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My New Favorite Restaurant

by Meghann on February 8, 2012

I discovered something amazingly delicious this afternoon.

Did you know key lime pie is a fabulous dip for apple slices? It is and it may be my new favorite snack.

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Yum.

Thank you for all the birthday wishes today! Too old to celebrate or not, it was good day. It was especially nice to have a chance to talk to some friends and family I haven’t spoken to in a while. Gotta love birthdays for bringing people together (and reminding us we need to pick up the phone and call one another more often!). :)

Derek and I celebrated quietly this evening with my new favorite restaurant in Tampa – The Refinery.

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After eating at The Refinery a few weeks ago with the girls, I knew I had to bring back Derek for dinner. I loved everything from the atmosphere, to the food, to the emphasis they place on preparing locally produced organic meals with a menu that rotates weekly to ensure seasonal freshness and I knew he would too.

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I also knew he would appreciate the extensive craft beer menu as much as I did. Derek ordered a Highland Thunderstruck (a coffee porter) that I stole a few sips from through the evening. ‘Twas some good beer. I’ve had a soft spot for Highland beers since I toured the brewery a couple of summers ago.

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We started with the Studyin’ on Potatoes: potato croquette, fried skins, skordalia, chervil crème fraiche, Mote Marine Siberian caviar

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When the dish was placed in front of us Derek looked at the plate and goes “So basically it’s a giant mozzarella stick.” I told him yes, but filled with potato instead of cheese. Yum.

For my entree I went back and forth between the two vegetarian options (Grits ‘n’ Greens: cannellini beans, roasted heirloom tomatoes, chard, roasted mushroom, jalapeno or Farmer’s Pie: strawberry-serrano glazed carrots, sweet potatoes, brie, cauliflower-potato mash). Both sounded delicious, but ultimately our server sold me on the Farmer’s Pie when he declared it his favorite dish on this week’s menu.

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He wasn’t kidding – the dish was amazing. The melted brie brought the cauliflower-potato mash to new levels of rich and decadent sinfulness that you usually don’t taste when the term ‘cauliflower mash’ is involved.

Derek ordered the burger and declared it the best $11 burger he had ever had.

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I think it was the mix of sweet pepper jam and fresh watercress that put it over the edge. Also – the fries? Slightly burnt to perfection.  

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On our way home we stopped at a local cupcake shop that I drive by all the time, but have never had the excuse to check out. Tonight was the perfect excuse.

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One chocolate brownie rose for Derek and one peanut butter cupcake for me.

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I had half of the peanut butter one when we got home and I have to give the local cupcake shop major props for putting out a great product. The cupcake was super moist and the peanut butter flavor was very evident and on the verge of being slightly overpowering – just the way I like it. :)

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I tried a piece of Derek’s chocolate brownie rose as well. The owner told us they add brownie batter to the chocolate cupcake mix for an extra dense and rich brownie cupcake.

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The chocolate cupcake was good, but I think the peanut butter wins for best cupcake of the two. :)

Now we’re watching tv and enjoying our last bit of time before bed. A quiet evening to end a quiet birthday.

Good Night!


{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Carissa February 8, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Birthdays are the best! Eating sweet treats guilt free is awesome! Welcome to the big 2-7 club!

And now put down the Key Lime! jk! :)
Carissa recently posted..WIAW- Turkey Blue Cheese Meatballs

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2 Caroline February 8, 2012 at 10:29 pm

This food looks amazing (especially the cupcakes). I hope your day was fantastic.
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3 Kath February 8, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Cupppppcake!

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4 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats February 8, 2012 at 10:48 pm

that restaurant sounds amazing! All of their dishes sound so creative! I’m glad you had a great birthday!
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5 Lindsay @ Running the Windy City February 8, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Wow both of those dishes sound amazing. I love it when restaurants get creative with vegetarian options!

