After hearing nothing but rave reviews for Wimauma, my friends and I decided to host a small bridal brunch there for a friend of ours. We were thrilled that there was no charge for a semi-private space (6 of us total), and the food prices seemed pretty reasonable for South Tampa. When I arrived 15 minutes early to set out place cards, I had to ask for water to be put at every seat, very minor and no big deal. We ordered our meals at about 12:45, and Amy, the chef’s wife came out to say hello. We were then left alone until 1:15, when the bride’s glass of water ran empty, one of us peeked into the main dining area only to see that the other 4 tables were eating and being served. At 1:25 we were informed that the kitchen had “run out of potatoes”, would it be okay if they subbed fries and sautéed them with peppers and onions. Sure, no problem, we’d just like to eat. Shortly there after, the manager came out and said that Amy had run to the store and purchased potatoes, and that it would be only a few moments longer. My seat gave me a pretty full view of the kitchen where I saw Amy pulling biscuits out of a Pillsbury Grand’s freezer bag and placing them on a cookie sheet. Within moments all but one of our meals came out. I had ordered eggs over easy with biscuits, sausage gravy, and grits. My eggs were hard as rocks, and biscuits had zero resemblance to the buttermilk biscuits I was promised on the menu. I said nothing about those, but did say something about my eggs being way overcooked. Amy came out and said she would simply have the cook make new eggs, but I should eat everything else on my plate. When I said I really wanted to eat it all together, and that the rest of my meal was actually pretty cold (gravy was already separating), she said “oh, okay, that’s not how I like it!”. She proceeded to bring me out overcooked eggs again. When I again said something, she again tried to leave me with the cold gravy and grits! The next things that came out of Amy’s mouth were shocking: “No, it’s not cold. We’ve microwaved it”. This was after she said “Well I didn’t want to be here today”; and “Nobody can cook eggs perfectly, they won’t ever be like your mom’s” after stating for the third time her cook had not made eggs over easy, but hard fried eggs. Every diner that charges $2.95 seems to be able to cook eggs over easy, and she’s charging $12! I’d assume they could be cooked properly. I was more offended though to hear that she had admittedly MICROWAVED MY BISCUITS! Their website even says: “Food is perishable and ephemeral. It’s greatest expressions are still destined to be consumed immediately upon creation”. I’m not so sure where the microwave fits into that food theory… When I refused to eat the food, she insisted to make me new ones so that I could be charged. Instead of removing the foul meals (mine was not the only one), she insisted that she bring us a series of desserts. Some were quite delicious, but her indignant manner with us was so disgraceful, I’ll never go back. Mimosas made with concentrate, freezer biscuits, and over cooked eggs are things I can manage from home. Our meal here cost more than 4 pitchers of sangria and more than a dozen tapas at another local restaurant. I wish I had followed the advice of this article.
Here's to Cigar City for giving us a brewry to be proud of. Here's to Tampa. Now pass the Jai Alai.
Saigon Deli has moved into a new location at 3858 W. Waters Ave. It is right across the street from the old location. Behind Zaxby's Chicken and next to the La Quinta Hotel. Don't go to the old place because it's the imposter one! BEWARE!
I'm glad our event helped in this article :)
Saigon Deli, Tan Phat, Little Saigon, Ddrinkz... Banh Mi powerhouses in Tampa. CL has a St. Pete slant sometimes...
Glad you're enjoying the reviews; we are going to include a key and/or a discussion on the star ratings soon. I'm trying to capture the dining experience in the narrative to give context to the ratings which are, of course, subjective. I'm hoping the descriptions give readers a sense of the cuisine and whether they'd find it appealing (or not). I'd also refer you to my intro column "Calling All Hedonists" for some insight into the evaluation process. In general terms, the stars are 5=World Class, 4=Excellent, 3=Good, 2=Fair, 1=Poor.
We're enjoying your reviews...they're a welcome addition to the local food press. Have you published a rubric for your star rating system? It would be interesting to better understand your criteria.
Great description of the experience at the Thai Temple. I don't suppose I'm the first to point out that Palm River Road runs on the south side of the Palm - not the Hillsborough - River?
@pltctytc Say it ain't so!
so much for tampabay bagels.....CLOSED
i thought there was something going on last time i was there and the cases were empty and bagels few
I've seen this in Vegetarian Times and other magazines many times over the years (and oh god, don't even mention pinterest et al), so I had a big laugh over how innovative the article writer thought she was being with this triumphant new discovery.
For the record, it is very tasty.
There is a great Polish / Eastern European deli and market in St. Pete: EUROPEAN GOODIES, INC. at 4701 49th Street North, # B, St Petersburg, FL 33709, 727-526-1118, where many of their sausages and pierogies are made in-house. It has been in business for many years and is superb. Lunch is available most days as well.
PIEROGIES & MORE has a good selection too. They are at 6945 66th Street North, Pinellas Park, Fl 33781, 727-546-1525, on the southeast corner of 70th Avenue and 66th Street.
As of this writing (Feb. 04, 2013), I have heard that Baltic Amber Restaurant is closed but that the Sikorski Deli at 12545 Ulmerton Road has expanded. Cannot confirm either of those but call first before venturing out to either one.
Middle Eastern food can be found at CEDAR MARKET at 6531 54th Avenue North, St. Petersburg, FL 33709, 727-546-9687. Try to get there on the days that fresh pita bread and spinach and meat pies are delivered from Tampa. Plus they have reasonably priced olives, cheeses and lebneh (what commercial Greek yogurt wishes it really was), and a large selection of grocery items and spices.
Hope this helps adventuresome cooks to find the ingredients that they need and keeps our local merchants in business.
you have a local WB Cheesemaker in Tampa...Cheeselicious.net!
You should add that it's excellent for kids, too, weekday evenings and lunch time. We bring our 14 month old twins every other week and give them quesadilla kids meals.
Thanks for the info Justin! Adding that to the list now! Can you recommend a dish or two?
Just curious how you left the best Viet restaurant in the bay area off this list...Saigon Deli. The rest of these places pale in comparison.
My indoctrination to Vietnamese food came at the FIRST spot to house Ben Thanh in the KMart shopping center on the corner of 30th Ave N and 34th St. I was so happy to learn that they had reopened on 62nd Ave N a few years later.
Oooooh pink lemonade cake sounds interesting and pretty!
Smothered & covered is my standard, have yet to try them all the way. Enjoy the biscuits & sausage gravy there too.
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