The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Archive for the ‘Cuisine’ Category

Hearty Brunch


We got over to Johnny Grits around 11:00am this morning and had about a 15 minute wait.  By the time we left the wait was up to 35 minutes.  This place is packed on the weekends for breakfast.  Loren’s not much of a breakfast person, so he went for the smoked turkey club with a side salad.

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It was a big sandwich and he actually ended up taking half of it home with him.  Perfectly toasted bread, smoked turkey and crunchy bacon.  He was a happy guy.  I decided to try the fried chicken benedict.

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I opted to change the jalepeno cheddar sauce they normally serve with it to hollandaise instead.   Two perfectly tender fried chicken breasts over fresh biscuits with poached eggs and fried potatoes.  It was delicious and very filling.  There’s no coming to Johnny Grits without ordering a side of grits.  We choose the andouille, onion and cheese and added some mushrooms.

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Other than adding a little salt, the grits are yummy here.  Smooth and creamy and a perfect size for two.  Total bill with a drink was $25.

Johnny Grits
857 E. Klosterman Rd
Tarpon Springs, FL
727-942-4748

Johnny Grits Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food5/5
Service4/5
Atmosphere4/5
Value4/5
4.4/5

We enjoyed our dinner so much the last time that we had to return to Craft Street Kitchen with friends again for dinner tonight.  We got there around 5:30pm and sat out on the patio this time and the restaurant was filling up fast.  By the time we left, there was a line out the door.  The food tonight did not disappoint.

Our friends ordered the Smoked Kissed Salmon, the Green Street Salad and the peanut butter pie for dessert.

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I don’t think there was any food left on any of the plates.  Everything was so yummy.  The only complaint was that my friend wished the salad had come with some bread.  Loren ordered the Belgium Clucker and I decided to try the duck flat bread they had on special plus a side of mac & cheese.

The Belgium Clucker is their play on chicken and waffles.  The waffle was amazing.  It was light and fluffy, but had this crunchy exterior and a warm vanilla flavor to it.  They should start opening for breakfast and just serve these waffles.  He said the chicken was tender and it paired well with the bacon collard greens and maple BBQ sauce.  It was also covered in a salsa verde sauce.  The plate was all but licked clean.

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The duck flatbread isn’t on their normal menu.  It had duck, mandarin oranges, bacon, goat cheese and another smoked cheese.  Did I mention it was huge?  It had some interesting flavors in it.  The mac & cheese tasted ok, but it needed more sauce.  It was just a bit on the dry side.

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For our dessert, we tried another thing on special, the State Fair Puffs.  They were fresh, hot donut holes covered in powered sugar and served with a raspberry cream.

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They were amazing and there were a bunch of them in the bag.  I hope they add these to the permanent menu because they were delish.  Our bill alone was $44 and there are still a bunch of things on the menu that we can’t wait to try.

Craft Street Kitchen and Drinks
3153 Curlew Rd
Oldsmar, FL
727-314-4270

Craft Street Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food5/5
Service4/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
4.1/5

Tampa Bay Brewing Co in Ybor recently opened up a new location in Oldsmar.  The address says Tampa, but it’s on Racetrack Road in what I still consider to be Oldsmar.  This location is also their production brewery and they offer tours.  They’ve got a nice size restaurant and bar plus an outside bar and patio.  We’re not drinkers, but we’ll definitely be back for the food.

We started off with the Cantonese Calamari.

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This is one of those dishes that you can’t stop eating.  It was absolutely delicious.  The calamari & shrimp were perfectly flash fried and it was covered in this sweet chili sauce that wasn’t too spicy.  Loren thought it would have been better if the sauce had been on the side because it did make the breading on the calamari a bit soggy, but I like it the way it was.

For his entree, he went with the dish that was featured on Diners, Drivers, and Dives, the Bomb.

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It’s a 1/2 pound bacon cheeseburger with onion straws wrapped in pizza dough instead of a bun.  He thought it was pretty tasty.  He also got the red beans & rice for his side dish and that was tasty.  It had a wonderful smokey flavor to it.  I think this is the only side dish he’ll ever order here because it was so good.  I went for the Butcher burger.

