- Lori Brown
- Apr 25, 2018
- 4 min read
Having lived on St Pete Beach many moons ago, I never would have thought of Rick’s Reef for food. I remember it as a friendly watering hole. We were contacted by the GM, Tyler Hipsley, who invited us in on Friday, April 13th for a meeting, so we decided to order lunch too. Hipsley took over managing Rick’s Reef in 2016 and has been working tirelessly to get the word out about the change in management and the major improvement in their food.
There are very few places on St Pete Beach with a history like Rick’s Reef. It first opened as a drive-up hot dog stand called Larry’s Luncheonette in 1939. To this day, it still has the original floor. In the 1960’s it became The Capt. Zak Restaurant, then Spoonbills, Bobby’s Place and The Reef.
Several years ago The Reef closed. One of its regulars, Rick, not wanting to lose his favorite bar, decided to buy it, renovate it and re-open as Rick’s Reef in August 2012. The new owners decided to keep the name.
They now tout Rick’s Reef as a place “Where old world Florida meets new world taste!” And they promote it as a “relaxing, enjoyable dining experience in a friendly, fun and family oriented atmosphere”. The family part being very important. It’s not just a bar anymore. And the food is fresh, not frozen, with many items made in-house.
When we arrived, I was quite surprised at how bright and welcoming the restaurant area feels. I remember The Reef as being very dark and dingy. Certainly not a place I would imagine bringing kids. How that has changed! It now has a terrific, upbeat vibe that any family would enjoy.
Now onto the food. We decided to start with the Jalapeño Corn Fritters. These are served with shark sauce or Thai chili sauce. We chose to try both. I am not quite sure what I was expecting, apparently the word fritter didn’t register with me, because in my mind I thought they would be more like a popper. Instead they were very similar to the consistency of a hush puppy. Still, they were tasty and there was quite a generous amount. I really liked the mix of the sweet (corn) with the spicy (jalapeño).
When trying new places, we tend to order items that we both feel are benchmarks in our minds. Kevin, loving tacos, ordered the Baja Tacos with a side of homemade potato salad. They are made with fresh Mahi-mahi, grilled or blackened, and served in two flour tortillas with Baja sauce, a cabbage and cilantro mix, mixed cheese, and diced tomatoes. Not being a fan of tacos and because I can’t eat cilantro, I did not try these. Kevin described them as fresh (the taco shells and the fish), plump and juicy. He also said that the cabbage and cilantro mix matched well with the spicy, tangy Baja sauce.
I am a major Philly Cheesesteak or French Dip, pretty much any kind of steak sandwich lover. So as soon as I saw The Big Dipper on the menu, I knew what was going into my belly. Our server, Jonah, also confirmed my choice. It is made with shaved rib-eye topped with provolone cheese and served on a lightly toasted hoagie with au jus for dipping. You can add grilled onions, peppers, or mush-rooms for $.50 each, which I did. In the past ten years I can name four places that I have had excellent, fresh steak sandwiches: The Tap Room at The Hollander (they have since changed it and it is no longer on my tops list), The Galley, Lenny’s in Clearwater and now Rick’s Reef. The bread was soft, fresh and lightly toasted and the meat was tender, sliced thin and just succulent. Not to mention the fresh, hand-cut fries which were impossibly addictive.
We were so impressed with our lunch, and there was so much more that we wanted to try, that we ordered dinner to go. Kevin weighing in on the healthier side ordered the Fresh Salmon served with deep fried corn on the cob and a vegetable medley. Every entree comes with a choice of two sides. That corn on the cob was soooo good: buttered, salted and deep fried. YUM! He said the Salmon was good but a little on the dry side. Then again, we did take it home and reheat it. Not the best choice for a re-heatable dinner.
Kevin always says that whatever I order is always better. Typically we share everything but on this occasion we just tasted each other’s. I chose the Mile High Meatloaf served stacked with homemade mashed potatoes in between and underneath and topped with onion rings and the aforementioned fantastic deep fried corn on the cob. Again, great meatloaf is hard to find, where it is not slathered in ketchup and not dry. This meatloaf was sublime and now I have one other place, besides Callaloo, in which to get my fix. It was hearty, juicy and savory. The mashed potatoes had little chunks of potatoes and were creamy and satisfying. And the gravy had terrific flavor. Kevin snuck what was leftover later when I fell asleep.
We really had no idea what to expect when we went to Rick’s Reef and had not even planned on writing this piece, but we enjoyed it so much that we definitely needed to share about this great surprise.
**The entrees that we bought to take home we asked them to plate for picture purposes and then they packed them to go.
- Readers Rating
- Rated 4.7 stars
4.7 / 5 (20 Reviewers)
- Your Rating
- Rick's Reef
- American, Seafood, Breakfast
- Mon - Fri 8:00am - 1:00am
- Sat - Sun 7:00am - 1:00am
- View menu
- 6712 Gulf Blvd, St Pete Beach, FL 33706, USA
Always fresh, always fun, casual American dining.
PLEASE NOTE: Reviews reflect a certain moment in time. Some restaurants stay extremely consistent over many years, and some change for the better or worse. Some things that may change are: chefs, recipes, food suppliers, ingredients, philosophies, ownership, etc. We always hope that you have the same good, or great experience we had.
