Discover The Roost

If you like chicken, you are gonna LOVE the Roost! For locals & visitors alike, this is a terrific alternative.

The Roost serves delicious ‘Northern Style’ chicken and homemade sides that change daily; from fresh veggies, mac n’ cheese and cornbread to homemade desserts. The Roost uses a fast pressure-frying method of preparing chicken that incorporates very little oil and results in the healthiest, crispiest, juiciest chicken you’ve ever tasted and their crispy coating is completely gluten free!

All entrees include cornbread or biscuit, a chicken breast plus choice of 1-3 legs, thighs or wings. With two pieces you get two sides, three or four pieces, you get three sides (for really hungry folks!). If you want to trade dark meat for white, it’s only $2.  Add a side for another $2 or get a 4 Sides Only Meal for $7. Everyday there’s a choice of six homemade side dishes from a tantalizing menu that includes farm favorites such as sweet coleslaw, carrot raisin salad, collard greens & black eyed peas, tangy cole slaw, potato salad, Waldorf salad, corn pudding, broccoli rice casserole, cheesy potatoes, ginger carrots, squash souffle’, mashed potatoes & gravy, baked beans, sweet potato pie, cauliflower bake, mac-n-cheese and served with homemade cornbread or biscuits fresh daily. Save room for the delicious home-made bread pudding, crisp, cobbler or cake of the day.

The kitchen is open from 11 am-10 pm daily except Tuesday. Real sweet tea made daily or order a cocktail from the full liquor bar (where you can stay and party even after the kitchen closes). Bar snacks served in the bar after 10pm.

You can dine outdoors at the old-fashioned picnic tables, inside in the quaint, updated dining room, or at a high top or on a tractor seat in the bar. Wooden tables seat parties up to twelve people and the pale blue walls feature rustic art, tractor parts, plow discs, curio shelves, and nostalgic lighting. With free wifi and a kid-friendly atmosphere, The Roost even allows your leashed dog on the patio with you. Water bowls and treats provided!

Friendly servers deliver your chicken hot and your beer icy cold. You can also order to-go meals or boxes of chicken. It’s tastier, healthier, ecologically packaged (all biodegradable and no plastic), Local, and the same price as the Colonel’s! Where else on the beach can you dine for under $10? Come home to The Roost!  The Roost 7141 Gulf Blvd. @ 72nd Ave., St. Pete Beach www.theroostspb.com 727-317-3629

Neptune Grill Turns Six: Zeus Dines Here; So Should You!

Opened on January 11th, 2011 by Gus Vartsakis (you know him from Skidders), Neptune Grill is one of eclectic Gulfport’s star dining attractions, serving some of the best Greek cuisine this side of Mykonos. His lovely daughter Dia Vartsakis is co-owner, managing the restaurant with grace, humor and wit.

Across from the Gulfport Casino, this family owned and operated restaurant just celebrated their sixth-year anniversary. With a beautiful view of Boca Ciega Bay, you can enjoy casual dining indoors and out (dog-friendly), sports on TV, cocktail bar, craft beers, good wine & happy hour 1-6 pm ($3 wells/house wine; $2.25 Bud Light draft); Margarita Monday ($3 house/all day), ½ price Wine Bottle Thursday and Sunday happy hour prices all day ($3 Bloody Mary/Mimosa).

Check out the kid’s menu, build a burger Tuesday, Taco Wednesday, Sunday brunch 11 am – 3 pm (crab benedict, Greek omelet) and an early bird special daily (3-5:30 pm, except holidays) and live music Friday/Saturday with Hector on Thursday.

Executive Chef Tony Papantoniou prepares every dish cooked to order, using the freshest and finest ingredients to purvey delectable Mediterranean/Greek dishes (saganaki, gyro, pastitio, moussaka, chicken souvlaki, Greek salad, hummus, spinach pie) seafood, filet mignon, lamb chops, pastas and chicken plus gluten-free and vegetarian options. Save room for baklava and rice pudding.

