Mortar & Pestle: Coffee, Food, Alcohol? Sounds Like a Good Time!

There are a lot of opinions about this restaurant. Lets see what the Exploring Tampa crew thinks!
Mortar & Pestle, 2019
Coming from the ashes of a popular food truck, Mortar & Pestle is a concept that thrives to bring back the old timey pharmacies. You know the ones... You go to get a soda from the fountain, you wander the aisles, make your way to the lunch counter, then leave with your prescriptions. Located on the same block as local favorites Angry Chair Brewing and Trip's Diner, there's no lack of business to be had. This is also one of the few places in Seminole Heights with a real parking lot. Had you never read a review of this place and had you not heard about their filing for bankruptcy, you'd be impressed. The inside of the building is a hipster's paradise, with the industrial looking tables and chairs, the high ceiling, the steampunk-esque inspired decor. The inside of this building is cool. Next door is also a fully functional pharmacy that I wasn…

Datz & Dough: Two Places, One Parking Lot

When you're done eating at Datz, go on over to Dough for some killer desserts.

 

Datz, 2017

I never go to South Tampa. It's not that there isn't good stuff down there, but it's SO. INCREDIBLY. FAR. from me. There are certain times I go down there, however, and I have a meal that's so good, I wonder why I don't go down there more often. So, Stormy and I heard about a new, brick & mortar location of Burger Culture, one in South Tampa. I've never reviewed them, I have almost nothing from South Tampa, why not check it out? Stormy and I took the long drive to South Tampa to discover that Burger Culture, after all the hype of their brick & mortar location opening, has closed. Well, that didn't last long. Now we're stuck in a conundrum... We're hungry, we're in South Tampa, but our restaurant is closed. Where do we go? Have we reviewed Datz? Well, you didn't come here for that...

Inside Datz, 2017

Opening in 2009, Datz serves "comfort food with flair." They are also known for their craft beer selection and their choices of bourbon. Datz menu also changes seasonally with unique entrees not found in other Tampa restaurants. Datz has been featured on many television series and is now ready for their biggest spotlight: Exploring Tampa.

Popcorn, 2017

The time has come! Stormy and I pull up in their side parking lot across from where Features used to be because I absolutely hate trying to leave Datz from their tiny parking lot up front. That and I don't remember there being any spaces anyway. Alas, we get inside, we are seated, and we are instantly greeted by our waiter. Unfortunately, I waited too long to write this and my narrow attention span has allowed me to forget his name. We give our drink orders, water, as we had left Brewlands earlier and didn't need anymore alcohol that day, and were given some epic popcorn to chill my hunger while Stormy decided on what she wanted. Yes, this is a common theme. The popcorn was coated with some Sriracha and I believe cheese, adding a nice little touch. I will admit, I've never been a fan of Sriracha. Just not my thing. With the help of our trusty waiter, we are now ready to order!

Cluck Yeah!, 2017

The suggestion of our waiter was for me to go with the Cluck Yeah, a chicken sandwich with a spicy Nashville sauce, complete with lettuce and pickle. I can say, I have had many a chicken sandwich in my time. I can also say that the Cluck Yeah was, above and beyond, the best chicken sandwich I have ever eaten. The chicken was moist and tender, the sauce gave the sandwich a perfect kick, without it being overwhelmingly spicy, and the pickles... Look, when it comes to a chicken sandwich, the pickles can make or break it. If you're serving a mediocre sandwich and put pickles on it, ok, it might suddenly taste better. When you put pickles this good on a sandwich this legendary, you get something that can only be described as a religious experience. When you go to Datz, this is the only sandwich you should consider getting. Trust me! I write many of these blogs. However, it can't all be good... The chips, that came with the meal, were awful. Soggy, not very flavorful, just not very good. I would suggest trading out for the fries.