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Written by Lori Brown
Co-Founder of St. Petersburg Foodies.
Founder of The Largest St. Petersburg Happy Hour List Ever.
Culinary Institute of America "DISH" Member.
Kansas City Barbeque Society Certified BBQ Judge
World Food Championships Certified Food Judge.
Certified Pizza Judge #13 by the Pizza Cookoff Association.
I have lived in the Tampa Bay area for most of my life. I would never want to live anywhere else besides St Petersburg. What an amazing thriving city we have!
I have owned my own businesses, and in my past careers I have set sales records in Pharmaceutical Sales and I'm a top performer in Real Estate.
I am a University of Florida graduate with a degree in Business Finance and love living in the Grand Central District of St. Petersburg. I am mom to a son in college (Noah), long-haired female chihuahua (Lola), and a leopard gecko (Leo).... I think he's a boy. (Kevin kind of stole my dog though. He calls her his "Puppy".)
I'm also a foodie that loves to cook, and eat out at great restaurants. Years ago, I even had my own food store (with my friend Lisa) in the location where Jimmy John's currently resides on 4th Street North just south of 9th Avenue North called Weekday Gourmet. I've also been to Napa and Sonoma on wine vacations eight times.
Kevin and I used to go out 4 - 5 nights a week and write reviews on our own timelines. Because of this, I am always asked by people where they should go, what they should order, etc. When we created the group it just seemed natural since we were already doing that. I love to write and take photos, so it just all works.
Life couldn't be better!
View all posts by: Lori Brown
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- December 4, 2023 Mortadella & Beef Meatballs with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce Recipe
Meatballs are almost like a universal love language. In fact, throughout my thirty something years on this planet, I cannot recall a single time when I encountered a human who shared their distaste for this food. A mashup of ground meat, cheese, eggs, herbs, garlic, breadcrumbs (and sometimes additional ingredients) formed into individual bite size spheres swimming in a bath of luscious sauce, typically red. They’re quite hard not to love. What sets these meatballs apart from most others is the addition of mortadella. Mortadella’s popularity has been growing for some time now and I don’t see that slowing down anytime soon. Mortadella originated in Italy and in essence, is an emulsified large format pork sausage. The pork meat is minced into a smooth paste, stuffed into a casing and then steamed. The complexion of the mortadella is created by a combination of fat, peppercorns and often pistachios and the texture is quite smooth. It’s enjoyed in a number of ways – sandwiched between bread, on charcuterie boards, draped over pizzas, and so on. The inspiration to lace meatballs with mortadella was sparked during a recent trip of mine to New York City while reading a restaurant menu. This particular restaurant had a veal and mortadella meatball appetizer offering and it piqued my interest immediately, as I have a love affair with mortadella. While I did not try the veal and mortadella meatballs, I knew I had to experiment with the concept when I got home. I used an abbreviated version of the beef meatballs that I usually make and added in a healthy amount of diced mortadella. The result was marvelous – just fatty enough, packed with flavor and rich without being too over the top. I decided to go with a roasted red pepper sauce instead of marinara as I thought that the marinara would overpower the beautiful savory and succulent notes that the meatballs project. Additionally, bell peppers are in season in Florida in December, so I figured this was an ideal time to utilize them. You can use jarred roasted red peppers instead of the fresh ones in this recipe to speed things up a bit. Rollin’ Oats carries Jeff’s Naturals organic roasted bell pepper strips and they would work as a great substitute. You can find the rest of the ingredients for these meatballs also at Rollin’ Oats with the exception of the mortadella. That you can usually find at most specialty grocers. The ground beef that I used for these meatballs from Rollin’ Oats was the Dakota organic grassfed 85/15 blend, which proved to be perfect. These meatballs and the roasted red pepper sauce are wonderful on their own as a pre-dinner appetizer, delightful tossed with spaghetti and satisfying while tucked into a split top roll with lots of parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Mortadella & Beef Meatballs with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce Recipe These mortadella spiked meatballs in roasted red pepper sauce are packed with flavor. Serve them as an appetizer, or toss them with your favorite pasta. Make sure you have some toasted bread handy for scooping up the delicious sauce. Meatballs1 lb ground beef (grass-fed and/or organic preferred)1/2 lb mortadella (diced into small pieces)1/2 cup parmesan (grated)1/2 cup breadcrumbs1/4 cup basil (chopped – plus more for serving)2 eggs (whisked)2 garlic cloves (minced)2 tsp saltRoasted Red Pepper Sauce2 red bell peppers (cut in half – stem and seeds removed)2 vine ripe tomatoes (medium in size)1/2 white onion (medium in size, diced)1/2 cup heavy cream3 garlic cloves (minced)1 tbsp dried oregano2 tsp salt (plus more, to taste)1/2 cup parmesan cheese (grated – plus more for serving) Roasted Red Pepper SauceHeat oven to 450F and line a baking sheet with foil. Place bell pepper halves on sheet and roast for 18-20 minutes, or until peppers begin to take on some color. Remove peppers from oven, place in a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to steam for 10 minutes (this will make it easier to remove the skin). Once cool enough to handle, remove and discard pepper skins – you'll have about 1 1/2 cups of roasted peppers.Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and prepare an ice bath in a bowl. Cut a shallow x into the bottoms of each tomato. Carefully drop tomatoes into boiling water for one minute then place the tomatoes in the ice bath. Remove tomatoes from ice bath and the skin should peel off with ease – discard skins.Place tomatoes and peppers into a blender and blend for 30 seconds until you have a semi-smooth puree. Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add in onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softening begins – 6-7 minutes.Stir in minced garlic and cook for about 1-2 minutes until very fragrant. Then, mix in dried oregano.Pour in pepper and tomato mixture and season with salt. Bring mixture to a gentle simmer for 30 minutes (reduce the heat if the sauce begins to boil). Season with more salt as needed. Pour in heavy cream and 1/2 cup grated parmesan and stir to combine. Continue to gently simmer sauce until meatballs are finished in the oven.MeatballsHeat oven to 350 F Combine all ingredients in a large bowl with your hands. Gently form into golfball sized meatballs – mixture should yield about 16 meatballs. Evenly space them apart on the baking sheet and put them into the oven for 20 minutes.After meatballs have baked in the oven, carefully nestle them into the pot with the sauce, reduce heat to medium low and cover the pot with a lid. Simmer meatballs in the sauce for 30 minutes. If you find that the sauce is too thin, add in some more grated parmesan until you've reached the desired thickness.To serve, spoon meatballs into a dish with some sauce, top with grated parmesan and garnish with fresh torn basil. Appetizer, Main CourseAmerican, ItalianMortadella & Beef Meatballs, Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
- November 6, 2023 Miso-Maple Glazed Squash with Burrata & Chili Crisp Recipe
When November rolls around, I love to really to hone in on cooking recipes that project comfort. For me, that entails a strong focus on in-season ingredients and recipes that remind me of the holidays. Squash is always something that I have on hand this time of year – winter squash varietals, specifically. Some favorites of mine include, but are not limited to kabocha, delicata and honeynut. For the most part, they’re all rather interchangeable and can be cooked in a number of ways. For this recipe, we’re playing up kabocha squash’s taste profile (which is basically a cross between the taste of pumpkin and sweet potatoes) with a miso-maple glaze, creamy burrata cheese, spicy chili crisp, a bright squeeze of lime and pungent cilantro (you could also use basil in place of cilantro). When all of these components come together, they create a profile of flavors and textures that awaken the tastebuds. Kabocha isn’t a must-use here. Other squash varieties that I would suggest using are: delicata, honeynut, red kuri or carnival. Burrata cheese isn’t a must-use either. Feel free to substitute this cheese out for similar semi-soft and mild selections like mozzarella or even ricotta. Additionally, don’t feel like you *have* to make chili crisp, though it is easier than you may think. There are lots of jars of chili crisp on the shelves these days that will serve the same purpose. Miso-Maple Glazed Squash with Burrata & Chili Crisp Recipe This squash dish has it all – heat, sweetness, acid, creaminess, texture and savory notes. It works as a solid side dish and would work perfect at your Thanksgiving gathering. Squash & Assembly1 squash (skin on, washed, seeds removed and cut into half moons (kabocha, honeynut & delicata will work best))1 tbsp olive oil4 ounces burrata (torn into smaller pieces)lime (juice only)cilantro (for garnish)Chili Crisp1/2 cup vegetable oil1/4 cup crushed red pepper flakes1 shallot (larger in size – peeled, cut in half and sliced very thin)6 garlic cloves (minced)1 tbsp soy sauce1/2 tsp saltMiso-Maple Glaze1 tbsp white miso paste1 tbsp maple syrup2 1/2 tbsp olive oilsalt Chili CrispPour soy sauce, crushed red pepper and salt into a mixing bowl. Add shallot, garlic and oil to a small sauce pan over medium heat. When mixture begins to sizzle, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallot and garlic turn golden – 20-25 minutes. Strain hot oil into mixing bowl with soy, salt and crushed red pepper and place garlic and shallots onto a paper towel-lined plate. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and add into oil mixture. Stir to combine and set aside until ready to plate.Miso-Maple GlazeWhisk all ingredients together until smooth in a small bowl. Set aside until ready to brush onto squash.Squash & AssemblyHeat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss squash with 1 tbsp olive oil in a large bowl. Arrange on baking sheet in a single layer. Make sure that they are well spaced out and not touching – this will encourage the squash slices to crisp up a bit. Roast for 40 minutes, flipping halfway through, until edges begin to take on some color.Remove squash from oven, brush with miso-maple glaze and increase heat to 450F. Roast for another 2-3 minutes or until squash begins to caramelize a bit. Remove from oven, add to a plate with torn burrata, drizzle with chili crisp, garnish with cilantro, squeeze over juice of one lime and season with salt to taste. Appetizer, Side DishAmericanChili Crisp Recipe, Miso-Maple Glazed Squash, Miso-Maple Glazed Squash with Burrata & Chili Crisp
- October 27, 2023 Don’t Hide from Tommy’s Hideaway
