My sister Ann and her husband Jim spent a couple days with me while vacationing from Pittsburgh, PA. They were excited to try local places and enjoy some great food. When we left Tampa Airport, we headed straight to Ybor City. Several places caught our eye, but we liked the sound of the lunch special at Gaspar's Grotto located at 1805 East 7th Avenue.
The drink special of the day was a 12 oz Pabst Blue Ribbon and a shot of bourbon for TWO dollars! Two of us started our lunch with a "boilermaker" in honor of my father!
The daily special was Picadillo.
Ground beef sauteed with olives, onions, capers, pinenuts and raisins in a cumin-coriander tomato sauce. Served with white rice, platanos maduros and cuban toast. ($5.95)
I was hungry and wanted to get an appetizer, but I couldn't decide because there were so many good things on the appetizer menu. I finally decided to try the cracked conch fritters with sugar cane mustard. ($5.95)
We also ordered Abeula's Spanish Bean Soup just to try something different. It was made with
garbanzos, chorizo and yukon. ($4.95). Ann held up some of the soup for you!
Ann ordered the daily special (which does change daily). I wanted to order pork, but for some reason I was drawn to the wood fired pizza and went with the Grotto Calzone (served with three fillings for $8.95) I chose onion, sundried tomato and queso. Not sure if you can tell by the plate, but this thing was big!!
Jim and Rob both ordered the half chicken served with black beans and rice. The new menu says that it is served with grilled corn, sweet potato fries and coleslaw ($12.95) Jim wanted to know why I didn't make it look nicer before I took the picture and I explained that since that was the way it was served, that is how it looks on here. I show it like it is! The chicken actually was quite juicy and tender.
When we arrived at Gaspar's Grotto, I checked in on FourSquare. With this check-in, I received a free "daily dessert." I forget what the actual name of this ice cream was; but it was homemade and full of apples and cinnamon. I will be sure to check in every where now that businesses are using the "specials" app on foursquare.
We will definitely be going back here, not only to try some other appetizers, but also to try the Creme Brulee'!