Tag Archives: Blue cheese dressing

Walt’s Fish Market & Restaurant: 4144 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL

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Things I love about Walt’s:

1. It’s literally across the street from my favorite 6:30pm Tuesday night candlelight power yoga class at Family Tree Yoga.

2. The market is full of super fresh, reasonably priced choices.

3. There’s pretty much always a place to sit in their outdoor section- which is open and airy. Even though it’s view is of a parking lot, it still somehow feels sort of beachy, and there is often live acoustic music.

4. Huge cups of ice cold water. (Too bad they are in environmentally unfriendly styrofoam)

5. A reasonably priced menu with tons of options that sound appealing.

6. The yummy, complimentary, smoked mullet starter they bring with loads of saltines.

7. Their blue cheese dressing is AMAZING. Huge chunks of cheese and seriously just so so so so good.

Things I don’t really love about Walt’s:

1. The food is so- so. Although everything is fresh, it’s boring and uncreative. They love to fry stuff and/or drown it in unnecessary amounts of butter and oil. The salads are mostly comprised of iceberg lettuce (boo). The veggies on the side are usually overcooked and mushy, and again, just boring boring boring. I wish they would get a little creative with what they offer, but the couple of times I’ve been there, I’ve ended up feeling like I really should have just bought seafood in their market and taken it home to cook it myself.

2. The waitstaff, though they are friendly, are super slow. It is not a place I advise dining at if you’re in a hurry.

3. Even though the prices seem fair at first glance, it still ends up costing more than it should in the end.

The moral of the story is that I have been there twice, and kind of doubt I’ll go again. If I do, it will just be for the market, which really does have some seafood worth buying. I will learn my lesson this time and next time will be my own chef.

 

 

 

 

Patricks 1481: 1481 Main St. Sarasota, FL

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As a fan of great burgers, Patricks has been on my ‘go have a burger‘ list since we moved to Sarasota since I’ve heard a ton of people raving about it. Gabriel and I decided to share a burger, soup and a salad instead of both totally stuffing ourselves and it worked out perfectly. It’s a great way to try indulgent food without feeling totally glutenous afterward.

The soup was a seafood chowder that was very much like a manhattan clam chowder, only with fish instead of clams. The broth was pretty good- but not outstanding, and the pieces of veggies and fish were a bit on the skimpy side. The tossed salad with grilled chicken was a very generous portion, although pretty boring with nothing except lettuce, radishes, cucumbers and carrots. The blue cheese dressing had good sized chunks of cheese but was only average- probably from a bottle and not homemade. The burger looked awesome and was cooked exactly as we requested, but the meat itself was nothing that spectacular to me. Not especially flavorful or juicy- just an average pub burger on a regular sesame seed bun, as far as I was concerned. The combo of regular and crinkle cut fries were crisp, hot and tasty and we polished them off quickly.

The service was very friendly and efficient and we enjoyed sitting outside on main street watching the passers by. Overall, our experience was pretty good- but not so amazing that I really understood why so many people gush about it. As far of a trek as it is, Burg Bar and Grill in St. Pete blows this place away, and is totally worth the drive if you are really craving a great burger. (https://bigforkinmouth.com/2012/11/28/the-burg-bar-and-grill-1752-central-ave-st-petersburg-fl/)  I’d love to know what other burgers in the Sarasota/Lakewood Ranch area you love…please comment and let me know!

Lazy Lobster of Longboat Key: 5350 Gulf of Mexico Dr Longboat Key, FL

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After a photo shoot with my dad for engagement pictures, Gabriel and I planned to take him out for dinner to thank him. Our plans changed when my mom and step-dad called and said they’d like to join us for dinner- and ended up taking US out instead. We definitely still owe my dad a dinner, and felt lucky to have a great meal with a family who all get along really well.

Lazy Lobster is close to where they all live, and Gabriel and I had recently sampled and enjoyed some of their food at a food festival, so it was a great choice for all of us.

We were seated quickly when we arrived, and a waiter took our drink orders and told us the specials. A quick review of the menu revealed a ton of choices that sounded appealing. As a seafood lover, I’m not hard to please when it comes to fish as long as it’s not all breaded and fried.

I started with a small garden salad with excellent blue cheese dressing. The vegetables were all fresh and vibrant, and with the fresh bread and butter it made a lovely first course. For my entree, I had the potato crusted grouper. It had a crispy coating and was served with a grainy mustard sauce. It came with carrots in an amaretto sauce that were probably my favorite part of the meal. I also had haricot verts in place of the rice that normally comes with it- and they were also bright and flavorful, fresh and cooked the right amount. I hate mushy vegetables and it’s always nice to find a restaurant who really doesn’t overcook them.

For dessert we all shared (but in actually I probably ate more than my fair share) the trio of sweets that included a chocolate mousse, a strawberry shortcake, and a key lime pie (If I am remembering correctly). They were all very good- but not as exciting as I had hoped. It was nice to be able to sample 3 desserts instead of just one, but each one wasn’t really all that spectacular.

Overall, this restaurant was quite good- and has a really pretty outdoor eating area with heating lamps for when it’s chilly. The menu is fairly basic for seafood, but had lots of good options. The service was very attentive, quick, knowledgeable and polite. I would definitely go back!

