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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Saturday, October 08, 2011

ChaCha Coconuts in St.Petersburg, Florida

During our recent stay at our vacation home we rented a boat for the day to spend a bit of time exploring the waters around St. Petersburg, Florida.  By the time we reached the St. Petersburg pier on Tampa Bay storms were threatening and we were ready for lunch so docked the boat wandering up the pier for a good place to eat.  There are five levels to the pier.  Everyone we talked to recommended ChaCha Coconuts on the fifth floor.  We nicely got settled with drinks ordered when the first storm blew through.  It was apparent we were going to be there awhile. It was a very pleasant way to wait out the storms.  We even managed to get a few great pictures of the dolphins and pelicans. The prices are very reasonable, the food is good with an ample selection and the view on the wrap around open deck is spectacular!

seafood dip
We ordered the seafood dip (pictured) and Bahamian conch fritters (not pictured) as appetizers.  I was particularly impressed with the seafood dip although the presentation was slightly lacking with having to unwrap the crackers but given the humidity combined with being an outdoor patio, wrapped kept the crackers fresher.  Still, I can't complain at the generous portion.

The seafood dip was light and refreshing served on a bed of shredded lettuce with lime wedges and red onion pieces served on the side.  One taste and I knew this dish was one I simply had to clone!  And I did just that the very next day so watch for tomorrow's post.

Yucatan fish taco
My husband ordered the Yucatan fish tacos ($10.95) consisting of two soft flour tortillas filled with grilled Merluza dusted with Cajun spices, caramelized onions, peppers, Jack & cheddar cheeses served with their homemade fresh roasted corn & black bean salsa.  The generously tacos were served with sour cream and salsa as well as black beans and yellow rice.  Lime wedges garnished each taco.

Surprisingly the idea of fish tacos never appealed to me so I've never made them.  However, my husband declared them quite tasty so I will make them in the future.  The fish used in these tacos was merluza (hake), a popular fish in Spain.  Halibut is a good substitution for merluza which tends to be a bit more expensive in North America.

San Juan nauchos
I ordered the San Juan nachos consisting of tortilla chips with black bean chili, Jack and cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, onions, tomatoes and jalapeno peppers.  They were served with sour cream and black bean-corn salsa on the side ($8.95).  The black bean chili was an interesting change from ground beef.  I really liked that they used actual shredded cheese rather than a processed cheese sauce.  The nachos were baked similar to the way I make mine.  The portion size was quite large suitable for sharing.  The nachos were good!

I have noticed that many restaurants here serve one or more dishes with black beans as an ingredient.   Black beans with their deep flavour are one of my favourite beans.  I cook mine from scratch as well a can them when I'm doing a bean canning session.  They are a great substitution for beef, lending themselves nicely for vegetarian chili or burger patties.

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