The food abides…

Archive for July, 2012

Vintage Candy @ the Fresh Market…

It is no big secret that I do not have much of a sweet tooth (I’m more of a salt-fiend). Sampling a desert menu item at a new restaurant I’m trying, a bowl of sugary cereal on a Saturday morning or an occasional Ice Cream every once in a blue moon is about as close as I get to consuming sweets on a regular basis.

When I was a kid though, my friends and I used to love to ride our bikes down to the corner drug store for candy and comic books. It’s kind of funny that a good deal of that candy is now considered “vintage.”

Fast-forward to today and I happened to be walking through a local gourmet food and produce store, the Fresh Market and they had the greatest collection of vintage candy I’ve seen in one place since being in that drug store when I was ten years old.

Here you can find Charleston Chews, Tootsie Pop-Drops, Mary Janes, Candy Buttons, Cow-Tails, Pixie Stix, Boston Baked Beans, Lemonheads, Sugar Babies, Big League Chew, Necco Wafers, Bottle Caps, Goldenberg Peanut Chews, Fizzies (not Pop-Rocks, but the real Fizzies!)  and a selection of salt-water taffy that would put many northeast boardwalks to shame.

If you ever get the desire to rot your teeth the way you did when you were a kid, make it a point to visit the Fresh Market and check out this display…


Bubble Bread!

Enjoyed some 4th of July festivities with some very good friends yesterday. Two of them had just returned from vacation in Captiva Island and they managed to procure something very special: the recipe for the Bubble Room’s famous Bubble Bread. I have no idea how they got their hands on this stuff because it’s apparently a closely guarded secret. They made a batch to bring over and we all had the opportunity to try it.

I haven’t been to the Bubble Room since a family vacation to Captiva Island when I was twelve years old and yet this is exactly how I remember it. Comprised of a hearty bread, butter, mayonnaise, spices and a number of different kinds of cheeses, this stuff is basically heart disease on a plate. However, a once-in-a-blue-moon sampling won’t kill anyone (I’m a big proponent of “everything in moderation”). An excellent addition to our traditional 4th of July menu.

Hope everyone out there had a great 4th of July as well.

And remember… the food abides…

Review (sort of) – Snow Crab Night @ the Rack

A group of friends and I had been talking about trying to get together and find an All-You-Can-Eat Snow Crab place for quite some time. I don’t know if it’s that snow crab is out of season or if the economy is just so bad, it doesn’t make fiscal sense for any restaurant to offer it but we’ve had no luck finding a place. We did however run across an advert for the The Rack in Brandon which had a Snow Crab special: 14.99 for 2 lbs of snow crab and 5 for another half pound.  That wasn’t a bad deal and most of us had dined at the Rack’s other location in South Tampa so we decided to give it a shot.

The crab itself was very tasty but as long as it’s not prepared wrong, crab is crab. It was sweet and not at all overcooked or rubbery which is a pitfall some of these places encounter when they’re pushing mass quantities of crab out the door for these specials. Was served with a side of hush-puppies, fries and some corn-on-the cobb, which added to the value.

It was the service that I have to call into question because they did something rather bizarre. It was a Monday night so I wasn’t necessarily in the mood to drink but I always take a look at the beer options just in case someone happens to be carrying something I haven’t tried before. So I asked the server what they had on draft and nothing jumped out at me. Then I asked her what they had in bottles and she said she didn’t know.

“Umm. Is there any way you can find out?”

She comes back a few minutes later with a beer menu but warns me that it’s old. I see a choice I’d like to try. She says they don’t have it. I see another one, they don’t have that either. At this point I am completely over it and like I said, I really didn’t feel like anything alcoholic in the first place so I just ask her to bring me a water and go back to my conversation.

About five minutes later the manager, a big burly guy who looks like he completes in competitive MMA, comes over to the table and says “Sorry about the thing with the beer, I can comp you a glass if you’d like something.”

I respond, “Awesome, can you tell me what you have in bottles.” He replies that he cannot.

At what point is the staff going to figure out that all I want is for someone to go into the cooler, look at what kind of bottled beer they carry and let me know? This just seems like a foreign concept to them. Hell I would even have been okay with going back there myself and looking but to no avail. At this point my friends are starting to get annoyed on my behalf.  

By now I’m completely over it and I’ve now gone on to expend more energy on this than any human being should have to spend. I just look at him and say “Hey man, I’m okay. I really didn’t want to drink tonight anyway” and then I turn around and go back to my conversation for the second time.

This is when it gets weirder. MMA-looking manager just stands over my shoulder for a good two or three minutes. I have no idea if he didn’t understand that I was no longer interested in a beer or if he was insulted that I turned away his free offering. One of my friends noted that at one point we were talking about how I was a critic so it’s possible someone on the staff overheard that and they were trying to head off any negative reviews.

Regardless, the whole experience was just bizarre. Maybe they had an off-night; it was a Monday after all. Either way my evaluation stands; food was great, service was… strange. I hesitate to call it bad, as no one was rude or inattentive at any point. Just strange.

If you’re in the mood for some good snow crab, give them a shot. If you’re looking to drink anything other than Bud Light, look elsewhere because apparently they are not aware of the existence of any other beer which may or may not be stored in their establishment…

Sloppy Joses!

Cooked up some Sloppy Joses for dinner tonight. A Sloppy Jose is essentially a Sloppy Joe but with salsa instead of tomato paste. I find it to be just a little more flavorful and it’s got a nice kick if you use a hot salsa.  Served with tater tots and sautéed baby spinach with a Dos Equis Amber. Except for the beer, it’s like lunch in the third grade! 😉