The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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I was off work today and Loren works from home,  so I sweet talked him into going to see “Valentine’s Day” with me at the movies (he hates to admit it, but he actually enjoyed the movie).  Then it was time for lunch and I wanted to try some place we’d never been before, so we drove to Palm Harbor and went to Tiffany’s Family Restaurant. 

They had chili on the menu and you could get it over macaroni and cheese, so I just had to try it.

Imagine my disappointment when it came to the table and it was chili over Kraft macaroni and cheese.  Yeah, the blue box, baby.  I have to admit, the chili was good and tasted fine over the mac and cheese, but totally not what I was expecting.  Unfortunately, after watching “Diners, Drive-In’s, and Dives” too many times, I always expect these family owned restaurants to make everything from scratch to where you can taste love in every bite. 

Loren ordered the German pot roast which came with a potato pancake, sweet and sour cabbage and a side of spinach.  He thought it was ok.

I ordered the meatloaf dinner with mashed potatoes and a side of cole slaw.

This really didn’t do it for me.  The mashed potatoes tasted like they were out of a box or maybe a combination of actual potatoes and potato flakes.  The mushrooms in the gravy were out of a can and the meatloaf was nothing to write home about.  My best description is that it tasted like institutional food.  Something that might be served in a school or hospital.  Put it this way, I didn’t eat most of it and didn’t even bother to take it home. 

For $32, I left quite disappointed and unlikely to go back.  The items on the menu sounded really good, but the execution was less than tasty. 

Tiffany’s Family Restaurant
35000 US Hwy 19 N
Palm Harbor, FL

Tiffany's on Urbanspoon


We got up early this morning to go see “The Wolfman”.  Not your typical romantic Valentine movie, but it did have a few hearts in it… they were just no longer connected to their owners. 

Since we weren’t sure how crowded most places would be for lunch today, we opted for Jack Willie’s.  It usually doesn’t have an early crowd on Sundays and the food doesn’t disappoint.

We started with some calamari.

Jack Willies has a very light batter on their calamari.  It doesn’t offer a lot of flavor, but that’s where the marinara comes in.  The combination of the two is very yummy.

Loren ordered a very colorful cobb salad.  I swear this salad has everything you could ever want in it.  Quite a bit of seared tuna, lettuce, blue cheese, egg, tomato, onion, olives, spinach, bacon, and other greens. 

I’ve been craving a burger, so got the mushroom swiss with fries.  Jack Willie’s serves 1/2 pound burgers and I only managed to eat half of it.  Juicy and cooked just right, plus their fries are really good too.

We go to Jack Willie’s pretty regularly.  It’s close to our house and they have live music.  We usually sit out on the deck where you can see fish, birds and the occasion alligator.  It’s a very laid back kind of place. 

Two entrees, appetizer and a drink ran us $32.

Jack Willie’s Tiki Bar and Grill
1013 St Petersburg Dr
Oldsmar, FL

Jack Willie's Original Tiki Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

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  • Filed under: American, Oldsmar
  • Power Outage

    We had just ordered our drinks at Fish Tail Willy’s when the power went out in the entire shopping center.  We waited for a few minutes, but when the lights didn’t come back on, we decided to find another place to go for dinner.

    Angellino’s in Palm Harbor changed hands and is now called Jonny Garlic’s.  Not the Johnny Garlic’s of Guy Fieri fame, just a local restaurant with a slighly different spelling on the name.

    We both ordered soup to start off with.  I got the pasta fagiole and Loren got the New England clam chowder.

    Both were really good.   I could have eaten a big ol’ bowl of soup with some bread and been quite happy.

    The bread was tasty too, there just wasn’t enough of it.  Loren ordered the chicken marsala for dinner.

    Two chicken breasts with onions, mushrooms and prosciutto plus a side of  smashed potatoes.  He said it was tasty, but there was so much of it that half of it came home for lunch tomorrow.  

    I narrowed my choices down to the lobster ravioli or the fettucine alfredo.  Since I’m compelled to try the alfredo at every restaurant I go to, that’s what I ordered.

    It was a huge plate of pasta.  The sauce was good and it had a hint of nutmeg I think.  By the time I was full, my plate didn’t look much different than when I started.  I brought the rest home as leftovers even though I know alfredo sauce does not reheat well.

    The dessert menu was on the table and we both took one look at it and had to order the caramel lava cake.    

    I’ve had chocolate lava cakes before and when you scoop into it all sorts of gooey chocolate oozes out of it.  The caramel didn’t quite behave that way though.  The caramel just seemed to sink into the cake, so it seemed more as though the cake wasn’t cooked quite enough.  Don’t get me wrong, it tasted pretty good, but I was expecting an oozing flow of caramel when we cut into it and it just didn’t happen.

    The food didn’t seem any different than when it was Angellino’s.  The restaurant wasn’t all that busy for a Friday night, but the weather could have been a factor.  Total bill ran us about $37 and we both have plenty of leftovers for tomorrow.

    Jonny Garlic’s Italian Grill
    33180 US 19 N
    Palm Harbor, FL

    Jonny Garlics on Urbanspoon


    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

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  • Filed under: Clearwater, Italian