When you eat out often, like I do, you’ve got to watch what you eat, right? Who knows how much hidden carbs, etc. are in any given dish? Well, here’s a way to ensure you know exactly what you are getting.
This type of antipasto platter is lunch for me sometimes. Sure, it’s probably higher in fat than some dishes, but it’s basically carb-free!
I LOVE the two types of olives pictured here. The Castelvetrano (green olive) has a fresh, green flavor and the flesh is meaty and thick. The other olive pictured here is the Cerignola. It’s a red olive characterized by an almost smoky flavor and is very fleshy, as well.
Combine these outstanding olives with Prosciutto de Parma, Capicola and thinly sliced salami with marinated artichokes, hard goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes and you’ve got a heavenly little snack.
You can find antipasto items in every city, but when I’m at home I generally go to Mazzaro’s for the olives.
Bring a platter the next time one of your friends asks you to go sailing. These are great provisions!
I believe it’s important to balance what you eat each day and not try to eat strictly low-carb, low-fat, low-calorie for every meal. Firstly, it gets very BORING and secondly I don’t want to be one of those stick people with no figure forever. Like the olive, I want a little meat on me. 🙂 Check out one of the best pasta dishes I ate lately:
This dish is a Chianti braised beef ravioli with a mushroom cream sauce that tastes like it has a little kiss of sherry in it. When I order this as an appetizer (locally at Vincenzo’s) the people at my table fight over the last ravioli.
Think about it. How can one go wrong with the combo of braised beef, pasta and a rich cream sauce? It’s a winner.
For the quality of food at Vincenzo’s, the prices are fair, the service is attentive but unobtrusive and every visit I have paid there has been equally satisfying.
My favorite dessert lately? Check out the pic below while I formulate the words to describe this dish…
There’s tiramisu and then there’s this happy cloud of love on a plate. It’s not your typical, customary Italian dessert. If you want to indulge yourself in a bit of a chocolate fantasy, come with me for a moment. Imagine light, chocolate mousse with mascarpone cheese, lady fingers soaked in espresso and more, all covered in a chocolate sauce and served with two spoons.
You can find this treasure at Bella’s Italian Cafe in South Tampa or you can make a version of this at home. I can’t even look at a normal tiramisu anymore.
Are you trying to find more “natural” eats around town? Check out your local farmer’s market. The market closest to me here in St. Petersburg, FL has gone to great lengths to bring in fresh, local food, from produce to meat. I had been looking around for beef that was sustainably produced and fed a vegetarian diet (with no genetically modified feed). It’s hard to find.
Another trend lately are these low-carb, tortilla pizzas I’ve been seeing around town. It’s a crispy tortilla on the bottom and this one is topped with beef that has taco seasoning in it, some green onions, chopped tomato, olives, mushrooms and of course, lots of melted cheese. This one is a keeper. My favorite one is made at Harvey’s on 4th St. in St. Pete, but you can find them in lots of restaurants these days.
You are completely missing out if you haven’t given this next dish a try. Over at Gratzzi on 2nd and 2nd in St. Pete their signature entree is called the Bada Bing. They prepare this dish tableside by flaming cheese using vodka INSIDE the giant cheese wheel, then they add it to pasta with some fresh tomatoes, a little spicy pepper flake and let it get all hot and melted. After the cheese melts, your heart will too.
Another appetizer at Grattzi is one of my favorites in this area. It’s the deep-fried artichokes stuffed with goat cheese. What a decadent, tasty treat! The tart flavor of the artichoke combines with the creamy, smooth tang of the cheese, all with a crunchy crust breading.
Vizcaya on North Dale Mabry in Tampa makes authentic Spanish cuisine at affordable prices. It’s not a huge place. It’s very intimate.
Just the other day I had the pictured chicken breast stuffed with spinach and mascarpone cheese and a beautifully reduced sauce.
I savored every bite.
But wait, there’s more! I have a lot to catch up on with you. Sometimes after doing my radio show, I like to have a little nosh, nothing too heavy.
There are a few places we like to go for appetizers or tapas. One of them is Pelagia at the Renaissance Marriott in International Plaza. Take a look at the sampler. You can select up to four appetizers to mix it up.
On this visit (one of many), I chose wild mushroom risotto cakes, crunchy stuffed olives with three meats, Manchego cheese & honey comb and tomato with goat cheese and pesto.
All of these dishes were reasonably priced comparatively and I hope you’ll give a few a try. I regularly check in on Twitter when I’m dining out, keyword: FoodNationRadio. Happy eating!