After speaking at WordCamp Tampa, Marti said that we should celebrate by going to a new restaurant that we had heard about in St Pete called the Cider Press Cafe.
I knew nothing about it, except that they had options for vegans. As it turns out, the restaurant is fully vegan and raw, and caters to the higher-end of cuisine. Perfect for bringing along your 2-year old and 5-month old who hadn’t napped for most of the day (just kidding – they were, miraculously, well-behaved).
I’ve come to learn that Cider Press Cafe started out in Naples, FL (the mecca of high-end vegan restaurants) and their St Pete location is their first foray in expanding beyond Southwest Florida. In fact, so new is this location that they haven’t even had their grand opening yet (scheduled for the end of October) and you won’t find much information about them online (presumably until they’ve opened in earnest).
We visited on a Sunday evening and it was definitely quiet (which we appreciated – good for us and fewer people to potentially disturb with our children). As it turns out, they are located at 601 Central Ave in St Pete, which is where Collective Tattoo used to be (where Marti got her last two [awesome] tattoos done). They did a really nice job of renovating the place and bringing it into 2015. It’s airy and bright inside, helped out by the big windows and light wood throughout.
On to the food. We tried quite a few dishes and to cut to the chase, we weren’t disappointed by any of them.
We started off with the Buffalo Bites, which were perhaps our least favourite item. Then we moved on to the Flatbread (topped with tomato pesto, herbed cashew ricotta, lemon olive tapenade, caper berries & sweet basil) which was definitely my favourite dish. The flavours were so rich and complementary without being overpowering. I’m salivating just thinking about it.
For our mains, we shared the Cider Press Salad, which was quite nice (Marti even let me eat all of the smoked pecans which were the best bit!) and the Crab Cake Dinner. While it wasn’t especially comparable to actual crab cakes, they were really delicious and they stood by themselves despite being made from jicama(!).
Marti also had a handmade hibiscus lemonade which she really enjoyed, and Ellie had a tropical smoothie for dinner with some extra spinach thrown in for good measure.
All in all, it was a really nice experience. Some of it may have been lost on us as we tended to our children, however it’s definitely more pricey than you’d want to make a habit of. At about $15 for each main (which are fairly small and elegant), you don’t get much bang for your buck, but we’ll definitely keep it as somewhere that we’ll think about for special occasions. In fact, we’re already planning on going for Marti’s birthday in a few weeks.