Friday, April 28, 2017

King Buffet - Nashville, Tennessee


 

 

King Buffet

1051 Murfreesboro Pike

Nashville, TN 37217



                The vacation, visiting with my brother in Tennessee, was coming to an end. A quick trip to Nashville and an overnight stay was in order for me to catch the very early in the morning flight back home. A bit of sightseeing in town done, we checked into our motel and asked the desk clerk where we could get something to eat. He pointed “that-a-way” and said to drive about a mile along the Pike and we would start to see restaurants. As strangers in a big city we were at the mercy of the local’s directions.

                It has been said that all good things must come to an end, so with that in mind one could say that portion of the Murfreesboro Pike and the establishments therein are doing just that.  While there is a smidgeon of rebuilding going on, mostly hotels, but the remainder of the businesses are dated and worn.  You can find the usual fast food eateries, some various ethnic cuisines are offered, a Mediterranean Kebab and a Greek Gyro to name a few  as well as a Mexican market complete with butcher and many smaller places offering fresh Carne Asada tacos.

                We found a rather dated but okay looking Chinese cafeteria and decided to give it a try, we were hungry and well “all you can eat” if it was good food, we won.  The young woman at the front was friendly and soon motioned to a young man at the back to take us to a table.  The décor is nothing fancy, plain table and chairs; separated down the length of the area by a wall with a partial decorative panel on top to offer light and a view out of the window.  A picture or two depicting an oriental motif was on the walls and at the front a smattering of oriental offerings.  There were about 6 self-serve tray lines set up each offering different menu options, but in no particular order. The back wall held the dessert section which had fresh fruit, pies, cakes and puddings.  Here too was found the sushi rolls which I found odd to have placed them there.


                A fresh salad bar offered the usual offerings for a small salad along with fresh fruit; there were two types of hot soup offered, egg drop and their special soup of unknown ingredients, neither of which I tried.  They had steam trays full of small cray fish, steamed shelled small shrimp, what appeared to be muscles topped with a yellow cheese, fried fish with a seasoned corn meal batter, white fish in a tomato type broth to name a few.  You had your usual offerings of all things Chicken, sweet & sour Chicken, Hunan Chicken, Szechuan Chicken, hot and spicy Chicken, Sesame Chicken, Chicken with vegetables and Chicken with mushrooms. 

                They offered tiny beef ribs (1”) Mongolian beef, beef with vegetables and so forth.  You had fried rice, but no white rice, an udon type noodle with seasonings but no broth.  Some fried eggplant coated again with a corn meal type crust.  Dumplings, spring rolls and egg rolls; then not to offend anyone they also offered macaroni and cheese, fried potatoes, taquitos and several other “American” type foods. You are served hot tea, soft drinks or sweet tea and refills are up to you.

                With plate in hand we set off to sample the offerings; some of the chicken dishes had a most familiar taste almost like you could purchase them frozen in your local store.  The Mongolian beef was a bit fatty and tough but had a nice flavor.  The fried white fish with corn meal batter was delicious, lightly seasoned and fried nicely.  The stir fried vegetables were just a bit more al dente that I like but none the less very tasty.  The fried eggplant was also excellent, golden brown and a delicate flavor.

                The egg rolls lacked for a dipping sauce but you got the dipping sauce for the dumplings which I found to be way too sweet.  The noodles were cooked but not mushy and had a nice seasoned coating on them.  I sampled two of the rolls and they were to my surprise very good. Sashimi with salmon and nori, sushi with avocado, white fish, ginger and carrot were both excellent.

                My brother and I both went back for a second plate in order to sample other menu items, when we sat back down I noticed the young man who seated us earlier was standing behind the back wall partition sort of watching our progress and when we were about ¾ done with the second plate he came around and gave us our bill.  This took us by surprise so much so that my brother felt he needed to offer a statement that he was not yet finished and was going back for dessert.  This ruffled my feathers quite a bit since neither one of us had filled our plates to excess, we only took small portions of items in order to taste them.

                So the burning question; would I go back if presented the chance?  I have given many establishments a second chance in the past but unfortunately this will not be the case for King Buffet.  On a scale rating the best at 10, I give them an overall rating of 4, some of the food was mediocre, some greasy and some was delicious but the overall factor in the scoring was the rudeness of the waiter who actually told us by his posturing, “…you go home now!”

