We eat at Cuban Breezes all the time, so we really like it when there’s something new on the specials menu. Today we decided to try three new things, starting with the Cuban egg rolls.
These were awesome. They rolled up the makings of a Cuban sandwich inside an egg roll shell and deep fried it to a crispy goodness. The cheese was all melty inside. These made my tastebuds very happy. Loren tried the chimi pork sandwich.
He said it thought it would be more flavorful than it was, but overall it was ok. I went for the grouper Cuban.
I often get the mahi Cuban which is really good, but the grilled grouper was perfectly cooked and went well with the Cuban bread. I really enjoyed lunch today. Total bill with a drink was $26.
13980 W. Hillsborough Ave.
We went over to Ban Thai for dinner tonight. The weather was really bad, so I think that may be why the restaurant wasn’t completely full. The last few times we’ve been here, it’s been packed. While Loren went for some Nam Sod, I had to have a lobster roll and we split a Rainbow Roll.
He didn’t remember ever getting the Nam Sod here before, but he really liked it. The lobster roll is a huge plate of goodness. After a while the sauce starts to heat up for me, but otherwise, it’s just big chunks of lobster. The Rainbow roll was also fresh and tasty. Total bill with a drink was $43.
Ban Thai Restaurant
2519 McMullen Booth Road
Looking for lunch after a movie and we ended up at Shlomo’s Gourmet Subs & Deli. They have a large menu of available items and we ended up getting a philly chicken and an Italian lovers to go.
Loren said his was pretty good, but I wasn’t thrilled with mine. I didn’t like the spices that were on the chicken and it was precooked chicken slices which made it rather dry. I guess one of the big draws of this place is that it’s open until 4am. Total bill was $17.
Shlomo Gourmet Deli
31483 US 19 N
Palm Harbor, FL
We went over to Carmelita’s Mexican Restaurant on East Bay for dinner tonight. We haven’t eaten here in a long time. Loren munched on the chips & salsa while I dug into the chili bean dip.
There was a bit too much jalapeno in the bean dip for me, but Loren liked the salsa. He got some beef fajitas for his entree.
The meat wasn’t super tender, but he said overall it was ok. I went for the crispy tacos.
I love crispy flour tacos, but there was no way you could actually pick this up to eat it. This was a definitely a fork & knife kind of dish. Neither of us liked the refried beans. They just had an odd flavor to them. Total bill with a drink was $30.
Carmelita’s Mexican Restaurant
5042 East Bay Drive
Tri City Plaza
We went over to Surfside Cafe for lunch today. The first two things I tried to order weren’t available today for various reasons, so I finally settled on the elk burger that was on special.
Elk is very lean so it was a bit on the dry side. It had some spices in it and the overall flavor seemed very familiar to me, but I couldn’t place it. I don’t think it’s something I’d order again. Loren got a blackened chicken sandwich with some mac & cheese.
The mac & cheese was dry, just like the first time we’d ordered it. He said the chicken was tender, but not overly spicy. Total bill with a drink was $20.
Harr’s Surfside Cafe
3235 Tampa Road
Palm Harbor, FL
We were looking for a quick late lunch after going to the movies this morning and ended up at Winghouse. There must not have been any sporting events going on today because the restaurant was pretty empty. We both went for some boneless wings and a basket of onion rings.
The wings were tender and the onion rings were crispy. What more could you ask for. There were actually more wings in there than I could eat at one sitting. Total bill with a drink was $25.
34900 US Highway 19 N
Palm Harbor, FL
We normally don’t even attempt to go to Bonefish on the weekend because it’s so crowded, but we decided to try early tonight & didn’t have to wait for a table. They had some lobster specials going on tonight, so after devouring the bread, we started off with some lobster rangoons.
We both enjoyed these. Nice and crispy with a lobster cream cheese filling. I always have to get the corn chowder when we go to Bonefish. It’s one of my favorite things on the menu.
It’s very thick and creamy, but just have a wonderful overall flavor. I’m glad I got both the appetizer and the chowder since my lobster roll was somewhat disappointing.
I get that lobster rolls shouldn’t have a lot of mayo on them, but they do need some. This was just very dry and I didn’t like the raw onions in it either. The lobster pieces were really small and felt like the leftovers from other lobster dishes versus having lobster chunks being pulled specifically for this dish. Loren got the 10oz sirloin with the scalloped potatoes.
He said it was pretty good. The steak was cooked medium and was fairly tender. Total bill with a drink was $50.
