Home » Food » Sunken Gardens & Red Mesa Cantina

Sunken Gardens & Red Mesa Cantina

What is the Sunken Gardens?

The Sunken Gardens are 4 acres (1.6 hectares) of well-established botanical gardens located at 1825 4th Street North, in the center of St. Petersburg,FloridaUSA.The Gardens currently contain over 500 species of tropical and subtropical plants amidst pools and cascading waterfalls, lushly planted in a collection of more than 50,000 tropical plants and flowers. The Gardens are open to the public for educational programs, tours, and special events.

(Taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunken_Gardens_(Florida))

I had my first adventure there last year and shared some of the pictures from it and from Downtown St Petersburg, Florida.

(http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.221654441211511.53619.139243922785897&type=3)

This time I went with a group of friends to see the Orchid Festival which was April 1st from 10am to 4pm.

We got there around 130pm and wander around to see the many types of Orchids and other flowers they had for sale and on display. I wanted to share some of them with you.

(Author’s note- since I’m not very good with flower names and there aren’t many signs at the Sunken Gardens to tell you what plant is what plant.. most of the pictures I took either have general names like orchard or “pretty color flower”, so if you know what it is, please don’t hesitate to comment and I will correct. Thanks!)

The list of events going on that day. We didn’t catch a lecture this time.

This was a coconut orchard, the flower smelled just like coconut.

One of the many stands where there were orchards of every color, shape and variety.

I really liked this one for the purple spots on the edge of its petals

I have no idea what kind of orchard this is but it was just pretty

a bunch of cute little orchards

This was one of the orchards they had for sale… beautiful bright red.

Enough orchards there were other things to see at the Sunken Gardens

these pretty little white/light purple flowers

and these blue flowers

and I have no idea what that was, the other half touched it.. they looked like pods..

and this cute little bridge (too small for a person maybe an anole (small lizard) could cross it to get to the other side of the stream?

this was a pretty flower too..

I have no idea what this is.. seriously it’s a mystery to me..but it looked rough and interesting so I took a picture

A Chilean Flamingo laying down..

A Chilean flamingo feather near the water.

The group that I met up with also went to Red Mesa Cantina which is off of 3rd Street in downtown St Petersburg. Just a few blocks away from the Pier.

I was a bit apprehensive about going as it’s a new place and I’m particular about food. After being seated in the patio area with part of this as the view

I went on to study the menu and find something that I would not only eat but I would somewhat enjoy. The waiter was friendly enough and explained the popular menu items and lured me into ordering an El Gordo Burrito… apparently it sounded so good that 3 other people in the group of 8 ordered it.

What is an El Gordo you ask?

El Gordo – Big burrito filled with choice of Steak, Chicken or Tofu, gallo pinto, jack cheese and pico de
gallo. Topped with jalapeño cream sauce and queso fresco 11

$11? Really a burrito cannot possibly be worth that much…when I asked the waiter how big it was and he told me it was the size of the drink cups.. I had to see this. I bravely ordered mine with chicken, the other half ordered his with steak and as the waiter disappeared to put in our orders I began to fret over if I had made the right choice.

I could have ordered a taco salad, but adding meat would have been extra and if I was really horrid I didn’t have to finish it all because I had ordered myself some fried plantains just in case.

While waiting for the main course, some of the group had ordered appetizers. One had Mofongo, which is:

Mofongo – Pork carnitas, plantains, yuca, salsa chimichurri

I was fascinated.. what was this and what did it taste like.. I know I like carnitas and plantains but together?

Well the texture was kind of mushy but the flavor was surprisingly sweet.  Not sure if I would eat this again as it was strange in a good way.

Then I tried the Chips & Dip which came with three different dips; one guacamole, a chile cheese dip and black bean chorizo dip.

The chips were crisp and very lightly salted. The guacamole was probably the best I’ve ever had it tasted like fresh avocados and was creamy, not spicy and was not over loaded with cilantro. The Chile cheese dip was also creamy and a bit heavier than most cheese dips I’ve had with chips, the black bean dip was.. black beanie.

Below is what arrived on the table.

El Gordo

There were 4 of us at the table ordered them, I had a chicken one and I ate a bite or two and instantly fell in love.. it has rice, beans, chicken, cheese, and pico de gallo it’s just a wonderful flavor combination that was more than worth the money.

And the plantains

well they didn’t last long enough to share as they flew into my mouth and the wonderfully delicious sauce they came with was light and had a hint of sweet.. I thought I had died and went to heaven.

The other half and I ate for $32 plus tax. We could have been rolled out of there we were so stuffed. He tried some Nacho Sanchez

Nacho Sanchez – Chips, black bean chorizo sauce, pico de gallo, cotija cheese, crema
and pickled jalapeño

I was still playing with what remained of my food and finally gave in and had to get a doggy bag.

All in all it was a great day. Got to take some pictures, enjoy the warm weather, have good company, talk, laugh and eat.

(Author’s Note: The pictures of the food & building of Red Mesa Cantina are not mine and were taken from various places on the internet. The pictures from the Sunken Gardens however are mine.)
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