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Waffle House
2118 TN-115, Maryville, TN 37801
 (865) 233-0112 Open 24-hours a day
 
Two years ago while my youngest son was attending the Delta Flight Attendant School in Atlanta Georgia he happened to stumble across the Waffle House.  He raved about the waffles but sadly no such place existed in Idaho, I had to wait these few years until I visited my brother and sister in law in Friendsville Tennessee.

As a treat to me I was invited to breakfast at the local Waffle House; it was a gloomy dismal rainy day and I needed the distraction. This waffle house opened recently at the end of 2016 and is as I was informed slightly larger than most other Waffle House’s.  We were greeted by friendly server Laura and quickly shown to our booth, the waitress was very friendly and eager which is always a good sign.
I glanced at the “main” menu when my sister in law asked for the “$5.00 ”menu which is not on the table as a rule.  This special menu gives the diner a choice of 15 menu items which include your choice of drink.  A very good value based meal; I got a waffle, two scrambled eggs and coffee both my brother and sister in law ordered the waffle and two eggs over medium and coffee.  This is a lot of food and drink for just $5.00 per person.
The food arrived quickly and cooked to order, the waffle was golden brown and cooked through, my two scrambled eggs were cooked but more on the French style, the whites were just slightly from being completely done.  The over medium eggs were done to a T.  The coffee was nice and aromatic and not bitter nor too strong, as Goldie Locks would say, just right!
The waitress came around several times to refresh our coffee and ask how our food was; she was very attentive even though the place was packed.  If you like waffles and a few sides this is the place to try out, fast, good food, quality priced and friendly.





Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Deep Fried Cod Fish Balls - Fiskerouletter


Deep Fried Cod Fish Balls
Fiskerouletter

Some of my fondest food memories are from my childhood. The aroma and taste of salt cod fish my father or aunts would prepare is one of my best. The codfish balls or patties, the Fiskerouletter, were a part of their Danish heritage they learned while growing up in the wilds of pioneer-age Michigan. Sadly something so readily available during the 1940-50’s had become an elusive and perhaps an almost extinct food product. Luckily I found a purveyor of salted cod products in California, Buyportuguesefood.com, and soon after I had myself a supply of salt cod fillets and salt cod pieces.
I am an avid reader and collector of old cookbooks and the oldest I own is from 1890 which had numerous recipes for salted cod. That is quite understandable since refrigeration was not readily available during that era. I also checked my favorite “go to” cookbook, America Cooks: The General Federation of Women’s Clubs Cookbook, my particular copy was published in 1967; the Federation was founded in 1890. This book has numerous recipes for salt cod and I selected one for codfish balls that was submitted by Doris Goodhope and another codfish balls recipe from my 1890 cookbook. With what I remembered watching Dad and Aunt Margie preparing them, I combined the best features of all and tweaked the recipes adding my own touch to come up with my version of Deep Fried Cod Fish Balls.   See complete recipe at:


What I Used:
  1. ½ lb. Salt Cod pieces (soaked for 24 hours in water and well drained)
  2. 4 medium size potatoes
  3. 2 tablespoons butter
  4. ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  5. ½ teaspoon powdered garlic
  6. ½ teaspoon paprika
  7. ½ teaspoon salt
  8. 2 eggs
  9. Bread crumbs
  10. Oil for frying
How I did It:

Peel and quarter the potatoes and add to a pot along with the salt cod, cover with water to cover and bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender. There will be a lot of foam: be prepared to skim off a lot of foam and discard. Drain well and add to a bowl and mash until no large chunks are left. Put the bowl on the mixing stand (or use a hand mixer) and beat slowly until a smooth consistency, add the spices and the butter, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until well combined. Scoop out to form balls (I used a small scoop to form small cocktail-size balls or use a regular-size scoop for dinner size balls). Roll the mixture into a smooth balls and roll in the bread crumbs, then into the egg and then again in the bread crumbs. I found letting the coated balls set for about 5 minutes before frying gave me a better result. The balls that I put directly into the oil after rolling in the crumbs had a tendency to fall apart. Your oil should be around 365°-370°F. I used my Nu Wave induction cook top and easily maintained the temperature of the oil though out the entire process without burning. Remove the cod fish balls when nicely browned and put on paper towels to absorb any residual oil. Serve with your favorite tartar sauce or in this instance I used my homemade horseradish tartar sauce. They were delightful treats; creamy inside texture without a fishy taste surrounded by a crunchy exterior.







