Posts Tagged With: cocktails

Steaks and Martinis

TEDDY’s RATING:

I know that some of my readers are vegetarians or vegans. So, if you are, you probably don’t want to read any further. Although, I’m sure the title of this post turned you off already anyway!

I’ve written way too many posts on seafood restaurants, so it’s time for me to get to the meat, steak to be precise. My fellow carnivores, I love Sanibel Steakhouse (now called Chip’s Sanibel Steakhouse.) The first time we went was way back in 2000. The steaks were like “budda” and the martinis were huge. Now, 12 years later, the martinis are regular size, but the filet mignon is still absolutely, melt-in-your-mouth amazing. Perfection even. You don’t even need a steak knife to cut it.

In addition to the scrumptious filet mignon, I also had a lovely Metropolitan Martini, basically raspberry vodka. For a starter, I had fabulous French onion soup and along with my 5 ounce filet, garlic mashed potatoes, veggies and sourdough bread.

Service is wonderful. Our wait staff was very professional and attentive. Overall, a wonderfully satisfying experience.

But just because it’s a steakhouse, doesn’t mean they only have steak. The menu also features chicken, duck, pork and pasta dishes. Seafood lovers can partake of shrimp, scallops, lobster tail and “Sanibel Island’s best crab cakes.”

If you want to indulge yourself at this delectable dining destination — and if you love steak you simply have to — make sure you call ahead. At the Sanibel Steakhouse, you always need a reservation.

Dates of Visit:  January 2000, January 2002, October 2012

http://www.thesanibelsteakhouse.com/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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Categories: Eat, Florida | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Latin Flavors Abound at the Columbia Restaurant

TEDDY’s RATING: 

I’m a very picky eater. So, when it comes to reviewing different restaurants, I’m not that easy to please. You already know that I’m not crazy about seafood. Well, I’m also not crazy about Latin food. Now, many of you who read this probably do like seafood and Latin cuisine, and that’s great. Take what I say here with a grain of salt, if you like salty food!

The Columbia Restaurant is very, very popular. It’s been in business for well over 100 years. And that should tell you something. There are eight locations around Florida: Celebration, St. Augustine, St. Petersburg, Clearwater Beach, Sarasota and three locations in the Tampa area, the oldest location in Ybor City (outside of Tampa.) This is the one that I visited with friends. It opened in 1905.

Cuban immigrant Casimiro Hernandez came to Ybor City in the early 1900s along with a lot of his countrymen looking for a new homeland. He opened a corner café that catered to the workers in the cigar-making industry. Now, over 100 years later, 4th and 5th generations of the original family still own and run the restaurants. Not only is Columbia the oldest restaurant in Florida, but it claims to be the largest Spanish restaurant in the world.

When my friends said they wanted to go to this restaurant, I perused the menu online to find something that I could tolerate eating. I don’t like spicy food, or black beans and rice or really anything in the Mexican, Spanish or Cuban realm. But I did see that they had their “1905 Salad” which was something I could try. It was good — Romaine lettuce with ham, cheese, tomatoes, olives (I chose to opt out in the olive area) with a garlic dressing. USA Today said that the Columbia was “One of 10 Great Places to Make a Meal out of a Salad.” And that’s what I did. Accompanied by their yummy Cuban bread, the 1905 Salad does fill you up.

I also tried one of the appetizers, Croquetas de Pollo — six fried chicken croquettes rolled in Cuban cracker crumbs. These were very good. Other entrees my party tried were Pollo Manchego (breaded chicken breast with sun dried tomatoes and basil) and Camarones Rellenos “Jesse Gonzalez” (shrimp with crab meat and lemon butter.) Both were tasty, but somewhat salty.

The menu is quite extensive with several seafood, chicken, steak and vegetarian entrees. There’s a wide variety of tapas to choose from as well as salads, sandwiches and soups. The Columbia also has a gluten-free menu.

After reading the menu online, I was looking forward to trying the Silver Meteor cocktail, a combination of Spanish Sparkling Cava (champagne), blood orange liqueur and elderflower liqueur. I have to say it wasn’t what I expected. It just tasted like a glass of plain champagne. They are known for their Sangria, which is what I should have ordered.

The décor at the Ybor City location is quiet extraordinary with hand-painted tile work and elegant chandeliers. The service was wonderful. We had two waiters that were very attentive and knowledgeable. This location also features performances by Flamenco dancers (Monday through Saturday) and a live jazz band (Tuesday through Saturday.) They even have a gift shop where you can buy the 1905 Salad dressing, sangria mix, and pottery imported from Spain.

The Columbia Restaurant has won many awards, including being named one of the top restaurants in Florida since 1967. It’s been named an All-American icon by Nation’s Restaurant News. And with 8 locations and various other accolades, they must be doing something right. Just because I’m not a big fan of Cuban food doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a try. But if you are a big fan, you probably already have!