2519 McMullen Booth Rd
I was bummed when the Boston Cooker closed their location in Oldsmar, but today we decided to drive up to their remaining location in Spring Hill. Unfortunately, the experience wasn’t worth the drive. The restaurant in Spring Hill looks identical to the interior of Daddy’s Grill. The best part of the meal was the rolls fresh from the oven. We started off with some lobster bisque and Loren got a salad.
The bisque was really thick and in need of salt. There weren’t any actual pieces of lobster in there either. Loren got the seafood platter.
It had shrimp, scallops, fish, and oysters in it. He said it was ok with the fish being the best thing on the plate. The only reason I wanted to go here was for the whole belly clams.
What a total disappointment. I had to send the first plate back because the clams were watery and mushy. It was terrible. By the time, the new batch came out, Loren was just about finished with his meal. The second batch wasn’t as watery, but they weren’t great either. Nothing like I remembered having them before. We won’t be heading back up there again. Total bill with a drink was $37.
5375 Springhill Drive
Spring Hill, FL
We had a coupon for Smokey Bones so headed over there for lunch today. I was craving some baby back ribs and ordered the house rack.
I was disappointed in them. They were charred a bit too much for me and the other set of ribs under the one in the photo were from the end of the rack, so very small and rather tough. There just wasn’t enough juicy meat on these bones. The baked beans weren’t cooked long enough either. They had a bit too much texture to them. Loren ordered the pulled pork sammy & a side salad.
He said it was pretty good, especially after adding some bbq sauce to it. Total bill with a drink after the coupon was $21.
2693 Gulf to Bay Blvd
Every so often we go back to one of the chain restaurants in town just to remind ourselves why we don’t eat there regularly. For whatever reason, the Chili’s in Oldsmar is one of the slowest restaurants we’ve been to. We started off with some queso and chips.
It was ok. We ran out of chips before we ran out of queso. We decided to split the chicken fajitas.
Nothing special here. They were just ok, but took forever to come out of the kitchen. The restaurant wasn’t very busy either which made the wait that much more confusing. Total bill with a drink was $23.
3701 Tampa Road
All Loren had to do was mention Cajun food and off we went down to the Cajun Cafe in Pinellas Park. Fried okra, gumbo, and some crawfish etouffee and some whiskey bread pudding to take home.
No photo of the bread pudding, it got devoured a few hours later. The weather was nice enough that we were able to sit on the patio, watch the river and enjoy some delicious food. This place is always consistent and always delivers wonderful flavors. Total bill with a drink was $40.
Cajun Cafe on the Bayou
8101 Park Blvd
Pinellas Park, FL
We decided to give Bascetti’s in Dunedin another try for dinner tonight. The restaurant was empty when we got there and after our experience tonight, I can understand why. We started off with some calamari which was the best part of the meal.
The calamari was very tender with a nice crunchy coating on it. The dish also came with artichokes, that I found to be too sour for my tastes. The dipping sauce was a bit on the spicy side too. Our dinners came with bread, soup or salad and we got one of each.
The noodles in my soup were mush and it desperately needed salt. The bread was really good and the dipping sauce was tasty, but as I’ve mentioned on previous visits, I just think it would be better if it was warmed. For his entree, Loren chose the stuffed pork chop.
They gave him a very large steak knife and I don’t think he would have been able to make a dent in this pork chop without it. It was really tough. It came with a red pepper mashed potato which we had to ask about since we couldn’t identify what it was. I ordered the bolognese pappardelle.
I ordered this dish once before and had mixed feelings about, but thought I’d give it another try. The first time I had it, it had a very thin white sauce to it. The waitress said they had reformulated the recipe, but I could still get it with the white sauce. After a bite or two, I kept tasting something very sour in the dish, which I assumed was olives. It just had an odd taste to it, but Loren actually thought it was ok. When the waitress came to clear our half eaten dishes, I asked her if there were olives in my dish and she said no, but I explained that there was a sour taste to it. We also said how tough Loren’s pork chop was. She took both dishes back to the kitchen & said she tried them. She agreed that something was very wrong with both dishes & took them off the bill. She kind of scolded us for not saying something earlier in the meal. We ended up getting a slice of cheesecake to try to salvage something from the meal.
It was very creamy and had a nice raspberry filling. Loren thought the raspberry was a little too tart, but otherwise it was ok. We appreciated the way our waitress handled things, but still question how food could come out of the kitchen like that. Total bill without the entrees ended up being $18 and it’s doubtful we’ll be back.
1568 Main Street
We had a AAA coupon for Olive Garden, so that was our destination for lunch today. Luckily we just missed the Sunday lunch crowd. We started off with salad & breadsticks and one of their new appetizers, the Fried Cheese Risotto.
These were very cheesy, but the risotto inside was complete mush. Other than the outside crust, there was no texture whatsoever. Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t like them, because I did, but they were more like fried cheese, than fried rice balls.
Olive Garden was having a two for $25 deal that included dessert, so Loren & I both ordered off of it. He got the Parmesan Potato Crusted chicken.
He thought it was pretty good. The chicken was tender with a nice crunchy exterior. I ordered the bucatini formaggio.
It didn’t do much for me. It was just a fairly plain bowl of pasta and I didn’t really care for the taste of the sauce. The special also came with dessert. Loren got the dark chocolate with caramel dolcini and I got the chocolate mousse cake.
These were both yummy. My mousse cake was thick and creamy and had little chocolate covered krispie balls on top that added an interesting texture. I think Loren scooped every last morsel out of his plate. Good stuff. Total bill was $27 after our coupon.
29461 Us-19 N
We went over to Taverna Skara for dinner tonight. It was really empty for a Saturday night and you could almost feel the disappointment in the staff as they continually looked out the windows to see if any customers were heading toward the door. We’ve been here a couple of times before and every time, they bring something different to the table. Today it was bread and an olive spread.
The bread was thick and dense. Loren liked the olive spread. I’m not a fan of olives and even the smell was too strong for me. For so few customers in the restaurant, it seemed to take a really long time for our entrees to come out of the kitchen. Loren ordered the salmon salad.
He said the salmon was cooked well, but needed seasoning and his salad wasn’t dressed properly. It lacked flavor. I ordered the chicken lemonati.
With a name like “lemonati”, I expected an amazing burst of lemon flavor and to be honest, I almost didn’t order the dish, thinking the lemon may be overwhelming. Boy, was I wrong. There wasn’t even an inkling of lemon flavor in the chicken or mushroom sauce. The only thing that had any lemon flavor were the potatoes. I liked the mushrooms, but the chicken could have been a bit more tender. My salad was heavily dressed with vinegar. Loren ended up mixing some of it into his salad to try to get an even balance of dressing. Service was also a bit on the hit or miss side. Our waitress would disappear and someone else ended up clearing plates, getting our check and doing a lot of the customer service. We keep trying to give this place the benefit of the doubt, but they tend to underwhelm each time we visit. The loud thumping background music was also a bit on the annoying side and did not fit the atmosphere either. Overall, it was just a very mediocre meal for $31.
2454 McMullen Booth Rd
I’ve been wanting to try the new PF Chang’s at Countryside Mall, but the wait has been outrageous since they opened. We happened to be over there early today and were able to get a table in the bar area. We started off with the salt and pepper calamari.
Definitely not worth the wait and we waited a long time for the appetizer to come out of the kitchen. They don’t put the salt & pepper on it when it comes out of the fryer, instead giving you a container to sprinkle it on. It loses its appeal because it doesn’t stick to the calamari properly. As for the calamari, it was chewy. The dipping sauce that came with it tasted like it came right out of a jar. It was not good. For his entree, Loren chose the sesame chicken.
He liked the flavor of it, but the veggies didn’t taste fresh at all. The chicken was tender and the sauce was sort of sweet and spicy. I tried the honey chicken.
Again, the flavor was ok, but the chicken wasn’t tender enough for me. Overall, it tasted like overpriced chain restaurant food. Nothing we ate had any sort of freshness to it. It was all just very generic. The wait was ridiculous for both the appetizer and the entrees. It’s just not an efficiently run restaurant at this point. When we got up to leave, a woman came barreling at us to grab the table since the wait for the dining room was so long. Total bill with a drink was $41.
P.F. Chang’s China Bistro
27001 US Highway 19N #115
We went over to Cafe Alfresco in Dunedin for lunch today. The restaurant was packed and we ended up with about a 20 minute wait. It wouldn’t have been so bad except that they don’t have any place inside to wait and it was so hot & humid outside. I was melting by the time our table was ready. Loren decided on the buttermilk chicken sandwich and I went for a cheeseburger.
Both were tasty and the fries were nice and crunchy. This is one of our go-to restaurants when we want simple, tasty food. Total bill with a drink was $23.
344 Main St
After lunch, our friend took us over to Sweet Caroline’s and treated us to dessert. Loren got a chocolate salted caramel cupcake.
He made those nom nom noises that indicated that I wasn’t going to get more than one little taste of it. The cupcake was moist and the the frosting was thick and creamy without being overly sweet. He was in cupcake heaven. I couldn’t resist the French eclair.
Yeah, I made those same nom nom noises too. It was decadent and delicious, filled with a custard and whipped cream. Might have to make Sweet Caroline’s a more frequent stop on our travels through Palm Harbor. Yum!
3347 Tampa Road
Palm Harbor, FL
We went to lunch with a friend of ours today and he hadn’t been to the Surfside Cafe yet, so that was our destination. They had a shrimp burger on their specials menu today and we each got one. He went for the grilled and I went for the fried with sweet potato fries.
My expectation was that it was going to be ground up shrimp with lots of filler, boy, was I wrong! This was made with whole shrimp, no filler and a nice, crispy exterior. The shrimp were perfectly cooked and it had a nice crunch. The tarter sauce served with it had a distinct fresh dill flavor to it. Very yummy! The grilled version was identical except for the breading on the outside. Loren decided to try the blackened grouper sandwich.
He was very impressed with it as well. He commented how he’d been so disappointed in grouper sandwiches in general lately that he’s been ordering mahi more often than not. He said this sandwich put him back on the grouper bandwagon. Fresh, perfectly cooked, and lightly blackened. I got the distinct feeling he’ll be ordering this again. This was our second visit here and everything was delicious. I expect we’ll be back many more times. Total bill for the three sandwiches & two drinks was $34.
Harr’s Surfside Cafe
3235 Tampa Road
Palm Harbor, FL
Johnny’s Italian Restaurant on a Friday night is a very crowded place. We had to wait about 20 minutes for a table. Salads and bread started off the meal while we waited for our calamari.
The Johnny bread is one of the best things about this restaurant. The oil & garlic dipping sauce will have you warding off vampires for a week. The bread is just perfect and we ended up getting a second loaf. It’s hard to resist. Next up, calamari.
It was very tender and had a nice crunch. The dipping sauce that came with it was rather spicy with lots of red pepper flakes. I was feeling the heat for a while. Loren ordered the Tuscan Steak with Portabella Sauce.
The interesting thing was that he actually tried to order something else, but the waitress talked him out of it. I can’t remember what the other item was, but she said it didn’t have a lot of flavor and that he’d enjoy this one more. And he did. I went for the chicken marsala with a side of fettucine alfredo.
The chicken was tender and the marsala sauce had a really nice flavor to it. When they get their alfredo sauce right, it’s really good here. Tonight was one of those nights. I could have eaten an entire bowl of just that. I felt the need for chocolate tonight so we ordered the chocolate cake.
This was an incredibly rich and chocolately cake. It had thick ganache layers and just melted in your mouth. Perfect ending to a very good meal. Total bill with a drink was $45.75.
Johnny’s Italian Restaurant
2907 SR 590 #1
Salt Rock Tavern recently opened up in Oldsmar and from start to finish, this was not a pleasant experience. For some reason, they chose not to use the entrance in the front of the building, instead choosing to use an unmarked door on the side. We really weren’t sure we were in the right place when we walked in from the parking lot. It was 5:30pm when we got there and though the inside looked spacious and rather empty, we were told there was an hour wait unless we wanted to eat on the patio or at a communal table in the bar area. We went ahead & chose an outside table.
Our waiter brought over a lukewarm carafe of water and two small glasses. Since I drink water with my meals, I had to ask for a larger glass with ice. Loren ordered the crispy chicken sandwich which came with fries.
The Texas toast was quite a bit bigger than the piece of chicken and the name “salt rock” aptly applied to this sandwich. The chicken was coated in what tasted like large crunchy rocks of salt. Loren actually thought it was bacon at first, but since bacon wasn’t listed on the description and it had no bacon flavor, I have to assume it was just salt. Quite inedible in my opinion. My meatloaf sandwich wasn’t much better.
It was almost as salty as the chicken sandwich and had a strong fennel flavor to it. I’m guessing the meatloaf was made partly with sausage. There just came a point where I couldn’t ingest any more salt. The fries weren’t hot or crispy and tasted like they had been sitting in the kitchen for quite a while.
The layout of the patio was also poorly planned. While we were out there, a typical Florida thunderstorm came through drenching the one table of people that were at the edge of the seating area & sending everyone at the bar running inside. There wasn’t an overhang between the restaurant and the side of the patio we were on, so the waiter got wet every time he had to go back inside. Their satellite TV went out with the first raindrop. We won’t be back. Total bill with a drink was $18.
Salt Rock Tavern
3689 Tampa Road