Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dairy Inn - It's not just for dessert!

I left Tanya Sharkey Photography just thrilled with the pictures of my pets, but I was so hungry that all I could think about was food. I had decided early in the morning that I was going to go to Dairy Inn and now I was just minutes away! I was definitely thinking burger, since they are "St. Pete's Best Hamburgers;" but the daily special of a Cuban sandwich, drink and side got my taste buds in a tizzy! I stared at the menu on the front of store for quite a while - even letting two people go ahead of me while I tossed around a few things in my head. The clam roll ($4.69) is listed as being a big favorite in New England. You can get the meal deal which comes with the roll, regular fries and a drink for only $2.00 more. There is a wide assortment of salads and I figured if I had a salad, I would not feel as guilty about the dessert. Salads include DI Salad ($4.49), chef salad (6.49), grilled chicken salad ($6.49), Philly steak salad ($6.49), antipasto salad ($6.49) and tuna salad ($5.49). I was also very intrigued with a real deal authentic Philly ($6.99) - includes onion, mushroom and peppers and choice of cheese; cheese whiz, provolone, white or yellow American or Swiss.

I finally decided to go with my original plan, which was a burger. I ordered the cheeseburger meal deal ($7.49) and upgraded to a small shake for another $1.00. There are more than 27 different flavors of shakes (they also have flavors of the week) and I finally went with basic boring strawberry. Don't get me wrong, it was delicious, but I was pressured to decide! Looking back, I should have gone with something more interesting such as watermelon or black cherry or even chocolate marshmallow!

I stepped aside and waited for my name to be called. There were quite a few people in line and waiting, but the lines moved very quickly. They know what they are doing!

Only a couple minutes had passed before she called my name. I felt like I had won the lottery when I heard my name called over the speaker! Omigosh, it looked so good. I couldn't wait to bite into that big burger!

Yes, I was very happy with my choice of meals!

I asked what the member special is for Local Shops1 and it is Buy One, Get One Free on an order of beignets. (3/$2.39). I whipped out my LS1 card and had dessert! (No, the shake was not dessert, it was my beverage!) Since there were 6, I had the second order of three packaged to go so I could bring them home!

Dairy Inn is located at 1201 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N. in St. Petersburg. They are open Monday through Sunday from 7am - 10pm; Friday and Saturday from 7am-11pm and Sunday from 11:30am-10pm.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Viva "La Dolce Vita" at Pia's Trattoria in Gulfport

Gulfport, Florida, home of eclectic art; funky, cozy cottages; a gorgeous beach and Pia's Trattoria! Pia's is located at 3054 Beach Boulevard South. It is an adorable building with a fabulous garden area that you can't miss.

The interior of the restaurant is absolutely wonderful! You can dine outside in the garden or in one of the rooms inside. Our party was seated in one of the private rooms. If you look at the photo of the room, the lamp and the mirror were both brought from Italy. The mirror is gorgeous.

The other room was just as beautiful. I would love to have my family all dine together in this room. It was very homey and welcoming. Pia's is a very relaxed atmosphere and I could see spending a lot of time in this room. We actually stayed in our "room" for quite a while and were not rushed and were able to enjoy our meals and the company of friends.

The main dining room is very nice and cozy. I would love to come here on a date and share some wine and pasta!

As you know, if the restroom is nice and clean, the kitchen probably is as well. This is the nicest bathroom I have seen in a while! The restroom itself is very large; that is a pleasant change from being crammed into stalls in most restaurants.

Before we even placed our orders, bread and a plate of dipping oil were delivered to the table. The bread was warm, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. I could have just eaten that! The oil was filled with spices and herbs. I think a couple people had dipped into this before I had a chance to take the photo!

I was undecided as to what to order as the menu was filled with many dishes that sounded simply amazing; from the Antipasto Misto to the homemade cannoli. Since there were several of us dining, I knew I would get the opportunity to see several entrees.

Ester Venouziou and Joey Goodrich both ordered the "Salmone di Capri" [smoked salmon with horseradish cream cheese spread, sprinkled with a lemon pesto and served with grilled Italian garlic focaccia bread] ($10.50).

Jobi Harris first ordered the calamari (which is served authenic Italian - not fried, but sauteed in a lemon butter garlic sauce); but then decided to have one of the panini sandwiches. I am going to return to try the calamari as this is one of the few places that I know that does not fry it. The "tomaso" was Jobi's choice. This panini is turkey,gorgonzola cheese, arugula and tomatoes. ($10.50)

Finally, I ordered the "Insalata Pia." [A large bowl of greensalad with tomatoes including imprted Italian Mozzarella and gorgonzola cheese topped with a "salsa verde" dressing.

The desserts are fresh baked daily and I really wanted to taste one, but I was so full after the bread and salad. My next visit, I will limit my bread and definitely enjoy dessert.

When I was walking out, I noticed a whole new room that I had not seen before. The bar area is just as beautiful as the rest of the restaurant.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Lunch at the almost famous - Ted Peters in South Pasadena

I think I can say that many people have heard of Ted Peters Smoked Fish. It is almost famous around here; a family owned institution that has been in the same location in South Pasadena(1350 Pasadena Avenue South) for 56 years.

It's a small place--with picnic tables set outside and a few tables inside.

Most of the time it is packed and hard to find a table, but we hit it at just the right time before the crowd arrived! Within 15 minutes every table was full.

The menu isn't very large, so it didn't take long to figure out what to order. Since they are famous for their smoked fish, we had to start with that! It is served with just enough crackers for the serving. ($6.29) We were told by people who ordered at another table that they no longer give crackers for takeout orders. So, if you plan on picking up some fishspread to take home, to a party or to the beach, make sure you pick up some crackers too!

I had to try one of their burgers. I haven't been there in years, but I remembered them having really good burgers. I must say that I was a little disenchanted with the price of the burger. The plain burger is $5.29, cheeseburger is $6.29 and lettuce and tomato are 50 cents. I thought it would be served with something, but what you see is what I received. Live and learn ~ as they say.

We also ordered the mahi-mahi dinner ($14.99) which was served with German potato salad, colesalw, bread and butter, pickle, tomato, sweet onion, lemon. Our server must have forgot about the bread and butter as we did not get any with the meal. By the time she came back around we were already done eating and did not need it. She gave us the check, I asked for some more iced tea and when she brought back the change, she didn't have my iced tea and I didn't want to wait for it.

We decided to go and check out the smokehouse next door. If you just want to pick up some smoked fish, just go there. You don't have to go into the restaurant.

Ted Peter's is a cash only establishment. Click here to see the video from Diner's, Drive-Ins and Dives.