Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Downtown St. Petersburg used to be a sleepy burg like the Gaslamp.Season starts slowly in October, when the snowbirds return from Canada, Michigan and parts North. Why not? The water is still 82 degrees, the air balmy, the humidity wanes and outdoor music lollapaloozas such as the Clearwater Jazz Festival dominate every weekend.

Add to the attractions the world-class Dali museum in a space-age new building, the annual Grand Prix, Chihuly's extraordinary glass museum, First Friday street parties monthly and you have the rumblings of a casual chic downtown surpassing Tampa across the bridge.

A culinary revolution is brewing as well. The Saturday Farmers Market grows more plentiful, ethnic cuisines percolate from Vietnamese to Pacific Rim, Floribbean coastal cuisine is tastier than ever and rocking pubs feature local beers, especially Dunedin's Red Haired Ale and Cigar City's IPA.

I love Steve's restaurants - the water wall at Parkshore Grill, the small planes zooming out of the Hangar and docking my Sea Ray at the Pub for blackened salmon Caesar salad. But when I want to reward my inner child ( a merciless gourmand), it's 400 Beach for Sunday brunch (10-3; $23.95) or lunch.

Free valet parking makes meeting friends for lunch painless. Start off by eating with your eyes: the aquarium illusion (televised tropical fish tank), Neptune-inspired art, clubby art moderne bar and waterview. Chef Tyson and Steve food/beer/wine alchemy is amazing and ahead of the trends. From local IPA (Cigar City) to Henny's favorite (Stella), there are always two featured drafts. I'm fond of tangy Magic Hat #9 and Dogfish IPA (thanks to owner Bob, my Angry Pepper tutor).

If you can't decide on a boite, there are dozens of wines by the glass, from Central Coast chardonnay Wilson Daniels and Russian River Sonoma Cutrer to elegant reds such as Carneros Steel Pinot Noir, Napa Rombauer Cab or Cline ancient vine ZIn. I could spend an afternoon matching wines with their Gulf or specialty raw oysters or the Roasted blue cheese, galicky parmesan leek or Oyster Rock concoctions, worth slurping with a spot of sparkling Zonin Prosecco.

Usually I'm torn between the Avocado Ranch Dressing Chicken Cobb Salad or Seafood Louis, but no one does a better classic iceberg Wedge salad (both small and large). Pair that with the grilled sea scallops dipped in sweet chili, lobster mac and cheese or coconut ginger stir-fried mussels scented with lemongrass and share both with a pal.

The lunch special caught my tastebuds. A small amuse bouche of spicy clam chowder and a tantalizing Caesar salad, doppled with strong blue cheese chunks and topped with some of the best blackened grouper in town. For those who love catch of the day, seafood arrives in a dozen dresses. Florida Grouper Oscar topped with jumbo lump crab, Hollandaise with potato hash is divine, as is the Asian infused miso-glazed salmon, the blackened tilapia with papaya mango salsa, Tandoori spiced mahi mahi and sesame seared teriyaki tuna.

Seasonings never repeat. Each dish sings the praises of delicious herbs and clever flavors. You can't go wrong with the Mediterranean chicken breast (sundried tomatos, boursin cheese, artichokes, olives) or a smoked bacon sage pork chop. New Englanders will find a taste of home in the lobster roll or fish and chips (battered haddock), while crab lovers kvell about the crab cakes (goat cheese, sweet corn, salsa).

Want a sandwich? Luscious burgers, blackened fish tacos with charred lime aoili, shrimp BLT wrap, oyster or shrimp Po' Boys and a comforting tuna salad wrap come with choice of potato planks or creamy cole slaw. And yes, there's beef--filet mignon at dinner, blackened tenderloin skewers at lunch. Leave dieting home and chow down on the garlic mashed potatos for serious pleasure.

Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close