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Friday, April 6, 2012

I've Got a New Favorite Place!



Wimauma
Tampa, Florida
March 2012

Had a very late dinner at Wimauma last Friday night. I have to say I was really impressed; was expecting to be disappointed and I was shocked outta my shoes at how delish everything was. Every single thing.
First, I enjoy having a bunch of small plates; who wants to commit to a lot of something when you could have small plate after small plate of a lot of wonderful little bites? (sigh). Started out with a couple of glasses of Stella while nibbling on those super-wet boiled peanuts and looking at the menu.
Ordered a few small dishes that had been recommended...first was Fried Green Tomatoes w/crispy country ham, watercress & buttermilk ranch vinaigrette. Hellllo, Lovah. I loved that the tomatoes were cut in big chunks instead of slices. This dish was delish. Amy (who was quite lovely, by the way; we were the last table, she had a sense of humor about her "reputation in the media") recommended the Salt & Pepper Fried Okra w/ cilantro, jalapeno, fried garlic and shallot (an homage to Yummy House) which was wonderful. Then, of course, HAD to have the Crispy Fried Florida Oysters w/Guacamole, cilantro and smoked tomato jam. Mama Mia, I'll have what SHE's having. The fried oysters go surprisingly well with the soft guacamole, and oooh that nice sweet little dollop of jam pulled the whole thing together into one perfect bite. We actually had to order a second plate of the oysters. By the way, my guy hates seafood (and cheese, and ALL dairy, and anything mousse-like or pudding-like in texture, etc etc). He's a real meat-n-potatoes guy, but he loved the oysters, I still can't get over it. It's all he talks about, he wants to go back.


We added a wonderful bottle of Chilean Savignon Blanc, and ordered the Country Mac n Cheese with English Peas, Cheddar, Benton's Bacon & Scallion. Really, really nice. My guy had the Southern Style Fried Chicken Bucket w/ French Fries, hushpuppies and honey mustard sauce. The chicken was really tasty, crust was panko. One small piece of chicken was dry, most were moist and fine. French fries were good, had some kind of batter or light coating on them. I found the hushpuppies to be a bit dry and tasteless; it was really the only thing i didn't LOVE.
Wait...dessert!!! He had the Key Lime Pie (fabulous) with fresh banana ice cream (delish) and Basil Chantilly (mind-boggling). And now, three days later, he's still talking about how good it was.
I had the Grits Creme Brulee with Champagne Sorbet. I have never liked grits, but they gave the creme brulee a wonderful texture, almost like little tapioca pearls or soft rice, a nice contrast to creme brulee's nothing-but-smooth consistency. I just loved it. The champagne sorbet alone would have been a wonderful dessert, but on top of the creme brulee, it was heaven.

Chef Gary came out and made some small talk about places he worked in New York, and we laughed about how basil can taste a bit like marijuana. By that time, we were the only ones in the place, but no one made us feel rushed. The staff obviously loves working there, and that's something else in their favor.
Very, very, very nice and good. Warm staff who were surprisingly helpful and well-versed in all components of all dishes (despite critiques i've read). I was very pleased and wish the Morans well in this venture. I even like the fact that they feature local artists' canvases on the walls (for sale, too. very cool). Really impressed. :)

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