Asian Fusion Buffet

I had lunch this week at the new Asian Fusion Buffet in Apollo Beach. I normally don't care for buffets, but I was pleasantly surprised by this one. It was fabulous! Read my review here on tbo.com and look for it in next week's Table Scraps column in the South Shore News & Tribune. Here are a few photos to whet your appetite:


Hickory Hollow offers refreshing barbecue

Saturday we went on a little antiquing mission in Ellenton.

Although I ended up purchasing a vintage needlepoint pillow, our biggest find was lunch.

The three women behind the counter answered almost in unison, when we inquired where we could go to grab a bite to eat that was good, local and not a chain.

"Look for the restaurant with the headless pig out front," one of the sales clerks said.

We learned Hickory Hollow is known for its two styles of incredible barbecue, fabulous vegetables and more than 50 bottled craft beers.

This family-run business has been serving both traditional and eastern North Carolina pulled pork barbecue for 27 years. The menu takes quite a while to peruse with so many intriguing options like Key Lime or Wasabi deviled eggs, Soft-Shelled Crab, Corn Fritters with Powdered Sugar and Baltimore-style Crab Cakes.

Decisions, decisions...

I opted for the N. C.-style pork barbecue sandwich, which was hickory-smoked and marinated in sweet vinegar and seasonings, and an order of fried green tomatoes. Great choices! The sandwich was stuffed with moist, tender meat and a slaw that was tangy and wonderful on my sandwich. The thick-cut fried green tomatoes had a tasty cornmeal crust fried up right and crispy.

I left Hickory Hollow feeling like I'd just barely had a taste of all of owner Donna James' southern comfort food. I'll be headed back real soon.

If you decide to give it a try, Hickory Hollow will be closed for vacation July 3 - July 19.

If you're wondering about the headless pig, the head was taken by local pranksters. It was later found on the side of the road and needs to be reattached.

4705 U.S. 301 N.
Ellenton, FL 34222
(941) 722-3932


Sister way off her noodle?

While I hate to admit it, sometimes my sister Janet is way cooler than me.

This is one of those times.

Janet told me about some banana splits she made recently. They caught my attention for two reasons: first, for her sheer creativity, but also because she served them to friends FOR BREAKFAST.

My sister isn't a total whackadoodle.

It turns out Janet's breakfast splits were not so crazy after all. They were actually quite healthy.

Scoops of watermelon replaced the usual ice cream; granola, the nuts; and Greek yogurt, the traditional drifts of whipped cream. A sinless banana split! It's all I could ever hope for. Pinch me now!

Get the recipe for this sinless dessert (or breakfast) in today's South Shore News & Tribune online here.


Oh, how I love Sarasota!

Well, I love Ruskin too. But sometimes it's great to get out of town.

We woke up bright and early yesterday and headed to the farmers market in Sarasota. I lived there for seven years before moving to Hillsborough County in 2007. My daughter Leslie and her family just moved there recently, so after a four-year absence, I was looking forward to reacquainting myself with the town... and sneaking in a little visit with my one-year-old granddaughter, Lila.

The farmers market is a big deal in Sarasota.

Vendors have been setting up shop downtown since 1979. Rain or shine, the market is open every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Lemon Avenue at the intersection of Main Street. About 70 artisans, growers and other peddlers offer artwork, handmade soaps, spices, fresh baked breads and pastries, seafood, coffee, live plants, cut flowers and, of course, fresh fruits and vegetables. I'm sure I've left some out.

On this trip, my small market haul included three generous-sized Poblano peppers, a bag of beautiful Brussels sprouts and red and green bell peppers.

While you're waiting for next Saturday to roll around, here's a little taste of what you have to look forward to if you decide to venture forth:


Cheers for a chowder champion!

Congratulations to Tony's Seafood Restaurant in Cedar Key! For the third year in a row, it was crowned clam chowder champion at the Great Chowder Cook-Off in Rhode Island this weekend.

Superbly seasoned and loaded with clams, I like their "chowdah" so much I take home several pints every November when they have a booth at the Ruskin Seafood Festival.

597 2nd Street
Cedar Key, FL 32625
(352) 543-0022