Beth is the founder and CMO (Chief "Making it Happen" Officer) for Splashy Ventures.
When she isn't dreaming about new information to share about our special vacation destinations - Gulfport FL, Treasure Island FL, Scottsdale, AZ, Oamaru, NZ and St Omer Bay, NZ - she can be found traveling and photographing the great outdoors.
O’Maddy’s is almost too popular for its own good. ¬†It’s always crowded, but that’s because the food is always good.
Life always presents us with tough choices, but at O’Maddy’s, you don’t have to think too hard. ¬†Whatever appetizer you pick (Frank’s Fried Fish Nuggets, Collin’s Irish Chips) is bound to be great. ¬†Come for drinks and choose from inventive concoctions (Gulfport Guava Breeze, Key Lime Pie Martini) and beach cocktail classics.
One of many delicious sandwiches
O’Maddy’s knows how to feed a crowd in a timely fashion and they stay open late.¬† Really late.¬† 3 am!¬† And some dishes on the menu are named after locals. You may be able to thank them in person.
5405 Shore Blvd South, across from William’s Pier and next to Salty’s
‘d be lying if I said I wasn’t suspicious of Smokin’‚Äô J‚Äôs at first. I mean, they’re from Texas. Why did they leave the land of BBQ?! But after couple of meals here, I no longer care why or how they ended up in Florida‚ÄĒI‚Äôm just glad they did.
Smokin’ J’s has the secret sauce (literally, with two options: sweet and hot) and the tasty sides (green beans, mac and cheese, etc.) that you‚Äôd expect of a BBQ joint. Their brisket is actually my least favorite, as it is a little too dense and dry for me. But the ribs, smoked sausage and pulled pork (smoked for 14-16 hours and then hand-pulled) will satisfy any carnivorous craving.¬†
Assorted BBQ meats
If you’re in town for the holidays, be sure and call ahead to order a smoked turkey.¬†¬†
Save yourself a load of work, give your oven a break and impress family and friends.
Smokin’ J’s goes all out for the holidays
If you dare, take on the Smokin’ J’s BBQ Challenge. ¬†Win, and this challenge is free; lose and you’ll pay $49. ¬†
To win, you have to consume the following in one hour: a pound each of sliced brisket, pulled chicken, pulled pork, sliced sausage, a boneless rack of ribs, and pickles and onions on a bun with a jalapeno to top it all off. ¬†
See the pictures. ¬†And bless your little heart if you try!
Now making a dizzying assortment of homemade ice cream flavors
and Backfin tie for my favorite Gulfport restaurant. Pia’s food rivals
anything I’ve had in Italy, and I ate well in Italy! Over the years, Pia
has expanded from a tiny eatery to include a few indoor dining rooms as
well as an outdoor courtyard and sidewalk dining. This is a good
thing: the word is out and Pia and the staff deserve all the compliments
they get from happy diners.
The Lasagna Bolognese is my staple but half the time I’m diverted from that option by a mouthwatering Daily Special. For appetizer enthusiasts, the salads and soups are equally delicious.
Yep, that’s THE lasagna
Insalata Pia – Romaine, arugula, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and gorgonzola cheese
the fact that they‚Äôre closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (the nerve!)
Backfin Blue is one of my favorites. Why, you ask? Let me count the
reasons: crab cakes, meatloaf, the Mr. Oscar (the day‚Äôs fresh catch, expertly prepared), crab and corn chowder, prime rib‚Ä¶I could go on!
Blue is tucked in a charming old house on Beach Boulevard. Dine outside
if you can: there‚Äôs better acoustics and you may be treated to a
serenade by a crooner next door at the Peninsula Inn.
No, it‚Äôs not Cathy‚Äôs Rum Cakes. These are crab cakes. Cakes on the savory end
of the ‚Äúcake‚ÄĚ spectrum.
Made with Baltimore style jumbo lump crab meat.
Made with minimal filler.
Made with a hint of secret seasoning and Old Bay.
Blake is from the Baltimore ‚Äėburbs. He started helping his dad in the kitchen
when he was 5. He worked for two well-known Baltimore seafood
restaurants. He visited St Pete, fell in love with it and moved here a few
What to Get
It actually says on the menu, underneath ‚ÄúBlake‚Äôs Cakes‚ÄĚ, ‚Äúthis
is what you came for‚ÄĚ.
