We ate out 26 times in July and spent about $680 between the two of us.
Here are the highs and lows from July:
Best Soup: Chicken Coconut Soup from Tom Yum Thai & Sushi
Best Sushi Roll: Lobster Tempura from Samauri Blue
Best Overall Flavors: Deeya Indian Cuisine
Worst Chinese Food: Takee Outee
Worst Lasagne: Vincenzo’s
The last time we were at Thirsty Marlin, we got a Mexican roll appetizer and it was really good. We went back tonight to try some of their other sushi rolls.
Loren started off with a salad.
And then we ordered a bunch of sushi because we find it impossible to order just a little bit of sushi.
The Dynamite roll had tuna, salmon, crab, cream cheese, cucumber, avocado and smelt roe. This one was really tasty. It had a little spicy mayo on it, but only around the middle.
The Rainbow roll was my favorite. California Roll topped with tuna, salmon, snapper, avocado and smelt roe. The fish on top was very fresh and very tasty. Both the California roll and the salmon nigiri were good too.
We also got a Mexican roll because that’s what was so good the first time we had sushi here and a Key West roll. The Mexican roll was good, but not quite as good as I remember. The Key West roll, which was conch and avacado, was way too spicy. The menu said nothing about spicy in the description of this roll. We ended up leaving most of it untouched. I popped one piece in my mouth and the heat lasted for most of the meal. Granted, I’m wimpy when it comes to spicy, but my mouth was on fire from just one piece of this roll.
The rolls here are thicker, or maybe the rice is just denser than other places. We were both stuffed. Total bill was $49. I’d definitely eat sushi here again, but I’ll avoid the Key West roll next time.
1023 Florida Ave
Palm Harbor, FL
Finally went to see Toy Story 3 today. It was cute, but those folks at Pixar really know how to pull at your heart strings. We headed over to Jack Willies for a quick lunch after the movie.
Too hot to sit on the deck for lunch so we got a table inside. Ordered some chips and queso and split their special today, some grouper sliders.
The chips were not fresh and crisp which was pretty disappointing. The queso was pretty good once I remembered it had chili in it and mixed it all up. Loren didn’t like the salsa.
The grouper sliders came with onions and a lime aioli sauce on the side and we ordered some fries to go with them. I didn’t like them. I thought they were way too dry. Although I like their lime aioli, I think it tastes much better on grilled fish with some cabbage or lettuce to go with it. The fries were good though.
For $23, this was not the best meal I’ve had at Jack Willies. We should gone for a burger instead.
Jack Willie’s Tiki Bar and Grill
1013 St Petersburg Dr
We haven’t been to Vincenzo’s in a while, so that’s where we headed tonight. The parking lot was full, but luckily we were able to get a table without a wait. The restaurant doesn’t have a very large dining room, but the artwork and decor are both very pleasing to the eye. Street lamps decorate a balcony railing to make you feel as though you’re on an outside veranda.
First up, some homemade bread with pesto, olive oil, and butter.
I liked the bread, Loren thought it was too dense. It was warm and had a nice texture and flavor to it. We looked through all the appetizers on the menu, but let’s face it, we like calamari.
The calamari had a nice crunch and the marinara sauce was really good. You could tell it had cooked for a long time because the flavors melded so well. Salads also came with our meals.
Loren ordered the chicken gorgonzola which had asparagus and mushrooms in a gongonzola cream sauce. Their side dish tonight was peas.
He enjoyed the dish. The chicken was tender and the sauce was really tasty. The asparagus was cooked well, he thought it had been cooked on the grill, so it still had a little crunch to it. He said the dish could have used a starch, maybe some plain pasta to go with the sauce.
I ordered the lasagne.
It was a big dish of lasagne, but I have to say, I was really disappointed in it. To me, lasagne is layers of pasta, meat and cheese and this dish was lacking in everything but pasta. I took one bite and got all pasta and sauce so I started to peel back the layers and realized that was all that was there. It was a meat sauce between the layers, but there wasn’t much meat to it either. I’m a big fan of ricotta cheese and there was none in this dish. Looking back at the menu, I now realize it didn’t list ricotta cheese in the ingredients, just pasta, mozzarella cheese, and meat sauce in a bechamel rue. I guess I just assumed lasagne had ricotta cheese in it. It actually tasted ok, but if I had wanted just pasta and sauce, I would have ordered spaghetti.
