We were down in Ruskin tonight and stopped at the Ybor Grille for dinner on the recommendation of a friend. Loren started off with a salad and I devoured some bread.
The bread came with an olive butter that Loren liked, but since I’m not an olive fan, I just stuck with the warm, crusty, tasty bread. I went for a Cuban sandwich and fries.
I liked the flavors in the sandwich and the bread was perfect, but would have preferred that it had been warmed all the way through. The meats in the middle were still cold. It was a huge sandwich and I ended up taking half of it home with me. Loren tried the Lechon.
The pork was very tender and tasty. Normally, I don’t like onions on the rice and beans, but these were sauteed and added a nice flavor to them. We ended up taking half of this dish home too. For dessert, we tried the bread pudding.
Loren liked it more than I did. It was served cold, which was off putting to me, and it had a dark, almost molasses flavor to it. I just never knew there were so many variations to bread pudding. It’s completely different everywhere we try it. Overall though, it was a lot of tasty food for $28.
105 E Shell Point Rd
We were in Arcadia today and stopped at Wheeler’s Cafe for lunch. It was a crowded little restaurant, but we were able to get a seat out on the porch. Loren ordered the cheeseburger with a side of chili.
He said both were good. The chili wasn’t spicy at all, but had a rich, tomatoey flavor. I went for the country fried chicken, mashed potatoes & gravy, and fried green tomatoes.
The chicken would have been better had it been flattened before being fried. It was a bit on the tough side. The mashed potatoes were homemade and yummy and the gravy had just the right amount of pepper in it. As for the fried green tomatoes, they were quite greasy, but had a good flavor. I wanted something sweet so we got a piece of the chocolate pudding pie.
This didn’t do it for me. The pudding was a bit too gelatinous for me and I’d much rather have real whipped cream than whipped topping. Overall, the experience was just ok. The food took a long time to come out and our waitress disappeared completely. She never came back to the table to check on us. Another waitress brought our dessert and check. Total bill with a drink was $21.
13 S. Monroe Ave
We decided to try the Mellow Mushroom for dinner tonight. Friday night and the place was packed. We had about a 30 minute wait before we got a table. This is one of those restaurants where the acoustics are horrible. Bare floors, open ceiling and you can barely hear yourself think, never mind trying to actually have a conversation without yelling across the table. We definitely didn’t need it, but we started off with the spinach artichoke dip.
The dip itself was tasty, but I’m just not a fan of crunchy toast points. I find them hard to eat. I actually wasn’t sure that 6 pieces of bread were going to be enough, but it ended up being a good ratio of dip to scoop. For our pizza, we went for a medium Holy Shiitake.
I really enjoyed this pizza. It had shiitake, button, and portobello mushrooms, onions and a blend of cheeses plus a garlic and olive oil base. It was had such a wonderful blend of flavors. The crust was perfectly cooked, not too crunchy, not too soft. I would absolutely order it again, though probably to go. Total bill with a drink was $20.
2630 Gulf to Bay Blvd
We made it to Lake City and had to stop for dinner. We found Mike’s Cafe & Grille in a darkened strip mall. I don’t know how they get any dinner business in this location. There was just one other customer when we got there and we were alone the rest of the meal. We got some potato soup to start off with, then Loren got the sriracha chicken salad and I tried the parmesean crusted chicken.
The soup had a familiar flavor, but neither one of us could place it. It was very good. Loren said the chicken wasn’t too spicy and had an almost sweet & sour taste to it. My chicken was flavorful and tender. The mac & cheese was very creamy with a unique taste to it. I really enjoyed it. And I needed just one more piece of chocolate cake before this vacation ended.
Tender & moist cake with a fudgy center. Goodness all around. Total bill with a drink was $36.
Mike’s Cafe & Grille
426 SW Commerce Dr, Ste 115
Lake City, FL
We started our drive back to Florida from North Carolina and stopped in Athens, Georgia for lunch at Etienne Brasserie. This turned out to be one of the best places we ate on vacation. It’s a little French bistro kind of place with someone who knows what they’re doing in the kitchen.
We started off with the fried calamari.
We eat a lot of calamari, it’s one of our favorite appetizers, and this one did not disappoint. It was perfectly cooked. Crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside and not at all chewy. It was served with a delicious lemon aioli. Loren got the French dip and I went for the Croque Monsieur.
I actually ordered the Croque Madame which came with a fried egg, but they forgot to put it on. The waiter realized the mistake and asked if I wanted to send it back, but I figured it was just going to make it super messy and difficult to eat, so I settle on the Monsieur instead. Both sandwiches were delicious. Flavorful meats and cheeses. The only thing I didn’t like was the herb mustard. It was a little too strong for me. For dessert, I couldn’t pass up the chocolate mousse.
Yum! Perfect ratio of mousse to whipped cream and it had a deep, dark rich chocolate flavor. Perfect ending to a lovely lunch. Total bill with a drink was $37.
311 Broad St