Amateur Eats -Food & Photography Blog

I like to eat. I love to photograph. So, yeah, food blog. I'm no pro at prose and my view on restaurants has as much to do with getting a good value and good service as it does with good food. I'd rather eat great street food than dine at a linen covered table. But, I enjoy it all. I appreciate food that tastes good and looks good, and is delivered with good customer service for a decent price  Got something to share or know of a place that has photogenic food? Please share. Let's go eat!

SoFresh South Tampa

SoFresh Fried Rice Bowl bite.jpg


Another build your own opens in South Tampa

I ordered the Stir Fry Bowl- brown rice, broccoli, carrots, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, sweet chili sauce with chicken ($10). There's a $3 up charge if you want steak, salmon, mahi, or shrimp. It comes standard with tofu, chicken, or zoodles (zucchini noodles). The chicken is GMO and antibiotic-free but looks and tastes pre-seasoned and prepackaged. The veggies are cooked well except for the very thinly sliced mushroom that are more stems than caps, and look like they came from a can. The entire bowl is overpowered by a lot of soy sauce. The accompanying sweet chili is of the variety one might get with spring rolls. It's a gelatinous sweet sauce and has no place with this dish. This bowl would benefit from the addition of eggs like those typically found in fried rice and like dishes. SoFresh is following the trend of build-your-own meal with bowls, wraps, and salads. But the process doesn't work well here. It's what happens when you take a food concept and commercialize and franchise it. The food becomes formulaic and uninspired. The store is popular and crowded during meal time. The vibe is good with high energy music and brightly lit modern interior. Lunch prices are moderate to high, with a bowl (no add-ons) and drink nearly $13.00

Mortar and Pestle

 Mortar and Pestle Sous Vide Pork Belly- Allspice and ginger pan seared pork belly, Curry Calabaza Squash Puree, Spinach Foam,  Spinach Fluid Gel, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Broccoli Rabe

Mortar and Pestle Sous Vide Pork Belly- Allspice and ginger pan seared pork belly, Curry Calabaza Squash Puree, Spinach Foam,  Spinach Fluid Gel, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Broccoli Rabe

Mortar and Pestle is a addition to the Seminole Heights food scene. Being brand new they still have some kinks to work out. There were several items printed on the menu that were unavailable, some ran out as we sat there. It's an oddly conceived establishment, as if it doesn't know what it wants to be when it grow up. It's a restaurant, a pharmacy (thus the Mortar and Pestle moniker) and a coffee shop replete with 16 hour cold drip contraptions featured behind the check-in desk. But, it's situated in Seminole Heights where unique dining concepts have been successfully incubated. On the dining side food flavor palettes are fresh, broad, and well thought out. The subtle use of foams, gels, and fruit fluids are evidence of the intricate detail put into each dish. Other components like gelato make their appearance in non-traditional places. I had the Sous Vide Pork Belly ($24)- Allspice and ginger pan seared pork belly, curry calabaza squash puree, spinach foam, spinach fluid gel, Chanterelle mushrooms, and Broccoli Rabe. Bravo! The pork was seared to perfection and the accompanying vegetables made for a near perfect balance of texture and flavor. Our table also ordered Five Spice Duck Breast ($23) and Pan Seared Wahoo- substituted in for Cobia ($23). Both were plated with a host of complex flavors nicely suited for one another. Dessert brought a couple more elaborate dishes including Ube Cake with Jim Beam infused egg yolk (think custard), vanilla cardamom, and passion fruit sorbet. We also had a Flourless Chocolate Bar which is self explanatory but with much more on the plate including coconut creme fraiche and hazelnut ice cream. Mortar and Pestle is a def recommend!