Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >

ramblinwrek92's Profile

Title Last Reply

Good Chinese in Pinellas Co?

There is also Lucky Star on 66th St. Real deal as far as genuine Cantonese style Chinese. They have the live fish in tanks and will usually have some type of special on seafood depending on what's fresh and in season.

Sep 01, 2012
ramblinwrek92 in Florida

Looking for soup dumplings in Tampa

As far as any local restaurants, no. You would be hard pressed to find a restaurant in the entire Southeast US that serves soup dumplings. Your best bet is to hop a plane and fly to either NYC to Flushing Chinatown or fly out West to the San Gabriel Valley of Los Angeles.

I dont think I have seen it at a local Asian market either. But then again, I was not looking for them either. Your best bet may be MD Oriental, the Brandon or Fowler (USF area) location. The Brandon store has a sizable section of its freezer area dedicated to frozen dumplings but more like the potsticker variety. You could always ask them to order it for you I suppose.

Dec 31, 2011
ramblinwrek92 in Florida

Viet & Banh Mi - St. Pete

Try Thuy Cafe on US 19/34th St. They are across from the Crown Mercedes dealership. There are lots of other Asian businesses in the strip mall too. Personally I find their sandwiches a tad pricey but if you gotta get your fix...

Thuy Cafe
5944 34th St N # 22, Saint Petersburg, FL 33714-1257

Sep 17, 2011
ramblinwrek92 in Florida

asia market in tampa - looking for shirataki noodles

Have you tried MD Oriental? There is a location off of Fowler Ave and there is one in Brandon kind of tucked away near Old Time Pottery and First Choice BBQ in the shopping center with the Home Depot of State Road 60 just west of I-75.

There is also the Brandon Oriental Market off of Pauls Drive. Its behind Denny's on State Road 60/Adamo Drive.

May 01, 2011
ramblinwrek92 in Florida

Tampa - Chart House

Bummer. They bought Oceanaire? I had an excellent dining experience at the Oceanaire in Orlando. Goodness, let's hope their ineptitude doesn't infect the quality service at Oceanaire.

Oct 28, 2010
ramblinwrek92 in Florida

Red Robin Burger coming to Tampa Bay

Looks like Red Robin Gourmet Burger will be opening stores in Tampa, one at the Citrus Park Town Center and the other at Wiregrass Shops in New Tampa. The locations are already listed on their website.

I have seen them in California and Nashville but for whatever reason never had one. I just looked at the menu on their website and the Royal Red Robin is talking to me: it's topped with bacon and a fried egg among other rhings.

However, their burgers are going to run about $8 to $10 each. Ouch.

Aug 23, 2010
ramblinwrek92 in Florida

Morton's, Cap Grille and Ruth's Chris. How do you rank them?

Now that someone else has mentioned it, the butter on the plates at Ruth Chris did "grease" me out.

I am surprised that Morton's wet ages their steaks. I thought the better steakhouses in America used the dry age method.

I am going to have to definitely try Capital Grille. Hmmm, isn't it time for my bonus check at work?

Jul 14, 2010
ramblinwrek92 in Chains

Morton's, Cap Grille and Ruth's Chris. How do you rank them?

Never been to Capital Grille. My steak experience at Morton's was not that great. Is the Cajun ribeye supposed to taste like burnt spices. If that's the case, then I won't order it again. That was my first and only time at a Morton's. Otherwise, everything else was great including the souffles. Ruth's Chris are inconsistent. I had a lousy ribeye at their West Orlando location on Sand Lake but their Winter Park, FL location had a much better version. Btw, the Morton's location I went to was in Costa Mesa, California.

What do you all think of Fleming's? which is part of the Outback group. I have actually liked my dining experiences there.
So, in terms of overall experience I actually liked Fleming's >> Morton's > Ruth's Chris.

Jul 09, 2010
ramblinwrek92 in Chains

Cooking With Costco

I just picked up some of the "fresh" seafood that was on display on ice namely their jumbo shrimp priced at $9.99/lb which were sized 8 to 16. My Costco here in Florida has Pacific brand Organic free-range chicken broth, 6 cartons for like $11. That's a pretty darn good deal since individual cartons go for like $3.99 at Whole Foods and Fresh Market. I do like their par-baked baguettes too.

My one annoyance so far is that the Tropicana OJ you have to buy 4 cartons at once. At Sam's Club you can get a 96 oz jug which is great for a single person like me. There is no way that I can work through 4 cartons of OJ unless I wanna feed my neighbors. LOL.

Jul 09, 2010
ramblinwrek92 in Chains

Looking for Tampopo Style Noodle Place

Actually, the noodles are ramen noodles. But, not that instant stuff. If you have spent any time in Southern Cal especially the South Bay area of the Los Angeles basin or even Orange County you can definitely find Japanese restaurants that serve real ramen.

