Before the calendar turns to 2015, let’s reminisce about the finer things that food in 2014 had to offer (click on the picture for recipes and blog posts).
Favorite Pasta Recipes
Favorite Bread Recipes
Some Other Favorites of the Year:
Favorite Restaurant Hot Sauce
Little Greek’s version excites. It burns. And it is made from carrots. Can it get any more fabulous than that?
The Always a Bridesmaid of Food
Apples. I’ve always enjoyed a good sour apple. I’ve even pushed it off the deep end into a pile of peanut butter at times. This year I used a lot more apples in savory dishes than I ever had before. I found myself strangely craving the depth and dichotomy they bring to fall dishes.
Best Banh Mi
Green Mint Asian Grill’s Tofu Banh Mi
Best Vegan Biscuits and Gravy
The Corner Store
Best Fruit Drink
Naga Tea (and it ain’t close)
Best Breakfast Restaurant Concept:
Alright, let me pitch it. We’ll take an old saw mill and turn it into a restaurant. Then we will put huge griddles on the table and let people cook their own pancakes. Vegan? No problem, we’ll have a batter for those weirdos. Gluten free? Let’s do a batter for them too. Vegetarian breakfast meat? We got you covered. The Old Spanish Sugar Mill Grill and Griddle House knows how to make breakfast unique and fun.
Best Roti (Whatever the Hell that is)
I didn’t know what a roti was, so I never sought it out. Thanks to one of J-Fur’s co-workers we were treated to a Caribbean cuisine experience courtesy of Caribbean Crown. It was here I tasted my first roti (sort of like a thick burrito). It was here that I returned for my second, third and fourth rotis as well.
Worst You Get What You Pay For Restaurant
Cigar City Brewpub, Prime Bar and Gio Fabulous (tie). My hard earned cash didn’t seem to go as far at these three places. The food, especially at the Brewpub, was good. It just wasn’t worth the price.
Best Vegan Sandwich
The VLT at Cafe Hey. I’ve made many a VLT at home and it just never tasted as good as Cafe Hey’s version. Is it the Lightlife Bacon they use? Or does the secret lie in the Cuban bread it is served in? Guess I’ll have to do a little more investigating in 2015.
Loveliest Lunch Date
Ciccio Cali. The lunch prices give you a chance to taste the wonderful array of flavors that the menu offers without feeling ripped off. Their night time prices get a little to rich for my blood.
Ciccio Cali. I’ve never actually eaten brunch here. I only say this because they pull their wraps off the menu during weekend brunch (the most likely time I would be visiting). Because of that, I never eat Ciccio Cali (except during the summer when teachers have off school).
Best Vegan Pizza
Cappy’s deep dish with artichokes and spinach, hold the cheese. They know me at Cappy’s because this pizza is a unique one and I’ve ordered it so much. It is so worth every last bite.
Best Woodfired Pizza
900 Degrees Woodfired Pizza. I don’t ever do Woodfired Pizza but on the one occasion I did this year 900 Degree is where I went. It was much better than I expected.
Most Inventive Donuts
The Frosty Llama. Fresh, warm and a variety of flavors. Some of the profits also goes to build schools and they have awesome decorations and t-shirts.
What Breadsticks Should be
Olga’s Bakery. These don’t look like any breadsticks I’ve ever seen before.
Most Tatery Tots
Brick House Tavern and Tap
Most Mundane Place I Ended Up Again and Again
Eatery 41. I just want to go to Capital Tacos for the food. My co-workers want to go here for the space. I usually lose out.
Yummiest Vegan Treat
365 Caffe Italiano Fruit Gelato. It is so creamy I have a hard time believing it is vegan. But I’ve asked. Four times.
Vegetarian Restaurant of the Year
Capital Tacos. One of my ex-co-workers constantly took to Facebook to bitch about how Capital Tacos messed up her take out order over and over. After the fourth or fifth time, she announced that she was boycotting them in favor of Moe’s or Tijuana Flats. I figured that any place good enough for her to boycott is worth me checking out. I researched the menu and realized they had two vegetarian options. Immediately Z-Bot and I loaded into the car and drove all the way over to Land O’ Lakes to check it out. Once inside, the whimsical little restaurant stole my heart. From its homemade sodas, unique flavor combinations, map with pushpins to mark how far you’ve traveled to eat there and furniture made from wooden palettes, I was in love. I wanted to like the place without even trying the food. But ultimately, that is what I was there for. I wasn’t making the drive just for the decor, I needed the food to be good as well. I ordered the portobello burrito and purchased an avocado one to take home to J-Fur. It only took a few bites for me to realize these burritos are top notch (and that anyone willing to give them up for Moe’s or Tijuana Flats must have a real aversion to things that taste good). The only burrito in Tampa that comes close to equalling the flavor of these two is the tofu version at Taco Bus. Everything else, pshaw…child’s play. Capital Tacos chips and salsa, the former which is served in an IKEA bucket, and the guacamole are my favorites in Tampa. There is no where I’d rather eat chips. No guacamole I’d rather have. And no salsa (although I do love that red sauce from Taco Bus). I’ve visited Capital Tacos ten times this year. That is no small statement considering it is about a thirty minute drive from my house…one way. That is why it is my restaurant of the year.