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

Where’s the Panini?


Panini’s Grill recently opened up in Westchase.  Silly me, I thought a restaurant named Panini’s Grill was actually going to serve paninis.  Instead, we perused the big menu and ended up ordering a chicken club and a cheese steak.

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As it turns out, this is just another generic chain restaurant.  Their claim to fame is some monstrosity of an overstuffed sandwich that has french fries and slaw on the sandwich itself.  Our sandwiches were ok, but nothing that would make us feel the need to return.  Total bill with a drink was $23.

Panini’s Bar & Grill
12227 West Linebaugh Ave
Tampa, FL
813-855-4600

Paninis Grill on Urbanspoon

Food3/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.0/5

Sunday Morning


We finally figured out the right time to visit the Brick House Tavern, 11:30am on a Sunday morning.  No crowds, no noise and the service was a lot better than the last time we were here.  Loren got the Blue Water Mahi sandwich while I ordered the crispy duck hash off of the brunch menu.

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He said the mahi was perfectly cooked and the marinated cucumbers added an interesting flavor.   I kept stealing tots of his plate.  I wanted to like the crispy duck hash much more than I did.  Unfortunately, someone in the kitchen went a bit heavy on both the salt and pepper so it became increasingly more difficult to eat with every bite.  There was nothing actually crispy about the duck, but had the seasoning not been overwhelming, it would have made for a tasty dish.  Total bill with a drink was $31.

Brick House Tavern and Tap
28795 US 19 N
Clearwater, FL
(727) 726-6352

Brickhouse Tap And Tavern on Urbanspoon

Food3/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.0/5

Loco Gringos


We were in Lakeland around dinnertime and after walking around Kentucky Ave and checking wait times, we ended up at Loco Gringos.  There was no wait and we quickly discovered why.  They brought chips & salsa to the table which was probably the best part of the meal.

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Loren got the chicken curry tacos which were rather on the bland side and I tried the chicken chimichanga which was also nothing to write home about.  Everything tasted very generic and processed.

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Service was slow and somewhat neglectful.  Definitely not a place we’d go back to.  Total bill with a drink was $23.

Loco Gringos
126 S Kentucky Ave
Lakeland, FL
863-603-4040

Loco Gringos on Urbanspoon

Food2/5
Service2/5
Atmosphere2/5
Value2/5
2.0/5

Subs for Lunch


We found ourselves in Montverde this afternoon and stopped at Green Mountain Pizza for a late afternoon sandwich.  It’s a small pizza and sub shop and was packed with teenagers at 3pm.  Luckily, we were able to grab a table and wolf down an Italian sub and a steak & cheese.

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The bread smelled and tasted like it was right out of the oven. Yum!  The Italian sub had lots of meats and veggies, but Loren thought it was missing something to tie it all together.  The steak & cheese had the ooey, gooey goodness, but needed a little more seasoning to make it perfect.  Overall though, not a bad lunch for $17 with a drink.

Green Mountain Pizza
17415 7th St
Montverde, FL
407-469-2279

Green Mountain Pizza on Urbanspoon

Food3/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.0/5

Long Wait, Tasty Food


I honestly didn’t think we’d have an hour wait at 3pm on a Sunday, but it looks like Rusty Bellies in Tarpon Springs is busy no matter the time of day.  We wondered around the sponge docks for a while and then got seated out on the porch which was perfect.  Our waitress brought over some hush puppies while we looked at the menu.

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I had to make myself stop eating these or I was never going to eat my dinner.  They weren’t overly seasoned which is the way I like hush puppies. Quite addictive though.  It was a chilly afternoon, so we started off with a cup of crab corn chowder and a cup of seafood gumbo.

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Loren was amazed at all of the seafood in the gumbo. It had a little kick to it and he really enjoyed it.  The crab corn chowder was quite tasty.  Everything in it was cooked perfectly and it had a nice flavor.  For his entree, Loren tried the grilled grouper souvlaki pita.

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He said the tzatziki sauce was a bit too runny, but other than that, he said the fish was perfectly cooked and tasty.  I saw whole belly Ipswich clams on the menu and I was sold.

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Mmmm.  I love fried clams and these did not disappoint.  Crispy little bundles of memories growing up in Massachusetts.  For my sides, I got the potato salad and corn pudding.  I’d easily order this entire plate again.  And although we were both stuffed, I just couldn’t pass up the homemade orange pineapple cake.

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This was moist and flavorful with sweet bits of citrus and a creamy frosting.  We ate every last bite of it.  Total bill with a drink was $51.

Rusty Bellies Waterfront Grill
937 Dodecanese Blvd
Tarpon Springs, FL
727-934-4047

Rusty Bellies Waterfront Grill on Urbanspoon

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