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Reviews

Sam Oh Jung

After spending a day at Siesta Keys Beach I found myself wanting some Korean food. Unfortunately it was already late by the time we were leaving and traveling back to Tampa to a Korean restaurant there would take too long. Some searching online helped us find Sam Oh Jung in Bradenton (thanks to Coty S. for reviewing it) and we redirected our course that way. We arrived pretty late (around 9:25PM) and they close at 10PM, but service and food did not suffer despite this circumstance, a true mark of good service.

We ordered two Korean entrees, their Galbi and Dak Bulgogi (around the average price of $20 for each). The food came after only a short wait. The Galbi ribs were heavenly, each bite left you wanting more. It came perfectly off the bone and even the onions that were in the sizzling platter were satisfying.  The Dak Bulgogi tasted more like smoked chicken, it was pretty good as well, however it was no match against the Galbi. This restaurant is actually known more for their sushi, but we did not try any during our visit.

Galbi

Dak Bulgogi

We were the last people in the restaurant and they were very polite to us during our entire stay. I am happy to know that a place like this exists in Bradenton and during visits to Siesta Keys or Lido Beach in Sarasota I now know where I can go to get my Korean fix.

Sam Oh Jung on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: Sam Oh Jung

Address: 6032 14th St W Bradenton, FL 34207

Phone #: (941) 755-3568

Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/sushi-sam-oh-jung-bradenton

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Reviews

Cuenelli’s Peruvian Style Rotisserie Chicken

This past weekend my friend and I were hungry and trying to think of a place to have dinner at. We wanted a place that had some good-quality food, affordable prices, and something almost home-cooked. We are some picky eaters, but after some thinking I finally thought of a spot we could eat at: Cuenelli’s Peruvian Style Rotisserie Chicken.

A small restaurant located next to Green Iguana in Riverview in the Winthrop Plaza, Cuenelli’s has been around for some time now but is still unknown to many Tampa Bay residents. Offering many Peruvian specialties at affordable prices (usually under $10) on their menu, such as Papa la Huancaina (a Peruvian salad of boiled yellow potatoes in a spicy cream sauce), Lomo Saltado (grilled sirloin with onions and tomatoes, served with rice and french fries), and Bisteck a lo Pobre (Palomilla steak served with rice, beans, fried egg, french fries, and plaintains). They also have several desserts, such as Flan, Tres Leches, Churros, and various specialties during the weekend.

When my friend and I arrived we were able to choose where we wanted to sit. The server was patient as I explained the menu to my friend and we ordered Inca Cola (a lemon verbana-flavored soda) to drink. Another popular drink at Cuenelli’s and many Peruvian restaurants is Chicha (a purple corn soft drink which people rave about it though I have never personally tried it). My friend finally decided to order their Bisteck a lo Pobre ($10.95) and I ordered their Chicken Sandwich ($6.99). The wait time was pretty short for our meals.

My friend’s Bisteck a lo Pobre looked so good that I had to make sure I showed my readers. The palomilla steak is pretty big as you can see. He had a hard time eating it by himself and there have been plenty of times when I have ordered this and not been able to finish my food. My friend ate his food one thing at a time, but I believe that the best way to eat this entree is to break the yolk and mix everything together. There have been days when I was feeling sick and this meal made me feel way better and energized.

My Chicken Sandwich was fantastic. The chicken was tender and easy to chew, it just melted in my mouth. The lettuce, tomatoes, and onions inside added even more flavor to a well seasoned chicken. I added a little extra mayonnaise to make it a little more moist. Although this photograph may make it seem like the sandwich was small, it was loaded with chicken and I actually was only able to finish half of this sandwich despite how hungry I was. The french fries taste homemade (without too much salt and a nice soft interior) and are an excellent complement to many of the choices at Cuenelli’s.

Service was great and the waiter made sure to constantly check on our drinks and to ask us how our meal was. My friend was really impressed with the food and will be coming back soon. I know I will.

Cuenelli's Peruvian Style Rotisserie Chicken on Urbanspoon

Restaurant name: Cuenelli’s Peruvian Style Rotisserie Chicken

Address: 6260 Winthrop Town Center Ave. Riverview, FL 33578

Phone #: (813)681-7773

Hours: Monday closed, Tuesday through Saturday 11am to 9pm, Sunday 12pm-8pm

Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/cuenellis-peruvian-style-rotisserie-chicken-riverview

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Reviews

Jasmine Thai (Brandon)

Jasmine Thai in Brandon is a totally different experience from Jasmine Thai on Dale Mabry. I don’t think the places even have the same owner because the Brandon location has its own website. The Brandon location happens to be one of my favorite Thai places in town. Service is always prompt and food has always been excellent on all my visits. The restaurant has a very quiet atmosphere, even answering your cell phone feels like an unwritten taboo. I probably wouldn’t take many friends, but instead choose this place for a date or for a single visit.

