The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.


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Archive for the ‘Cuisine’ Category

Still Salty

We usually spend our Sunday mornings at the movies and then head out for a late lunch.  Today it was Star Trek and Thirsty Marlin.  We started off with some calamari.



We order calamari almost every place we go, and this was surprisingly good.  It had a crunchy and flavorful batter and was pretty tender.  It came with marinara sauce, but I got a side of ranch which made it even better.  For his lunch, Loren ordered the blackened mahi sandwich.



He said the fish was cooked well and had good flavors.  I went for a steak philly and onion rings.



Though the first few bites were good, I found the saltiness became overwhelming after a while.  It just continued to build until I couldn’t take anymore.  I didn’t like the onion rings at all.  They lacked the appropriate crunch and were also overly salted.  I did enjoy the cole slaw though.  Total bill with a drink was $37.

Thirsty Marlin
1023 Florida Ave
Palm Harbor, FL

Thirsty Marlin Grill & Bar on Urbanspoon


With so many Thai restaurants in the area, we decided to circle back to Ban Thai for dinner tonight.  They were crowded as usual, but had a few tables open so we didn’t have to wait.  I’m still on my “must have dumplings” kick, so that’s where we started.



I think this is the first time we’ve ordered them here.  They were tasty little bundles of pork and veggies, but very dense.   Loren went for the ginger chicken.



He said it was very good.  I find the flavors here to be on the dark side.  I don’t know if that makes any sense or not, but there’s just something about their sauces that don’t thrill my senses.  Loren likes it though.  For me, it’s all about the lobster roll.



This one sushi roll is a meal in itself.  It’s huge, incredibly sloppy to eat, and oh so good.  Besides the actual rolls, there are also chunks of lobster piled up on the side.  It’s my favorite roll here.  We also shared a Rainbow Roll.



This was very fresh and tasty.  It’s a huge contrast to the sauce drenched lobster roll, but perfectly delightful in its own right.  With sushi, simplicity can be quite awesome.  Total bill with a drink was $45.

Ban Thai Restaurant
2519 McMullen Booth Road
Clearwater, FL

Ban Thai on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: Clearwater, Sushi, Thai
  • Charred

    I received a coupon in the mail for $8 off two entrees at Outback, so we headed out there for dinner tonight.  They were also doing a 4-course special, so we both opted for that.  The kitchen was backed up, so it took a while to get our bread and soup and salad.





    We both chose the clam chowder which was quite a bit spicier than I had anticipated.  It was creamy and had good flavors though.  What we didn’t know, until the bill came out, was that there was an upcharge for the clam chowder.  I’m always a little miffed for things to show up on the bill that we weren’t told about ahead of time.  Our waitress said she didn’t know there was an upcharge.

    There are a limited number of choices on the 4-course entree menu, but that wasn’t an issue for Loren.  He got the 6 oz sirloin with a baked potato.



    Though the presentation left a bit to be desired, he said the steak was cooked a perfect medium.  He enjoyed it.  Normally, I order the Alice Springs Chicken, but it wasn’t one of the options, so I tried their new Honey Mustard Chicken.



    That was a mistake.  There’s a distinct difference between lightly charred and burnt.  This fell into the burnt category.  I tried to eat around the crispy parts.  The main reason I didn’t send it back is that Loren would have been finished with his meal before something new could come out of the kitchen for me.  We’d already been waiting a long time so it wasn’t worth the effort.  The waitress asked if I wanted to bring the leftovers home and I told her no, couldn’t she see how burnt it was?  The manager came over and was very apologetic and took it off the bill.  Let’s face it, something that looks like this never should have made it out of the kitchen.  For our last course, we got one of each desserts offered, the cheesecake and carrot cake.




    For me, the cheesecake was the best part of the meal.  It was creamy and the raspberry sauce was good.  Loren liked the carrot cake.  Since we no longer had two entrees on the menu, I didn’t use my coupon and the final bill ended up being $21 with a drink.

    Outback Steakhouse
    31988 US Hwy 19 N
    Palm Harbor, FL

    Outback Steakhouse on Urbanspoon



    Sometimes it’s the silly little things that amuse us to no end.  Something that just catches you off guard and makes you giggle.  We went over to Athens in downtown Safety Harbor for breakfast and they had the Popeye omelette on their specials board.  What does Popeye love?  Spinach and Olive.  Loren had to order it just because it made us giggle.



    Along with the spinach and olives, it also had bacon in it, everything’s better with bacon, right?  He really enjoyed the omelette.  I went for the blueberry pancakes and eggs over easy.



    The pancakes were very tasty, but I forgot just how hot blueberries can get and burned my tongue on the first bite.  The eggs were perfectly cooked as well.  Our waitress was a little frazzled this morning, but other than that, it was a very enjoyable $15 breakfast.

    Athens Restaurant
    226 Main St
    Safety Harbor, FL

    Athen's on Urbanspoon



    Always on the lookout for places we haven’t visited yet, we ended up at Pensare Italian Bistro in Dunedin for dinner tonight.  The place was packed and really loud.  We were seated in this little alcove and I felt like the sound just reverberated off the walls.  Our waiter came over and explained the specials and brought bread and oil to the table.



    The bread was warm and crusty and the dipping oil was very flavorful.  We were optimistic about the rest of the meal only to be quickly disappointed when our appetizer arrived.



    It was a fried platter of calamari, shrimp and zucchini.  The calamari was thin and like rubber.  The breading had no flavor whatsoever.  The shrimp were overcooked and the zucchini was burnt.  If our waiter had actually come back to the table in a reasonable amount of time, I would have sent it back.  Salads came with our meal and we both got the mixed greens.



    Loren likes mixed green salads, I’m not a fan.  They also brought oil & vinegar to the table & you can have the waiter dress the salad or you can do it yourself.  Eventually, our entrees came out.  At this point, I felt like we had been there for quite a while. Loren ordered the Salmone Asparagi which was salmon in a lemon buerre-blanc sauce and asparagus.



    He said it was pretty good.  I found the sauce to be a bit too tart and sour for my tastes. I went for the pappardelle bolognese.



    This was not a good dish.  The pasta was undercooked and the sauce was flavorless.  It was just very uninspiring.  Our waiter disappeared at this point, I think he had tables out on the patio, so we didn’t see much more of him.  My expectations were so low at this point that I didn’t even bother with dessert.  We won’t be back.  Total bill was $59 with a drink.

    Pensare Italian Bistro
    799 Highland Ave
    Dunedin, FL

    Pensare Italian Bistro on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: Dunedin, Italian