I’ll admit, I’ve lived in St. Pete for nearly six years and the last time I was in Gulfport was seven years ago… it was for a wedding, and I didn’t leave the venue. There are several restaurants and bars in Gulfport that I always say to my friends “we need to try that”, “we need to go there”, “let’s go spend a day in Gulfport” … but it never happens. Anyway, all that is to say I finally made it to one of the restaurants in Gulfport I’ve been wanting to try for a while now. Located about a block from the water in Gulfport sits Tommy’s Hideaway – Wood Fired Pizza & Pub. If you weren’t looking for it you might miss it. While it’s on the main drag, it’s a quaint restaurant that could easily be looked over. They combat that in the evenings by featuring live music every night starting at 6pm. The menu features wood fired pizza (obviously), pasta, subs, burgers, salads, and dessert. On top of their standard menu, they have rotating specials. From their website: “Tom Lussiano and Larisa Curbelo bring their expertise to Tommy’s Hideaway as proud owners. With 30 years of experience in major restaurant brands such as Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse, and Red Lobster, they have a deep understanding of the industry. However, this time, they are taking a leap of faith by using their own funds to launch their own restaurant, without the backing of a major corporation. Despite the risks, they feel confident and excited to embark on this new journey.” When we arrived at Tommy’s Hideaway, we were immediately greeted warmly by Tommy himself. We requested outside seating since the weather was so lovely and there was live music. He sat us on their quaint side patio, which was the perfect setting for the evening. We decided to start off with a glass each of the $5 house wine along with the Shrimp Scampi and Mozzaluna Fritta appetizers. The Shrimp Scampi comes with six shrimp sautéed in a delectable garlic-lemon-butter sauce along with two untoasted soft pieces of baguette. The untoasted soft bread was the perfect vehicle to sop up the remainder of the butter sauce after the shrimp was gone. The Mozzaluna Fritta is Tommy’s answer to the standard mozzarella sticks. Three half-moon shaped pieces of mozzarella are breaded, fried and then served with a homemade tomato sauce. They have a rule at Tommy’s that whoever bites into it and has the longest cheese-pull is off the hook for the check. Unfortunately, I had already committed to picking up the check for my friend and me or else I would have had a free dinner that night. Some of the other appetizers include: chicken wings, meatballs with ricotta, french fries, onion rings, and garlic bread. Even though those two appetizers were already filling me up (since I have no control when delicious food is in front of me), we still decided to order two more dishes to share. First up was the Chicken Parm Sub. This was your standard chicken parm, which is not a knock. It was cheesy and saucy, the chicken was thin and breaded crispy and put on a soft roll. Some of the other subs include: Italian, eggplant parm, meatball, sausage and peppers, cheese steak, and foot-long all beef hotdogs amongst others. We couldn’t leave without trying Larisa’s Famous White Clam Pizza. I know I love clams, and linguini with clams, and pizza. So why not combine them all. The pizza was basically a white pizza with chopped clams on top. It was tasty and not too overwhelming in the clam department. Some of the other pizzas include: plain cheese, Margherita, pepperoni, burrata, meatball ricotta pizza, carni pizza, veggie pizza, and vegan cheese pizza amongst others. As a little treat, the restaurant sent us out their dessert special – Bavarian Cream Filled Churros served with a side of raspberry sauce and nutella. After my friend and I each had one she tried to put the rest in to a box and I said “nuh uh! Give me another one of those”… so I had a second… after all that food I already ate. Oh well, it was worth it. As I mentioned earlier, there are also several great burger and pasta options as well. There’s really something for everyone here. Tommy’s Hideaway is the perfect spot for locals and tourists alike. There were many people there I could tell were regulars that the staff knew by first name. It was my first time and I felt like I was one of the regulars myself. Also, if you’re visiting make sure to ask for Abby as your server. She was attentive, knowledgeable, and so kind.
- October 26, 2023 BarBouni at Baba is A Modern Ouzerie Oasis in St. Petersburg
BarBouni at Baba is a charming Ouzerie that is redefining the local dining experience in St. Petersburg one seafood delight at a time. Baba, the Greek restaurant here, has held a special place in my heart for a while and now BarBouni brings something new and exciting to the table: conservas (canned fish) and an array of other seafood delicacies that’ll transport you to coastal culinary heaven. They have it all from fresh seafood, a raw bar, unique craft cocktails, and Mediterranean wines. Grab your appetite and sense of adventure, because BarBouni is a Greek ouzeri that needs to be on your list of restaurants to visit if you haven’t already. It’s only right to start strong with a refreshing cocktail. They have a great menu of craft cocktails, wine, Greek liquors and more. I took advantage of their happy hour with some bubbles, are we surprised? BarBouni’s happy hour is Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday from 5pm-7pm with half off sparkling wines and $2 oysters. If there’s oysters on the menu, I’m ordering them. Here we have two LoCos (from Lost Coast Oyster Company of Tampa Bay) and two T.N.A (from Cape Cod). They come with bagnarotte and mignonette. The LoCos oysters, as some of you hopefully know, are crisp with a briny taste. Similarly, the T.N.A oysters are clean, briny, with a mildly sweet flavor. Both are really high quality and delicious. The acidity of the bagnarotte adds a tangy kick that enhances the flavors of the oysters. The mignonette offers a traditional contrast to the taste. Overall, if you’re not sure where to start with the menu at Barbouni, I would suggest ordering some oysters while you ask the server more questions on the conservas section of the menu. It was my first time trying anchovies. I ordered the Cantabrian Anchovies and they were good although I have nothing to compare them to. They had a nice