The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Sometimes the day just gets away from you.  We drove into Oldsmar around 8:30pm to take some photos and then needed somewhere to eat at 9pm.  We had been to the Cafe’ de Siam a few years ago and luckily they’re open until 10pm.   We were the only ones in the restaurant for about 30 minutes, and then several other groups came in.  Looks like they’re going to be open a little later tonight.

We started off with some fried spring rolls.

They were ok.  The plum sauce they came with was very sweet.  I ordered the Goung Tod, which is fried shrimp and veggies.

I just wanted something simple that wasn’t spicy and this fit the bill.  The shrimp and veggies were both done well.  It had cauliflower and broccoli along with the shrimp.  Loren ordered the Panang Chicken.

Usually he doesn’t go for coconut milk dishes, but he’s liked the flavors in other dishes I’ve had recently and this did not disappoint.  He ordered it mild and it was definitely milder than other places, but still had really good flavor.  I even stole some of the sauce for my rice.  Total bill was $27.

Cafe’ de Siam
11242 W Hillsborough Ave
Tampa, FL
813-885-1108

Cafe de Siam on Urbanspoon

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  • Filed under: Tampa, Thai
  • We had front row tickets to the 7:30pm showing of Mary Poppins in Tampa tonight, so needed somewhere quick to stop for dinner.  Cody’s is on the way and they weren’t too busy for a Tuesday night.

    My favorite thing about Cody’s is the yeast rolls.

    Even when they’re not cooked perfectly (which they weren’t tonight), they’re still yummy.  The cinnamon butter is really what makes them awesome.  The salad is really good too.  You get a big bowl to share & they’ll bring you more if you want it.  Salad and rolls, that’s all I need.

    And yet, I still order an entree.  We were there early enough to order off of the early bird menu, so I got the steak chunks with a sweet potato.

    The steak was tender and served over grilled mushrooms and onions.  The only complaint I had is that it didn’t have much flavor.  The menu said the meat had been marinated, but it didn’t absorb any of the flavor of what it was marinated in.  The sweet potato wasn’t that great tonight even with gobs of cinnamon butter on it.

    Loren got their sirloin special with a loaded baked potato.

    He said it was adequate, nothing to write home about.  He said they normally make a smaller, thicker steak and he prefers that to what they served this time.

    Since we had some time to kill before the show, we ordered a piece of chocolate cake.  The waitress warned us that it was big.

    She wasn’t kidding.  It was easily enough for three people to share.  The cake was moist and the frosting was very thick and rich.  This was a very enjoyable dessert and we had leftovers.  It’s not often that we have leftover dessert.

    Total bill was $34 and we made it to our show on time.

    Cody’s Original Roadhouse
    11202 West Hillsborough Ave
    Tampa, FL
    813-855-2787

    Cody's Original Roadhouse on Urbanspoon

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  • Filed under: American, Tampa
  • Patience


    When I went to Zerillo’s earlier in the week, I noticed another restaurant in the same shopping center call “A Taste of Heaven New Orleans Cuisine”.   Since they’re only open for dinner, figured we’d head out there tonight.  It’s not like there are a lot of New Orleans/Cajun places to eat around here.  The closest one that we like is the Cajun Cafe down in Pinellas Park. 

    The restaurant was empty when we got there a little before 6pm.  The owner/chef, Jocelyn, came out to greet us.  She’s really personable and made us feel very welcome.

    We ordered our drinks and she recommended the tea so Loren got a glass.

    I’m not a tea drinker, but trust me, this is not what I would consider tea.  It was a sweet fruit drink made with fresh pineapple, mango, and raspberry.  Almost like a lemonade.  I ended up ordering a glass of my own.  It was actually too sweet for Loren, but just right for me.  Jocelyn said she makes different fruit blends depending on what fruit is in season.  Definitely order the tea when you visit.

    We ordered our meals and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Patience was definitely the order of the evening.  Granted everything was made fresh to order, and we were warned that the homemade corn bread would take 15-20 minutes, but it took at least an hour to get our food. 

    Finally our entrees arrived.  Loren ordered the Jammin’ Jambalaya. 

    The jambalaya was good.  It had some spice but not too much.  She actually asked what level of spice we wanted in the food.  He said it was dryer than what he wanted, but had plenty of chicken, sausage and shrimp in it.  He’d probably order it as a side dish next time, not a meal.

    I ordered the shrimp etoufee and a side of mac and cheese, sweet potato casserole, and corn bread.

    The menu said the etoufee came with fried okra slices, but it didn’t.  I ordered it non-spicy and though it had a good flavor, it was actually a little bland.  I think it needed some of the spice afterall.  The sauce was smooth and the shrimp and rice were both cooked well.  The menu also said warm cornbread upon request, which I assumed meant it came with it, but we were charged separately for it. 

    The thing about the cornbread is that it was supposedly the reason our meal took so long to come out and unfortunately, it wasn’t worth the wait.  It was ok for cornbread, but nothing to write home about.

    I like mac and cheese and this one was a tasty version.  Homemade, very cheesy with a hint of garlic.  Even Loren liked it and he’s not that into mac and cheese.

    The sweet potato souffle had a strong clove flavor.  Loren liked it more than I did.  I like a sweeter version of the dish, more cinnamon, less clove.   It had a nice consistency and the ramekin it was in kept it steaming hot. 

    Our waitress was Jocelyn’s 13 year old daughter.  Unfortunately, she doesn’t have the necessary experience, nor would you expect her to at her age.  A few more customers came into the restaurant while we were eating so it took a while for her to get back to our table.  They didn’t have any desserts on the menu, only for special occasions we were told.  I was really hoping for some beignets, but no such luck. 

    We finally got our $43 check, but then they had to fight with their credit card machine.  So we waited.  And waited.  Luckily, we had enough cash on us because they didn’t get the machine working.  This was about a 2 hour outing for dinner and we were the only customers when we got there.  I really wanted to love this place.  I definitely recommend going for the food; it was fresh and made to order.   Jocelyn is a great host and has a wonderful personality, but since she’s also the chef, once she went into the kitchen, the dining room lacked the service and attention to detail it needed. 

    A Taste of Heaven
    11665 Countryway Blvd
    Tampa, FL
    813-852-2500

    A Taste of Heaven New Orleans Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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    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

    Zerillo's Italian Grill on Urbanspoon

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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

    Whiskey Joe's on Urbanspoon

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  • Filed under: American, Seafood, Tampa