Monday, May 2, 2011
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Vinoy Resort, 501 5th Ave., St. Petersburg, FL. 727- 894-1000
Meet to hear the beat written by Guest SK
Fourth in the current Jazz at the Vinoy series and Rick picks a winner! Multi-talented Valerie Gillespie and her group, with guest trumpet player John DePaola, wowed the crowd. Billed as a night with Dizzy and Charley Parker, they played signature songs from both jazz geniuses, starting the first set with Cotton Tail and moving seamlessly into Ornithology. Amazingly, Valerie manages to both blow a mean horn and educate the ear: reminding us at one point to listen for chord changes, and giving us a lesson in counter melodies, as she and John each played a separate number together, asking us to listen for the common chords in both. They played old favorites, like Billy’s Bounce as if they had been working together for a life time. Joining them in the quartet were two seasoned players, Dave Randolf on drums, and Rick Steuart on keyboard. Rick took some solo riffs and really jammed.
At the start of the second set, Valerie showcased her other instrument, a wonderful voice, as she did a slow, sensual Round about Midnight. Rick Gee joined the group on flute with a subtle rendition of “Coming Home,” accompanied by great horn backups. Pushing her talent and synchronicity with John on trumpet, Valerie “scatted” a la Ella Fitzgerald to How High the Moon, while John blew an upbeat Ornithology. A+ to all for a great evening! Keep watch for the next Jazz Jamm at the Vinoy, with groups like the Jazz Juvenocracy scheduled in coming months. Signing off and flying off to northern climes, SK.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
I hadn't been to E & E Stakeout Grill for dinner until last night, but have alway loved lunches there. It is a bit of an extravagence for lunch. The dinner menu is slimmer, but the fare is still quite good. I took some out of town friends there last night in an effort to procure some decent seafood for them without the traffic and chaos of the beach in Springtime. The lure of seafood had me for a moment and there were many fine choices however, it was the steak special that drew me in. I usually like to try the chef's special and Chef Erwin's choices didn't disappoint. Filet mignon medallions perfectly cooked and topped with roasted tomato and Bernaise sauce, what's not to love? I chose to double the veggies and forgo the potato. All was delicious but slightly tepid. I blame that on our outdoor seating, surely a trek from the kitchen. Also, my friend ordered something off the menu, almond crusted grouper which the chef was happy to make. My friend was pleased, in fact he said he loved it, so it was worth asking for something special. My other comrade had a decent steak, but I don't think he'll write home about it on postcards of Florida. E & E Stakeout offers a full bar and the crowd takes their mixed drinks seriously. This affluent area among the "Belleairs" has a dearth of restaurants, so the joint was jumping. The owners have a hand in great dining experiences around the county including, Guppy's on the Beach in Indian Rocks Beach and Mystic Fish in Palm Harbor. Under $20 for lunch, dinner under $30, and a 15% gratuity is added for you.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Monday, February 28, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
The Ringside Cafe serves up an electric mix of Blues, delicious food and libations from a full bar. I was there on a Thursday night about 9:00 o'clock and found the band tuning up and the place packed. The atmosphere is comfortable, a little clausterphobic but not in a bad way. This may have been how the fans of The Beatles felt at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. Well, that may be overstating things, but if you keep your ear to the ground, you may uncover some new talent. We ordered an array of bar food that pleased everyone at our big table. No surprises here, just a fun place to hang out and enjoy top notch music. The food is under $10 and there are drink specials nightly.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Tel: (727) 894-2874
The warmth of this small establishment drew my friend and I in on a rainy night recently. The Burg Bar and Grill is known for its "Cheers"esque atmosphere and juicy burgers, it is bound to become one of your favorites. The menu offers not only burgers, but cheese steaks, and Greek specialties including soups, salads and spinach pies. A good selection of craft brews and less routine wines. The crew that started this place originated at the Hangar Restaurant (reviewed here) and brought to it a healthy dose of attentive customer service. Not that I struck up a conversation with anyone, but the atmosphere made you feel like you were a part of something. I had the Angus burger which was juicy and well seasoned. It was served with homemade potato chips. I felt happy and satisfied when I left there, sure to return. Prices range from $3.50 - $7.99
Hours: Daily 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Monday, January 31, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Located in the Largo Public Library, this satellite site of R.G.'s Restaurant of Clearwater is a great little spot for a snack, breakfast, lunch or early dinner. If you have a county cooperative library card, you can pick up a book or dvd and get a cup of coffee and a scone. The breakfast choices include pancakes and waffles, breakfast sandwiches and bisquit and gravy. At lunch, they bring in a "hot" special that varies from meatloaf to stuffed peppers and includes one side and a salad, all for $6.95. It's a great deal. R.G.'s offers soups and salads too, I had both and they were fresh and tasty. Recently renovated, this cafe is a cozy spot to sit and read or meet a friend. The coffee is good and the atmosphere is very friendly.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
340 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg, FL
Gatsby's is part of the Historic Grayl Hotel which is reminiscent of the boutique hotels I stayed in during my travels in Europe. It was built in 1922 and a quick trip inside (we chose to sit outside on this lovely afternoon) takes you on a little time travel excursion. The bar looks like a great place to hang, advertising several trendy drinks I want to try. The lunch menu is comprised of sandwiches, salads, soups and pizza. I labored over the menu, which is plain site of anyone driving by, ending up with the pulled pork wrap (wet.) This good and plenty sandwich was stuffed with well seasoned meat and slaw, peppered with caribbean flavors and kidney beans. I enjoyed the macaroni salad, but not the potato salad that accompanied it. There was plenty of food for a noon meal. The prices were normal for this stretch of Beach Drive, appetizers start at $5.95 and entrees from $7.95. Dinner offers steaks and seafood, as well as pastas and classic American dishes, such as meatloaf, with a new twist. Dinner prices range from $8.95 to $29.95. The wait staff is among the friendliest in downtown and is one of the reasons I wanted to stop in. Someone always greets me as I walk by the hostess station. Make no mistake about it, the owners of this unique restaurant want you there and expect you to stay a while.