With great service, you’ll feel pampered and well-fed and welcomed by the local patrons. Kind of like Florida’s cheers, Neptune Grille is the “the restaurant & bar where everyone knows your name.”

If you want an authentic and enjoyable meal, refreshing beverage, and an amazing time, Neptune Grill has a stool waiting for you!

Who knows, you may become a regular too and meet Zeus, the king of canines.

Article by Nanette Wiser

Neptune Grill, 5501 Shore Blvd. South Gulfport, FL 33707
727-623-4823  www.neptunegrillgulfport.com/

Monday – Thursday   11:00 am- 9:00 pm
Friday & Saturday 11:00 am- 10:00 pm
Sunday 11:00 am – 7:30 pm

February is Looking BERRY Delicious at Rumfish Grill

Rumfish Grill is berry excited to announce that we’ve teamed up with the Florida Strawberry Growers Association to bring you a special menu featuring Chef Aaron’s amazing dishes, inspired by none other than locally grown Florida strawberries! Sample a strawberry spin on ceviche, chicken wings and more. You definitely don’t want to miss out on their incredibly popular Strawberry Mojito Martini either!

New Strawberry Menu!

Blue Point Oysters
Strawberry Minonette|Cocktail Sauce
$2.65 Each

Chicken Wings
Strawberry Tears Hot Sauce | Celery | Carrots
$13

Strawberry Ceviche
Fresh Fish|Bay Scallop | Gulf Shrimp | Strawberry | Jalapeno Lime
$13.50

Local Fish
Strawberry & Red Chile Glaze| Smokey Creamed Corn | Wilted Spinach
$28

Strawberry Mojito Martini
Coconut Rum and Vanilla Vodka infused with Fresh Pineapple and Strawberries,
mixed with Fresh Lime and Mint
$10

To learn more, make reservations or view full menu
call 727.329.1428 or visit RumFishGrill.com.

Downtown St. Pete’s Most Romantic Restaurants

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, plus there’s almost always something to celebrate; like birthdays, anniversaries… or a “just because” romantic dinner, maybe a second or third date. (Don’t get too romantic on a first date. It’s creepy.)

So, how do we define a romantic dinner? A picnic in the park with wine and cheese can definitely be romantic, but for this list we’re going with the more elegant as most people do when they’re celebrating a special occasion like Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, birthdays, or even Mother’s Day. You might want to bookmark this list for future reference guys (and ladies). That’ll help you to score points with your better half when future romantic dinners are required.

A romantic dinner or restaurant can have different meanings to different people.

What makes a restaurant romantic? Some things could be; warm, low lighting, candle lit tables (fake candles work), pleasant décor, harmonious colors, elegant furnishings, a good wine list, ambience, good view, low background music, and of course, great food and service.

What did we leave out? Raise your hand if you guessed it. If you did get it, you might be a local. What’s the romantic requirement not on the above list?  Low noise or no noise. It’s a fact of life, especially in Downtown St. Pete, that it is nearly impossible to find a good restaurant that doesn’t get noisy when they are busy, and they’re often busy. We had to remove noisiness as a disqualifier or there would only be one or two restaurants on the list.

In case you’re wondering, Valentine’s Day is on a Tuesday this year. All of the restaurants on the list offer outdoor seating, which can still be nice in February.

Rococo Steak:  In a 1920’s manse, this baroque-chic steakhouse serves grass-fed beef, seafood, small plates & wine. A member of our FB group, Lindsey Foss said, “We are big fans of Rococo. They really go out of their way to make you feel special and create a beautiful ambiance.” We’ve found the same to be true. They also do a lot of weddings in their elegant, grand setting, and they are one the only restaurants on the list that we’ve never heard get noisy.

655 2nd Ave. South  (727) 822-0999 http://www.rococosteak.com

IL Ritorno:  IL Ritorno has an intimate setting with rustic brick walls and a view of the new/temporary park across the street. The setting and the amazing food remind us of being in Manhattan. The service is impeccable and you won’t find food like this anywhere else. It’s old country Northern Italian with a modern twist. The wine selection is not huge, but it is unique and high quality. They have some small batch wines from Italy that you can’t get elsewhere.