Sunday, May 15, 2016

Black Bear Diner - Pocatello, Idaho

 Black Bear Diner
190 Bullock Street
Chubbuck, ID 83202
208-904-0702    http://blackbeardiner.com/

The first diner that would become Black Bear dates back about twenty years to California near scenic Mt Shasta. Bruce Dean (aka Sugar Bear) and Bob Manley (aka Papa Bear) began their enterprise with the intent of making good food at reasonable prices. They have apparently done quite well towards that aim. They now have about a dozen units in 6 Western states and are in the process of adding additional units in another two states.
This newly opened family style diner has a lot to offer from is spacious booths and scenic mountain décor to its friendly and very attentive staff.  Entering the restaurant you notice the chain saw-carved black bears. They are the name sake of the diner and represent the forested mountains at the foot of Mt. Shasta where the diner chain was born. The bear carvings are done by Ray Schultz and the bears at each location are posed differently to reflect the uniqueness of the local surroundings. What is your take on the Chubbuck bears?
The menu covers are replicas of a newspaper from 1969, the decade of the founding of Black Bear Diner, featuring the major headline from way back then. The big news of the day was that “The Eagle Has Landed.” Also featured are news item from Chubbuck, “The Chubbuck Days Parade.”  It also gives you something else to read, notably 1969 trivia.  Open it up and you have the menu; it is divided into the three major meal periods, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Each one offers the guest regular size portions but also a lighter selection as well.
For breakfast there are classic egg combos, pancakes, omelets and a breakfast burrito. On a diet? There are four other selections using egg whites.  Fresh squeezed orange juice is offered all day, 16oz for $4.49 and 10oz for $3.49.  Lunch offers burgers with fries served on a platter or you can opt for the more classic approach and have your burger and fries served up in a basket.   You are offered Chicken strips, fish tacos, nine different sandwich combos from Turkey clubs to a hot Turkey sandwich and even a Cubano, a fire roasted pulled pork, ham, Swiss cheese sandwich served up on a soft Tribeca roll.
There are a nice selection of salads featuring a Bacon Cheeseburger salad, an Asian Chicken Cabbage salad and four others to choose from.  Dinner offers “home style” dinners featuring homemade meatloaf, slow cooked pot roast or Dijon crusted salmon along with several steaks and ribs combos.  You can get a Dinner Deal of Chicken and Waffles, a hot Turkey plate or herb crusted Trout. You can add soup or salad for $3.99 and a nice selection of “Extras” including but not limited to onion rings, baked potato and Italian Green Beans or a seasoned vegetable.
Black Bear features Java City coffee, assorted juices, Pepsi products and the usual selection of milk, teas etc.  For dessert they offer you a nice selection of cobblers, cakes and pies along with ice cream shakes and treats.
I had the Old Fashioned Burger for $7.99 (A 1/4 lb. Burger and French fries, served in a basket – just like the good ol’ days!) and my friend had the California Burger with Avocado and Jack cheese for $10.49 (All 1/3 lb. Specialty Bear Burgers are built with a golden brioche bun, shredded lettuce, tomato, diced red onion, dill pickle chips, mayonnaise & Thousand Island dressing.) Each order came with a generous serving of golden French fries. (Bob’s Big Bear Burger and all specialty burgers are served with your choice of side: French fries, house-made potato salad, fresh coleslaw, green salad OR cup of soup. Substitute a Gardenburger upon request.) The burgers were good size with a nice char on the meat, the toppings were fresh and they did not skimp on portion size. You get unlimited drink refills for coffee, teas, soda products but not the fresh squeezed Orange Juice.
Condiments on the table include a selection of the signature hot sauces. Crazy Cuz is a Sriracha Chili Sauce, Baby Burin (perhaps a shortened reference to bruin) is their original Pepper sauce, Mama Burn is a Chipotle Chili Sauce, and Papa Burn is a Habañero Sauce. If you fancy any of the sauces there are available for sale as well as other souvenir merchandise.
During peak lunch or dinner times the noise level can become quite high but not to the point that you need to yell across the table. Please note they will sing and clap to you if it’s your Birthday so if that’s your forte by all means let them know.  Also of note is they do not rush you as other eateries do, we lingered long after our meal was done and at no time did the servers act as if they wanted us to leave, on the other hand they kept refilling our glasses.  I was favorably impressed with the offerings from Black Bear Diner and will be visiting again in the future; it is a nice place to eat and a good addition to our area.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Shrimp Salad or Yummy Salad



