The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.

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    The Restaurants at My End of the Universe Tampa Bay restaurants

Fresh Breakfast


A friend and I were heading to a movie and stopped at First Watch for breakfast.  Luckily, we got there before the big Sunday crowd showed up.  We both ordered skillets.

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I got mine with avocado and over easy eggs. The potatoes were perfectly cooked and the fruit on the side was fresh.  It was fresh and perfectly cooked.  That’s one of the things I really like about this restaurant.  Everything from the decor to the food is light and fresh.  It just has an overall different feel from so many of the other chain breakfast restaurants.  Something as simple as leaving a pitcher of water and coffee on the table makes it so much more convenient for both the waitress and us.  Total bill was $9.

First Watch
2569 Countryside Blvd
Clearwater FL
727-712-8769

First Watch on Urbanspoon

Food4/5
Service4/5
Atmosphere4/5
Value3/5
3.9/5

Get Dessert


We tried going to BurgerMonger last week but couldn’t find a parking space.  This location on Enterprise Road is notorious for not having enough parking for all of the businesses in the little shopping center.  I think this space has turned over at least 4 times that I can remember.

You order at the counter and they bring the food out to you.  It’s set up and looks a lot like Five Guys with the open kitchen.  The food came out fast and was surprisingly very tasty.

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You just never know what to expect from these quasi-fast food restaurants.  Their claim to fame is the Akaushi Kobe beef that they use in their burgers.  It was a tasty burger.  They cook them well done unless you ask otherwise, which we both wanted medium and they were cooked a perfect medium.  Loren added bacon, cheese & a garlic sauce that he really liked.  I went with mushrooms, onions & cheese.  We also got the 1/2 lb of fries.  They actually could have been cooked a little longer.  They were a bit limp and not quite crispy enough.

What this place has over some of the others is a strawberry butter cake.

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This was awesome.  It had two big scoops of Hagen Daaz vanilla ice cream, sweetened strawberries and a tasty butter cake.  Worth every penny and calorie.  Total bill with a drink was $27.

BurgerMonger
2454 McMullen Booth Road, Suite 207
Clearwater, FL
727-726-4001

Burgermonger on Urbanspoon

Food4/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.4/5

Italian Lunch


We went over to Zerillo’s Italian Grill for lunch today.  The restaurant was pretty empty for lunchtime.  We haven’t been here for quite a while since our last experience wasn’t that great.  We started off with some garlic rolls.

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I think these were the best part of the meal.   They were fresh out of the oven, soft and warm and very garlicy.  Good stuff.  The tomato sauce had a nice flavor to it as well.  For his lunch, Loren ordered the chicken parmesan which came with a stuffed shell and I ordered the chicken marsala which came with pasta.

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I should have reread my last blog post about this restaurant before I ordered.  The waitress asked what kind of pasta I wanted and I said fettucine alfredo and just like last time, she never indicated that there was a $4 upcharge for it.  Either tell me what kind of pasta comes with the dish or let me know it costs more for what I ask for.  Other than that, though, both dishes were pretty good.  The chicken was tender and the sauces both had a good flavor.  There was a lot of food and we both had leftovers.  At one point Loren attempted to use the salt shaker only to discover the salt was one big clump inside the shaker.  Total bill with a drink was $27.

Zerillo’s Italian Grill
11653 Countryway Blvd
Tampa, FL
813-855-5178

Zerillo's Italian Grill on Urbanspoon

Food3/5
Service2/5
Atmosphere2/5
Value2/5
2.4/5

Wait and Then Wait Some More


We were in Largo this afternoon and stopped at Culver’s for lunch.  It’s a burger chain popular in Wisconsin and the midwest.  You order at the counter and then they bring the food out to you.  Loren decided to be different and got a prime rib sandwich with onion rings and I got the mushroom burger with their famous cheese curds.

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For a while there, we weren’t sure if we were going to get our food.  It was ridiculously slow coming out of the kitchen and quite honestly, not worth the wait.  The burger was overly salted and the cheese curds tasted no different than cheese sticks you get at any chain restaurant.  Maybe they’re better if they’re fresh out of the fryer, but these weren’t all that warm.  Loren said the prime rib was ok.  Nothing to make us want to come back here.

We figured we might as well try the frozen custard since it wasn’t likely we’d be back.

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It’s a good thing we didn’t need to be anywhere this afternoon because it took even longer for these to come out than it did our burgers.  No wonder it’s so hard to find a table in the restaurant, everyone’s just sitting there waiting.  As for the custard, they were very good.  Thick, rich, and creamy with good flavor and texture.  You can mix in a bunch of different toppings.  Loren got vanilla with caramel and brownies and I got the chocolate with hot fudge and Oreos.  Total bill with a drink was $24.  The food is average, the custard very good, but they need to work out the timing of getting the food to the tables.  The wait was just way too long for fast food.

Culver’s
3500 E Bay Drive
Largo, FL
727-223-9915

Culver's on Urbanspoon

Food2/5
Service1/5
Atmosphere2/5
Value2/5
1.7/5

So full


We ended up at Longhorn Steakhouse tonight after we couldn’t find parking at the restaurant we had planned to go to.  I was shocked that we didn’t have to wait for a table at 6pm on a Friday night.  Of all the chain restaurants, I think Longhorn has become our favorite.  The food is consistent and the flavors are there.  We started off with one of their new appetizers, the sweet chili calamari.

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This was some perfectly cooked calamari.  I couldn’t stop eating it even though the sweet chili sauce had my tongue tingling.  I would definitely order it again.  After bread and salads, out came out entrees.  Loren got the 6 oz Renegade sirloin with asparagus.

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He said the steak was very tender and tasty.  Unfortunately, the asparagus was a little too far on the tender side.  He likes his asparagus much crisper.  I ordered the half rack of baby back ribs.

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They were very tender with a slightly sweet sauce.  I really enjoyed them.  And even though we were both stuffed at this point, I just couldn’t pass up the dessert sampler.

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This is the dessert to get here.  Chocolate stampede, caramel apple goldrush, and strawberry cheesecake.  Yum!  I devoured the chocolate stampede.  It’s layers of chocolate mousse on a chocolate cake.  So good!  Loren favored the caramel apple dish and the cheesecake was pretty darn tasty as well.   We had to roll ourselves out of the restaurant.  Total bill with a drink was $55 and worth every penny.

Longhorn Steakhouse
35645 US Highway 19
Palm Harbor, FL
(727) 781-9300

Longhorn Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

 

Food4/5
Service4/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.7/5