Tag Archives: burgers

S’macks: 2407 Bee Ridge Rd, Sarasota, FL

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s'macks

Arghhhh. TOTALLY unacceptable! I ate an awesome lunch here and completely forgot to take photos. Darn pregnancy brain. I will definitely need to go back asap to have the same meal again so I can provide the lovely, mouth-watering pics that should go with this entry. Please forgive me!

Anyway, It was a GREAT meal! My father had recently stopped in and raved about the custard. He is like me in that when he finds a noteworthy meal or food, he basically insists that you take him seriously and go try it for yourself. Luckily, I am not one to deny the man the pleasure of passing on a new and delicious discovery to someone else.

I stopped in and was pleased to find plenty of vegetarian options on the menu. I was also really pleased to see that almost all of the ingredients on the menu are locally sourced from farmers in the area. Very cool- and especially cool to see the map on the wall showing where each ingredient comes from.

I easily decided on a portobello mushroom with a slice of provolone, pickles, ‘S’macks’ sauce (which is basically a kicked up mayo), lettuce, and tomatoes all on a yummy potato bun. I also ordered a side of fries and a lemonade.

As I went to sit down to wait for my order, the owner was walking around passing out samples of their coconut custard and I couldn’t possibly turn that down. WOW. Super creamy with that hint of coconut threaded texture, just the right amount of sweet, the perfect temperature and consistency. Dad was right, it’s sooooooo good. If I hadn’t already told myself that the fries were the indulgence I was allowing myself today, I would totally have ordered a cup of the custard after I ate lunch.

So then my meal arrived at my table looking amazing. The portobello sandwich was perfect- juicy mushroom, not drowning in cheese and sauce, topped with pickles and the fresh veggies that I requested. The fries were crispy and hot, crinkle cut, and super fresh. I was going to have this with my lemonade, but the owner brought me some peach iced tea that was refreshing and ice cold and it went really well with my meal..so I alternated between the two drinks.

Even though I was stuffed at this point, how could I turn down the incredible coconut/chocolate shake he also brought over when I was done eating lunch?? I was only going to have a sip to taste it but….Well, the end of that story goes as predictably as you’d imagine.

Overall, I am DEFINITELY a fan of S’macks and will surely be back soon. Actually, today is my day off from work and writing this entry up has sparked a craving…so I may just make it over there later today. Give it a try!

 

 

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Rev.el.ry Pub & Grill: 3005 University Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34243

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revelry 2revelry 1revelry 3revelry 5revelry 4revelry 6 When we got a val-pak coupon for this new restaurant in our area we were really excited because on the coupon it exclaimed things like: “vegetarian options!”, “organic herbs!”, “wild caught fresh seafood!” We thought for sure we would have tons of healthy, non-meat related, locally sourced options. Sadly, once we looked over the menu we quickly realized that was not the case. There was a grand total of ONE vegetarian option on the main courses section of the menu- and it was vegetable curry. There was also ONE veggie sandwich option and 2 vegetarian pizza options. I don’t know about you, but personally, if I want curry, I’ll go to an Indian or Thai restaurant. I am not really interested in going to a ‘Rustic Pub and Grill’ that specializes in burgers and wood-fired pizzas and then ordering a curry dish. Humph. We thought, well, luckily, we are pescetarian…surely there will be wonderful fish options. There was ONE. It happened to be the one type of fish that neither of us really like, and one of the most expensive choices on the menu. Womp womp. We decided we’d be best off ordering some small apps and salads to share.

When we found out that the chef makes all of the cheeses there, we decided to try some dishes that highlight that. The 2 salads (house and jewel) we shared were both very good- even if not totally exciting. They were full of  fresh veggies, homemade cheese (mozzarella and goat) and really outstanding citrus vinaigrettes (one was lemon and the other orange and they both had bright, fresh, fruity flavors to them).  Soon after we finished our salads, our waitress brought us out some beer biscuits which were moist, crunchy, lightly sweet, and soooooo good. The fact that the rolls came after the salads was kind of odd, but better late than never.

At this point, I mentioned to the waitress that I’d love to meet the owner/chef- who is apparently also from NY. This is a new restaurant, and as a blogger who loves to hear the backstory of a vision like this, I always try to get a chance to chat with the person who dreamed it up. I was told that she was there and would be told that I’d like to meet her…but that was the last I heard of it. She was apparently hanging out in back and couldn’t be bothered to come say hello. The manager did come say hi, but honestly, meeting him really wasn’t what I was looking for. Oh well….I guess a little blogger like me isn’t important enough to greet personally.

