Wednesday, September 19, 2012

La V: Vietnamese Fusion - Downtown St. Petersburg, FL

La V Vietnamese Fusion couldn't be a better addition to downtown Saint Petersburg.  A few tables outside for people watching, and inside, simple, elegant lines with beautiful artwork on the walls.  Everyone walking in the door, along with ourselves, were greeted promptly on walking in the door the evening we were there.  There are a number of chairs at the bar along with tables or booths at the back of the restaurant.  We chose a table at the front of the restaurant so we could see the whole place.  Our server arrived promptly with menus and gave us a couple of minutes to look them over.

We were delighted to see that along with the usual selection of wine one sees at most restaurants, they offered a French white, rose, and red.  We are fond of French rose and find it is a good wine pairing for anything that has a hint of heat or spice, so we chose the lovely selection they offered from Provence, France.  A good glass of wine in hand, we made our selections.  We started with Shrimp Roll on Sugarcane and Fresh Tofu rolls.  The shrimp rolls were very good, but I really loved the Fresh Tofu rolls with the fresh taste of mint inside and a yummy peanut dipping sauce.  For our entrees, we ordered the Grilled Prawn on Vermicelli, Lemongrass chicken on vermicelli, and sesame beef on fried rice.  All of our dishes were very good and it was hard to pick a favorite, but I have to say the sesame beef on fried beef was my favorite by a narrow margin and I loved the crisp vegetables served on the side of our entrees.  I know this is going to be a new favorite of mine.

La V
441 Central Avenue
St Petersburg, FL  33701

La V Vietnamese Fusion on Urbanspoon

Papa Angelo's - downtown St Pete, FL

I decided to stop at Papa Angelo's one day and get a pizza to go.  It is a simple place with a few bar tables and they have extended their space to include the old Globe Coffee lounge, which they have redone over nicely into a space to hold parties and such.  On the day I stopped in, it looked like a baby shower was going on, so that area was closed off.  I ordered a plain cheese pizza and some garlic knots, and 15 minutes later it was all ready.  The pizza was good, but the end crust seemed to extend in a little far, which kind of diminished the sauce and cheese covered area.  The garlic knots tasted pretty much like my pizza crust, so not much going on there.  Overall okay, but still not my favorite place to order pizza downtown.

Papa Angelo's
536 1st Avenue North
Saint Petersburg, FL  33701

Papa Angelo's Best Pizza on Urbanspoon

Malio's Prime Steakhouse - Downtown Tampa, FL

I have known of Malio's existence for the last couple of months, but have been unable to stop in because whenever I seem to be in the area it is because I am visiting the Florida Museum of Photography on a Saturday and Malio's is not open for lunch on Saturday.  This invariably leads to us dining someplace else.  However, the whole family recently had a Friday off and after a visit to the Museum of Photography, we stopped in for lunch at Malio's.  Predictably, any restaurant in downtown Tampa on a weekday will be filled with the business crowd, which gives it a different atmosphere than a Friday evening.  However, we were eating a late lunch, so just a few stragglers were left.  We took a seat at one of the curved booth seats in the bar, which I thought was quite cozy.  I can say it might even be romantic with all of the soft lighting and muted sounds.

I didn't much care for the wines by the glass menu, so I decided to order the Blue Moon Cosmo, which was pretty, as well as tasty.  We ordered the aged white cheddar cheeseburgers with fries and the filet tips with mushroom marsala sauce. The filet tips came with a choice of salad, which I upgraded to the gorgonzola salad, which was excellent.  It was so good, that next time I would just add a filet to the salad and make it a meal.  The food arrived and the burgers were great and we loved the thick steak fries that came with them.   As far as the filet tips went, I did not like the marsala sauce served in a gravy boat that came with it.  It had settled into a thick, lumpish mess that wasn't very appealing.  However, the filet tips were so good on their own, that after a first taste with marsala sauce, I ate the rest without the sauce.  Unfortunately, I was full after that, so I didn't get a chance to try dessert, but I would definitely like to come back one evening for dinner.  Another plus, the service was attentive.

Malio's Prime Steakhouse
400 North Ashley Drive
Tampa, FL  33602

Malio's Prime Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Bar Louie - Westshore(Tampa), FL

I try to avoid the International Plaza Mall on the weekends, and to be honest I don't like malls too much on weekdays, either.  However, I am forced to visit them once and a while for something or other. When I find myself there, I try to find someplace new to dine at in the mall to recover my sanity.  This latest visit, we decided to check out Bar Louie.  As is often the case at mall restaurants, Bar Louie is a chain, but we were hungry and thirsty and not above chains on desperate occasions.  When we stopped in, the place was pretty quiet, but I think shoppers were still in full force shopping in their favorite stores and would make their way to eating establishments later.  All the better for me, who welcomed the peace and quiet away from the crowds.  There were several tall bar tables, but we took one of the normal dining tables outside the bar area.

We decided martinis were the thing for us, so we tried the Clover and the Lemon Drop.  The Clover tasted a bit too sweet, but the Lemon Drop was perfect for a hot summer day.  We decided to try the chicken nachos, the verde chicken flatbread, and a basic cheeseburger.  Everything was a hit from the nachos that seemed to stay crisp to the end, the combination of flavors on the flatbread, and the pleasingly juicy burger.  It was almost good enough to have me make up an excuse to go shopping.....almost.  Let's not get crazy kids.

Bar Louie
2223 N Westshore Blvd
Suite B-202
Tampa, FL  33607

Bar Louie on Urbanspoon

The Living Room - Dunedin, FL

Why, oh why, did I wait so long to try the Living Room Restaurant in Dunedin? There is not any particular reason, other than it is a bit of a drive for me because I certainly had a mostly lovely experience dining there for Saturday brunch.  I arrived there a bit early with my family, so the place was still wide open and we were able to pick a choice spot in the dining room where we could have a good view of both rooms.  I ordered a spicy Bloody Mary and then looked over the menu.  We decided to try Roy's Brunch Reuben, the Brunch Burger, and the Henny and Johnny, which is a fried cornish hen served with cornmeal pancakes and one egg.

My Bloody Mary was just the way I liked it and it was not much of a wait for food.  First, the Henny and Johnny.  I was very happy with my cornmeal pancakes and egg, but the cornish hen had no flavor and I think some basic salt and pepper would have made quite a difference there.  So, moist hen and nice crunchy coating, but ruined by a lack of seasoning.  Luckily, the rest of the meal was very enjoyable.  I loved the burger, but the reuben was my favorite and more than made up for the cornish hen.  I have to say I liked the friendly service there and the atmosphere, too.  One negative, but more than enough positives would make me want to go back more often, if only it were closer.

The Living Room Restaurant and Lounge
487 Main Street
Dunedin, FL 34698

The Living Room on Urbanspoon