I received a coupon in the mail for $8 off two entrees at Outback, so we headed out there for dinner tonight. They were also doing a 4-course special, so we both opted for that. The kitchen was backed up, so it took a while to get our bread and soup and salad.
We both chose the clam chowder which was quite a bit spicier than I had anticipated. It was creamy and had good flavors though. What we didn’t know, until the bill came out, was that there was an upcharge for the clam chowder. I’m always a little miffed for things to show up on the bill that we weren’t told about ahead of time. Our waitress said she didn’t know there was an upcharge.
There are a limited number of choices on the 4-course entree menu, but that wasn’t an issue for Loren. He got the 6 oz sirloin with a baked potato.
Though the presentation left a bit to be desired, he said the steak was cooked a perfect medium. He enjoyed it. Normally, I order the Alice Springs Chicken, but it wasn’t one of the options, so I tried their new Honey Mustard Chicken.
That was a mistake. There’s a distinct difference between lightly charred and burnt. This fell into the burnt category. I tried to eat around the crispy parts. The main reason I didn’t send it back is that Loren would have been finished with his meal before something new could come out of the kitchen for me. We’d already been waiting a long time so it wasn’t worth the effort. The waitress asked if I wanted to bring the leftovers home and I told her no, couldn’t she see how burnt it was? The manager came over and was very apologetic and took it off the bill. Let’s face it, something that looks like this never should have made it out of the kitchen. For our last course, we got one of each desserts offered, the cheesecake and carrot cake.
For me, the cheesecake was the best part of the meal. It was creamy and the raspberry sauce was good. Loren liked the carrot cake. Since we no longer had two entrees on the menu, I didn’t use my coupon and the final bill ended up being $21 with a drink.
31988 US Hwy 19 N
Palm Harbor, FL
Sometimes it’s the silly little things that amuse us to no end. Something that just catches you off guard and makes you giggle. We went over to Athens in downtown Safety Harbor for breakfast and they had the Popeye omelette on their specials board. What does Popeye love? Spinach and Olive. Loren had to order it just because it made us giggle.
Along with the spinach and olives, it also had bacon in it, everything’s better with bacon, right? He really enjoyed the omelette. I went for the blueberry pancakes and eggs over easy.
The pancakes were very tasty, but I forgot just how hot blueberries can get and burned my tongue on the first bite. The eggs were perfectly cooked as well. Our waitress was a little frazzled this morning, but other than that, it was a very enjoyable $15 breakfast.
226 Main St
Safety Harbor, FL
Always on the lookout for places we haven’t visited yet, we ended up at Pensare Italian Bistro in Dunedin for dinner tonight. The place was packed and really loud. We were seated in this little alcove and I felt like the sound just reverberated off the walls. Our waiter came over and explained the specials and brought bread and oil to the table.
The bread was warm and crusty and the dipping oil was very flavorful. We were optimistic about the rest of the meal only to be quickly disappointed when our appetizer arrived.
It was a fried platter of calamari, shrimp and zucchini. The calamari was thin and like rubber. The breading had no flavor whatsoever. The shrimp were overcooked and the zucchini was burnt. If our waiter had actually come back to the table in a reasonable amount of time, I would have sent it back. Salads came with our meal and we both got the mixed greens.
Loren likes mixed green salads, I’m not a fan. They also brought oil & vinegar to the table & you can have the waiter dress the salad or you can do it yourself. Eventually, our entrees came out. At this point, I felt like we had been there for quite a while. Loren ordered the Salmone Asparagi which was salmon in a lemon buerre-blanc sauce and asparagus.
He said it was pretty good. I found the sauce to be a bit too tart and sour for my tastes. I went for the pappardelle bolognese.
This was not a good dish. The pasta was undercooked and the sauce was flavorless. It was just very uninspiring. Our waiter disappeared at this point, I think he had tables out on the patio, so we didn’t see much more of him. My expectations were so low at this point that I didn’t even bother with dessert. We won’t be back. Total bill was $59 with a drink.
Pensare Italian Bistro
799 Highland Ave
We went over to Surf Shack for lunch today. They were pretty busy, but we were able to get a table inside which was good because it was a bit warm out on the patio. Loren tried the Hula Burrito again with a salad.
