Welcome to The Short List. Each week we pick a topic and share our favorite — or, in some cases, maybe our least favorite — things about the Bay area.
Ah, 'tis the season to indulge. Another mojito? One more bloomin' onion. Please, have another piece of chocolate. As far as we're concerned, December is guilty-pleasure time.
Here is a list of our end-of-the-year savory and sweet delights before we go on our 2012 diet. Happy New Year!
Ciro's Speak Easy and Supper Club, 2109 Bayshore Blvd.; Tampa; (813) 251-0022 — The Drake Mojito at Ciro's is muy marvelous. The refreshing rum and muddled mint-based concoction of Cuban origin is perfect for toasting in the new year. Some mojitos pack up to 250 calories, but even Ernest Hemingway couldn't resist this drink. Ciro's version is made with the perfect blend of ingredients, including Bacardi golden rum, sugar and Angostura bitters.
Outback Steakhouse, 3403 Henderson Blvd., Tampa; (813) 875-4329 (or any other location) — We're going to savor our last bite of the Aussie restaurant's signature dish: the Bloomin' Onion. It's a menu item that tempts us every time we go, but we steer clear because once we have one bite, well, we just can't stop. With an estimated 3,000 calories and more than 130 grams of fat, a Bloomin Onion could take you over your Weight Watchers' points limit with just its smell.
Shlomo Gourmet Subs & Deli, 31483 U.S. 19 N., Palm Harbor; (727) 771-0200 — This Mediterranean oasis delivers delicious choices ranging from stuffed grape leaves and Tabouli to the more standard wraps, salads and sandwiches that might make you regret making that resolution. We're tempted to go out with a bang by ordering the Shlomo One Pounder (yes, that's one full pound of meat, with two types of cheese).
Datz, 2616 S. MacDill Ave., Tampa; (813) 831-7000 — Datz is known for its killer sandwiches, but we could eat the homemade chips as a meal. The sweet and salty potato chips are warm and crunchy and topped with a creamy blue cheese drizzle. And since you're indulging, have you tried their bacon mac 'n' cheese? The creamy pasta has four cheeses and applewood smoked bacon crumbles.
Cold Stone Creamery, various locations — You know the drill: Pick your toppings and your ice cream flavor, and they will mix it up on marble slab. Go for one of their Signature Creations, such as Founder's Favorite with brownie, pecans, caramel, hot fudge mixed with sweet cream ice cream.