Okay, as far as finding such food in Tampa? The chances are very remote. Problem is, a lot of Japanese/sushi restaurants are not even owned/run by Japanese people. I can count on two hands the number of Japanese places that are actually owned/run by Japanese. Point being, are you gonna have a cook who knows how to make the real deal ramen.

Having said that, I did a web search for Japanese ramen for Orlando, and I found that Hanamizuki Japanese restaurant offers ramen on their lunch menu. They are located on International Drive.

Hmm, I think I need to do some "field" research myself since last time I had real ramen was about a year ago.

Hope that helps.

Aug 13, 2009
ramblinwrek92 in Florida

Soul of Korea (Tampa)

I seem to find that the northern Chinese restos that do dishes like jampong really turn up the heat. I am sweating after finishing a bowl. I think the Chinese chefs were putting actual Szechuan dried chilis in the soup broth. I dont recall the Korean places doing this but like I mentioned I am new to eating Korean but I am enjoying what I have eaten so far. Once again, it's Tampa so you are hard pressed to even find a true szechuan resto let alone northern chinese restos that do Korean crossover food. Even a city the size of Atlanta does not have that many true szechuan places either.

I guess one regret moving back from SoCal to Tampa is the lack of decent Korean joints. I already miss the all you can eat Korean BBQ places in Koreatown in LA. But, I couldnt get a decent Cuban sandwich or arroz con pollo over there either so everything has its pluses and minuses.

Aug 23, 2008
ramblinwrek92 in Florida

The Best Barbecue in the Tampa area...a roundup of sorts

I am an hour East of LA near I-15 in Rancho Cucamonga. Looks like Armadillo Willy's only has locations in Silicon Valley. Bummer.

Jun 19, 2008
ramblinwrek92 in Florida

The Best Barbecue in the Tampa area...a roundup of sorts


since you spent time in Hotlanta, did you ever get around to Fat Matt's Rib Shack on Piedmont? Kind of a controversial place because they don't smoke their ribs. They basically roast them and finish them with sauce on a wood fired pit as best as I can recall. Don't flame me but i actually liked their ribs. I think it's because they had developed a good sauce. I remember buying a rack of ribs and putting it on my carry-on baggage on a flight back to Tampa. I was worried that the smokey ribs would make someone think something was burning.

I am currently out here on a stint in California and Famous Dave's is out here too. I can't trust a bbq chain headquartered in Minneapolis. However, in California you can get beef tri-tip. I guess it's a cousin cut to brisket? I have not found decent BBQ here in california. Either the ribs are too smoky and taste like gasoline or the sauce just isn't right. Someone else mentioned Texas BBQ. The good thing about Texas style BBQ that I do like is barbecued beef brisket. Oh man, good stuff.

Anyhow, I will be moving back to Brandon in early July and one of the first places I head to will be First Choice. I remember those guys as early as 1996 !!!!

Jun 18, 2008
ramblinwrek92 in Florida

Soul of Korea (Tampa)

Glad to hear that there is Korean food closer to USF/Brandon/New Tampa. Otherwise you had to hike out towards the airport or town n country. I am no expert on Korean food myself but I do dig what I have eaten so far.

Lets see: Korean food primer as best as I can tell:

The noodle soup you had i believe is pronounced jam-pong. Chinese restaurants that specialize in northeast Chinese cuisine, which really don't exist in Tampa have their version of the soup called chao ma mien. Marinated beef = bulgogi. There is also marinated and grilled short ribs = gal-bee. The rice and beef dish in a bowl is called bibimbap. If it's served in the heated stone bowl then the stone bowl is a dolsot or the dish is called "dolsot bibimbap". Did the bibimbap have a fried egg or raw egg? Hey, next time try the noodles with this really dark pork and onion sauce called ja jiang mien.

May 11, 2008
ramblinwrek92 in Florida

Where are the bagels in Tampa Bay!

Yup, the real deal is very hard to find. Add to Einstein's that Panera is a joke too. It didnt hit me about being dumb downed to Einstein Bros/Panera until I was in a real Jewish deli in of all places, Palm Springs California. The bagel was fresh and you could tell by the right texture and the right color.

True story about my first ever bagel. I am 12 years old visiting cousins in Montreal. We go down to the Jewish section of town and hit this old world style bagel shop. There is a line out the door. I watched the baker form the bagels by hand and then the other guy was placing them in a wood burning oven. We picked up 2 dozen and also grabbed some pate' on the way home from another store. Pate + fresh bagel = awesome. Apparently there is even some rivalry about which is better: Montreal vs. New York bagels. If it's the real deal I don't mind either way.

