I saw the signs for Takee Outee on East Lake Road and figured Chinese food would be good for lunch today. Unfortunately, there were no redeeming qualities about it.
I ordered the honey chicken lunch special which came with an egg roll and I also ordered some crab rangoons.
My idea of honey chicken is not battered chicken and a bowl of thin honey to dip it in. I expect the chicken to be cooked in the honey sauce so it gets a nice gooey coating on it. The chicken was tough, I managed to break my plastic fork just trying to pick up a piece. Both the crab rangoons and the egg roll were less than appetizing. This is definitely a place I will not eat at again. This was $10 of wasted lunch money.
3408 East Lake Road
Palm Harbor, FL
Went to the movies this morning to see “Inception”. That was a trippy movie. We got out of the theater around 1pm and went on a quest for some cheeseburgers. I had seen the sign for the Garden Grille Cafe in Palm Harbor the last time I was out that way so we decided to give it a try.
I’m amazed at how all these little Greek restaurants look exactly the same inside with waitresses that have probably been working there for years.
Loren went for a bacon cheeseburger and fries.
Lots of bacon and a pretty decent burger. The fries were good too. I got the mushroom burger with potato salad.
The burger was good, but the potato salad was pretty bland. There really wasn’t much to distinguish this place from the rest. Total lunch was $18.
Garden Grill Cafe
34018 US Highway 19
Palm Harbor, FL
We ordered the whole chicken meal which came with 4 sides.
The rice and beans were good, the fried cheese, not so much. It was rubbery and didn’t have any flavor whatsoever.
I liked the cole slaw, it had a nice tangy flavor. I didn’t like the plantains though. They were kind of tough. The chicken, however, was as good as we remembered it from the last time we were here. It has a nice texture and flavor. And we also had to get the chicken empanadas.
This is just one of the tastiest empanadas around. So many different flavors going on inside. Total dinner was $30, but we had quite a bit of leftovers.
2475 McMullen Booth Rd, Ste E
We’ve been enjoying the Indian restaurants we recently started dining at and found another one in Largo. This was our first visit to Deeya Indian Cuisine and we both really enjoyed it.
Loren tried all of the sauces and liked them. He didn’t think any of them were too spicy, but since his idea of spicy and mine are very different, I only tried the one sweet one in the middle.
We tried the Keema Samosa appetizer. It was a deep fried pastry filled with mildly spiced lamb and peas. Sort of like an Indian empanada. It had some interesting flavors and I liked it with the sweet sauce.
Loren ordered the Chicken Kadai, which had chicken, tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers.
He didn’t get it very spicy, but he did say the spice built up after a while. He liked the flavors in it. I ordered the butter shrimp.
I ordered it mild and it was really good. It had a creamy tomato sauce with just a hint of spice. And we had to get some Naan bread to help scoop up the remaining sauce.
This was nice and fluffy. Really nice texture and flavor and great with the sauce from my entree. Total bill was $38 and this is definitely a place we’d visit again.
Deeya Indian Cuisine
5166 East Bay Drive
I drive by Fratelli Italian Restaurant every day on my way to work, so we finally decided to stop in for lunch. I’d been here when it was a different restaurant a few years ago.
Loren and I decided to split a meatball sub with fries and an order of fried mushrooms.
We were both pleasantly surprised as how good it all was. The mushrooms had a nice batter on them, though I think we both managed to burn the inside of our mouths. That’s the downside of fried mushrooms, they hold in hot liquid for a long time.
The meatballs and sauce were both very flavorful and the fries were nice and crispy. For $13, it was a tasty lunch. Should have came here sooner.
Fratelli Italian Restaurant and Bar
120 Commerce Blvd, Ste 1
I did manage to leave work a little early so we could go see “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”. What a fun little movie. I really enjoyed it. Nicholas Cage was quite the character.
For dinner, I decided on Outback Steakhouse. The Palm Harbor location is always busy. I definitely recommend calling ahead and getting your name on the waiting list. We ended up waiting for about 20 minutes for a table.
Our waitress was really good. She started us off with some of their fresh brown bread.
In fact, she even brought us a 2nd loaf without us even asking. She was really good about filling drinks and clearing plates.
We both got salads with ranch dressing.
The salad has lots of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, cheese and croutons and their ranch dressing is one of my favorites.
Loren ordered the 6 oz sirloin with a baked potato.
