Mad Girl Eats Skipper’s Smokehouse in Tampa


Skippers Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Rd, Tampa, FL 33613.

Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich in America show, on the Travel Channel, intrigued me to try the star sandwich, the Blackened Grouper Reuben. So, I made my way to Tampa and found Skipper’s Smokehouse. It is quite a place. It looks like a big swamp shanty. Very VERY casual, relaxed wait staff, and southern-back-woods-Redneck-ishVille atmosphere.

Order up for the sandwich of choice, and the Smoked Gator Ribs shown on the Travel Channel’s Man V. Food. The sandwich came on marble rye, a beautiful piece of grouper perfectly seasoned with Cajun spice and blackened to the right degree. The swiss, sauce, and sauerkraut were the right combination to balance it to amazing-ness. Adam Richman moaned after his first bite, I moaned after my first bite. OMG…frightfully delish. Definitely on my top sandwich roster!

The Smoked Gator Ribs on the other hand, were not. Doused with bbq sauce, tiny portion, lacking smokiness…just not good all around. The server never came back to ask how the meal was. She would have found out. When only 2 bites are taken and leave the rest,  then ask for a box…wouldn’t you wonder what’s up? Anyway…

If you don’t mind lackadaisical service and shanty ambiance ( I thought was charming), the Blackened Grouper Reuben is worth the visit. Skip the Gator ribs and try the Cajun popcorn (crawfish tails), Smoked Fish Dip, or Key Lime Pie instead.  Restaurant, bar, music venue.

4.75 out of 5 points for Adam Richman’s sandwich pick.  3 out of 5 for everything else.

Mad Girl Eats Datz in Tampa


Datz, 2616 S MacDill Ave, Tampa, FL.

I was anxious to stop at this gastropub after viewing their extensive online menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So many interesting nibbles and bits that intrigued me, I knew I had to sashay my way over to Tampa and live it for myself. Let’s go lunch!

They had just changed their menu for Spring, so I was a bit disappointed one of their star players, stuffed meatloaf sandwich, was not on the new menu for lunch. Oh well, they have enough other mad cray concoctions to put a smile on my face…now the problem is, which ones to try? Forever a gourmet hamburger lover, Datz’s “big a$$ burgers” had to come my way. Ten ounces of 100% ground chuck, cooked to order (rare please and thank you), topped with my choices of pepper jack cheese, roasted peppers, and applewood smoked bacon teamed up to be the magic combo. Triumphantly rare and perfectly seasoned, this big a$$ burger was happy dance worthy.

Next up, I couldn’t shy away from the chicken n’ waffles blt. I yearn for items I don’t make at home…nor have never tried before. Ding ding…order me up one on both accounts. Holy chicken, Batman….I am in love! wpid-20130329_121458.jpg Boneless fried chicken, bacon, lettuce and tomato, maple-jalapeno aioli, all gently tucked between two cheddar belgian waffles. No, I’m not freaking kidding. For real, this is a feast for the eyes and the tummy. Big luscious pieces of fried chicken with all the toppings were in total sweet and savory harmony… and the waffles. The waffles were sent from heaven. I have dreamt about this sandwich since devouring it. A definite “must-try” item for everyone, and on my top 10 list of Best Sandwiches Across America.

By the way, both sandwiches were accompanied by Datz’s homemade sweet and salty potato chips that had an incredible blue cheese drizzle, topped with green onions. These chips can stand on their own. The drizzle sent them over the edge of jubilation. Crunch crunch ahhhhz.

The interior of Datz is very cool, the staff is excellent (Elena rocks), a brewski lovers paradise, and a foodie lovers hot spot in Tampa.

Datz’s bakery, Dough, located next door, opens in April. I poked my head in and this is not your average bakery/coffee spot. Let’s just say, red chandeliers float my boat, big time. I’m sure the menu will live up to the interior design. Beyond words!

I will return to this gem. Have my chicken n’ waffles blt waiting for me….. 🙂

5 out of 5 sweet and savory points of perfection.

P.S. The stuffed meatloaf is available for dinner. Go for it! As seen on The Travel Channel’s, Food Paradise.

Mad Girl Eats Olio in Jacksonville


Olio, 301 E Bay St, Jacksonville, FL.

I love finding a hot lunch spot and when the food lives up to the hype, I’m mad happy! Olio, in downtown Jacksonville is thee place. Their spring menu just came out and what a delish delight! They enjoy using organic and local ingredients, you know that adds to freshness and uber flavor. Plus, they cure and smoke their own meats and make their own pickles. Love it!

The Duck Grilled Cheese, had me at hello. Look. Duck confit, green tomato, gruyere, and american cheese all on a sourdough bread. Grilled up and oozing fabulosity…a masterpiece.

I also tried the Pork Belly sandwich. Crispy pork belly, fried egg, arugula, bernaise aioli on a ciabatta bun. It was verrry good, but I would have it for breakfast. The Duck Grilled Cheese taste was just too freaking fantastic, it was the stellar standout.

