Fish Sandwiches....

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bjrichus
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Sun Dec 15, 2013 2:43 pm

I promised to compare TC's and Juana's fish sandwiches while we are in the area and so far, I have only got to Juana's. TC's is Monday or Tuesday.
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wregle
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Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:15 pm

Try TC's grouper Reuben. Usually delicious!
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bjrichus
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Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:38 pm

Juana's "Pagoda Fish Sandwich".

I like some things from Juana's Pagoda's a lot - the pizza's (after 5pm only) are great. The atmosphere there is good and when they are not rushed, the staff can be really friendly. It's nice to have a place on the island that also sells bread and cake as well as a few other foods to take away.

Fish and fries are a holiday staple for many of us. It is evocative of a place by the sea, especially if it is well prepared and tasty. My wife and I had the "Pagoda Fish Sandwich" today at lunch. I had mine with regular fries and my wife with Sweet Potato fries. I was going to have onion rings, but I had those yesterday elsewhere.

Both the sweet potato and regular fries are clearly catering grade frozen and fried up as needed by the kitchen. Does this make them good or bad? Well, I'll just say they were "typical" for this kind of thing and move on.

The sandwich veggies (see picture) were fresh and juicy. I moved them off the sandwich so you can see them clearly. The bun was a yellow kind of bread (potato bread?) and soft.

The fish itself was a large cut of some unidentified white fish. This is the description off the menu for the Pagoda Fish Sandwich: "Wonderfully mild char grilled fish fillet topped with cheese, grilled onions and mushrooms". True to the description, it wasn't over "fishy" at all and was very mild in taste, so it could have been Grouper. We simply could not be sure just what it was. If I were in charge of the menu, I'd have said what kind of fish it was, as to me (I am someone who lives inland), Grouper in big letters on the menu would be a selling point. The sandwich had melted Swiss cheese and some onions and mushrooms on top too. The mushrooms are a nice touch. It doesn't take much to do that but so many restaurants just don't do that.

Like the fries, it was OK but not something to make me go "WOW!" Lets just say "typical" and it has allowed me feel full and to move on into the afternoon.

Summary; it was OK. A solid 5 or 6 out of 10, so some room for improvement. At $12 it was perhaps not as cheap as I thought it could be, but then this was not your actual "bargain basement" fried fish sandwich which is a couple of bucks less. I intend to try that next time we are there for lunch.
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Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:49 pm

wregle wrote:Try TC's grouper Reuben. Usually delicious!
Yes, if you recall the previous thread, that is the intention. I cannot try a dish from TC's when I went to Juana's first, now can I? How much Sysco delivered frozen food can a man take in one day? :lol:

For anyone who has worked in the catering trade, you'll know who Sysco is, but for those who have not, they are one of the "big two" companies who deliver frozen food for restaurants, country (and even Europe too) wide.
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Sun Dec 15, 2013 4:54 pm

Superb report, Brian ~ looking forward to your next "Island Food Review"!
:lol:

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Sun Dec 15, 2013 5:28 pm

Dale and I are really looking forward to dining tonight at 7:00 PM with you and Sharon at Rocco's.
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Sun Dec 15, 2013 5:33 pm

All that fine dining --- Sounds like Brian may have to JOG TO WORK for the next few weeks! LOL

Have fun, you guys and gals!

:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:15 am

Wregle said the appropriate word...."usually." I have had a grouper sandwich at TC's and it was good. I have never had a good one at Juana's.

Brian you are also correct in that the bulk of, if not complete Juana's menu is Sysco or US Food Service. I have seen the truck there many times and it tastes just like what it is. Juana's has never been known for their culinary expertise, although their breakfasts are fairly tasty.
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Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:17 am

The very best fish sandwich is the one you make at your place with fresh fish from Navarre Seafood or Joe Patti's.
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Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:40 am

PensacolaKid wrote:The very best fish sandwich is the one you make at your place with fresh fish from Navarre Seafood or Joe Patti's.
Correct indeed.

