We’ve seen so many new restaurants come and go lately that I’m pleasantly surprised when one makes it past their one year anniversary. The first time we visited Southern Fresh in Safety Harbor, I didn’t think they’d survive with such a limited menu. Don’t get me wrong, the food is amazing; but with so few choices, I had my doubts as to how often customers would return to eat there. I’m happy to say that they had a packed house tonight and the quality of the food has remained constant.
Loren started off with the BLT soup.
This is one of those dishes that you have to taste to believe. It has all the flavors of a BLT in a warm, peppery broth. The fresh crunch of the lettuce is such an interesting texture for a soup. Because the restaurant was full, there was a bit of a wait for our entrees. We were seated inside and I could see into the kitchen where the fried chicken magic was happening. Every piece was hand breaded and cooked in cast iron skillets. I also spent some time just looking at the decor. I liked the old fashioned glass domes on the ceiling fans.
Our entrees arrived fresh and hot out of the kitchen. Loren ordered their special tonight which was a blackened red fish with saffron rice and roasted veggies.
He said it was delicious. The fish was perfectly cooked and seasoned. The roasted veggies were tasty, but some were unevenly cooked so harder than others. I went for their famous fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy and the roasted veggies.
My only complaint is that I wish it was served on a larger plate. It was a bit crowded and hard to not knock things off onto the table. I ordered the dark meat which meant two thighs and a leg. The chicken was crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside. There’s nothing I like more than real mashed potatoes and these were the real deal. Banana pudding is the only dessert on their menu, but tonight they also had a strawberry shortcake on their specials menu so we had to have some.
Though I’m not a big fan of sponge cake, the rest of this dessert was delicious. Fresh strawberries, not overly sweet and a perfect portion for two. The service here is also very good. They all help each other and clear plates and fill glasses. Overall, a great dinner for $44.
122 3rd Ave N
Safety Harbor, FL
We were down in St Pete today and stopped for breakfast at Doe Does Diner. The place was packed, but luckily we got there at the tail end of breakfast so a lot of people were leaving. I’m guessing the only menus they have are the paper placemats on the tables because we weren’t offered any menus, which seemed strange since there weren’t any lunch selections on the placemat. Maybe you have to ask for a lunch menu?
Anyway, we both settled on breakfast. Loren ordered an omelette and I got the country benedict.
It was typical diner food. Both dishes could have used more seasoning. The biscuits in my dish were very good. They’re buried under all of the sausage gravy in the photo. Overall, a fairly hearty breakfast for $14.
Doe Doe’s Diner
9395 Bay Pines Blvd
St Petersburg, FL
Blue Sake recently opened up in Dunedin, so we headed over there for dinner to try out their sushi. The restaurant looks nice and was well lit. I’m not a fan of mood lighting where it’s so dark that you can barely see your food.
We started off with the Golden Silk Shrimp and a cucumber salad.
Loren liked the shrimp more than I did. They’re wrapped in egg noodles and fried. They had a nice crunch, but the shrimp was overcooked. For our sushi, we got a tuna avocado roll, a salmon avocado roll, a Mexican roll and a Bonsai roll.
Plus this cute as can be dragon roll.
They definitely get points for creativity. The little wasabi dragon head was just too cute. Overall, the sushi was really fresh and tasty. They had a large selection of rolls to choose from and their prices are in line with the other sushi restaurants in the area. The funniest thing about the experience was when the waiter came to clear the plates, he said it was time to slay the dragon and then he squished it with another plate. It made me chuckle. Total bill with a drink was $61.
1425 Main St, Ste I
We were sitting at home watching an episode of Chopped where the chefs had to make burgers for every round. By the end of the show, we were trying to figure out where to go for burgers for dinner. We ended up at TGI Friday’s in Westchase.
Loren got the bacon cheeseburger, and I just got a regular cheeseburger. They were both cooked well and I really enjoyed the seasoned fries. The best part of going to TGI Friday’s though is the vanilla bean cheesecake.
This has to be one of the all time favorite desserts. The cheesecake part is good, but the vanilla mousse on top is awesome. So yummy. Total bill with a drink was $29.
11705 W. Hillborough Ave
We were heading to Bradenton to see the DaVinci exhibit and had planned on eating at El Durango’s, but it was closed. Alvarez Mexican Restaurant was across the street, so we ended up there instead. It took a while before the waiter came by with menus and took our drink order. In fact, while we were waiting, we watched another patron walk out due to poor service. Loren liked the chips and salsa.
The salsa didn’t look like much, but he said it was fresh and tasty. He ordered a #7 which is a taco, burrito and enchilada.
He said the enchilada sauce was more sweet than spicy. Overall, it was just plain, inexpensive Mexican food. I ordered the beef and bean chimichanga.
The cheddar cheese sauce tasted like Cheez-whiz and seemed like an odd choice. The chimi didn’t have the same crunch as I’ve had at other places. The flavors were very plain. There was just nothing memorable about any of the food. Total bill with a drink was $19.
Alvarez Mexican Restaurant
1431 Eighth Avenue West