I found this 1950’s-era, hand-written recipe for Shrimp Salad in my mother’s recipe box. At first glance I thought a joke of some kind since it included shrimp with chicken soup. I asked my brother if he remembered anything like this and he said, “No.” My curiosity was aroused and after thinking about for a time I did some on-line research. I managed to find a similar recipe that called the salad “Yummy.” I surmised that it was a legitimate recipe and after some consideration I decided to give it a try. I have listed my mother’s version as well as the internet version for comparison.
Mother's Version:
1 can condensed chicken noodle soup
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1  3-ounce package lemon gelatin
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup each chipped green pepper, chopped green onion and chopped pimento
1 4-ounce can shrimp, drained

Internet Version from Cooks.com:
1 can condensed chicken noodle soup
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1  3-ounce package lemon gelatin
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup combined chopped celery, green inion and pimento stuffed green olives
1/2 cup mayonnaise (not salad dressing)
1 4-ounce can shrimp, drained
 
DIRECTIONS: (Yummy specific directions in bold-underline) Heat soup (undiluted) and cream cheese over heat until combined. Dissolve gelatin in boiling water combine mayonnaise in gelatin, stir into soup mixture and cool .Add chopped vegetables and drained shrimp into cooled mixture and pour into 8x8 or 4x4 pan, chill until set.


When warm I could taste the creaminess of the cream cheese blended with the soup and shrimp, it was a harmonious mixture and pleasant to the palette. Once chilled I tried it and was not as impressed, although the mixture is still creamy I don’t care for the texture of chopped celery, onions, peppers adding that crunch and distinctive taste to the bite. Although I did chop them to a small dice perhaps a smaller almost invisible texture would suite my taste better. With an odd noodle here and there you cannot discernibly

find the chicken noodle soup both in appearance and in taste. Upon first bite you find a slight undertone of sweetness from the lemon Jello but it is quickly offset by the crunch and taste of the vegetables and then you come across the shrimp.

These shrimp are the canned salad variety, which are very small and minimal in taste but chewy in texture, taking a random fork full of salad one would not casually spot the shrimp mixed with the chopped vegetables.

When noshing the salad you come across a rather dense mixture of “stuff” which is set apart from the crunchy, creamy salad you think you are eating. The on-line version called for the addition of chopped green olives which in reflection might have been far superior save just the addition of pimentos. The saltiness of the olives would have lightened the sweetness of the gelatin but also add the tang which this salad desperately needs.

Would I try it again with these changes in mind? I really don’t know. First, it is not a cheap salad to make. Secondly, it makes a large pan full, and since it is so rich only a small portion need be taken. So you need either to have a large dinner party or a great liking for this salad to get your money’s worth. I did use a 4-ounce can of shrimp from the pantry to make the salad, extended cost of about $14.75 a pound. If you shop your supermarket seafood section, you usually can find 40-50 shrimp for about $7.00 a pound and the extended price for a 4-ounce purchase would be about $1.75. Planning ahead to make this salad would pay dividends. I think the flavor would be enhanced using fresh shrimp rather than the canned shrimp.

I asked two of my adult children to taste the salad. I didn’t tell them what the ingredients were to help keep an open mind. Here are their first impressions and initial critiques: Frist taster: It tastes good, slightly sweet but I like it, it sort of has a fish taste but can’t make out what type of fish. I would like this on crackers rather than as a salad, but I would eat it again if offered. Second taster: It is really good, perhaps do something about the sweet but otherwise the overall taste is really good. You could use it in a pinwheel roll up or stuffed in celery would also be a nice way to use this salad.

Late Note: In talking long-distance with brother, we have come to the conclusion that we did, in fact, as children, taste this concoction. We are now sure that the green mold salad mother made for festive occasions in a small fish-shaped mold was one-in-the-same as this recipe. For the most part we have no specific recollection save this: Brother asked if the salad had “celery crunch.” He does remember a greenish gelatin dessert or salad that had a pronounced celery crunch that he did not care for. Green gelatin dessert that crunches with celery? This had to be that same salad from sixty plus years ago.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Hot & Spicy Bread and Butter Style Picked Eggs


 
Hot and Spicy
Bread and Butter-Style
Pickled Eggs 



I like to experiment; try and create a taste I think would be pleasing.     
This is a variation on my other pickled eggs recipes for a change of pace.

