Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Midtown Sundries
200 1st Ave. South
St.Petersburg, FL

This week’s adventure was Midtown Sundries.

To be fair, I was somewhat sick, pissed off at Ben because he had just informed me he was underdressed and didn’t want to go to the art show I had been looking forward to, and we got to Midtown Sundries right as they started serving their “late night” menu. Their regular menu could be full of glee and taste bud tickling wonderment, but alas, we shall never know. So in all fairness, the regular menu might be better than what I experienced that night.

Oh, and Ben gave me the impression it was a new place that had just opened and was way swanky, so when we parked in the parking garage and I saw it was yet again another sports bar I wanted to hurl, on him in particular. I’m starting to think that whenever Ben picks a place to eat, he picks a bar on purpose because he knows how much I hate them and how uncomfortable I am around drunk people. Or perhaps, even worse, he likes sport bars because he is secretly trying to let his inner NASCAR fan out.

We get this single paged, laminated menu of sorts, with appetizers all priced at 7 or more dollars. Ben and I look at each other and quickly conclude that there is no way in hell we are hungry enough to pay that much (which was just as much or more than any entrees) for mozzarella sticks or cheese fries. I don’t even care if the portions were for a family of 6, that’s pretty whack.

So, there isn’t a lot on this menu and with my stomachache/headache/violent feeling of female rage I'm not too thrilled. I hate soup with a passion, so I had to get a sandwich. I got the Turkey and Provolone($7.45) and Ben got the Club Sandwich($7.95).

Here’s a fun fact: Ben, although eating the sandwich, had no idea that his club had ham on it. In fact, I don’t think he had any idea that ham typically comes on a club, which is sort of weird.

Speaking of weird things that Ben does (which is quite often) he started to stare at the condiment rack on the table, his eyes lit up, and a look of dumbstruck wonderment came over him. He looked like he just saw a female for the first time, and then he got all excited and grabbed the ketchup bottle.

Thus started Ben's Rant of the Week (when a quote just won't do!)

I stared quizzically at him, trying to guess why this particular bottle of ketchup excited him so, and then he proceeded to tell me how the Heinz company is an evil empire of tomatoes and hate, and he loves it when restaurants buck the corporate trend and purchase little known, independent ketchup.

I thought he was kidding, I really did, until he held the bottle close to him and started to whisper into its lid about how he wanted to spend a romantic summer in Paris with it(or maybe I just made him pose with it).

So, I was being a bit picky and finicky when it came to my sandwich, and it sort of reminded me of the sandwiches they served in high school in the cafeteria. It was plain, but the turkey wasn’t scary like a lot of lunch meat turkey is to me. I like provolone, so that was a plus, but the hoagie thing they served it on was pretty dry. Where’s the mayo people?

Ben thought the same thing about his sandwich. It was pretty basic, and it was dry with no mayo. He liked the ‘crunch’ of the bacon though, whatever that means.

Oh, but the fries more than made up for it. They were pretty damn tasty. They didn’t taste like the normal dry sticks of potato mush that are thrown on a plate as filler. It was probably because they were a bit thinner and fried a bit more, and I think there was a dash of salt on them as well. Probably not good for you at all, oh but it made my taste buds sing! If you can get a French fry to taste like a potato chip, we can hang.

So I picked at my sandwich and ate some of my fries, and debated on whether or not I wanted to bother paying 4.95 for dessert. I mean, after 8 bucks on a sandwich I was pretty let down and ready to go, but then I saw the phrase “Valentino's World Famous Cheesecake”($4.95) and I had to see what was so amazing about this stuff.

So, I got the cheesecake and It was more than just world famous. I’m pretty sure God even knows about it. If he doesn’t, someone should call him or something and give him the head up (maybe Joan Osborne can give him a slice the next time she sees him on the bus trying to ‘make his way home’).

Creamy,thick, and slathered in chocolate syrup, my dessert towered above the rest of the meal, and raised my spirits substantially. It was a pleasant, delicious surprise and worth trying for sure.

Ben was less than thrilled with his flat piece of Apple Pie($4.95). It was the same price, but nothing to write home about at all.

All in all, the place wasn’t so bad. The server kept our glasses filled, and it only took 8 minutes to get our meals, and 4 minutes for the dessert.

Lets look at our totals, shall we!

Ben’s Bill

Raspberry Tea- $1.95
Club sandwhich- $7.95
Apple Pie- $4.95
TOTAL $15.89

Cindy’s Bill
Soda- $1.95
Turkey and Provolone- $7.45
Cheesecake- $4.95
TOTAL $15.36

Looks like we made it under 20 bucks! However, those crazy priced appetizers would have put us over for sure. As for a rating, Ben and I were torn again, so this place ends up getting 2 1/2 forks.

Unfortunately Ben doesn't have much of a gripe because he was so overwhelmed with all of the sports on the televisions, but he did have an interesting observation on the tea he ordered, so I took a video!
Take a look. Ben talks tea!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Fourth Street Shrimp Store
1006 4th Street
St. Petersburg, FL

It’s finally here. After months of talking about it, and meaning to do it, Ben and I finally post our first blog about a genuine Tampa Bay dining experience! (Please, please, don't act so excited! You're making me blush.)

As a disclaimer, most of these reviews will be places in Pinellas County, and most of those somewhere around St. Petersburg, where we frequently are anyhow on the weekend. Also, this is just our opinions, and we by no means are experts.

I also want to point out to anyone who may get offended by the name of the blog that we are in fact one Jewish young man, and a somewhat chubby (but still yet attractive) female, so we aren't mocking anyone but ourselves.
So, this week’s adventure was the Fourth Street Shrimp Store!

