Kanika Tomalin shares recipes from local restaurants

The deputy mayor of St. Petersburg put together ‘St. Pete Eats’ as part of a health initiative and a salute to the city’s restaurants.
Kanika Tomalin is St. Petersburg's deputy mayor and a leader in its Healthy St. Pete initiative.
Kanika Tomalin is St. Petersburg's deputy mayor and a leader in its Healthy St. Pete initiative. [ Maria Flanagan ]
Published Nov. 6, 2020

In her introduction to St. Pete Eats: A Cookbook, St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin writes that the book was begun more than a year before the pandemic put the city’s flourishing restaurant scene in lockdown.

The decision was made to publish the book, which gathers several dozen recipes from the city’s independent restaurants (and a couple from Tomalin), as a salute to “the special role our small businesses play in this paradise of a place we call home.” Proceeds from the book benefit the city’s Fighting Chance Fund, which helps small businesses affected by the public health crisis.

The book was conceived as a part of the city’s Healthy St. Pete program, so its recipes emphasize fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and seafood.

Tomalin will discuss the cookbook as part of the Tampa Bay Times Virtual Festival of Reading, starting Thursday at

St. Pete Eats

By Kanika Tomalin

City of St. Petersburg, 128 pages, $20

Red Mesa

Red Mesa serves regional Mexican as well as many other Latin American specialties. The menu highlights favorites from 20+ years of continuous culinary exploration. This salad recipe can serve as an appetizer or entree depending on portion size. Fresh mango and jicama paired with delicious locally-sourced shrimp makes this salad of contrasting flavors work together harmoniously.

Mango & Jicama Salad With Locally Sourced Shrimp

2 cups diced mango, about 1 inch

2 cups diced jicama root, about 1 inch

1 cup diced cucumber, about 1 inch

¼ cup of julienne red onion

1 jalapeno pepper, remove seeds and thinly julienne

2 Florida oranges, use the segments only, and juice rest of the orange and set aside

½ cup chiffonade mint

1 pound medium local shrimp

Juice of 3 limes

3 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 avocado

In a mixing bowl, combine mango, jicama, cucumber, red onion, jalapeno, orange segments, mint, juice of 1 lime, juice from the oranges, cayenne pepper and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Toss well. Set aside.

Peel and devein shrimp.

Season shrimp with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and black pepper.

Cook shrimp on grill or in a saute pan for about 2 minutes per side, then set aside to briefly cool.

Add shrimp to mango mixture and toss again.

Using the blender, puree the avocado with 1 tsp kosher salt and the juice of 2 remaining limes.

Place a spoonful of avocado puree on the middle of the plate, forming a circle. Top with the shrimp and mango mixture.