The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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We were in Arcadia today and stopped at Wheeler’s Cafe for lunch.  It was a crowded little restaurant, but we were able to get a seat out on the porch.  Loren ordered the cheeseburger with a side of chili.

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He said both were good.  The chili wasn’t spicy at all, but had a rich, tomatoey flavor.  I went for the country fried chicken, mashed potatoes & gravy, and fried green tomatoes.

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The chicken would have been better had it been flattened before being fried.  It was a bit on the tough side.  The mashed potatoes were homemade and yummy and the gravy had just the right amount of pepper in it.  As for the fried green tomatoes, they were quite greasy, but had a good flavor.  I wanted something sweet so we got a piece of the chocolate pudding pie.

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This didn’t do it for me.  The pudding was a bit too gelatinous for me and I’d much rather have real whipped cream than whipped topping.   Overall, the experience was just ok.  The food took a long time to come out and our waitress disappeared completely.  She never came back to the table to check on us.  Another waitress brought our dessert and check.  Total bill with a drink was $21.

Wheeler’s Cafe
13 S. Monroe Ave
Arcadia, FL
863-993-1555

Wheeler's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Food3/5
Service2/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
2.7/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: American, Dessert
  • The last time we were in North Carolina, we found the Cajun Connection Cafe and really loved the food, so planned to go back there this visit.  When we drove up, the restaurant name had changed to the Captain’s House.  We were all ready to go some where else, but decided to give it a try.  I’m glad we did because they still had the Cajun Connection menu.

    We just wanted a little bit of everything, so we ordered a salad, a cup of gumbo, a cup of red beans and rice, a cup of blue crab soup, and a bowl of ettouffe.

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    It was supposed to be crawfish ettouffe, but they were out of crawfish, so they substituted shrimp instead.  The shrimp was cooked and seasoned well, but I would have preferred the crawfish.  My favorite dish was the blue crab soup.  It was creamy and had a nice crab flavor.  All of the other dishes were good though.  Nothing was killer spicy, but it was all flavorful.  And we couldn’t pass up the bread pudding.

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    This was like a cinnamon roll bread pudding. Very addictive.  Lots of cinnamon flavor, plus the whisky cream sauce made for a perfect ending to a tasty meal.  Total bill with a drink was $28.

    Captain’s House
    1060 Highlands Rd
    Franklin, NC
    828-200-3542

    Cajun Connection Cafe on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value3/5
    3.4/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Cajun, Dessert, NC
  • 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
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  • Filed under: Dessert, Italian, NC
  • 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

    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