A little fun history on the place: Originally it was a mechanic’s shop in the 1920’s, and then later a Laundromat, and finally it was turned into the Shrimp store.

If you stand in the parking lot, you can see where the original building was, and where they built the add on in 1997, which includes a patio that over looks Fourth Street (which is where we ate). Ben didn't like eating right in front of 4th Street, but I think it was nice outside. He probably just didn't like the teenage 'hodlums' that were across the street.

The first thing we had was Smoked Fish Spread($5.49). To say the least, it was interesting.

I’m not a fan of canned tuna or minced any-type-o-meat salad, but I was surprised when I tried a spoonful of this and liked it. It wasn't too fishy, and it tasted pretty good on crackers.

Ben however, is a fan of minced-fish-meat type stuff and didn’t like it too well because it was flavored too mildly for him. I suspect he didn’t hate it too much though, because he ate about half of it any how.

We also ordered a side of the Florida Crab Croquettes($2.99). They weren’t any amazing culinary delight, but they were …well, crab cakes.

Ben seemed to really think they were something special, and he said they were better than most any crab cake he has ever had.

I thought they were plenty big, but wasn't too taken with them. They tasted alright, and they were something nice to munch on to pass the time.

For dinner, although I happened to be at a ‘shrimp store’ I was torn between salmon or the scallops (And the Fried Scallop Dinner $10.99 won out) so Ben was left to sample the stores name sake.

First of all, the portions on both of our plates were huge, and neither of us could possible finish our meals.

I think the best quote of the night had to go to Ben when he said, “My shrimp are so lightly breaded, it’s like they’re getting naked in my mouth!”

(or maybe it wasn’t so much what he said, but the bizarre look of glee on his face when he said it that cracked me up the most. Apparently, he has some sort of fetish for naked crustaceans in his mouth).

At first I was a little put off by the breading myself. It had no flavor, and it did indeed fall right off of the scallop right when I bit into it. Ah, the joys of naked sea life dancing on your tongue!

The beauty of this however was that I was actually able to taste the scallop, and it didn’t even taste like it was fried! I couldn’t detect any oil what so ever, and that was pretty remarkable. I don't know if that was on purpose, or they just have an unusual system for frying their food, but once I got past being prude about naked scallops I too had a look of glee on my face.

The rice wasn’t anything fancy, the new potatoes I ordered where really tasty and I was totally glad I got those instead of the run of the mill fries that Ben got on his platter.

But a night isn’t complete until Ben finds something to gripe about, so I plan to make it a weekly tradition of posting some of Ben’s more humorous gripes. Here we go!

Ben’s Gripe of the week: My gripe for the night was the abuse of paprika.

Coleslaw is not hard to get right and they had it right to begin with, but they had to throw paprika on it like nothing could leave the kitchen without a liberal sprinkling of that zesty orange stuff!

So, despite being somewhat full, he and I decided to be “thorough” in our investigation of the place, and we ordered desert. Ben was overjoyed when he saw that they had White Chocolate Bread Pudding($6.49) and I ordered the Key Lime Pie ($4.99). Not because I like it mind you, but because it was the only other desert on the menu, and I take being thorough seriously, even to my taste buds' detriment.

So for key lime pie, it was key-limeyish, and for some people that is apparently a good thing. Nothing too fancy, it tasted like it was supposed to, but for 5 bucks I was hoping it tasted like some sort of miracle was being performed in my mouth.

I personally don’t get the whole concept of bread pudding, which mixes two seemingly very different substances and textures into one harmonious desert(perhaps that's a desert miracle in and of itself!). One is gelatinous and almost liquid, the other solid, like, oh…let’s say bread. Somehow, they get them to coalesce in some sort of desert like mess that some people enjoy.

Ben, is one of those people.

He opted to eat his with out the buttery whiskey sauce that came with it, but I personally found that the whiskey sauce made it much more enjoyable (but that could be because it was covering up the bread pudding taste). Ben assured me though as far as bread pudding goes, it was pretty top shelf stuff (if people stored Bread pudding on shelves).

Once again, the portions were huge, and we both couldn’t finish it (but for the respective prices, I was hoping to get almost a whole pie or something!)

Ben’s Gripe, Part Deux (when one gripe just won’t do!): Dessert should not cost as much as a meal(some of the seafood platters where $6.99). If you're going to charge such a high price, call it a sweet entree !

So, to the totals! Did we make our goal of under twenty dollars? Let’s see!

Ben’s Bill
Soda- 1.99
Smoked Fish Spread- 5.49
Fried Shrimp Dinner- 8.99
Bread Pudding- 6.49

TOTAL 24.56

Cindy’s Bill
Soda- 1.99
Crab Croquettes- 2.99
Fried Scallop Dinner- 10.99
Key Lime Pie - 4.99

TOTAL 22.43

Sorry, you loossssseee!!! Wonk, wonk, wonk....

I suppose if we skipped on those mongoloid deserts or skimped on the soda, we would have made it under twenty, but what meal is any fun with out a soda?

So, instead of fancy little 'stars' or thumbs up, we will be doing something oh, so original: forks. I'm probably going to make a neat graffic later, but for right now, I'm just going to tell you how many we gave it. 2 1/2 out of 5.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Welcome to the fun!

Welcome to the newest and most funnest ( I know that isn't a word) blog on the web!

Our mission is Simple. Each week Ben and I will raid a local eating venue, order something delicious for under 20 dollars (hopefully!) and give you all the tasty details!

If you have any requests, don't be shy, leave us a comment !