I love how colorful the salad is. As for the burrito, just like last time, he had to put some of the salsa from the chips & salsa on it to give it some flavor. I ordered the West Coast tacos and added avocado to them. For some reason, I just think a West Coast taco should already have avocado as one of its main ingredients.
I did the upgrade for mac & cheese as my side and that was a mistake. I’ve tried it here several times with mixed results, but the majority of the time, it’s just too dry. There’s just not enough cheese sauce on it. The tacos were ok. They’re pretty plain, just chicken, lettuce, tomato, and sour cream. Total bill with a drink was $22.
Surf Shack Coastal Kitchen
12217 West Linebaugh Ave
We eat out a lot and one of the things I’ve noticed is that a lot of places have gone to a very minimal presentation of their food, but that’s not the case with Pacific Thai Cuisine. Their plating makes the food look that much more appetizing and it’s those little details that can take a meal to that next level. Loren decided to try the Yum Beef tonight.
He got it medium spicy and he was sniffling a little by the end, but really enjoyed the dish. He loves entrees with lots of veggies. I went for the Pad Se-ew tonight.
It’s a very simple dish, but they do it well here. It has that right mouth-feel, the veggies are crisp, the flavors subtle, and the noodles are cooked perfectly. It’s just a pleasant dining experience from start to finish. Must be why we eat here quite often. Total bill with a drink was $33.
Pacific Thai Cuisine
4058 Tampa Road
My dining experiences at Rumba Island in Oldsmar have been going downhill for a while and tonight was no exception. They remodeled the interior since the last time we were there and now the entire restaurant is open to the bar area which made it a bit louder inside. Not sure how that’s going feel once the summer heat sets in. We started off with some grouper fritters and corn muffins.
The corn muffins were yummy as usual. That’s about the only consistent thing I’ve found here. The grouper fritters were ok, but a bit on the spicy side for me. Loren ordered a bacon cheeseburger.
He liked it. In fact, he usually has a pretty good experience with the food here. I’m the one that ends up with the wonky entrees. Tonight, I went for something I’ve had before with relative success, the BBQ salmon.
One bite was enough to tell me that the salmon was not fresh. I eat enough salmon to know that it shouldn’t have a fishy taste to it. And just to be certain that I wasn’t being overly critical, I had Loren taste it and he agreed. When the waiter finally came back to our table, I told him the fish wasn’t good. He said salmon is a very fishy tasting fish and I politely disagreed. If that’s what he thinks, then he’s obviously never had fresh salmon. They took it off the bill and the manager came out as well, but I sort of got the impression from him that he didn’t think there was anything wrong with the fish either. Total bill with a drink was $19.
Rumba Island Bar & Grill
3687 Tampa Road
I think we’ve found our new favorite German restaurant down in Largo. German Bistro 2 is in a little strip mall, has about 10 tables inside and some very tasty and hearty German food. They started us off with some bread and coleslaw.
The bread was fresh and tasty. The coleslaw was a bit on the peppery side, but still very good. I knew I shouldn’t have ordered an appetizer, but I just love potato pancakes.
Normally, Loren isn’t a fan, but he really enjoyed these. They were nice and crispy with a little bit of herbs on them and served with applesauce and sour cream. I have to admit, I was already full by the time our entrees arrived. Loren got the Gypsischnizel with a side salad and dumpling.
They forgot to bring out the dressing for his salad, but other than that the meal was very good. His pork had a tomato and green pepper sauce on it. The dumpling was made of stuffing. It was different. I ordered the Jaegerschnizel with spaezel and warm potato salad.
The pork was very tender and the mushroom gravy had lots of thick slices of mushrooms. The spaezle was so good that I had to order seconds. I forgot to mention, all the sides have free refills. Loren really enjoyed the potato salad. It had bacon and that distinct vinegary German flavor. We both ended up with lots of leftovers and yet, we still ordered the apple strudel for dessert.
It was served with ice cream and whipped cream. Seriously, we were both so stuffed by this point that we couldn’t finish the pastry, though we did eat all of the apples inside. Another thing to mention is that they also offer complimentary beer or wine. It was a very enjoyable experience. The owners are very friendly and accommodating. They want to make sure you enjoy every last thing on your plate. This is definitely a restaurant we’ll be returning to. Just have to remember to bring a big appetite. Total bill was $55.
