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need Tallahassee advice in a hurry (please help)

Hi, Tallahassee folks, I need some help!

I'm getting married on Friday, and the (small) wedding party will be dining out after the spur-of-the-moment wedding. We are five adults and three children. I (the bride) am a true food snob, but living in Tallahassee I've learned to get over myself. Where can we go that is "nice" and celebration-worthy, but that also has a children's menu? I would have picked Silver Slipper for sentimental value, but since it's no more, I'm at a loss. My favorite restaurants here -- Kool Beanz, Mozaik, FGF, Reangthai -- are all pretty much off-limits. The children who'll be dining with us are the worst kind of picky eaters; they subsist on chicken strips and fries, grilled cheese and fries, mac and cheese and fries (I wonder how they don't get scurvy).

Any thoughts? I'm not used to dining with these children anywhere but fast food and fern bars. There has to be somewhere we can go that caters to their nonsense without short-changing the rest of us...

Jun 03, 2009
kcbacker in Florida

Anything in Marianna,FL besides fast food?

I spent last fall working in Marianna every Friday, and there are a few places worth recommending:

The Gazebo - it's nothing fancy, but most sandwiches, salads, some dressings, and desserts are homemade. The place is very clean, servers are nice, and it's relatively cheap. Don't go there looking for a "ladies who lunch" kind of atmosphere, but the food tastes good.

I agree with alkapal about Hong Kong. IMO, it is probably the best Americanized Chinese restaurant in the Panhandle. You won't find anything that even really merits chopsticks there, but the beef with broccoli is really, really good. You can tell you're eating real ingredients (the sesame oil in the sauce comes out just right!). Get to know the owners; they're very nice and treat regulars well. Don't go expecting anything more than what it is, counter-order Chinese in a strip mall, but for what it is, it is the best I've ever had.

Habana Express - if you get there early, you can clog your arteries with fried deliciousness (empenadas and the like). Decent (but not stellar) Cuban sandwiches. It's really just a glorified gas station, though, so take out is best.

Sadly, Red Canyon is no more. It used to be a real bright spot, but it closed in '06 or '07. Something called Lula's or Lulu's is there now.

Jun 03, 2009
kcbacker in Florida

New Tallahassee Thread; Seeking Current Info

Thanks, all, for these great, quick responses!

You provided an excellent starting list, crewsweeper! Where is Mosaik? It's been mentioned twice herein and I've seen it in some of my earlier chowhound lurking, but I can't find an official website or its location mentioned anywhere online.

steakman, I tried Sahara for lunch a few years ago, and it was quite good. I completely forgot about them, so thanks for the reminder!

The same goes for Osaka, tpatraveler. My friends are pretty anti-sushi so I've always just sat at the hibachi there, but will definitely try the sushi.

I've tried Torreya Grill twice in the last 5 or so years, sarabeths, and I haven't had the good experiences you describe. Both times the food was forgettable and the service was infuriatingly poor. Since you give it such high marks, it might be worth another look -- maybe I caught it on bad nights!!

And if I can ask another food-related question, where do you do your gourmet (or ethnic, or organic, or any of those other foodie subcategories) grocery shopping? I am getting along with Publix and what my family and neighbors grow, but have moved from a metro area and am still in Trader Joe's withdrawl. I know about New Leaf; are there other options?

May 01, 2008
kcbacker in Florida

New Tallahassee Thread; Seeking Current Info

Greetings fellow North Floridians!

I hope my starting this new thread doesn't step on anyone's toes, but I keep getting my hopes up about places mentioned in the other two Tallahassee threads only to find that the posts are over two years old and the (few) good places have long closed or gone downhill.

I've recently relocated to the area after 10+ years living in the midwest. My best Tally-insider friend thinks Bonefish is the best thing going, and I learned before I ever moved away not to trust Ashby Stiff's hats....so...I need some good advice!

Most of the good dining experiences I've had since returning have not been in Tallahassee. My family long ago got into the habit of driving for good food, and here are my area picks:

Panacea: Angelo's -- nice rebuilding job, solid job with grilled seafood, tastes like I remember it.
Sumatra (in the National Forest): Family Coastal Restaurant -- zero atmosphere, but clean, with friendly service and excellent fried seafood. The grouper and shrimp are always delicious (crispy but not greasy), and their fried green tomatoes are quite good. My parents report that the one time they managed to get flounder there it was excellent. This is not the place to go if you are seeking grilled (or other preparations) seafood, but for standard Panhandle fried seafood, it's the best I've had (so good I've even eaten it as cold leftovers!).
Middle of Nowhere, South Georgia: The Pond House -- has a Bainbridge address, but I think this place is technically between the fingers of the lake. This is a family place, but it's not crawling with badly-behaved kids. The dining rooms are immaculate, the service is friendly, the prices are very reasonable, and the smoked porkchops (very thick and served with their version of red-eye gravy) are insanely good. The steaks, salads, and sides are pretty standard for a local, casual steakhouse, but the porkchops alone are worth the drive. I don't know if they take reservations, but they're only open weekends, and there's always a wait (but worth it!).

In Tallahassee, I've only had two dining experiences that are worth positive comments:

Ladies' Night at the Melting Pot: I know, it's the Melting Pot, and most of time I wouldn't darken the door. But, if one is a lady and goes on the last Wednesday of the month, cheese, chocolate, and two glasses of wine are only $22, which makes it a decent cheap dinner.
Breakfast at Another Broken Egg: I ate at their Grayton Beach location and loved it, and I've had only good experiences at the Tallahassee location. I'm a benedict fiend, and their various hollandaise-soaked breakfasts have not disappointed. Eggs Blackstone and Crabcakes Cavallo are very good, as is Bryan's Omelette and Bacado Omelette. The blackberry grits (for which they are supposedly famous) were just okay, and their homefries are probably frozen, but it's an excellent place for breakfast/brunch nevertheless.

And the worst meal I've ever eaten in a restaurant, anywhere, in my entire life, period:

Kansas City Strip at Marie Livingston's. Truly, truly awful service, atmosphere, and food. Blech.

So, does any of you know of good places in Tallahassee for...
Brewpub fare?
Moroccan or other North-African Cuisine? (don't laugh if that's shooting too high)
local/slowfood? (I've gotten really mixed reviews about Sage.)

And, what about Carlo's Cuban? Any good? I noticed there wasn't a "lechon" on the menu, they just said, "pork." Is that a sign?

I'm very grateful for any help! Let's get some new Tallahassee info circulating!

May 01, 2008
kcbacker in Florida