Dates of Visit:  July 21, 2012

http://www.columbiarestaurant.com/ 

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

Categories: Eat, Florida | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stoney Knob Cafe-Weaverville’s Best

TEDDY’s RATING:

Weaverville is a little town, just north of Asheville, about a 10 minute drive from downtown. Population: just over 3,000 people.

If you’ve driven through Weaverville you might think of it as just a sleepy little hamlet, but they’ve got some great eating spots. I’ve already written about the Well-Bred Bakery. Definitely check that out if you’re there. But if you’re looking for a great meal at a fun, funky bistro, try the Stoney Knob Café.

When you walk in, you’d think you were in a restaurant in downtown Asheville or even a much more metropolitan city. The décor is a “whimsical blend of artifacts and artful spaces,” as their website says and the menu is made up of American, European, and Mediterranean cuisine.

The Stoney Knob Café started out as a small diner back in the 1960s. When original owner Gus Dermas emigrated from Greece to the US, he discovered Weaverville and fell in love with it because it reminded him of his homeland. The restaurant is currently run by Gus’s sons, John and Yotty.

In 2000, the Stoney Knob Cafe was expanded. The original diner remains, but is now flanked by two other dining areas. On one side is the Red Room where you can enjoy an intimate dinner by the fire. On the other side is the Mediterranean Room, also called the “saints and sinners” room. This larger dining room is decorated with a mish mash of everything from velvet Elvis paintings to a life-sized statue of the Virgin Mary. So, one restaurant with three distinctive looks, but all of them inviting and fun, and like nothing you’ve probably ever seen before.

The menu is as eclectic as the atmosphere. They prepare dishes “from near and far” combining local tastes with world-wide flair. You can get Spanish paella, Greek moussaka, Asian spring rolls, falafel, Kobe beef burgers, and filet mignon. There are also seafood, vegetarian and gluten-free choices.

We started off our meal with an excellent cocktail, the Love Potion #69, a blend of strawberry kiwi Vodka, peach schnapps, lemon juice and sour mix. Delightful. They have other original cocktails, a full bar and an extensive wine list.

For entrees, the tortellini with chicken was light, creamy and totally delicious with a parmesan carbonara sauce, prosciutto and peas. And as the menu says, the tender braised boneless short ribs with asiago stone ground grits were “to die for.” We rounded off the meal with their luscious Italian lemon cake.

Service was excellent, as was the food and the entire experience. There’s really nothing negative I can say about the Stoney Knob Café. I can’t wait to go back there on my next trip to the Asheville area. 

Dates of Visit:  May 2012

http://www.stoneyknobcafe.com/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

Categories: Eat, North Carolina | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Dessert Lady

                

TEDDY’s RATING:

Just speak the words “Dessert Lady” and I am there!

We first discovered this little slice of sweet heaven back when it was located off Kirkman Road near Universal Studios, Orlando. That Kirkman location has since closed, but The Dessert Lady lives on in her newest digs, downtown on Church Street, and within walking distance of the new Orlando Arena — a much better spot for post-game, post-concert and pre-partying refreshments.

This unique dessert bistro serves wine, cocktails, gourmet coffees and the most luscious of confections. Because there are so many extraordinary dessert choices, we always opt for the sampler platter — four smaller pieces of cake, cheesecake or other seasonal dessert.

The Dessert Lady’s Carrot Cake, always a winner for sure, is out of this world, and has no nuts for those of you who prefer it that way. My second favorite is the Chocolate Neapolitan Cake, six layers of scrumptious cake with raspberry mousse, chocolate ganache and raspberry sauce. Then there’s the Six Layer Chocolate Cake, Peanut Butter Pie, Fudge Ripple Bread Pudding, a variety of cheesecake flavors and seasonal desserts which sometimes include another favorite of mine, Caramel Apple Cake. The desserts are a bit pricey, but they are large portions and you definitely get what you pay for.

Owner Patti Schmidt became The Dessert Lady back in 1997. But way before that, she started creating carrot cakes in her garage for a local bakery. Her passion for baking blossomed into a full line of desserts and the desire to open up her own establishment. Her cozy dessert and wine bar now features a lunch menu with sandwiches and quiche. Catering is also available and you can buy made-to-order whole cakes to bring home.

The Dessert Lady has been voted “Best Dessert” by the Orlando Magazine Dining Awards, the Orlando Sentinel’s Foodie Awards and Travel Magazine’s Top 25 Reasons to Visit Orlando. The bistro is open every day with varying hours, but until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

Save some room after your dinner downtown and stop by The Dessert Lady for a drink and dessert that you’ll never forget. As Pattie herself has said, “There’s never a bad experience with dessert.”

Dates of Visit:  2005 to present

http://www.dessertlady.com/

Categories: Eat, Florida | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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