449 Central Ave., #101  (727) 897-5900 http://www.ilritornodowntown.com

The Birch & Vine: Choice New American kitchen featuring a seasonal menu & cocktails in a modern interior with a patio. In the Birchwood boutique hotel on Beach Drive, the main restaurant is The Birch & Vine. They also have a rooftop lounge called The Canopy that has a smaller menu, drinks and spectacular views of the water, parks and Beach Drive.You could arrive early, start at The Canopy for the daytime views. (You do need to be early for this as the sun sets at 6:21 pm on Valentine’s Day in 2017.) Either way, you can finish the evening with a nightcap at The Canopy with the night time views.

340 Beach Dr. NE (727) 896-1080 http://www.thebirchwood.com/birchandvine

Sea Salt: Sea Salt St. Pete is one of the grand anchor tenants of Sun Dial Shops in the heart of Downtown St. Pete. They are an excellent 5-star gourmet restaurant with the freshest fish (most of it local), largest selection of oysters and great steaks with several dishes having unique eclectic twists that us foodies love.

183 2nd Ave. North (727) 873-7964 http://seasaltstpete.com

Brick & Mortar: Rustic-chic nook with seasonal, New American fare, unique wines & craft beers, plus outdoor seating. It’s a little more casual, but quaint with amazing food creations that you’ve never heard of, nor can you get anywhere else. They usually do not take reservations. This is the first Valentine’s Day they are going to be opened, and at press time, they were considering taking reservations just for this day. We will update when the info comes in.

539 Central Ave., (727) 822-6540 https://www.facebook.com/brickandmortarkitchen

Gratzzi Italian Grille: Who knows food and romance like the Italians, eh? Fuhgettaboutit! Gratzzi Italian Grille is a long established favorite right in the heart of Downtown St. Pete. On nights that other restaurants have half of their tables empty, Gratzzi has a wait around the block. They have something for everyone with all the Italian classics covered, to exotic specials like Gambas, (Gigantic Mediterranean Prawns that could beat up a lobster – their lobster dishes are amazing too), Rack of Elk and the Veal Ossobuco is to die for! Mama mia!

211 2nd St. South (727) 623-9037 http://gratzzigrille.com

Parkshore Grill: Refined space for steaks & seafood paired with fine wines served inside or on the sprawling patio. Parkshore Grill is another long-established favorite that was here long before the restaurant boom and still stands tall with excellent cuisine, professional service and an elegant setting in the scenic heart of Beach Drive. Try the Beef Wellington, The Parkshore Filet Mignon & Lobster Tail, Parkshore Salad and the Blue Cheese Stuffed Meatballs. The Parkshore Martini is a favorite as well.

300 Beach Dr. Northeast  (727) 896-9463 http://www.parkshoregrill.com

Cassis American Brasserie: Not quite as old as Parkshore or Gratzzi, they have evolved nicely over the last 7 years and have really upped their game. Not only do they have excellent cuisine, but a professional staff in the front and back. They bake their own bread and make all of their desserts in-house as well. They are in the heart of Beach Drive with great people watching and beautiful views of the park and Tampa Bay.

170 Beach Dr. Northeast (727) 827-2927 http://www.cassisab.com

Article by Kevin Godbee • www.StPetersburgFoodies.com
Photo credit: Barry Lively

Editor’s Note: We asked StPetersburgFoodies.com founder Kevin Godbee if we could share his recent online posting on downtown’s romantic restaurants with Paradise News. Be sure to read our Romantic Interludes which features two of their favorites, The Pearl and Castile.  We are HUGE fans of how he and his partner Lori Brown know EVERYTHING about dining and spirits. Visit www.StPetersburgFoodies.com and like them on Facebook. – Nanette Wiser

Health & Wellness: Dining Out Tips/Picks

2017 debuts a svelte new you and it begins with knowing how to find healthy choices at restaurants. Lucky for those who live in Paradise, we can let our tongue loose at juice bars, vegan bistros and ethnic adventures. Whether you have dietary restrictions (gluten) or just don’t want the extra calories, here are some of our favorite spots plus some health tips for dining out.

