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Looking for good pizza places in Tampa, Florida!

Dr. Todd's post says all that needs to be said on the matter.
However, on a loosely related note, another pizza place - albeit an upstart chain, I guess - just opened up directly in between Paci's and Cesare's. It's called Your Pie. I know nothing about it otherwise except that their website says it's brick oven pizza. Didn't know we were turning into NYC with 5 slice joints on every block...

Sep 19, 2011
EdC in Florida

Pizza in St. Petersburg?

Joey Brooklyn's was pretty tasty when I had it about a year ago. Went there with a buddy before a Rays game and ordered a whole fresh pie. No complaints about the food -- but I could've done without the kids wandering by (before the ICP show around the corner at Jannus Landing) and acting obnoxious.

Jun 22, 2011
EdC in Florida

Alligator ribs, anybody?

Sounds like he saw the recent episode of Man v. Food Nation (formerly Man v. Food), in which Adam visits Skipper's Smokehouse in Tampa and samples the gator ribs. I think they were described as a cross between chicken and pork. The dry rub seasoning is probably the best part of it since gator is still like tough chicken on its best day.
All in all, they ain't worth a 3.5-4 hr. road trip to T-town.

Jun 07, 2011
EdC in Florida

DOWNTOWN TAMPA DINING GUIDE (Includes Ybor City, Harbour Island, and Channelside)

Been awhile since I've eaten at Bernini's, but as I remember my dinner was good (can't remember what it was, though...what a drag it is getting old) and my wife's friend had excellent house-made gnocchi. It's always good, never below meh, and sometimes darn near top-shelf.

TBBC has good food too, but after a couple of their exceptional homemade brews your tongue is somewhat compromised. Had a great burger there, but wasn't exactly a huge fan of the big puffy brioche bun. Those things overwhelm the burger's flavor IMO.

Unless they've slipped, Eddie & Sam's can be amazing if you catch them pulling a fresh pie out or order one custom. Worthy of higher than a C if they haven't stooped to cutting corners.

And in case it wasn't posted before, we don't have Bennigan's to kick around anymore. That one -- apparently the last one anywhere -- closed sometime within the last year.

May 14, 2011
EdC in Florida

Mexican Coca-Cola or Throwback/Natural Pepsi in Pinellas County?

Forgot to mention that Wood Fired Pizza is now serving it on their menu along with the Boylan's sodas, which are also made w/real sugar.

Apr 10, 2011
EdC in Florida

Mexican Coca-Cola or Throwback/Natural Pepsi in Pinellas County?

Not sure if it's made it into the prime time lineup, though...last time I talked to the Pepsi guy who stocks the machines at the school I work, he said it was coming out 2x a year for a month each time. Wasn't going to be a perennial item because of the cost of real sugar, which according to him is subsidized because we don't buy from the 2 biggest producers of sugar in the region, Cuba and Venezuela. This, however, could have changed -- but I know I don't see it in most stores unless it's been sitting on a shelf or endcap for an eternity.

Apr 09, 2011
EdC in Florida

Any place in Tampa for really "good" gluten free bread?

Don't think Pane Rustica has gluten-free bread among their daily offerings, but it probably wouldn't hurt to give them a bell and find out if they are willing to make some for you. They are one of the best local restaurants -- not to mention very knowledgeable, friendly, and passionate about bread -- and as such might indeed be willing to accommodate a request.

Feb 23, 2011
EdC in Florida

What Local Beers should I drink in Keys/Florida ?

Best micro/craft brews in this state: Cigar City Brewing Co., Orlando Brewing Co., Dunedin Brewery, Swamp Head Brewery. Can't say which of those is available in the Keys nor which ones would have a wheat brew that's up your alley. They all make exceptional product, however. You might want to try poking around their websites to explore the descriptions of their various brews.
Although the Romans used to say 'de gustibus non disputandum est' (matters of taste are not subject to argument), Blue Moon is a pale (no pun intended) imitation of the wheat, or weiss, beers brewed by the Germans and the Belgians. Search out a place that has some on tap -- beer bars and locally-owned establishments with decent selections on draft are reasonably abundant here -- and give 'em a sip. I think you'll be glad you did.