contrast of flavors and textures and it was both salty and fatty. I expected them to be way more fishy, and they certainly were fishy, but not as strong as I was expecting which I was very glad about. The butter and sumac flavors were a nice addition to the richness of the anchovies. This dish is served with toast where you can savor all the flavors in one bite. The Lump Crab Salad was great. It’s served chilled with succulent pieces of crab and a delicious French remoulade sort of sauce. The seaweed has a nice oceanic essence. The phone did not eat first. I couldn’t resist diving into this dish before snapping a photo. Just know that the portion size was generous and when it arrived the sauce was beautifully presented, without a messy splatter in sight. BarBouni Lump Crab Salad This was my first experience trying conservas and I found it to be a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. I’m so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone to try them. The menu of conservas at BarBouni is broken down into sections of anchovies, sardines, shells, fish, specialties and vegetarian. I accepted the bartenders recommendation to try the Iasa Branzino Grigliato del mediterranero in olio di oliva and I’m so glad we did. This grilled branzino is doused in delicious olive oil. Iasa is an Italian brand known for its premium seafood products. Branzino is one of my favorite fish, also known as European sea bass and is a really popular fish in Mediterranean cuisine. Each tinned can comes with toast, butter, sumac, onions, shut, lemon, Maldon salt and parsley. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the blend of savory flavors and delicate texture of the grilled branzino. I look forward to trying more of their offerings. I would say that a lot of them are from Spain and Portugal so I’ll be sure to order one of those next time. If you’re looking for some extra flavor, order the Smoked Salmon with Sichuan Chili Crisp from Fishwife. This was my absolute favorite thing from this review. The ooh’s and ahh’s came out. The salmon was sweet, savory and had a nice kick to it. The most perfect bite ever includes all of the ingredients on the plate, don’t forget any of them. Trust me, it was so good. From Fishwife’s website to describe it: Brined in salt, garlic salt, and brown sugar then hand-packed into cans with Fly By Jing’s Sichuan Chili Crisp, the first & only 100% all-natural Sichuan chili sauce, proudly crafted in Chengdu. Our salmon is sourced directly from Kvarøy Arctic, the first finfish farm to carry the Fair Trade USA seal, and BAP, ASC and Global G.A.P. certification The Shrimp Crudo with roasted shells, almonds, lemon and mint was unique and zesty. I will say, the texture was hard to overcome but the taste really wowed me. In all, it was vibrant and refreshing. Just when I didn’t think my experience couldn’t get any better, they brought out the dessert menu and the Peach Bread Pudding instantly drew my attention with garum caramel, lime labneh and marcona almonds. What a luscious treat with chunks of soft bread that are soaked in the peach and caramel flavors. It was a serious delight of coziness. They also had baklava and an ice cream trio on the dessert menu. Cheers to stone crab season. BarBouni is offering freshly crafted stone crabs which were tempting and tantalizing right before my eyes but I had already had enough on this visit. I’ll be back. If you’re ready to try conservas and other seafood items, BarBouni welcomes all with a cool and romantic atmosphere. The knowledgeable bartenders helped guide me through the experience and I’m looking forward to going back for more.
- October 10, 2023 Sake, Oysters and Sophisticated Vibes at St. Pete’s In Between Days
It’s no secret that the food and beverage scene in St. Petersburg is getting more hip and expansive with each passing day. The Tampa Bay area as a whole has finally landed on the radar of diners, experts and critics all around the country. From natural wine bars and carefully curated tasting menus to Michelin-level restaurants – there’s no denying that this is a very exciting time for the hospitality industry in our neck of the woods. Since opening in 2021, In Between Days has undoubtedly added to St. Pete’s cool factor. Tucked away in an unmarked building off of 1st Avenue south in the Grand Central District, if you didn’t know it existed, you’d probably miss it. In fact, there’s a chance you’d assume the the place was someone’s home, as the restaurant actually occupies a quaint little bungalow. In Between Days, deemed a Tokyo-style listening bar, is ultra unique, especially to our part of the world. It’s the first establishment of its kind to land not only just in St Petersburg, but in all of Florida. A Tokyo-style listening bar can be described as a small cafe-like space with high-end music equipment and an intimate feel where listening to music (especially vinyls) is the main focus. These spaces originated in Japan in the 1950’s and their popularity is growing across a lot of major cities in our country. The vibe at In Between Days is sophisticated and the menu is enticing. There are only a handful of items on the menu, but this actually makes ordering quite simplistic as they recommend ordering one of everything. Their sake list is the heavy hitter though. The list was curated by their in-house sake sommelier, Noah Sain, and the list is said to be one of the most vast lists on the East Coast of our country. In addition to sake, they also have a list of sake cocktails which are not to be overlooked. In between Days opens their doors Wednesday – Sunday at 6:00pm sharp. While it is possible to walk-in to grab a seat at the bar, lounge or on the patio, I recommend making a reservation. We arrived on-time for our 6:00 reservation and by 6:20 the entire establishment was full. You can make a reservation on the OpenTable app for parties of 2-4 people. For larger parties of six or more, the