Order Healthy: While you don’t want to be too pesky or demanding, you can request that items be cooked a certain way, grilled instead of fried for example. Why? Researchers affiliated with the Harvard School of Public Health found that people who ate fried food at least once per week had a greater risk of both type 2 diabetes and heart disease than those who avoid fried foods, and that their risk increased with each additional fried meal they consumed.

Reduce Portions: Eat only half the meal and take the rest home.  You can also ask if there is an appetizer size portion of your favorite entrée. Why?  The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says food portions at restaurants have doubled or tripled over the last 20 years.

Supersized Salads: Is your salad really healthy? If it’s loaded with bacon, cheese and creamy dressings, probably not.

Where To Go: Health-conscious diners will enjoy dining out at these local spots. Share your favorite on our Facebook!  You can pick up healthy take-out for a picnic from Locale Market, Fresh Market, Nature’s Patch and Earth Fare. When in Gulfport, Mangia Gourmet is the place to dine. In St. Pete Beach, Chill serves up tasty vegetarian alternatives.

Researchers say that a Mediterranean diet enhances health and longevity. Lucky for us, you can grab and go garden veggie or chickpea patty and veggie pitas at The Pita Pit as well as lean grilled meat and falafel. 2991 66th Street N, St. Petersburg; 727-345-0900.

O’Bistro serves elegant Mediterranean fare, succulent seafood, amazing salads (pecan-crusted chicken), veggie alternatives (eggplant, portabello and boursin  ciabatta sandwich), home-made soups and more at breakfast, lunch and dinner.  6661 Central Avenue N, St. Petersburg; 727-381-1212

Want a healthy hamburger? Burger Monger serves 100% American raised Kobe Beef, a healthy meat with no antibiotics, steroids or hormones on its sandwiches and signature BurgerMonger Chop Salad. 1325 4th Street N., St. Petersburg; 727-592-4206. Visit www.burgermonger.com.

SIP SIP HOORAY: Start your morning off right with a mega dose of raw fruits and veggies made fresh at these local juice bars:

  • Soho Juice Co. 2200 4th St N, St. Petersburg; (727) 767-0547
  • Kama Juice Bar & Eatery 209 1st St. NE, downtown St. Pete; (727) 896-4000
  • Squeeze Juice Works 675 30th Ave N, St. Petersburg; (727) 821-1095
  • Leafy Greens Café 1626 Central Ave., downtown St. Pete;  (727) 637-0712
  • Micky’s Café & Organics 318 Central Ave., downtown St. Pete; (727) 851-9833   PN

Article by Nanette Wiser

Dining: Micki’s Ice Cream

Get Great Local Flavor and a 20% Discount for new customers at Micki’s Ice Cream Shoppe.

“It was a unique set of circumstances”, according to Alayna, that led she and her husband Mauricio Gonzalez to take over “Scoops on the Beach” ice cream parlor and rename it after its longtime proprietress, Micki Goodman.

Micki and her husband Martin had re-opened a prior Baskin-Robbins location in the Captain’s Mart strip center across from Joann’s Interiors at 6870 Gulf Blvd. in St. Pete Beach a year or two after retiring from Canada.

 

Over the years, three generations of Goodmans had worked there. The parlor has long had a reputation for serving top-quality, locally-made “Working Cow” ice cream. ”They are an environmentally conscious supplier of top quality product and we are excited about serving their awesome ice cream,” says Alayna.

“We love it that Working Cow reuses the tubs their product ships in. We are going a step further to protect the beach environment ourselves, eliminating styrofoam and switching to biodegradable products that are friendlier to the earth. We are adding baked goods and locally roasted coffee, made by other local businesses. Currently we are offering locally made ginger beer and chai kombucha. We’ll also be adding waffle cones, freshly made in-house and serving ice cream & fresh Belgian waffles (a delicious combo).”  A fun menu item they offer is a ‘flight of ice cream’ (a sample of 5 smaller scoops of ice cream for those who wish to sample multiple flavors!