Next, our avocado and gulf shrimp cocktail came out. It was a total disappointment, nearly drowned in a mayo-based sauce. The shrimp were plump and cooked well, but the goopy sauce totally ruined the dish. There were 2-3 tiny pieces of avocado- not the chunks that the menu description promised. The tuna tartare was similarly ruined, swimming in too much soy sauce. Raw tuna is such a wonderful consistency and covering it with the soy seemed to turn it into salty mush. The flavor that it carries naturally was overpowered by the sauce and I honestly couldn’t even eat my half. The presentation was lovely, but a dish should never look better than it tastes.

Our fifth and final dish was the redeeming factor. The homemade almond crusted brie was glazed with apricot and served with crispy ciabatta, blackberries and apple slices. It’s melty, oozy, warmth was full of flavor and creaminess. We seriously cleaned that plate in record time and kind of wished there was more- although the portion was perfectly generous.

It was clear to us that this chef’s real gift is in her ability to make outstanding homemade cheeses. Knowing that now, I might consider going back to try the pizza- although it really wasn’t what I was in the mood for at this visit. It also makes it’s even weirder to see a curry option on the menu, and I’d suggest to the owner that maybe that veggie offering should be reconsidered. Maybe a baked veggie parmesan dish would be a better choice where she could really show off her cheese skills instead of diving into the unrelated curry territory. Don’t get me wrong, since I didn’t even try it I realize there is a possibility that it’s great…but seeing it on a menu where it really didn’t seem to belong was just sort of off-putting.

Overall, the atmosphere really does have an upscale sports bar/pub kind of feel to it. The lounge area is cozy with couches and a fireplace, and If I liked sports and/or beer, it would have been really appealing. As it is though, I really just like food…and that wasn’t good enough to make me ooh and ahhh over Rev-el-ry. Maybe it’s worth trying one more time after they’ve been opened for a year or so…Maybe they are still ironing out the kinks since they’re pretty new. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt this time, but there is definitely quite a bit of room for improvement.

The Burg Bar and Grill: 1752 Central Ave St Petersburg, FL

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Gabriel and I had to go up to St. Pete to meet with our wedding photographer (EEEeEEEEeee!!!) so we decided to make a day of it and head to the Dali museum afterwards. We’d been wanting to check it out for a while and were excited to spend the afternoon there. It was a very interesting way to spend some time, and we thoroughly enjoyed not just the art and the guided audio tour, but also the amazing architecture of the building itself as well as the beautifully manicured grounds and awesome views of boats on the water.

When we finished looking around, it was after 3:45pm and our stomachs were growling. Although the cafe in the museum looked great, I was craving iron and feeling deprived since we skipped our post-blood-donation burgers the week before. We decided to check Yelp for local burger joints and found 5 star reviews for the Burg Bar and Grill.

We arrived to find a tiny, dive-y bar with a few tables and a friendly bartender/waiter happy to seat us. Apparently, during ‘normal’ meal times, it’s nearly impossible to get a table so we were lucky that hunger stuck at an odd hour. We looked over the menu and quickly chose our burgers. I love that they have a small and large size so that I don’t eat an 8oz just because it’s on the plate in front of me when I’m perfectly satisfied with a 5oz. I ordered mine cooked medium and topped with american cheese, grilled mushroom and grilled onions and Gabriel got his with blue cheese and bacon. We both asked for our fries to be very well-done.

About 10 minutes later, our waiter arrived with our lunch/dinner much to our delight. The fries were super crispy and the burgers looked amazing. I was very happy to find that they had malt vinegar for my fries- a preference of mine over ketchup. One bite and I was sold. This absolutely deserves all of the stars it’s been given. The burger was cooked perfectly with just the right amount of gooey cheese and sauteed onions and mushrooms. The roll was fresh and doughy, not the typical out-of-a-package roll at all. I tried a bite of Gabriel’s burger and found that it too was perfection.

Overall, for less than $20 we left feeling thoroughly satisfied, pretty darn fat and totally happy. If we are ever in the area again, we might just have to go back. If you live nearby, definitely give it a shot- you’ll be glad you did.

The Ranch Grill: 14475 State Rd 70, Bradenton, FL

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Gabriel and I were house hunting today and found ourselves starving for lunch and in an area that didn’t have many restaurants around. We turned the corner and found The Ranch Grill and figured we’d just go there and hope for the best. We were seated right away in the mostly empty restaurant (it was a pretty odd time for a meal) and before we opened our menus, I decided to check out Yelp.com for reviews. Uh oh. 1.5 stars. Not good. We were too hungry to care and decided to disregard the poor ratings since only 3 reviews had written entries. Generally speaking, unless there are 20 of more, I don’t really take the ratings to heart. I figured I would just have to see for myself.

The menus had a lot to offer, and after asking our friendly waiter about side salads, we were informed that we could add a side garden or caesar salad for $2 to the $8 appetizers we planned to order. Perfect. We chose the chicken quesadillas and the chicken cordon bleu bites to share and each ordered a garden salad.

