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Tonight seemed like  a good night to head over to Ban Thai on McMullen Booth.  I couldn’t believe we hadn’t been there yet this year.  Seems like we were just there a few weeks ago, but the last time we were there was probably sometime in December. 

We like Ban Thai.  It’s a cozy little restaurant with a nice ambiance and decor.  Even the wait staff is dressed in shimmering gold gowns.  

Loren ordered his usual, ginger chicken

He said it was tasty.  Fresh veggies and lots of ginger, but a mild flavor.  He was happy.  For me, it’s all about the sushi.

Ban Thai is the first place I ever tried sushi.  I was completely against it,  the thought of raw fish just didn’t seem right to me at the time. But the first roll I had was a Tampa roll, so it had fried fish in it.  Now, here we are quite a few years later and whenever there’s sushi on the menu, I have to try it.

Tonight, I got another Tampa roll for old times sake, though they changed it from grouper to snapper.  It had a nice crunch to it.  Mexican rolls are still my favorite, so I had to get one of those.  Fried shrimp and avacado just have such a wonderful flavor/texture combination together. I also tried an Arizona roll which was yellow tail and cucumber.  It was ok, but the cucumber overwhelmed the tuna.  And just for fun a couple of pieces of salmon.  Loren got a spicy tuna garlic roll.  He said it had waves of flavor to it.  The tuna, the garlic, then a bit of heat at the end. 

We didn’t see too much of our waiter, but since the entire waitstaff looks out for the tables, it wasn’t much of an issue.  There was always someone checking to see if our drinks were full.  Total for dinner was $45.  Not too bad really for 4 maki rolls, 2 pieces of sushi, and an entree.

Ban Thai Restaurant
2519 McMullen Booth Road
Clearwater, FL
727-724-2992

Ban Thai on Urbanspoon

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  • Filed under: Clearwater, Sushi, Thai
  • Lunch with the boss at Joe’s Crab Shack in Clearwater today.  They like to play music at Joe’s.  Seems they have a loop that runs for about an hour.  Mostly old stuff from the 70’s and 80’s, or remixes of same.  Fairly listenable when they don’t have it turned  up too loud.  But, about every hour, they play “Car Wash”.  Yeah, you know the one.  Car wash, yeah!  That, in itself isn’t so bad, but the wait staff gets out and dances and shouts to it… every hour. (gets old in a hurry if you happen to be there more than an hour… which we have, on occasion)  Joe’s is probably a fun place in the evenings… personally, I think they try to be TOO fun at lunch time.  Glad I don’t work at Joe’s!

    Anyway, the food at Joe’s is decent.  Typical chain restaurant fare, but pretty good seafood for a chain.  Nothing to write home about, but we eat lunch there fairly often.  Must not be too bad if we keep going back, right?

    Had their blackened Mahi sandwich today with some fries.  It was not overly blackened, was nicely cooked, and quite tasty.  Huge chunk of fish, too… I cut about 2″ off of it to eat after I was done with the sandwich!  In the past, I’ve had their surf & turf burger (fried shrimp on a burger, really good!) and several other things that I can’t think of right now.

    Looked like they had reworked their menu again since the last time we were there.  A lot of pricier menu items, but the sandwich page was still reasonable.  $7-8 for a good-sized sandwich.  Pretty sure they charge extra for the fries, though.  So, not the cheapest food, but good.  They have a large covered patio for comfortable outdoor seating, too… that’s the main reason we go there aside from being a central location for us.

    Joe’s Crab Shack
    2730 Gulf to Bay Blvd.
    Clearwater, FL
    (727) 799-8530

    Joe's Crab Shack on Urbanspoon

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  • Filed under: Clearwater, Seafood
  • We got up early this morning to go see “Alice in Wonderland” in IMAX 3D.  The movie was pretty good, but the Disney cartoon is still my favorite.

    After the movie we headed to downtown Safety Harbor for lunch, but forgot that the seafood festival was going on.  Parking looked like a nightmare, so instead we headed over to Fish Tail Willy’s near Countryside mall. 

    We ordered some calamari for an appetizer, but our waitress showed up with our entrees instead.  She forgot to put in our appetizer order, but offered to put in the order at no charge, so we went ahead and got it.

    We should have just gone without.  The calamari was tough.  The coating was nice and crunchy, but the calamari itself was chewy and overcooked.  It came with three dipping sauces,  Tomato Honey, Mango Jalapeno, and Spicey Aioli.  I liked the tomato honey one best.

