I must admit, I was feeling like quite the mature adult this past Sunday come noon. My grown-up behavior was a bit puzzling on this particular day of the year too. Although I am completely aware of my rapidly escalating age; Cinco De Mayo is one holiday where I’ve always refused to act like it. After all, if you don’t look it or feel it, then age truly is only a number, right? But wait, I don’t mean to give you the wrong impression. Going to a boisterous bar full of fresh college grads, tequila shots galore, and drunken sombrero face planting is not what I consider fun (anymore). Yet, a lady blogger brunch at a tame restaurant wasn’t exactly what I had in mind either…until I arrived…and began drinking and eating a scrumptious smorgasbord of fare. Yes, it was then, that sitting with five other fantastic foodie friends became the best beginning to a Cinco De Mayo I could’ve asked for.
I’d driven by Flamestone on a few occasions, each time intrigued by the fun looking joint randomly placed in unexciting Oldsmar. I’d also heard rumors about their ridiculously delicious guacamole made tableside. So when my friend and fellow blogger, Megan told me we’d be visiting the eatery in May for our Spring and summer brunch tour, I was immediately salivating.
Walking into the dark and spacious restaurant, we were shown to our table and instantly greeted by our very lovely and knowledgeable server. Without any hesitation, she told us about Flamestone’s All you can drink Bloody Mary and Mimosa bars. Were we that obvious? I suppose I was slightly apparent with my delayed look of “early” morning daze. As the lone wolf who opted for a spicy Bloody over a sweet Mimosa, I grabbed my Mason jar and headed over to the libation station. To say this place goes over and beyond with their Bloody Mary toppings would be a serious understatement. Shrimp skewers, cocktail onions, blue cheese stuffed olives, capers, celery and a plethora of hot sauces…my goodness, I was in love. I must mention that they serve pepper infused Russian standard vodka too. Once I got my spiked tomato juice concoction up to “Leslie par,” I took a peek at the Mimosa bar. Equally as enticing, there were fresh peaches, raspberries, strawberries, and an assortment of champagne and juices. It was some sort of paradise for all of us A.M. drinkers...
Upon sitting down with our sweet and spicy morning refreshments, we were introduced to the chef who’d double as our table-side guacamole creator. As he muddled the cilantro, garlic and jalapenos in the guacamole bowl, we sat on the edge of our seats, waiting in anticipation for the green goodness to hit the table. I don’t mean to toot my own horn….but I make a pretty mean guacamole. It’s all about ingredient generosity with this ultimate tortilla chip dip. Lime, cilantro, red onion…there better be an abundance. Chef Eric knew where my head is at in the name of guac. His version, well it was absolutely perfect. Chunky and with just enough kick, I was beside myself chowing down on the good stuff. It was so spot on, in fact, we ordered a second bowl.
Without further ado, brunch dishes were out and man, were there many. I think we were all intimidated. Expecting to have only a few served at a time, I was astonished with the spread and had no idea where to begin. Always a lover of all things savory, I went right for the Crab and Prosciutto Benedict. An English muffin came loaded with poached eggs, prosciutto, sautéed crab, and truffled spinach all topped with Béarnaise. Wow. Words simply cannot express my feelings on this dish. The crab was delicate and sweet pairing flawlessly with the salty prosciutto and the rich, yet bitter spinach.
Switching from sweet to savory, next to my choppers was the Strawberry Shortcake French Toast. The golden and crispy crusted Crème brulee French toast was stellar on its own. Topped with a strawberry compote and fresh whipped cream, it took me to a fantasy candy land and back. Not one for sugar in the morning (or noon on a Sunday), I was enthralled with this fruity little number.
I didn’t know how I was going to make it through the rest of the feast. My mind was telling me yes but my stomach was telling me no. I persevered. Filet N’ Eggs Oscar had grabbed my attention when I had originally scanned the menu. With Grilled filet medallions covered in lump crab and sitting in a bed of hollandaise alongside two fried eggs, caramelized asparagus, and a chorizo risotto, I was in a culinary state of complete and total bliss. Yes, this diverse arrangement of luscious goods was that insane. Mixing the runny yolk with the creamy hollandaise and meaty rice-like pasta…oh, it was divine. Following that bite with a piece of tender steak and some crab drenched in the glorious sauce and I had scored perfection on my palate.
Here I go again...omelets are sort of my specialty. I make them beautifully stuffed and flipped every time…okay, most of the time. I often prepare the classic French egg dish southwestern style as I am a salsa with my eggs kinda girl. So when it was time to try Flamestone’s Ranchero omelet, I was skeptical. I did notice, however, that it was liberally “garnished” with a mound of their wonderful guacamole. The omelet only got better from there. Stuffed with Chorizo, Spanish onions, green chiles, tomato, cheddar jack and zesty salsa, it was a mammoth of treats. Spicy, saucy and oh so cheesy, I was feeling very giddy with this brunch pick. Mexican and Southwestern breakfast fare wins me over every time. This instance certainly didn’t differ from the usual. Oh, and served with their cheddar bacon home fries...it was a combo made for mealtime happiness. Though I’m strict to my Southern roots with my admiration of grits, these home fries were eye-closing, lip-smacking insane in the membrane, good.
|Image Via I Run For Wine|
Whew. I was trapped in a foodie’s dream and couldn’t escape. Let the meal continue.The Morning Flat bread had been served long ago but I wasn’t too terribly inclined to try it. For the purposes of a review, I forced myself to snatch a small piece. Stone oven baked dough came topped with scrambled eggs, applewood bacon, maple cured sausage, home fries, sun dried tomatoes and cheddar jack cheese. As someone who thinks this whole flat bread fad is somewhat silly (c’mon, it’s pizza…let’s call it what it is), I actually didn’t mind the Morning flat bread. Lots of flavors and textures, it was pretty darn tasty. I can only imagine a young child going crazy over this one.
Just when I thought we had concluded our never-ending brunch, a specific dish was requested by one of the girls. Request granted. Within minutes, Flamestone’s Chicken N’ Waffles had arrived and were practically glowing in their beauty. Sitting in leaning tower form was crispy fried chicken, homemade Belgium waffles, and candied bacon all drizzled in Ancho maple syrup and crowned with a dollop of pecan butter. I almost felt as if I was sinning with each decadent bite. The crunchy fried chicken was faultlessly salty, the candied bacon was of another planet and the pecan butter was a melt in your mouth fantasy. This lavish stack will forever be in my dreams. Dare I say probably the best Chicken N Waffles I’ve ever had…
Would you believe me if I told you they insisted we “attempt” one more course? It’s true. Just when we began holding our stomachs and were sitting in silence, out came their signature dessert-their very own “Make your own s'mores.” The coolest contraption I’ve seen in a restaurant was now sitting between the six of us and begging for some action. A mini open flame burner surrounded by marshmallow skewers and chocolate topped graham crackers…it was over the top…and I loved it. Ashamed to admit, I cooked up some white fluff and popped a s'more in my mouth. Talk about a grand finale.
I couldn’t believe this elaborate brunch was finally coming to a definite end. No complaints at all, this meal was totally divine. I wouldn’t have changed a single thing. Flamestone’s fare is downright brag-worthy and definitely worth the hour drive to Oldsmar. I am so fond of their assorted creations as well as their “Leslie acclaimed” guacamole. I think a dinner is in order. If they could move me this much in the AM hour, I can only imagine how excellent their evening cuisine must be....