The steak was cooked a perfect medium and was very tender. His only comment was on how bare the plate looked. In most restaurants, there’s usually some sort of green flourish on the plate, not here, just meat and potatoes.
I ordered the Alice Springs Chicken.
This is one of my favorite meals here. The honey mustard sauce is awesome. The chicken is covered with mushrooms and cheese. It also comes with bacon, but I order it without it, might as well save a few calories.
We were both stuffed by this point, but I had to get a dessert to go for my birthday.
This is the to-go version of their Sweet Adventure Sampler Trio. It had carrot cake, brownie, and cheesecake plus vanilla ice cream, raspberry sauce, chocolate fudge sauce, and whipped cream. Some assembly required.
We ate it later in the evening, but the only thing I liked was the cheesecake and the sauces. I’m not a fan of carrot cake, but Loren is, so he was happy. I was hoping to enjoy the brownie, but it was full of nuts and had a really hard texture. Not my idea of an awesome brownie. The raspberry and chocolate fudge sauces were really good though. Next time, I’ll avoid the trio and just go for a slice of cheesecake.
Total birthday dinner was $40 and I probably consumed enough calories today to last me the rest of the week.
31988 US Hwy 19 N
Palm Harbor, FL
Since I had to work on my birthday, I figured comfort food was a good choice for lunch and that can only mean Cracker Barrel.
What can I say, I like their mac & cheese. It just makes me happy. Toss in some chicken fried chicken and cole slaw and I’m a happy camper.
Loren went for the roast beef with collard greens, mashed potatoes, and cinnamon apples. He said neither the roast beef nor the greens had been cooked long enough. Normally, the roast beef is very tender and the greens very flavorful, but not this time. Guess we just got here too early and they didn’t have enough time to simmer. The biscuits were really good this time though. Very buttery and flaky… mmmm. Total lunch was $25.
13833 West Hillsborough Avenue
Sometimes I just don’t want to go grocery shopping, so it makes it difficult to bring my lunch to work. Today it just seemed easier to grab something from Amarit Thai.
I really enjoyed the mussamun curry I had last time, so I wanted to try it again, this time with shrimp instead of chicken.
You definitely get more chicken than shrimp. There were only 4 shrimp in the dish and a bunch of onions. I really enjoy the flavors though. It’s almost sweet with a wonderful coconut and lemongrass flavor.
Loren got his usual, the ginger chicken.
It’s one of his favorite dishes. For $20, it was a warm and tasty lunch and kept me from having to go to the grocery store for another day.
328 East Lake Road
Palm Harbor, FL
We usually head out to a movie on Sunday mornings and today’s feature was “Despicable Me”. It was cute. I definitely want a few minions of my own.
Mecafresh is close to the theater and always offers up fresh and tasty food and to top it off, we had a $10 Restaurant.com coupon too.
For me, there’s just no passing up the lobster bisque.
The bisque is light and creamy with a delicate flavor. Always a nice way to start off a meal. I also got the Cabo Cabo wrap which is grilled mahi mahi, greens, Monterey Jack cheese and an avacado aioli.
Loren got a 1/2 sandwich 1/2 salad combo with a roast beef panini and Mediterranean salad.
I don’t think we’ve ever been disappointed in the food here. Everything is always fresh and well prepared. Their specials are usually very interesting as well. After the $10 coupon, the total bill was $15.
3235 Tampa Road
Palm Harbor, FL
If you haven’t checked out www.Restaurant.com, you’re missing out on some great discounts at local restaurants. We found a $25 coupon to Lonzalo’s on there today and headed out for some Italian food.
We’ve eaten here a few times. They didn’t seem very busy for a Saturday night, but not having to wait for a table is always a good thing. We had one waitress come by the table and say that she’d be right with us, but then she never came back. Eventually, another waitress took over our table and brought us some bread.
The bread was warm, but it was very dense and a little chewy. There was just something about it that wasn’t quite right. It had a little too much elasticity for my taste.
Our meals came with soup or salad, so we got one of each.
The pasta fagioli had a nice tomato flavor to it and lots of beans. There were definitely more beans than pasta in it. We also got the calamari.
The calamari had a good texture and the batter was nice and crunchy; however, the plate had a lot of small pieces on it, some of it just fried batter. I just felt as though I spent a lot of time searching for the actual calamari pieces.
Loren ordered the Salmon Lonzalo, which was one of the specials tonight.
