Saturday, January 31, 2015

Pipos Original Cuban Cafe' in Bay Pines

After a crazy busy morning and missing lunch, I was driving down Tyrone Boulevard trying to figure out where I could eat that wasn't fast food or something that would take a long time to order and dine.  I remembered that Pipo's Cafe' was just ahead!

Pipo's has been in the Tampa Bay area since 1979, but this location in Bay Pines is the ONLY one that is still owned by the original family.  Pipo's was the original innovator of fast casual food! Fresh, homemade food served quickly.

When I walked in the door, I was immediately greeted and welcomed.  You can either order one of the food items that is prepared, or order sandwiches, salads or other entrees.
Pipo's is known for their roasted pork.  I was having a hard time deciding on that or the sirloin tips which were a special for the day.  The server explained that the pork is there every day and that I should have one of the specials, which was mojo chicken or the sirloin tips.

I decided to get the sirloin tips, which is served with two sides ($11.95).

 I chose yellow rice and plantains.

Now to decide whether to 
eat outside or inside!

I sat down and was almost immediately served my food. Wow, that is a lot of food! Looks like I have dinner tonight or lunch tomorrow!
Pipo's also bottles their own hot sauce and chimichurri.  It is not on the table, so make sure that you either ask for it or go over and put some in a cup - as you definitely want to try it!

As I was eating my late lunch/early dinner, 4 people came in and sat at the booth next to me.  I heard the woman order a taco salad and I wanted to see what it looked like.  When the food was delivered to the table, that taco salad looked amazing!!  I had to go over to the table and ask her if it was as good as it looked! She said that it was delicious and she always gets it when they go to there.  I am getting it next time, too!  The other members in the party had a Cuban wrap ($7.95), the "original 1979 salad" ($8.95) and the roast pork entree ($10.95).  I wanted to take a picture, but I didn't want to interrupt their dinner party!

When the server came back over, I said that even though I was stuffed and needed a box, I had to try the flan. (is it flan that rhymes with pan or flan that rhymes with dawn?)  Either way, here is my bowl of deliciousness!

Pipos is open Monday through Thursday from 9am-9pm; Friday and Saturday from 9am-10pm; and on Sunday from 9am-4:30pm. For breakfast, Pipo's offers breakfast sandwiches as well as Cuban toast and guava pastries. I overheard a woman as I was leaving saying how good the Cuban espresso is. Another thing to try on the next visit!

 Orders can be called in ahead and picked up. You can find Pipo's Cafe' on Facebook or follow on Twitter.

Pipos Original Cuban Cafe' is located at 9531 Bay Pines Blvd.  They offer a 10% discount to Localshops1 cardholders.  Pipo's Cafe' has seating for small, intimate dinners, up to large areas for parties.  The entire outside deck can be booked for a private party.  Pipo's is also available for catering.

Pipo's Original Cuban Cafe can be reached for further questions at 727-394-7476.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Endless Sushi... it's a dream come true!

 I was at Clearwater Mall yesterday around lunchtime and wanted to grab something to eat. It had been a while since I had been at the mall, so I used my phone to see what restaurants were there. One of my choices was sushi, so I began to drive around looking for it.  I couldn't find it, so I called and she told me that they were behind David's Bridal, facing US19.  I asked her if it was All-you-can-eat sushi and she said that it was endless sushi.  I thought too myself, "what is the difference?"

I drove back over to the place that I passed just a few moments before entering the mall!  I walked inside and it was very nice. There were a lot of people having lunch and the restaurant was very clean.  I was seated at a table next to the sushi bar.  There were three sushi chefs working and they prepared sushi nonstop the entire time I was there.

The waitress came over and handed me the menu.  She explained that I could order anything on the menu, but I couldn't reorder until I had finished what I was eating. (Remember this later in the story.)

 I flipped the menu over a couple times and decided to start with the miso soup.  The soup was hot and looked so good that I ate all of it before I realized I hadn't snapped a picture! 

Next, I ordered the Saki roll, which is shrimp tempura, cucumber, krab meat, mayo top with shrimp, tobiko and eel sauce.
While I was eating that, I asked if it was a small order of vegetable tempura, as I did not want a lot.  There were a lot of things that I wanted to try.  Although vegetable tempura is one of my favorite things!
The tempura was bigger than I had expected. It was hot and crispy.  There were 2 each of onion, broccoli, sweet potato, and mushroom.
At this point another person was seated at the table next to me.  The tables are VERY close and you can easily jump into other conversations. This can be good or bad.  The server explained to this customer that she could order whatever she wanted, but she would be charged for anything that was left on her plate. So, if she ordered 3 rolls and left 5 pieces, she would be charged for each piece that remained on the plate.  This is a slightly different explanation than I was given, so either way be prepared to eat all that you order!

Feeling like I could eat one more roll, I opted to try the volcano roll. This roll is California roll, baked krabmeat, mayo on top.  About this time the restaurant really started filling up and things took a little longer. I was amazed at the three sushi chefs who were keeping up with the pace. It was like watching a well oiled machine!

When I saw the waitress picking up this sushi, I was going to ask her what it was because  I had to try that the next time.  She laughed and said that it was my volcano roll!  Yay me!

At this point, I was full, but I had to try the tempura banana.  It was a whole banana, tempura fried and then sliced to the size of sushi. It was served with chocolate dipping sauce and whipped cream.
Saki Endless Sushi and Hibachi Eatery is located at 2643 Gulf to Bay #1560 in Clearwater.  They are open Monday through Thursday from 11:00am-10:00pm; Friday from 11:00 am to 11:00pm; and Sunday from 11:30am to 10:00pm. 

Lunch is $10.99 (kids $4.99), dinner is $17.99 (kids 4-8 ~$4.99 and 9-11 ~$8.99) and Sunday is $15.99 (same kids dinner prices.)

Click here to see the website or call 727-326-3937 for more information.