The total bill was $43 and I left disappointed. The homemade flavors were there, but the execution on my dish was lacking.
2454 McMullen Booth Rd, #207
Another Sunday morning movie, this time “Salt”. It was ok, a little predicable, but a good way to spend a couple of hours. After the movie, we went over to Pollo Tropical next to the theater in Oldsmar.
There are three sandwiches listed on the menu. The chicken classic, the chipolte chicken, and the pork sandwich. I said I wanted the classic chicken sandwich and the girl behind the counter kept asking me which sandwich I wanted as there were three of them. I told her the classic chicken sandwich again, even pointing it out on the board as that’s what they called it and she still had trouble understanding me. Seriously, if you’re going to have someone working the counter, don’t you think they should at least have some clue as to what’s on the menu and what the items are called? I finally had to tell her I did not want the chipolte or the pork and to give me the other one.
This had to be one of the driest chicken sandwiches I’ve had. No flavor, no juices, just dry, tough chicken. The mac & cheese wasn’t anything to write home about either.
Loren got the small pork bowl with rice and beans.
He said the pork was tender, but had no flavor. Guess that’s why they have a salsa bar. Total bill was $11 and I don’t think I’ll be back again.
3134 Tampa Road
When we walked into Koba Sushi in Palm Harbor, our waitress guided us to a table and told us to take off our shoes before getting into the booth. Loren had flip flops on and didn’t take them off and when she came back and didn’t see them by his seat, she told him to take them off again. It was just funny. For a minute there, I thought she was going to reach under the table and take them off his feet herself.
He started off with a house salad and then we ordered way too much sushi again.
First out was a veggie roll which had avacado, carrots & cucumber. It was ok, but I think we’re so used to having fish in the rolls that it just paled in comparison. The Arizona roll was really good. Yellowtail, avacado, scallions and smelt roe. It was one of my favorites of the night. The California roll was ok.
Next up was the Bye Bye Roll and Mexican Roll. This was one of the most disappointing Mexican rolls I’ve had. The batter on the shrimp wasn’t crunchy at all. It had a mushy texture where I expected crunch. The Bye Bye roll was tuna, salmon, smelt roe, and tempura chips. Lots of tempura chips. It also had a spicy mayo on it.
The Rainbow roll was really good, especially the side with the salmon and tuna. It also came with three different sauces, a spicy mayo, an eel sauce, and a hot sauce.
And as if that wasn’t enough, I reminded our waitress that we had also ordered some salmon nigiri.
Neither of us was really happy with the way the salmon looked, but it actually tasted good. It had a little too much wasabi for me though.
Total bill was $50 and overall the sushi was a lot better than I had expected. I wouldn’t order the Mexican roll again, but the rest of them were pretty tasty.
3428 Tampa Rd
Palm Harbor, FL
Ok, silly me, when I saw other reviews raving about the goat cheese cheesecake at Logan’s Bistro, I just assumed it was a dessert cheesecake. I thought it sounded interesting, that the goat cheese would give it a very unique flavor.
I was on my way out of Orlando and decided to stop by and get a piece to go. Imagine my surprise when they handed me my take out order and it was served with toasted bread, a pesto sauce, tomatoes and garlic and some olive oil.
Once I got over my disppointment at not having my sugar craving quenched, I was pleasantly surprised at the burst of flavors from the cheesecake. It makes an excellent appetizer, but for $9 seemed a bit pricey.
802 Virginia Drive
My sister and I meet up every year in Orlando in July to exchange birthday gifts since our birthdays are only a few days apart (8 years & a few days) and we usually try to find a play or something to do. This year, she chose “The Little Red Riding Hood Show” at the Shakespeare theater. Yeah, it was a kid’s show and we were probably the only ones there without kids, but it was still pretty funny. The kids in the audience were hilarious.
Before the show, we ate lunch at the Greek Corner on Orange Ave. It was a quaint little restaurant that had a nice patio as well as seating inside. It was too hot to be outside today, so we chose the dining room.