Salmon with artichokes and capers in a lemon sauce. He enjoyed it and even had some leftovers. Both our meals came with a side order of pasta that was enough for a meal in itself.
Unfortunately, neither of us liked the tomato sauce. I don’t know how to describe it, just that it had an odd flavor to it. I kept thinking along the lines of nutmeg or allspice, but I’m not sure that’s it. It just didn’t wow us.
For my entree, I ordered the chicken portobello.
The flavor wasn’t much different from their chicken marsala though this was supposed to have a sherry sauce on it. It was tasty. Two big pieces of chicken and plenty of portobellos covered in mozzarella cheese. The mushrooms were a little chewy, but overall it was a good dish. I had leftovers as well.
After the $25 coupon, the total bill was $20.
Lonzalo’s of Oldsmar
3970 Tampa Road
So, when I brought my sushi back to the office for lunch today, one of my co-workers mentioned that he likes the sushi at Samurai Blue on Racetrack Road.
Since sushi is one of those foods I enjoy eating again and again, we went ahead and went out there tonight for dinner. The restaurant is at the end of a strip mall. I never even knew it was there.
We started off with some blue crab rangoons.
I had mixed feelings on this dish. It absolutely had good flavor, the shells were crispy and the sauce was tangy and a little spicy. The problem was the rangoons were mostly empty. The first one I ate had some filling, but the others had the flavor of cream cheese and crab, but there was nothing inside of them. I don’t know if they didn’t seal them enough before deep frying and the filling leaked out or what, but I expect a rangoon to actually have filling inside of them.
We ordered a bunch of sushi because we like to try different things.
I don’t remember which one this was. Maybe the Samurai Roll? It was done tempura style with avacado and tuna I think. I should have grabbed one of the sushi menus. The glass had what tasted like a soy sauce/teriyaki sauce mixture. It was ok, not my favorite though. I didn’t like the tempura on the outside of the roll that much.
This was my favorite roll, the Lobster tempura. It was amazing, plus had a sweet sauce on the plate that I ended up dipping all of my other sushi in. I would definitely go back for this one.
We also got a Florida roll, a Mexican roll, a Rainbow roll, some salmon nigiri and a Geisha roll which was sweet potato and avacado. The sweet potato needed to be cooked a little more. It was a bit too crunchy.
For the most part, the rolls were good and the presentation was attractive. However, there were some rolls that had unripe avacado in them. It was hard as a rock and had no flavor whatsoever. I love avacado and this was so disappointing. I had to take it out of the rolls because it was inedible. There’s just no excuse for that, it’s not like it’s hard to tell if an avacado is not ripe.
It was definitely not a cheap meal, $66 total. Granted I do have some leftovers for tomorrow. I don’t think we’ll be rushing to go back anytime soon. There are better, less expensive sushi places around.
12950 Racetrack Road
Sometimes I’m just in the mood for sushi and today I ended up eating it for lunch and dinner. For lunch, I got takeout from Sakura in Oldsmar. I got a shrimp tempura roll and a Garden Rainbow roll which is lobster salad with tuna and salmon. Both rolls were really good. I love the way they do tempura. $18 is a little expensive for lunch, but sometimes you just gotta have sushi.
Sakura Japanese Restaurant
13823 W. Hillsborough Ave
Poblano’s is another one of those local places we eat at a lot. It’s close, it’s inexpensive, and we’re usually pretty happy with the food. We’ve been having some issues with the service lately though. I don’t know if they’ve hired new staff or what, but they definitely need some more training.
Loren ordered the Carnitas Verdes.
Tender pork in a tomato based sauce. He enjoyed it. I ordered one shrimp chimichanga with refried beans.
It was really good. The chimichanga was crispy this time (last time I ordered it, it was more like a burrito). It had some queso on it and a layer of onions and peppers on the plate, plus lettuce, guacamole, and sour cream.
Our waitress never came back to check drinks and Loren’s glass was empty for a while. She was really slow about bringing the check and then coming back to take the payment. She had also asked if I wanted rice or the salad with my meal, I said rice, but got the salad. I don’t think it was actually an option. Total meal was $22. We like the food, so we’ll definitely be back, but hopefully the service will improve.
Poblanos Mexican Grill
245 McMullen Booth Road
We first visited the Grind House Bar and Grill in February and really enjoyed it. We tried again yesterday, but it was closed for the 4th of July, so tonight we made our way over there for dinner.
I’m still amazed that a bar can serve such great food. I couldn’t resist getting a bowl of the shrimp and lobster bisque.
This was one of those dishes that I fondly remembered from our first visit. Thick and creamy with a wonderful flavor and chunks of shrimp and lobster. Definitely one of the best chowders around.
Loren went for a Grindhouse burger and fries.
This was one messy burger and probably enough calories for a few days. Burger, bacon, egg, and cheese. It was cooked perfectly and the fries were nice and crispy.
I tried their chicken and veggie pie which came with broccoli and mashed potatoes and gravy.
It had a light, flaky crust covering a creamy, chicken and veggie filling. It was a lot of food and not something you’d expect from a bar. We were completely stuffed and had very happy tastebuds. Total bill was $28.
Grind House Bar & Grill
1500 McMullen Booth Rd
We learned the hard way that not too many restaurants are open for dinner on the 4th of July. We tried two before we ended up at Asadas Compadres on Gulf to Bay.
We started out with some chips and salsa and an order of guacamole.
Loren liked it. I thought the chips weren’t fresh and the guacamole was too spicy for me. He enjoyed the salsa.
We both ordered tacos, I got the chicken and he got the beef.
Again, he liked it more than I did. I thought the chicken and tortilla had no flavor whatsoever. I admit, I’m not a fan of corn tortillas. I don’t like the texture or flavor. Loren kept telling me that I was supposed to add sauces to it to make it flavorful, but the two sauces brought to our table were way too spicy for me. The total meal was only $17, so their prices are definitely reasonable. I know that I like a rather Americanized version of Mexican food, so perhaps this was just a little too authentic for my tastes.
2801 Gulf to Bay Blvd
Don’t you hate it when you order take-out and realize when you get home that you didn’t get what you ordered? I should know better by now to not check when I’m picking up the food, but I’m usually in a hurry and just grab the bag and go.
I went to China Taste in Oldsmar to grab something quick while the rain had stopped momentarily. On plenty of occasions, instead of beef and broccoli, I’ve asked them to substitute carrots for the broccoli with no issues. I also wanted two orders of Crab Rangoons, so I’d have some to eat for dinner as well. When I got home, there was one order of rangoons and an order of beef and broccoli. And to top it off, my fortune cookie was broken and there was no fortune in it. It just wasn’t a good lunch day.
I was also so bummed that I forgot to take a photo. Don’t get me wrong, the food was good. They make the best rangoons around as far as I’m concerned, that’s why I wanted two orders of them. For $14, I had plenty of leftovers for dinner, but I would have been much happier to have received what I had ordered.
13887 W Hillsborough Ave
Went to Miami to run the “12 Hours of Miami” race at Homestead International Raceway this weekend. On the way there from Tampa, we had brunch at a Cracker Barrel. It was good, but it’s Cracker Barrel… you either like Cracker Barrel or you don’t, but I ain’t blogging about it! We also ate at the same Cracker Barrel again on the way home Sunday, it was good then, too. Saturday, we had an early breakfast at Denny’s (conveniently next door to our hotel, which was curiously not a “La Quinta”, which I was sure was Spanish for “next to Denny’s”), and it was pretty good… it’s about the only thing that Denny’s does well. Somebody made a Wendy’s run for chicken sandwiches during the race… any food is awesome after 2 hours behind the wheel of a race car, and that was no exception. And late, late after the race Saturday night, we ate dinner at Denny’s… which was marginal at best, but what else are you gonna do when you’re hungry at 11pm?
Ah, but there was one meal that stood out! Friday night, we had time to kill, it was early, and we were hungry. We made our way to a seafood joint down the street from the hotel after searching for some Puerto Rican place that apparently burned down and was nowhere to be found. The place was a tad fancier than we were dressed for, but it’s Florida, and we figured we probably wouldn’t be the only t-shirt wearing racers to stroll in there this evening. (and we weren’t)
The menu was loaded with awesome-sounding seafood dishes. Lots of fresh fish, some steaks, just all-around good stuff. But, it was all a little pricey. Not much under about $16-18. But, then the waitress reminded us of their $9.99 specials. While a nice bronzed Mahi sounded really good… for about half the price, steak and shrimp sounded better. Two of us went with that. Everyone else got seafood dishes.
Of course, the two of us who did the $9.99 steak special also bit on the conch chowder without realizing that it was a $7 bowl of soup! So, we ended up spending $17 on dinner, anyway. But, let’s back up a little. First, there was bread…
It was really good bread! A light crunchy crust on the outside, soft, warm and delicious on the inside. As you probably know from reading this blog, if *I* bother to comment on the bread, it’s GOOD bread. Then our conch chowder showed up in these neat little pewter pots that kept it piping hot. We both agreed that we could have just eaten the soup and some bread and been good for the night. It was a good-sized bowl of soup and very hearty.
The entrees came without too much of a wait. Seeing the $9.99 special next to the other entrees made it clear what the difference was. Our steak and shrimp came with fries rather than a choice of two fresh sides, and didn’t have that “gourmet” look about it. I should have passed the camera around the table to get photos of the other dishes, as they all looked very good. The specials weren’t bad, but to be fair, they’re not what I would judge this restaurant on.
The shrimp were well-cooked, good crunchy batter and with a decent sauce. The fries were fries. Absolutely nothing special about those fries. The steak was surprisingly good, even though they overshot “medium” and went right into “medium well”. The beef was tender and juicy, can’t complain for the price.
I just looked this place up on Urban Spoon to find some weak reviews and a low “like” percentage. All I can say is, if you go here, plan on spending $20-25 per entree. You can get cheap here, but you get what you pay for. Spend the money and you won’t be disappointed!
11 SE 1st Ave
We got out of work early today for the holiday weekend and bought tickets for the 2pm showing of Eclipse. Yeah, my friend Cathy and I are Twilighters. It was raining so we wanted something warm and cozy for lunch so we headed over to Amarit Thai.
We both got curry dishes. She got the peanut curry and I got a yellow curry. I can’t remember the name of it, something like massaman, but it came with potatoes and onions.
This has probably been one of my most favorite curry dishes so far. I got it mild, but it had a wonderful, almost sweet coconut, lemongrass flavor. It was awesome. I will definitely be back and order this dish again. For under $10 each, we were warmed from the rain and ready for an afternoon at the movies.
328 East Lake Road
Palm Harbor, FL
Cuban Breezes is our go-to restaurant when we want a quick, tasty, inexpensive meal. We headed over there for lunch today. Normally, I’ll get a side of rice and beans, but at the recommendation of the waitress, I got a cup of their clam chowder with my chicken philly sandwich.
It was not good. It was a very weak, waterly soup and didn’t have a fresh taste at all. When she came back by the table and realized I hadn’t eaten any of it she got it taken off the bill since she was the one that recommended it. From now on, I’ll stick with the rice and beans.
The chicken philly was good. It had onions and peppers on their delicious Cuban bread. Plus I always add in some Havana sauce to everything I eat here.
Loren got the pan con lechon sandwich with a side of rice and beans.
Normally, he doesn’t get it as a sandwich, but he seemed to really enjoy it. For $16, it was a filling, tasty lunch.
13980 W Hillsborough Ave
We had eaten Pierogis once before at a restaurant in Dunedin (it’s no longer there), so when I saw the Pierogi Grill in Clearwater, I knew we had to try it out.
From the decor, you’d never guess it was a polish restaurant. It’s all done up in pyraminds and Egyptian art. They also have a European store inside.
We ordered an appetizer, but the waitress either didn’t hear me or forgot because we never got it. Not like we really needed it though.
We both ordered the same thing, the sausage with 6 pierogis. It also came with sauerkraut which neither of us really likes, or so we thought. It was actually pretty tasty. Loren has officially taken sauerkraut off his list of “do not eat” foods. The sausage was really good, it had a nice texture and flavor. I ordered mine with the potato and cheddar pierogies and Loren got the spinach and pork. His were definitely better. They had a lot more flavor than the potato and cheddar. They had butter and onions on them, but I think they could have used more.
We should have just called it a night here, but instead I asked the waitress what was the best of the dessert pierogies. She said strawberry without hesitation, so we figured they must be good.
Wow, were we wrong. They were completely inedible. They use the same dough as the other pierogies and the filling had no sweetness whatsoever. They were so bland and doughy. Not even whipped cream could salvage them. The waitress asked how we liked them and I told her how bad they were. She admitted that she had just tried them for the first time that week and had doused hers in powdered sugar because there was no sweetness to them. She thankfully took them off the bill, so we ended up with a $25 dinner.
Go for the food, but go somewhere else for dessert.
1535 Gulf to Bay Blvd