Everything came out quickly, and I especially liked the slope-y, lopsided bowls that the salads came in. The apps were presented in a colorful and appealing way, looking and smelling delicious. My bleu cheese dressing was noteworthy with it’s large chunks of cheese, and the salad ingredients were very fresh and crisp. The chicken bites were hot and melty and although there wasn’t a ton of chicken in them, the honey mustard dipping sauce added a nice flavor and coolness to the cheesy snack. The quesadillas had great texture  contrasted by the creamy, cool guacamole and sour cream and we gobbled every bit up, including the diced peppers that adorned the plate.

Overall, for $20 we had a great lunch and had already planned to return…This plan was reenforced when later on in the day, when I looked at their Facebook page, I just so happened to find a dealsaver.com deal for $10 for $20. What a weird coincidence…Well, better late than never. I immediately purchased the coupon so that we could return for a repeat lunch someday soon. Very satisfying indeed- and even more so for half the price!

 

 

 

Lee Roy Selmon’s: 8253 Cooper Creek Blvd Sarasota, FL

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Gabriel and I enjoyed a fun dinner with another couple here last night. Although I’m not really a sports bar kind of person, this restaurant feels much classier and less sporty than I expected based on the reviews I’d read ahead of time. Yes, there are tons of TVs playing various games, but the feel is more upscale and less rowdy that I would have guessed.

Luckily, our friends had a couple of great tips for us. The first was that if you check-in on four square, you get a free fried-green tomatoes appetizer. Cool! We jumped on that. The other VERY important tip is that the amazing bbq-butter-topped rolls, which do NOT come automatically, ARE free and available and absolutely worth asking for. YUM.

I ordered a frozen strawberry margarita to sip and it was delicious; refreshing, sweet- but not overly so, and the perfect amount of alcohol that didn’t totally overpower the drink. The fried green tomatos were a bit slow to come out, but when they finally did we gobbled them right up. They came with a tangy ranch dressing to dip in, and the slices were thick cut and super crunchy.

For my entree, I ordered the shrimp and grits- something I would not normally choose but it sounded interesting. I also ordered a side of green beans and thought it was odd that it did not automatically come with a vegetable when just about all of the other entrees did. The grits were unreal. Super cheesy and with generous bits of bacon, it was NOT at all a light dish. I still can’t believe I ate the whole thing- it was so rich and filling, but tasted so amazing that I couldn’t stop myself. The shrimp were a bit too sauce-covered, and I think they could have used half the amount instead of drowning them in sugary flavoring that they really didn’t need. I thought my meal was excellent, but really felt that the menu was lacking. I would have ordered a healthier shrimp option if there had been one- but the choices were basically salads or super indulgent entrees and sandwiches.

The meal ended with the waiter bringing over hot washcloths to wash our hands with…Nice touch! I thought the prices were totally reasonable and I would definitely consider going back…next time, I will plan to be more mentally prepared to indulge than I was this time.

 

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.

MacAllisters Grill & Tavern: 8110 Lakewood Main St. Lakewood Ranch, FL

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Gabriel was teaching yoga until pretty late last night so we’d decided to go out for dinner when he got back. We had a $10 coupon to MacAllisters since we’d moved to Lakewood about a week ago and the info/welcome center gave us our choice of restaurant gift certificates. We’d heard it was one of the only places close by that serves dinner until 10pm, so this was the perfect opportunity to try it.

We were seated right away and were surprised to see that it was fairly crowded. Apparently, Tuesday night is trivia night and a bunch of people were there to play and drink $1.99 beers.

We noticed right away that they also offer $3.99 martinis (!!!) so we decided to have a toast to our new Florida Driver’s Licenses and our 11 month-i-versary. I ordered a dirty martini with extra olives and I must say, it was excellent. The olives were gigantic and delicious and the martini was super dirty, just like I like it.

Our waiter Chris was extremely personable and friendly and we enjoyed chatting with him throughout the meal. He made some recommendations and took our orders and then our rolls and salads were brought out quickly.

I ordered the chicken marsala which came with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli and a side salad with blue cheese to start with. The dressing was SO good with a little spicy kick to it that’s unusual in blue cheese. The rolls were warm and fresh- but we found it odd that they only brought 3 of them for the 2 of us.

I asked for more broccoli and less mashed potatoes so as not to have the carb-loaded side tempting me. He happily took care of that for me and the portions were perfect. The chicken was cooked nicely, tender and very flavorful in it’s marsala sauce, but I would have like a few more mushrooms.

Overall, for about $15 I had a hearty and filling meal and a great cocktail. Add that to the friendly service and late hours and we will surely be back soon.