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It had grilled onions, wild mushrooms and provolone and the burger was a mixture of short rib, chuck, and brisket.  My only complaint was that they cooked it past medium which made it a bit on the dry side.  Their homemade steak sauce saved the day.  It was sweet and tangy.  I’d buy a bottle of that in a minute.  So good.  Total bill with a drink was $43 and we’ll definitely be back again.

As a side note, I also visited again later in the week for a work function.  We started with the chips & salsa & queso and pretzels.  I couldn’t stop eating the chips and queso.  The chips were thin and crispy and hot and fresh.  The pretzel was also really fresh and tasty.  Everyone seemed to enjoy their lunch.  I had the Moosekiller meatloaf.  It was a huge serving with mashed potatoes and onion straws with a mushroom gravy.  I’d order it again without hesitation.

Tampa Bay Brewing Co
13927 Monroe Business Park
Tampa, FL
813-247-1422

Tampa Bay Brewing Co Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food4/5
Service4/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.7/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: American, Oldsmar, Tampa
  • It’s been a while since we’ve been to Aki Sushi in Oldsmar, so we decided to try it again tonight.  It’s not a very big space; they were busy, but there were still a few open tables.  We ordered the appetizer sampler and 4 sushi rolls.

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    Loren and I viewed the experience very differently tonight.  While he felt the servers were being efficient, I felt like I was being rushed.  The above part of the sampler was dropped at our table without explanation.  The server literally was looking away from our table as it was placed and then he walked away.  We both looked at each other quizzically since I could have sworn the sampler had more items on the menu.  This was the 3 spring rolls and 2 rangoons.  They had a good crunch and good flavors, but I was still confused.

    Two of the rolls showed up next and eventually another server glanced over and said the rest of the sampler would be coming soon as well. Nice to finally know.  The Catch 13 roll had spicy salmon, asparagus, tuna, lemon and jalapeno and I ordered the shrimp tempura roll.

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    Loren liked the Catch 13.  He said the thinly sliced lemon and jalepeno added a nice flavor to it.  The shrimp tempura had a nice crunch on the shrimp.  The rest of the appetizer sampler finally showed up.  It had the 3 gyoza and 2 shumai.  I liked the gyoza more than the shumai.

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    Our last 2 rolls arrived, the Summer Time which was tuna, salmon, mixed greens in rice paper and the Dragon which was krab, cucumber, avocado and eel.

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    The eel was torched a little too much for my taste, but otherwise the rolls were good.  I actually had a difficult time choosing rolls because the combinations of ingredients just didn’t appeal to me.  More than anything else, though, it was the service that bothered me.  Normally, I don’t mind ninja type servers that clear plates quickly, but this felt impersonal and I felt rushed.   Total bill with a drink was $60.

    Aki Sushi
    3970 Tampa Road
    Oldsmar, FL
    813-855-2624

    Aki Sushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Food3/5
    Service2/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value2/5
    2.6/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Oldsmar, Sushi
  • We’ve walked by Grimaldi’s Pizzeria at Countryside Mall a bunch of times and finally decided it was time to check it out.  It was about 8pm on a Sunday night and they weren’t very busy.  We got a small regular pizza and added garlic, meatballs, and mushrooms to it.

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    I understand charging for toppings, but $2 for fresh garlic is a bit on the unreasonable side.  I liked the crust of the pizza, but not the sauce.  It had that “not cooked long enough tomato from a can taste” and desperately needed the garlic we added.  The meatballs were ok, and normally, I don’t like a thin crust, but this one had the right texture to it.  You could even watch the guys in the kitchen tossing the dough.  They had a special butterscotch cheesecake that we couldn’t pass up.

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    I’d come back just for the cheesecake.  It was silky smooth with a wonderful butterscotch flavor.  Absolutely delicious.   Would I come back for the pizza?  Probably not.  It was overpriced and lacked the flavors I was after.  Total bill with a drink was $32.

    Grimaldi’s Pizzeria
    27001 Hwy 19 N.
    Clearwater, FL
    (727) 725-1200

    Grimaldi's Pizzeria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Food2/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value2/5
    2.5/5