We had a AAA coupon for 25% off at Olive Garden that expired today, so we headed over there for a late lunch. We weren’t sure how busy they were going to be on Christmas Eve, but when we got there at 1pm, we didn’t have to wait for a table. We started off with soup, salad and breadsticks.
I think we could have stopped right here and been very full and very contented. The breadsticks were fresh and soft and both the salad and soup were yummy. I like the pasta fagioli soup here. It has a nice blend of flavors and textures. For some reason, we felt the need to order an appetizer.
Calamari & stuffed mushrooms… oh so good! They prepare a really tender calamari here. The mushrooms were also flavorful and filling. As if this wasn’t enough food, we ordered entrees as well. Loren got the braised beef tortelloni.
It was definitely more tortelloni than beef, but he said it was very good. I ordered the fettucine alfredo.
This is my favorite dish here, though it could have used a little more sauce on it. It’s very creamy and the noodles are cooked perfectly. There’s a reason we don’t come here very often; we eat too much. We both took home some leftovers. For a chain restaurant, they really do prepare the food very well. After the coupon, the total bill was $26.
29461 Us-19 N
When I’m in the mood for tater tots, we head over to Pete & Shorty’s. Loren got a pork tenderloin and I got the Chalet burger, both with tots, of course.
At first Loren said he didn’t really want tots, but he ate every last one of them in his basket. As usual, the pork tenderloin was way bigger than the bun and the burger was nice & juicy. For $18, my tot craving was satisfied and my taste buds were happy.
Pete & Shorty’s Tavern
2820 Gulf to Bay Blvd
We went to a holiday dinner at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Westshore Plaza with about a dozen people. The only reservation they could get was at 4:30pm, but we didn’t get out of there until around 8:30pm. I didn’t take any photos during the meal, but still wanted to comment on the food.
The bread on the table was soft and chewy and very good. We also got the fried calamari, fried zucchini, stuffed mushrooms and mussels for appetizers. I didn’t try the mussels, but the people who did seemed to really enjoy them. The zucchini was very good. Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. I’d definitely order it again. Both the stuffed mushrooms and calamari were good too. I think everyone at the table was full before our entrees came out.
Loren got the salmon oscar and really liked it. The salmon was cooked well and the crab and sauce on top had some wonderful flavors. I ordered the mushroom ravioli with braised veal in a marsala cream sauce. It was delicious. From the first bite to the last, the textures and flavors just danced in my mouth. It was yummy. Everyone at the table seemed to really enjoy the food. We also got dessert which I ended up taking over half of it home because it was huge.
This is what was left after Loren & I ate some and we gave some to another person at the table. It was a huge piece of chocolate cake with a Sambuca mousse. It was moist and rich and very chocolatety; however, I probably wouldn’t order it again. I didn’t know what Sambuca was before I ordered it (an anise flavored liqueur), but it seems that both Loren & I had the same reaction to it. It numbed the roof of my mouth and my tongue. It was a very odd feeling.
There were a few issues with the evening. There was one entree that didn’t come out until almost everyone was halfway through eating. I guess it got overcooked in the kitchen, so they had to prepare a new one. The restaurant is very loud and parking is a small nightmare, but granted this was the Friday before Christmas. I don’t know what the final bill was, but it wasn’t cheap. The prices are a bit on the high side, but the food was really good. We don’t get over to that part of Tampa very often, but we’d definitely eat at Maggiano’s again.
Maggiano’s Little Italy
203 Westshore Plz
Our last few ventures to Cody’s Original Roadhouse have been less than satisfying. Though we usually enjoy the salad and yeast rolls, the entrees have been hit or miss. Tonight’s dinner, though, was much improved. The salad and rolls were fresh and tasty.
This is usually the best part of the meal for us. I was good this time though and didn’t order a second basket of rolls. It was tempting though. Loren went for the chef select NY Strip with a loaded baked potato.
The steak was cooked a perfect medium and was very tender. He only ate half of it and took the rest home. This was definitely one of the better steaks he’s had here. I went for the 1/2 rack of baby back ribs.
They were very tender tonight and the portion seemed larger than usual. Fall off the bone with a sweet and tangy bbq sauce. I actually had some leftovers as well. This is the first time in a while that we actually left here satisfied. Total bill with a drink was $35.
Cody’s Original Roadhouse
26210 US 19 Clearwater, FL
A friend and I went to lunch at Big Bok Choy today for her birthday. We both got the wonton soup and chicken dishes.
I got the honey garlic chicken which is so tender and tasty. I don’t know how they get the chicken so tender. The sauce on it is both sweet and tangy. So delicious. Total bill for the two of us was $20.
Big Bok Choy Bistro
3730 Tampa Road #6