Monday, January 17, 2011

Where we eat: The Lime squeezed by Mekenzie Zimmerman and Alex Winston

There have been many celebrations over my five years in Tampa that have taken place at the Lime, anything from birthdays and wedding showers to academic ones such as completing a qualifying exam or thesis. It wasn't a celebration that took J-Fur and I back there yesterday, unless you count getting my haircut as a party worthy event. It also wasn't the Jets/Patriots game that just happened to be an unfortunate part of the experience. It was simply that J-Fur had a desire for yucca fries and a black bean burrito at the exact same time that we drove by the only place we know that serves them.

Despite our many visits to the Lime, a Latina fusion bar and restaurant in Tampa, we hadn't been there in two years because they closed the Tampa Palms location and we don't make it to South Tampa at dinner time too often. When we entered yesterday everything seemed the same as other visits (disregarding the shouting football fans). It wasn't until we received the menu from the waitress that we noticed a difference. It was much smaller than our previous trip and there and no yucca fries on it. J-Fur immediately voiced her disappointment, though I held out hope. I mean Red Robin removed the garlic fries from their actual menu but still had them; it was like an unspoken secret or a secret club. I hoped that was what was going on here.

I inquired about the yucca fries when the waitress came to take our orders. After correcting my pronunciation she asked how long it had been since we had been there. I figured this meant that yucca fries hadn't been on the menu at any point during her employment. Instead of leaving, which I was tempted to do since yucca fries were what had drawn us; I made do with regular fries and a rice and bean burrito. J-Fur ordered a tostado salad (pictured at the top) that included refried beans, mixed greens, roasted corn, mango salsa, olives, queso and avocado tomatillo vinaigrette.

These burritos were different than the ones we used to order. The old ones would come out with a design on top of guacamole, queso and a red sauce. These burritos were sliced in half with the sauces in small plastic containers. One of the things that I have always loved about the Lime is that their burritos are crispy, like they have been fried. I have never been able to mimic this in my own kitchen and I think that is one of my goals for this year. The taste of the burritos was like a fusion of rice and beans and a Philly cheese steak (because of the Fajita vegetables they put inside). It was better than most bar food but, aside from the crispy burrito, it was something I could do at home.

J-Fur's tostado salad was really good. I feared that the mango salsa would be too overpowering and sweet, but it was minimal. The tostado crumbled under the weight of all the liquid, sort of like a chip and salsa reaction, and I loved that. It was my favorite part of the whole meal.

We weren't offered a dessert menu, perhaps because they don't have desserts anymore. That would be a sad thing too as the Lime used to have an amazing cinnamon churro topped with vanilla bean ice cream.

In the end, I think this was our last visit to the Lime. While the food is better than your typical bar fare, there are too many other restaurants in the area that offer better vegetarian selections. For meat eaters, football fans or beer drinkers, the Lime is probably a great place to socialize and people watch while enjoying the Tampa weather through the open windows at the front.

The Lime is located at 915 South Howard Street in Tampa

Lime on Urbanspoon

My disappointment at the Lime led to an afternoon of subdued music. First there was Mekenzie Zimmerman and her song "Running Away." This song matches the sweet harmonies of Mekenzie's voice with lyrics of anger at those who have failed her. It was something that I never ever would've listened to in the past. But I did and I like it. Mekenzie's debut EP, Introspective, is out now.

The second was a song that I've already twittered and facebooked about but I couldn't avoid putting it on here as well. Alex Winston creates a spacey upbeat jam called "Sister Wife" which is about...well having a sister wife. It comes from a mini LP with the same name that is due out February 14th (Valentine's Day Gift?). You can pre-order a signed copy here.