The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Mac & Cheese

I love mac and cheese and don’t often find too many that I like.  The steak & onion mac & cheese at Surf Shack is one of those dishes that I’ll order again and again.



It comes to the table bubbling hot, so you better have a good conversation going because it’s going to be a few minutes before you can actually put any of it in your mouth.  The steak is tender and the french fried onions on top give it a nice crunch and flavor.  Loren had the tuna tacos.


He’s had them before and he liked them.  Total bill with a drink was $21.

Surf Shack Coastal Kitchen
12217 West Linebaugh Ave
Tampa, FL
(813) 475-5916

Surf Shack on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: American, Tampa
  • Good Burger

    In search of a good burger for lunch and we ended up at Burger 21 in Westchase.  Their burgers all sound good and we ended up with a Cinco Burger and a Chicken Marsala Burger with some fries.




    They’re almost too big to get in your mouth!  Loren’s Cinco burger has guacamole, salsa, cheese, jalapenos and the cilantro cream on it.  He really liked it.  The burger was thick and juicy and the toppings gave it that over the top flavor burst.  He did remove a good portion of the jalapenos though.

    The chicken marsala burger was very good.  It didn’t look like there was any filler in the chicken patty and the mushrooms and onions along with the marsala sauce made for one delicious lunch.  Sad to say, though, my chicken burger had more calories than his regular burger.  I always thought chicken was less fattening.  I ate most of the fries because they were hot, fresh and perfectly crunchy.  I love all the sauces they have available as well with the apple cider and honey mustard as my favorites.  Total bill with a drink was $22.

    Burger 21
    9664 W. Linebaugh Ave
    Tampa, FL
    (813) 475-5921

    Burger 21 on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: Burgers, Tampa
  • We were sitting at home watching an episode of Chopped where the chefs had to make burgers for every round.  By the end of the show, we were trying to figure out where to go for burgers for dinner.  We ended up at TGI Friday’s in Westchase.



    Loren got the bacon cheeseburger, and I just got a regular cheeseburger.  They were both cooked well and I really enjoyed the seasoned fries.  The best part of going to TGI Friday’s though is the vanilla bean cheesecake.



    This has to be one of the all time favorite desserts.  The cheesecake part is good, but the vanilla mousse on top is awesome.  So yummy.  Total bill with a drink was $29.

    TGI Friday’s
    11705 W. Hillborough Ave
    Tampa, FL

    T.G.I. Friday's on Urbanspoon



    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