Hey guys! Hope you're all doing well. I'm super excited to announce that I have started a new blog devoted to Sarasota restaurant reviews - saraSOtasty! My focus will be on the Sarasota area along with the Keys, but I'll also be featuring Tampa and Orlando reviews as well - so if you're ever traveling down South for vacation be sure to check it out!
The picture up top is from my first review of Roy's Hawaiian Cuisine - so yummy! I got the Hawaiian Style Misoyaki Butterfish, and it literally melts in your mouth like butta (no joke). To check out the full review, click here.
And one last thing - I'm planning to make a visit back to Tallahassee at some point this summer! Does anyone have any recommendations for new restaurants that have sprung up that I should check out? I promise I'll review them on this blog afterward (how's that for a bribe?).
I hope all my foodie friends are doing well. I miss ya guys!
Well, my friends, I have to start this - my FINAL post - by saying THANK YOU! Thank you for reading the blog, commenting, emailing me with suggestions, passing the blog along to friends and all the other things you've done to support Tally Foodie over the past year. Without you, I probably would not have continued this venture that I started as just "something fun to do." I hope you've enjoyed reading it as much as I've enjoyed writing it. And if I've gotten you to try even one new place that you didn't know about before - my job is done, and I can close my laptop with a smile on my face!
So I'm sure you're all wondering what is to become of the Tally Foodie blog. After giving it a lot of thought, I've decided NOT to let someone else continue to write the blog. Because it was my vision, I just didn't feel comfortable handing the reins (or the knife and fork, as it were) over to someone else. I hope you can understand. I am going to leave the Tally Foodie blog up on the Interwebs for a while, however, so that you can still peruse the reviews at your leisure and pass it along to friends. I am turning on the comment moderation feature (I seem to get a lot of asian spam comments for some reason) so don't be surprised if your comments aren't posted right away. And I may end up starting a Sarasota food blog sometime in the future. At first, I'm just going to focus on settling in and starting my new job - a girl's gotta have priorities!
But, I didn't want to leave you without some alternatives to turn to. So, if you'd still like to continue reading reviews of Tallahassee restaurants, here are a couple of places to look:
UrbanTallahassee - A website completely dedicated to following the growth and development of the Tallahassee region. Reviews are often posted of new and revamped restaurants in the area.
Urbanspoon - The world's leading provider of time-critical dining data with restaurant reviews from food critics, bloggers and friends. You can find reviews here for Tallahassee and a whole host of other cities throughout the country.
Grubbus - A blog written by Eli, an Austin, TX native who travels frequently to Tallahassee on business. He writes colorful restaurant reviews for both cities.
Le Grand Fromage - A passionate food blog written by Brie, a blogger friend of mine. Many of her posts detail her adventures in cooking, but she also comments on local Tallahassee food shops, events and restaurants from time to time.
Black Coffee & Bourbon - Another blog I found recently through Urbanspoon, who posts Tallahassee restaurant reviews from time to time, along with other miscellaneous musings about his life. His restaurant rating system even looks eerily similar to mine (coincidence???)!
I know I'm irreplaceable - but hopefully one or a few of these sites can fill the empty void that I'll be leaving on your taste buds (*smirks playfully*). I also wanted to leave you with "THE LIST" all the places that have been recommended to me by you - my readers - but that I just hadn't gotten around to trying out and/or reviewing for the blog yet. Maybe it will give you some ideas the next time you can't decide where to go on a Friday or Saturday night! They're listed in alphabetical order, and I've provided links to their websites where available:
Another Broken Egg Cafe
Boss Oyster (Apalachicola)
Dog Et Al
Gordo's Cuban Food
Grandaddy's Barbeque (Thomasville)
Jim & Milt's Bar-B-Q
Mom & Dad's Italian Restaurant
Moto Sushi & Grill
One Fresh Stir Fry
Ray's Steel City Saloon
Sumo Sabi Sushi
The Dogg House
Ted's Montana Grill
Feel free to add other suggestions in the comment area as well! At this point, I think all that's left to say is - try new places and treasure your local favorites! I will miss you all.
Happy Eating Tallahassee!
Well, my fellow foodies, this is it. My final Tallahassee restaurant review. But never fear - I've got one more post coming up after this one that will discuss the fate of the Tally Foodie blog, my final thoughts on the Tallahassee restaurant scene and some alternate places to look for the latest reviews. So....stay tuned!