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6 Meg at runridelove.com February 8, 2012 at 11:01 pm

That restaurant sounds amazing. I love when restaurants have super creative vegetarian dishes. Also, sounds like a perfect end to your birthday. A quiet night out with the significant other is one of my favorite things.
Meg at runridelove.com recently posted..Base Training Week 5

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7 Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy February 8, 2012 at 11:02 pm

Happy Birthday! Those cupcakes look yummy!
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8 Joss February 8, 2012 at 11:15 pm

mmm pb cupcake.

p.s you look especially radiant in that photo!
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9 Kiran @ KiranTarun.com February 9, 2012 at 12:27 am

Happy Birthday sweetie — love you ended it with sweetness from delicious cupcakes!

Gotta meet soonish :)
Kiran @ KiranTarun.com recently posted..Avocado & Kale Smoothie

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10 Ida February 9, 2012 at 12:30 am

You should try Dannon’s key lime greek yogurt!

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11 Kelley February 9, 2012 at 12:41 am

Happy Birthday Meghann!!! Those Cupcakes look AMAZING!

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12 Heather February 9, 2012 at 1:36 am

Happy birthday, looks like a fun night! Glad for the restaurant recommendation!

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13 Stacey @ Avid Hiker, Aspiring Runner, Pug Mom, Girly Girl February 9, 2012 at 1:44 am

I totally want one of those cupcakes! That restaurant looks great! I tagged you in the “11 Things” post on my blod. I hope you don’t mind! I have been reading your blog and I like it! I thought you might like the tag :-)

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14 Tami February 9, 2012 at 6:30 am

Derek is a cutie in his glasses….

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15 Hillary February 9, 2012 at 7:18 am

That looks like my kind of restaurant (and my kind of cupcakes!)

Glad you had a great birthday, Meghann!
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16 Sara @my less serious life February 9, 2012 at 8:04 am

i’m glad you had such a nice birthday! that cupcake certainly looks divine!

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17 Hope @ With A Side Of Hope February 9, 2012 at 8:19 am

That restaurant really does look great! The best ending to a birthday is a cupcake for sure. They sure do look yummy! I hope you had a great birthday! :)
Hope @ With A Side Of Hope recently posted..Most Romantic Hotels in the US…

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18 Angela @ Happy Fit Mama February 9, 2012 at 8:42 am

Mmmm, cupcakes!
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19 Cat Melnyk February 9, 2012 at 9:03 am

Oh the Refinery has been a long standing fav of me and Mike’s. I need to make that a point to go to again next time I’m in town! Happy Birthday :D

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20 Jules @ La Petite Maison Verte February 9, 2012 at 9:16 am

YES! The Refinery is my FAVORITE restaurant in Tampa as well! I love how the menu changes every week and how they work so hard to source all of their ingredients as locally as possible, that way they are supporting smaller, local farms and getting the freshest food available. I’ve never seen the Sweet Tweets Cakery before but if they make an overpoweringly peanut butter cupcake, I need to try it. Glad your birthday was fabulous!
Jules @ La Petite Maison Verte recently posted..Creamy and Crunchy

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21 Emily February 9, 2012 at 9:51 am

Your birthday dinner looks pretty delicious! Enjoy!
Emily recently posted..How does one find the time?

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22 MrsSwan February 9, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Love the picture of you two!!

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23 SkinnyRunner February 9, 2012 at 12:52 pm

happy birthday! cupcakes and fries are pretty much meal perfection.

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24 Michelle February 9, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Aww shucks Meghann. Thanks!!!! Happy Birthday kisses to you. Glad you had such a great time with the girls that you returned so quickly for such a special occasion.

On behalf of Chef Greg, myself and the whole staff THANK YOU!!!!

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25 Alaina February 9, 2012 at 5:04 pm

That looks like an amazing birthday dinner!! Only a month and 9 days left for me! :-P
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26 Stacey @starpulp February 9, 2012 at 11:37 pm

The Refinery makes me wish I’d had more time to spend when I was in Tampa!! There are some really unique restaurants there. I’ll have to plan another trip soon. Maybe I need to pick a Tampa race as an excuse to visit again once I get my runnin’ legs back!
Stacey @starpulp recently posted..Muffin-envy – Meatloaf Muffins

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27 Meghann February 10, 2012 at 6:58 am

Yes! Gasparilla is the big one here every spring :)

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