On this cold February morn, I felt an urge to converge with my blubbery counterparts (still desperately trying to scrape off the 5 lbs. of vaca and holiday lard I packed on over the last two months of 2012)...so I insisted on a pilgrimage to the TECO plant in AB where the power station's discharge canal releases clean, warm water back into the bay, making it a veritable winter spa for us sea cows. It was an incredible sight, with literally hundreds of these gentle mammals basking in the temperate waters.
Dining options in the area are few, so we defaulted to Apollo's Bistro...which turned out to be sort of a drab, community cafeteria/banquet hall overlooking the HOA's tennis courts (not sure what was jacking this place up to an 88% "like" ratio on Urbanspoon, but I'm gonna reach long and guess it's the local AARP card carriers). At 2:30 in the afternoon, we pretty much owned the place along with its relatively sterile ambiance.
House Made Potato Chips with Bleu Cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette Reduction were somewhat better than the average bear, but fell short of being anything I can label as "special".
Same goes for the Lobster Bisque. Grocery store freezer section variety and not particularly memorable. Oh, lookie...a foil-wrapped butter pat. Never a good sign.
Should I really keep going? My Club Sandwich was dull...as was the Publix-esque potato salad that came with. Not bad, not less than fresh, just boring. It was (yes...I'm going to say it) "old people food". And when old people like me turn their noses up at "old people food", you know it's ridiculously unexciting.
Fish and Chips were edible, which is the highest praise I can bestow in good conscience. Fries were crispy and the Basa (a catfish relative) was nicely fried. This place, while not being insultingly awful, definitely channels Shoney's of the 1980's in its unrelenting persuit of "mass appeal" mediocrity.
There was some kind of pre-fab berry pie served with ice cream that turned out to be reasonably tasty (someone put a little extra effort into the presentation with this one).
We received friendly, courteous service at Apollo's (and why wouldn't we...being the only patrons in the resto?). If I may be frank, this is not a dining experience anyone whose taste buds have not yet withered from age should seek out. If you live in the neighborhood and want someplace within walking distance for a beer and a sandwich, I guess it's not all that bad. I'm trying to be kind, here.
Somebody really got off on the injection molding machine cranking out little plastic manatees. Not naming names or anything.
Go for the manatees, but drive somewhere to the north (east, south or west for that matter) for lunch...even if it entails the dreaded culinary wasteland that is Brandon. And, yes...this post makes me feel mean.
My blog entries contain the unmitigated, and sometimes unforgiving, dining truths and perceptions I experience as an ordinary restaurant patron. Every meal I post about has been fully paid for by one of the participating members of my personal dining party. I do not engage in the gratis blogger freebie dining events I'm constantly invited to attend and never will. If I ooze font-like love for a restaurant in my blog, it's because they totally earned it…not because they gave me free food or knew I was going to share the experience on the internet.