German Bistro II
1300 E Bay Dr Ste L
Loren took me out to my favorite little Italian restaurant tonight for our anniversary. I don’t know why we don’t go to La Trattoria more often, I really do love the food. If you’ve never been, it’s quite the experience. There’s no menu and the owner is this jovial Italian man who just makes you feel like you’ve walked into his home for dinner. He’ll be wandering around the restaurant singing and it’s just a hoot. There’s nothing fancy about this place, but the food is excellent. We started off with some bread, little pizza pieces, and salad.
The little pizza pieces are almost identical in flavor to what my Italian grandmother used to make. The dipping oil for the bread has huge chunks of garlic in it and the salad is just lightly dressed with oil & vinegar. First off, you get shown the appetizers of the day. Tonight there were artichokes, stuffed mushrooms, and stuffed eggplant. Loren went for a mushroom and I tried the eggplant.
Both were tasty. I liked the tomato sauce on mine. Once you’re done with the appetizers, the owner wheels out the cart o’ seafood and meats and tells you all the different ways he can prepare it for you. I have a favorite dish here, the pasta with crab in a pink amaretto sauce. I just can’t make myself order anything else. You can get chicken, pork, veal, steaks, fish, pasta, ravioli and who knows what else in a variety of preparations. Loren ordered the grouper in a piccata sauce with artichokes and sundried tomatoes.
He said it was very tasty. My pasta with crab was just divine.
There are huge chunks of crab in this dish. Loren says the sauce tastes like dessert because it’s so sweet. I just love it. And even though we were both stuffed, I couldn’t resist some ricotta cheesecake.
If you’ve never had ricotta cheesecake, it’s more cakelike in texture and not as creamy as a NY cheesecake. It’s somewhat dense with a little lemon flavor to it. Overall, it was an excellent meal. Total bill with a drink was $60.
2152 Main St
Back out to Mike’s Sushi tonight to order way more sushi than two people should eat at one sitting. Ok, we did have some leftovers and they were pretty good too.
Tonight’s selection included some salmon, a make-your-own with salmon, tuna, avocado and cucumber, a Mexican roll, a Crazy Roll, a Yami Yami roll, a Pink Dragon, and a Blue Moon roll. This was the first time we tried the Yami Yami roll. The sauce on it was sort of like a bbq mayo. I don’t know how else to describe it. It was tasty though. All the sushi is excellent here. Total bill with a drink was $60.
33855 Us-19 N
Palm Harbor, FL
We went over to the Little Greek on Linebaugh for lunch today. It’s almost identical to the one over at Boot Ranch. We both got Greek salads and Loren also got some dolmades.
I always forget that the mini-Greek is plenty of food. Loren had ordered the mini with chicken and I got the regular with gyro meat. I think the main difference is that there’s two scoops of potato salad and some more lettuce in the regular one. The gyro meat was very fresh and tasty today. Total bill with a drink was $24.
12117 W Linebaugh Ave
I’ve been wanting to try the new Yummy House out on Hillsborough for a while and we were finally out that way today so we stopped in for lunch. It was really crowded. The restaurant is a lot bigger than the other one, but the waiting area was very small and people just kept coming in the door. We had to wait about 15-20 minutes, but the food was worth the wait. We started off with the salt and pepper calamari.
This is one tasty appetizer. Granted, I shake off most of the pepper and other stuff on it, but Loren enjoys every last bite. The batter it’s dipped in is light and crunchy, the calamari is tender and the salt just adds an amazing little zing to it. There are a lot of items on the menu and it’s all very reasonably priced. Loren settled on the beef short ribs with black pepper sauce.
He said it was good, but he probably wouldn’t order it again because it was difficult to eat since the ribs were still on the bone. It had a very intense black pepper flavor to it. I ordered the orange chicken.
It was very tender with a sweet mandarin orange flavor. You do have to order rice separately here, but with a drink the entire meal was $36. Everything is just very fresh and flavorful. They also walk around with dim sum and other items on carts that you can order, but we both had leftovers as it was, so we didn’t try anything else.
Yummy House China Bistro
2620 E Hillsborough Ave
We went to a movie this morning and stopped for a quick lunch at Daddy’s Grill afterward. Loren got a bacon cheeseburger and I went for the ham, egg & cheese breakfast croissant.
