We decided to check out Cafe Mezze Mediterranean in Oldsmar for dinner tonight. It’s at the other end of the parking lot from Flamestone and the food was tasty. They started us off with some bread & we ordered the fried calamari.
The bread was thick and good for dipping in the oil. Loren thought both the oil and calamari needed a bit more salt. The calamari was perfectly cooked in a light batter. It was served with a taratora sauce. It had sort of a mayonnaise consistency, but not a strong flavor of any kind. We both ordered kebab combos. Loren got the adana & kofte and I got the lamb & chicken.
They were all very flavorful and delicious. The meats were tender and it was served with some veggies, a cabbage type slaw and rice that neither of us could stop eating. Although we were both pretty full, I couldn’t pass up the kanefe.
We’d had it at a different restaurant before. It’s crispy shredded phyllo dough with a soft cheese in the middle, pistachios and a honey sauce. It’s not overly sweet, but has a bunch of different textures to it. It’s so good. It does take 15 minutes to cook, so either order it early or let your meal settle first so you have room for it. So good. Total bill with a $10 off coupon (check their website for latest coupon) was $40. We’ll definitely be back again.
Cafe Mezze Mediterranean
4013 Tampa Road, Ste 19
My sister and I met up in Orlando today and had lunch at Ararat Euro Food and Bistro. The menu is extensive and we decided to get a bunch of appetizers to try. We started off with the Pirozhki.
It’s an oven baked pastry with a choice of fillings and we went with the ground beef. It was fresh and tasty, but a little on the dry side. It could have used something to dip it in. We ordered a carafe of Mors which is a fresh berry juice.
I’m going to have to figure out how to make it. It wasn’t very sweet, but had a pure berry taste to it. There were a bunch of different berries in the bottom of the carafe and its made with whatever berries are in season. Then the rest of our hot appetizers arrived which included pierogi, cabbage rolls, eggplant cutlets, and garlic & dill potatoes
Our favorite was the eggplant. It was seasoned and cooked perfectly. It had a nice little crunch and not mushy at all. Eggplant is not the easiest thing to get right, but they know how to make it here. The pierogi and cabbage rolls were good. We were both expecting something different with the garlic & dill potatoes. We didn’t expect them to be french fries. They were seasoned well, but with all of the other goodness on the table, they didn’t get much love. This is some place I’d definitely go back to when I’m in Orlando. There are so many things on the menu I’d like to try. It’s on Universal Blvd, just past all of the chaos of the theme parks. Highly recommend it. Total bill was about $40.
Ararat Euro Food & Bistro
7540 Universal Blvd
We had dinner at Thai Bay in Largo tonight. They weren’t very busy for a Friday night. We started off with some sushi; an East Bay roll, a Mexican roll, and some salmon.
The salmon was fresh and tasty and both of the rolls were good. The East Bay roll had salmon, cucumber, scallions and avocado on top. Loren also got a Nam sod and I tried their fancy duck.
The Nam Sod was good, but the duck was a bit on the tough side. It was hard to eat. I liked the veggies and sauce with it, but it just wasn’t tender enough. Total bill with a drink was $53.
1300 East Bay Dr, Ste O-P
Craft Street Kitchen in Oldsmar opens for brunch on Saturday & Sunday. We had just gotten out of a movie and was happily surprised that they weren’t too crowded. While Loren opted for a burger and side salad, I went for the lobster benedict.
He said the burger was tasty and he really liked the bacon on it. As for the lobster benedict, I think these were the best eggs I’ve ever tasted in my life.
I don’t often give much thought to eggs, but these must have been so fresh because my taste buds were immediately on alert after the first bite. There was plenty of lobster and the English muffin and hollandaise rounded out a pretty tasty breakfast. Total bill with a drink was $30.
Craft Street Kitchen and Drinks
3153 Curlew Rd
We decided to try Casa Cosenza in Oldsmar for dinner tonight. It was one of those experiences where if you didn’t laugh, you’d have to cry. Everything from the food to the service was a joke. When we arrived there was only one other table of guests and yet we were directed to either a small table in the corner behind them or another small table with the sun shining in. Luckily, the sun was setting otherwise it would have been impossible to sit there. Seriously folks, invest in some window treatments.
Our waitress was rather clueless. It was like she didn’t retain anything you said or that she had already said from one moment to the next. She brought out a salami taster and some bread.
Loren thought it was ok. It had salami, cheese, bread, and a basil leaf plus a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. I found it to be too salty and the bread it was on was on the stale side. As for the bread basket, the bread sticks were inedible. Solid as a rock. The bread itself was thick and cold. I just believe if you’re going to tout that you make homemade bread, that it should be served warm. Our waitress asked twice if we wanted olive oil & balsamic vinegar to go with it. Loren said just a little bit of garlic would have made it a better dipping sauce.
When the waitress came back to take our order, her cell phone rang. Granted she didn’t pick it up, but why would you have it on you when you’re working?? We ordered the caprese calda su fogliedi zucchine fritte as an appetizer. The menu described it as mozzarella cheese, fresh tomatoes in puff pastry with fried zucchini.
We both laughed when it came to the table. The “puff” pastry was hard as a rock. There was no semblance of puff there at all. There were 4 tiny pieces of grilled zucchini on the side and this thing cost $12. The waitress came back and asked us how it was and I told her it was rock hard. She seemed perplexed at that point. I think we both knew this was not going to go well.
For his entree, Loren ordered the fish of the day which was black grouper. It was cooked in a paper bag with tomatoes, capers, and olives. When he went to order it, she asked if he wanted roasted potatoes or mashed which were actually a puree. He said the mashed, but as you can see from the photo, it was served with both.
He actually liked the fish. He said it was cooked well and the olives and capers added a nice flavor. The puree of potato had a really odd texture. It was overmixed and gluey. I decided to try the lasagne.
I don’t know where to begin. When I think of lasagne, I think layers. You know, sheets of pasta with cheese and meat sauce. This was a plate of meat sauce with a few sparse pieces of pasta that pretty much dissolved in your mouth. I had no words. And the best part? It tasted like Chef Boyardee. I kid you not. It was a very familiar flavor from childhood and Loren tasted it and thought the same thing. The waitress came by and asked how it was and I told her it was awful. It was a plate of meat sauce. She asked if I wanted some pasta instead. I said sure and she said she’d take the lasagne off the bill. Again, call me crazy, but if a customer sends back a dish uneaten and then you offer to bring out something else, would you expect to be charged for the second dish?
I watched Loren finish his meal since it seems to take a really long time to put together a plate of pasta. I’m an old school Italian and I like tomato sauce that’s been cooked for a long time to remove the acidity of the tomatoes. This just had that raw tomato taste and the pasta wasn’t cooked enough. There’s al dente and then there’s this. There were way too many pieces stuck together and barely cooked at all. And yes, I left most of it uneaten and we got charged for it.
Here’s the kicker. After complaining about the appetizer, sending my entree back, and leaving the majority of its replacement on the plate, the waitress came up to the table and asked if everything was good. Seriously??! I was speechless. Needless to say, this was a wasted $58 and we will never be back again.
3705 Tampa Rd, Ste 6