restaurant encourages you to reach out to them to make dining arrangements. As I mentioned earlier, the restaurant is not marked and you will not find a sign outside. Just look for the assortment of empty sake bottles on a table outside to the right of the patio – you’ll know it when you find it. A handful of tables are outside on the patio which guests are welcome to occupy on a first come basis. When you enter the building, you’ll encounter the dining room which is decorated quite simply, but perfectly for the space. The lighting is dim with small oil lamps occupying the tabletops. Dark and cozy tones accent the neutral walls giving the whole place a very warm and welcoming feel. Continue through the dining room and you’ll soon find yourself in front of the beautiful bar area which is not large and seats six. To the right of that, you’ll notice shelving which houses vinyls, music equipment, sake and additional fitting decor components. The whole place was put together extremely well for a very cohesive aesthetic. Until a couple of weeks ago, I had never dined at In Between Days, though it has been on my radar for quite some time now. So when Kevin (Godbee) suggested In Between Days as a potential spot for October’s review, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. In fact, My husband and I were able to line up our schedules with Kevin and Lori so that we could all enjoy a lovely food and drink experience at In Between Days together. We arrived just before our 6:00 reservation (which again, is when they open) and folks were already beginning to gather outside, patiently waiting for an invitation inside. We started things off with a magnum of Suigei Drunken Whale sake which was an absolute delight. Kevin and Lori mentioned that they had enjoyed some recently and suggested that we order it again. What a beautiful sake – light and a touch dry, yet refreshing. I would definitely seek it out again. We couldn’t neglect the sake cocktails of course. Lori ordered the Osaka Mule with cucumber, wasabi, ginger, lemon, sake, sparkling water and a wasabi salt rim. She really enjoyed its refreshing lineup of ingredients. I just had to have the Yamahai Old Fashioned with Tamagawa ‘red label’ sake, thyme bitters and Demerara sugar which is then smoked with tochigi wood chips. It was incredibly unique and completely different than any old fashioned that I had had up until that point. It possessed bright and bold notes with faint traces of smoke. As far as the food is concerned, we did in fact order everything on the menu with the exception of the Lavender and Apricot Mostarda Pork as they were out of it. They did have a dish in its place that we did opt for. Additionally, we took advantage of their Weekend Oyster offering. They don’t always have oysters, but on weekends they typically have them on deck and they’re served with a classic mignonette. The oysters hit the table first and we slurped them down in no time. The Hamachi Crudo followed the oysters. This dish contains Japanese hamachi snapper, house chili, lemon zest, dill, blood orange and extra virgin olive oil. To describe this dish simply, in essence, it’s the product of quality ingredients – gorgeous fish with mostly bright citrus that is balanced nicely with the olive oil, dill and chili. Next up was perhaps my favorite – the Caramel Salad. This little number has radicchio, salted caramel vinaigrette, roasted pepitas, aged manchego cheese and brined tomato. […]
- December 4, 2023 Mortadella & Beef Meatballs with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce Recipe
- November 6, 2023 Miso-Maple Glazed Squash with Burrata & Chili Crisp Recipe
- October 3, 2023 Spicy Tomato Soup with Basil Cream Recipe
Tomato Soup is perhaps one of the more simplistic soups to throw together and undoubtedly one of the tastiest. A handful of ingredients and a little bit of patience is all you need to whip up a piping hot pot of comforting tomato soup. The most important aspect of this recipe, of course, is the tomatoes. A lot of recipes call for canned tomatoes, which of course is the easiest of routes. However, I prefer the utilization of beautiful, ripe and in-season tomatoes whenever they’re available. Tomatoes are in season here in Florida and I fully took advantage of that for this recipe. In fact, these juicy jewels were my inspiration after noticing an abundance of them at the grocery store recently. Rollin’ Oats, my favorite health market, specifically has a beautiful array of Roma and beefsteak tomatoes that are organic of course. Basically any tomatoes will work for this recipe as long as they’re ripe. Roma, vine ripe and beefsteak are my recommendations. Prepping the tomatoes for the soup is easier than you may think. All you need to do is cut an “X” into the stem end of each tomato, drop the tomatoes into boiling water for one minute, transfer them to an ice bath and then easily remove the tomato skin. Aside from the tomatoes, the only other components needed for the soup are garlic, onions, vegetable broth and heavy cream; however, this isn’t just your standard tomato soup – this version has some spice. For the spice element, I used jarred chopped Calabrian chilies, but if you can’t find those, one teaspoon or so of crushed red pepper flakes will suffice. The spice is certainly present in this soup, but it isn’t overpowering and should be tolerable for most all palates. Serving tomato soup with some basil and some cream is a must in my opinion, so, why not combine the two? I recommend throwing the two ingredients into a small blender, like a NutriBullet, and giving them a quick blend. This will of course thicken the cream mixture a bit which is great for dolloping into a steamy, hot bowl of soup. But wait, there’s more. What’s tomato soup without a crispy and cheese-topped bread element? I like to make this tomato soup with a side of what I refer to as mozzarella sourdough dippers. I cut sourdough bread into rectangles