Monday, October 27, 2008

The Flaneurs went Flaneur-ing

Sunday it was, and it was a beautiful day, clear, slightly cooler, low humidity with a light breeze off the bay. So after breakfast at the loft, complements of Frank, we headed out for a walk, Other than wanting to go to the waterfront, we had no destination in mind, so these two flaneurs did what flaneurs do, wandered aimlessly but always on the lookout for something of interest. We walked by the Vinoy Hotel and captured the pink hotel against the deep blue sky, then on to Vinoy Park for a shot of downtown across the harbor. We continued our stroll of the sidewalks of St. Petersburg for a while and stopped at the Museum of Fine Arts to see two special photography exhibits, one of "The History of Photography" with prints from the mid 1800's. The other was a collection of Ansel Adams and his contemporaries, which are always very impressive.

After the museum, more walking... oh, look, we are at Pincho y Pincho, let's stop for a glass of sangria and a couple tapas. Yum... 

Back at the loft, after champagne and appetizers with Carol and Lois (thank you both for the champagne and flowers), the four of us headed to Chappy's on Central Ave, for some Creole cooking. My shrimp and grits was very good.

Frank and I finished off the evening at L'Olivier Bistro, a little French creperie, for a couple dessert crepes and coffee. 

That concluded another wonderful day walking the streets of "my city". 

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday - Part Two

Voting completed, I headed to Central Ave to find a lunch spot. I am now sitting at an umbrella shaded sidewalk table at Zurrito's, waiting for a fish taco to arrive.

Life is good.
(Sent form my smartphone)


10:10 AM in downtown St. Petersburg, standing in a line of a couple hundred people waiting to VOTE... Early.

It is a slightly overcast breezy Saturday, with a 30% chance of rain. Not bad for a short walk from the loft to the voting booth.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Go Rays!

Yes, St. Petersburg is hosting the first game of the World Series tonight, only blocks from my loft. How cool is that. Not that I am attending, but I can still hope for a victory and ultimately a World Series Championship for the Tampa Bay Rays. 
And to my good friend, Deirdre, who works in Philadelphia, just send the money now. 

Saturday, October 18, 2008

So zoo me !

Last Thursday, the night before attending the Food and Wine Festival at EPCOT, Frank and I dined at Todd English's bluezoo in the Dolphin Resort at Walt Disney World. This has a very high WOW factor in my opinion, from the sleek blue and copper decor, to the service, and most importantly the food. Every item was superb. 
I started with the Yellowfin tuna tartar; a lovely circular presentation of diced fresh tuna served on top of fried rock shrimp wrapped in a thin cucumber slice. Frank enjoyed his chilled poached jumbo shrimp with an avocado puree, bloody mary sauce, and fennel salt. We both knew that if the rest of the meal was a good as the appetizers we were in for a real treat.
We both selected the "simply fish" item on the menu which allows you to select from one of three or four fish, and pair it with one of three sauces. Frank and  I opted for the triple tail fish, but I had the warm crabmeat, dijon mustard, and chives sauce and Frank selected the red curry coconut sauce. The fish was light, flaky and perfectly grilled. Both sauces were tasty and complemented the triple tail nicely.
We accompanied our entrees with a shared order of tempura haricot vert. The beans were lightly battered, fried and served in a conical chrome french fry basket. They were seasoned with a course salt that added another dimension of flavor and texture to the dish. 
With our meal we enjoyed a truly wonderful bottle of Rex Hill Willamette Valley (Oregon) Pinot Noir
Dessert was "almost" a no brainer. Our server raved about the zweet burger during his review of the dessert offerings.  So we decided to split the zweet burger, and zweet it was. So, what is a zweet burger you might ask. It looked like a small hamburger even with two slices of cheese. But looks can be deceiving. The bun was made of lemon pound cake, the cheese was thin slices of orange flavored gelatin and the "meat" was citrus cream custard with an edge of dark chocolate. The burger was served with a side of ketchup (raspberry sorbet) and fries (strips of fried beignet). The plate was decorated with a splash of raspberry puree that looked like a streak of ketchup against the white plate.
In my book, this ranks as one of my best meals ever. 

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Bistro 523

Bistro 523 had a grand opening this weekend and served eleven "customers", in two seating. On Friday, I hosted the MOW Book Club for a discussion of "Suite Francaise" by Irène Némirovsky and a dinner of pasta with an eggplant and tomato sauce. On Sunday, the chalkboard with the Menu du Jour was placed outside the door when my niece, Cherie and her husband Mike, my nephew Biff and his partner, Butch joined Frank and me for a bistro dinner. The meal included the house specialty (or soon to become a specialty) of Bistro 523 Short Ribs, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Green Beans with Pancetta. Biff provided a wonderful Salmon en Croûte appetizer, and Cherie provided a tasty lemon and gingerbread trifle. Everything was yummy.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

If you knew Sushi, like I knew Sushi...

This is not just another fish tail (or is that tale). There is a small building on the west side of 9th Street, just a tadpole north of 12th Ave N, where you can get some very good sushi. Hook's it is, and hook you it will, if you like sushi. 

That is my 2¢.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Oh, What a Busy Day

It was a lovely Saturday morning in St. Petersburg. (That is about as bad of an opening line as "It was a dark and stormy night"). Let me try this again:

 "There is so much to tell. After a leisurely cup of coffee and a quick read of the morning paper, I strolled down 4th Ave under sunny skies to the reopening of the Saturday Morning Market." As I reached 1st Street, I crossed the race course of the runners and walkers from the Race for the Cure. There were hundreds (OK probably more than that) of participants supporting this excellent cause. This Saturday was also the grand opening of the Pinellas Trail extension into downtown St. Petersburg which brought additional walkers to the market. 

The market was a collection of food, art and 
crafts spread across the Progress Energy Field parking lot. The food vendors ranged from British Meat Pies, and French crepes to Jamaican Jerk meals, pastries, fresh artisan breads, to name only a few. It would be very easy to double your weight in a day tasting all the tempting food. The fresh produce stands were always crowded and all the produce looked great. 

My purchases today included an Olive Boule, Garlic and Chive Papparadelle, a collection of spices, and a lovely wedge of Mobier cheese, all the way from France. But the highlight of my shopping was not food related, but the opportunity to add to my small collection of art glass; this time from a local (Hillsborough County) glass artist, Virginia Spalter. (Any underlined text is a link to additional information). It is a wonderful, colorful, collection of various glass fragments incorporated into a 12" x 12" plate. Virginia said it represented our society with all the various ethnic and cultural backgrounds. I like that! 

I have rambled on far too long - my intent with my blog was to keep each post brief, but I get carried away when I experience something like the Saturday Morning Market,  which will become a regular part of my Saturdays. 

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Market Opens

This Saturday, October 4, The Saturday Morning Market opens in downtown St. Petersburg. Watch for a review of the market in a future blog.