Sunday, July 31, 2016

Let's Booze Up Those Melons

I am a fan of the Cooking Channel, both on TV and the Internet. Recently the Cooking Channel on-line had an article entitled Booze Up Your Watermelon. One of the recipes truly piqued my interest: Petite Watermelon. Click on the link to get the recipe. I don't have permission to re-post it, so you will have to do the deed yourself.

The on-line recipe called for strawberry gelatin and frozen or fresh strawberries. While at the grocery picking up supplies for this recipe I discovered that Jell-O has a watermelon gelatin, and the store has pre-cut watermelon. Well, says I to myself, since this is a watermelon recipe, why not use watermelon instead of strawberries? So that is what I did and those were the only modifications to the Cooking Channel recipe. Oh yeah, forget that "or vodka" crap. Use vodka!

I photo-documented the process. Pull up the recipe and sing along.

Skim the foam from the gelatin and eat it. It is tasty.

Scoop out the limes, fill them and stick'em in the fridge.

Halve the limes and decorate.

After filling the limes, I had about a cup of the gelatin mixture left-over and I ate it. I also got a dandy Russian Standard vodka buzz from that jello. If you have unruly kids, feed that gelatin to them. It'll calm them right down.

Nazdarovya (to your health), y'all.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Texas Roadhouse: Three Down, 417 To Go

The Belle of Gulf Boulevard and I have dined at two Texas Roadhouse steak shops in the past, the one in Lima, Ohio and another at Palm Bay, Florida. Feeling the need for a juicy steak last night and not being in the mood to cook, I suggested that we try the Roadhouse over near the VA hospital. So we did!

My bride and I hopped into our buggy, asked Siri for directions, and boogied over to 10105 Bay Pines Boulevard. I know that Texas Roadhouse is a chain, but it never ceases to amaze me that every store we have been to so far looks just like the last one to which we went, or to which we have gone.  I hate ending a sentence with a preposition, so indulge me. Even the graffiti in the men's room is the same: "For a good time, call Bambi at ---." And no, twern't me what writ that there.

We wandered in a bit before five and got seated almost immediately. Any later and we would have been up to our heinies with hungry diners clamoring for an empty table, booth, or bar stool. Ashley was our pleasant and efficient server who took our drink orders. We eschewed the offer of Coke products and instead chose a house Chardonnay for my bride and a Stella draft for me.

Whilst awaiting our entrees I pondered the two buckets on our table. One was filled with roasted peanuts and the other was empty. "Wassup wid dat?" I queried my dining partner. Said she, "It's for the empty shells." Well, hot damn, it seems one can no longer just toss ones shells on the floor like in the good ole days. And that, dear readers, is the only negative I experienced during this visit.

Our entrees at Texas Roadhouse have always been consistent and good and last night was no exception. The Belle ordered the Road Kill; a chopped steak smothered in onions and jack cheese, and hold the mushrooms, please. Her Road Kill came with two sides, a loaded baked tater and buttered corn. Dee-licious!

I said I came for steak and steak is what I got - a mighty slab of bovine goodness: the 20 ounce Bone-in Ribeye, tender, juicy, packed with flavor and it didn't cost 35 to 40 dollars. Actually, it was a skosh under 25 bucks. A heck of a bargain in my opinion.

You can keep your high-end steak houses, which I have found to be somewhat inconsistent here in the Tampa Bay area. To be sure, there are some really good ones, but chains like the Texas Roadhouse and Longhorn serve some great steaks at budget conscious prices. Our total last night for several adult beverages and our entrees: $67.89 plus 20% for Ashley.

Yippee ki-yay, y'all.

Texas Roadhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Don't Need No Bus - I've Gotta Car

Dear readers, we pause our gastronomic journey for a few moments to share with you a different and exciting adventure we recently discovered:

The Belle of Gulf Boulevard and I were lounging in bed this morning with freshly ground and brewed coffee and our copy of the Tampa Bay Times.

A news story piqued our interest. There was a recent Bastille Day celebration commemorating the beginning of the French Revolution with the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789, and the unity of the French people at the Fête de la Fédération on 14 July 1790.

This local event, that also honored local WWII veterans, took place at the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum. My bride and I looked at one another and queried, "Automobile museum?" Neither of us realized Tampa Bay had one of those.

After rousting our booties from our comfy nest of love, we Googled the museum. Sure enough, there it was at 3301 Gateway Centre Boulevard in Pinellas Park. We had to go - so we went, and the museum is a Tampa Bay treasure.

I know nothing about cars beyond the sound system, but this was a thoroughly fascinating and educational (in a good way) experience. Most of the vehicles are from Europe. Many of these ancient vehicles were way ahead of their time with features that have eventually been incorporated in our 'modern' buggies.

I took a few pictures that in no way take the place of a visit to this museum.

After touring this facility, we motored over to the Seabreeze Island Grill for appetizers and adult beverages.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Ahoy There Captain Bill

After a full day of gallivanting about in Pinellas County, I wasn't much in the mood for cooking dinner last night. So what are starving beach babies to do? Well, it wasn't going to be me in the kitchen so I suggested that we hit somebody else's kitchen. "How about Captain Bill's Beach Kitchen?" I queried.

My bride and I had just recently heard about Captain Bill's place on Treasure Island and now seemed a good time to pay the captain a visit. We wandered in around five-ish and were immediately greeted and seated. Paula was our charming and delightful server who presented menus and took our drink orders. Captain Bill serves beer and wine, and they have a full liquor bar.

To begin our dining adventure I had ... I say had ... to have a dozen Char-grilled Oysters. Those delectable gifts from the sea were presented screamingly hot. Paula reminded me about screaming hot. I trusted her and did not grab a shell to prove her wrong.

Those oysters were as good if not better than the char-grilled beauties I had at Felix's Oyster Bar in New Orleans a couple of years ago.

After the oysters, my bride and I chose our entrees. The Belle of Gulf Boulevard, an accomplished seafood aficionado, decided on the Grilled Grouper Dinner with two sides.

Said she, "That was about the best grouper I can remember." This fish dish was described as juicy, flavorful and flaky without being cooked to death.

One of my favorite crab dishes is bairdi crab, a species often marketed under the name "snow crab." Captain Bill has a 1.5 pound Char-grilled Bairdi Crab Dinner that must have been added to the menu just in case I wandered by.

The crab meat was succulent and packed with flavor. A few of the tips were a bit overdone, but overall this was a very pleasing bairdi presentation.

As we were finishing our meal we noticed what appeared to be live music coming from another section of the restaurant. We settled our bill with Paula - all food and drink a very reasonable $80.63 plus a well deserved 20% gratuity.

Rather than head for the door, we found the source of the music and an empty table near the bandstand. We plopped our happy selves down and enjoyed an hour or so of the Tuesday night open mike. There were some really talented musicians and if we didn't have to drive back to our stately pleasure dome by the sea we would have made a night of it at Captain Bill's Beach Kitchen.

Captain Bill's Beach Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato