It’s funny the way a restaurant can pop up more than once in conversation or on Facebook over a short period of time. And that’s often just the prod I need to visit and check out what’s going on.
At the beginning of January I noticed a status update on my Facebook news feed sandwiched between a friend’s “TMI” posting about drinking the night before and another’s proclamations of love for a boyfriend. Apollo’s Bistro had added gourmet burgers to its permanent menu.
A few days later a networking buddy informed me he’d recently eaten a very respectable burger there. The place was now on my radar.
Then a week later, I spent a morning “working” to solve Mom’s ongoing computer issues. When we finished she insisted she take me to lunch.
Bingo! I immediately perked up and suggested we head over to Apollo’s Bistro and make like carnivores.
Scanning the menu I spotted five new burger options: prime aged-beef, American Kobe, bison, turducken and turkey. As interesting and tempting as the turducken burger – a Cajun-spiced mix of ground turkey, duck and chicken – sounded, Mom and I went for the gold and ordered the Kobe burger. For an additional charge we could add cheese or extra toppings like bacon, fried onion rings or sliced avocado on top. We ordered our burgers dressed with lettuce and tomato for free.
Holy cow! Served with a pile of french fries, our eight-ounce burgers were cradled in a ciabata bun and cooked precisely to medium rare. They were intensely flavorful, slightly charred and very juicy. It was so filling, I took half of it home for lunch the next day.
That trip to Apollo’s Bistro put me in a burger frame of mind, so I’ll be going back soon to try the others. Meanwhile, what goes better with a burger than freshly made sweet potato fries? See this week’s recipe.
Apollo’s Bistro is at 6520 Richie’s Way, Apollo Beach. For more information, call (813) 641-2685.
Lynn Kessel is a freelance food columnist. For more of her recipes, visit southshore.tbo.com and enter the search words Lynn Kessel.
Oven Roasted Sweet Potato Fries
2 medium sweet potatoes, rinsed and dried
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut the potatoes into 1/4-inch, thin strips or to your desired thickness and length. Mix all the other ingredients together in a large bowl and toss with the potatoes until they are evenly coated.
Transfer the potatoes to a large baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Spread the potatoes in a single layer. Try not to overcrowd or have multiple layers of fries. You want them to be roasted not steamed.
Place in the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes, turning the fries once or twice during that time to cook evenly. They may take more or less time, depending on the size and thickness you cut the fries. Once the edges slightly begin to brown and fries begin to crisp, remove from oven. Sprinkle coarse salt on top while they’re hot.