When I think about the term “junk food” it’s a very arbitrary thing. Are we talking the basic sense of junk food like candy bars and sugary sweets that I can get any CVS or gas station quickie mart around town? Or are we talking about those rare times when we all decide to indulge ourselves with something that we know we’re going to be going to the gym for the next week to work off?
So with National Junk Food Day coming this Saturday, July 21st, I was thinking about the latter and decided to throw a shout out to some of my favorite spots to enjoy junk food in the 727. And I even get outside of my St. Petersburg comfort zone for this one!
Best Junk Food Brunch
My brother from another mother Rick & I went to Maple Street Biscuit Company one day to check out one of Downtown St. Pete’s newest additions, and he liked it so much he took his wife the next day. I liked it too, but I’m not pulling in the bank like Rick so it’s more of a bi-monthly treat for me. My choice is The Farmer, a biscuit with a fried chicken filet, Applewood bacon and cheddar cheese with homemade, delicious apple butter. Rick favors The Sticky Maple, a biscuit with chicken and bacon smothered in homemade maple syrup. But check out the menu and someone tell me if “The Five” and “Biscuit Frenchie” are as good as they sound.
Best Greasy Junk Food Hole-In-The-Wall
It takes a special place to get me outside of my St. Pete comfort zone, but this spot on Madeira Beach did the trick. The Daly Double is the honest truth, and if you have an appetite like I did that day you can make turn that double into a triple or a quad if you'd like. Heck, if you asked for a six-burger sandwich I bet they will do it. The milkshakes are hand-dipped and the french fries are fresh and delicious, so make this your post-beach stop.
Best Downtown St. Pete Junk Food
“Treat Yo Self” is what KINGS says on their homepage and it’s a treat to go through their menu and get EVERYTHING right in the EDGE District. I’m a little upset that my Muenster cheese-grilled sandwich didn’t make their recent menu cut, but the “mac and cheezus”, a grilled cheese with three-cheese mac, pulled pork and jalapenos, is still there and still amazing. When you’re done eating a melt or a gourmet hot dog try one of those crazy milkshakes. I’m all about the Cookie Monsta (vanilla shake with Oreo's and chocolate chip cookies).
Best Baked Junk Food (Donuts)
The six (and soon to be seven-time) best Bagel shop in Tampa Bay decided to add some gourmet donuts the fold in 2012 and that’s when I added some gourmet donuts to my diet. The designs are amazing, and there are donuts with Cocoa Puffs and Fruity Pebbles on them. There’s also the red velvet cake donut (my personal favorite) and they even got cronuts in there. I’m going as soon as this story reaches print!
Best Baked Junk Food (Cake)
Babalu has a huge menu with lots of good things. I love their BLT sandwiches, and my friends say their jumbo wings are some of the most underrated and underappreciated in town. But a few months back I took a friend there for a late lunch and she asked for a piece of coconut cake out of their gloriously old-school diner-style circular display... ”best cake EVER” she said. I hate coconut and it took every fiber of my body from dipping in for a bite. So I had a yellow chocolate layer cake and...it’s the closest thing to Alpine Cake from Wright’s Gourmet House that I have tasted (and it’s a better value).
There you go people from St. Petersburg, Seminole, Indian Rocks Beach and surrounding areas. Don’t wait too long to get your junk food on!
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Photo courtesy of Unsplash.