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

BBQ


On our way back from Brooksville, we stopped at Hungry Harry’s BBQ in Land O’Lakes.  The dining room was full and it took our waitress a while to even acknowledge we were there.  We both ordered ribs, Loren the country style and me, the baby backs.

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For sides, we got potato salad, greens, cornbread pudding and mac & cheese.  My ribs were more tender than the country style ones, but not quite as fall off the bone as I would have liked.  They both had a good smoke flavor and the bbq on mine was tangy and sweet.  The sides were all ok.  Total bill with a drink was $33.

Hungry Harry’s
3116 Land O Lakes Blvd
Land O Lakes , FL
813-949-2025

Hungry Harry's Bar-B-Que on Urbanspoon

Food3/5
Service2/5
Atmosphere2/5
Value2/5
2.4/5
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  • Filed under: BBQ, Land O'Lakes
  • We went over to Palm Harbor for dinner tonight at the New England’s Ale House Grille.   We almost didn’t even bother going in since their main parking is by valet.  I’m just one of those people who doesn’t like handing my keys over to a stranger.  We did manage to grab the last spot in the lot next door and walk over.  They didn’t have any seating available inside, so we found a table out on the porch, where unfortunately they allow smoking.  The first thing Loren noticed was that the main board on the railing around the porch in front of us was warped.  He looked at me and said, “Wouldn’t you have just spent the extra money to replace it with a straight board?”.  I only mention this because that lack of detail was evident in our entire experience here.

    We ordered a bowl of clam chowder to split between us.

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    Our waitress brought out 1 spoon and then asked us if we wanted another one.  Umm, yeah.  I can only assume that she had to walk to the furthest part of the kitchen and wash the spoon herself given how long it took her to bring one back to the table.  It became very apparent throughout the meal that she hasn’t been a waitress for long.  As for the chowder, it was underseasoned and the potatoes were unevenly cooked.  It didn’t have a lot of clams in it and the ones that were in it were on the chewy side.  It was very creamy, but one note.  The only saving grace was the little bit of bacon on top.  Next up were the salads.

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    It was a mixed green salad, which I’m not fond of.  I’m an iceberg lettuce kind of gal.  Loren likes the greens; I think they’re just yard weeds.  At this point, the waiting began for our entree.  Loren asked for some more ice for his tea and again, I can only assume that the waitress had to go to the far corner of the restaurant to get it.  I also observed the other tables around us with empty glasses.  One guy had asked the waitress for ketchup, but eventually gave up and  asked another table if he could borrow theirs.  About 5 minutes later the waitress showed up with the ketchup.

    Then our entrees finally arrived.  Loren ordered the crab cakes with brussel sprouts and mac & cheese.

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    He said the crab cakes were ok, but again like everything else, lacked seasoning.  The brussel sprouts were unevenly cooked so only half were edible. The mac & cheese was pretty good.  I ordered the whole belly clams with red potatoes and mac & cheese.

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    As you can see from the photo, there are brussel sprouts on my plate.  I informed the lady that brought our food that I had not ordered brussel sprouts.  She went back to the kitchen and I never saw her again.  Our waitress came to the table and I told her that I ordered red potatoes and she went back to the kitchen.  Eventually, she came back out and apologized and said it was her fault, and would I like to have the potatoes?  Seriously?  All this time and you still haven’t brought me my potatoes??  I told her yes and about half way through the meal, I finally got the unevenly cooked red potatoes.

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    Now, as for my clams… sigh, they were not properly prepared and were watery.  Definitely needed seasoning as much as everything else on the plate.   There was also one big chunk of smooshed together clams that I just left on the plate.  The menu also said there should be dinner rolls, but that never happened either.  At this point, we just wanted to get out of there.  Now, here’s the kicker.  This was an overpriced $61 meal and they charged me 25 cents for water!  Now the bill said “water with lemon”, which I didn’t specifically ask for lemon because I just remove it anyway, but I have never in my life been charged for water.  I will be surprised if this place survives.  Everything from the poor service to the unevenly, under-seasoned food to the fact that they are so cheap as to charge for water solidified the fact that we’ll never be back.

    New England’s Ale House Grille
    3419 US 19 Alternate
    Palm Harbor, FL
    727-785-9700

    New England Ale House Grill on Urbanspoon

    Food2/5
    Service1/5
    Atmosphere2/5
    Value1/5
    1.6/5

    A friend and I were heading to a movie and stopped at First Watch for breakfast.  Luckily, we got there before the big Sunday crowd showed up.  We both ordered skillets.

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    I got mine with avocado and over easy eggs. The potatoes were perfectly cooked and the fruit on the side was fresh.  It was fresh and perfectly cooked.  That’s one of the things I really like about this restaurant.  Everything from the decor to the food is light and fresh.  It just has an overall different feel from so many of the other chain breakfast restaurants.  Something as simple as leaving a pitcher of water and coffee on the table makes it so much more convenient for both the waitress and us.  Total bill was $9.

    First Watch
    2569 Countryside Blvd
    Clearwater FL
    727-712-8769

    First Watch on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere4/5
    Value3/5
    3.9/5

    Get Dessert


    We tried going to BurgerMonger last week but couldn’t find a parking space.  This location on Enterprise Road is notorious for not having enough parking for all of the businesses in the little shopping center.  I think this space has turned over at least 4 times that I can remember.

    You order at the counter and they bring the food out to you.  It’s set up and looks a lot like Five Guys with the open kitchen.  The food came out fast and was surprisingly very tasty.

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    You just never know what to expect from these quasi-fast food restaurants.  Their claim to fame is the Akaushi Kobe beef that they use in their burgers.  It was a tasty burger.  They cook them well done unless you ask otherwise, which we both wanted medium and they were cooked a perfect medium.  Loren added bacon, cheese & a garlic sauce that he really liked.  I went with mushrooms, onions & cheese.  We also got the 1/2 lb of fries.  They actually could have been cooked a little longer.  They were a bit limp and not quite crispy enough.

    What this place has over some of the others is a strawberry butter cake.

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    This was awesome.  It had two big scoops of Hagen Daaz vanilla ice cream, sweetened strawberries and a tasty butter cake.  Worth every penny and calorie.  Total bill with a drink was $27.

    BurgerMonger
    2454 McMullen Booth Road, Suite 207
    Clearwater, FL
    727-726-4001

    Burgermonger on Urbanspoon

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

    Italian Lunch


    We went over to Zerillo’s Italian Grill for lunch today.  The restaurant was pretty empty for lunchtime.  We haven’t been here for quite a while since our last experience wasn’t that great.  We started off with some garlic rolls.

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    I think these were the best part of the meal.   They were fresh out of the oven, soft and warm and very garlicy.  Good stuff.  The tomato sauce had a nice flavor to it as well.  For his lunch, Loren ordered the chicken parmesan which came with a stuffed shell and I ordered the chicken marsala which came with pasta.

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    I should have reread my last blog post about this restaurant before I ordered.  The waitress asked what kind of pasta I wanted and I said fettucine alfredo and just like last time, she never indicated that there was a $4 upcharge for it.  Either tell me what kind of pasta comes with the dish or let me know it costs more for what I ask for.  Other than that, though, both dishes were pretty good.  The chicken was tender and the sauces both had a good flavor.  There was a lot of food and we both had leftovers.  At one point Loren attempted to use the salt shaker only to discover the salt was one big clump inside the shaker.  Total bill with a drink was $27.

    Zerillo’s Italian Grill
    11653 Countryway Blvd
    Tampa, FL
    813-855-5178

    Zerillo's Italian Grill on Urbanspoon

    Food3/5
    Service2/5
    Atmosphere2/5
    Value2/5
    2.4/5