Monday, January 17, 2011
Meet 2 hear the beat st. pete
written by guest SK
Even on a too cool
Wednesday night, St. Pete downtown was the “in” place to be. The new Dali museum setting for a thank you buffet for docents, volunteers, staff and invited guests was a feast for the eyes.
The building mirrors the soaring grace and imagination of Dali; a perfect home for his works. Then on to the Vinoy to see and hear Rick Gee’s newest venue located in the downstairs ballroom with great acoustics and enough seating to hold a few hundred. It was close to full.
Tonite's show on stage, 'The Duke Meets Jobim', with Violinist Rebecca Zapen and renowned bassist John Lamb with solid back ups on sax, drums and piano. They moved smoothly from the breathy rhythms of Bossa Nova to the cool sounds of the Duke; “the Girl from Ipanema” meets “Satin Doll.” John Lamb is a virtuoso performer bassist who performed with the Duke Ellington Orchestra for more than ten years. He was, as always, mellow and in the groove, and Rick even joined the group on flute for one number. We found Rebecca’s voice and take on the music a bit too country, or 50’s girl band, without the sexy off-beat of Jobim, but John and the backup group more than held their own. Entree fee was $20 with wine and beer available for purchase.
See Rick Gee's Jazz Jamm website for more details including next month's venue, John Lamb’s CD 'Conversations North of the Border' release party on February 18, 2011.
Friday, January 14, 2011
1908 4th St N or 2420 66th St N, St Petersburg, FL
This blog actually started because of Carrabbas and Panera. These were two of my crutch restaurants that I relied on for familiar and consistent service. One of my son's friend recently asked me why I hadn't reviewed Panera for the blog. He loves their macaroni and cheese (as does my son and the rest of our family) made with Vermont white cheddar cheese. A zingy, but fattening treat for the boys. My standby meal at Panera is breakfast and more often than not, coffee. I know its upscale fast food, but the price and quality keep bringing in the customers, as does the free wireless (in limited doses during lunch 11:30-1:30) and the cozy feel of the place. The acoustic perfume (piped in classical music) is almost as good as the smell of baked goods. Although to be honest I don't know how much is baked on the premises. Breakfast sandwiches start at $2.95 and go up to $3.95. A piping hot souffle will set you back $3.95 and coffee starts at $1.59. The best deal of all is to bring your own travel cup for a "coffee refill" for a buck. This economic choice reduces paper cup waste too. Their hazelnut coffee, when executed properly, is the best and the other varieties are satisfying with half and half in ample supply. I stopped in McDonalds the other day since getting out at Panera meant getting rained on. A coffee (which that day wasn't up to par) and an Egg McMuffin cost me the same as a breakfast sandwich and coffee at Panera. I have to say, if given the choice again, I might forsake my hairdo.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
I returned to Munch's Restaurant as promised to try their famous Munch Burger. I've been trying get there on a Tuesday to try the also famous fried chicken, but unfortunately, haven't been able to do so yet. I made it on a Wednesday instead, which turned out fine since I was treated to that day's special, Munch's Cuban sandwich. My husband and I split the sandwich and a lip smacking cheeseburger. Order your burger any way you like, with or without cheese, dressed in lettuce, tomato, onion and something a little different, relish. Of course, ketchup, mayo and mustard are available too. We enjoyed the sandwich with the homemade chips that accompany it and added fries to the burger for a little more pocket change. The Cuban sandwich was full of delicious meats, piled high on authentic Cuban bread. The whole lot was pressed into crunchy submission and had just the right mustard/mayo component. The burger was a good sized portion, juicy and flavorful. Prices for lunch are less than $10 and who knows? You may find something fabulous in the "Sundries" section started by one of the legendary owners years ago. Munch's is a classic experience for locals and visitors alike, and worth the trip to Southeast St. Pete. Testing burgers is something Java and I take seriously, look for our article on the best burgers in St. Petersburg coming soon. We will be looking for your input on this!
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Thursday, January 6, 2011
The Marketplace Express is all about location. It's situated across the street from the St. Petersburg Fine Arts Museum and snuggled into a multi-million dollar condo facing the harbor. If you are strolling on Beach Drive or going to the museum or the Chihuily gallery, this is a nice place to stop for a coffee. Take a load off and enjoy your beverage and/or snack inside or outside the shop. They serve a variety of sandwiches and pastries in the under $10 range. Coffee is $1.59 for a small, with refills costing $0.98. It's proximity to so many downtown features, events, and attractions make this a popular spot. Outdoor seating allows for people watching and such. Inside are high top tables to sit with friends or on your own. Classical music is piped in creating a very nice ambience. The movie theater at Baywalk is just a stone's throw from this location, making it a wonderful meeting place before or after the show.