Apr 16, 2008
ramblinwrek92 in Florida

Morton's in Santa Ana ... I'm exhausted just thinking about it. - LONG

I too went to the Santa Ana location. Honestly, the service was not the issue it was the food. I ordered a Cajun rib eye medium. When I got the steak it was more like medium well. There was like no pink left in the steak. I would have sent it back considering the prices Morton's charges but someone else was footing the bill. Plus, the outside of the steak was a bit bitter but I think that's my fault for ordering cajun spices when the darned thing is getting broiled. Of course the spices are gonna burn up.

I also got the beefsteak tomato salad with blue cheese. The tomato slices were huge but they were not ripe. What's up with that? If you can't source ripe tomatoes then don't pitch the product. As a customer I would much respect a place much more if they said that the tomatoes were not ripe for that evening's service. Better yet, why can't they source better produce?

I am sure others have ranted about the prices but we probably spent at least $20-$30 for the sides of asparagus, mashed potatoes, and mushrooms when I could have bought that stuff at the market for less than $10. The portion sizes were just a joke.

Yeah, if it is my own dime. No way am I gonna go back to Morton's.

Cuban Food Lovers, attention please.

Went to the one in Brea. I ordered the Pollo Cubano. It came with white rice and black beans and fried plantains. Gotta have the rice and beans if you are doing Cuban. The chicken was well flavored. If I have to be picky, the fried plantains were cut a bit too thick to my liking. I was hoping for a hunk of Cuban bread with my order but alas, none. On a slightly off topic note, Nothing like some buttered Cuban toast with cafe con leche.

Johnny Carino's in Wesley Chapel Closed

Interesting. They seem to be doing well out here in Southern California. You have to remember that Tampa/St. Pete is in the backyard of Darden and the Outback folks so Johnny Carinos probably never had a chance against Olive Garden and Carraba's.

Before I moved out to Cali, I did happen to eat at the one in Wesley Chapel. I was not impressed. Based on my experience I am reluctant to eat at one here in California. I wonder when Carraba's is going to make an entrance in the California maket? They have them in Nevada and Arizona.

Jul 05, 2007
ramblinwrek92 in Florida

China Yuan in Tampa-Twice last weekend!

Your best bet for fresher dim sum would be TC Choy's in Hyde Park. The weekends they have the cart service but are super busy on Sunday. That's when a lot of Asian families get together for dim sum. Heck, that's when just about any families get together. As an added bonus, they have a sushi bar on premise as well. The downside is their dim sum can be pricey.

Back to China Yuan, I have ordered the five spice duck to go and their roast BBQ pork is really good too. I like their Beef and Chinese Broccoli with/without the pan fried noodles. If you ever to go dim sum in larger cities like NY, Toronto, LA you will see a lot of the Chinese families ordering some type of pan fried noodle dish.

If you are into the Cantonese seafood, Peter orders his stuff at the beginning of the week like most restaurants so the latter part of the week would be the best time to get your fix. I apologize in advance if I am restating the obvious.

Jun 02, 2007
ramblinwrek92 in Florida

What's good in Brandon, or nearby in Tampa?


Tara's Roti Shop has relocated to 30th St. They are in a strip mall 2 or 3 blocks north of Busch Blvd on the west side across from Busch Gardens.

May 14, 2007
ramblinwrek92 in Florida

Dim Sum

Hey Lou,

I was doing a 2 month stint in July of last year in Orlando and I went to Ming's Bistro a couple of times. They had pretty good Dim Sum but nothing that would qualify as "neat". They are located on a side street off of Mills like maybe 2 blocks north of Colonial. I know that they got a nice writeup in the Sentinel. Plus, in an earlier thread Bob Mervine gave his nod of approval.

Off the top of my head, I think Chan's on Colonial has the cart service on weekends. As far as the west side of town there are supposed to be a couple of places on I-drive that have dim sum as well. Ming Court comes to mind but it has literally been like 10 years since I ate there. I try to avoid I-drive as much as possible.

May 14, 2007
ramblinwrek92 in Florida

Dim Sum

Well, the choices are pretty slim. You have TC Choy's in Hyde Park/South Tampa which is fairly authentic and the decor is pretty nice and I think they do have a bar. I think Dim Sum is available pretty much any day of the week with the cart service definitely on Sunday, which is also their busiest day.

There is Ho Ho Choy on Fletcher Ave a few blocks west of Bruce B. Downs in North Tampa and they will steam up dim sum for you any time of the day if you like. I don't think they have ever had cart type of service.

