Wendy's ended up being our second choice for lunch today. We walked the four blocks to the seawall intending to have Chick-Fil-a, but their air conditioning was out and the line was far too long to wait inside to order. So, we walked next door to Wendy's and ordered the Berry Burst Chicken and Apple Pecan Chicken salads. Wendy's does not have umbrellas for their tables, so we took our order to-go and walked back home. Heidi and I huddled outside under a piece of shade beside a palm tree while Jeff ordered inside. The salads were fresh and tasty, although the raspberry dressing on the berry burst salad is a bit sweet. It is nice having this classic fast food restaurant nearby.
This afternoon we headed over to Yaga's with the pup. The outdoor tables were all full, so we walked down a block or so to Shark Shack. We had been there before during restaurant week for dinner. They had only a few outdoor tables and they were empty, so we made ourselves comfortable and people watched. If not for the competing music from the restaurant, and the bar a few yards down, and the bar across the street, sitting outside would have been a more pleasurable experience.
Our waitress showed up immediately and quickly brought water for Heidi and tea for us. I decided on their Coconut Encrusted Shrimp with pineapple plum sauce & fries. The coconut crust thickly coated small shrimp that was cooked to oblivian. The crust had a good flavor, as did the sauce, but it was cooked so long it had hardened and had a very unpleasant mouth feel. The fries were good and plentiful. Jeff had the Shrimp Po-Boy which was beautifully cooked and presented. He did complain they gave me a larger portion of fries! Our waitress came out and asked about dessert...my favorite. I asked what they had and she got us a menu. I honed in on the Warm Brownie Delight and requested it to-go. She gave me about four portions of brownie (with a more cake-like texture) and a huge container of really creamy vanilla ice cream. The caramel and chocolate sauces and candied walnuts did not make it in our to-go bag; they were missed on this dessert.
Overall, we had a good experience at Shark Shack. It's prime location and pet-friendly attitude make it ideal for us.
Chef Daya Myers-Hurt has such a gift! She opened this tiny restaurant on 23rd St. that used to be my secret. Daya's motto is "Chef Driven. Farm Loving. Gulf to Table." She literally gets the fish from the dock, cleans and filets it, and works her magic with the fish and sauces she serves guests. Word got out about my spot and now you have to arrive by 1pm before she is sold out. We knew this, because twice before we set out for lunch there only to see the sign on the door 'sold out'. We left early today and made the short walk to Fish Company Taco. Jeff had not tried it before and was tired of hearing me rave about it, so he ordered one of every taco on the menu, of which there are five. Heidi and I sat at a bistro table in front of the restaurant while he placed our order at the counter. He came out with teas and our food was quickly delivered by a very nice gentleman with the most beautiful blue eyes ever. Anyway, I asked for a Korean taco and a Vietnamese taco, but when he brought one of everything I wanted them all!! The fish, slightly breaded, and every so delicately fried, was absolutely perfect on each taco, as always. Chef Daya's sauces are to die for!!! I now have a new favorite - the Empire taco with a hunan bbq sauce, fresh cilantro, and sliced green onion. So simple but so complex tasting. The Dirty South taco is topped with Chef's family homemade pimento cheese. What a treat! We devoured every bite, although I did manage to part ways with two tiny bites of fish for Heidi. As we sat eating, a sign was posted on the door 'sold out'; it was barely after 1pm.
How can you go wrong with a restaurant called Mosquito Café and a tag line that says "One bite is all it takes". Answer: you can't! We have been eating at Mosquito Café since we moved here a year and a half ago. It started out being our place to take the dog and remains her and our favorite outdoor patio. It has fans and plants and fountains. We ordered and I took my glass to fill with tea and saw the waiter already preparing Heidi's water bowl. We walked outside with the choice of any table. Usually this place is very busy, but tonight people stayed in giving us the place to ourselves practically. Jeff and I split the daily surf and turf special with Steak cooked to a perfect medium rare, shrimp with a slightly smoky flavor and only a tad overcooked, wonderful mashed potatoes, and a vegetable medley. Everything was superb! They have the best tea of anywhere, with a flavor that I can't quite identify...yet. Had to have some to-go. This place has really good service for a self-service restaurant. The gentleman kept our glasses full and made sure we and our puppy were happy. I did have some peach cobbler to go. A few seconds in the microwave and my midnight snack was complete.
Friday night on the island tends to be really busy in the summer, so we opted for dinner where there were no crowds. We found solitude at Texadelphia. We have eaten here before, usually getting to-go orders. Tonight we sat inside. I had the French Dip Cheesesteak; the bread is soft and fresh with a generous amount of steak and cheese. The au jus was really good and had no taste of beef bouillon which is what ruins most au jus for me. I still don't care for soggy bread left from dipping, but this bread held its own fine. Jeff decided to try the Pizza Steak with beef, pepperoni, mozzarella, grilled onions, and a homemade sauce; he loved it saying he would order it again. Our waiter was attentive and we were in and out within 45 minutes.