Alayna says she is looking forward to meeting all of the ice cream lovers in town, young and old, residents and visitors alike.Mention that you read this story about Micki’s Ice Cream in Paradise NEWS to get 20% off your first visit to…

Micki’s Ice Cream Shoppe; 6870 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach 33706  • 727-367-2933

Dining: Selene – Fresh Fare & Bar

When asked recently what is the best new restaurant on the south beaches, it was a surprisingly easy choice. Inspired by two generations of genuine aficionados of food and drink, Selene is an exceptional restaurant.

Owner Nick “Nikko” Skiadiotis was already a successful Manhattan restaurateur in 1986 when he stayed at the Don CeSar in St. Pete Beach for the first time. The lifetime restaurateur, who founded Skidders on Gulf Blvd. over 25 years ago, also owns Neptune, a greek/seafood restaurant across from the Casino in nearby Gulfport.

The Craft Café, next to Earth Origins, is where Nikko’s son Ted spends most of his days. It has been extremely popular, offering organic coffees, gluten-free baked goods and healthy treats.

“Selene is a Goddess,” says Nikko. “The restaurant was designed to answer the wishes of many local residents and visitors. They wanted delicious food that they knew was fresh, healthy fare and a premium liquor bar in a classy but casual surrounding, with plenty of parking. They wanted the chance to sit outside when the weather is right, but not feel they were in the way of traffic. They wanted a venue where they could be proud to host their family and friends for a special event. The empty Village Inn property just north of Dolphin Village Shopping Center became the perfect canvas for Nikko and Ted’s dream.

Happy Hour from 4-7 finds an elegant ‘cheers’ kind of atmosphere with $4 house wines, wells and craft beers, and domestics $3. The gourmet appetizers at are a bargain at Happy Hour prices. The choice of three spreads with pita points for $6 is a great vegetarian option. For cheese lovers there’s Spinach Pie and Fennel Rolls with Feta. The Grilled Octopus is the ‘best ever’ according to a number of experienced Greek diners. On the happy hour menu it’s only $7 and enough for several people to taste. There’s nothing over $7 on the happy hour menu.

A new ‘Foodie’ magazine rated Selene the top new place in Tampa Bay, but these days I put more weight on reviews I see online, particularly on TripAdvisor and Yelp.  As I am writing this article, the headlines within the past few reviews give glowing reports:

“Must Try” 

“Great Place. Great Food,” 

“Great End to a Great Vacation” 

People rave about the food. “We buy fresh fish from local fishermen 6 days a week”, says Nikko. “And fresh, local produce, whenever possible” added Selene GM Jessie English.  “Nikko created Selene to be what residents and visitors were asking him for. He hired me to ensure his guests were well taken care of, even when he is away. They can also consider me their personal party planner,” said Jessie.NBA star  ‘Marreese Speights’, better known as “Mo Buckets” said the wedding party for 75 of his hometown friends at Selene this summer, was “the best”. “Nikko closed the entire restaurant for the occasion and it was truly spectacular. Please come and enjoy our brand new bar and restaurant,”said Jessie.

They also have specials every day.

  • Monday is Industry night. Get 30% off your check with your pay stub.
  • ‘Tini‘ Tuesday – House Martinis – $5
  • Wine Wednesdays gets you half off select bottles.
  • Thirsty Thursdays means happy hour specials on beers last all night.
  • Locals Love Fridays – 10% off on ‘Local Lovelies’
  • Sundays offer Bottomless Mimosas for $10 with Brunch plus
  • Get 50% off Greek Drink Selections on Mediterranean Sunday Funday.

Call Selene for reservations 727-317-2064 or 317-2065
4945 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach  • www.selenerestaurant.com
Monday-Saturday 4-11 pm & Sunday 11 am-11 pm includingBrunch 11-3 pm.

Be sure to tell them you read about them in Paradise NEWS!

