The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.

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Archive for the ‘Tampa’ Category

Went out to lunch with some folks from work today and one of them suggested an Italian restaurant I hadn’t been to called Zerillo’s Italian Grill in Westchase.  

Unfortunately, when you walk in the door, the first aromas you get aren’t of the food, but of the cigar shop next door.  Luckily, the dining room didn’t smell like tobacco too.  They weren’t very busy for lunch, but then again, I don’t think too many places are on Tuesdays.

They have a nice, inexpensive lunch menu with a lot of choices including pasta, pizza, calzones, hot and cold subs and wraps.  We got a wrap, fettucine alfredo, fries, sausage and peppers, and a baked casserole.

Surpisingly, I wasn’t the one who ordered the fettucini alfredo, but I’m going to have to go back and try it.

The sausage and peppers are served over your choice of pasta.  The waitress did submit the wrong order to the kitchen, but got it fixed pretty quickly. 

Underneath the layer of mozzarella, there was a cheese ravioli, stuffed shells, and manicotti.   The sauce had a little sweetness to it which I liked.   For $7, this was a great lunch item.  None of the items were over $10.

I’ll definitely have to go back and try some other things.  As were leaving, we saw another table with pizza and it looked really good.  

Zerillo’s Italian Grill
11653 Countryway Blvd
Tampa, FL

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  • Filed under: Italian, Tampa
  • My only criteria for lunch today was somewhere that I could look out over the water.  We ended up at Whiskey Joe’s over the Courtney Campbell Causeway in Tampa.

    We chose a nice shaded table by the door so we got a little burst of air conditioning as people walked in and out.  We had a great view of the bay and the beach.  This is what living in Florida is all about.

    Loren ordered the blackened grouper which came with a creole cognac sauce and shrimp, rice and broccoli.

    The creole sauce wasn’t overly spicy, but had a lot of flavor.  The grouper was nicely blackened.  He could have used a knife to cut through the large broccoli pieces though.

    I ordered the shrimp po’boy with fries.

    Unfortunately, the menu didn’t mention the spicy remoulade sauce that was on the bread.  It was spicier than the creole sauce on Loren’s fish.  I ended up eating half the sandwich since the sauce was soaked into the bread and just ate the rest of the shrimp off the plate.  There were a lot of shrimp too.  Nice and crunchy and the fries were really good. 

    I couldn’t pass up the mud pie for dessert.

    Yes, it’s huge!  An Oreo cookie crust, topped with a layer of Haagen Dazs vanilla bean ice cream mixed with Butterfingers, then topped with Haagen Dazs chocolate ice cream, whipped cream and a fudge sauce.  I don’t think we could have finished it even if we hadn’t just eaten lunch. 

    Total bill was $38.  The food was good and the view was awesome. 

    Whiskey Joe’s
    7720 Courtney Campbell
    Tampa, FL
    813-281-0770

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  • Filed under: American, Seafood, Tampa
  • I had been to Lenoce’s in Oldsmar once before, but didn’t remember much about it. Loren and I headed over there for lunch today.

    It’s a small, diner type restaurant with a bunch of skateboards on the wall.  I don’t know if they’re associated with Jeff Lenoce the skateboarder or just share the same name.

    We both ordered cheeseburgers.

    Loren ordered his with bacon and fries.  I got mine with onion rings.

    Both burgers were pretty good.  They were thick burgers, cooked medium, and had a nice flavor to them.  Even the fries and onion rings were tasty.  They had a nice crunch.

    Lunch was $18 since we substituted fries and onion rings for the chips or potato salad that came with the burgers.

    Lenoce’s Neighborhood Restaurant
    139491 Hillsborough Ave
    Oldsmar, FL
    813-814-2764

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  • Filed under: American, Oldsmar, Tampa
  • We’ve eaten at so many loud restaurants lately, that it’s so refreshing to actually sit down to a nice quiet dinner.  We headed over to Kado Japanese Steakhouse in Tampa for dinner with our $25 Restaurant.com coupon in hand.

    The restaurant was nearly empty.  There was just one table of 4 people when we came in.  Kado is so much less commercialized than the other Japanese steakhouses in town.  It’s like a small family owned restaurant.  As far as we could tell, the waitstaff seemed like generations of the same family.

    I have to say though, it did seem a little awkward to be the only two people at one of the Habachi tables.   The chef went through all the motions, but I’m sure it was a bit underwhelming for him too to not have a big tableful of guests to show off to.

    They start you off with a light, tasty broth.

    It had a nice mellow flavor and was served piping hot.  You can even see the steam.  Next up the salad.

    The ginger dressing was really good.  Since we needed to spend $50 for our coupon, we ordered some egg rolls.

    They were a lot bigger than I thought they’d be.  Good crunch, tasty filling.  I already knew at this point that I wasn’t going to be able to finish my dinner.

    Loren ordered the filet and shrimp and I got the Sumo which is filet, shrimp and scallops.  And of course, lots of goody-goody sauce. 

    The veggies, rice, and shrimp were cooked perfectly, the steak and scallops very tender.  It’s so nice to have a meal where everything is just incredibly well executed.  Believe it or not, we still hadn’t hit $50, so we just had to order dessert.

    I saw cheesecake on the menu, but when it came out, we were both surprised to realize it was deep fried cheesecake.  Wow!  I’ve never had cheesecake like this before.  It was slightly frozen in the center, but otherwise had a nice, crispy tempura shell all around it, plus drizzled in chocolate sauce.  It was an incredible ending to a very delicious meal. 

    After the coupon and with the tip added in, the total dinner was $44.  It was probably one of the best meals we’ve had in a long time for a very reasonable price.  Plus I have leftovers for tomorrow.

    Kado Japanese Steakhouse
    6821 W. Hillsborough Ave, Ste 9
    Tampa, FL

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  • Filed under: Japanese, Tampa
  • That was the plan. Pollo Tropical in Oldsmar at 12:15. But, in Justin’s mind, anything west of Dale Mabry on Hillsborough is Oldsmar… so we ended up waiting for each other at different locations!

    We opted to meet in the middle(ish) and eat at Guadalajara instead. Much better choice, in my opinion. This is another of those places with awesome salsa, and if you haven’t noticed, I tend to judge the quality of a Mexican restaurant by their salsa. This is also a locally-owned, non-chain, fairly authentic Mexican restaurant, so the food is pretty good.

    Today, I ordered a #13 from their lunch menu, which consisted of a taco, an enchilada, rice and beans. Doesn’t sound like much, but I was surprised at the size of the plate and the amount of food on it for $6.99! I left the rice and ate most of the rest. Oh, and this photo doesn’t do it justice. Poor lighting and a crappy cell phone. But, at least I don’t have to listen to Cathy complain about me not taking a photo this time!

    Good authentic Mexican food, complimentary chips and salsa, full lunch and a drink for less than $10. Can’t go wrong with that.

    Guadalajara Mexican
    (813) 879-4096
    4502 W Hillsborough Ave
    Tampa, FL 33614

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  • Filed under: Mexican, Tampa