On our last Friday night in Tallahassee, I made reservations for us a A La Provence - the restaurant that used to be Aria and that used to be Albert's Provence before that. I'm not sure what all the name changing/menu changing/ownership changing means - but I'm thinking it was for the best. Hubby and I ate here once when its moniker was Aria, and while the food was good, it was nothing to write home about. However, A La Provence should really be considered in a class of it's own when it comes to Tallahassee dining.
I have to start by talking about their truly exceptional service. No where else in Tallahassee have I been treated with such attention or been given such detailed explanations of the food and wine offerings! The servers don't just place the food down and run - they present the dish to you, making your mouth water as they divulge each and every creative ingredient that is waiting to delight you on your plate. They check on you often to make sure you are happy - but not so often that they become a pest. Water glasses are filled expertly - sometimes even by the hostess when she isn't busy seating patrons. It's as if each employee is acutely tuned in to the needs of each individual customer - and fulfills them before you even have the chance to speak. To be served in such a manner is a treat and an honor. Hats off to you, A La Provence.
Next, on to the decor. It has an all at once old fashioned, yet homey feel. With a large stone fireplace area, various landscape and still life paintings and country chairs - it feels almost as though I've stepped into my Grandmother's house. Not that I really minded. There's just something about Grandma's house that makes you feel special - you never have to lift a finger, you're served food till you're stuffed and then someone else cleans everything up! Not too shabby. But if A La Provence did want to step into the 21st century at some point, I wouldn't mind a more modern take on the place. In fact, it may bring a more youthful slant to their customer base. I can see how this place wouldn't be "cool" to bring a date to. But nonetheless, I ain't mad at 'em!
You can't be mad when you're served food as wonderful as this. A La Provence bills themselves as a "fine dining restaurant offering French Classics and Euro-American cuisine." We were told their menu changes seasonally to reflect the vegetables, fruits and seafood that are fresh at the time, although they do have a few "staples" that they always offer - these included steaks, lamb and duck.
To start off our night, we were served a complimentary "Amuse Bouche" - a French term which translates to "amuse the mouth." It was a little bite-sized treat that our server explained was to "open and delight our palates." On this night it was made with parsley, carrot, radish and mozzarella cheese in a light sauce made with tobasco, cayenne pepper and lemon juice. And open the palate it did! It was a spicy, crunchy little kicker that made both of us open our eyes in surprise and nod vigorously at each other while uttering things like "mmm" and "oooh."
Next, we were served fresh Ciabatta bread with both a sweet cream butter and an olive tapenade made with chopped olives, capers, anchovies and olive oil. While I tried the butter, it was cold (which made it hard to knife and spread) and didn't taste very sweet at all. I would have loved a good room-temperature honey butter instead. But the olive tapenade - now that's where it was at! It was salty and tangy and yumdillyicious! I think we pretty much scraped the bottom of that bowl clean that's how good it was!
As an appetizer, we ordered their version of a Caprese Salad. Made with tomatoes, house-made mozzarella, green and black olives and fresh greens it was lightly topped with olive oil, salt and pepper. Honestly, I have never tasted mozzarella like this - it was so utterly light and fluffy, it was divine. Sometimes mozzarella can have a slightly slimy texture (which I know a lot of people like, and I personally don't mind either), but this mozzarella just knocked my socks off. You gotta just try it for yourself!
As if we needed any more food at this point, I ordered the Pistachio Crusted Rainbow Trout as my entree, which came with an heirloom tomato confit, calloo spinach, spring herbs and a tomato-horseradish vinaigrette. This fish was cooked to absolute perfection. It was moist and melty on the inside and the outside of the skin was cooked to a crispy, flaky crust with the pistachios providing a bit of extra salty deliciousness. When combined with the tangy-ness of the vinaigrette and the mushiness of either the tomatoes confit or spinach, it was a delectable combination of textures and flavors. Although I couldn't seem to put my fork down, the trout eventually defeated me. It was a rather large piece of fish, and in hindsight, hubby and I probably could have split it and been just fine. It was the perfect summer dish, with light and bright flavors and a consistency that just melts in your mouth.
Hubby ordered the Veal Chop with Grilled Peaches, which I also thought was a fine harmony of flavors. Served with a succotash made with peas, corn and shallots and topped with a homemade mushroom sauce, it was an excellent pairing of savory and sweet with the succotash providing a nice crunch. Hubby didn't quite care for the grilled peaches (I think he thought they were too girly), but to me, a bite of veal wasn't complete without a bite of the grilled peach that was so a-mushingly good!
