Posts Tagged With: seafood

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

Phillip’s Seafood at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor

TEDDY’s RATING: 

It’s not often that I have to go out of town for work (alas, I don’t write my blog for a living.) So, this was a great opportunity to write about places outside my usual stomping grounds. This trip took me to Baltimore.

Even though I was out of town, I still found myself eating at yet another seafood restaurant. But this time, I actually had one of the few seafood dishes that I like, New England Clam Chowder. The restaurant was Phillip’s Seafood at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

The Phillips family has been in the seafood business since the turn of the century. Grandpa first had a crab processing plant in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. In 1956, the Phillips family moved to Ocean City, Maryland, where they opened a small carryout restaurant, Phillips Crab House, where they sold the overstock from Grandpa’s plant.

The company has grown considerably over the last 50 years. They now have several locations along the eastern seaboard where they serve fresh seafood in a casual yet classy atmosphere. In addition to their Maryland locations, they also have restaurants in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Washington D.C. They even have several airport locations including ones in Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Newark and Savannah.

But back to the food, the New England Clam Chowder was good, a bit fishy for my taste, but nice consistency. My colleague ordered the grilled Mahi Mahi, which he enjoyed. And for dessert, chocolate lava cake.  Of course, they’ve got all the usual seafood dishes like lobster, shrimp, clams, and what they’re most famous for…crab.

Dates of Visit:  October 2012

http://www.phillipsseafood.com/

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

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The Catfish Place-An Apopka Landmark

TEDDY’s RATING: 

If you’re a follower of my blog, you already know that I’m not a big fan of seafood. Yet, I keep checking out seafood restaurants and writing about them. I wouldn’t normally choose a seafood restaurant if asked where I wanted to eat, but I had been wanting to write about The Catfish Place for a while.

Steve Johnson opened the first location in St. Cloud, Florida, in 1972. At that time, it was called the “Brew and Chew,” but soon the name changed to The Catfish Place when they became known as a place to get great catfish. Several years later, Steve convinced his son, Bob, to open a second location in Apopka and it’s been a success for over 35 years, becoming a landmark in Apopka, Florida, and the oldest independently owned restaurant in town. The building was once a railroad depot and the atmosphere, like the food itself, is southern-style, down home.

To me, what really stands out here is the super friendly wait staff and great service. The food is great too, but it makes the experience all the more enjoyable if you have a waiter or waitress who really likes his or her job. Our waitress, Lisa, was very friendly and knowledgeable. She even mentioned that the sweet potato fries weren’t an extra charge of $2.00 as the menu said. And even though she brought me regular fries by mistake, she was incredibly apologetic and brought me the sweet potato fries right away.

They have a great early bird menu available from 4pm to 6pm, offering some of their most popular items at a nice discount. For an appetizer, our group tried the fried green tomatoes. I wasn’t crazy about them, but everyone else seemed to like them a lot. For my entrée, I had the grilled chicken breast which was very tender and tasty. My sides were their wonderfully sweet cole slaw and the sweet potato fries, at no extra charge. All meals come with their fabulous hush puppies, crispy outside and tender inside with just a hint of their own sweetness.

For those of you who are seafood eaters, you can get shrimp, scallops, clams, flounder, and of course, all you can eat catfish. Their catch of the day when I went was Mahi Mahi, grilled or broiled. And for the more adventurous eater, The Catfish Place offers gator tail and frogs legs. Their Florida Cracker Special includes both of those along with boneless catfish.

Though we didn’t partake of dessert, they have home made key lime pie, New Orleans style bread pudding and the chocolate volcano, which I’ve read is something else.

The Catfish Place is open from 11am to 9pm Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11am to 10pm Fridays and Saturdays. They’re closed Sundays and Mondays.

Dates of Visit:  October 2012

http://mycatfishplace.com

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

Categories: Eat, Florida | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

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Scampi’s – A Hometown Italian Eatery

TEDDY’s RATING: 

I always like to try out small, family-owned, hometown restaurants and not always patronize the big chains. Scampi’s Italian Eatery is a small, hometown restaurant near where I live. So, we like to go there every so often for Italian food.

I’ve read some very mixed reviews online about Scampi’s. Some people absolutely love the place, others have rated it only one star because of the service. We had a nice time when we went. The service was good, although we were there early on a Sunday evening and there were no other customers. Other reviewers have stated that they were turned away at the door, even though they arrived well before the 10pm posted closing time.

Scampi’s has a very extensive menu. They have everything: pizzas, calzones, all types of pastas and sauces, hot and cold sandwiches, salads, soups, chicken, veal and seafood. The menu is almost too large. But it is all freshly cooked to order.

I had the Chicken Marsala. The sauce was very light in both flavor and consistency.  The portions are quite large. I had enough leftover for at least one more meal. The small calzone is a very good size as well. Other members of our party had lasagna and spaghetti with sausage. The lasagna was very good, but the sausage was rather bland. Dinners come with a side salad and garlic knots. We were too full to enjoy dessert, but they do offer tiramisu, bread pudding and cheesecake.

Scampi’s does have a web address. The site is not really up and running yet, but you can access their menu on it.