Usually the place is not too packed and getting a seat is not too hard. During lunch they have a three course meal where you get soup, your entree, and some dessert for under $10. For Dinner prices go up a few dollars, but for the most part the meal stays under $10. I normally run the bill up a little higher because I love their Chicken Coconut Soup ($2.95) and it is quite hard to resist it. Their Thai Tea is also of good quality, but because of the price of Thai Tea at restaurants ($1.95 here) I usually save my Thai Tea cravings for visits to The Wat Thai Temple on Sundays ($1 Thai Tea).

Chicken Coconut Soup

Chicken Pad Thai

Their Chicken Pad Thai ($9.95)  is almost always perfect and they give you a large portion as well. I never leave this place hungry. They also handle to-go orders well and quality is not effected if you are in rush and can’t dine-in. They have a handful of desserts and my favorite choices are Coconut Ice Cream, Crunchy Banana Coins, and Jasmine’s Banana (Banana Coins with Coconut Ice Cream).

Jasmine Thai on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: Jasmine Thai

Address: 1947 W Lumsden Rd. Brandon, FL 33511

Phone #: (813) 662-3635

Website: http://jasminethaibrandon.com/

Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/jasmine-thai-restaurant-brandon

Categories
Food Tours Reviews

Carlos Eats Pizza Tour Stop 1: Wize Guyz Pizza

It has done in the past and now I will be reviving an old tradition to search for the best pizza around Tampa Bay. No location will be overlooked in the search (even that spot you drive by all the time, but never stop to check out). I will report on my findings in different neighborhoods (starting with my own) and hopefully find the best pizza spots around Tampa Bay in the process. If you would like to recommend a spot to me feel free to e-mail me or leave a comment.

Our first stop in this tour: Wize Guyz Pizza

Located right next to the AMC Regency 20 movie theater in Brandon, I have been past this place a million times, but never stopped inside. Holding an impressive five star rating on Yelp with pleased reviewers I decided to give it a shot today. Upon entering I was greeted by the cashier with a smile. I decided to order a slice of pepperoni pizza with a small fountain drink ($1.50) with the total coming to $4.50. The place was pretty empty with only one other customer inside. The fountain drink was pretty good quality, it did not taste like seltzer but like real Coca-Cola.

The pizza was not screaming eat me by looking at it, but smelled pretty good. It was slightly greasy, with some spots here and there, but nothing too bad. The slice was pretty big, I think two slices of this would get a hungry person full. The crust was soft and just right to me. The pepperoni was not very appetizing, I think the pizza would have been better as a plain cheese pizza. The pizza also was not very warm, maybe it would have been better if it was fresh. Overall the pizza was just decent, but I have certainly had better. I have heard their calzones are good, but this is not a calzone tour is it? I left pretty disappointed.

Wise Guys Pizza on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: Wize Guyz Pizza

Address: 2498 W Brandon Blvd. Brandon, FL 33511

Phone #: (813) 643-1200

Website: http://www.wizeguyzpizzeria.com/

Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/wize-guyz-pizza-brandon

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Site Updates

Best of the Bay 2010

Vote Carlos Eats for Best Local Blogger on Creative Loafing’s Best of the Bay 2010 awards.

You can vote here.

Thank you for your time!

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Food Holidays

National S’mores Day

To celebrate National S’mores Day (every year on August 10th), my nephew and I made chocolate s’mores. Here are the pictures from our adventure:

Making the S’Mores.

After they came out of the oven.

A very happy nephew of mine.

We thought the s’more made a funny face shape.

Special thanks to Foodimentary for notifying me about this occasion and for teaching me that the 1st recorded version was in 1929 in a Girl Scouts’ Field Manual.

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Reviews

Pupuseria CentroAmericana

Pupusas are a way of life in California. When you’re driving down the street you can find them almost anywhere on each block. They go well with breakfast, lunch, and dinner and make the perfect late-night snack as well. Most people in Florida don’t know what a pupusa is and giggle when they hear “poo” in its name. This weekend I took two friends to perhaps the only pupuseria in Tampa called Pupuseria CentroAmericana.

