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50th Week Anniversary: Behold the Monster Salad
July 22, 2012
We know. The Chronicles have been rather bland lately. No hash, no biscuits and gravy, no fried dough, no small children. But listen, pre-wedding dieting is a lot of hard work. Being a hippo on the inside and heroin chic on the outside takes a lot of fitness…. a lot of Metamucil. Bulimia is not an option if you want white teeth for your wedding.
While I’ve practiced “portion control” for nearly 185 days now, I’ve just about had enough. I’ll skip dinner if I have to but please bring me a basket of fried pickles, fat girl style. We’re on our way to the Shrimp Warehouse, one of the few reasons to visit Brandon, Florida. In fact, I’m not even sure if the food is worth driving to Brandon for but we have purchased a CL Deals ½ off coupon so obviously we’re going.
We arrive in the land of tiny horses ready for brunch. Curious? A 23-year veteran of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office was charged with one count of felony animal cruelty and one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty this week for starving horses. That’s the extent of things going on in the Brandon, Bloomingdale and Riverview area. Big news, people.
We’re surprised to learn that Shrimp Warehouse is in a strip mall, but are not overcritical. After all, some of the best Chinese buffets can be found in strip malls, alongside nail salons. Unfortunately I’m going to have to spoil the ending of this story right now, so we know which restaurant and which food we’re talking about.
Ryan and I actually sat at the Shrimp Boat of Brandon (located on the same road) thinking that it was the Shrimp Warehouse. It wasn’t until we tried to use our CL Deals coupon that the waitress informed us we were not at the Shrimp Warehouse, and were in fact done with our meal at the Shrimp Boat and now owed her $40.
It’s okay, good food is worth paying for. It just wasn’t in our wedding budget. If we’re spending $40 it needs to be on booze. So, Shrimp Boat… we’re at the Shrimp BOAT. Rewind 45 minutes or so and Ryan and I are seated for our dining experience. This strip mall dining room is empty with exception of the bar; oddly enough every seat is taken. Nothing draws a crowd like dollar drafts, Nascar, and the rays. Well, nothing draws a crowd like dollar drafts and Nascar.
Our waitress is a real flake. She discusses the restaurant and the menu with us in scripts each time she approaches the table, but the second we reply or get conversational she delivers a blank stare or extremely muddled answer. I don’t have time to crack this code lady. Focus: FRIED PICKLES. I discuss my craving for fried pickles alongside a massive salad, which isn’t supposed to make any sense from the standpoint of caloric intake. Just give them to me.
Shrimp Boat’s fried dill pick spears are served with sriracha buttermilk sauce and as far as I’m concered they are some of the best around. While Ryan always opps in for the pickle chips, I love the spears. He’s immediately bummed to learn they aren’t chips, but inhales them anyways alongside his ravenous fiancé.
Round 2: entries. Ryan orders the Chipolte Shrimp Caesar Salad: Sautéed shrimp tossed in a creamy chipotle sauce atop a bed of romaine lettuce tossed with croutons and caesar dressing… just $10.99! I get the Surf & Turf Salad: Grilled sliced sirloin steak with grilled shrimp atop a bed of greens, with feta cheese, tomatoes, shredded carrots, red onions, and croutons… with honey mustard on the side …just $12.99!
20 minutes later… Behold, the world’s most generous salad portions! I can’t help but notice that many restaurants often get off charging you 13-16 bucks for a steak or seafood salad… and put 6 tiny pieces of steak or 4 big shrimp on top and call it righteous. Not Shrimp Boat. These salads are MASSIVE, loaded with seafood, and loaded with steak.
I enjoyed every single bite of my salad at Shrimp Boat, but Ryan’s was truly the best salad I have ever had in my life. And that is not an exaggeration. The Chipolte Shrimp were similar in flavor to Bonefish Grill’s Bang Bang Shrimp’s, except they were on steroids. By the way- there’s zero chance of the Chipolte Shrimp Caesar Salad being a healthy alternative to anything on the menu due to its massive fried shrimp and abundance of Caesar dressing, but that doesn’t make it any less wonderful; absolutely worth having a sexual affair with.
So here we are, stuck paying $40 for 2 salads, fried pickles and a few beers when we’re supposed to be saving for a home and life together, but I do not complain. That food was incredible. What I’m more upset about is having to return to Brandon a second weekend to use our CL Deals ½ off coupon at the correct establishment.