that are about 1″ thick, drizzle them with olive oil and top with shredded mozzarella. Pop them into the oven until the cheese is melted and the bread begins to crisp and dunk them into your bowl of soup. Rollin’ Oats sells one of my favorite sourdough brands – Gulf Coast Sourdough. They have a few variations of their bread on their shelves like rosemary garlic and asiago, but I always opt for the classic, the simply sourdough. As for the cheese, I always reach for Organic Valley shreds which Rollin’ Oats also carries. This spicy tomato soup recipe is great for all occasions and days of the week and it’s just what you need to get yourself into the fall mode. Spicy Tomato Soup with Basil Cream Recipe Fall is here and so is tomato season. What better way to kickoff the season than by whipping up a comforting pot of spicy tomato soup? Spicy Tomato Soup2 tbsp olive oil1 white onion (medium in size, halved and sliced)4 garlic cloves (peeled and minced)3 lbs tomatoes (roma, vine ripe or beefsteak – make sure they're ripe)1/2 tbsp jarred chopped Calabrian chilies (or 1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper)4 cups vegetable stock1/2 cup heavy creamsaltBasil (for serving)Basil Cream1 cup basil (fresh, loosely packed)1 cup heavy cream1/2 tsp saltSourdough Dipperssourdough bread (cut into rectangles 1" thick)1 tbsp olive oil1/2 cup mozzarella (shredded) Basil CreamAdd basil, salt and 1/2 cup of heavy cream to a small blender like a NutriBullet and pulse for a few seconds. The mixture will become thick, but that's okay. Pour in the remaining heavy cream and stir – the cream mixture will thin out a bit. Set aside until ready to serve soup.Sourdough DippersHeat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss sourdough rectangles with olive oil and arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet. Evenly distribute shredded mozzarella onto rectangles and bake in the oven until cheese is melted and bread is toasted around 7-9 minutes.Remove from oven and set aside until ready to serve with spicy tomato soupSpicy Tomato SoupBring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare a large ice bath in a separate bowl. Cut an "x" into the stem end of each tomato and boil the tomatoes for one minute. Carefully remove and place in the prepared ice bath. When tomatoes are cool, remove the skins from the tomatoes and discard (this should be quite simple to do because of the boiling process). Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add in the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to soften – 4-5 minutes. Season with salt.Add garlic to the pot and cook for another 1-2 minutes until it's fragrant.Mix in Calabrian chilies or crushed red pepper and cook for another 1-2 minutes.Turn the heat up to medium high, add in in the peeled tomatoes, pour in the vegetable stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 40 minutes. Season with a few more pinches of salt.Blend the mixture with an immersion blender or carefully add the soup contents to a high powered blender like a Vitamix to puree and return to the pot.Stir in the heavy cream and heat the soup over medium low for 15 more minutes. Season with more salt as needed.Ladle soup into bowls, top with basil cream and basil and serve with sourdough dippers along side. Dinner, Main CourseAmerican
- September 6, 2023 Sausage and Egg Breakfast Sandwich with Pimento Cheese
Breakfast sandwiches and Pimento Cheese are arguably two of the greatest pleasures known to food. A breakfast sandwich on Saturday morning after an evening of libations always hits the spot. And pimento cheese is best enjoyed anytime, period. The two of them together make for the perfect savory marriage – a true sandwich delight. I’ve consumed plenty of pimento cheese in my life and never realized how simple it was to make until a few years ago. There are tons of pimento cheese renditions out there. Some use yellow cheddar, others use a mix of yellow and white, some call for cream cheese only, others call for a mix of cream cheese and mayonnaise, and so on. This recipe calls for a mix of cheddars, cream cheese and mayonnaise and instead of cayenne, I use hot paprika. I really love the hint of smokiness and faint note of heat that it brings to the table. The toughest part about this recipe is allowing it to chill in the fridge for a couple of hours without digging in. This not only cools the cheese, but it also encourages the ingredients to meld together nicely. If you don’t have the time nor desire to make pimento cheese, Rollin’ Oats has you covered. They carry a classic sharp cheddar pimento cheese by Red Clay that’s ready to eat and ultra delicious. The sandwich ingredients are flexible. For example, you don’t have to scramble the eggs. If you prefer to cook them sunny side up, over hard, etc., please feel free to do so. I just encourage you to just buy quality eggs, preferably cage free and/or organic. That’s one of the best things about shopping at Rollin’ Oats – they always have premium, quality ingredients and brands on their shelves. Like the eggs, the sausage and english muffins used can be whatever you prefer. For the muffins, I like to use Dave’s killer whole wheat when they’re available. If I can’t find those, Rollin’ Oats also carries Food for Life 7 Sprouted Grains organic english muffins and I typically use those in place of the Dave’s Killer muffins. Regardless of your ingredient preferences, make this super simple sandwich next weekend and savor every delicious bite. Keep the leftover pimento cheese in the fridge up to a week for premium snacking purposes. Sausage and Egg Breakfast Sandwiches with Pimento Cheese Recipe Not only is this pimento cheese delicious on this sandwich, but it also makes for an ideal snack on its own. It's super simple to make – perhaps the only difficult part is resisting the urge to dive into the mixture while it's chilling. Pimento Cheese1 1/2 cups extra sharp yellow