Story by Peter A Roos

Champagne Bubbles 101

2017-champagneSip bubbly or give it as a present! Best bets from Nanette Wiser:

My New Year’s Eve parties paired bubbly with simple hors’ d’oeuvres (cheese, tapas, pate, olives, 12 grapes for peeling at midnight for good luck and, of course, Chinese fortune cookies). I served my favorites – France’s Veuve Cliquot, California’s Chandon and Shramsberg and an Italian Prosecco. For New Year’s Day brunch mimosas, Kir Royal or a Bellini (recipe below), I popped a Moscato or sweeter bubbly.

But why leave it up to the amateurs? When we are in doubt about what to imbibe, we always ask our friends at Pasadena’s Simpatico Wines, spirit maven and owner Mike Myers, for advice about what to serve at a party or take as a hostess gift.

vino-simpaticoVisit Vino Simpatico for tastings, join the wine club and learn about beer, wine, bubbly and spirits.  Closed Mon.-Sun.; Open 10 am – 6 pm Tues.-Wed.; 10 am – 9 pm Thurs. and 10 am – 7 pm Fri. & Sat. 722 Pasadena Ave. South, 727-803-6601; http://simpatico-wines.com

Bellinis

In a glass pitcher or decanter combine:

1 bottle sparkling wine (we’ll use Prosecco)

8 ounces pomegranate juice

2 tablespoons sugar

Stir ingredients together and set pitcher on ice for 20 minutes. Serve in a tall, skinny “flute” glass traditionally used for champagne.

Our Favorite Bubbly

$25 & Under

Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava (Spain)

Charles de Fere Cuvee Jean-Louis Blanc de Blancs Brut (France)

Lucien Albrecht Cremant Brut Rose (France)

La Marca Prosecco (Italy)

Toad Hollow Risque (France)

Roederer Estate Brut (California)

Mumm Napa Brut Prestige (California)

Korbel

Gruet Blanc de Noirs (New Mexico)

De Chanceny Cremant de Loire

Bocelli Prosecco NV, (Italy)

NV Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs

NV Cristalino Extra Dry

NV Mumm Napa Cuvée

NV Parigot Rosé

NV Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Herdad

Chandon Brut Classic

Under $75

NV Billecart-Salmon Brut Réserve 

NV Charles Heidsieck Brut NV Moussé Fils Or Tradition Cuisles 

NV Pehu Simonet Brut Selection Grand Cru 

NV Pehu Simonet Transparence Extra Brut 

NV Pierre Peters Blanc de Blancs Brut Cuvee de Reserve 

What’s New: Pinot Meunier-based champagnes such as the citrusy Cuvée Prémisse from Champagne Eric Taillet in Baslieux-sous-Châtillon with 90% of Pinot Meunier, Brut Grande Tradition from Champagne Roger Coulon in Vrigny, Brut Selection from Champagne Philippe Gamet in Mardeuil and the Fruit de Ma Passion Extra-Brut from Champagne Charlot-Tanneux in Mardeuil.

Gulfport Chefs Table Donates Proceeds

Organizers of the first annual Gulfport Chef’s Table held October 10th recently presented a check for proceeds from the event to charitable recipient CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse).  Additional proceeds from the event were distributed to CASA at a later date for a total donation of $8,569.75.  Proceeds from the event were doubled by matching funds from the Sonia Raymund Foundation’s matching grant program.  CASA provides support and services for women, men and families living with or recovering from abuse.  The sold out event featured various 4-course prix fixe menus offered by eight participating Gulfport restaurants.

Restaurants participating were Backfin Blue Cafe, Boca Bay Grille, Isabelle’s at The Historic Peninsula Inn, Mangia Gourmet, Neptune Grill, O’Maddy’s Bar & Grille, Pia’s Trattoria, and Smokin’ J’s Real Texas BBQ. Tables were assembled end-to-end to accommodate diners, with décor assembled by each restaurant for its own section of seating with fine dining details including white tablecloths, china, glassware and full table service.

