The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.


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Archive for the ‘Cuisine’ Category

Busy Sunday

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.

Cafe Alfresco
344 Main St
Dunedin, FL

Cafe Alfresco on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: American, Dunedin
  • Sweet!

    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!

    Sweet Caroline’s
    3347 Tampa Road
    Palm Harbor, FL

    Sweet Caroline's on Urbanspoon


    No Fillers

    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

    Harr's Surfside Cafe on Urbanspoon



    Johnny Bread

    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
    Clearwater, FL

    Johnny's Italian on Urbanspoon


    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
    Oldsmar, FL

    Salt Rock Tavern on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: American, Oldsmar