Friday, November 21, 2014

Tijuana Flats – St. Petersburg, FL


My friend Padma is in town for the week, so we had lunch at Tijuana Flats today.  I always associate T-Flats with Gainesville since there was one right across the street from the UF campus.  Padma and I went to college together, so it felt a bit nostalgic catching up over Mexican food.

My favorite dish is their fresh salad – it is served in a large, crispy tortilla bowl with lettuce, cheese, black olives, jalapeños, onions, tomatoes, sour cream, dressing, and choice of protein.  I had it with the avocado ranch dressing and blackened chicken. 

It is a huge portion - and with the tortilla bowl, it really isn’t any healthier than the other menu items.  It comes with a side of chips and tortilla strips on top too – which seem kind of unnecessary with the bowl. 

All the Tijuana Flats restaurants have bright, funky colors and graffiti-covered walls.  They have a wide range of hot sauces at their “Hot Bar”. The location we ate at today is in a new shopping plaza right over the Gandy Bridge from Tampa.  They have outdoor seating as well, so we enjoyed the cooler weather today.  Nice place to enjoy some casual Tex-Mex dining.   

Tijuana Flats has many locations around the country (mostly in the southeast).  The one we dined at today is located at 10300 Roosevelt Boulevard North, St Petersburg, FL 33716 and is open 11am – 10pm Monday through Saturday and 11am – 9pm on Sundays.   

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Chili Lime Shrimp & Twice Baked Broccoli Potatoes


Here are the recipes from last night’s dinner.  The shrimp seasoning was great, but would have been even better if we had let it marinate all day or overnight.  I especially loved this potato recipe, but they do take some time, so plan ahead. 

Chili Lime Shrimp Skewers (adapted from Budget Bytes)

  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and thawed if frozen
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 t honey
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Wooden skewers

1.  Marinate your shrimp in the seasonings (we did it directly in the original bag…then realized that we forgot to peel them, so we made a mess peeling them afterwards...) 

2. Add 10 – 12 shrimp to each skewer.

3. Place on grill for about 2-3 minutes per side (if you’re using a real grill instead of a little George Foreman like ours, you will need to decrease the time). 

Twice Baked Broccoli Potatoes (adapted from Skinny Taste)

  • 4 medium russet potatoes
  • 1-12 oz. bag frozen broccoli (missing from the photo below)
  • ½ white onion, chopped
  • ½ cup low fat buttermilk (we didn’t have buttermilk, so we substituted with ½ cup milk plus ½ T lemon juice)
  • 1 T chopped green onions
  • 1 T fresh thyme
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 T olive oil
  • Sea salt & pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Pierce potatoes several times with a fork, rub with oil and sea salt.  Bake for 1 hour. 

2. Meanwhile, prepare frozen broccoli as outlined on the package and set aside. 

3. When the potatoes are ready, reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees.  Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh out into a large bowl. 
4. Mash with a potato masher (I have one now thanks to Grandma Anne!)  Add the buttermilk, onions, green onions, thyme, half the broccoli, and half the cheese.

5. Spoon mixture back into the shells and bake for 5 minutes.  Top with remaining cheese and broccoli, and then finish with 5 more minutes in the oven to melt the cheese. 

Reservations Gourmet-To-Go – Tampa, FL


I bought a Creative Loafing deal for Reservations Gourmet-To-Go a month or so ago because I’ve heard so many great things about this restaurant.  It is on Tasting Tampa’s Top Ten Restaurants in Seminole Heights and they only have positive reviews on Yelp, Urbanspoon, and Facebook

So I was sad to see my friend Raena’s post yesterday saying that Reservations was going to shut their doors at the end of the month.  Since Lance and I both had Tuesday off work, we decided to head to Seminole Heights and try them out for lunch.

With our CL deal, we had $30 to spend – and since the prices are all so reasonable, we got a LOT of food for that much. 

It was cold out yesterday – it got to the 30’s at night, which for a Floridian felt like Antarctica! So the first thing I ordered was a hot cup of tea.  Lance had a beer (they only had one to choose from – Uinta Brewing Company’s Baba Black Lager). 

For our meals, we each ordered sandwiches – I had the Meatball Parmesan and Lance had the Tampa Cheese Steak.  We got the large size, but we could have easily filled up on the small. 

OMG they were amazing.  The meatballs were handmade, topped with Bolognese sauce, parmesan, and mozzarella.  The Italian bread was perfectly crispy.  Lance’s sandwich was generously loaded with slices of grilled steak, sautéed onions and mushrooms, and topped with horseradish mayo dressing, blue cheese drizzle, and lettuce.  Since each large sandwich was already cut in 2, we swapped halves and got to try a bit of each. 

They were voted Best Carrot Cake by Creative Loafing Best of the Bay 2012, so we got a slice to go (we didn’t have any room after our huge lunches).  We enjoyed it later that evening and it did not disappoint.  It was moist and filled with plenty of carrot, raisin, and nut chunks.  The cream cheese frosting was so delicious that I could have eaten it alone with a spoon. 

It’s a real shame that I didn’t discover this place sooner.  Make sure to go try their incredible food while you still can! 

Reservations Gourmet-To-Go is located at 4703 N Nebraska Ave, Tampa, FL 33603.  Here’s their schedule for the remainder of the month:

November 20th, 21st, 25th, 26th, and 28th for lunch 11:30am – 3pm
November 21st & 22nd - After Dark dining, 6pm – 10pm