The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Archive for the ‘Seafood’ Category

Lunch with the boss at Joe’s Crab Shack in Clearwater today.  They like to play music at Joe’s.  Seems they have a loop that runs for about an hour.  Mostly old stuff from the 70’s and 80’s, or remixes of same.  Fairly listenable when they don’t have it turned  up too loud.  But, about every hour, they play “Car Wash”.  Yeah, you know the one.  Car wash, yeah!  That, in itself isn’t so bad, but the wait staff gets out and dances and shouts to it… every hour. (gets old in a hurry if you happen to be there more than an hour… which we have, on occasion)  Joe’s is probably a fun place in the evenings… personally, I think they try to be TOO fun at lunch time.  Glad I don’t work at Joe’s!

Anyway, the food at Joe’s is decent.  Typical chain restaurant fare, but pretty good seafood for a chain.  Nothing to write home about, but we eat lunch there fairly often.  Must not be too bad if we keep going back, right?

Had their blackened Mahi sandwich today with some fries.  It was not overly blackened, was nicely cooked, and quite tasty.  Huge chunk of fish, too… I cut about 2″ off of it to eat after I was done with the sandwich!  In the past, I’ve had their surf & turf burger (fried shrimp on a burger, really good!) and several other things that I can’t think of right now.

Looked like they had reworked their menu again since the last time we were there.  A lot of pricier menu items, but the sandwich page was still reasonable.  $7-8 for a good-sized sandwich.  Pretty sure they charge extra for the fries, though.  So, not the cheapest food, but good.  They have a large covered patio for comfortable outdoor seating, too… that’s the main reason we go there aside from being a central location for us.

Joe’s Crab Shack
2730 Gulf to Bay Blvd.
Clearwater, FL
(727) 799-8530

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  • Filed under: Clearwater, Seafood
  • We got up early this morning to go see “Alice in Wonderland” in IMAX 3D.  The movie was pretty good, but the Disney cartoon is still my favorite.

    After the movie we headed to downtown Safety Harbor for lunch, but forgot that the seafood festival was going on.  Parking looked like a nightmare, so instead we headed over to Fish Tail Willy’s near Countryside mall. 

    We ordered some calamari for an appetizer, but our waitress showed up with our entrees instead.  She forgot to put in our appetizer order, but offered to put in the order at no charge, so we went ahead and got it.

    We should have just gone without.  The calamari was tough.  The coating was nice and crunchy, but the calamari itself was chewy and overcooked.  It came with three dipping sauces,  Tomato Honey, Mango Jalapeno, and Spicey Aioli.  I liked the tomato honey one best.

    Loren ordered the Salmon Cake Sandwich and a salad. 

    It’s salmon folded with capers, zucchini and squash with a dill lime mayo.  It was crispy and had an unusual taste to it.  He enjoyed it. 

    I ordered a grouper sandwich and fries.

    The fries were really good and had a nice crunch to them.  The sandwich, however, wasn’t that great.  Even though I order fried grouper, I still expect it to not be greasy.  The bottom bun was soggy.  I also don’t like it when they place a very strong onion on top of the lettuce and tomato.  Even though I would have liked to put the lettuce and tomato on my sandwich, all I would have tasted was onion.

    We’ve eaten here before and it’s been good, but overall today, it was a very dissatisfying lunch for me.  For $25, I’m sure I could have had a better experience elsewhere.

    Fish Tail Willy’s
    2543 Countryside Blvd
    Clearwater, FL
    727-791-4270

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  • Filed under: Clearwater, Seafood
  • Long Day


    I knew I was going to have a long day at work today so I didn’t even bother taking anything out to cook for dinner.  Instead, we headed over to Sea Sea Riders in Dunedin.

    Even though they had heaters on the porch, we opted for inside seating since it was a bit chilly tonight.  We’ve eaten here a few times and it looked like they changed their menu quite a bit.

    Our entrees came with a choice of salad or cole slaw and we got one of each.

    It’s a good thing our waitress warned me that their cole slaw is normally served with peanuts on top.  I’m not a fan of peanuts and would have been rather dismayed had they been there.  The cole slaw was ok.  Loren said the peppercorn ranch salad dressing was pretty good.

    I ordered the clam chowder.

    My first reaction was that it smelled more like a chicken soup.  It didn’t have the really creamy texture that I expect in a chowder and it also had some sort of spice in it that I couldn’t quite identify and didn’t particularly care for.  The clams also had some grit to them.   Definitely not the best chowder I’ve had and I probably wouldn’t order it again. 

    Loren order the Mahi Mahi.

