The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Archive for the ‘American’ Category

Busy Sunday

We went over to Cafe Alfresco in Dunedin for lunch today.  The restaurant was packed and we ended up with about a 20 minute wait.  It wouldn’t have been so bad except that they don’t have any place inside to wait and it was so hot & humid outside.  I was melting by the time our table was ready.  Loren decided on the buttermilk chicken sandwich and I went for a cheeseburger.




Both were tasty and the fries were nice and crunchy.  This is one of our go-to restaurants when we want simple, tasty food.  Total bill with a drink was $23.

Cafe Alfresco
344 Main St
Dunedin, FL

Cafe Alfresco on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: American, Dunedin
  • No Fillers

    We went to lunch with a friend of ours today and he hadn’t been to the Surfside Cafe yet, so that was our destination.  They had a shrimp burger on their specials menu today and we each got one.  He went for the grilled and I went for the fried with sweet potato fries.



    My expectation was that it was going to be ground up shrimp with lots of filler, boy, was I wrong!  This was made with whole shrimp, no filler and a nice, crispy exterior.  The shrimp were perfectly cooked and it had a nice crunch.  The tarter sauce served with it had a distinct fresh dill flavor to it.  Very yummy!  The grilled version was identical except for the breading on the outside.  Loren decided to try the blackened grouper sandwich.



    He was very impressed with it as well.  He commented how he’d been so disappointed in grouper sandwiches in general lately that he’s been ordering mahi more often than not.  He said this sandwich put him back on the grouper bandwagon.  Fresh, perfectly cooked, and lightly blackened.  I got the distinct feeling he’ll be ordering this again.  This was our second visit here and everything was delicious.  I expect we’ll be back many more times.   Total bill for the three sandwiches & two drinks was $34.

    Harr’s Surfside Cafe
    3235 Tampa Road
    Palm Harbor, FL

    Harr's Surfside Cafe on Urbanspoon



    Salt Rock Tavern recently opened up in Oldsmar and from start to finish, this was not a pleasant experience.   For some reason, they chose not to use the entrance in the front of the building, instead choosing to use an unmarked door on the side.  We really weren’t sure we were in the right place when we walked in from the parking lot.  It was 5:30pm when we got there and though the inside looked spacious and rather empty, we were told there was an hour wait unless we wanted to eat on the patio or at a communal table in the bar area.  We went ahead & chose an outside table.

    Our waiter brought over a lukewarm carafe of water and two small glasses.  Since I drink water with my meals, I had to ask for a larger glass with ice.  Loren ordered the crispy chicken sandwich which came with fries.




    The Texas toast was quite a bit bigger than the piece of chicken and the name “salt rock” aptly applied to this sandwich.  The chicken was coated in what tasted like large crunchy rocks of salt.  Loren actually thought it was bacon at first, but since bacon wasn’t listed on the description and it had no bacon flavor, I have to assume it was just salt.  Quite inedible in my opinion.  My meatloaf sandwich wasn’t much better.



    It was almost as salty as the chicken sandwich and had a strong fennel flavor to it.  I’m guessing the meatloaf was made partly with sausage.  There just came a point where I couldn’t ingest any more salt.  The fries weren’t hot or crispy and tasted like they had been sitting in the kitchen for quite a while.

    The layout of the patio was also poorly planned.  While we were out there, a typical Florida thunderstorm came through drenching the one table of people that were at the edge of the seating area & sending everyone at the bar running inside.  There wasn’t an overhang between the restaurant and the side of the patio we were on, so the waiter got wet every time he had to go back inside.  Their satellite TV went out with the first raindrop.  We won’t be back.  Total bill with a drink was $18.

    Salt Rock Tavern
    3689 Tampa Road
    Oldsmar, FL

    Salt Rock Tavern on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: American, Oldsmar
  • Harr’s Surfside Cafe recently opened in the space vacated by MecaFresh.  It’s owned by Harr’s Surf & Turf next door.  They don’t have a very large menu, but I couldn’t resist the lobster roll & chowder combo.



    Though I did think the lobster roll was a bit on the small side, it was all fresh perfectly cooked lobster meat with just a hint of celery and mayo.  This is the perfect lobster roll in my opinion.  Nothing to get in the way of the lobster.  The chowder also had some nice flavors going on.  Loren ordered one of the specials, the spicy pastrami.



    I made him get the mac & cheese as his side dish.  Though it had a very cheddary flavor, it wasn’t quite creamy enough for my tastes.  He said the pastrami wasn’t very spicy, but overall the sandwich was good.  Total bill with a drink was $23.

    Harr’s Surfside Cafe
    3235 Tampa Road
    Palm Harbor, FL

    Harr's Surfside Cafe on Urbanspoon


    Mixed Results

    The Sea Dog Brewing Co opened up recently in Clearwater.  Though we’re not drinkers, their menu looked interesting enough to draw us in.  The restaurant is big and open and a bit on the loud side.  We started off with the calamari and some clam chowder.





    Both were very good.  The calamari had a nice crunch, but was also tender.  I didn’t like the kalamata and caper aioli that came with it though.  I’m not a fan of olives, but Loren liked it.  The clam chowder was very creamy and had nice chunks of clam in it without any grit.  Nothing worse than getting clam chowder with gritty clams.  Loren thought it was a little too thick, but I thought it was perfect.  For his entree, he got the pot roast dinner.



    He said the pot roast was very tender and tasty.  He liked the potatoes, but wasn’t quite as thrilled with the broccoli rabe.  I saw whole belly clams on their appetizer menu and ordered that as my entree with a side of mac & cheese.





    Unfortunately, I wouldn’t order either of these items again.  The clams were very crunchy with very small bellies.  The quality just wasn’t there.   The mac & cheese is made with a beer cheese sauce that was very overwhelming.  Not a flavor that I liked at all.   Our waiter ended up taking it off the bill since he realized that I just didn’t like it.  He recommended that I try the lobster mac & cheese next time as it’s made with a different cream sauce.  We finished off the meal with the apple crisp.



    When it came out, it was nothing like we had expected.  It was more like a slice of apple pie than what I had imagined a crisp to be.  The apples were very tart, but they actually blended well with the soft crust, ice cream and caramel.  I expect that we’ll try the food here again.  There were a lot of other things on the menu that peaked my interest.  Total bill with a drink was $55.

    Sea Dog Brewing Co
    26200 US Hwy 19 N
    Clearwater, FL

    Sea Dog Brewing Co on Urbanspoon