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Creative food in Tallahasee, anything better than Cypress for dinner?

Ate at Avenue about 6 weeks ago. Overall a good experience, folks in my party really enjoyed the short ribs and the fried quail, and the pork belly as an appetizer was a hit.

I had the chicken with Meyer lemons, which was pretty tasty, but nothing to write home about.

It's not as good as Cypress, but if you're looking to mix it up a bit it's definitely a worthwhile spot!

Jan 13, 2011
TheChiefofStaph in Florida

Grilling for a group?

Thanks to all for the great ideas! The "build-your-own-fajita" is fantastic, as are kebabs and pork chops. I guess I just need to have SEVERAL of these!

FYI, I'm looking at around 18 people for this event.

Apr 19, 2010
TheChiefofStaph in Home Cooking

Grilling for a group?

I'm having a pretty decent sized group of people over next weekend for an outdoor get-together on my back porch. I've got a couple cool recipes that I'm trying to decide between for "upgraded" potato salad (one grilled new potato salad that involves hefty amounts of bacon!), a few slaw/salad options, a couple interesting dips, and so forth.

What I'm missing is the main protein.

I don't really want to do something "standard" for grilling like burgers, but I don't want to go super upscale (it will be served on paper plates, needs to be able to be easily eaten either by hand or with plastic utensils, etc.)

One thought that I had was pork shoulder, which you could braise off and then finish on the grill when it's showtime.

So, collective wisdom... any other thoughts as to what I could grill?

Apr 18, 2010
TheChiefofStaph in Home Cooking

Tallahassee - Mozaik and Sage: Anyone been recently?

I've eaten at both probably a half dozen times apiece, and I'll say that I prefer Mozaik to Sage for two reasons.

First, Mozaik's menu is a little broader than Sage's (without sacrificing quality), so more folks can find a meal that suits them.

Second, Sage has a somewhat more intimate atmosphere, while Mozaik is more open, lighter and has larger tables. Completely a personal preference on my end, but I prefer the latter.

That being said, Steakman is absolutely right that you can't go wrong with either. (For the record, I had my graduation dinner at Mozaik several years ago.)

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Mozaik
1410 Market St, Tallahassee, FL 32312

Apr 06, 2010
TheChiefofStaph in Florida

Englewood area recs?

Englewood isn't exactly a culinary hotspot, but there are a couple places that bang out some decent chow...

I'll echo OH2FL's recommendation for Farlow's, which does a nice job with local seafood. They have outdoor seating, often featuring live music, which is a nice touch in the 6 weeks or so out of the year it's bearable to sit outside.

I'd also recommend Zydeco Grille. As the name suggests it features standard Cajun/Creole specialties, and it's definitely one of the most consistently good restaurants in Englewood. Plus, the owners (who are always there) are very nice and quite accommodating.

Further down Placida Road is Palmetto Grill. The decor is African-themed and they often feature an interesting North African dish or two (had a lamb shank with currants and cous-cous there one night that was amazing), but they also do other grilled meats well, and the seafood specials are often tasty. This one may be my favorite in Englewood these days.

Enjoy!

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Palmetto Grill
8501 Placida Rd Unit A15, Placida, FL 33946

Zydeco Grille
2639 Placida Rd, Englewood, FL 34224

Farlow's On the Water
2080 S McCall Rd, Englewood, FL 34224

Mar 31, 2010
TheChiefofStaph in Florida

Grand Tasting at South Beach Food and Wine Festival

While being cognizant of the fact that this opinion will likely put me at odds with most of the posters on this board, I'd like to offer a bit of a defense of the event.

I went and enjoyed myself. The key? Managing expectations.

Once you realize that in attendance will be every twenty- or thirty-something who hasn't found an outlet for partying since they left the frat/sorority (and some folks who fancy themselves as twenty- and thirty-somethings, even though they may be twice that or more), and you realize that many of these people aren't likely to behave in a manner that you will find acceptable when they're sober, much less then they're plied with copious amounts of booze, you can move past that and enjoy the offerings of interest to you.

It's hard to argue with the fact that there were an ambitious number of wines and spirits represented. What's more, they were handing out "programs" of the various vendors represented in the Grand Tasting tent well before the gates opened. So sit in one of the empty demonstration tents and map out exactly what you'd like to try. Go forth into the tent and see if there are some good finds.

Enjoy the food offerings with the keen understanding that Top Chef (or years in the business) has provided about the perils of catering. A lot of the places represented there don’t “cater” as their main source of business, so they’re liable to screw up. Some places did great. (I recall this ceviche in a cone/tuile thing that was spectacular.)

For me, the “Wines of Spain” tent was especially nice. For one, they did some crowd control there via FIU students at a rope-and-stanchion, so it was a little less crazy. There was also not just a huge number but also a wide variety of Spanish wines and sherries, including a guy with a legitimate cask of Amontillado (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cask...), which I thought was neat. Also, lots of good little munchies (cheeses, Iberico ham, bite-sized cookies.

)

I also caught a couple of the demos. Some were tasteful and informative (e.g., Bayless.) Some were unsurprisingly, erm, not (TGIF-hawker.) And it’s a great way to skip out on a year’s worth of book signings and get them all banged out at one time, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Would the event have been better with 1/3 the crowd? With fewer drunks? With better food? Was it pricey? Sure.

But overall, I thought that it was a good time.

Looking for Sazerac Rye in Orlando\Tampa Area

It's a haul from Brevard County, but B-21 Fine Wines in Tarpon Springs stocks a huge variety of bourbon and rye, including Sazerac (last time I was there at least.)

Jan 17, 2009
TheChiefofStaph in Florida

Perfect Caper in Punta Gorda

I received the February 2009 Saveur today and briefly glanced through it. Continuing in their "State Plates" series they profiled Florida, talking about citrus, stone crabs, tupelo honey, and so forth.

In the "Latest and Greatest" section they offer a couple words about Michael's Geniune ("straightforward cooking emphasizes local ingredients") and the Ravenous Pig ("an excellent gastropub.") Interestingly, the only other restaurant profiled is the Perfect Caper in Punta Gorda.

I grew up in Englewood and admittedly haven't lived there for some time, but whenever I go home to visit my folks we always head to Sarasota if we're after a really good meal.

Past threads are pretty minimal about the restaurant. Has anyone been, and can they confirm its "Chow-worthiness?"

Website, for your reference. Menu looks interesting.

http://www.theperfectcaper.com/

Thanks!

Jan 03, 2009
TheChiefofStaph in Florida