Located on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, the restaurant certainly fits a hole-in-the-wall look, but then those places are usually the best places to get something to eat. Upon entering the blue and white building we found a booth right near the entrance and had a seat. A server came out and brought us our menus. They took our order for drinks as I explained the different items on the menu to my friends. Friend #1 ordered a horchata (rice-water cinnamon drink that I introduced to her at the Taco Bus) and Friend #2 had a Coca-Cola (they come by the bottle…but honestly I don’t think it would go well with the food there). They also have different fruit juices available, but we didn’t try any. I stuck with a water because I’m trying to save money at the moment.

It took us some time to decide what we wanted to eat, but the waitress was patient with us. Friend #1 decided to have their Ham Special ($7.50), which comes with a type of hard cheese (called Queso Fresco), sour cream, refried beans, fried plantains, two eggs, and tortillas. Friend #2 ordered the Steak breakfast combo #40 ($7.50), which comes with everything that is in the Ham Special (minus the ham). They also both ordered a pupusa ($2.00 each) with refried beans and cheese mixed together. I ordered two pupusas ($2.00 each), one with cheese and one with refried beans mixed with cheese. In addition, I ordered a side of sour cream ($1.00) and refried beans ($1.75) so my total would only come to $6.75. Quite a deal!

Friend #1’s Ham Special.

Steak Special #40

Both their breakfast orders came out before the pupusas and were making my mouth water! Friend #2 noted that his steak had some good seasoning on it, I was suspecting it was maybe Carne Asada…but I wasn’t sure, I will try it for myself sometime in the future. Before I knew it the pupusas came out and they looked delicious! Nice and big, not too greasy.

The pupusas were excellent; I couldn’t tell the difference between these and those in California. I attacked those pupusas with all my hunger, but just like those in California they were heavy and made me full fast. The cheese was excellent and the mixed pupusa was fantastic, the refried beans were certainly homemade and not the canned kind you find in many Florida Mexican restaurants these days. I was glad I didn’t order extra food. My friends could barely finish their food, but I’m glad they ordered regular breakfast as well so they could play it safe in case they didn’t like pupusas.

Both my friends commented on how much they liked pupusas and my mission was  successful! Now to take my other friends here…

Pupuserie and Cafeteria Centro on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: Pupuseria & Cafeteria CentroAmericana

Address: 2504 West Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Tampa, FL 33607

Phone #: (813) 874-1248

Hours: 9am-8pm, Closed Thursdays

Website: http://pupuseriacentroamericana.com/

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Polls

Poll: Best Boba Slushie?

It’s a common debate. What is the best boba slushie/smoothie flavor? Voice your opinion below.

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Reviews

Gino’s Revisited

As I said before, my friends said we would return and a few weeks back we finally did return to Gino’s Restaurant & Bar. This time I came ready with my camera. The restaurant wasn’t as busy earlier in the day and we had the same server as last time, with great service still present. I ordered a Cheeseburger with Onion Rings ($9) and my friend ordered their Gnocchi with Grilled Chicken ($16), which also came with some bread and salad.

My cheeseburger was perfectly on par with all my other visits  to Gino’s (with Cheddar cheese oozing over it) and the Onion Rings were also just as good as always. Still maintaining that crunchy and juicy taste. The onions, lettuce, and tomato on the burger were also fresh and although I’m not a big fan of pickles I usually eat mine when I am dining at Gino’s.

The Gnocchi with Grilled Chicken had a nice and thick, creamy sauce and for my first time trying it I enjoyed it very much. The Grilled Chicken was also excellent, fitting  perfectly with this entree.

The bread that came with the Gnocchi was pretty good, a little too much garlic but still quite appetizing.

The salad that came with the Gnocchi Grilled Chicken…you really do get a full meal for the price.

My friend and I had nothing to do for the next few hours and were trying to kill time and the waiter eventually talked us into having their Bananas Foster over Edy’s Vanilla Ice Cream ($9)…we couldn’t resist after how good it was last time.

The whipped cream was excellent and the ice cream and bananas were fresh and perfectly ended this great visit to Gino’s. Once again we were greatly impressed with what Gino’s had to offer us. I am sure whenever a burger or Italian craving hits us again we will find ourselves again at Gino’s Restaurant and Bar.

Gino's Bar on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: Gino’s Restaurant and Bar

Address: 10006 North Armenia Avenue Tampa, FL 33612

Phone #: (813) 933-1089

Websitehttp://www.ginosrestaurantbar.com/

Foursquare: http://foursquare.com/venue/1849405

Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/ginos-bar-and-restaurant-tampa

Categories
Home-Cooked Meals

Feast your eyes on the meal my Aunt made via Twitpic

via Feast your eyes on the meal my Aunt made on Twitpic.