The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.

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Archive for the ‘Cuisine’ Category

It was a cool night and I wanted some comfort food so we headed out to Southern Fresh in downtown Safety Harbor.  It seems quite a few other people had the same idea tonight.  Since it wasn’t warm enough to sit outside, we had to wait about 20 minutes for a table.  It’s a bit loud inside when it’s this full, but it’s so worth it.

Loren chose the salmon salad for dinner and I got what I always get, the fried chicken.

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They don’t have a large menu, in fact, I think it’s exactly the same as the first time we came here.  They’ve chosen to do a small number of menu items, but they do them right, every time.  The salmon was perfectly cooked and seasoned.  The salad has mixed greens, capers, grilled asparagus, tomatoes and a tasty balsamic vinaigrette.   The fried chicken is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.  It’s cooked to order so it’s hot and fresh.  Real mashed potatoes and gravy plus roasted veggies round out the deliciousness.  And then, who could pass up dessert?

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There’s not a bit left on the plate when we’re done.  It’s an angel food cake with sweetened strawberries and whipped cream.  Fresh and light, but oh so tasty.  Total bill with a drink was $36.  There’s a reason this place is busy.  The food, service and quality are consistent and great every time.

Southern Fresh
122 3rd Ave N
Safety Harbor, FL
727-216-6341

Southern Fresh on Urbanspoon

Food5/5
Service5/5
Atmosphere4/5
Value5/5
4.9/5

Fireside Table recently opened up in the location where San Sushi Grille and Bella Kozina were in Safety Harbor.  I know they just opened because the waitress mentioned it many times during the course of our meal.  Perhaps that was her way of warning us that they weren’t quite ready for the public; though, that became quite evident by the lack of quality of the food and service.   Our waitress brought over some cheddar biscuits while we were looking at the menu.  They were by far the best thing we were served here.

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They would have been better had they been warmed up, but otherwise they had a nice texture and flavor.  When I asked Loren what he was going to order, he said the roast pork and yellow rice, which I found odd since it wasn’t listed on my menu.  We asked the waitress and she checked with the kitchen and they said they did have it.  We weren’t sure if it was a new dish being added or one that was being removed.  (This should have been a warning sign).  Loren ordered it anyway with a salad as his side dish.   The waitress first brought out a Caesar salad and then had to go back to get the right salad.

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He wasn’t even halfway through the salad when she brought out the entrees.  Well, she brought my entree and brought him some other dish that he didn’t order.  She brought that back to the kitchen, so he finished his salad while I ate my chicken and dumplings with a side of mac & cheese.

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This was one big dish of mush.  It was very bland and had the same texture throughout.  There was very little chicken or dumplings; it was mostly sauce.  I’m not sure what the difference is between “fluffy cheese dumplings” and normal dumplings, but there certainly wasn’t anything outstanding about the ones in the dish.  The chicken was so overcooked and soft that you really didn’t need to chew much.  The mac & cheese was ok, but Loren did remark that it had a rather artificially looking color about it.  Eventually, his roast pork and yellow rice showed up.

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This was also one big dish of mush.  Nothing like what he expected from the menu.  It could have been any type of cooked to death meat, I would have said it was chicken, but it was flavorless and just mushy.  It had this odd watery gravy all over it that was just awful.  He ate a few bites before giving up.  One of the managers stopped by and asked how things were.  She commented on how there are so many variations of roast pork and would he like her to bring him some garlic and lime.  He declined as there was absolutely nothing that was going to help this dish.   The prices were cheap, our bill was $18 with a drink, but with this type of poor quality food, I expect there will be a different restaurant here before too long.  We certainly won’t be back.

Fireside Table
3101 SR 580
Safety Harbor, FL
727-216-6178

Fireside Table on Urbanspoon

Food1/5
Service1/5
Atmosphere1/5
Value1/5
1.0/5

Lots of Food


We stopped at the Crispy Cajun in Clearwater for dinner tonight.  It’s a little restaurant putting out a lot of tasty food at very reasonable prices.  They were busy when we got there and people kept coming in both for take out and to eat in the entire time we were there. The menu didn’t feel Cajun to me because there were so many varied things on it from hamburgers to fried chicken to crab rangoons as well as the things I expected like jambalaya, po-boys and red beans and rice.

Loren went for the jambalaya dinner which was enough to feed several people.

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It looked like take out Chinese food to me, but the flavors were all Cajun.  He ordered it medium spicy and it had way more heat in it than I could eat.  It was a huge portion with andouille sausage, shrimp, chicken, vegetables and rice.  The sauce had a deep, dark flavor to it that Loren thoroughly enjoyed.  I went for the oyster po-boy and added a side of okra and red beans and rice.

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The okra was cooked perfectly.  We just sat and munched on those throughout the meal.  The small portion was plenty for two, maybe three people.  The red beans and rice had a nice flavor as well.  As for the po-boy, my only complaint is that the tartar sauce on it overwhelmed the entire sandwich.  I couldn’t taste anything else.  I finally pulled out one of the oysters and it was very good.  If I ordered it again, I would get it without the tartar sauce.  The amazing part of this entire meal is that we got all this food for $23.  We don’t know how they can stay in business serving this much fresh, tasty food for such low prices.

Crispy Cajun
2097 Drew St
Clearwater, FL
727-441-8886

Crispy Cajun on Urbanspoon

Food4/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value5/5
3.7/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Cajun, Clearwater
  • Indian Food


    We were headed to the Holiday Lights at the Florida Botanical Gardens and stopped at Taste of Punjab for dinner.  They weren’t busy at all, but the food was good.  Loren munched on the papadum while we waited for our food.

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    I’m so predictable when it comes to Indian food.  Butter chicken is my go-to dish and this one did not disappoint.  I order it mild, but it still had enough heat and a wonderful mix of spices and flavors.  That’s what I love about Indian food; each bite tempts a different part of your tongue and it all melds so beautifully together.

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    We also got the garlic naan and Loren tried the goat korma.

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    I think the only thing he didn’t like about it was that the goat still had bones in it.  Other than that, it had a great flavor and the medium spiciness was just right for him.  If we’re down in Largo, we’d definitely eat there again.  Total bill with a drink was $37.

    Taste of Punjab
    10625 117th Dr N
    Largo, FL
    727-545-4103

    Taste of Punjab on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value3/5
    3.7/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Indian, Largo
  • My sister & I were in Winter Park today and stopped at Orchid Thai for lunch.  It was a gorgeous day so we sat outside and had soup and appetizers.

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    I got the coconut soup and she went for the lemongrass soup.  The aroma of both were amazing.  The lemongrass soup was a bit spicy with lots of vegetables.  The coconut soup had a beautiful lime, coconut, lemongrass flavor to it.  Yum!  We settled on the Orchid Sampler and an order of the golden purses to munch on.

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    The sampler had summer rolls, spring rolls, crispy shrimp, dumplings and curry puffs.  The dumplings and spring rolls were my favorite.  We both found the curry puffs to be a bit overpowering.  The golden purses are basically crab rangoons.  They had a nice crunch on the outside with a creamy filling.  It was a fresh, tasty lunch for $38.

    Orchid Thai
    305 Park Avenue North
    Winter Park, FL
    407-331-1400

    Orchid Thai Cuisine on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere4/5
    Value3/5
    3.9/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Thai, Winter Park