Biggity Big Big Burger, 2017

Stormy chose to go with this monstrosity of a burger. The biggity big big burger doesn't lie in it's name. The burger is huge. You also get your choice of toppings ranging from a killer selection of cheeses to roasted peppers or mushrooms, to premium toppings ($.50 more) like bacon or an egg. She also chose to go with fries over the chips, which was a much smarter decision. Stormy says that her burger was decent, but she wanted well done (I know, that's disgusting) and the server told her to order medium well as the cooks had a tendency to overcook. Needless to say, she got medium well and she wasn't happy that she had the ever slightest hint of life left in her burger. Outside of having to endure a burger that still showed that it was edible, she did say that it was a very good burger. I would've asked her for a taste, but she tried to bite me when I did. The fries I had a little more luck with, as I was able to try them. They were a nice touch to any meal you have to eat with your hands. I would definitely order them next time.
 
 Cupcakes, 2017

Things to know before you go:
- The service here is excellent. It rivals the Rusty Pelican for best service and I paid significantly more to go there.
- There craft beer, bourbon, and cocktail selections are huge and diverse. You wont leave here thirsty (or sober).
- Mark's favorite chicken runner up: Cluck Yeah.
- Don't be afraid to venture outside of your comfort zone while here.
- The main parking lot is tiny. There's another parking lot off to the side. I suggest the second lot.

Dough, 2017

Look, the best part of an awesome meal is a killer dessert. Dough came into the Datz family in 2013. Dough is to sweets what Datz is to food. You can come in here and get doughnuts, cakes, and cookies. Nothing here is off the table as fruity pebbles and Oreo's are toppings to some of their doughnuts. The biggest complaint I've always had about Tampa is that it's hard to find a decent bakery (outside of Publix) and, luckily, Dough proved me wrong. 

Inside Dough, 2017

Before I even get into the food, I feel I have to discuss how incredibly imaginative the inside of Dough is. I feel that this is the closest I'll ever get to walking into Willy Wonka's whacky factory. The walls are painted bright and loud colors, the furniture a perfect juxtaposition with a classy touch. The decor, the seating, the walls, and the desserts all come together to make for the most unique dining experience you're bound to ever have. I would like to thank Burger Culture unceremoniously closing their South Tampa location as I would have never had the chance to experience Dough otherwise.  

Boston Creme Doughnut, 2017

There are a few things that will always bring a smile to my face. Cheesecake, key lime pie, a good Cuban sandwich... And Boston creme. It's also not common for a Boston cream doughnut to be concocted in a regular doughnut. Usually you expect a filled doughnut. When walking through the mystical walls of this bakery, nothing should surprise me... But this did. In a good way, thankfully. The creme is just right, the doughnut fresh (this seems to be a common problem in the entirety of Florida, and probably other states as well), and the chocolate added the nicest of kisses to the creme. If you only have one dessert left in life, I would strongly encourage you to get it from here.

Peanut Butter Chocolate, 2017

It's not often that I'm impressed with everything I've experienced at one place. The atmosphere of Dough is one that will never be replicated, but their sweets are a whole 'nother thing. Stormy went for the peanut butter chocolate cupcake and was met with pure bliss. The peanut butter met with the chocolate in a cake that wasn't dry to create an explosion of flavor that could only be found here. There's very little more that needs to be said.

Ceiling, 2017

Things to know before you go:
- Dough shares a parking lot with Datz. Expect to have to park in the second lot.
- The desserts are just as good as Datz's food is. You can't come up with a more perfect pair.
- If you have an allergy to nuts, Dough makes a disclaimer that they can't guarantee your dessert hasn't come in contact with them.

Can you think of a better combination than Datz and Dough? What's your favorite dessert? Leave a comment below. If you'd like more information on Tampa, check out my YouTube Channel and if you'd like to support my efforts, don't hesitate to buy a shirt from our Spreadshirt (we have new designs!). Also, don't be afraid to click subscribe and you'll instantly be notified whenever a new entry is posted. Thank you all and I will see you next time!

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