Friday, December 16, 2016

Santa Fe Mexican Restaurant in Largo

I have been wanting to try this Mexican Restaurant for a long time and finally decided to meet friends and have lunch.  So happy that we did, kicking myself for missing out on this for months!

Santa Fe Mexican Restaurant is located at 800 Clearwater Largo Road.  Although it is located on the corner of 8th Avenue NW, it is easy to pass it!

Although there are numerous tasty sounding drinks on the menu, we stuck with margaritas and sangria.
The queso dip was brought out about the same time if not before our drinks.  The service was very quick!

It took me a while to peruse the lunch menu. So many options!

I thought I was going to stray from my standard fajitas, but alas, I did not!!
The friends in my party ordered tacos,
fajita quesadilla,
and a chile relleno
The food was very tasty, the service was fast, the servers were friendly.  We thoroughly enjoyed our experience and will go back soon!

There is a second location at 6501 Park Boulevard in Pinellas Park.  

Follow them on Facebook or call them at 727-270-7378

Tell them Tampa Bay Afternoon Delight sent you!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Rubio's Coastal Grill Opening in St. Petersburg

The life of a food blogger is a fun one! Many times we are invited to places to try out new menu items or we get invited to grand opening events.   I am not sure how I came upon this invitation, but it was for free lunch and non-alcoholic beverages for two at a restaurant that was opening in St. Petersburg.

Rubio's is based out of San Diego and there are currently almost 200 restaurants nationwide. This location is the 3rd location in Florida.    Their menu includes "responsibly sourced grilled seafood options along with steak and all natural chicken raised without antibiotics, served in tacos, salads, bowls, and burritos."

A reservation was made and we were one of the first people to try out the new (to the area) restaurant. Two friendly ladies were outside checking people in and telling us a little more about Rubio's.

We were reminded when we entered that everyone is in training and to please be patient. 

As we made our way up to the counter to order our food, it became clear that I was not going to be able to decide what I wanted to order!  The restaurant is fast-casual.  Your order is placed at the front and you are given a number to have your food delivered wherever you are sitting when your meal is ready.

First stop was salsa bar!  Numerous options of mild, picante, roasted chipotle and verde.  There were also fresh cut limes, a cilantro onion mix and jalapenos.

Next stop is the beverage counter.  I was very delighted to see all of the options available!  I love - and normally stick to iced tea - but there were so many choices that I had to deviate!!
Lemonade and strawberry lemonade.

Numerous soda options
three choices of fresh brewed tea!

I tried all three of the teas (all were good, mango tea was delicious) and also tasted my husband's strawberry lemonade.

We made our way towards the table to wait for our food.  There are various seating possibilities.  tables, booths, high top tables, tables with one side booth and one side chairs, a high top counter (great for solo dining) as well as round tables up front.  I think there is something for everyone here!

As we waited for our orders, we learned more about Rubio's. I have never even heard of this restaurant before receiving the invitation and was happy to see this on the table.
 We were prepared for a long wait as we knew the staff was "in-training;" but were pleasantly surprised when the food was delivered a lot sooner than I thought it would arrive.

I ordered the grilled shrimp and bacon burrito.  (Bacon in a burrito - yes I had to try it!) [Toasted cheese, all natural bacon, avocado, blackened jalapenos, citrus rice, salsa fresco and chipotle sauce served in a flour tortilla with chips.] ($8.99)  Add a fountain drink and "signature no fried pinto beans" to any burrito for $2.50
 My husband ordered the California bowl. Fresh guacamole, citrus rice, black beans, lettuce, chipotle sauce and salsa fresca topped with roasted chipotle salsa or salsa verde. He chose the salmon (grilled or blackened) with the salsa verde.

I also loved the taste of the "no-fried" pinto beans. I will definitely add them to my order anytime!
One of my favorite things on the salsa bar was the "cilantro-onion" mix.  This is so delicious and fresh.  I had my husband go back and get me a second soufflĂ© cup!

Just another picture.

 I had a little leftover and asked for a box.  I didn't pay attention to it, but when I got home I realized that it was NOT Styrofoam and it made me love  Rubio's even more!

Rubio's is located in Tyrone Mall (6901 - 22nd Avenue N).  If you use a Garmin or mapping device for some reason it takes you around to the back of the mall.  Rubio's is located facing Tyrone Boulevard.  There is a street entrance so you do not have to enter the mall.

I did feel guilty eating here since it is not a LOCAL restaurant and a chain, but I am hoping that the owner lives in the Tampa Bay Area. (I have no idea.)  I am all about supporting the small independents and the Localshops1 members, but I think this place is going to be one of my favorite dining choices! 