The event was sponsored by the participating Gulfport restaurants, the City of Gulfport, the Gulfport Merchants Association, J.J. Taylor, Olympus Printing, Republic National Distribution Company and Superior Auto Body.

gulfport-chefs-table

Pictured left to right are: Jonathan Summers (Pia’s), Pia Goff (Pia’s), Veronica Champion (Isabelle’s at Peninsula Inn), Daniel Hodge (Gulfport Merchants Association), Jill Johnson (Mangia Gourmet), Suzanne Horn (CASA), John Riesebeck (Smokin’ J’s BBQ), Mo Venouziou (CASA), Gail Biron (City of Gulfport) and Justin Shea (City of Gulfport).  (Photo courtesy of Scott Linde, Gulfport Merchants Association.)

Thanksgiving Feasts Made Easy

In our family, we like to run the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning or volunteer to help feed those in need. Giving back is the reason for the season and a good way to say thank you to our community.

For those with little time to prepare or hosting visitors, why not create a feast with the help of local restaurants, grocers, liquor stores and specialty shops. Pick up olives and cheeses at Earth Fare, centerpieces at Lou’s Florist and desserts from Sweet IRB.  Every good hostess has a secret posse, and here’s a curated guide to some of our secrets. (Be sure to call ahead and reserve your items/dinner, or shop early!)

Décor:

If you’re crafty, the Dollar Store and Michael’s can help you decorate like Martha Stewart. Lou’s Florist can help you do the rest, and if you need a hostess gift, they’ve got great ideas as do many of the boutiques on Corey Ave. and John’s Pass.

In the mood?

The party elves at Publix had some easy peasy tips for making your home festive.

  • Wrap autumn-color ribbon around the necks of wine bottles.
  • Fill wire baskets with fresh flowers and produce.
  • Nestle pieces of cardstock with guests’ names atop pinecones for simple place cards.
  • Start a tabletop memory cloth. Set the holiday table with a white cotton cloth and jars of fabric markers. Then encourage guests to create personal place settings before the meal, signing their names, drawing pictures or writing messages to enjoy every year.
  • Thanks with a twist. Have each person write something they’re thankful for on a slip of paper and sign their name on the other side. Wrap the slips in crescent-roll dough and bake. At the table ask everybody to share the message inside their rolls.

Pick Up & Serve:

Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Winn Dixie and Fresh Market offer holiday appetizers, Thanksgiving desserts and pies, gourmet cheeses, dips and tasty delights for keeping the football crowd munching till the Big Event. Earth Fare: If you like your turkey with no antibiotics or hormones, then this is the place to order your classic turkey dinner or everything but the bird (traditional stuffing, simple mashed potatoes, rosemary and roaster garlic green beans, all natural turkey gravy and fresh cranberry sauce or a vegan holiday dinner.

Publix:  

In addition to dozens of spectacular catered platters, Publix carries two different turkey dinners. Each dinner comes with dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, marshmallow delight, and cranberry-orange relish. The sides serve 4-6 people. The regular turkey dinner includes a 10-12 pound turkey with one container of each side and the large turkey dinner includes a 16-18 pound turkey with two containers of each side.

Desserts:  

Order your pecan or pumpkin pies from The Village Inn or Sweet IRB Bakery now,

or go hog wild with French Silk or coconut cream dream.  We also like Astoria, St. Pete Bakery and The Pie Factory. Corey Market is sure to offer some delicacies right before Thanksgiving.

Dining Out:

From downtown St. Pete to the South Beaches, hotels and restaurants offer memorable meals AND do the dishes.  There are inexpensive alternatives such as Cody’s, The Waffle House, Boston Market and Village Inn, and a picnic at the beach with turkey sandwiches and all the fixings (or maybe dinner to go from The Roost) makes for a beautiful Gulf outing.

Downtown, we like…

At the beach, here are some of our favorite Thanksgiving celebrations without the clean-up. (Check to see if your favorite restaurant is doing something special; not everyone had their menus ready!)