Feb 05, 2011
EdC in Florida

Oysters in the Tampa Area

You guys are killin' me with the hot sauce tussle. Whether a splash of pepper sauce, a dollop of cocktail sauce or mignonette, or (my personal fave) a healthy schmear of straight-up minced horseradish, it's all quite savory on the little bivalve bottomfeeders.

My theory is that hot sauce and alcohol help to kill the vibrio vulnificus bacteria that the food knottsies tell us we should avoid.

It's OK to eat oysters in the summer months if you know and trust the place, i.e., they get them from the controlled-environment farms that dot the land. No reputable dive would serve them from the GoM if it hasn't cooled off.
You can be sure that if, in July, at Mitchell's, you order some Malpeques from PEI, they WILL be safe...not to mention pricey at 8-10 bucks for 4 of them.

Nov 17, 2010
EdC in Florida

Spectacular Burger today at this new place in Carrollwood in Tampa...

Now that's what's up. Glad to hear you enjoyed it.

I don't throw anything else on it when I make those either. Just the holy trinity of fungus, mold, and carcinogens :-)

Very glad to hear that they make it to order...nothing bothers me more than the numerous establishments who look at you like you have a unicorn growing out of your forehead if you ask for it med. rare. They hide behind the excuse that it's a health issue, but I think they just don't tend to have the skill to grill one up to any less doneness. It's not trigonometry, fercryinoutloud.

Jun 28, 2010
EdC in Florida

Spectacular Burger today at this new place in Carrollwood in Tampa...

Thanks for the heads-up Bill...I've been intending to get over there but wanted to hear it from someone whose reviews are essentially the words of a prophet :-)
I have students who have tried it and have given me mixed reviews, but teenagers are as a whole a bunch of unappreciative heathens that have no clue about the relationship between price and product.
Looks somewhat similar in menu and structure to Square One -- and that's not a bad thing -- so it might be time for the Edburger: Bacon, blue cheese, and sauteed mushrooms.
(The one I make at home uses a marinated and grilled portobello instead of the sauteed 'shrooms...and if fortune smiles maybe this blue cheese with bacon that they sell at Whole Foods)

Jun 23, 2010
EdC in Florida

Buddy Brew - Tampa

Went this morning and must say that the coffee is spot on. Although the parking situation could drive the Pope to profanity, I got lucky and caught someone leaving on Albany that had a nice curbside spot. Otherwise, it's gonna be parking somewhere you're not supposed to and hoping no one nosey (e.g., cops) drives by.
Owner is definitely friendly and very passionate about his joe. I got the Brazilian roast -- the one he said had the most caffeine, and boy did I need it this a.m. -- and it was fresh and fragrant. Bottomless cup for 2 bucks means you can bring your own mug, I guess. Not much room to sit and chat but that didn't matter since I was headed to work.
I'll be stopping in more often since my own summer hours are changing and I won't have to be in 'til 8. Today was an exception.

Jun 04, 2010
EdC in Florida

Best Chicken Wings in Tampa Bay

Wing Stop -- at least the one near me -- has some unacceptably scrawny wings. I haven't been back in a while since they committed this transgression. I cannot abide what an acquaintance once called 'pigeon wings'.
Kind of a shame...their atomic sauce is flavorful but nothing short of ferocious. I gave up trying to eat it after the last time -- on boneless wings -- when they left me feeling like I'd just had hernia surgery. Not even a healthy dollop of blue cheese would soothe the intestinal conflagration.

Wings Gone Wild on Bay to Bay has some of the meatiest wings around. I'll put 'em against any other wing. Decent flavor selection too. Not breaded either. One of their drummies has more meat than 2 wings from Beef's or Wing Stop.

