Monday, March 18, 2013

Oxford Exchange - Hyde Park(Tampa), FL

I must admit, I was very excited to try the food at Oxford Exchange.  I love the way the place looks with its bookstore in the front, a cozy area where you can order tea or coffee, a shop of curiosities at the other end, and a wide open space featuring the restaurant.  If you are lucky enough to get a table, there is a smaller area with natural light and a fountain surrounded by tables.  No such luck for us, but the other part of the restaurant is beautiful, also.  After a 15 minute wait for a table, we were finally seated.  First order of business to be seen to, the wine.  The Oxford Exchange doesn't serve wine, but for a $15 corking fee, they will open your wine and provide wine glasses.  I love bringing my own wine anyway because I know for sure I will be drinking something I love, and on this day we had brought a lovely French bordeaux along that we were very happy to drink.

Next order of business, the food.  We ordered a burger, the Grilled Chicken Paillard served over arugula with shavings of parmesan, and the Bronzino fish served over lentils.  The burger put me in burger heaven and was very juicy and worth every calorie.  I liked the fish, but the whole party didn't quite agree with me, so I'll leave that up to the diner.  Another favorite for everyone was the chicken, which was my personal favorite.  This place is a winner and I always figure it is a good sign for the success of a restaurant when you have to wait for a table on a weekday.  I would definitely go back for the surroundings, the food, and the service.  And don't forget to try the dessert if you can squeeze some in, as it's worth it!

Oxford Exchange
420 West Kennedy Blvd
Tampa, FL  33602

Oxford Exchange on Urbanspoon

Hellas Restaurant and Bakery - Tarpon Springs, FL

On a short staycation, we had fun playing tourists one day in Tarpon Springs.  For those of you who don't know, Tarpon Springs is famous for its large greek population and its sponge diving.  Walking down the main drag, you can pick from a number of greek restaurants.  We opted for the much loved Hella's.  Although this is a very touristy area, and you know what they say about avoiding tourist traps, one doesn't find subpar food at Hellas.  We tried the Mousaka, the stuffed flounder, and a gyro and we were very happy with all our entrees.  Some of Hella's delicious baklava to finish our meal and we were happy.

785 Dodeconese Blvd
Tarpon Springs, FL  34689
Hellas on Urbanspoon