Monday, February 28, 2011

Bistro 109--Sevierville

We found a Sevierville Gem!  

A great lunch and beautiful interior design...
..and that is important to me.  I love comfortable surroundings.  

When I first read about Bistro 109 last year in our local paper, I knew this was a place I really wanted to try.  The traveling distance is out of my usual lunch haunts, but having to make a special trip to Sevierville confirmed that we were going to dine today.    And I sure am glad that we did.  

I made my reservation with OPEN TABLE RESERVATIONS service that is available on line.   I really like this service and suggest you try it soon.  The booking service is free and you get an immediate confirmation number when you book.  I like the service and hope to see more restaurateurs participate in the reservation system.  

Lunch begins at 11AM and we arrived just as they were opening.  Our server immediately greeted us and took our drink order and delivered fresh rolls with a pesto dip.  It was tasty but I did sprinkle a little salt on the dip.  

Lots of interesting things to choose...but nothing too fancy...just good choices to suit any palette.   The Chicken Salad on English Muffin at $8 featured slow roasted chicken with celery, grapes, fresh herbs, pecans and red onion with a light lemon mayo.   I though the Salad was a little on the dry side and would have enjoyed a little more mayo to bind all.  The plate was finished with very good sweet potato fries and a beautiful fruit garnish.   

Chicken Salad Plate with Fruit
Miss Susan ordered the Fish and Chips at $7.  A nice battered portion of deep fried Alaskan Pollock and also served with sweet potato fries and a tangy tartar sauce. 

Alaskan Deep Fried Pollock and Chips

Bistro 109 features a variety of beers, but the Sevierville County liquor laws are antiquated to say the least.   But you are free to bring in your favorite bottle of wine or liquor and mixes.   Lunch served 11-3PM and Dinner hour begins at 5PM.   The Fabulous Saturday and Sunday Brunch Hours run 11 until 2PM.  Nice choices for a comfortable brunch.  

Bistro 109 on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Columbia Restaurant--St. Petersburg

I have wanted to dine in The Columbia Restaurant for years and this trip I got my wish.   Now I regret that we haven't been here before.   What a treat and there is a reason this glorious restaurant is celebrating their One Hundred Year Anniversary.   Everything was wonderful, fresh and attention to detail is their speciality.  

The Colombia Restaurant is located at the Pier in St. Petersburg in addition to their 
seven additional locations about the State of Florida.     

We arrived about seven and had a short wait for our table.   We didn't call for reservations but they probably would have been required on the weekend.  Our Server, quickly appeared along with his serving staff to help with our dining.  Immediately, cocktails were served and the "signature" bread plate appeared.   Beautiful, freshly made Cuban crisp on the outside and tender interior.

While our cocktails were being delivered our appetizer quickly appeared.   A nice combination of crab and artichoke dip with what appeared to be hand crafted crackers.   Light and crispy...just perfect with the bubbly dip.  

On to our entree choices....the Chef's Special was a Shrimp/Scallop creation in a Tomato Creme sauce accompanied with yellow rice and vegetables.   We also enjoyed Shrimp Supreme, Columbia Restaurant creation of jumbo shrimp is wrapped in wafer thin bacon, marinated and fried. Served with fresh vegetables and yellow rice or potatoes.  My choice for the evening was Shrimp Criollo,  large white shrimp sautéed in a hot skillet with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, green peppers, tomatoes, platanos, potatoes, spicy Spanish paprika and splashed with Martini & Rossi Dry Vermouth. Served with white rice. 

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

Shrimp & Scallops in Tomato Cream Sauce

Shrimp Criollo
No desserts tonight...but the Dessert Cart looked tempting.  That will have to wait until next visit...since there were six additional entrees I would love to try, including their Cuban Pork!!  I know my table will be waiting!  

Columbia Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hurricane Restaurant--St. Pete Beach

A charming hostess greeted our party of four and immediately sat us at a small four top.  It would have been crowded for two, but we were next to the window and a very accommodating window ledge accepted our personal belongings. 

Without concern for speed, our server approached and asked for our drink order.  We placed our order and requested water for all.  Immediately, he returned with our waters.     And we waited for our drink order.   It didn’t arrive in a timely manner, so we continued to wait.   And then the loud crash was heard out of our view.   Time passed and he finely returned to our table to inform us that “noise” was our drink order.   So we waited while a threesome was seated immediately next to us.  Their orders were promptly delivered….then their food and we were still waiting for our drink order.    The drink order finally arrived after another lengthy wait.   If this would have been my call, The Hurricane would have at least offered complimentary drink service since we didn’t appear to be that important to the whole scheme of things.  If my tray of drinks had been spilled, the restaurant would have stopped until the drinks where refilled. 

Finally the drinks arrived and the orders were taken.  Meanwhile, the three top finished their food and requested their bill.  They promptly paid and left the restaurant.  So much for lackluster service….one count against this tourist trap. 

The Hurricane claims to be world famous for their grouper.  OK….I am ready for a grouper whatever.  We ordered a small grouper sandwich, a large grouper sandwich, (MKT price, but I didn’t inquire), a crab melt sandwich stacked on a slice of Cuban bread.   Our food did arrive hot and freshly prepared.   The French fries were good, Cole slaw chilled and crisp, and the cup of seafood tomato based soup was good. 

Then the shock arrived.   We received our bill to find out that margarita drink specials were 10 dollars each for an ordinary pre-made cocktail.  Even more shocking was the large grouper sandwich and the price tag was twenty bucks…….for a damn sandwich!!   I was absolutely shocked at the price.    OK…I learned my expensive lesson about not asking the price before ordering.    The total tab came close to 100 bucks for lunch…quite excessive for an average sandwich and fries.     Guess next time I will bypass the “tourist hype” and choose lunch based on what the locals prefer. 

Cup of Seafood Bisque--Six Bucks 
Grilled Grouper Sandwich at $17 bucks 
The Crab Melt
The Twenty Dollar Sandwich....too pricey for my tastes.  Where's the fish???

Hurricane Seafood on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Soccer Taco--Knoxville

Time for a late lunch at Soccer Taco!   Didn't get there until 230P, but we were still in time for the 11-3PM Lunch Specials. Good deals and amazing how busy the place was.  

Started with the chips and salsa.   Chips a little stale and the salsa was very mild.  Actually, I found all the food  acceptable but VERY light on flavorful seasonings.  The kitchen needs to "spark" it up a bit.    

Our first selection...Home Run Fajitas for  6.50  Tender sliced steak or chicken with mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers. Served with rice, refried beans, guacamole salad, pico de gallo, sour cream and flour tortillas.  I chose the Favorite Burrito - 5.50  One burrito with carnitas (pork), topped with cheese sauce and green tomatillo sauce, served with refried beans.   Frankly, I surprised about the quantity of food served for only one dollar more on the Fajita special.    If you are really hungry...go for the Fajita special!  

Great comfortable bar area 
and lots of TV screens located everywhere 

Favorite Burrito 

Chicken Fajita Lunch Special

Fajita Platter included with Grilled Fajita Chicken 

All in all, the food was a good deal.  But next time I will keep the Cholula bottle close by..I know I will be needing it.

Soccer Taco on Urbanspoon