The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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    The Restaurants at My End of the Universe Tampa Bay restaurants

Archive for the ‘Cuisine’ Category

We reached our destination in Bryson City, North Carolina and settled on Anthony’s Italian Restaurant for dinner.  After a long day of driving, we were happy to just sit and feed our faces.  We started off with salads and calamari.

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The first couple of pieces of calamari I ate, were a bit chewy, but the thicker pieces were cooked perfectly.  The marinara sauce was tasty as well.  We both ordered pasta dishes.  Loren got Mama Viscusi’s Spaghetti.

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It had artichokes, mushrooms, olives, feta, and garlic sauteed in olive oil.  He liked all the flavors melding together without a heavy sauce.  I ordered the fettucine alfredo.

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I like a thick, creamy alfredo sauce and this didn’t have it.  The alfredo was very thin.  The pasta was cooked well and the flavors were there, but it just lacked the creaminess I was after.  The garlic knots were tasty.  And since they had a dessert called “death by chocolate”, I just had to try it.

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It wasn’t the moistest cake I’ve eaten, but it did have a deep, rich chocolate flavor that I really enjoyed.  Total bill with a drink was $41.

Anthony’s Italian Restaurant
15 Depot St
Bryson City, NC
828-488-8898

Anthony's Restaurante Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Food3/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.0/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Dessert, Italian, NC
  • Pit Stop BBQ


    We’re heading up to North Carolina for week of vacation and our first pit stop was in Tifton, Georgia at Pit Stop BBQ right off of I-75.  If I had any doubts that we were in Georgia, they were squashed when our waitress greeted us.  There’s no mistaking that sweet Georgia twang.  We started off with some Brunswick stew.

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    This was the best part of our lunch.  It was a little sweet and had pork, potatoes, peas, beans and corn in it.  We both ordered the pull pork sandwiches, but with different sides.

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    The pork and the beans also had a sweet taste, not smoky at all.  The fried okra was the best of the sides, the rest were pretty generic.  I don’t know what I was expecting from a BBQ place off the highway, but there wasn’t anything memorable about the food here.  When I asked about dessert, our waitress said they had a chocolate layer cake.

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    This is not what I think of when I hear the words “chocolate layer cake”.  It was so dry and tasteless that we didn’t even finish it.  Total bill with a drink was $28.

    Pit Stop BBQ
    1112 8th St W
    Tifton, GA
    229-387-0888

    Pit Stop Bar B Q on Urbanspoon

    Food2/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere2/5
    Value2/5
    2.3/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: BBQ, GA
  • We went to dinner with friends tonight at Cuvee 103 in Safety Harbor.  It’s a wine bar and restaurant on the corner of Enterprise and McMullen Booth.  It had a pleasant interior, though I’ll never understand why restaurants feel the need to have a TV over the bar.  It really detracts from the atmosphere.  Our waitress brought over bread with a basil and an olive tampenade.

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    I prefer warm bread, so this didn’t do much for me, but everyone else seemed to like the olive & basil spreads.  We started off with two of the appetizers, the fried goat cheese and the duck confit spring rolls.

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    Both were good, but the general consensus was that the fried goat cheese was the better of the two.  They were crispy on the outside with a creamy pesto and goat cheese mix in the middle and served with a tasty red sauce.  The spring rolls weren’t rolled tight enough so the filling was rather loose.  It had a good flavor and the dipping sauce was a sweet plum ginger.  For our entrees, we all got something different.

    The braised short ribs:

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    The duck confit:

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    The stuffed pork loin:

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    The veal involtini:

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    Three out out of the four were good.  The braised short ribs were definitely the best of the bunch.  They were very tender in flavorful sauce.  The duck was well cooked and Loren really enjoyed the stuffed pork loin.  It had a sausage stuffing and he licked his plate clean.  My dish, however, was less than stellar.  The veal was tough and the filling of spinach, mushrooms, and fontina did nothing to help the cause.  It just didn’t have any flavor.  And speaking of no flavor, the grilled polenta was pretty much inedible.  I think I managed to eat half of one.  It had absolutely no seasoning in it and was gritty and bland.  The white wine sauce was the best thing on the plate, but nothing was going to overcome the shortcomings of the dish.  For dessert, our friends got the creme brulee and we tried the chocolate cheesecake.

