The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Archive for the ‘Safety Harbor’ Category

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.

Southern Fresh
122 3rd Ave N
Safety Harbor, FL

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We stopped by The Sandwich on Main for lunch today.  It’s a new little sandwich shop on Main Street in Safety Harbor.  The dining room isn’t very big and we ended up sitting at the counter in the back.  They have a wide range of specialty sodas and Loren liked the Hank’s Black Cherry, but since I normally just drink water, I was a bit surprised when the waitress brought me a cup of lukewarm tap water.  When I asked for ice, the waitress apologized and said they’ve been trying for the three months since they’ve opened to get an ice machine but they still hadn’t found one.

As for the sandwiches, Loren got an Italian and I built my own ham & cheese.




We both found the sandwiches to be very plain and lacking anything distinctive that would make us want to return to the restaurant.  Loren said the meats in the Italian were fine, but there wasn’t any pop of flavor from a vinegar/oil or Italian spice mix.  I didn’t like the flavor of the provolone cheese on mine and there wasn’t quite enough lettuce and tomato on the entire sandwich.  Total bill with a drink was $20.

The Sandwich on Main
308 Main Street
Safety Harbor, FL

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On the Porch

The weather’s finally beginning to cool down here, so we went over to Southern Fresh and had a very pleasant dinner out on the porch.  They had a guitar player on the patio which completed the lovely atmosphere.  Loren had to start off with the BLT soup.



How a soup can taste like a sandwich is beyond me, but this one does it.  The broth has a wonderful flavor from the tomato and bacon and you get the crisp crunch of lettuce in each bite.  It’s a tasty little soup.  For his entree, Loren got the roasted pork with mashed potatoes and greens.



The pork was cooked perfectly.  It had a nice smokey flavor and was tender and juicy.  I had to steal a couple of bites.  I went for their famous fried chicken with roasted veggies and mashed potatoes.



Normally, it’s two pieces of chicken, but the waiter said because the pieces were small, they were serving two thighs and a leg for the dark meat portion tonight.  The chicken is perfectly seasoned and cooked.  It’s got a nice crunchy exterior and very juicy inside.  Some of the best chicken in the area.  The roasted veggies and potatoes were good too.  We both cleaned our plates, so that meant we could have dessert, right??  Tonight, they had just finished making a peach crisp.



I had mixed feelings about this dessert.  On one hand, it was quite delicious.  The peaches and crumb base were excellent.  The only part that didn’t work for me was the candied lemon peel on top.  Some bites were ok, but others were way too bitter.  Overall, though, this was a great meal for $39.

Southern Fresh
122 3rd Ave N
Safety Harbor, FL

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We went over to Taverna Skara for dinner tonight.  It was really empty for a Saturday night and you could almost feel the disappointment in the staff as they continually looked out the windows to see if any customers were heading toward the door.  We’ve been here a couple of times before and every time, they bring something different to the table.  Today it was bread and an olive spread.



The bread was thick and dense.  Loren liked the olive spread.  I’m not a fan of olives and even the smell was too strong for me.  For so few customers in the restaurant, it seemed to take a really long time for our entrees to come out of the kitchen.  Loren ordered the salmon salad.



He said the salmon was cooked well, but needed seasoning and his salad wasn’t dressed properly.  It lacked flavor.  I ordered the chicken lemonati.



With a name like “lemonati”, I expected an amazing burst of lemon flavor and to be honest, I almost didn’t order the dish, thinking the lemon may be overwhelming.  Boy, was I wrong.   There wasn’t even an inkling of lemon flavor in the chicken or mushroom sauce.  The only thing that had any lemon flavor were the potatoes.  I liked the mushrooms, but the chicken could have been a bit more tender.  My salad was heavily dressed with vinegar.  Loren ended up mixing some of it into his salad to try to get an even balance of dressing.  Service was also a bit on the hit or miss side.  Our waitress would disappear and someone else ended up clearing plates, getting our check and doing a lot of the customer service.  We keep trying to give this place the benefit of the doubt, but they tend to underwhelm each time we visit.  The loud thumping background music was also a bit on the annoying side and did not fit the atmosphere either.   Overall, it was just a very mediocre meal for $31.

Taverna Skara
2454 McMullen Booth Rd
Clearwater, FL

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Sometimes it’s the silly little things that amuse us to no end.  Something that just catches you off guard and makes you giggle.  We went over to Athens in downtown Safety Harbor for breakfast and they had the Popeye omelette on their specials board.  What does Popeye love?  Spinach and Olive.  Loren had to order it just because it made us giggle.



Along with the spinach and olives, it also had bacon in it, everything’s better with bacon, right?  He really enjoyed the omelette.  I went for the blueberry pancakes and eggs over easy.



The pancakes were very tasty, but I forgot just how hot blueberries can get and burned my tongue on the first bite.  The eggs were perfectly cooked as well.  Our waitress was a little frazzled this morning, but other than that, it was a very enjoyable $15 breakfast.

Athens Restaurant
226 Main St
Safety Harbor, FL

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