Star Fish Co.


1. the mood, character, quality, tone, atmosphere, etc., particularly of an environment or milieu: The restaurant had a delightful ambiance.
2. that which surrounds or encompasses; environment.

LinkStar Fish Company
12306 46th Ave W
Cortez Fl, 34215
(941) 794-1243


Seeing green: sliced, battered and fried.

In my Table Scraps newspaper column this week, I wrote about The Fish House in Ruskin, and their newly added menu item — fried green tomatoes. What I didn't get to do is show you exactly how good they look. You have two choices of dipping pleasure — creamy ranch or a zesty, Southwest chipotle dressing.

There's something about warm weather, great food and outdoor seating that makes this such a great, casual dining experience.

As unique as The Fish House is, so are its hours. Like the sign says, it's open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11 a. m. to 8 p.m.

The Fish House
Located on the south side of West Shell Point Road, 1.4 miles west of U.S. 41 in Ruskin. (813) 641-9451


Gad Zeus, yes! Go to Acropolis!

A quick trip up I-75 and we were eating lunch at the newly opened Acropolis Greek Taverna in Riverview. It's located in the trendy and stylish Winthrop Town Centre.

The atmosphere inside is warm and inviting. Lots of dark wood, beautiful murals and a cluster of hookahs on the wall contributed to the authentic Mediterranean decor.
The menu had so many delicious dishes that I barely knew where to start. Our server Phil started things off with warm Greek bread served with a creamy feta dip. I was impressed; for when the bread arrives right out of the oven, the Greek gods are smiling.

With all the menu choices, I don't know why I ordered the tabbouleh salad. Well, I do know why. I stick to the familiar — eating a light lunch. Chopped parsley and diced tomatoes dressed with lemon and olive oil are always a favorite combo. I wasn't disappointed; but I was kicking myself for not venturing outside my penchant for tabbouleh.

Along with the tabbouleh I asked for pita bread. Without hesitation Phil brought out a plate of fresh grilled pita triangles that melted in my mouth.

I started to order a glass of wine, that is until Phil brought the wine list. One glass was going to cost me $9, which is a little steep for my lunch budget. Instead I opted for a bottle of Mythos, a Greek beer that saved me $5.

For dessert, I couldn't pass up paper-thin layers of honey-and-walnut baklava. Acropolis also offers a cheesecake - or chocolate baklava, among other desserts. My piece was chilled and rather solid. I ate half and took the other half home. I have to say it was much, much better once it had reached room temperature. It was wonderfully crisp and tender.

Dinners at Acropolis includes lively belly dancing some nights, hookah smoking, traditional Greek music, fire breathing, indoor and outdoor seating - I'll be back for seconds.

Acropolis Greek Taverna
6108 Winthrop Town Centre Ave., Riverview
(813) 654-2255


From the Gulf to my fork

I love my friends Pam and Larry Malinoski. I blogged about Pam a few weeks ago and told you about her debut "Hooked-Up Cooking Show" posted on YouTube. To view it, see my April 2 post.

Anyway, there's a good chance when Pam calls me late in the afternoon and asks, "Have you cooked dinner yet?" that she and Larry had a good day fishing.

Sure enough, yesterday I got THE phone call.

"We caught some grouper; if you want some, come on over," she beckoned over the phone.

Four minutes and 22 seconds later, I was ringing the Malinoskis doorbell.

Wow! Isn't it handsome? (Larry, you're a fine-looking catch, too.)

He caught this grouper in Tampa Bay. I immediately had a plan for this beauty — grouper en papillote. The fish fillets are wrapped in paper, so the steam can't escape. The paper acts as a container, allowing the fish to steam in its own juices, as well as whatever flavorings are added.

I think this is probably one of the easiest and tidiest ways to cook fish. Cleaning the grill is not one of my favorite things to do. So, I grabbed two sheets of parchment paper, (or you can use foil) and started creating a layer of ingredients on top of one of the sheets of parchment paper. First a row of 1/2-inch sliced red potatoes, then the fish fillet, a few slices of Roma tomatoes, a teaspoon of minced garlic, two tablespoons of chopped fresh basil, and finally three or four sliced kalamata olives on top. Season with a dash of salt and pepper and a light drizzle of olive oil.

Repeat this process for each fish fillet.

Fold the paper or foil to enclose the ingredients and seal the edges. Place on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated, 425 degree oven for 20 minutes. The smell is amazing!

Make an X in the top of the packet and fold back the paper: be careful of the steam. Serve immediately.

Thanks Pam and Larry! I owe you big time; this grouper was such a treat — so fresh and so moist. Ah, life is good in Ruskin!


A little tease and some fruit pizza porn

These may be the last of our local strawberries for the season, so I thought I better put them to good use. I haven't made this recipe for fruit pizza in years, but I think it turned out the best I can ever remember. The cookie dough crust came out nice and crunchy. And yes, it tastes as good as it looks!

The recipe will be published in my Table Scraps column next Wednesday. If you need the recipe before then, e-mail me and I'll be happy to send it to you.


Martini's on your mind?

I first stopped by the Incognito Lounge two weeks ago, co-owner Kevin Knott was on his hands and knees laying wood floors, and his wife, Kristina, who Kevin calls "the brains behind the business" was directing deliveries and instructing workmen. Despite the hustle and bustle, they were determined to open the doors the following week.

Yesterday afternoon, I passed by and saw the huge "Now Open" sign hanging out front, so I stopped in to take another peek.

Located in the slowly blossoming MiraBay Village in Apollo Beach, the Incognito Lounge is a very attractive place. It features dangling lighting, comfortably cushioned lounge chairs and walls lined with the work of local artists. Sipping and noshing outside will be enjoyed after tomorrow, when the patio chairs are delivered, Kevin told me.

Incognito manages to be cozy, casual and elegant, all at the same time. Its intimate setting seems perfect for winding down after work or a sophisticated night on the town. Live jazz is scheduled on Friday and Saturday nights.

The restaurant/lounge includes a specialty drink selection of nine intriguing concoctions, including the Kiwi Envy (Absolut Citron, muddled kiwi, fresh squeezed lime juice, simple syrup, and club soda) and Blood Orange Margarita (Patron Silver, Grand Marnier, sour mix, blood orange juice.)

The martini list, mostly sweet, has a Classic Dirty Martini (vodka or gin, olive juice, and blue cheese stuffed olives) and Bloody Martini (Absolut, a few drops of hot sauce and bloody Mary mix) that's served with creole, celery, salt-rimmed glass and garnished with a grape tomato and a jalapeno.

Guests can nosh on appetizers like Asian Lettuce Wraps, a Fruit and Cheese Plate or Sliders.
Hungry for more? Soups, salads, sandwiches and gourmet pizzas, prices start at $4.95

The official grand opening will take place on April 18th.

Incognito Lounge
131 Harbor Village Lane
Apollo Beach, FL 33572
Sun. - Thurs. noon - 1am
Fri. & Sat. noon -2am


Hooked-Up Cooking Show

My friend Pam and her husband, Larry Malinoski (Capt. Mal), who live in Ruskin, went grouper fishing and shot some exciting fishing video. Then Pam came home and demonstrated how to fix her simple recipe for stuffed grouper. Normally camera-shy, she was surely bribed into doing this with at least one glass of wine.

I love her recipe. It's so easy and tasty.

Somehow...the video got posted to YouTube: