The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.


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We ate an early dinner at Casa Tina in Dunedin tonight.  We didn’t realize there was an art festival going on, so it was a bit crowded in downtown.  Loren ordered the carnitas and I went for the chicken flautas.




I had already started disassembling the flautas before I remembered to take a photo.  I had to scrape off the salsa and guacamole.  There was a time when I really liked the guacamole here, it was very mild.  Now, even just the little bit I left on the plate was too spicy for my tastebuds.  Loren was more than happy to have it though.  He said the carnitas were perfectly cooked and tender.  The flautas were nice and crunchy and the rice and beans were good too. Total bill with a drink was $35.

Casa Tina’s 
365 Main Street
Dunedin, FL

Casa Tina on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: Dunedin, Mexican
  • We were driving through Westchase earlier today and I noticed a new restaurant on Countryway Blvd called Fresh Bites, so we headed over there for dinner.  It’s a little Mediterranean restaurant that boasts of fresh, natural ingredients.  You order at the counter and then they bring the food out to you.  We started off with the cucumber yogurt salad which came with pita.



    This wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.  It was a bowl of very liquidy, creamy spiced yogurt with slices of cucumber in it.  I was expecting it to be thicker with cut up cucumber in it.  It just dripped off the pita.  For our entrees, we ordered the beef shawarma and the lamb grilled kafta kabab.




    Our inexperience with Mediterranean food and the fact that the person who brought our food to the table didn’t clearly specify which was which meant we actually ended up eating each other’s order instead of our own.  I had ordered the lamb kebab, but ended up with the shawarma.  We didn’t realize it until we were done eating and I happened to look at the menu and realized mine should have been the one with the rice.  The plates were both overly filled with salad.  For the price, I would have expected more meat on the plate.  They also came with roasted veggies and hummus.  I liked the taste of the kababs and the rice.  Loren cleared the plate.  He likes hummus and that kind of leafy salad.  It all had that very distinct middle eastern spice flavor to it. The shawarma was wrapped in pita, though we didn’t order it as a wrap.  It was cooked with onions and tomatoes, but again, there was just very little meat to it.  I think vegetarians would enjoy it here.  Normally, I drink water with my dinner, but I ordered the fresh lemonade.  It had an unusual taste to it.  It was very sweet, but I’m thinking maybe it was partially sweetened with honey.  They seemed to be doing a very good take-out business though.  Total bill with a drink was $35.

    Fresh Bites
    11665 Countryway Blvd
    Tampa, FL

    Fresh Bites on Urbanspoon


    Lemon Wedge?

    We went over to Rosie’s Clam Shack for dinner tonight.  There was only one other table of customers in there and the service was really lacking.  There was no one to greet us when we came in.  Luckily the waitress came out to bring something to the other table and saw us.  The whole experience was a little odd.  The other people there commented on it more than we did, but the waitress just seemed unhappy to be there.   One of the things that really stuck out to me though, was that with every drink or plate that we ordered she specifically asked if we wanted a lemon wedge with it.  I don’t know if they were just trying to save money or didn’t have a lot of lemons in the back, but after the first few times she asked, it just seemed weird.

    We started off with the fried calamari.



    It had a good crunch, but it was a bit on the chewy side.  The tomato sauce served with it had a good flavor.  You could tell it had actually been simmered for a while.  For his entree, Loren got the bacon wrapped scallops with fries & pasta salad.



    He said the scallops were cooked perfectly and the bacon added a nice flavor.  But then again, doesn’t bacon do that to everything it’s added to??  He didn’t really want the huge plate of fries or the pasta salad for that matter, but the choice of sides is limited to fries, pasta salad, cole slaw or parsley potatoes.  I think he would have liked a green vegetable of some sort.  I ordered the Ipswitch clams with cole slaw and parsley potatoes.



    The clams are the reason I come here.  Perfectly crunchy and plenty of them on the plate. We enjoyed the apple blossom dessert the last time we were here, so had to get it again.



    Last time, the waitress added whipped cream to the plate, but not so this time.  This is a tasty little dessert though.  Very simple apple filling in a baked crust.  Total bill with a drink was $54.

    Rosie’s Clam Shack
    6657 49th St
    Pinellas Park, FL

    Rosie's Clam Shack on Urbanspoon


    We went for a late lunch at Hot Tuna in Oldsmar today.  It was about 20 minutes before they closed for lunch and the first thing the waitress said to us was that it was last call for food. There was just something about the way she said it that really made us feel uncomfortable about coming in and ordering.  The rest of the meal was fine, but that initial greeting kind of rubbed us the wrong way.

    We ordered the lunch 2 rolls & salad for $9.99 as well as an additional Rainbow Roll.





    Loren got the Gator and Tampa roll and I got a California and Mexican roll.  The Rainbow roll here has a crawfish salad inside that’s a bit on the spicy side for me.  I do like the colorful tobiko on top of it though.  The other rolls were fresh & tasty.  Total bill with a drink was $34.

    Hot Tuna Sushi Bar & Grille
    3689 Tampa Road #302B
    Oldsmar, FL

    Hot Tuna Sushi Bar & Grille on Urbanspoon


  • Filed under: Oldsmar, Sushi
  • For the last few years, we’ve tried to catch a sunset on the last night of the year.  Unfortunately, mother nature hasn’t been very cooperative.  Last year it was fog, this year the clouds were just too thick so we ended up just going over to Cafe Alfresco in Dunedin for dinner.  Quite a few other people had the same idea tonight and we ended up waiting about 20 minutes for a table.   They remodeled the restaurant recently and removed the high top tables and changed the seating a bit.  We ended up at a nice table in the back against the windows which was perfect for looking out at the holiday lights.

    We started off with some pot stickers, salad & bread



    The pot stickers had a tasty pork filling and the dipping sauce was sweet and spicy.  Loren ordered the grouper francese for his entree.



    The only thing he didn’t like about it was the overly eggy taste that the batter had.  He expected to get more flavor from the sauce and capers, but his first few bites all he could taste was egg.  The fish was perfectly cooked though.  I decided to try the pork osso bucco that was on the specials menu.



    The dish came with a wild mushroom risotto that was very creamy and tasty.  The osso bucco was extremely tender and flavorful.  It slide right off the bone.  Definitely a dish I would order again. There was enough food on the plate for at least two meals. I know what I’m eating for New Year’s Day.  And we had to close out the year on something sweet, so we ordered the Devonshire chocolate cake.



    It had layers of mousse and cake and all sorts of chocolately goodness.  A great way to end 2013.  Total bill with a drink was $56.

    Cafe Alfresco
    344 Main St
    Dunedin, FL

    Cafe Alfresco on Urbanspoon