May 10, 2010
EdC in Florida

Recommend me meat markets/delis/supermarkets (Tampa)

1. With those 3 stores, you have to follow their sales to figure out which one is cheapest from week to week. Otherwise, they are comparable in general vis-a-vis prices.

Whole Foods has the best gourmet cheese counter by far, with reasonable prices. If you're a turophile, you know that when you start digging cheeses like Cambozola, Midnight Moon, Parrano, and Fol Epi, it ain't gonna be cheap though.

2. C&P are good but sometimes trim too much fat off the meat. Cacciatore and Land & Sea are good and consistent. Cox is the best seafood place around now that Agliano's has closed.

3. Sadly, no. No one really bothers with Sicilian-style any more except the Sbarro's in one of the malls (don't remember which one), and I'd rather eat python boots than that.

4. SS goes along with the Sbarro pizza in the python category. One and done for that place as far as I'm concerned...went there years ago for prime rib, right after it opened, and the gastrointestinal despair it provoked very nearly ruined beef for me. Prime rib is generally one of the fattier cuts anyway, but the piece I got had so much that I wondered if their beef was genetically crossbred with whales to marble up so much blubber.

Apr 10, 2010
EdC in Florida

THE BEST PIZZA in TAMPA BAY???

That's the way to go with a Paci's pie -- eat it there. However, I live less than one minute away so getting it to go isn't much of a step down. I come flying in the door with everything already set (bev of choice, plate, napkin, etc.) and get straight on with it; it's still got that little bit of snap to the crust that a true NYC pie has. Still my #1 in Tampa.

Feb 08, 2010
EdC in Florida

The demise of ice cream in S. Tampa

There's a Tanya and Matt's in the food court at Westshore Plaza.

May 24, 2009
EdC in Florida

Big John's Alabama BBQ (Tampa)

I think they are closed b/c 40th St. is widening and they ended up having to tear the bldg down...new one going to be built there as well.

May 24, 2009
EdC in Florida

Special Restaurants in Tampa area

Try Malio's in downtown Tampa. Everyone I know who has dined here recently (a re-opening of a Tampa institution) has been impressed. It's in what is known around these parts as the 'beercan building'.

Nov 10, 2007
EdC in Florida

lobster tampa bay area

The South Tampa Monstah Lobstah is still open. Big Al carries lobsters of all sizes - I've even seen lobster lunatics order 5-pounders in there and go nuts.

Jul 04, 2007
EdC in Florida

On vacation in the Tampa Area

A great Spanish restaurant - NOT Cuban; there is no yellow rice to be found - in Tampa is Vizcaya on N Dale Mabry. Phenomenal seafood. It's small and fills up fast, so go early or late.

I agree w/some of the others - you can find better steak besides Bern's. Although Fleming's is a chain, their steak IMO is better. The whole dining experience there is tops. Unlike Bern's, you can people-watch and be entertained as well. Last time I was there, one of the managers was an ex-Buccaneer, which caused a bit of a double-take.

The Tampa Giordano's isn't open yet; looks like they're about 4-6 weeks from that. They gutted an old Hops and just laid brick last week. The Brandon one, however, is open and thriving. Cappy's is great for Chicago-style pie too.

Jun 02, 2007
EdC in Florida

Which one? Las Culebrinas, Havana Harry or Little Havana

Went to Las Culebrinas sometime ago while in Miami and loved it - everything was fresh and flavorful, and service was ace as well. This was on the advice of a local who happened to be a relative of a friend we dined with. Both dinner and tapas were exceptional, and the sangria was great too. Oh yeah, the price was reasonable too.

Jun 02, 2007
EdC in Florida

Eating at the Bar @ Berns

They have a steak sandwich that runs about 15 bucks, strictly at the bar.

May 14, 2007
EdC in Florida

Steaks in Tampa??

Never had a bad meal at Fleming's - food and service are always top shelf.