Needless to say, we were sad that we visited this new found gem on our last weekend in Tallahassee. If we had eaten there sooner, we probably would have spent many a Friday or Saturday date night enjoying the various delectable delights that A La Provence has to offer. And don't be fooled into thinking that because the service and food were so outstanding that the prices were astronomical. The amuse bouche and the bread were free. My trout was $22 and hubby's veal was $28. Again, not too shabby. Simply put, it was an utterly special way to end our time in Tallahassee.
Tally Foodie Rating:
Atmosphere - B
Taste - A+
Presentation - A+
Service - A++
Price - $$
A La Provence
1415 Timberlane Road
Tallahassee FL 32312
Awhile ago, I got a note from an FSU reader, who recommended I try out a whole bunch of places on the "campus" side of town. My eye was immediately drawn to one name on the list - The Crepe Vine. My love of crepes began on my honeymoon to Tahiti, where hubby and I visited La Roulettes - roaming carts of cuisine that set up shop after dark in the middle of town, offering local fare straight from the back of their trucks. We were told it was the best way to sample true Tahitian food. After each meal, we would inevitably end up at a crepe truck ordering dessert - chocolate and banana was our poison. They were absolutely TO DIE FOR. So when I saw that there was a creperie in town, it definitely piqued my interest. However, hubby and I never seemed to be able to make it over there.
Then one day, I was driving down Monroe St. after picking up some dry cleaning, and a wonderful young girl knocked on my window with a 25% off coupon to what else - but The Crepe Vine's newest location! I was thrilled. This spot was much closer to our house, and what with the moving and all - it was going to be much easier for us to test it out. So, that Sunday, I woke hubs up early to get our crepe on.
As we walked in the door, I was immediately taken aback by the modern-ness of the space. Pale yellow walls exist in stark contrast to black tables, chairs, couches and bar stools. One whole wall is dedicated to what I'm going to call "crepe space" - where the cooks work their magic. I'm not sure why, but I expected to be waited on. However, that was not the case. You step up to a cash register where a staff member hands you a large menu. What with hubby's poor decision making abilities I was afraid we were never going to order! They've got breakfast crepes filled with things like eggs, bacon, ham and sausage, and they've also got savory crepes (that are pretty much like sandwich wraps) filled with meats, cheeses and veggies. Not to mention salads, parfaits and yogurt bowls. But my eyes went directly to the sweet crepes, because seriously people - is there anything else that should really be in a crepe, but ooey, gooey, sugary deliciousness? I think not.
I quickly ordered up the Oober Goober which was filled with banana, whipped cream, peanut butter and topped with Nutella (a chocolate hazelnut spread). Then I looked over at hubby who was still sweating over his decision. It was then that I noticed the T-zers on the menu. They were billed as a smaller portion, so I thought that would give hubby the chance to try a few different things. He jumped at it. And after a few more agonizing moments, he selected the English T-zer (filled with bacon, eggs, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, spinach and cajun remoulade sauce) and the Mackavelli T-zer (filled with fresh strawberries, Nutella and topped with white chocolate syrup). When it came to drinks, I asked if they had milk or juice and was told that they only had Powerade, bottled water and soft drinks. I thought it a bit strange that a place who relied so heavily on breakfast service would not offer milk or juice to drink. I frowned and ordered a water while hubby grabbed a Powerade. (**Side note - we did go back a week later, and they did have orange and apple juice offerings. I guess enough people asked for it, so they figured they'd better get some. Still no milk though. I mean, come on. Anything with peanut butter, chocolate and bananas better come with some dang milk!**)
Now, the only complaint I had heard about the Crepe Vine was the long wait to get your food. I mean, they're just crepes, right? Throw all the stuff on the flat little pancake and wrap it up, right? How long could it take? So, I pulled out the cell phone and started the timer. We sat down at 9:06am. They do have a few large screen TVs in the restaurant that you can peruse, however, the sound is turned off and none of them have subtitles, so that was a little strange. So we waited. And waited. And waited. There were 3 people back in the "crepe space" all working on something - but apparently not OUR order. And then at 9:26am, our crepes were served. All in all, it was a 20 min wait for our food. It did seem a bit much.
So once our crepes got to the table, I was sufficiently salivating. I took one look at my Oober Goober and said "woooah, ha, ha!" (evil villain laugh) and then dug in! That sucker literally melted in my mouth. The bananas and whipped cream were so light and mushy and the peanut butter and Nutella offered the perfect nutty compliment. I couldn't get enough. Until I ate about 3/4 of it too fast and felt sick. Then I had to slow down. The one thing I will say about their crepes is that they're almost more flaky than they should be. I like my crepes to have a nice, soft, pancake-like texture, but these are a bit more stiff. Other than that, it was absolute heaven.
