked for a table right in the center of things, so we could observe our surroundings.

After looking over the menu, we ordered a cheeseburger and fries, a mushroom omelette, and pancakes. After a reasonable period of time, our food arrived. All of the food was okay, but nothing really wowed me. I really wished we had enjoyed the food there more because the setting was a cozy breakfast spot and the service and attention offered to the customers by the owners and servers was excellent. However, I do notice that there are a lot of raves on the food by other urbanspoon users, so I would still say one should give it a try if they are in the area because you very well may have a different perspective on the food than we did.

502 North Tampa St
Tampa, FL 33602

Samaria Cafe on Urbanspoon