CONTENTS:
1 to 3  tablespoons of sugar (Depending on taste)*
¼ to 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds*
½ to 1 teaspoon black peppercorns*
½ cup water
1 cup white vinegar
1 small onion, sliced
8 baby carrots sliced lengthwise then sliced again
1 to3 small jalapenos (or 1 Large) seeded*
6 eggs hard boiled and shell removed
DIRECTIONS:
Add sugar, water and vinegar to a stainless or glass pot. Add all vegetables and spices; heat and simmer until sugar is dissolved.
Place eggs into a 1-quart mason jar, add vegetables filling the jar to the very brim. Add the liquid; cap and place in refrigerator for several days for flavor to develop.
To serve: Individually: slice egg in half and place in small dish with accompanying pickled vegetables;
OR place sliced eggs in a small platter, spoon vegetables around sliced eggs, I like to garnish with paprika sprinkled lightly over the eggs and a garnish of fresh parsley, you can also place the eggs and vegetables on top of a fresh bed of spinach.
I like my eggs slightly on the more vinegary and spicy side so I use less sugar and spices, however if you care for the bread and butter pickle taste do use the larger amounts of ingredients as listed.

 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Product Evaluation - So Natural Minute Corn on the Cob



So Natural Minute Corn on the Cob
Contains 2 ears, package net weight 17.64 ounces
Distributed by Transcontinental Foods, Miami Florida, the corn is a product of Thailand

 
 Product evaluation of shrink wrapped corn on the cob. It appears to be cooked corn that has been canned (not in a tin or a glass jar, but in a tough plastic shrink wrap) and has a long shelf life.

The ears approximately 6-inches in length and a good color and texture. When first removed from the wrapping the corn is full of moisture and very plump with a good texture.  Microwave for 2 minutes and the corn is extremely hot and exuding a lot of moisture.  When butter and seasonings are applied the appearance is much that of fresh cooked corn; the taste is very good for such a product, the kernels were plump, and gave way with a burst of juice when bitten.  The taste was sweet and retained that yellow corn flavor; when compared to frozen yellow corn there it is significantly better.  This corn was tender, crisp and juicy. Whereas  its frozen counterpart, would have lost much of its moisture and natural juices; when boiled develop a rubbery or tough texture.

Each package contains two ears of corn. I cooked one of the ears and left the other for a 24 hour period in the refrigerator as a test. I noticed that the second ear had lost a lot amount of its natural juices and the part of the corn touching the plate had flattened; cooking did not plump these flattened kernels and the amount of natural moisture after cooking was less than a newly opened portion.  The taste of the second ear of corn reminded me of reheating an ear of corn previously boiled and left in the refrigerator 3-4 days.  You could still eat it, it tasted of corn but just past it’s time, perhaps removing the corn from the cob and adding it to a soup or stew would have been better.

I would recommend this item for those of you who want a quick ear of corn without the fuss of stripping husks and silk.  It would be perfect for those traveling in motor homes; shelf life is a year or so, requires no refrigeration while unopened and for $1.50 is quite reasonable.  A word of caution; let the ears cool down some before biting into them. Right out of the microwave, they were steaming hot and the hot natural juices could cause severe burns especially to children. If you are a frequent, last minute food preparer and you like corn on the cob, this is a handy product for you. Try it. I think you will like it.