Dates of Visit:  April 29, 2012

http://www.scampiscf.com/

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

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Mitchell’s Fish Market – Even if you’re not a seafood fanatic

TEDDY’s RATING: 

If you’ve read my previous posts, you know that I’m not a big seafood fan. So why would I go to a place called Mitchell’s Fish Market? Well, there were expiring gift cards involved, so I kind of had to go. But I definitely was not disappointed. Of course, I made sure ahead of time that they had several “Turf” choices on the menu.

First off, I’d like to shout out to our wonderful waitress, Aline. She was top-notch, making some excellent suggestions. She recommended the Elderflower and Pear cocktail. It sounded unusual, but Aline said it was very good. And it was. So much so that I wasn’t willing to let anyone else in my party take a sip! This signature drink contains Absolut Pear Vodka, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, champagne and fresh lemon juice. I love champagne drinks. This was light and bubbly, very refreshing.

Since I’m totally a Turf girl, I chose the pot roast for my entree. (Decided to forego the appetizer, soup or salad to save room for dessert.) It is served with mashed potatoes and vegetables. It was delicious, very tender and tasty. The rest of my family tried the Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Angel Hair Pasta, the Lemon Chicken with mashed potatoes and vegetables, and the Cod and Shrimp with Hush Puppies and coleslaw. All entrees were highly rated by all.

So, now we come to the dessert. Yes, the best part of every meal. Aline recommended two desserts, the towering 7 layer Carrot Cake and the “Sharkfin” pie. We got one of each. These desserts are gigantic. More than enough for sharing – with 27 of your closest friends.

The Carrot Cake was quite moist and sweet, but I have to say that my favorite Carrot Cake is still baked by The Dessert Lady.

“Sharkfin” pie, what a crazy name for a dessert, but when you see it, you’ll know why it’s called that. This dessert is a huge wedge of vanilla ice cream layered with chocolate fudge, peanut butter, a chocolate cookie crust and honey roasted peanuts. You’ll be hooked after your first Great White bite.

Mitchell’s has over 80 different menu items which change daily based on the availability of fresh seafood. Their website says they’re “absolutely, positively obsessed with freshness.” If it’s not 100% fresh, right off the boat, they don’t serve it. Their motto is “Fish any fresher would still be in the ocean.”

And to ensure their seafood is the freshest and the best, Mitchell’s is “chain of custody” certified. I had never heard of that before. It means that Mitchell’s has a screening process for their suppliers, so they know exactly what they’re getting and where it comes from.

I noticed that there are a lot of blogs out there devoted to gluten-free diets. All of you out there will be pleased to know that Mitchell’s has a gluten-free menu.

Mitchell’s has several locations across the eastern and central US including Ohio, Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania.

Date of Visit:  February 26, 2012

www.mitchellsfishmarket.com

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Boston’s Fish House

TEDDY’s RATING: 

I’m not a seafood lover, but if you are, Boston’s Fish House is a place you should check out. But be prepared to wait in line because there is almost always a line out the door. What does that tell you? Yeah, it’s very popular.

All ingredients are fresh, flown in daily, and everything is made to order from scratch. Portions are large and prices very reasonable. The menu includes all your standard seafood items: shrimp, clams, lobster, oysters, scallops, catfish, and salmon. These are available fried in vegetable oil, but if you prefer a more healthy option you can have your seafood broiled Cajun style, in garlic butter and white wine, or with a Ritz Cracker topping.

Even though I’m not a big seafood eater, I do like a good tuna salad. Boston’s Fish House makes a great tuna salad. It’s flavorful, not fishy, and is served on either a sub roll or Nissen roll, which I usually choose. (A Nissen roll is like a flat hot dog bun.) The wonderful tuna salad has been on and off the menu for years. It’s all based on the price of fresh tuna. If Boston’s can’t get it at a reasonable price, there’s no tuna salad available at the restaurant. So, rather than serving tuna that’s not up to their standards, they choose to not serve it at all.

I also love their potato salad. I don’t know what they do to it, but it’s deliciously sweet and amazing. My tuna salad sandwich comes with two sides and I always get two potato salads.

New England Clam Chowder is another seafood dish that I actually like. Boston’s is creamy, full of potatoes and a hint of bacon, so not for vegetarians.

Don’t forget about dessert. Boston’s Fish House serves what I consider the most enormous piece of Boston Cream Pie in the universe. (Okay, I’m exaggerating, but it is big.) It’s enough for at least two people to share. I always have to get it to go since I’m too full after the meal.

The first Boston’s Fish House opened in 1988 in a tiny house on Aloma Avenue in Winter Park. It became so popular that in 1994 they had to move up the street to a larger location, which is where they are now, still on Aloma Avenue in Winter Park.  They now have a new location in Sanford, Florida.

The decor is kitschy seaside (pelicans, stuffed fish, boats, buoys) combined with anything related to Boston or New England. The staff is attentive and very friendly. And every time I’ve been there, one of the owners is either running the cash register or helping the wait staff. It’s definitely family-owned and operated.

Boston’s Fish House is open every day except Monday with varying hours. Check their website for times.

Dates of Visit:   2000 to present

http://www.bostonsfishhouse.com

Categories: Eat, Florida | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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