Now, let's take a minute to talk about hubby's T-zers. I don't know if you can tell from the pictures, but these things weren't any smaller than their regular crepes! And if they are, the difference is so miniscule that it can't be seen by the naked eye. So we joked that they should call them Same-zers cause they're the exact same size as the other ones. Honestly, I didn't care for his breakfast crepe. For some reason, I've got this idea stuck in my head that crepes should be sweet and the saltiness of the eggs and bacon didn't really work for me. I also didn't particularly enjoy the cajun remoulade sauce, which was more smokey than it was spicy. But hubby didn't seem to mind, and he gobbled it right up. When he moved on to his sweet crepe - I don't know if he was full, or if he had just been poisoned by his taste of the goodness that is the Oober Goober - but he didn't particularly like the Mackavelli. We couldn't quite figure it out, but there was something in that crepe that tasted of coconut - even though that wasn't in any of the ingredients used. Whatever the reason, it just didn't work for him. So he started his "stealth" tactic of stealing bites off of my plate (which isn't so stealthy, by the way). And between the two of us, we tackled what was left of the Goob.
And then I took a nap. A nice, long hibernation-type nap. At the pool. With the Goob rolling around in my belly. It was a good day.
Tally Foodie Rating:
Atmosphere - A
Taste - A (sweet crepes), B (breakfast crepes)
Presentation - A
Service - C (food comes out real slooooow)
Price - $
The Crepe Vine
1304 North Monroe St
Tallahassee FL 32303
Since my go-to BBQ spot, Shane's Rib Shack, has closed down, I thought I should probably try somewhere new to get my pulled pork fix. Piggy's BBQ has been on my list of places to try for a while, and so I thought I'd grab a few friends and stop on by for lunch.
At first glance, Piggy's is everything you'd want a down-home BBQ place to be. Booths lined with brick walls, paintings of pigs, an assortment of old license plates, a chalkboard menu and that smokey smell coating the air. I couldn't wait to place my order! But upon seeing the cafeteria style way in which the food was served, I had my doubts. There's a reason why cafeteria food gets a bad name - normally because nothing ends up cooked exactly right. Some food is cold, some food is burnt and some food is stale. It's just not an ideal situation.
But I stepped right up and ordered a pulled pork sandwich anyway. The friendly lady behind the counter eagerly scooped up a large portion of pulled pork and slapped it onto a white bun, with much of it falling over the edge and onto the plate. I slid down the line and was asked what side item I would like with my meal. After perusing vats of mac 'n cheese, green beans and potato salad, I went with the safe choice - french fries. I then slid to the end of the line where I was informed that a fountain drink was included in my meal (a nice little surprise) and promptly forked over the plastic payment.
As I grabbed a seat at a booth, I noticed my friends had pretty much followed in my footsteps with their orders. Three of us got the pulled pork, and one decided to spring for the sausage plate. I have to note that the pulled pork is also available on Texas Toast, but unlike the honkin' slices you'd get at Shane's, their Texas Toast is like the size of a small piece of garlic bread that comes with a spaghetti plate. One of my friends got the Texas Toast option, but most of his pulled pork ended up on the plate vs. the toast. For more substantial sandwich bookends, I'd highly recommend the bun.
Now, I have to give credit where credit is due - Piggy's pulled pork is DE-LISH! All of us that got the pulled pork basically scarfed it down. And with 5 sauces to choose from to douse your pork, there seemed to be an option for everybody. I chose the Ss-weet sauce for my sandwich, as I liked the tangy, savory kick that it provided. Honestly, I went back and doused my sandwich about 3 times it was that good! My friends also enjoyed the Ooo'ey Hot sauce (which they said wasn't too hot) and the Spice'ay Musta' was perfect on the Sausage, I was told. Now, back to the pork itself. It was hot and melty and even included those wonderful crusty pieces of "bark" that let you know that the pork was smoked RIGHT (aka: not in a slow cooker). The bark is that crispy outer layer of pork that contains all of the incredible spices from the rub. These pieces are arguably the most flavorful part of the pulled pork, and they were plentiful at Piggy's.
Now, if Piggy's had an area where it could improve - it would be the side items. As mentioned in the beginning, they really suffered from the "cafeteria" effect. Two of my friends got the green beans, but said they were overcooked. Another got the mac 'n cheese and said (and I quote) "It's not the best I've ever had. It was pretty cold, actually." And another thought the potato salad was "too mayonnaise-y." I wasn't thrilled with my fries either. They looked like nothing more than Ore-Ida crinkle cut frozen fries that you can pick up at any supermarket. With a pulled pork this good, I'd rather see a nice seasoned fry - something like Five Guy's Cajun Fries or Black Bean's Island Fries - served as a perfect compliment to the smokiness of the pork. A french fry with a nice spicy kick would really punch that plate up a notch.