Monday, October 20, 2014

 
Ted Peters Smoked Fish
1350 Pasadena Avenue South

St Petersburg, FL 33707

A landmark since 1951, Ted Peters still packs in newcomers as well as seasoned veterans who are second and third generation customers. Anyone who has been in the area has been drawn in by the aroma of the smokehouse located next door to the restaurant.  You are offered your choice of outdoor seating on picnic tables and benches where sun shades are available to keep the sun at bay; or you can dine inside where air conditioning affords the summer visitors much relief while dining.
The menu features smoked salmon, mahi mahi, mackerel and mullet as the featured entrees; these can be purchased as a lunch with just the fish, or the dinner which is served with coleslaw and German potato salad.  They offer a delicious smoked fish spread in a sandwich or as an appetizer served with saltine crackers. They also offer, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, or hot dogs.  Top your meal off with a bowl of clam chowder and a slice of key lime pie. To quench your thirst you can enjoy beer, wine, sodas or a frosty cold mug of Root Beer with free refills on non alcoholic beverages.
As a first time customer I was offered a sample portion of the coleslaw, German potato salad and the smoked fish spread by our server, Sue.  As coincidence would have it, Sue was acquainted with both my brother and sister in law, but nonetheless her quality service was not only shown to me but to the other tables she was assigned.  She was eager to explain what each fish dish entailed, and as I was served my dinner she also instructed me on how to remove the backbone from my smoked mullet.  Truly our dinner was enhanced by her attentive and courteous service.
I chose the Mullet dinner which came with the coleslaw and German potato salad. Sue told me that my fish portion was larger than usual since it was the time of year they put on weight in preparation for breeding.  Truly my fish portion took up the entire plate and I was eager to try mullet for the first time.  Mullet is a staple fish in Mediterranean cooking. However, I had not heard of it until this trip to Florida.  I was learned that the local fishermen catch an abundance of this fish but that a good portion is frozen for export.
My fish was succulent, fresh and had a nice amount of fat along the backbone, the flesh separated easily from the bones without much effort.  My brother and sister in law are not big fish eaters, so they enjoyed a hamburger and watched me while I devoured every inch of my fish.   The smoking was done to a tee and did not overpower the taste of the fish, it enhanced the flavor.
You can dine in or take out, they are open Wednesday –Monday 10:30-7:30pm, and closed on Tuesdays, prices are modest ranging from $5.59-$20.99.  Ted Peters was featured on an episode of Diners, Drive Ins and Dives a testament to the popularity of this diner.   If you find yourself in St. Petersburg, follow your nose and get ready for a real treat. Remember, cash only, no credit cards accepted.







Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hurricane Seafood Restaurant

Hurricane Seafood Restaurant

809 Gulf Way   

Pass a Grille, St Petersburg Florida


 I had the good fortune to visit this Iconic establishment while visiting relatives in Florida.  My sister in law told me of how, when she was a teenager, this was a favorite destination for the young crowd; it has changed much over the years but has never lost its appeal.
From a single story building serving the beach crowd; then a second story to allow for the beach crowd and casual evening dining. Later a unique third story was added which allowed for upscale fine dining adventure and a view of the Gulf.  The main floor serving breakfast, lunch and light dinner fare, is laid back with uncarpeted floors, square tables with captain’s type chairs and the area is open and airy.  You can choose to dine al fresco while watching the beach crowd across the street. 

And speaking of streets; parking will be a chore especially during the peak season, parking slots are metered, but to make life simpler for their patrons, The Hurricane does offer parking directly behind the building at $20.00 per vehicle; don’t faint, you pay $20.00 to the attendant and he in turn hands you a parking slip which you give to your server.  At the end of your meal you are handed back a $20.00 bill or you can elect to have that amount removed from your final bill.  A unique way to keep room for their actual customers.
The Hurricane features a full breakfast menu from 7am-10:50am; including 8 types of bread, 12 sides including such items as diced green peppers, sliced mushrooms, grits (remember you are in the south) and the usual sides some of which are  fries, bacon or sausage etc.  They offer omeletts (their spelling), a two egg sandwich, a quesadilla with sautéed onions, green peppers and your choice of meat, eggs Benedict or maple brown sugar oatmeal just to name a few.

Lunch offers you the full range of items, including appetizers such as “gator bites” tender pieces of lightly sautéed 100% Bayou Alligator; Conch fritters, Grouper nuggets and even fresh Ahi Sashimi.  Salads and soups including the classic Shrimp Caesar or Blackened Salmon to several soup and sandwich combos you can pair with Clam or Conch chowder. Sandwiches include such items as a Crab melt, Grouper sandwich, a grilled portabella mushroom melt or the Hurricane Burger an 8 oz patty grilled on an open flame and served on a corn dusted Kaiser bun.
Sandwiches include your choice of French Fries or coleslaw; I chose the new menu item of Grouper Taco’s( two tacos for $8.99), my sister in law chose the triple decker BLT  for $8.25 and my brother decided on the lunch special, a deep fried Tilapia fillet with fries. Lightly breaded and fried in Rice Bran Oil it was golden brown, moist and very tasty. For a lunch special the portion was large enough for a hearty appetite.  My Grouper tacos were delicious; the fish was fried to perfection and not crusted with heavy batter which allowed you to taste the fish. The Taco’s are served up on soft shells with lettuce, cilantro, tomato and a blend of cheese and a wedge of lime.  I got the coleslaw which was nicely dressed not sweet and not vinegary, to borrow cliché “Just Right”.