    It had a nice presentation.  It had a spicy coating on it and was served over some sort of cold beans and a cilantro sauce.  He seemed to really enjoy it, his plate was clean when he was finished.

    I ordered the same thing I usually order, the blue crab crusted grouper.

    I have never finished this dish.  It’s two large pieces of grouper served over linguini with spinach, plum tomatoes and a lobster tarragon sauce.  I don’t even need the grouper, I’d be happy with just the pasta in that sauce any day.  The grouper is flaky with a nice crunchy outer crust.  I don’t think I would be able to tell you that it was blue crab in the crust if it wasn’t listed on the menu that way.  The sauce is very light, but has a nice flavor to it. 

    Two entrees, chowder and a drink ran us $52.  It does seem a little high to me, but the food is really good and I usually have leftovers for the next day.

    Sea Sea Riders
    221 Main St
    Dunedin, FL

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  • Filed under: Dunedin, Seafood
  • I grew up in New England and there are some foods that immediately bring back the flavors I grew up on.  The Boston Cooker in Oldsmar does it best with one simple dish, fried Ipswich clams with bellies.   But, let’s not start there, first there’s the yeast rolls.

    As soon as you sit down, someone comes to your table with a pan of fresh out of the oven yeast rolls.  They’re hot and light and so delicious.  And they keep coming by your table to offer you more.  I’d love to say I stopped at one, or even two, but I finally made myself stop at three because otherwise I’d never eat my dinner.

    Then there’s the chowda. (yes, that’s how you say it)

    Thick, rich creamy clam chowder.  It has great flavor and we all but licked the bowl clean.  Next up, the salad.

    The salad is served family style and they’ll bring you more if you want it.  It’s got a light, creamy dressing on it.  Not quite ranch, not quite Ceasar, but very good.

    Ok, at this point, we’re already pretty full, and then come the entrees.  Loren got the Mahi special. 

    It had a dijon, horseradish, and breadcrumb coating and he got garlic mashed potatoes for his side dish.  He said the fish was really flaky and tender.

    I ordered what I always order when I come here.  The Ipswich clam dinner (with bellies) and steamed red potatoes.

    Just one bite of these and I’m back in New England.  There aren’t that many places that serve clams with bellies and it’s a taste straight out of my childhood.  Loren wanted to take pictures of the silly, happy face I kept making every time I bit into one. 

    Everytime we go to the Boston Cooker, I always wonder why we don’t go back more often.  We’ve always gotten great food there and it’s not that expensive.  Two entrees with sides, soup, salad, rolls and a drink for $42.  Plus a stroll down memory lane of the flavors I grew up on.

    Even the artwork reminds me of  home.

    Boston Cooker
    3705 Tampa Road Unit 6  
    Oldsmar, FL
    813-855-2311

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  • Filed under: Oldsmar, Seafood
  • Lock Your Car


    After a day of geocaching in Dunedin, Ozona, and Palm Harbor, we headed over to the Thirsty Marlin for dinner.

    We’ve been to the Thirsty Marlin a few times.  This was the first time I noticed sushi on the menu.

    I ordered a Mexican roll which is fried shrimp, avacado, and mayo.  I was very impressed.  The shrimp was cooked perfectly, nice and crunchy, the avacado was very fresh and the rice had great flavor to it.  I should have just ordered another one for my dinner.

    Instead, I ordered the ahi tuna and Loren got the Mahi Mahi.  Don’t get me wrong, I like my tuna rare, but I thought this one could have been seared just a bit longer.  It was covered in sesame seeds and the whole thing was cold.  I got Miss Bliss potato salad and Smugglers sweet potatoes for my side dishes.

     

    I ended up sending the potato salad back.  I took one bite and realized it was full of raw onions.  I don’t like raw onions in anything, so I got another order of the sweet potato casserole.  At first, I really liked it.  It was sweet with brown sugar and marshmallows all melted on top, but as I got further into it, it had a bitter flavor to it, but I couldn’t figure out what it was.  When I scooped the second order into our to-go box, there were really dark parts of it that turned out to be mollasses.  Ruined the entire thing for me.  All that awesome sweetness, turned bitter because it wasn’t mixed well.

    Loren enjoyed his mahi, baked potato and salad.  I should have just stuck with the sushi.  Our total bill was around $50 and there’s plenty of leftovers for tomorrow.

    As we were leaving, there were cop cars out where we parked asking if we had locked our car because several cars had just been broken into.  Luckily, there wasn’t anything in ours to steal, but I’d suggest locking your car if you’re eating there at night. 

    Thirsty Marlin
    1023 Florida Ave
    Palm Harbor, FL
    727-784-3469

    Thirsty Marlin Grill & Bar on Urbanspoon

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