The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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    The Restaurants at My End of the Universe Tampa Bay restaurants

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We don’t get out to Johnny Grits as often as we like because they were only a breakfast and lunch restaurant, but we were happy to see that they now serve dinner Wednesday through Saturday.  No surprise that they were busy this Sunday morning, but luckily we didn’t have to wait too long for a table.  The table next to us had the most amazing looking fried chicken benedict, but I’d been craving shrimp and grits so I had to just put that benedict on my list for next time.

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Perfectly cooked shrimp on a bed of creamy grits and one of my favorite sauces.  It’s not spicy, but it has a wonderful blend of flavors in it.  The only thing I’m not keen on is the bacon.  Loren likes it, but I feel like it adds an odd texture to the dish.  Loren tried the grouper sandwich with a side of mac & cheese.

 

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He said the grouper was cooked nicely, but the ratio or bread to fish was a little off.  It was a big bun.  It was also served in this metal pail that made it difficult to try to cut the sandwich.  A plate would have worked just fine.  I admit, I couldn’t keep my fork out of the mac & cheese either.  Total bill with a drink was $27.

Johnny Grits
857 E. Klosterman Rd
Tarpon Springs, FL
727-942-4748

Johnny Grits on Urbanspoon

Food4/5
Service4/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.7/5

BBQ


When we’re looking for a meal that will yield leftovers, there’s nothing better than the Boss Hog Special at Ozona Pig.

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It’s enough food for way more than 2 people.  Ribs, pulled pork, chicken & brisket, plus two sides and deviled eggs.  They do a really tasty job with their BBQ.  The ribs were smoky and tender.  None of those made it home.  The pulled pork was also very tender and we just kept nibbling until we forced ourselves to put the rest away.  If you want to taste a little bit of everything, this is the way to go.  Total bill with a drink was $31.

The Ozona Pig
311 Orange St
Ozona, FL
727-773-0744

Ozona Pig on Urbanspoon

Food4/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.4/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: BBQ, Ozona
  • It was a cool night and I wanted some comfort food so we headed out to Southern Fresh in downtown Safety Harbor.  It seems quite a few other people had the same idea tonight.  Since it wasn’t warm enough to sit outside, we had to wait about 20 minutes for a table.  It’s a bit loud inside when it’s this full, but it’s so worth it.

    Loren chose the salmon salad for dinner and I got what I always get, the fried chicken.

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    They don’t have a large menu, in fact, I think it’s exactly the same as the first time we came here.  They’ve chosen to do a small number of menu items, but they do them right, every time.  The salmon was perfectly cooked and seasoned.  The salad has mixed greens, capers, grilled asparagus, tomatoes and a tasty balsamic vinaigrette.   The fried chicken is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.  It’s cooked to order so it’s hot and fresh.  Real mashed potatoes and gravy plus roasted veggies round out the deliciousness.  And then, who could pass up dessert?

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    There’s not a bit left on the plate when we’re done.  It’s an angel food cake with sweetened strawberries and whipped cream.  Fresh and light, but oh so tasty.  Total bill with a drink was $36.  There’s a reason this place is busy.  The food, service and quality are consistent and great every time.

    Southern Fresh
    122 3rd Ave N
    Safety Harbor, FL
    727-216-6341

    Southern Fresh on Urbanspoon

    Food5/5
    Service5/5
    Atmosphere4/5
    Value5/5
    4.9/5

    Fireside Table recently opened up in the location where San Sushi Grille and Bella Kozina were in Safety Harbor.  I know they just opened because the waitress mentioned it many times during the course of our meal.  Perhaps that was her way of warning us that they weren’t quite ready for the public; though, that became quite evident by the lack of quality of the food and service.   Our waitress brought over some cheddar biscuits while we were looking at the menu.  They were by far the best thing we were served here.

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    They would have been better had they been warmed up, but otherwise they had a nice texture and flavor.  When I asked Loren what he was going to order, he said the roast pork and yellow rice, which I found odd since it wasn’t listed on my menu.  We asked the waitress and she checked with the kitchen and they said they did have it.  We weren’t sure if it was a new dish being added or one that was being removed.  (This should have been a warning sign).  Loren ordered it anyway with a salad as his side dish.   The waitress first brought out a Caesar salad and then had to go back to get the right salad.

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    He wasn’t even halfway through the salad when she brought out the entrees.  Well, she brought my entree and brought him some other dish that he didn’t order.  She brought that back to the kitchen, so he finished his salad while I ate my chicken and dumplings with a side of mac & cheese.

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    This was one big dish of mush.  It was very bland and had the same texture throughout.  There was very little chicken or dumplings; it was mostly sauce.  I’m not sure what the difference is between “fluffy cheese dumplings” and normal dumplings, but there certainly wasn’t anything outstanding about the ones in the dish.  The chicken was so overcooked and soft that you really didn’t need to chew much.  The mac & cheese was ok, but Loren did remark that it had a rather artificially looking color about it.  Eventually, his roast pork and yellow rice showed up.

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    This was also one big dish of mush.  Nothing like what he expected from the menu.  It could have been any type of cooked to death meat, I would have said it was chicken, but it was flavorless and just mushy.  It had this odd watery gravy all over it that was just awful.  He ate a few bites before giving up.  One of the managers stopped by and asked how things were.  She commented on how there are so many variations of roast pork and would he like her to bring him some garlic and lime.  He declined as there was absolutely nothing that was going to help this dish.   The prices were cheap, our bill was $18 with a drink, but with this type of poor quality food, I expect there will be a different restaurant here before too long.  We certainly won’t be back.

    Fireside Table
    3101 SR 580
    Safety Harbor, FL
    727-216-6178

    Fireside Table on Urbanspoon

    Food1/5
    Service1/5
    Atmosphere1/5
    Value1/5
    1.0/5

    Lots of Food


    We stopped at the Crispy Cajun in Clearwater for dinner tonight.  It’s a little restaurant putting out a lot of tasty food at very reasonable prices.  They were busy when we got there and people kept coming in both for take out and to eat in the entire time we were there. The menu didn’t feel Cajun to me because there were so many varied things on it from hamburgers to fried chicken to crab rangoons as well as the things I expected like jambalaya, po-boys and red beans and rice.

    Loren went for the jambalaya dinner which was enough to feed several people.

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    It looked like take out Chinese food to me, but the flavors were all Cajun.  He ordered it medium spicy and it had way more heat in it than I could eat.  It was a huge portion with andouille sausage, shrimp, chicken, vegetables and rice.  The sauce had a deep, dark flavor to it that Loren thoroughly enjoyed.  I went for the oyster po-boy and added a side of okra and red beans and rice.

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    The okra was cooked perfectly.  We just sat and munched on those throughout the meal.  The small portion was plenty for two, maybe three people.  The red beans and rice had a nice flavor as well.  As for the po-boy, my only complaint is that the tartar sauce on it overwhelmed the entire sandwich.  I couldn’t taste anything else.  I finally pulled out one of the oysters and it was very good.  If I ordered it again, I would get it without the tartar sauce.  The amazing part of this entire meal is that we got all this food for $23.  We don’t know how they can stay in business serving this much fresh, tasty food for such low prices.

    Crispy Cajun
    2097 Drew St
    Clearwater, FL
    727-441-8886

    Crispy Cajun on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value5/5
    3.7/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Cajun, Clearwater