The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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We’ve been having some miserable weather in Florida lately.  It’s been rainy and cold for far too long for my tastes.  We opted for some Thai food for lunch today at Pacific Thai Cuisine in Oldsmar.

Pacific Thai has a fairly inexpensive lunch menu.  You get soup and salad plus an entree for $6.95.

The chicken rice soup was nice on such a rainy day.   The ginger dressing on the salad was a bit thick, but tasty nonetheless.

Loren ordered the chicken with ginger sauce and I ordered chicken with mixed vegetables.  They’re both served with jasmine rice.

They looked exactly the same to me.  Mine had some different veggies than his did, I guees.  Unfortunately someone in the kitchen went nuts with the pepper shaker on mine.  All I could taste was black pepper. 

We got out of there for just under $15 for the two of us.

Pacific Thai Cuisine
4058 Tampa Road
Oldsmar, FL

Pacific Thai Cuisine on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: Oldsmar, Thai
  • Have you ever gone to a restaurant on the night it’s going out of business?  I gotta say, it’s a rather surreal experience.

    We had a coupon for Sophia’s in Clearwater, $25 off a total bill of $35, so we headed out there for dinner.  There weren’t any other customers there when we arrived, but we figured it was probably just slow because it was a rainy Thursday night.

    The owner brought us some menus and while we were looking them over another customer came in and sat at the counter.  She started chatting with the owner who told her she was going out of business tonight because the landlord raised the rent. 

    At this point, we started to question whether or not we should eat dinner there,  but the owner came by the table and said she didn’t have everything on the menu, but could make most things. 

    We decided to give it a try since we had the coupon anyway and she was willing to honor it.  We started out with some cheese sticks.

    The sauce was tasty and the cheese sticks were pretty good.  Loren got the chicken caccitore.

    He liked it.  I got the baked ziti with ricotta and meatballs and was less than impressed.

    The meatballs were obviously out of a bag and there wasn’t any ricotta in it at all.  I didn’t like the sauce either, it was a little too garlicy for me.

    About half way through our meal, the U-haul truck shows up and they started dismantling the restaurant around us.  People were moving out kitchen equipment and taking things off the walls.   It felt a little awkward.  We got our bill, dropped a $20 on the table and headed out.  Even if they weren’t closing their doors, I doubt I’d have gone back.

    Sofia’s Italian Restaurant
    1710 N. Hercules Ave
    Clearwater, FL

    Sophia's Restaurant & Pizza on Urbanspoon

  • 1 Comment
  • Filed under: Clearwater, Italian
  • Loren ordered some coupons from so we went to Grind House Bar & Grill for lunch today.  He paid $3 for a $25 off coupon, but the catch is you have to spend $45. 

    I’m pretty sure the Grind House used to be a Beef O’Brady’s.  I know we had eaten in the space before, but it was a different restaurant at the time.  Honestly, we weren’t expecting much from a sports bar, but the food turned out to be exceptionally good.

    So, how do you spend $45 in a sports bar?  You start with an appetizer, queso and chips.

    The chips were warm and crispy and the queso had a nice texture and wasn’t too spicy.  Loren liked the green onions on top, I just scooped around them.

    Since it was a chilly day for Florida, mid-60’s, we went for some lobster/shrimp bisque and a bowl of chili.

    I gotta say, I was amazed at how good the bisque was.  It had incredible flavor and lots of chunks of lobster and shrimp in it.  I’d go back for the bisque anytime.

    So, we’re up to $13 now.  What shall we get for entrees?  Loren’s been craving a steak so he indulged in the top sirloin with a side of shrimp, mashed taters, and veggies. 

    He was leary about ordering it, but pleasantly surprised at how good it was.  The steak was cooked a nice medium, the shrimp were tasty and he had leftovers.

    I wanted a good ol’ greasy cheeseburger with sauteed mushrooms and onions and a side of onion rings. 

    The burger and onion rings were both good.  But, I was already pretty full, so most of it came home with me. 

    We still hadn’t reached $45 yet, so we had to get dessert.  Ok, we would have gotten dessert regardless because how can you pass up “warm brownie, with strawberries, caramel, chocolate sauce, ice cream and whipped cream”? 

