A few weeks ago, I promised you a blog post a week about life and new restaurant experience. So, while I am staying faithful to the promise, I complicated things a bit by starting a 5 week detox/cleanse program. Throughout the program , I slowly eliminate sugar, sweeteners, caffeine, alcohol, dairy, refined flour and other stuff until you get to the point where all I will be eating in Protein, Veggies, Fats, and Spices. I’ve enjoyed the process and the health benefits; however, it is problematic when I try to properly visit and analyze restaurants. Matter of fact, I went to a Tampa favorite, Daily Eats, for brunch the other day, and I just wasn’t able to truly experience the cuisine with the limitations on my diet. I promise to revisit at a later time.
One of the things I have been trying to learn as part of the program is to let my body tell me what it likes and what it doesn’t like. My flavor profile has been set over the years to enjoy certain food, but often that food has left me feeling tired, groggy or sick. As I explore new options based on my program, I am seeking foods that taste great and make me feel great.
I’ve also seen myself shopping at health stores for other things than fresh produce and organic beef. I am buying Super Foods like raw cacao, masa powder and bee pollen. I am incorporating them into smoothies, and other interesting recipes. This program has me challenging myself in ways I never thought possible.
But, it makes going out not as fun. The screaming 2 year old also makes dining out not as much fun.
One of my goals last week was to find a decent fish market. Fish is encouraged on the program and I wasn’t about to go some grocery store to pick up the goods. I wanted the “On the Docks” type feel; so some message boards led me to the town of Tarpon Springs. Also, my Greek buddies over at Nick’s Produce in Richmond told me that I needed to visit Tarpon Springs for my Greek Olive Oil.
One day for lunch, I drove the 20 miles and found Pelican Point Seafood, and their selection was no joke. I settled on some grouper cheeks that I would later pan sear and served over a romaine salad. I noticed a seafood restaurant named Rusty Bellies next door with an outdoor tiki bar, and thought, “Hmmmmmm, that might just hit the spot.
I settled in and ordered some of their steamed shrimp (see how exciting I am). The Florida Pink Shrimp were naturally sweet, and most than satisfied my hunger. They also brought out a complimentary package of hush puppies. Since I was allowed limited serving of refined grains, I decided to indulge and they were so perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.
I liked Tarpon Springs so much, that I wanted to take the wife and kids there on Saturday. Once again, I found myself back at the restaurant. The hush puppies were a hit, but I chose not to indulge. I settled for a house salad and blackened grouper. Again, very boring, but still quite satisfying. Mrs. Marinara tried the grilled shrimp skewers with rice and beans. Very simple, but it worked. The kids ate the fish and chips, and I was happy to see that they served the kids the same fresh fish that the adults were served.
Both times, the service was pleasant at Rusty Bellies. The building was typical for a casual seafood joint, but the views were gorgeous and made us long for an outside table (which was not happening with 95 degree temps.
Rusty Bellies was nothing out of the ordinary, and that’s fine. It’s nice to know I have place to take out of town guests that will satisfy their tourist vibes and cravings for seafood.