I look forward to going back and trying more of their tantalizing menu of beautiful soups, bountiful salads, and bodacious sandwiches.

Tip: Large dining area, easy to find location, street meter parking (bring quarters..25 cents for every 30 minutes), and food worth the quick jaunt off of I-95, open 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday – Friday.

As seen on on The Travel Channel, Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich series. It made it to the Finale, the best of the best sandwiches in America. Yeah, pretty flippin’ good.

5 out of 5 monster flava best sandwich points!

Mad Girl Eats The Varsity in Atlanta


The Varsity, 61 North Avenue, Atlanta, GA, 30308.

Driving thru downtown Atlanta on I-75 during afternoon rush hour is no joke. It was 5 pm, I was agitated with traffic and ready for a break and a bite. A quick hop off the Interstate is the World’s Largest Drive-In restaurant and edible icon in the ATL, The Varsity. Seen on the Travel Channel’s Food Paradise/Hot Dog Paradise…let’s try it!

“What’ll ya have, what’ll ya have?!” I know going in, I’m having hot dogs…which they are known for. Don’t be a burger connoisseur and order a hamburger, you may be disappointed. I want a classic flavor dog and something bright, so a chili dog with onions and mustard and one slaw dog, will be what I’ll have! Round it out with their freakin-licious onion rings and a Coke and we’re golden.

I love their chili dog, excellent chili. I also have become crazed with coleslaw on my sandwiches. It just gives it a nice bonus crunch and lush flavor. Coleslaw on a ‘dog’, not bad at all, but I’ll stick with my chili dog…with maybe some cheese.

Tips: Eat in your car if you wish, or plenty of seating indoors. Indoors, usually long lines that move quickly. Quickly because they aren’t messing around with you, know what you want to order when you reach the counter. They are very efficient, so keep up! Don’t forget your paper diner hat! V chic.  for menu and more locations.

4 out of 5 U-rah-rah cheers for The Varsity!

Mad Girl Eats David Burke in Chicago

Fatty Melt Sliders

David Burke’s Primehouse, 616 North Rush St., Chicago, IL 

David Burke’s Primehouse in downtown Chicago is nothing short of… amazeballs. I made it a point to stop in for lunch during my summer tour. On my mind for 2 days was the description of their Fatty Melt Sliders; Dry aged beef patty, smoked onion, hot coppa, cheddar cheese, Hawaiian buns cooked in beef butter with a side of truffle asiago fries. Ahh, take me to your leader and order me up a plate!

40 Day Dry Aged Prime Steak Burker

My counterpart ordered the 40 Day Dry Aged Prime Steak Burker topped with garlic spinach, crispy shallots, bacon mayonnaise,  on a toasted potato bun…and added smoked mozzarella.  Yes, we are going to share.

The restaurant ambiance was chic, but comfortable. The staff, truly wonderful. My first pleasant surprise was a lovely gentleman bringing fresh popovers while we waited for our meal. I haven’t see a popover in a couple of decades! Side note: I am now in the market for a popover pan 😉 They were served in a darling 1 cup metal measuring cup. Really nice touch.

Our food arrived in good time, cooked to order, and a picture of beauty. Like Olympic synchronized swimmers, we raised our chosen burgers and took a bite. You would have thought we were having an orgasm. The cacophony of moans were honest and organic….so was the tear in my eye. Luscious. The rich, pure beef flavor of being dry aged, there is nothing like it. No ketchup, no mustard needed. The price for these plates of deliciousness? 12.00 bucks each. Yep, no lie.

BEST BURGERS I’ve ever had. I can’t wait to go back for dinner and try their dry aged steaks and maybe get a tour of their pink Himalayan salt-lined aging room. As seen on Food Paradise/Steak Paradise….true paradise.

If you are in Chicago, love beef, and do not get yourself to David Burke’s Primehouse….you are an idiot. Don’t be stupid, go. You can fall at my feet later.

5 0ut of 5 swoon points for all-around excellence.


Located at the St. James Hotel

616 North Rush St., Chicago, IL


Mad Girl Eats Mom’s Pie House in Julian CA

Mom’s Pie House, 2119 Main, Julian, CA

I took the windy, curvy, mountainous trek up to Julian,CA  Northeast of San Diego. Apple country and cafes, inns and B&Bs known for apple pie!


Mom’s Pie House was featured on the Travel Channel’s Food Paradise show, so I was up for a taste test.


Of course I had to order apple, Dutch style…although they make a nice array of flavor goodness to put a smile on any beast.


O to the M and the G. Pie freaking orgasm of nuclear dimensions. My own Mother is the only pie maker who could rival this fresh, home-baked piece of heaven.

Was it worth the nauseated car ride? Hellz yeah!

4.75 out of 5 lip-licking points!

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