Rubio's will be opening on October 13th.  the first 100 people on that day will receive one FREE taco and Rubio's merchandise!

Visit their Facebook page for more information.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Lunch at the Grocery Store? Try it ~ you'll like it!!

I've spent the past three days at Grand Opening events for the new Earth Fare store located in the Seminole City Center.  Monday was a private tour for the Community Advisory Board, a VIP Party on Tuesday and Grand Opening on Wednesday. Having been so impressed and having so much fun, I decided to go back with a friend today and give her the exclusive tour! (Private tour by me)

   If you haven't been to check out Earth Fare yet, I think that you will be pleasantly surprised. There is nothing in this area that even compares.  Of course there are grocery stores with cut up fruits and vegetables and grocery stores with prepared foods and even grocery stores that sell things in bulk (or minimal) but it is very rare to find it all in one store!

Grab a few cookies for dessert! Mix and match sold by the pound.  The woman next to me bought four cookies.  This is perfect for someone like me who has to complete what she starts (ie. a bag of chips, a package of cookies, a pint of ice cream ~ you get it!)

This cooler is filled with all different kids of local beers, ciders and hard rootbeers.  Remember this area when you are thinking about what you want to eat for lunch, because you can DRINK whatever you buy with you meal in the Cafe'!!! 
 Now, back to lunch. If you are are in a hurry and can't stay and eat - grab a prepared salad or sandwich.
 As you can see there are numerous kinds of salads as well as many different premade sandwiches.

 If you want to make your own salad and put whatever you want on it, head on over to the organic and fresh salad bar and build your own salad.

The topping selection is fabulous with fresh blue cheese crumbles and six different types of dressing.

Thinking you might rather have a pizza?  They are hot and fresh.  2 slices for $6.00. Several varieties available.

 And if that isn't enough, there is a HOT food bar with various selections of proteins and side dishes.

Did I even mention the sushi?  There is always someone making fresh sushi!  Every Wednesday it is only $5 and all during Grand Opening week.   

 I finally decided to get two slices of pizza AND a sushi roll because I knew my husband would eat whatever was left over!! 

 The crunchy shrimp roll was an easy decision for me.  It looks so pretty and tasted so fresh that I inevitably ate the whole thing. Sorry to my hubby, but I know he enjoyed the pizza!
 And, the best part of  my lunch was that I got to enjoy one of the bottles of Truly Spiked and Sparkling that I had just purchased.  I have never tried this beverage before, but I will definitely be buying it more! 5% alcohol, 100 calories, 1g sugar. The pomegranate flavor was delicious.
My friend made a much faster decision than I did.  She chose to go with one of the $6 sandwiches. Later, I will tell you the daily specials.  
This is the cranberry pecan croissant. (Signature cranberry pecan chicken salad with romaine lettuce, cheese and mayo.)

During Grand Opening week, there are many local vendors in the store giving samples of their products.  Today, Kevita sparkling propbiotic drink was on hand to tell us about their products. We were able to sample a new flavor on the market that is not available anywhere else in Florida, yet.  Mango habanero kombucha.  Yes, I had to grab a few bottles to enjoy at home!  Thanks Earth Fare for having vendors on hand to answer our questions and let us taste the products!!

As promised, here are the daily specials:
Monday - $5 whole roasted chickens
Tuesday - 2/$4 pizza slices
Wednesday - Build your own meal $6
Thursday - $6 sandwiches
Friday - Take and bake pizza $6
Saturday and Sunday - 50 cent cooked wings, $7 take and bake pizza, and $10 hot pizza.

Earth Fare is located at 7774 113th Street N in Seminole.   Make sure to sign up for the Healthy Rewards card as the savings are stupendous!! (I bought 16-20 lb shrimp today for $9.99 pound using my card.)  They are open daily from 7am until 10pm.    You can view more pictures at Tampa Bay Afternoon Delight on Facebook. Like me there,  please!

Want to win a $25 gift card. Follow me on Instagram and comment "I want to win" on any of the Earthfare pictures. A random winner will be selected on September 30th at noon.

#earthfaresem #myearthfare

Friday, September 23, 2016

New Grocery Store ( Earth Fare) Coming to Pinellas County!

Normally my posts are all about local restaurants and my experiences, but this is just such fabulous news that I have to share with you!

EarthFare will be celebrating their Grand Opening on Wednesday, September 28th at 6:45 am.  Until this year, I had not heard of EarthFare.  Fortunately, I was selected to be on the Community Advisory Board! Not only did I learn all about Earth Fare,  I had the opportunity to sample many of the foods that will be available in the new store located at the corner of 113th Street and Park Boulevard.

