While trying to decide where I wanted to eat lunch today, this commercial for the newest of Firehouse Sub's sandwiches danced off the radio and straight into my head. Smoked turkey, bacon and peppercorn ranch dressing sounded like a decent lunch to me. Now all I had to do was find out where they moved to.
I haven't been there for a while and I never got their new address when they moved but it only took minutes and they weren't very far away at all.
Their new location is just up the road at 1013 E. Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico. It's somewhat harder to get to now but, if you are lucky and only want to head east on Bloomingdale or north on Bell Shoals afterward, then this is the perfect location.
As we entered, there were only two employees working the counter and three guests eating lunch. The place was spotless and, judging by the half full bottles of hot sauce lining the counter-top, they were used to a busier crowd. Not a speck of dust to be found and two extremely polite employees behind the counter is a nice way to start lunch.
I ordered my sandwich first and then got nosey as I poked around the hot sauce section and counted 47 varieties. I took a small sample of the raspberry-jalapeno jelly and turned back to my wife and friend to announce the bottle count. They both snickered and then pointed behind me to a display case full of another30 or 40 different bottles, and I decided my need for information had reached its peak.
I went back to them and checked out a chip rack full of stuff right next to the order area. I've never heard of "Mrs. Vickie's Jalapeno Chips" but the name intrigued me. Of course, I snagged a bag out of curiosity and found them to be quite tasty.
As I stood there staring down the mailbox painted like a cow and trying to figure out how this related to firefighting, my wife and frind came up with our orders. We sat and I actually found myself in a discussion about how the spots couldn't be dalmatian because of the irregular shapes. Next time I don't give in and I will prepare an agenda when I have lunch with this guy, no matter how compelling his argument is.
He got the firehouse steak and cheese, and I wish I had done the same. My wife got the Italian, and I wish I had done the same, also. I'm not at all impressed with the turkey and bacon thing I ordered.
Don't misunderstand me. The wheat bread was perfect; the lettuce, onions and tomatoes were beyond fresh. Everything was perfect as far as the actual structure of the sandwich goes but it had a bad "texture" feeling in my mouth. I didn't care for it at all but my friend loved it.
He took it home for dinner and laughed at me as he finished his delicious sandwich. He did let me try a bite as a tease and the peppers and onions were cooked just right with a little crisp left in the peppers and a nice amount of provolone oozing from the center. But, like I said, he only gave me a nibble. I'm looking for new friends now but I would have done the same to him and laughed harder--love my life and my eclectic group of friends.
Everything on all the sandwiches was perfect except for the fact that I didn't like mine--luck of the draw I guess. On a positive note, my wife split her sandwich with me and I, in turn, cooked her a wonderful dinner.
I'm still considering going out tonight and painting my friend's mailbox white with black cow spots. Until then I'm giving these guys 3 1/2 stars but next time I go for the Italian or the steak and cheese.
1 Star--Wouldn't go back on a bet
2 Star--Would have to go back, but only on a bet
3 Star--If I was in the neighborhood and hungry
4 Star--Would go out of my way even if I wasn't hungry
5 Star--Would make reservations and wait in a line