May 14, 2007
EdC in Florida

Best Chicken Wings in Tampa Bay

Wild Wing Cafe just opened on Anderson Rd. next to the Veterans 24 theater. I tried 'em in Marietta, GA where some in-laws live and was impressed by the wings, both in size and in flavor - they've got about 30 flavors. And a huge selection of micros and imports on draft. Beware of the Braveheart wings - you'll sweat behind the ears like I did, but in a good way. More details at wildwingcafe.com.

Apr 17, 2007
EdC in Florida

Wild Wing Cafe in Tampa?!

The Wild Wings in Tampa will be next to the theater; don't know if it's a new building or remodel of one of the other restaurants that have closed.

I've been to the one in Marietta while visiting family and have enjoyed it greatly. Between the jalapeno cheddar and the Braveheart wings, I was in heaven. And their beer selection - on tap and bottled - is superb, far and away better than the icky goo that Beef's or Hooters serve. Lotsa micros, which is always a good thing. I look forward to their arrival in T-town...

Mar 24, 2007
EdC in Chains

Ybor City recs

There are a few places down Ybor way that have decent food at a reasonable price:
-Tampa Bay Brewing Co. has good food to go along with killer beer brewed in-house. They serve pub-type food, most of which is made with the beer in the recipe.
-Bernini is usually pretty reliable for Italian, and won't vacuum all the $$$ out of your wallet.
-Some places I've heard good things about but haven't been to: Laughing Cat (Italian), El Puerto (Argentinean), Big City Tavern (American)

Jan 17, 2007
EdC in Florida

Authentic Cuban Sandwich

Had a Cuban the other day from C&P. They didn't press it, but I don't know if I was wrong for assuming that they would. Imagine my surprise when I got home. Additionally, I was not impressed by the mayo/mustard blend on there. I asked for mustard only, so I had to doctor that bad beast upon arrival. It was tasty otherwise, but I'll know better next time.

Making a proper Cuban is difficult, I believe, for a few reasons:

--sour pickles are not easy to find any more(the only place I could find Mt. Olive sours was the U-Save on Henderson, which is now a Fresh Market - and forget Publix/Sweetbay/etc.), so most places use dill or even bread 'n' butter (shudder)
--good roast pork is hit-or-miss (more than a few places in town season theirs w/something that tastes like curry - blech!). You gotta search for someone that makes it with real love.
--Swiss cheese, though we take it for granted, has got to be a top-shelf, slightly sharp, whole-milk product to have any flavor. There are definitely shops that use the low-fat version, which unfortunately adds no flavor to the sandwich and doesn't really melt.

The good news is that everything else is easy (bread, ham, salami) to find. But beware: you can count the number of restaurants that serve a passable product on one hand. My wife has even had one here in T-town that had turkey on it.

Dec 07, 2006
EdC in Florida

Best Deviled Crabs in Tampa

Trying to find the best deviled crabs in Tampa is like trying to decide if Ragu or Prego makes better marinara. Tandoorigirl is dead-on: most places in town don't use much crab, and what they do use is not of high quality. And the breading on some of the ones sold in the Cuban cafes...they might as well be hushpuppies.

Fortunately, my wife makes the best in town - and I don't even care for deviled crab. Her colleagues bug her constantly to make them, but it is quite time-consuming. I'd end up in a retention pond somewhere, wearing concrete socks, if I gave away her recipe (passed down from an Ybor street vendor from the early 1900's), but it all begins with top-shelf lump or claw meat. And that's all I can say w/o going into witness protection.

Sep 14, 2006
EdC in Florida

Travelling solo to Tampa Area

TBBC has moved to Centro Ybor, right under the movie theater.

Sep 08, 2006
EdC in Florida

monstah lobstah

The Carrollwood location closed earlier this year. North Tampa is a somewhat fickle market for restaurants anyway, as evidenced by the staggering number of places that have opened/closed in the last 20 years. The Bay to Bay location is still open and still BYOB.

Sep 06, 2006
EdC in Florida