Perfectly blended, so that the freshness and flavor of the crab
shines through. Just the bare minimums
of seasonings and bindings to make the cake.
Perfection in a little golden ball.
The perfect complement to the crab cakes are the French Fries. These fries lightly dusted with Old Bay are on my top 5 French Fry list, which was unexpected. In a restaurant focused on crab cakes, it would be easy to ‚Äúgo easy‚ÄĚ on the sides.¬† But it is clear that Blake has artfully crafted every single item he puts on his menu to the delight of my taste buds.¬† And Blake‚Äôs Yum Yum sauce (homemade Siracha mayo) was perfect on the fries.¬†
What To Know If You Go
They do sometimes sell out, so call if you‚Äôre coming late in
the day or coming from a distance.
They also don‚Äôt stay open very late. Blake has a life. As he should.
The place is very small.
You won‚Äôt be having your large birthday party here. The size also means that it is easy to miss
in the strip center if you‚Äôre not paying attention. Put the address in your GPS and believe it
when it says ‚Äúyou have arrived‚ÄĚ. You
My mom and I started dining at Red Mesa for over ten years
ago. We used to go for the Sunset Menu, which
is a fixed price & set selection menu available from 4-6 pm Mondays through
Fridays. I still love that menu option and the pricing is very attractive. However, the Sunset Menu is very popular so
this can be a very busy time slot! The
only thing missing from it is dessert.
Which you can always add if you have room in your waistband.
One of these days I‚Äôm going to make it for weekend brunch.
Why You Should Go
Black bean soup
One food that makes my heart go pitter-patter Is guacamole. And
Red Mesa Restaurant has 4 variations of guacamole. There’s a traditional
guacamole made with fresh avocado, onion jalapeno, cilantro and lime. And a guacamole
made with blue crab. If you’re feeling a bit spicy, you can choose the chorizo
and corn guacamole or the Chipotle chili guacamole.
Or if you’re like me and can’t decide? Opt for the guacamole sampler where you get a
choice of 3.
Guacamole love aside, the fundido is why you‚Äôre really here.¬† I fell in love with Queso Funddo at a Rick Bayless restaurant, so I‚Äôm always looking for one to match that experience.¬† Red Mesa‚Äôs Chorizo Fundido never disappoints and is itself a meal.¬† It seriously just melts in your mouth.
Red Mesa doesn’t overwhelm you with a million choices for dessert. There are usually only a handful and I’ve had every one of them. While they are all delicious, if you have to choose here are my recommendations, in order: the guava empanada, the chocolate spoon cake, the churros and the creme brulee cheesecake.¬† Of course, if they ever have flan, get it.
The Red Mesa Restaurant Family
Red Mesa Restaurant is one of 3 Red Mesa dining experiences. The others include Red Mesa Cantina and Red Mesa Mercado.¬† These other two include more expansive menus and both larger restaurants with more outside dining space. If you have been to either one and would like to let us know what you thought, please leave your feedback in the comments section below.
Noteworthy: At one time the restaurant did not have a hard liquor license so all drinks including margaritas were made with wine. That has now changed and the menu for drinks includes an assortment of tequilas and spirits such scotch, whiskey, rum, vodka and gin.
Red Mesa Restaurant is located at 4912 4th St N in St Petersburg. Phone 727-527-8728.
Have you ever had two different people tell you that you
should meet someone, and then you met that someone in a totally random
That happened to me in early December, and that‚Äôs how I came
to learn about Craft Kafe. The someone (Keith)
turned out to be an invaluable source of food recommendations, second only to
my friend (and sometimes-guest) Rita.
So far Keith is batting 1000.
Still, I‚Äôm sort of surprised that I didn‚Äôt just sense
somehow that Craft Kafe existed. It is
the sort of place I pine for when I‚Äôm not in New Zealand. Which is 11 months
out of the year.
Craft Kafe just has ‚Äúit‚ÄĚ.
And you can tell by the loyal patrons showing up again and again.
It‚Äôs an easy shot from Gulfport (just head up 58th
St and hang a left on Central) or from Treasure Island (head down Gulf Blvd to
Central, hang a left and head to 6653 Central Avenue.
Everything we‚Äôve had was delicious. Check out the our pics and their website for
Oh and super bonus for some of you? It‚Äôs gluten-free.