Tag Archives: Florida

Gulf Coasting: The Grouper Reuben at Billy’s Stone Crab and Seafood

Grouper Reuben at Billy's

Without my quite realizing it until recently, the grouper reuben has become ubiquitous along Florida’s Gulf Coast — or, at least, the relative sliver of it that I frequent. I’ve seen it on menus in Sarasota, in Naples, in Clearwater, in St. Petersburg, in Tampa and now in Tierra Verde, a long isthmus separating St. Pete Beach from Fort Desoto Park, home to many a sprawling community of condos, a few marine supply stores, and Billy’s Stone Crab and Seafood, a little gem of a place tucked alongside an inlet from the Gulf. Continue reading

Gulf Coasting: Pulled Pork at Snootie’s

Snootie's BBQ

“If you have a picky eater, they haven’t tried our pork yet.”

The folks behind Snootie’s BBQ are living the dream. From a brief conversation with the man who served me a delicious pulled pork sandwich, I gathered the following about their annual calendar: Halloween is their food truck’s final day of business in Sandusky, Ohio. Following that, the crew pulls up stakes and heads south to Tampa, where they set up shop through April at Bearss Groves near Lake Magdalene. I’ve had made many fruit and vegetable purchases at the Groves, a fairly extensive covered farmer’s market. I’ve also eaten many barbecue sandwiches at Snootie’s, and I further knew that they were native Ohioans, like me, from the hip, industrialized, Lake Erie side of the state. But I’d never really heard their “story,” so to speak, preferring for the last few years to grumble to myself how much I’d like to be living in Ohio during those months when Florida becomes a tropical inferno where the air itself exudes sweat, and to be here in Tampa when Ohio enters its annual ice age. Continue reading

Gulf Coasting: The Veal Schnitzel Reuben at Mr. Dunderbak’s

Breaded veal cutlet, Thousand Island, sauerkraut and swiss on grilled rye.

Breaded veal cutlet, Thousand Island, sauerkraut and swiss on grilled rye.

I know I’m not the only one who watched the Berlin episode of “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” and was totally sold on schnitzel. Right? Not the only one who thought to myself, “Pounded, tenderized, breaded, deep-fried veal, and somehow I’ve never given this dish much thought,” right?

On another note, it’s a great feeling when you discover that “signature” item on a menu, and you know it’s what you will go to that restaurant for, you almost come to identify that place with the meal and nothing else. It might be the crispy szechuan pork at Rice Bowl in Tallahassee, or the lamb tibs at Dukem in Washington, D.C. In this case, it is my sandwich discovery of the year in the Tampa area: the Veal Schnitzel Reuben at Mr. Dunderbak’s. Continue reading

Cubans in D.C.: A Random Sampling

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There are two prominent claimants to the title of Home of the Cuban Sandwich in the U.S., and neither is the District of Columbia. Naturally, one is Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. The other is Ybor City, a historic district located just north of downtown Tampa, Florida, notable for its roots as a cigar-producing company town and as a first stop for immigrants arriving from Cuba and elsewhere. Ignoring the obvious disagreement over the true birthplace of the sandwich itself, the rival locales agree on these base ingredients: roasted pork, ham, pickles and mustard on Cuban bread. Otherwise, Ybor’s inclusion of salami, a result of the presence of Italian immigrants in the area, would seem to be the lone sandwich-related point of contention.

Although we’ve done an unhealthy amount of reportage on the Cubano on this blog, it has all been courtesy of my brother Chris, a Tampa resident and author of our Gulf Coasting column. We have yet to spotlight any of the fantastic versions available here in Our Nation’s Capital, meaning that until this week I had no excuse to eat numerous heavy, pork-laden sandwiches in a single weekend. This situation has now been happily resolved, and so, with some help from our resident Cuban sandwich expert and without further ado, here is a somewhat random sampling of a few of our favorite Cuban sandwiches in D.C. Continue reading

Gulf Coasting: Datz’s Chicken and Waffle BLT

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The Chicken and Waffle BLT… kind of.

BY CHRISTOPHER NANK, GULF COAST CORRESPONDENT

“We don’t have that anymore.”

Heartbreak. The the last thing a questing diner wants to hear is exactly what I was told upon taking a seat at Datz and ordering the South Tampa gastro-deli’s Chicken and Waffle BLT. I know Datz, a popular destination among locals and visiting luminaries for brunch, sandwiches and inventive cocktails, regularly rotates items in and out of their menu. But considering the recent local fascination with chicken and waffles, not to mention the fact that mere moments before placing my order I had spotted one of the sandwiches being bussed through the dining area, I admit to being a little nonplussed. Why remove an item so obviously in demand?

Perhaps sensing my desperation, our server mercifully agreed to cobble one together by making several alterations to the Smokey and the Bird, substituting fried for smoked chicken and two waffle sections (not the ideally sized for this purpose) for a sourdough bun. Sigh. So it is. Continue reading