The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.


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We went to a movie this morning and ended up at the reopened Village Inn over on Racetrack Road near Westchase.  The original Village Inn that was there closed a while back, but another franchisee bought the space and opened it up again.  They were crowded and we ended up with about a 10 minute wait for a table.

Loren wanted lunch & I wanted breakfast so he got a soup and burger and I got a skillet.






He liked the soup, but said the burger was really bland.  Completely lacking in seasoning.  I got the California skillet which had avocado in it that could probably have used another day or so to ripen further.  The pancakes were spot on and the rest of the skillet was tasty.  The only thing that got on my nerves about our dining experience is that every time a server went in or out of the kitchen they yelled that they were coming in or out.  Total bill with a drink was $25.

Village Inn
13001 Race Track Rd
Tampa, FL

Village Inn on Urbanspoon


We were driving through Westchase earlier today and I noticed a new restaurant on Countryway Blvd called Fresh Bites, so we headed over there for dinner.  It’s a little Mediterranean restaurant that boasts of fresh, natural ingredients.  You order at the counter and then they bring the food out to you.  We started off with the cucumber yogurt salad which came with pita.



This wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.  It was a bowl of very liquidy, creamy spiced yogurt with slices of cucumber in it.  I was expecting it to be thicker with cut up cucumber in it.  It just dripped off the pita.  For our entrees, we ordered the beef shawarma and the lamb grilled kafta kabab.




Our inexperience with Mediterranean food and the fact that the person who brought our food to the table didn’t clearly specify which was which meant we actually ended up eating each other’s order instead of our own.  I had ordered the lamb kebab, but ended up with the shawarma.  We didn’t realize it until we were done eating and I happened to look at the menu and realized mine should have been the one with the rice.  The plates were both overly filled with salad.  For the price, I would have expected more meat on the plate.  They also came with roasted veggies and hummus.  I liked the taste of the kababs and the rice.  Loren cleared the plate.  He likes hummus and that kind of leafy salad.  It all had that very distinct middle eastern spice flavor to it. The shawarma was wrapped in pita, though we didn’t order it as a wrap.  It was cooked with onions and tomatoes, but again, there was just very little meat to it.  I think vegetarians would enjoy it here.  Normally, I drink water with my dinner, but I ordered the fresh lemonade.  It had an unusual taste to it.  It was very sweet, but I’m thinking maybe it was partially sweetened with honey.  They seemed to be doing a very good take-out business though.  Total bill with a drink was $35.

Fresh Bites
11665 Countryway Blvd
Tampa, FL

Fresh Bites on Urbanspoon


We were out in Plant City this morning and stopped at Yummy House on our way back home.  I don’t think we can eat here without ordering the salt and pepper calamari.



It has the perfect crunch, the perfect saltiness, the perfect tenderness.  It’s just awesome.  I also wanted some egg rolls.



These were very fresh and tasty as well.  The shells were crispy and the filling flavorful.  I think I could just stop with appetizers and be quite satisfied.  For his entree, Loren ordered the Kung Po chicken.



Note the evil peppers trying to hide among the veggies.  He said it had a wonderful flavor, lots of peanuts, and perfectly cooked chicken and vegetables.  I ordered the sweet & sour shrimp and scallops.



I wasn’t as happy with my dish.  The shrimp were good, but the scallops had an odd taste to them.  Everything was drenched in the sweet & sour sauce, so there wasn’t any crunch left.  I wouldn’t order it again.  I ended up ordering some beef & broccoli to take home for later.  It was very tasty.  Total bill with a drink was $54.

Yummy House China Bistro
2620 E Hillsborough Ave
Tampa, FL

Yummy House China Bistro on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: Chinese, Tampa
  • We went over to Stonechase for a late lunch today.  The place was deserted at 2:30pm and the waitress on duty was very new and inexperienced.  They really should have had someone else on the floor with her.  We ordered some calamari for an appetizer, but either she didn’t put the order in or forgot to go pick it up because it never arrived.

    Loren ordered the Stone Chase salad.



    It had chicken, apples, grapes, walnuts and gorgonzola cheese on it. He said it was pretty good.  I went for the orecchiette mastandrea pasta.



    The menu said it had passion and family secret in it, but I found neither.  The pasta wasn’t cooked quite enough and the sauce was a bit too tart for my tastes.  The meatballs were ok.  Not a dish I would order again.  Total bill with a drink was $21.

    Stone Chase
    12227 W Linebaugh Ave
    Tampa, FL
    (813) 818-8000

    Stone Chase on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: American, Tampa
  • Great Flavors

    We had never tried Korean food before, so today’s lunch adventure was out to One Family Korean Restaurant on Hillsborough.  It’s a hidden little gem located in the back of a shopping center.  From the moment we walked in the door, the aromas from the kitchen tempted our tastebuds.  We started off with some fried dumplings.



    We didn’t expect quite so many of them, but they were delicious.  The dipping sauce was savory, but not overly spicy.  The dumplings were crispy and had a pork and veggie filling.  For his entree, Loren tried the spicy pork lunch box.



    There was a ton of food in this box.  He said the pork was spicy and tender and he really enjoyed all the different sides that came with it.  He even asked for more of the bean sprouts to take home with his leftovers.  And trust me, there were leftovers all around.  I got the sweet & sour shrimp which was also served with a bunch of sides.




    The waitress said the side dishes change every day so you never know what you’re going to get.  I like the potato and apple salad the best.  There was also spinach & the bean sprouts that Loren loved, plus two other veggie dishes.  As for the sweet & sour shrimp, it was probably one of the best sweet & sour dishes I’ve ever eaten.  There were plenty of shrimp and they were perfectly cooked and nice and crispy.  The veggies included peppers, onions, mushrooms, cucumber pickles, and I think pears.  It was yummy and I had plenty for a second meal as well.  Total bill with a drink was $42 and we’ll definitely be back.

    One Family Korean Restaurant
    7030 W Hillsborough Ave
    Tampa, FL

    One Family Korean Restaurant on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: Korean, Tampa