Bilmar Beach Resort:

Enjoy a Thanksgiving Dinner buffet at the resort or opt out of  Tom Turkey for a seafood dinner, key lime pie and Gulf vista at Sloppy Joe’s. Located at 10650 Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island (727) 367-1600 sloppyjoesonthebeach.com

The Loew’s Don Cesar:  

Enjoy a holiday lunch or dinner at the Sea Porch or Maritana Grille’s Thanksgiving Tasting Menu, accented with an extensive wine list, first-class service, and a stunning setting graced by dazzling salt water aquariums.  The King Charles Brunch Buffet, followed by a walk at the beach, is always popular. Located at 3400 Gulf Blvd, St Pete Beach, FL 33706 (727) 360-1881 www.loewshotels.com/don-cesar/dining/restaurant

king-charles-holiday-brunch

thanksgiving-holiday-buffet-seaporch

maritana-thanksgiving

 

Hurricane’s Seafood Restaurant:  

With a superb view of the Gulf of Mexico, you dine downstairs on a turkey dinner or enjoy the Thanksgiving Day buffet of a cold bar (tortellini pasta and spinach salads, cheese tray, fruit platter), a raw seafood bar (snow crab, peel and eat shrimp, oysters), turkey and prime rib carving stations, non-turkey entrees (chicken curry, baked flounder, shrimp a la vodka), sides and desserts. Located at 809 Gulf Way, St. Pete Beach, (727) 360-9558  thehurricane.com

Middle Grounds Grill:

Serving both its regular menu and some special Thanksgiving favorites, this classy restaurant and spectacular wine/martini list makes every occasion festive. Located at 10925 Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island, 727.360.4253 places.singleplatform.com

The Pearl:

Serving a traditional turkey dinner from noon – 8 pm with all the trimmings for only $22. Includes house salad, turkey, Chef Karim’s special stuffing, giblet gravy, yams, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and cranberry relish. The Pearl’s regular menu will also be available including Lamb or Sea Bass Tagine. Located at 163 107th Ave., Treasure Island, 727.360.9151 www.thepearlfinedining.com

Sirata Hotel:

Bring your family and friends to the Majestic Ballroom for a Thanksgiving buffet 11 am – 5 pm, serving Tropical Fruit and Cheese, Spicy U-Peel Shrimp and Clams, Florida Smoked Fish Dip, Roasted Corn & Crab Bisque, salads, Honey Baked Ham with Spiced Rum and Pineapple Glaze, Baked Sweet Potato with Pecans, Classic Green Bean Casserole, Roasted Tom Turkey with Southern Style Cornbread Stuffing, Carved Slow Roasted Baron of Beef, Pan Seared Salmon with Fresh Dill Sauce, Wild Rice & Toasted Pecan Pilaf, veggies, country breads and holiday desserts. Located at 5300 Gulf Blvd, St. Petersburg,  (727) 897-5200  www.sirata.com

Tradewinds Island Grand:

Enjoy a massive buffet from 11 am – 3 pm in the Grand Palm Collonade and Ballroom. In addition to the pulled BBQ turkey sliders, turkey sage sausage, turkey curry with basmati rice and Cajun turkey bacon, the carvery features traditional turkey and prime rib.  Soups, salads, a breakfast and omelet bar, grilled vegetables, house-smoked seafood, poached salmon, a pasta bar, non-turkey entrees (lavender salmon, grilled chicken breast with wild mushrooms, bourbon and cane syrup glazed ham), sides and desserts including my fave, a chocolate fountain and petit fours. 5500 Gulf Blvd, St Pete Beach, (727) 367-6461 www.tradewindsresort.com

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La Cote Basque Winehouse:

Serving both their awesome early and regular French and Continental menus and their very popular $18 Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner, this cozy hideaway makes the holiday feel like you’re dining and celebrating the holiday at Grandma’s house. Located ablock north of the Casino in Gulfport for 40 years, tell them when you call that Paradise NEWS sent you to get the best table available. For Thanksgiving dinner to go, call ahead or stop in after 4 PM. Located at 3104 Beach Blvd. S. Gulfport Fl., 33707  (727) 321-6888  www.lacotebasquewinehouse.com

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Story by Nanette Wiser