Breaking Tampa Bay, Florida and national news and weather from Tampa Bay Online and The Tampa Tribune |
Saturday, Apr 19, 2014
South Shore News

Yes, Virginia, you can get Christmas dinner at area restaurants

Published:   |   Updated: December 23, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Most area restaurants are taking Christmas Day off, which used to mean dinner at a Chinese restaurant – and for some, it still does. But if chow mein or egg rolls don’t fill you with holiday cheer, there is some good food to be had if you know where to look.

Little Harbor’s Sunset Grill, 611 Destiny Drive, Ruskin, is putting together a sumptuous buffet from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. that will feature a carving station, roast beef, roasted turkey, pesto-encrusted cod, cheeses, antipasto, assorted breads, endless salad bar and assorted desserts. The cost is $26.95 for adults and $14.95 for children ages 10 and younger. Reservations are required. Call (813) 645-7739.

The Sandpiper Grille, 1702 Pebble Beach Blvd. S., Sun City Center, will be open from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and serving a set menu of soup or salad, entree and dessert priced at $19.95. Reservations are required for parties of 5 or more. Call (813) 634-7900.

And if you feel like driving to Ybor City, the Columbia Restaurant, 2117 East 7th Ave., is serving both its regular Spanish-inspired dinner menu and two Christmas dinner specials from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The holiday entrees include roasted pork served with brown rice, yuca and sweet plantains or a traditional baked Virginia ham served with mashed potatoes, candied yams, fresh vegetables and orange sauce. Both include a cup of soup or fresh Caesar salad. Adult dinners are $21.95; children’s dinners are $5.95. They will be open from 11 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., reservations are strongly encouraged, but walk-ins will be accepted pending table availability. Call (813) 248-4961.

Not surprisingly Village Inn, 10293 Big Bend Road, Riverview, is open Christmas day from 5:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Entrees include a choice of sliced turkey or ham served with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, salad, biscuit, cranberry sauce and a slice of pumpkin pie. The meal is bargain-priced at $10.99 for the turkey and $11.49 for the ham. Reservations are not accepted; this restaurant is for walk-ins only. Call (813) 741-3200.

Whether you’re dining out or making dinner yourself, be sure to save room for dessert. This week I’m sharing a recipe for cranberry-nut jelly roll that’s definitely a favorite around our house and always gets devoured.

Lynn Kessel is a freelance food columnist. For more of her recipes, visit and enter the search words Lynn Kessel.

Cranberry Nut Jelly Roll

4 eggs, separated

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped

3/4 cup finely chopped pecans


1 package (8 ounces) fat-free cream cheese

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Let eggs stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Line a 15- by 10-in. baking pan with waxed paper; coat with cooking spray and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks on high speed for 3 minutes or until thickened. In a small mixing bowl, beat egg whites with clean beaters on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high until soft peaks form. Fold into yolks. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; gently fold into the egg mixture until combined. Fold in cranberries and pecans.

Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Cool for 5 minutes. Invert cake onto a kitchen towel dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Gently peel off waxed paper. Roll up cake in a towel, jelly-roll style, starting with a short side. Cool on a wire rack.

For filling: in a small mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, butter and extract. Set aside 1 1/2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar. Gradually beat remaining sugar into cream cheese mixture. Unroll cake; spread filling to within 1/2 inch of edges. Roll up again. Sprinkle with reserved confectioners’ sugar. Store in refrigerator.

Serves 12