G’s Pizzaria: 7119 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL

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This is another one of those “I am a NY pizza snob” type posts where I go to a restaurant to try a slice from a place that claims to be owned by a NYer. I’m always pretty skeptical when I go on these little adventures but am willing to give it a fair shot. When I first walked in and found out the the owner is actually from WAY upstate NY and not the city, I got pretty worried.

I sat down and ordered a plain slice and a side salad with blue cheese dressing on the side. The salad came out and (good first impression) was NOT iceberg lettuce! It was a mesclun mix with beautiful, thick, red tomato slices, black olives, onions and fresh mushrooms on top. The dressing was pretty darn good too. So far, so good.

A few minutes later, the owner brought my slice over, piping hot from the oven and looking an awful lot like a NY slice. BIG, flat, bubbly top, and the right ratio of cheese to sauce to crust. Hmmmm. Could it be? I took a bite. WOW. Ok. I am impressed. This IS a NY slice after all. Is it the best slice ever? Well, no, but let’s be realistic. The truth is that the classic NY slice has a lot to do with the water there, and no one outside of NYC will really ever be able to duplicate that. But this was definitely the closest to NY I’ve had since I moved here a few months ago. Ah. Good enough to evoke nostalgia. The crust was the right mix of crunchy and chewy, the flavor of the sauce was spot-on; not too sweet, the right amount, and the cheese was exactly right. I added my sprinkling of oregano and parmesan- which was on the table like it should be, and it made for a VERY satisfying lunch. BRAVO to you G’s! Bonus that it’s about 1/4 mile from where I work. I will absolutely be back. YAY!

 

Peppermill Eatery: 7246 55th Ave East, Bradenton, FL

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I had a coupon for $10 0ff $30 at Peppermill Eatery that was expiring soon so after reading a bunch of good reviews online, Gabriel and I decided to go there for dinner last night. What a totally pleasant surprise when our waiter came over to take our order and it was someone I know as a client from my day job at Bear Creek Veterinary Alternatives. (www.bearcreeksarasota.com)

After chatting with him a bit about his awesome pack of dogs, I asked him what his recommendations were and he emphatically suggested a dish that I had already been leaning toward. Well, that made for a very easy decision indeed! I ordered the shrimp and ‘Lobstah’ pasta and a small side salad with blue cheese dressing and Gabriel ordered the stuffed shrimp.

Our salads came out quickly, along with some bread (which was the ONLY thing that wasn’t great as it was served cold. If it had been warm it would have been worlds better) It was, however, served with a brown sugar, apricot, whipped butter that was SO delicious that I didn’t even really care about the cold bread anymore. Craig, our fantastic waiter, was nice enough to bring me a little cup of it to take home that I can’t wait to put on waffles or pancakes this weekend. The salad was simple, but good- and I’m always happy to find restaurants who do NOT serve boring iceberg lettuce. This was romaine, red onions, cucumber slices and cherry tomatoes with a side of creamy blue cheese that was fine- but not particularly remarkable. I personally love a good blue cheese with big chunks, but this one was smooth.

After finishing my salad, it was just a few more minutes before the entrees arrived. WOW! What an impressive presentation! From the looks of the outside of this restaurant which is totally nondescript located in a strip mall, I would have assumed the food inside would be generic, unexciting and maybe one step above edible. I was VERY happy to be proven dead wrong. The food was presented as if it was in a MUCH classier place (the interior could definitely use a bit of sprucing up so that it matches the quality of the dishes). The shrimp and very generous chunks of lobster were super tasty and fresh, and the peas and mushrooms that decorated the linguine were cooked perfectly and the perfect touches to this creamy, buttery, parmesan-y meal. I ate until I was stuffed and STILL had plenty to take home for lunch the next day. I also tasted Gabriel’s stuffed shrimp which were equally impressive.

When we received the check, it was almost laughably low for what we’d just eaten. After our $10 discount, we paid UNDER $20 for the 2 of us. We will most certainly be back.

Square 1 Burgers and Bar: 5239 University Parkway, Sarasota, FL

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Gabriel and I had a coupon for a free appetizer with the purchase of 2 burgers so we decided to go to Square One for dinner a few nights ago. We arrived to find adorable cow/western-themed decor inside, but the a/c was blasting so high that we decided to sit outside instead. A friendly waitress came over right away with menus, water and suggestions for us and we took a few minutes to look over the menu.

We chose the bbq chicken wings for our free app- something I’d never order, but Gabriel loves them. To me they were so-so, but he raved about them. They were meatier than average wings, but I thought they were way too unhealthy to be worth the indulgence, especially since I had a giant burger in my immediate future. I did enjoy the celery that came alongside of them with a decent blue cheese dressing.

For my burger, I decided on the Buffalo Bob: Ground buffalo topped with applewood-smoked bacon, onion rings and spicy beer cheese sauce on a sesame seed bun. I actually opted to switch out the beer cheese (which sounded pretty vile to me) for cheddar. It came with a side, so I chose the fried jalapenos, and as it turned out, I was very glad that Gabriel chose sweet potato fries for his because they were fantastic. My peppers were eh. Kind of boring, not that spicy, and overly breaded. My burger was quite good. The buffalo meat was indeed lean- but not all that juicy and a little greasier than I expected. I thought the bacon, onion rings and cheese on top were all just glorious though.

Overall, this meal was pretty good- but not amazing, and for the price, even WITH the free appetizer, it was a bit too much for what we got. I think our bill totaled around $40. Huh? That’s just crazy.