And my friend who got the sausage was pleased as well. He added onions and peppers on top and seemed perfectly happy to eat the entire thing. I'm not a big sausage person, so I'll just have to take his word for it!
Don't get me wrong, I left utterly satisfied and in need of a nap, even if my french fries were subpar. Piggy's definitely has something goin' on with their pork. But when you go in, instead of a side dish - maybe you should just ask for extra pork!
Tally Foodie Rating:
Atmospere - B
Taste - B+ (can't give an A because of the sides)
Presentation - C (but BBQ is always sloppy)
Service - A (there's no table service, but they get you through the line rather quick)
Price - $
1887 Capital Circle NE
Tallahassee FL 32308
- Fresh Ingredients
- Inventive Combinations
- A little bit of chaos
Plus, I absolutely love the creativity that they use to come up with their menu items! Their sandwiches boast names like The Picnic, The Guac, Zorba, Black Bird, The Spin and The Hummer (it's hummus, turkey, feta, black olives, tomato, onion and lettuce served on rye-pumpernickel with mayo and house dressing - so get your minds out of the gutter people!). And their salads include interesting offerings like the Chicken Tetrazzini, Tuna and Tabouli and Walnut Gorgonzola Salads. Heck - even the breads that they serve their sandwiches on are out of the ordinary - things like Poppy Seed Rolls, Onion Rolls and Pumpernickel Rolls are sure to spice up any sandwich! Cause there's nothing worse than a boring ham and cheese on white bread is there, people? No. That's right. No.
Now, I'm sticking to my guns on #3. I've never been to a spectacular deli that wasn't it's own breed of crazy. Stand in this line! Order at the counter! Wait till we call your number! NO substitutions! Fight to grab a seat! Get your own drink! Order up! I love the hectic energy that comes with a packed place hungry for delicious food. Put a different way - if you walk into a deli and no one is screaming - RUN! There's an old truth that there is beauty in chaos, and it's never more apparent than at a superb deli.
At Hopkins, the chaos is as follows: you stand in line, place your order, grab your cup, get your drink, snag a seat, wait for your name to be called, pick up your order and dig in. The slew of names being shouted from behind the counter let you know that you're eating at a place that's in high demand. JAMIE! BOB! DIANE! RYAN! KATIE! CHELSEA! SAM! MARY! BUSTER! (Seriously, whose name is Buster??)
On this day, a friend and I traded the hubub of the office for the hubub of the deli. We both ordered salads - she picked a Mini Chef's Salad with the house Parmesan Italian Dressing and I chose the Hopkins Cobb Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing. My friend had the right idea ordering the mini, because their portion sizes are off the charts!!! But I absolutely love the cobb salad, and it only comes in a regular size, so I had to do battle with the enormity of it. I'm not ashamed to admit that it always defeats me, but I always put up a good fight!
Her Chef's Salad included lettuce, tomato, carrots, bell pepper, ham, turkey, mozzarella, cheddar cheese, onion and alfalfa sprouts. I'm sure I don't have to tell you again - but all the ingredients were delightfully crisp and fresh and the homemade Parmesan Italian dressing provided a nice tart and tangy kick. My Cobb Salad was made with lettuce, grilled chicken, crumbled bacon, boiled egg, artichoke hearts, tomato, gorgonzola cheese and croutons (I had them hold the onions). I know most people like to do a Cobb with ranch or blue cheese dressing, but honey mustard is my drug of choice. I think the sweetness of the dressing evens out all the saltiness of the various ingredients in the salad. The crispy bacon and seasoned croutons are my favorite parts of this salad - they provide a bit of flavorful, crunchy texture to the dish. Oh - and the artichoke hearts! You don't see them too often on a Cobb, and I like the little zippiness that they bring.
Please, for your own health, check out Hopkins today! If only to hear your name shouted across the restaurant and feel that little flutter in your stomach from knowing that you're about to consume something ridiculously good. JOHN!
Tally Foodie Rating:
Atmosphere - B
Taste - A
Presentation - B+
Service - N/A (there's no table service here)
Price - $
1415 Market Street
Tallahassee FL 32312
Hubby and I love us some good Mexican food. Tex-mex, Cali-mex, Ameri-mex or just good old fashioned Mexican - we love it all! So, when a neighbor told us that their favorite Mexican restaurant in Tallahassee was San Miguel - a place we had never heard of before, we decided to track it down and give it a try!