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    The creme brulee had a beautiful, crispy sugar crust.  The cheesecake was very light and fluffy with almost a mousse like texture.  Both dessert dishes were empty in minutes.  The restaurant has live music that started toward the end of our meal thankfully.  The music was nice, but a little too loud for the space.  It would have been difficult to hold a casual conversation throughout.  Our waitress made us laugh, though, not on purpose most of the time.  She didn’t seem to fit the ambiance of the restaurant and appeared somewhat frazzled at times.  She was pleasant and kept our drinks filled, but really did seem like a duck out of water.  Total bill with two glasses of wine was $136 after a $25 Restaurant.com coupon.

    Cuvee 103
    2454 McMullen Booth Rd
    Clearwater, FL
    727-726-0350

    Cuvee 103 on Urbanspoon

    Food3/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value3/5
    3.0/5

    San Sushi and Grill recently opened up where Bella Kouzina was on SR 580 in Safety Harbor.  We got there early and were the only ones in the restaurant, but by the time we were done, it was starting to fill up.  Loren started with a ginger salad and then we got a boatload of sushi.

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    We tried the Mexican roll, the Kamikaze, the Rainbow, Snow Crab, and Lollipop, plus some salmon.  The fish was fresh and tasty.  I would have liked the shrimp in the Mexican roll to have been warmer.  It tasted like the shrimp was cooked and then had to sit while the rest of the sushi was prepared.  At other restaurants, the lollipop roll is served on a plate with a tangy vinegar sauce.  This one could have used that burst of flavor.  The snow crab roll was a little spicy, but not overwhelming.  Loren said the kamikaze roll had his tongue tingling.  They only had one sushi chef working while we were there, so it took a while a to get our food.  Overall, it was a good experience and we’ll likely be back.  It looked like they also had a Thai menu, so we may try that as well.

    San Sushi and Grill
    3101 State Road 580
    Safety Harbor, FL
    727-216-6178

    San Sushi and Grill on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value3/5
    3.4/5

    Occasionally, our dinner destination is chosen based on a dessert craving, so tonight we were off to Cafe Alfresco in Dunedin.  We thought we were going to beat the dinner crowd, but it was packed when we got there right before 6pm.  Luckily, they still had a few tables remaining so we didn’t have to wait.  We started off with the potstickers.

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    We’ve had these a few times and they’re very tasty.  They’re pork filled and have a sweet and spicy orange-ginger sauce on them.  Next up salad & rolls.

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    The rolls were warm and delicious and the salad had a raspberry vinaigrette on it.  I was a little surprised that our waiter didn’t ask us what kind of salad dressing we wanted, but the house dressing was tasty.  For his entree, Loren ordered the steak Giovanni.

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    He said the steak was cooked well, but under-seasoned.  However, since it was covered in prosciutto ham and provolone cheese, those both added the needed saltiness. I decided to try the lobster ravioli.

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    This isn’t a dish I’d order again.  There was a garlic cream sauce with veggies under the ravioli, but not enough of it to make a difference.  It was thick and the whole dish was just dry.  The lobster in the ravioli, what little there was of it,  tasted like the leftover bits that you don’t know what else to do with.   But the whole reason we were here was for the chocolate mousse cake.

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    Nom nom nom.  This is one of my favorite desserts in the area.  Layers of chocolate mousse and cake.  Absolutely delish.  Total bill with a drink was $53.

    Cafe Alfresco
    344 Main St
    Dunedin, FL
    813-736-4299

    Cafe Alfresco on Urbanspoon

    Food3/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value3/5
    3.0/5