The burger was perfectly cooked and I really enjoyed the ham on my croissant. For $16 with a drink, it was a quick and tasty lunch.
3682 Tampa Road
We were over in Clearwater tonight and ended up at Greektown Grille for dinner. It’s been a while since we’ve been here, but luckily we got here early and it wasn’t too crowded. They started us off with very yummy bread.
This was one of those addictive breads. We had to move the basket away or we weren’t going to eat any of our dinner. Soft and thick and just yummy. We ordered the crab and spinach dip appetizer.
Though neither of us could actually identify any crab in the dip, it was still very good. There weren’t really enough pita chips to finish the dip, but I don’t think there was any way we were going to finish it anyway. Loren ordered the seafood platter.
It came with calamari, flounder and shrimp along with some rice and horta. We had no idea what horta was and it turns out it was boiled greens similar to spinach. The rice was a little on the spicy side and the fish was covered in a lobster cream sauce. I ordered the seafood pasta which had the same lobster cream sauce on it.
My dinner also came with a small Greek salad. The seafood pasta had both shrimp and scallops, but there really weren’t a lot of scallops in it. Some little pieces and maybe one full sized scallop. There was something about the lobster cream sauce that I didn’t really like. I can’t put my finger on what the flavor was, but it just wasn’t vibrant enough. I know that’s a vague description, but there are sauces that sing to me and this one was just flat. Total bill with a drink was $50.
1230 Cleveland St
We went back to Woodstock on 5th tonight in Safety Harbor. They were really busy and we ended up at one of the high top tables right next to the kitchen. It was really uncomfortable sitting on bar stools, the table was small and we could see & hear everything going on in and around the kitchen. I just felt cramped and crowded. We started off with the white bean chili again and Loren got a salad.
They also served it with pita bread and apple butter this time, which they didn’t the last. The chili was thinner this time, which was good. It was really thick the first time we had it. It seemed to have a lot more chicken in it as well. For his entree, Loren got the Molly Hatchet, which was a grilled swordfish.
It was served with arugula and a spicy tomato puree, but Loren didn’t think it was spicy at all. He wasn’t a big fan of the arugula, but said the swordfish was cooked perfectly. I went for the Janis Joplin.
This was a seared salmon on top of spinach, zucchini, corn, & red peppers. It also came with a potato pancake that was really dense and flavorless. I didn’t care for the tomato vinaigrette on it either. Too much vinegar and was way too sour for me. The salmon was perfectly cooked though.
Overall, I just found the experience to be very uncomfortable. There seems to be a lot of people working there which made it feel even more crowded in such a small space. Though we both enjoyed the fish, the items served alongside didn’t impress. Total bill with a drink was $54.
Woodstock on 5th
155 5th Ave N
Safety Harbor, FL
We hadn’t been back to Dominic’s Italian Grille in a while because our last visit left something to be desired. Unfortunately, tonight’s experience wasn’t much better. The restaurant was pretty crowded and we ended up at a table right in the middle of the room. Loren’s dinner came with a salad & we started off with some Arancini.
The menu said the rice balls were stuffed with crab, but neither of us could find any. They were very dense and really needed some seasoning. Loren ordered one of the specials tonight, the braised short ribs.
It tasted like pot roast. He liked it, but the green beans were inedible. I ordered the chicken marsala.
The chicken was overcooked and not tender enough for me. The sauce was ok, but didn’t really pop. Again, I think it was a lack of seasoning. I like the pasta souffle that came with it. Service was rough all the way around. Our waitress disappeared for a while, someone took Loren’s drink and we weren’t sure if they were going to bring it back, we had another lady clear some plates, only to stack them in an unstable pile with one ending up in pieces on the floor. Total bill with a drink was $35.
Dominic’s Italian Grille
3163 Curlew Road
We went for a quick lunch at Athen’s in downtown Safety Harbor today. Luckily, we got there before the crowd because it was standing room only by the time we left. Loren got a Greek Salad with chicken and I got a gyro.
He said the chicken was flavorful and tender. My gyro was good, but I think I would have liked a little lettuce on it. It needed a little crunch since I get it without the onions. Total bill with a drink was $17.
226 Main St
Safety Harbor, FL
Time for tater tots so that means Pete & Shorty’s.