    Loren ordered the Salmon Cake Sandwich and a salad. 

    It’s salmon folded with capers, zucchini and squash with a dill lime mayo.  It was crispy and had an unusual taste to it.  He enjoyed it. 

    I ordered a grouper sandwich and fries.

    The fries were really good and had a nice crunch to them.  The sandwich, however, wasn’t that great.  Even though I order fried grouper, I still expect it to not be greasy.  The bottom bun was soggy.  I also don’t like it when they place a very strong onion on top of the lettuce and tomato.  Even though I would have liked to put the lettuce and tomato on my sandwich, all I would have tasted was onion.

    We’ve eaten here before and it’s been good, but overall today, it was a very dissatisfying lunch for me.  For $25, I’m sure I could have had a better experience elsewhere.

    Fish Tail Willy’s
    2543 Countryside Blvd
    Clearwater, FL
    727-791-4270

    Fish Tail Willy's on Urbanspoon

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  • Filed under: Clearwater, Seafood
  • Smokey Beans


    Felt the need for some Mexican food tonight, so we headed over to Carmelita’s on East Bay in Clearwater.  I’d been to the one on Ulmerton before, but Loren said he’d been to this one and it was a little closer to home.

    He started out with some chips and salsa and I ordered the chili bean dip.

    Loren really enjoyed the salsa.  Said it had a really good flavor.  The chili dip was ok.  The cheese was really thin so you ended up with more chili than cheesy dip.  I prefer it cheesier myself.

    I ordered a chicken chimichanga with rice and beans.

    The flavor of the chimi was good, but it wasn’t crispy at all.  The two ends had a slight crunch to them, but the rest of it was just plain burrito.  They either didn’t fry it long enough or doused it in sauce too early so it got mushy.  It also wasn’t a very big chimi either.  Not that I needed anymore food, but compared to ones at other restaurants, this one was on the small side.   I also kept tasting a smokey flavor and couldn’t figure out what it was until Loren mentioned that his beans tasted smokey.  It was an unusual flavor for refried beans.  As if they just added some smoke flavoring to them.

    Loren ordered some steak fajitas.

    The first bite he took of the meat was very tough, but he said the rest was ok.  The meat looked a bit well done to me.  It wasgrilled with onions, no peppers. 

    Overall, the meal was ok, but nothing spectacular.  Appetizer, two entrees and a drink ran us $30.

    Carmelita’s Mexican Restaurant
    5042 East Bay Drive
    Tri City Plaza
    Clearwater, FL
    (727) 524-8226

    Carmelita's Mexican on Urbanspoon

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  • Filed under: Clearwater, Mexican
  • I’ve been wanting Greek food for a while now and we finally decided to try the Acropol Inn Restaurant over on Sunset Point Rd in Clearwater.  There were a bunch of cars in the parking lot, so that’s usually a good sign.

    We started off with some Greek salads.

    They were a rather simple Greek salad, just some lettuce, tomato, onions, Feta and a dollop of potato salad on the bottom.  The homemade dressing was pretty good though.  They bring the bottle of dressing to the table so you can have as much or as little as you want. 

    They also bring you a large basket of bread.

    It was very fresh and soft, but would have been better if it had been warm.  We decided to try their gyro appetizer.

    There was a lot of gyro meat on the plate along with some garlicy tzatziki sauce.  It was really tasty gyro meat.  We ended up bringing half of it home.

    Loren got the souvlaki platter with veggies and rice.

    He said the pork was tasty, but not tender.  It definitely hadn’t been marinated for very long.  The red sauce on the rice tasted like tomato soup and the veggies were water logged. 

    I saw pastitio on the menu and had to have it.

    It was a huge portion, half of it came home with me too.  It was good, but it had the same red sauce as Loren’s rice and tasted like tomato soup.  You could definitely taste the nutmeg in the meat.   Not the best I’ve ever had, but it satisfied my craving.  It also came with the same water logged veggies.

    This wouldn’t be my first choice for Greek food, but for $26 we definitely got a lot of food.

    Acropol Inn Restaurant
    2552 Sunset Point Rd
    Clearwater, FL
    (727) 796-2879

    Acropol Inn on Urbanspoon

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  • Filed under: Clearwater, Greek