    As full as we both were, it didn’t take long for it to look like this:

    It was a really tasty dessert.  We also got a slice of apple pie to take home. 

    We ended up spending $31 after the coupon and not including the tip.  Would we have spent that much without the coupon?  Probably not.  Was it worth it?  Without a doubt, yes.  The food was really good.  We didn’t even know the restaurant existed and probably would have never gone there without the coupon, but after such a great food experience, we’ll definitely go back.

    We thought we were in for an ordinary lunch at a hole in the wall sports bar, but instead we ended up with an incredible lunch and enough food for dinner as well.  Well worth the trip, coupon or not.

    Grind House Bar & Grill
    1500 McMullen Booth Rd
    Clearwater, FL

    Grind House Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

  • 1 Comment
  • Filed under: American, Clearwater
  • I grew up in New England and there are some foods that immediately bring back the flavors I grew up on.  The Boston Cooker in Oldsmar does it best with one simple dish, fried Ipswich clams with bellies.   But, let’s not start there, first there’s the yeast rolls.

    As soon as you sit down, someone comes to your table with a pan of fresh out of the oven yeast rolls.  They’re hot and light and so delicious.  And they keep coming by your table to offer you more.  I’d love to say I stopped at one, or even two, but I finally made myself stop at three because otherwise I’d never eat my dinner.

    Then there’s the chowda. (yes, that’s how you say it)

    Thick, rich creamy clam chowder.  It has great flavor and we all but licked the bowl clean.  Next up, the salad.

    The salad is served family style and they’ll bring you more if you want it.  It’s got a light, creamy dressing on it.  Not quite ranch, not quite Ceasar, but very good.

    Ok, at this point, we’re already pretty full, and then come the entrees.  Loren got the Mahi special. 

    It had a dijon, horseradish, and breadcrumb coating and he got garlic mashed potatoes for his side dish.  He said the fish was really flaky and tender.

    I ordered what I always order when I come here.  The Ipswich clam dinner (with bellies) and steamed red potatoes.

    Just one bite of these and I’m back in New England.  There aren’t that many places that serve clams with bellies and it’s a taste straight out of my childhood.  Loren wanted to take pictures of the silly, happy face I kept making every time I bit into one. 

    Everytime we go to the Boston Cooker, I always wonder why we don’t go back more often.  We’ve always gotten great food there and it’s not that expensive.  Two entrees with sides, soup, salad, rolls and a drink for $42.  Plus a stroll down memory lane of the flavors I grew up on.

    Even the artwork reminds me of  home.

    Boston Cooker
    3705 Tampa Road Unit 6  
    Oldsmar, FL

    Boston Cooker on Urbanspoon

  • 1 Comment
  • Filed under: Oldsmar, Seafood
  • Lechon Asado

    Coincidentally, I also had Cuban food for lunch today!  This was the bi-weekly work lunch meeting at another one of our favorite places, La Terasita in Pinellas Park.   Not a fancy place, just good cheap Cuban food.

    We almost always go there on a Friday, and their Friday special is one of my favorites:  Lechon Asado (or Roast Pork, if you prefer).  I like it with black beans and yellow rice, thank you.  I didn’t even think about taking a photo, just dug right in and before I knew it, my bowl was empty.

    For the record, I go to three cheap Cuban restaurants fairly regularly.  This one, Cuban Breezes, and a little place called Andy’s in Oldsmar.  Cuban Breezes is okay, the food is decent, quick and cheap… but really, the only reason we go there is that Cathy likes their Cuban sandwiches.  Andy’s is IT, as far as I’m concerned.  Very authentic Cuban flavor, just awesome.  But, Cathy thinks Cuban Breezes has a better Cuban sandwich, so she never goes there with me.  La Teresita is somewhere between the two.  Their beans don’t taste like they’re out of a can like they do at Cuban Breezes, but they’re not quite as good as Andy’s.  But, if you’re down in the Pinellas Park area… La Teresita, it is!

    La Teresita
    7101 66th Street
    Pinellas Park, FL 33781-4004
    (727) 546-5785

    La Teresita on Urbanspoon