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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Converging At Nitally's On Central

It happened again Tampa Bay. Two of the area's premier bloggers (well, one anyway) converged again at a local eatery.

This time Sweet Polly and her mighty Under Dog joined up with the Belle of Ballast Point and the joy of her life (right, Babe?) at Nitally's Thai-Mex Cuisine at 2462 Central Avenue in Saint Pete.

We wondered in for a late lunch and were impressed with the eclectic decor. We seated ourselves at the request of Lauren our charming server.

While waiting for our adult beverages, which were promptly served, I took a few moments to peruse my surroundings.

The Wall of Shame featured photos of those who had attempted the Inferno Soup challenge and failed. Winners get $1000 and losers pay $49.99. I gave it a thought, but the disclaimer said that a challenger must be of sound mind and sober. That pretty much disqualified me.

Oh, well.

On another wall hung some art work and a sign that I believe translated to something like, "When we said that our 'medium' is the equivalent of 'hot' in other restaurants we weren't just whistling Dixie".

Let me tell you friends, there was no Dixie whistling going on during our visit. Their medium is pretty spicy, so if you can't handle the heat I would suggest you order your food 'mild'.

Speaking of which, we all started with small plates before moving on to our entrées. That brings up another word of warning, Nitally's servings are huge. Several of the dishes we requested could have been shared among a couple of people.

That isn't meant as a negative. You won't leave here hungry, and probably will need a to-go box or two.

The four of us ordered a couple of different beers. I was pleased to see one of my favorites, the Thai beer Singha which pairs beautifully with spicy food.

One of the best small plates we tried was the Thai Peanut Chicken Tortilla Wrap, a seasoned chicken, bean sprout, carrot, romaine lettuce and Nitally’s homemade peanut sauce wrap with soft tortilla. This wrap had a delightful smokey over tone and was delicious. I would show a picture, but Sweet Polly had already ripped into one. After a bite, I could understand why.

The Belle of Ballast Point got the Chipotle Pizza with smokey chicken, zucchini, carrots, chipotle sauce on a tortilla with melted cheese. I think we all agreed that this was a winner.

I am a push-over for seafood and the mussels steamed in lemon grass, lime leaves and Thai peppers, with a touch of lime juice just called me by name. The mussels were succulent with a light lemony lime taste.

After those three small plates all of us were re-thinking the wisdom of ordering entrées, but we are professional gourmands, or what some rude people have referred to as piglets.

What do they know?

Anyway, we had already placed our orders so we cowboyed (or cowgirled) ourselves up and pressed on.

Sweet Polly's Pad Thai is one of my personal favorites because I love noodles.

Speaking for myself, that was a good Pad Thai, rice noodles stir fried with egg, onion, bean sprout, red pepper topped with ground roasted peanuts, scallion and cilantro. This dish comes with a choice of chicken, beef, vegetables, or tofu.

For his main dish, Under Dog had the Chorizo Fired Rice. That is how it was listed on the menu, but I wondered if it should have been 'fried' rice. I didn't ask, but this dish was the fusion of Mexican style chorizo and Thai style fried jasmine rice with egg, carrot, green bean, onion, and scallion with a touch of minced garlic.

You are probably noticing that there is a similarity in presentation of the plates shown here.

That is not a negative by any means except for me trying to remember which is which and who had what. Actually, I think Who was on third.

But, I digress.

For the Belle, the dish of choice was the Pineapple Delight, chicken with pineapple, onion, tomatoes, green bean, and carrot stir fried in house sauce topped with roasted peanut and scallion. 

She said the Delight was very tasty, and so did Under Dog who snagged pineapple chucks from time to time.

The main dish that caught my eye and taste buds attention was the Seafood Paella, Tex-Mex style with perfectly cooked shrimp, calamari, mussels, and chicken pieces in a curry rice mixture.

While this dish was very tasty the ratio of rice to seafood was skewed in favor of the rice. There were four mussels, a few calamari rings, and four shrimp with a big mound of rice. As I said, it tasted good, but $18.99 for a lot of rice was a bit much.

All four of us had to ask for take-home boxes, and dessert was pretty much out of the question. There really was a lot of food. And, all things considered, it was relatively inexpensive.

With the food, beers, and a well deserved 20% gratuity the day came to about $46 per person. 

This was a unique dining experience with the pleasure of trying two different tastes that I would not have thought could work together. 

But, they did.

And, lastly...

Nitally's Thai-Mex Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Nitallys Thai Coffee House on Foodio54

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