My sister in law’s BLT was huge not just because it was a triple decker but because of the amount of thickly sliced bacon on the sandwich.  Crisp lettuce and succulent tomato’s, thinly sliced red onions and per her choice served on Cuban bread, other choices included wheat, rye or Texas toast. She got French Fries which are made from whole potatoes with skin, medium cut and they arrived hot and crispy and lightly seasoned.

The Hurricane offers a wide range of Entrees and Surf and Turf selections along with scrumptious desserts such as Key Lime Pie, Sea Salt Carmel Cheesecake just to name a few.  Of course if you are not into fish they do offer the Land Lovers section which includes steak and chicken.  They have the Twin Roof Top Bar and happy hour is Monday-Friday noon to 6pm.  They boast the Zing Zang Ultimate Bloody Mary which is served with Greek Pepperoncini, pickled crispy beans, marinated green asparagus, olives, lemon and lime slices and a celery stalk.  The glass in rimmed with the Hurricane Steak spice and they boast it is the ultimate salad in a glass.
Souvenir glasses, t-shirts, hats and key chains are just some of the take home keep sakes offered for sale, they serve one to a crowd and also host special events.  Special occasions from Weddings to kids Birthday parties are welcome.  Check out their website at www.thehurricane.com or call them at 727-360-9558, prices range from $3.00 to $30.00 depending on current market value and gift cards are available on line.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

OEC Japanese Exprress


O.E.C. Japanese Express
2438 66th Street North
St. Petersburg, FL 33710

OEC Japanese Express is a moderate size establishment located in a shopping plaza located on a very busy corner; difficult to get to. The returning customers attest to it being worth the effort. OEC Japanese Express is exactly what you would expect from a Japanese eatery.  Polished chrome and glass cover the day’s fresh fish ready to be sliced and served in your favorite roll or sashimi.  Immaculate countertops afford the guest to sit in front of the cabinet and watch their order being made or you can sit at a booth or tables.  A few additional tables are available out-of-doors, under the shade of ancient oaks should one desire al fresco dining.
The staff is friendly and attentive and keeps a watchful eye just in case you want something, they don’t overdo it though, so you can dine without interruption.  The menu is quite extensive and offers a wide variety of rolls, sashimi, soup, yakimesi (fried rice or noodles), tempura, appetizers and much more.  Daily lunch specials are available for $6.99 and include a bowl of miso soup or house salad.   They also offer hibachi meals for both lunch and dinner or you could try a bento box; all excellent choices.
I decided to try the Sushi Lunch Special. You get to choose two maikzushi rolls from a selection of over 30 different rolls. A soup or salad is included. I chose the avocado roll and the California roll and miso soup.  My brother opted to get the vegetable tempura also $6.99, this usually comes with white rice but he chose to have fried rice in its place.  My soup was delicious. It included several nice size pieces of tofu, along with a generous helping of seaweed and thinly sliced scallions in a very flavorful broth.  My rolls were expertly rolled and the ingredients fresh and tasty.  The avocado roll was nori side out and the California roll was rice side out with the nori wrapped around the crab and avocado; it was topped with masago, capelin roe.  Wasabi and pickled ginger accompanied the plate and the size was adequate to satisfy my hunger.
The Tempura vegetable platter was delicately battered and nicely golden brown and served with two dipping sauces; one sweet and sour and the other similar to a creamy salad dressing. Both were very flavorful. There was a nice assortment of broccoli, sweet potato and squash in the dish.  The fried rice was alright, nothing special, but ordered out of curiosity to what it was like. 
The offer the usual soft drinks, hot or cold tea and serve beer, wine and sake, they do offer for those of us who are really watching their waistline a “healthy food” choice menu featuring steamed Chicken, Shrimp and vegetables dishes. You can dine in or take out and they do deliver if you live within their delivery area, delivery is free but there is a $15.00 minimum order requirement.  Open Sunday-Thursday 10:30am-9:30pm and Friday and Saturday 10:30am-10:30pm, give them a try I am sure you will be pleased.