A bacon cheeseburger for Loren and a mushroom burger for me. This was a two napkin burger. Really juicy and tasty. Oh yeah, and the tater tots were yummy! Total bill with a drink was $17.
Pete & Shorty’s Tavern
2820 Gulf to Bay Blvd
We went out to the Garden Grille Cafe for dinner tonight and had a waitress in training. Luckily, she had another waitress working with her whispering in her ear everything she forgot to do. We started off with some clam chowder and some calamari.
The clam chowder was a bit on the gritty side. They definitely needed to rinse the clams more. It needed some salt, but was ok otherwise. The calamari also needed some seasoning. Loren got a Greek salad with chicken.
He said the chicken was very tender and the salad was ok. I ordered a mushroom burger.
It was cooked way past medium and was pretty dry. They brought out the dessert tray and I was surprised at how many choices there were. We settled on a raspberry cake with cheesecake filling.
Unfortunately, this cake must have come frozen and was not thawed out properly. Parts of it were frozen solid, part of the cake was dry and the other part was wet. Not moist, but wet. The actually cheesecake filling was pretty tasty. Service was lacking in some areas as there were dishes left on our table way longer than they should have been. Total bill with a drink was $36.
Garden Grille Cafe
8425 Hillsborough Ave
We were over in Dunedin today & stopped for lunch at Delco’s. They still don’t take credit cards, but it doesn’t seem to have slowed their business down at all. There was a line at the counter the entire time we were there. This was the first time we’ve been back since they moved into their new space. We actually ordered the same thing this time as we did the last, a cheesesteak for me and a roast beef sub for Loren.
Loren still prefers the sandwiches at Jersey Mike’s, but I think the cheese steaks here are yummy. We both ended up taking half of our sandwiches home. I still find the way they handle the counter to be a bit odd. You place your order at the register, but you’re not supposed to pay until you leave. It just makes for a bottleneck up front that could be handled so much easier if you just paid when you ordered. Being able to pay with a credit card would also be pretty handy. Total bill was $17 with a couple of drinks.
Delco’s Original Steaks and Hoagies
1737 Main St
Woodstock on 5th recently opened up in the space where Crepeology used to be in Safety Harbor. It’s a really small building and I’m amazed at the quality of food they were able to put out of that tiny kitchen. There aren’t a lot of tables, but there is a patio out back and they had live music tonight. The whole restaurant and staff are decked out in a 60′s music theme and the menu items are all named after musicians and bands of the era. We started off with some of the white chili.
When it came to the table, we both thought it looked like a bowl of cheese queso dip. And to be honest, it would have gone great with some tortilla chips. It was very thick, creamy, and cheesy. It had a nice flavor to it, just a hint of heat and overall very tasty. For his entree, Loren ordered the “Grateful Dead”.
It was two tri tip grilled steaks with potatoes and green beans. The steak was cooked a perfect medium, seasoned wonderfully, and was very tender. I ate some of it because it was actually too much food. Drop the price a little and just serve one steak and it still would have been enough for an entree. I ordered the “Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young”.
It was a pappardelle pasta with wild mushrooms. One bite and I was hooked. The cream sauce was amazing. The only thing I really didn’t like were the wild mushrooms. Some of them were really tough and chewy. The pasta was cooked perfectly and I licked every last bite of that sauce off the plate. We also decided to try the desserts. We got the citrus cake and a strawberry mousse tart.
They don’t make the desserts in house, but instead get them from a local bakery. Loren really liked the citrus cake. It was moist and had a wonderful orange flavor. I found the crust on the tart to be a little hard, but the strawberry mousse filling was tasty.
Overall, the food was amazing; however, other aspects of the experience weren’t as great. It did take a while to get our food, but, it was definitely fresh and homemade. They have a very young and inexperienced wait staff. They were very sweet and pleasant with bubbly personalities, but seemed a bit over their head when it came to actually keeping up with their tables. The other thing we found annoying was that the door to the patio is in the small dining room, so there was a constant opening & closing of the door as people went in & out.
They post their weekly menu specials on their website and also serve breakfast & lunch. We’ll probably go back again as the food really was delicious. Total bill with a drink was $61.
Woodstock on 5th
155 5th Ave N
Safety Harbor, FL