Sunday, August 14

Tampa Restaurant Week(s)!

Who is excited? I know that I am... I hope that I am able to make it to at least one of these fabulous dinning establishments in the next few weeks to take advantage of the great deals and to try out a new restaurant.

Celebrate Dining Out In Tampa Bay

Sunday, August 7

I Hearts of Palm Salad

After the gym the other day I just wanted a light dinner so I threw together this salad from items in the house. I like it when my salad is easy to eat and there isn't this huge piece of lettuce that you have to somehow stuff in your mouth (and still look like your not stuffing your mouth) so I use a knife to chop the whole head of lettuce into lettuce strips. 

There is no "recipe" I just go with how much of each item i want/ have for each particular meal. You like less zucchini? put less- just go with how you feel.
  • Chopped Lettuce
  • Heart of Palm (1 can, salad cut)
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Handful of Green olives
  • Julienne Zucchini
  • Cooked Lemon Pepper Chicken, sliced
  • Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
Lemon Pepper Chicken
Get out your chicken breast, pat with a paper towel to get off all moisture, sprinkle some Lemon Pepper seasoning on both sides. (Don't have Lemon-Pepper Seasoning? Instead zest one whole lemon and about half teaspoon of black pepper- make sure the mixture is 2:1 Lemon to Pepper or it might turn out too peppery.) Spray your cooking spray and set your pan on a medium heat. Once heated, saute each side of the chicken for about 4-5 minutes until cooked through- juices should run clear. Set aside for a few minutes while you are finishing the rest of the salad, then cut at the bias into strips or bite-size chucks. 
  • Aprx. 1 lb. Boneless Skinless Thin Chicken Breast (I get the thin so it cooks faster)
  • Lemon-Pepper Seasoning
  • Lemon Zest of one Lemon
  • Freshly Grated Pepper
Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
This is a basic vinaigrette, but I added my own little twist becuase I LOVE the flavor of sun dried tomatoes.  Please remember the ratio of oil to acid (vinegar or lemon juice) should be about 3:1.
  •  1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  •  1 tsp. Lemon juice
  •  5 sun dried tomatoes, minced
  •  1/4 c. red wine vinegar
  •  salt and pepper
  •   1/4 c. Sun dried Tomato oil (this is the oil from your jar of sun dried tomatoes)
  •  1/2 c.  Olive Oil (maybe more according to your taste)
Whisk together the mustard, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, sun dried tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, while whisking drizzle in both oils until blended. Then taste! You might need to add more salt or pepper or if its too tart you might have to add more oil. Too oily? Add more lemon juice or vinegar.

Its one tasty salad!

Saturday, August 6

Stacked Burgers: my review

Stacked Burgers is one of the newest restaurants in town; opened just last week.   It took the place of a Tijuana Flats which is a great establishment but in my opinion: chains just don’t do well in South Tampa.

I have been watching this place for a few months now getting excited for a new restaurant to add the lineup.  Being so enthralled with the idea of what kind of burgers they would have, how high they could be stacked and so forth that I didn’t realize the double entendre that lied ahead.  Walking in the atmosphere was to be expected, the walls were colorful and playful, large bar, and big screens. The place was a little bit empty being a weekend night around 8 BUT the staff was all friendly and inviting. This is when it hit me- STACKED Burgers doesn’t just reference the multiple layers of beef and toppings but playfully suggests the other things that might be stacked including our waitress and most of her co-workers. Clever little phrases like “udderly delicious” and “more than a mouthful” illustrated on the wall really brought home the point.  After getting over the fact that I missed this play on words, I took in the menu which was pretty simple. Burgers, Wings, Sides, Beer.  I ended up getting the “2 Hot 4 You Burger” two patties with pepper jack cheese, jarred jalapenos, and wing sauce. Food items at restaurants are not usually too hot for me and this was no exception. I did however regret my decision to get a burger with so many toppings on it because frankly my mouth is not able to (comfortably) open that wide- so I guess they lived up to their name!  I also tried my husband’s plain ole Stacked Burger without any toppings; it wasn’t any better.  For $1 extra I was able to trade in my side of regular fries for Zucchini Fries with Horseradish Sauce- this was a good choice for sure. The Zucchini Fries are thin strips of (duh) zucchini with a light batter and then deep fried- this a great alternative for people like me who love french fries but would like to indulge without eating the dreaded simple carb white potatoes! Don’t be fooled: I know this is no better health-wise but I like it anyways. Although they were not set up for draft beer (it’s their first week so let’s give them a break) the price was right for both draft and bottled beer, $3-$4 glass. The one thing that really did bother me was the distinct look that this place used to be a T.J. Flats from the tables/booths, to the napkin holders, television placement and even the crushed ice- if the owners of Stacked can somehow shake that “ I bought out a Tijuana Flats restaurant and turned it into this” look I’d like it much better.

Overall I think it has a chance of being something good, still some kinks to work out but if it’s done right they can really have another good burger place in SoHo.

Parking: Sparse and hard to find, also a bit dark after the meal.
Price:  Not too expensive, meals range from $6-$10 and come with a side + beer is cheap.
Food: Decent, quality of ingredients are average but would go back for location, price and atmosphere. Creativity of menu is worth checking out.
Service: Stacked and Friendly.