Peter Eats and Drinks: Random thoughts about food and dining

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Dropped in to the opening night of Tryst, the gastro-lounge now open on Beach Drive.  Very nice to see the owners put some design money to back up Chef Mark Kaba’s fare.
Tryst will offer an extensive craft cocktail menu and 27 beers on tap, along with Mediterranean-influenced pub food. The menu will offer dishes suitable for sharing and three daily entree specials.
A couple of impressions: there was a lot of staff who are working/or had recently worked at Cassis; that can be a good sign if you enjoy Cassis.  My other thought is one of concern that the douchey Beach Drive set will flock to this place and ruin the joint for the first month the place is open (see: Brava, Bella).
It’s Girl Scout Cookie season, organized by percentage of total sales:
If you were following me on Twitter last week, you already know how excited I am that Sab Cafe opened in downtown St. Pete.  That’s because of two words: Bahn Mi.  (If you don’t know what a Bahn Mi is, read St. Pete Times food critic Laura Reiley’s article about them.)
Bahn Mi is a Vietnamese sandwich comprised of, according to Reiley’s description, a baguette, very crispy, slathered with pate, head cheese, ham or pork, pile up with crisp and sweet and just slightly spicy daikon and carrot matchsticks and soft pickley cucumbers, lots of cilantro and a tang of fish sauce and jalapeno. Warm. And wrapped in waxed paper.
In other words, perfection.
I urge you, in the strongest terms, to get to Sab Cafe and try one for yourself.
On Sunday, September 18, all six Columbia Restaurants will roll back their prices for “1905 Day” to celebrate the 106th anniversary of the fourth and fifth generation family-owned business. As has been the tradition since their 75th Anniversary, the Columbia has developed a special menu with the prices of yesteryear for this day.

From noon until 7:00 p.m. on “1905” Day, guests will enjoy the Columbia Restaurant’s world-famous Spanish cuisine for the prices they might have paid in the “good ole days”.

“1905 Day” takes place at the Columbia Restaurants* in Tampa’s Ybor City, Sarasota, St Augustine, The Pier in St. Petersburg, Sand Key on Clearwater Beach and Celebration.

Wine Madonna opened recently at 111 Second Ave. NE, sharing the courtyard with the Ale & the Witch. Owners Kris Radish, a novelist and former journalist, and Madonna Metcalf, a certified sommelier, aim to work with the craft brew tap house. According to Radish, the new wine-tasting lounge offers about 65 wines, 45 by the glass, from New World to Old World wines at every price point. “We don’t want to intimidate anyone. Our working motto is ‘seek happiness.’ ” Wine Madonna is working with a local caterer to provide nibbles in hopes of offering wine classes and food and wine pairings with local chefs.

Interesting how the owners of the Plaza – with Ale & The Witch, El Matate, Sab Cafe, etc. – have been able to create one of the busiest spots in downtown without a concert venue or movie theater to attract visitors.

I hope you are getting out to Williams Park on Wednesdays:

Chef Zack Gross is giving away free ribs for a year!

Raffle tickets are being sold at Z Grille to benefit Children’s Cancer Programs in Pinellas County.  The winner gets to cherish 365 days of worth of Zack’s premier Dr. Pepper Fried Ribs.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.