My sister asked if they had sweet tea and our waiter said they didn’t, but he could make her some. I don’t find it often that a waiter will go through the trouble of making something special, but he did and she said the tea was good.
We started off with the spinach artichoke dip.
This was a very unique take on this dish. Any place else I’ve had it, it’s usually chunky, but this was completely smooth as if it had been through the blender. It had a lemon-garlic taste to it more than spinach artichoke. It was tasty and the pita bread that came with it was fresh and yummy.
We both ordered gyros, mine with rice and hers with a Greek salad.
The rice was bland, but the gyro was very flavorful. The tzatziki sauce was creamy and garlicy, but not overwhelming. There was a lot of meat on the pita, so much so, that I was only able to eat half of it. My sister ended up taking the salad home since it was just too much food. Total bill was about $30. Based on all the other plates I saw served, I don’t think anyone leaves here hungry.
1600 N Orange Ave
We headed over to Dunedin tonight to Tom Yum Thai & Sushi on Patricia Ave. We’re seeing some of the effects of Tropical Storm Bonnie right now and there’s nothing better on a rainy night than some soup.
Loren ordered the rice soup and I got the chicken coconut soup.
I think I’ve found my new favorite soup. It was a very thin soup, but had amazing depth of flavors. It had coconut milk, lemongrass, galanga, kaffir leaves and lime juice with fresh mushrooms and chicken. I’ll definitely be back for the soup again.
Loren ordered the siam chicken at the recommendation of the waitress.
It was four pieces of chicken in a mild Thai chili sauce plus some veggies and rice. He ate half of it and took the rest home. This was definitely enough for two meals.
I ordered some sushi. A Mexican roll, a dragon roll, and some salmon.
The sushi was really good. I especially liked the dragon roll. The avacado was very fresh and tasty. Total dinner was $45.
Tom Yum Thai & Sushi
104 Patricia Ave
Had lunch with the boss today at a place I hadn’t been to in a long time, Wahoo’s Waterside Pub in Redington Shores.
If you like fresh fish, this place is fantastic. It is literally a couple hundred feet from a fishing boat dock and fish market, and Jimmy cooks it up right! Located on the intracoastal, the view from the back deck isn’t bad, either.
Today’s fish special was Bar Jack, served as “fingers”. Fritz got them blackened and really enjoyed them. I opted for a bronzed Grouper sandwich, which was awesome, as always.
They’ve changed their menu since I was last there. Used to be a folded photocopied page. Simple but effective. Now, it looks like they’ve streamlined the menu, taking a few things off of it, and gone with a full-color design on glossy paper. Still just one page folded. Still simple, but effective.
Left my camera at home, so no photos. Go for the fish. You can’t go wrong with whatever is on special.
Wahoo’s Waterside Pub
17801 Gulf Blvd
Redington Shores, FL 33708
I saw the signs for Takee Outee on East Lake Road and figured Chinese food would be good for lunch today. Unfortunately, there were no redeeming qualities about it.
I ordered the honey chicken lunch special which came with an egg roll and I also ordered some crab rangoons.
My idea of honey chicken is not battered chicken and a bowl of thin honey to dip it in. I expect the chicken to be cooked in the honey sauce so it gets a nice gooey coating on it. The chicken was tough, I managed to break my plastic fork just trying to pick up a piece. Both the crab rangoons and the egg roll were less than appetizing. This is definitely a place I will not eat at again. This was $10 of wasted lunch money.
3408 East Lake Road
Palm Harbor, FL
Went to the movies this morning to see “Inception”. That was a trippy movie. We got out of the theater around 1pm and went on a quest for some cheeseburgers. I had seen the sign for the Garden Grille Cafe in Palm Harbor the last time I was out that way so we decided to give it a try.
I’m amazed at how all these little Greek restaurants look exactly the same inside with waitresses that have probably been working there for years.
Loren went for a bacon cheeseburger and fries.
Lots of bacon and a pretty decent burger. The fries were good too. I got the mushroom burger with potato salad.
The burger was good, but the potato salad was pretty bland. There really wasn’t much to distinguish this place from the rest. Total lunch was $18.