One of the most exciting things is the bulk food section which has over 177 items, including agave nectar and honey!!  In addition, there will be a over 9,000 items in the wellness department where you will be able to purchase spices by the OUNCE!!! Yes, you no longer have to buy a whole bottle of cardamom (or some other spice) to use in a recipe and find out that you do not like it!!

Earth Fare pledges, "Our food is free of: added hormones, artificial fats and trans-fats, artificial sweeteners, bleached or bromated flour, antibiotics, high fructose corn syrup, artificial preservatives and artificial colors or flavors."  If you find anything in the store that is on the "boot list," they will remove it from the store!

There are so many wonderful things to come from this new (to the area) store!  Plenty of events during opening week, so make sure to attend at least one of them.

Earth Fare is located at 7774 113th Street N in Seminole. Be sure to like the Facebook page  and also sign up online for emails.  They send GREAT discounts!!     


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Pia's Trattoria is the ideal gathering place for friends, families and meetings.

Gulfport has always been an art community.  Lately, I have discovered that it is a dining mecca! There are numerous ethnic cuisines as well as seafood, vegetarian and barbecue.  Pia's Trattoria is a hidden gem on Beach Boulevard that should not be missed.

A group of business owners (including me) dined at Pia's on Saturday.  During the summer, Pia's is only open for lunch on Saturday and Sunday.  Ten of us attended a Localshops1 event hosted by Pia's.  It was a fabulous opportunity to see a LOT of the food at one time.  This, my readers, is a fantastic thing for you!

Our table was ready when we arrived.  It looked simply beautiful!

Bottles of sweet and sour orange herbal tea and strawberry lemonade were ready for us to enjoy.  These beverages are made daily, in house, and are delicious.

 While looking around, I noticed the art was more than just art, but hundreds of bottles of wine!

Everything at Pia's is made fresh daily. From the herbal teas, to the sauces, to the desserts - all fresh from scratch!

Let's start with my lunch. Farfalle pasta with spicy Arrabiata sauce and shrimp. ($19.50) Spicy, sundried tomato sauce, garlic and red onions, imported Prosciutto di Parmi, red cracked pepper and Vino Rosso.  The shrimp were cooked to perfection.  

Next is one of the daily specials.  In addition to the daily menu, there are two featured daily specials.  The seared scallops looked amazing!
Although the Salmone di Capri is an appetizer, it is definitely enough for a person's lunch! Smoked salmon with horseradish creme spread, sprinkled with a lemon and herb pesto and served with a grilled Italian focaccia bread. ($10.50)
The second special of the day was chicken parmigiana served over pasta.  The size of the chicken breast was incredible!
 I was happy to see someone ordered a panini.  The Crudo is filled with Proscuitto di Parma, mozzarella, arugula, olive oil and pepper. ($12.00) The paninis are made with fresh baked Italian focaccia bread and imported Italian ingredients.
As we go around the table... Spaghetti Di Bologna. Hearty meat sauce made with 100% select lean beef and lots of it! ($13.95)
Insalata Pia is a bowl of arugula with tomatoes, Italian mozzarella and gorgonzola cheese topped with salsa verde dressing ($10.50) and a ginormous chicken breast ($5.00).
 The mussels looked divine!  These can be found on the appetizer menu.
 Now for desserts!!!!  Fresh desserts are made daily and there are usually two different ones.  Cannoli and tiramisu are always available.   This orange meringue pie was a hit for everyone who ordered it.
 I ordered the tiramisu and was delighted. 
 Here is a picture of our gracious host, Pia Goff, and the Localshops1 girl.

The other Localshops1 businesses that were represented included Red Hot Tiki Spicy Gourmet Market, Concepts with Joie, Clothing with a Kiss, LLC, Gulfport Beach Bazaar, Funky Town Boutique, Paparazzi - Pretty In Bling Soup2Nuts Virtual Assistance Social Media Marketing, Liz M Lopez - Captivate Your Audience. Plus everyone's favorite local shopper and Creative Loafing nominee for "best local citizen" Charis Khavin and her brother, Kent.

Pia's is located at 3054 Beach Boulevard South in Gulfport. There are two private rooms available for family gatherings, meetings or large parties.  Pia's is open Sunday through Thursday from 4pm-10pm, Friday and Saturday from 4pm-11pm.   For questions or reservations, call 727-327-2190. Tell them that Tampa Bay Afternoon Delight sent you!