Finally, there is China Yuan on Armenia like 1 block north of Waters Ave. They will steam to order as well and generally have the lowest price on their dim sum. They also have the Cantonese BBQ counter with the requisite roast pork and duck. If your husband is a true NYC'er then he will definitely recognize the hanging ducks and pieces of pork. Come to think of it, Ho Ho Choy has the BBQ Counter thing too but just on weekends.


May 13, 2007
ramblinwrek92 in Florida

BackYard Burgers - Gainesville

I was in Gainesville this past weekend and a buddy introduced me to Backyard Burger. For a burger chain, I liked what they had to offer. I believe the meat is Black Angus beef but they are a bit pricey, right around the $3 mark if not more. My buddy was treating so I don't recall the exact price. My buddy ordered a couple extra to go so he could take some home to Tampa to give to his girlfriend.

Looking at their website, looks like they are in the Orlando area as well, I hope that they come to Tampa at some point.

May 02, 2007
ramblinwrek92 in Chains

I have to eat at Maggiano's (moved from LA)

I went to Maggiano's in the Buckhead district of Atlanta this past weekend and I was severely disappointed. It was not just my meal but about 3 or 4 other people in my group were not happy with the quality of their meals either. The fried calamari was underdone and was not crispy. My linguine with shrimp, the pasta was overcooked. The only thing I liked that night was the salad. I have had better at Carraba's and Macaroni Grill, which is a sister chain in Brinker international. I never got so much flack from my friends for choosing this place too.

May 02, 2007
ramblinwrek92 in Chains

Oceanic Market -- Tampa's Asian Grocery

Okay, official listing is:

Oceanic Oriental Supermarket
1609 N. Tampa Street
Tampa, FL 33602
Phone #: (813) 254-2041

Hope that helps,


Jan 12, 2007
ramblinwrek92 in Florida

Samurai Blue in Ybor

Well, I don't expect the sushi rolls to be refrigerator case cold like the ones at Publix BUT at the time we went to Rice and Company the place was very busy and it took a while for our sushi order to come out. I was not expecting the spicy tuna roll to be chilled but temperature wise the roll just was "off".

If I have to tradeoff between a trip to the ER with IV fluids and antibiotics being dripped into my arm due to foodborne illness vs. not so tasty but safe food then I choose the latter.

Jan 11, 2007
ramblinwrek92 in Florida

Samurai Blue in Ybor

Agreed. My sis and I went to Rice and Company at Citrus Park Mall probably a couple of years ago and yes, the sushi was horrible. I had ordered the spicy tuna roll and what we got did not even look like tuna. Instead of a nice red flesh the tuna had kind of an orange-y, chopped up appearance. Ugh. Plus the rolls were very warm like they did not keep their ingredients cold enough.

Jan 05, 2007
ramblinwrek92 in Florida

Samurai Blue in Ybor

It's been a while (8 months) but Toki Japanese in Carrollwood has always been good. As best as I can tell, the ownership is Japanese and I take that as a good sign. I usually order the spider roll which has soft shell crab. That has always been my litmus test for freshness. Am I way off on that one? I dunno.

They are located a couple of blocks south of Ehrlich on N. Dale Mabry on the right hand side going northbound. Same shopping center as the Kobe steakhouse and Houlihan's. They are a little bit south of the wine shop in that plaza.

Btw, a classmate of mine likes Sushi Alive, which was mentioned elsewhere in this thread. I have not been there myself so I can't give a personal opinion.


Jan 05, 2007
ramblinwrek92 in Florida

Atlanta: Any good Northern Chinese/Korean restaurants available?


I really appreciate the heads up about Tasty China. My Dad, who is from Taiwan is a "hot" head in terms of Chinese food so I am sure that he will appreciate it. The fact that it is in Marietta is a bonus as we are traveling up I-75 to see my sister in Nashville.

It's disappointing to hear that Yen Jing and Pung Mie have gone downhill but not surprising as Chinese restaurants either change owners or chefs and the food accordingly suffers.

Thanks again.

Atlanta: Any good Northern Chinese/Korean restaurants available?

Hey all,

I will be passing through ATL on my way from FL to TN next month and I was wondering if there were still any decent Northern Chinese/Korean restaurants left in the ATL.

Two restaurants come to mind: Pung Mie and Yen Jing. I was an undergrad at Georgia Tech many many moons ago and I actually remember Yen Jing opening. After doing a search, it looks like Pung Mie has gone downhill with new ownership. The type of food these restaurants made beside Northern Chinese food such as fried bread and dumplings include dishes such as ja jiang mien/myun or or Seafood San Shan noodles which is the chinese version of champong noodles.

Btw, I take it the Golden Buddha near Clermont and N. Druid Hills is still there? Hopefully they are still in business with the picture of the owner and Paul Newman on the wall by the cash register?

Thanks in advance.