Garden Grill Cafe
34018 US Highway 19
Palm Harbor, FL
We ordered the whole chicken meal which came with 4 sides.
The rice and beans were good, the fried cheese, not so much. It was rubbery and didn’t have any flavor whatsoever.
I liked the cole slaw, it had a nice tangy flavor. I didn’t like the plantains though. They were kind of tough. The chicken, however, was as good as we remembered it from the last time we were here. It has a nice texture and flavor. And we also had to get the chicken empanadas.
This is just one of the tastiest empanadas around. So many different flavors going on inside. Total dinner was $30, but we had quite a bit of leftovers.
2475 McMullen Booth Rd, Ste E
We’ve been enjoying the Indian restaurants we recently started dining at and found another one in Largo. This was our first visit to Deeya Indian Cuisine and we both really enjoyed it.
Loren tried all of the sauces and liked them. He didn’t think any of them were too spicy, but since his idea of spicy and mine are very different, I only tried the one sweet one in the middle.
We tried the Keema Samosa appetizer. It was a deep fried pastry filled with mildly spiced lamb and peas. Sort of like an Indian empanada. It had some interesting flavors and I liked it with the sweet sauce.
Loren ordered the Chicken Kadai, which had chicken, tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers.
He didn’t get it very spicy, but he did say the spice built up after a while. He liked the flavors in it. I ordered the butter shrimp.
I ordered it mild and it was really good. It had a creamy tomato sauce with just a hint of spice. And we had to get some Naan bread to help scoop up the remaining sauce.
This was nice and fluffy. Really nice texture and flavor and great with the sauce from my entree. Total bill was $38 and this is definitely a place we’d visit again.
Deeya Indian Cuisine
5166 East Bay Drive
I drive by Fratelli Italian Restaurant every day on my way to work, so we finally decided to stop in for lunch. I’d been here when it was a different restaurant a few years ago.
Loren and I decided to split a meatball sub with fries and an order of fried mushrooms.
We were both pleasantly surprised as how good it all was. The mushrooms had a nice batter on them, though I think we both managed to burn the inside of our mouths. That’s the downside of fried mushrooms, they hold in hot liquid for a long time.
The meatballs and sauce were both very flavorful and the fries were nice and crispy. For $13, it was a tasty lunch. Should have came here sooner.
Fratelli Italian Restaurant and Bar
120 Commerce Blvd, Ste 1
I did manage to leave work a little early so we could go see “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”. What a fun little movie. I really enjoyed it. Nicholas Cage was quite the character.
For dinner, I decided on Outback Steakhouse. The Palm Harbor location is always busy. I definitely recommend calling ahead and getting your name on the waiting list. We ended up waiting for about 20 minutes for a table.
Our waitress was really good. She started us off with some of their fresh brown bread.
In fact, she even brought us a 2nd loaf without us even asking. She was really good about filling drinks and clearing plates.
We both got salads with ranch dressing.
The salad has lots of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, cheese and croutons and their ranch dressing is one of my favorites.
Loren ordered the 6 oz sirloin with a baked potato.
The steak was cooked a perfect medium and was very tender. His only comment was on how bare the plate looked. In most restaurants, there’s usually some sort of green flourish on the plate, not here, just meat and potatoes.
I ordered the Alice Springs Chicken.
This is one of my favorite meals here. The honey mustard sauce is awesome. The chicken is covered with mushrooms and cheese. It also comes with bacon, but I order it without it, might as well save a few calories.
We were both stuffed by this point, but I had to get a dessert to go for my birthday.
This is the to-go version of their Sweet Adventure Sampler Trio. It had carrot cake, brownie, and cheesecake plus vanilla ice cream, raspberry sauce, chocolate fudge sauce, and whipped cream. Some assembly required.
We ate it later in the evening, but the only thing I liked was the cheesecake and the sauces. I’m not a fan of carrot cake, but Loren is, so he was happy. I was hoping to enjoy the brownie, but it was full of nuts and had a really hard texture. Not my idea of an awesome brownie. The raspberry and chocolate fudge sauces were really good though. Next time, I’ll avoid the trio and just go for a slice of cheesecake.
