The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Archive for the ‘Dessert’ Category

There are some restaurants where after the first bite you just know that you’re going to come back again.  That was our reaction at Zaytoun Mediterranean Grill.  When a basket of fresh baked pita is placed in front of you and steam actually pours out when you rip into it, you know life is good.

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It was so light and fluffy that I couldn’t stop eating it even though I knew there was a lot more food heading our way.  We decided to try the stuffed grape leaves.

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I’m usually the picky one about stuffed grape leaves, but I really liked these.  They were served cold and had this intense lemon flavor throughout.  The filling was rice, parsley, onions and tomatoes and it was soft and flavorful.  Loren thought the rice was a little too soft, but for me, they were perfect.   We also got a bowl of the lentil soup.

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It needed a touch of salt, but otherwise very good.  We decided to split the mixed grill platter.  It had grilled kufta, steak, chicken, rice and veggies.

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There was plenty of food for two.  The meats were all tender and full of flavor.  The beef was a little too spicy for me, but the kufta and chicken were so good.  They have a signature dessert on their menu that you order 30 minutes ahead of time.  It’s called a knafeh.

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It’s shredded dough with homemade cream served with pistachios and drizzled with an orange honey syrup.  We didn’t know what to expect.  The exterior is crunchy and there’s this smooth cream on the inside and the whole thing has this warm honey taste to it.  It was different than anything we’ve had before and with each bite, you savored all of the flavors and textures.  It wasn’t overly sweet either.  We ended up taking half of it home.  Overall, the food was excellent.  It did take some time to come out of the kitchen, but it was worth the wait.  I just wished they were located closer to where we live.  Total bill with a drink was $44.

Zaytoun Mediterranean Grill
10970 Cross Creek Blvd
Tampa, FL
813-345-2515

Zaytoun Mediterranean Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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

Surf Shack has become my go-to place for mac & cheese lately.  The filet with mushrooms and onions is my favorite, but the spinach, bacon & goat cheese is pretty tasty too.

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The filet is unbelievably tender and the addition of the crunchy haystack onions on top gives the dish that little bit of texture it needs.  The pasta is perfectly cooked with a creamy Monterey jack & American cheese blend.  While I’m going the decadent route, Loren leans toward their salads.  This time he chose the chicken & walnut salad.

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The chicken was nicely cooked and the mixture of ingredients gives you a bunch of different textures and flavors, from crunchy walnuts to tangy dried cranberries and creamy goat cheese.  Then on occasion, we feel the need for something sweet… ok, on most occasions.

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Their brownie sundae should really be served in a big bowl because it is messy!  Vanilla ice cream, brownie pieces, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce and whipped cream.  We made a huge mess, but it was tasty.  Total bill with a drink was $30.

Surf Shack Coastal Kitchen
12217 West Linebaugh Ave
Tampa, FL
(813) 475-5916

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Food4/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.4/5
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  • Filed under: American, Dessert, Tampa
  • Loren was in the mood for Italian food tonight, so we headed over to Johnny’s in Clearwater.  We just beat the dinner crowd and didn’t have to wait for a table.  There’ s no passing on the bread here.  It’s so yummy.

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    The dipping oil has enough garlic in it to ward off a gang of vampires.  Tasty, but really strong.  While Loren went for the salad, I opted for the New England clam chowder.

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    The chowder was thick and creamy and had a good flavor.  We hadn’t completely finished when our calamari arrived.

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    Some pieces were a bit chewier than others, but overall it was good.  The tomato sauce served with it had a little bit of a kick.  Our entrees arrived before we had finished the calamari.  It seems they were in a hurry to turn over tables.   Loren tried the linguine with red clam sauce.

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    He said the clams were a little chewy, but the dish was flavorful.  I thought it had a really strong aroma.  It was also way more than he could eat in one sitting.  I went for the chicken marsala with fettucine alfredo on the side.

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    I would have liked the chicken to have been more tender, but the marsala sauce was tasty.  I love their fettucine alfredo when it’s done right.  I’ve had mixed experiences here where the sauce breaks and you’re left with a pool of oil on the plate, but tonight’s pasta was spot on.  I also ended up with leftovers.

    We decided to try something different for dessert and ordered the cookies and cream ice cream cake.

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    When it arrived, it was nothing like I expected.  When I think of ice cream cake, but mind goes back to those rolled ice cream cakes.  This was just ice cream with a fudge layer on top.  There wasn’t any cake to speak of.  The ice cream was good, but it’s probably not something we’d order again.  Total bill with a drink was $44.

    Johnny’s Italian Restaurant
    2907 SR 590 #1
    Clearwater, FL
    727-797-2940

    Click to add a blog post for Johnny's Italian on Zomato

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

    We hadn’t been out to The German Restaurant in Holiday in a long time and every time we go back we wonder why we don’t go more often.  The food is so hearty and fresh.  They started us off with some warm bread and I can’t resist the potato pancakes.

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    It’s such a simple dish, but has the right amount of crisp and soft in the same bite.  Next up was some goulash soup and salad for Loren and the chicken soup for me.

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    The chicken soup had that homemade flavor to it, but the noodle were a bit mushy.  The goulash soup had an interesting flavor to it.  It’s got some spices that you wouldn’t normally associate with German food, but Loren licked the bowl clean.  For his entree, he went for the Farmer Sausages with potato salad and red cabbage.

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    He liked everything on the plate.  The sausages were cooked perfectly and had a nice smoky flavor.  I can’t resist ordering the Jaegerschnitzel with spaetzle.

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    This is one of my all time favorite meals.  The pork is cooked perfectly with this amazing buttery coating on it.  The mushroom gravy is thick and flavorful and the spaetzle is so yummy.  There’s way more on this plate than I can eat in one sitting, so leftovers are an added bonus.  And there’s just no walking away with out a piece of black forest cake.

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    Moist chocolate cake with a creamy filling.   Delish!  The service is very friendly here and you never walk away hungry.  Total bill with a drink was $59.

    The German Restaurant
    2616 US Hwy 19
    Holiday, FL
    727-937-7400

    Click to add a blog post for The German Restaurant on Zomato

    Food5/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere4/5
    Value4/5
    4.4/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Dessert, German, Holiday
  • Madfish Grill


    I have an obsession with Ipswich fried clams, so when I see them on a menu for a restaurant, we have to go eat there.  Madfish Grill in Sarasota is supposedly the only place in town that carries them.  They weren’t very busy when we arrived around 6:30pm which was fine with us.  We started off with some bread & the lobster fondue.

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    The fondue was tasty with the toasted Cuban bread, but we didn’t like the strips of crunchy whatever it was that they put on top of it.  They tasted ok and we tried to remove most of them, but they sort of melted into the fondue so you couldn’t get a clean scoop without getting some of the now mushy garnish.  It was just unnecessary.  For his entree, Loren got the grouper Florentine.

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    The asparagus was perfectly cooked and still crunchy, so he really liked that.  The grouper was also perfectly cooked, but after just having the fondue, the cheese sauce was a bit much.  It also had mashed potatoes on the bottom of it.  He was happy and very full.  The whole belly clams were the only thing on my mind.

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    The clams were delicious.  Just like I remember from when I was a kid in New England.  The fries were ok, but the cole slaw was too tart for me.  I needed a touch of sweetness, so we got the chocolate lava cake.

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    Pretty standard lava cake with ice cream and whipped cream.  Tasty end to a a tasty meal.  Total bill with a drink was $68.

    Madfish Grill
    4059 Cattlemen Rd
    Sarasota, FL
    941-377-3474

    Madfish Grill on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value3/5
    3.7/5