Do recall that this mini review is to try and work out just how much competition Janas will get from the new pier catering situation and I wanted to compare Juanas to TC's as I was here all of this week and most of next too.
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Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:10 pm

I know ... I said I wanted to compare Juana's and T.C.'s Front Porch fish sandwiches as they (T.C.) are part of the new management of the Pier but this evening, as we wanted to pick up a Shrimp Basket Calendar (see http://shrimpbasket.com for details), we also ate there.

I like the full blown Whitefish Poboy or the Fried Whitefish baskets they do ... Lots of stuff in the basket for not too much money: All baskets served with shrimp slaw, hushpuppies, and your choice of one side. The Whitefish basket is only $9.99.

If ten bucks is too much for you to spend, here is a tip - something that is NOT on the menu is to ask for the fish sandwich. No sides or added items at all. I asked for a side of fries and my wife had steamed cabbage that she says is "the best". Sides are $2.49 each, so if a fish sandwich at Shrimp Basket is a miserly (Bah-Humbug) $5.99 each a complete meal is $8.48 plus drinks.

But lets get to the food. The fries were average catering quality. Unlike Juana's these were not the crinkly cut ones, just straight cut and thin. The fish sandwich was a surprise - it was actually very good. From the picture you can see the thing came with the usual compliment of lettuce and a slice of tomato but nothing else. No hushpuppies or anything - the sandwich was plain and simple. I think it was actually better for that simplicity. The fish had some taste to it, not overpowering but some actual fish taste and in turn it was not overpowered by the rest.

I will say that the bun was really typical of what you can get from Walmart so unlike Juana's, this wasn't anything special, or even a plain bun, pretending to be special. Enough said, but for the price it was tasty and filling enough.

Summary: This was a better than expected and cheap meal. Be careful that any extras you might be tempted to buy, will quickly add up as they are $2.49 each (I also like onion rings which they do as well) and soft drinks which are $2.19 each. they'll all easily blow any idea you might have at being on a tight budget. As for quality a solid 7 out of 10, let down only by the bland mass catering fries and average quality bun. That's why I prefer the Poboys, which while more expensive are on larger, better and more filling rolls.
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Mon Dec 16, 2013 11:15 pm

BRIAN, EXCELLENT REPORT!
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Tue Dec 17, 2013 9:53 am

I like the Shrimp Basket. Not my favorite by any means but every time I have eaten there, it has been good.

As for the comparison's of Juana's and TC's, unless Juana's up's their culinary drive and goals, it will remain what it is and I am not sure people actually even go to Juana's for the food, I certainly do not. Regardless, I believe the clientele will change at the pier with the new management team and no doubt all the new things they will bring to the table (no pun intended). However, as long as Juana's is standing there, they will also have a crowd and clientele regardless of their food.

Good report Brian and I am with you, aside from making your own, my preference would be Shrimp Basket and I have never met a french fry I did not love. Taters are a good thing.
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Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:27 am

We've enjoyed the Shrimp Basket as well but were disappointed this past Thanksgiving week as we did not get good food. Had the shrimp tacos and a friend had fish tacos, two to the basket so we traded one each to try both. Sad to say neither was very good. Just average and not something that would make you say, "I'll be back". First bad meal I've gotten there. Love the all you can eat steamed shrimp night but was told that will be a thing of the past. Hopefully we just caught them on a bad night.
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Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:24 am

May I jump into this discussion? Regarding the fish tacos at the Shrimp Basket. Whoever heard of serving tacos without taco sauce or salsa? Huh? The first time it happened, we called the waitresses attention to that ... this time they had some kind of dipping sauce ... it tasted like ranch salad dressing with a little bite to it ... I think the gal mentioned wasabi ... couldn't have been much wasabi in it ... you could barely taste it.

Now for the fish sandwich at Juana's. Brian, if it was grouper, I'm sure it would be labeled as such. In my book, grouper is a better fish than a non-descript white fish. And most restaurants would be proud to use grouper as opposed to the other.

That's all I have to offer for now.
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