Total birthday dinner was $40 and I probably consumed enough calories today to last me the rest of the week.
31988 US Hwy 19 N
Palm Harbor, FL
Since I had to work on my birthday, I figured comfort food was a good choice for lunch and that can only mean Cracker Barrel.
What can I say, I like their mac & cheese. It just makes me happy. Toss in some chicken fried chicken and cole slaw and I’m a happy camper.
Loren went for the roast beef with collard greens, mashed potatoes, and cinnamon apples. He said neither the roast beef nor the greens had been cooked long enough. Normally, the roast beef is very tender and the greens very flavorful, but not this time. Guess we just got here too early and they didn’t have enough time to simmer. The biscuits were really good this time though. Very buttery and flaky… mmmm. Total lunch was $25.
13833 West Hillsborough Avenue
Sometimes I just don’t want to go grocery shopping, so it makes it difficult to bring my lunch to work. Today it just seemed easier to grab something from Amarit Thai.
I really enjoyed the mussamun curry I had last time, so I wanted to try it again, this time with shrimp instead of chicken.
You definitely get more chicken than shrimp. There were only 4 shrimp in the dish and a bunch of onions. I really enjoy the flavors though. It’s almost sweet with a wonderful coconut and lemongrass flavor.
Loren got his usual, the ginger chicken.
It’s one of his favorite dishes. For $20, it was a warm and tasty lunch and kept me from having to go to the grocery store for another day.
328 East Lake Road
Palm Harbor, FL
We usually head out to a movie on Sunday mornings and today’s feature was “Despicable Me”. It was cute. I definitely want a few minions of my own.
Mecafresh is close to the theater and always offers up fresh and tasty food and to top it off, we had a $10 Restaurant.com coupon too.
For me, there’s just no passing up the lobster bisque.
The bisque is light and creamy with a delicate flavor. Always a nice way to start off a meal. I also got the Cabo Cabo wrap which is grilled mahi mahi, greens, Monterey Jack cheese and an avacado aioli.
Loren got a 1/2 sandwich 1/2 salad combo with a roast beef panini and Mediterranean salad.
I don’t think we’ve ever been disappointed in the food here. Everything is always fresh and well prepared. Their specials are usually very interesting as well. After the $10 coupon, the total bill was $15.
3235 Tampa Road
Palm Harbor, FL
If you haven’t checked out www.Restaurant.com, you’re missing out on some great discounts at local restaurants. We found a $25 coupon to Lonzalo’s on there today and headed out for some Italian food.
We’ve eaten here a few times. They didn’t seem very busy for a Saturday night, but not having to wait for a table is always a good thing. We had one waitress come by the table and say that she’d be right with us, but then she never came back. Eventually, another waitress took over our table and brought us some bread.
The bread was warm, but it was very dense and a little chewy. There was just something about it that wasn’t quite right. It had a little too much elasticity for my taste.
Our meals came with soup or salad, so we got one of each.
The pasta fagioli had a nice tomato flavor to it and lots of beans. There were definitely more beans than pasta in it. We also got the calamari.
The calamari had a good texture and the batter was nice and crunchy; however, the plate had a lot of small pieces on it, some of it just fried batter. I just felt as though I spent a lot of time searching for the actual calamari pieces.
Loren ordered the Salmon Lonzalo, which was one of the specials tonight.
Salmon with artichokes and capers in a lemon sauce. He enjoyed it and even had some leftovers. Both our meals came with a side order of pasta that was enough for a meal in itself.
Unfortunately, neither of us liked the tomato sauce. I don’t know how to describe it, just that it had an odd flavor to it. I kept thinking along the lines of nutmeg or allspice, but I’m not sure that’s it. It just didn’t wow us.
For my entree, I ordered the chicken portobello.
The flavor wasn’t much different from their chicken marsala though this was supposed to have a sherry sauce on it. It was tasty. Two big pieces of chicken and plenty of portobellos covered in mozzarella cheese. The mushrooms were a little chewy, but overall it was a good dish. I had leftovers as well.
After the $25 coupon, the total bill was $20.
Lonzalo’s of Oldsmar
3970 Tampa Road