I had a veryexciting experience this morning as I (along with fellow local blogger, JR of the SOG City Oracle) were invited to be interviewed on former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Ian Beckles' new radio show..."Flavor of Tampa Bay".
As I understand it, this mobile broadcast will come to us from a different foodie-friendly locale each Sunday. On this day, it was Square 1 Burgers and Bar on Henderson Blvd. in Tampa.
Ian gave us the "warm fuzzies" from the moment we arrived. It is apparent that he has a love for both cooking and dining out (ranging from the "fine" category to "hidden gems" in the greater Tampa Bay area). I can relate to that. Foodies definitely need to check out his show on Sundays from 10:30 AM to Noon at 1250 WHNZ AM.
We say grace prior to chatting about our fave restos. Okay, not really...it just looks that way.
As it turned out, we had differing opinions on The Refinery, but pretty much agreed on other dining venues in Hillsborough County (as in, Edison rawks, but I forgot to mention it in my on-air panic). I shared with him some of my Greater Tampa Bay Area faves such as The Black Pearl in Dunedin, Middle Grounds Grill in Treasure Island and Beach Bistro in Bradenton Beach. There were so many I failed to duly note, but I was feeling a little like a deer in headlights...I'm a writer, not a public broadcaster. Kudos were also given to Z-Grille, Cafe Dufrain, Keegan's, Middle Grounds Grill, Pane Rustica, Datz, and Osteria Natalina. Wish I could've given props to more faves, but my 15 minutes of fame were over before I knew it.
My new crush and me:
So...moving on, we were hungry and decided to order food while we enjoyed the rest of the broadcast. I will preface the following paragraph by stating that I am not THAT girl who gets a hankering for a "really good burger" or even a sandwich for that matter. I think hamburgers are boring for the most part and generally something I would never seek out in a restaurant (okay, maybe at Wendy's if I were on a road trip, the next exit was 30 miles away and hadn't eaten in 14 hours). I can make a hamburger at home...and I have a spousal unit who can make an even better one.
Ummm...what we got were some of the best sandwiches on the planet. I will also disclose that we ordered fully intending to pay for our meals, but as broadcast participants were surprisingly comped when we requested the bill. Ordinarily, I do not accept or blog about gratis meals. I thought long and hard about it today and decided to make an exception. So sue me. If the food had sucked, I would've said nothing. Unfortunately, it truly ruled so I have to lower my integrity threshold and throw a little online love at it. In my defense, this was not a "canned" blogger event. Every paying patron around us was being presented with identical menu items.
Square 1 does not present your typical burger menu. Just reading the words "Frito Chili Pie" made every suthren hair on my body perk with excitement. Nonetheless, I was practically weaned on that shiznit (along with corn dogs) and wanted to try something more daring. "More daring" came in the form of the Apple Duckling sandwich (ground duck with scallions, cilantro, fresh ginger and spices. served
on a sesame seed bun with grilled red onion, caramelized apples and teriyaki
ginger sauce). I've never tasted anything like this. I love duck, and this earthy, appropriately juicy and fatty patty was beautifully offset by the apples and onions. Onion rings were some of the best I've tasted in the Greater Tampa Bay area, although Parkshore Grill still reins supreme as my Onion Ring God.
I had a taste of UD's "Okie Hot Dog" (A half-pound Angus hot dog with housemade Southwestern Angus chili, sharp cheddar cheese and chopped red onion on a hoagie bun). I officially dub this dawg "The Widow Maker". Sofa King good...but once a year, guys, please?? We'd like to keep you around as long as possible. Despicably and heinously decadent. Everything I love in a dog!
JR had his previously documented fave - The Decadent Daddy (Kobe burger with caramelized onions, curly leaf lettuce, brie and
sun-dried tomato mayo on a brioche bun). You knowz you wantz a bite!
The BOBP went with the Bleu Bacon Burger (applewood smoked bacon, bleu cheese crumbles, curly leaf lettuce, red onion and
beefsteak tomato on a whole wheat bun) and wisely chose a side order of those off-the-chain onion rings with spicy dipping sauce. I love a smart gurl.
This is probably the first and last time you'll see a sandwich-image heavy post from me...but these were so dayum good. I'm as shocked as you are!