Bambu is one of our favorite places to have lunch. We walk the dog down there and sit on the patio. If only they served dinner too. They know us so well now that teas and a water dish for Heidi come right out to us. Jeff typically orders the daily special and today was no exception. He had the Pork Chop En Salsa. The pork chop was large and cooked perfectly in a tangy sauce. I know I didn't get to try it! I had my usual chicken quesadilla. The cheese they use on these is soooooo goooood. Super juicy chicken is generously spread throughout. The middle of the plate holds lettuce, guacamole, and sour cream. Heidi and I enjoyed them immensely. Bambu has really good iced tea and huge to-go cups, so we enjoyed tea during our short walk home.
Being a Landry's Select Club has its perks. One is that they have special meal deals for club members. Thursday was Date Night. A four course meal for two at $49. Joe's doesn't accept reservations, so we showed up early - just shy of 6:30 - hoping for the best. We were immediately seated, although I could not get the host to understand we were there for Date Night and needed the special menus. It's all good, I strolled up to the host stand and grabbed them myself; needed the exercise anyway. Our waiter arrived fairly quickly and took drink orders. Our teas arrived and he didn't take long to come back for our orders. Jenny was with us and ordered from the menu the Shrimp Sampler which comes with skewered shrimp, scampi, and shrimp brochette. The scampi and brochette were tasty, but the skewer was completely dried out and way overcooked. We all three had a shrimp skewer and they were all very well done. For our Date Night dinner, we started with the crab and shrimp dip which was tasty and a generous portion that fed us all. Next we had house salads; the vegies were fresh and dressings were nice, although they came to our table way before the appetizer. Jeff chose the Shrimp Sampler and I had Land and Sea. The steak, an 8oz top sirloin, was cooked and seasoned perfectly. I've already discussed the shrimp skewer. The rustic mashed potatoes the accompanied my steak were fantastic with spot-on seasoning and small chunks of potato that I really like. Broccoli was unimpressive and a tad undercooked. For dessert, we went with the Crabby Apple Crumble. The portion was extremely generous with a little scoop of ice cream. It was comforting and filling. Overall, we enjoyed our Date Night dinner. It was a good value.
Fish Tales, a Landry's Group restaurant, is a good place to hang-out and people watch. It is across the street from Pleasure Pier and the beach. We dine here frequently, but tonight we walked down to the beach with our dog Heidi and stopped at Fish Tales for ice cream and people watching before heading home. This is absolutely one of my favorite treats. It kind of feels like cheating when you end a healthy walk with a decadent dessert, but that's just how we roll. So, I always get the amaretto cherry chocolate chip ice cream in a waffle cone. Jeff copied me tonight. He, of course, made a mess and I finished every bite not letting a drop fall to the ground or on the dog. Yummy!
It's Monday, which is like a Friday to us innkeepers, so we treated ourselves to our favorite Mexican restaurant on the island. They seemed busier than we expected, although we were immediately seated and had teas and margaritas right away. We mixed it up tonight, straying from our usual dishes, and had the beef fajitas for two. Wow! They were amazing! I must know their fajita spice blend! The steak is a nice lean cut of meat, tender and delicious. A generous portion of onions and peppers accompanied them, as well as rice & beans and sour cream and guacamole for each of us. Dare I admit that I had THREE fajitas altogether and may or may not have picked at the meat when Jeff's head was turned. TOMC has wonderful tea, so we got our to-go cups and were headed home within 30 minutes of arriving.
This was our first time at Grotto Ristorante. We had a 6:30 reservation to celebrate Jeff's birthday. Grotto is located inside the San Luis Hotel overlooking the pool area. Valet parking is complimentary with dinner. The restaurant is smaller than I expected. Floor to ceiling windows surround the dining area which makes it seem much larger.
Our waiter was Barton; he was a little late to the party, but got our drinks right out to us. Jeff tried the Peach Bellini which was served frozen and loaded with alcohol. He enjoyed it. We could not resist ordering the Lobster & Crab Stuffed Shells, although the price tag was nearly $20. Soooo worth it: four large shells, stuffed to the max with crabmeat and a smidgen of lobster, and smothered in a creamy sauce. They were absolutely fantastic. Personally, I would have like a little more lobster meat, but there was a huge amount of crabmeat to make up the difference. I decided on the Paglia E Fieno Con Pollo which was basically chicken alfredo with peas and prosciutto. The flavor was good and pasta cooked well, although an overabundance of prosciutto made it a bit salty for my taste and the chicken was slightly overcooked. Jeff settled on the Snapper Siciliano - a capellini-crusted snapper, topped with jumbo lump crab, roma tomatoes and shrimp sauce. It was presented beautifully, the fish was cooked to perfection and a generous amount of lump crab sat on top. The capellini crust was so original and tasty. It was served with fresh green beans and rice. There is a dessert at Grotto for everyone. Barton wheeled out this huge multi-tiered cart with chocolate cake, strawberry cake, four different cream pies, four original gelatos, a butter cake, and a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I probably forgot to mention something in there, but we had the butter cake and a chocolate pie to go. Jeff absolutely loved the butter cake which is homemade at Grotto. I intended to have only a few bites of my chocolate pie that evening and ended of, of course, devouring the whole thing. It was tasty. Grotto was a pleasant experience. As part of the Landry's group of restaurants, we will be back for the points...and the dessert!