cheddar cheese (finely grated with a box grater)1 1/2 cups extra sharp white cheddar cheese (finely grated with a box grater)1/4 cup mayonnaise1/4 cup cream cheese1/4 tsp hot paprika (like simply organic)1/4 tsp salt (plus more, to taste)1/2 cup pimentons (minced)Sandwiches4 english muffinspimento cheese4 sausage patties (you can also buy ground breakfast sausage or uncooked sausages (casing removed) and form your own patties)4 eggs (preferably organic/cage free)2 tsp olive oil (divided)saltpepper Pimento CheeseCombine and mash all ingredients in a medium sized bowl with a fork until everything is well combined. Season with more salt as needed and chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours.Sandwich AssemblyHeat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Heat 1 tsp oil over medium-high heat in a medium skillet and cook sausage patties for 3-4 minutes per side until they begin to brown.Place the patties on the baking sheet in a single layer along with the english muffins. Put those into the oven while you cook the eggs (5-6 minutes).Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk them to combine – season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Heat the same skillet that you cooked the sausage in over medium heat and add remaining oil. Pour in the eggs and cook for 2-3 minutes undisturbed. Carefully flip the eggs on to the other side and cook for another 1-2 minutes undisturbed. Remove from skillet and cut/divide eggs into 4 even segments.To assemble the sandwiches add the egg to the bottom part of the muffin, then sausage and top with egg. Slather the top of your muffin with pimento cheese.Close up the sandwich and enjoy! Appetizer, BreakfastAmericanPimento Cheese, Sausage And Egg Breakfast Sandwich
- August 1, 2023 Smoked Salmon & Crispy Rice Bowl Recipe
Up your at-home brunch game with this smoked salmon & crispy rice bowl that is both impressive and easy to assemble. If you’re familiar with standard caviar service, you’ll note that this dish is composed using most all of the ingredients served alongside caviar. The only thing missing is a potato element and in its place, we’re using the crispy rice as the vehicle for delivering the other components. The result is a delicious bite that is certain to please due to all of the different flavors and textures involved. This dish does not just have to be limited to brunch of course – it would be ideal most any time of day. Simple, yet luxurious, this would be the perfect meal to serve when guests are scheduled to come over. The cook time is minimal, but the end product is quite beautiful. The only detail that you’ll have to plan for is having some cooked rice from the day before ready to go in the refrigerator. Additionally, because it is a light and vibrant recipe, it won’t have you and your company feeling sluggish and overly stuffed. Making the crispy rice is incredibly easy as long as you can nail the inversion process, which is much more simple than you may think. I serve this crispy rice alongside a myriad of other items like roasted vegetables, grilled fish and meats and in soups and tangy broths. The overall texture is quite desirable because you get the best of both worlds – crispy bits that cooked on the bottom of the pan and also soft and semi-fluffy grains. As far as the salmon and the salmon roe are concerned, feel free to use your preference and/or whatever is available to you. Rollin’ Oats sells quality wild caught smoked sockeye salmon by Spence & Co. which I recommend if Rollin’ Oats is local to you. As for the salmon roe, you can find Romanoff red salmon caviar/roe on the shelves at Rollin’ Oats as well. Salmon roe works great in this bowl and is also a bit more affordable than other types of caviar. However, if you have access to other variations of caviar and are wanting to spend a bit more money, absolutely go for it. Adding that bit of soy sauce at the end to each bowl is not necessary, but I do suggest drizzling just a touch to satisfy your tastebuds. It has a hand in rounding out the dish and adds a bit more of that umami that we all crave, in my opinion. Smoked Salmon & Crispy Rice Bowl Recipe In this brunch bowl, we have all of the ingredients for standard caviar service, but with crispy rice & smoked salmon adding main character energy. nonstick skillet 2 cups cooked white rice (any will do, preferably cooked the day before)4 oz smoked salmon (like Spence & Co. wild sockeye salmon)4.5 oz salmon caviar (Rollin' Oats has Romanoff which works great)1/2 ripe avocado (peeled and divided in equal halves)2 eggs (preferably organic and pasture raised )2 tbsp creme fraiche1 tbsp soy sauce (plus more for serving)1 tbsp mirin1 tbsp olive oil2 tbsp chives (minced)salt Jammy EggsAdd enough water to a medium saucepan to cover eggs (do not put eggs in yet) and bring to a boil. Carefully lower in eggs and set a timer for 6 minutes. Prepare an ice bath for eggs in a medium bowl using lots of ice and some cold water. When time is up, remove eggs and place in ice bath for 5 minutes to stop cooking. Remove eggs from bath, discard water and ice and carefully peel eggs. Cut eggs in half and set aside until ready to assemble bowls. Crispy RiceCombine 1 tbsp soy sauce and mirin with cooked rice. Heat a medium sized nonstick skillet half way between medium and medium-high heat and add oil. Pack rice evenly into skillet.Cook rice until edges begin to turn golden, 8-10 minutes. Carefully place a heatproof plate on top of skillet (topside of plate should be touching the skillet) and invert rice from skillet onto plate.Bowl AssemblyTo assemble bowls, spoon in some crispy rice, top with some salmon, creme fraiche, avocado, half of the eggs, fresh chives and top with a spoonful or two of salmon roe. Finish with a pinch of salt if you'd like and a another drizzle of soy sauce (use as much or as little as you'd like). Breakfast, Main CourseAmericanCrispy Rice, Crispy Rice Bowl, Smoked Salmon