It’s been a while since we’ve been to the East Lake Cafe and unfortunately, this visit didn’t change our minds as to why. I used to really like this restaurant, but the last few times I’ve been here, both the food and service left much to be desired. Loren decided to try their International Salad.
First off, he misread the menu and thought it had bacon, but that was the least of the issues with this dish. The avocado was under ripe and rock hard and had to ask the waitress to bring him some he could actually eat. They also don’t dress this salad with anything other than a light sprinkle of oil. He asked for some balsamic dressing just to get over the dryness of the salad. Though the individual components of the salad were good on their own; together, they just weren’t cohesive. It had hummus, ricotta cheese, tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, cucumbers, basil and pita bread.
I ordered the onion & mushroom burger with American cheese instead of the Swiss it came with.
It was under done for a medium burger and lacked any seasoning whatsoever. Just a really dull burger. The waffle fries were good though. Total bill with a drink was $25 and I doubt we’ll even bother to try again.
3430 Eastlake Rd
Palm Harbor, FL
Going in, I think we knew this wasn’t the restaurant for us. The Brown Boxer Pub & Grille is located where TGI Friday’s used to be over on US 19 near Countryside Mall. They have a patio open to the restaurant and without someone to greet & seat us, we ended up grabbing a table out there. That was our first mistake since we discovered part way through the meal that they allow smoking on the patio. With TV’s throughout the restaurant, both inside & out, it was a rather loud experience as well. We started off with what the menu described as “to die for” Sicilian meatballs.
Three meatballs for $9 seemed a bit high and they were just ok. Loren liked them better than I did, but even from the photo you can see how oily it was. For his entree, Loren went for the blackened mahi.
He said it was good. The fish was fresh and the mashed potatoes were tasty even though they lacked the “hint of garlic” they were supposed to have. I went for the BBQ pulled pork platter.
Somewhere under all that BBQ sauce, there was pulled pork. The amount of tangy BBQ sauce on it made it pretty much inedible. I would suggest ordering the sauce on the side. The tater tots were good though. Overall, there was nothing about this experience that would make us want to go back. Total bill with a drink was $42.
The Brown Boxer Pub & Grille
26111 US 19 N
On our way back home, we stopped at Dan’s Clam Stand in Crystal River for lunch. Any time I see whole belly clams on a menu, I have to check it out. It is a cash only restaurant, but they have an ATM on site. We started off withe conch fritters and a side salad.
The conch fritters had a bit of spice to them. They had a good texture and were well seasoned. Loren went for the blackened grouper, while I had to get the clams.
He said the grouper tasted good, but it was a very thin filet that got lost between the bun and veggies. The whole belly clams were crunchy and tasted just like home. It was a big portion and I was full by the time I finished them all. Overall, the experience was very good. Total bill with a drink was $42.
Dan’s Clam Stand
2315 N Sunshine Path
Crystal River, FL
We’ve been vacationing up near High Springs this week and drove over to Gainesville for a late lunch at Garlic & Ginger Restaurant. A friend of ours asked if we liked Korean food and recommended the restaurant. We were happy she did. The place was empty when we got there, but it was 3pm on a Wednesday. We started off with the steamed veggie dumplings and we ordered the pork katsu and tang su yuk.
It was a lot of food, but we managed to eat most of it. We weren’t very adventurous in our choices, but we really enjoyed it. The pork in both dishes was tender and seasoned well. I liked the sweet and sour sauce on the fried pork. The side dishes all had very different flavor profiles, ranging from a mayo based cole slaw to a spicy kimchi. We’d certainly eat here again when we’re back in the area. Total bill with a drink was $44.
Garlic & Ginger Restaurant
5847 SW 75th St, #109
We’re in High Springs for a few days checking out the different parks in the area. We walked over to The Great Outdoors Restaurant from the Grady House Bed & Breakfast where we’re staying. Tuesday is half priced burger day, so we started off with some clam chowder & then moved on to the burgers.
The clam chowder was ok, but lacked seasoning. We got the Suwannee & Ginnie burgers and neither really impressed us. They were just very plain, under seasoned burger patties. I’m glad they were half priced, otherwise I would have really felt like we overpaid. We tried the caramel crunch cake for dessert.
Loren liked it more than I did. It had a really odd texture to it. There were supposed to be crunchy caramel bits in one of the layers, but they were neither crunchy, nor chewy. They just tasted like stale caramel pieces. Not the best meal we had on our vacation. Total bill with a drink was $27.
Great Outdoors Restaurant
65 N Main St
High Springs, FL