Wow, it’s the end of April already? Looks like we ate out 21 times this month and spent $484. Here’s the best and worst for the month:
Best Rolls: Boston Cooker
Favorite Lunch: Crawfish Etouffee at Cajun Cafe
Most Flavorful Meal: Bawarchi Indian Cuisine
Best Ribs: Munches Sundries
Worst Dessert: The Big O at Pete & Shorty’s
Went back to Ban Thai tonight for sushi. They were busy as usual on a weekend night, but we were able to get a table without a wait. We started off with some soup, Loren got the chicken & rice and I got the wonton.
I need to remember not to order the wonton soup here. Don’t get me wrong, the wontons are pretty good (there were only 3 of them) and the broth is flavorful, but the majority of the dish is bean sprouts and I really don’t like bean sprouts.
We ordered a lobster roll, a screaming orgasm roll, a rainbow roll, and a Tampa roll. We also ordered some salmon, but it never made it to the table. How hard is it to turn over the sushi menu to see if there’s anything on the other side? Since we had way more sushi than we needed, we didn’t mention it to the waitress.
The Rainbow roll was very good. It was light and tasty and the fish on top was very fresh. The Tampa roll had good flavor, but there was hardly any snapper inside of it. There was plenty of crunchy batter that the fish was cooked in, but it definitely lacked fish.
The lobster roll is the most expensive on the menu, but also the biggest I think. Besides what’s in the roll, there are also some remaining lobster chunks on top. It’s one of my favorite rolls here. The screaming orgasm roll didn’t really do it for either of us. It’s a no rice roll, but had an odd consistency. There was way too much sauce on top of it and that’s all you could taste. I couldn’t even begin to tell you what was actually in the roll because I couldn’t taste any of it. Total bill was $53.
Ban Thai Restaurant
2519 McMullen Booth Road
I wanted pizza tonight, so we decided to try the ones at Panos Kouzina. Since Loren and I don’t agree on pizza toppings, we ended up getting two personal pizzas.
Loren got a thin crust deluxe and I got a hand tossed Hawaiian with mushrooms.
As far as I could tell, there was absolutely no difference in the crust between the two. They were both as thin as could be, which for me, is not how I like my pizza crust. Loren liked it better than I did. I get that this is a small pizza, but the ham and mushrooms on mine were cut into very tiny pieces, yet the pineapple was left in fairly big chunks. It just didn’t do it for me.
I did need some chocolaty goodnees though, so I ordered a piece of the chocolate lovin’ spoonful cake.
This is an extremely fudgey cake. It has a nice texture and more filling than cake. Good stuff. Total bill with a drink and a side salad was $25.
3101 SR 580
Safety Harbor, FL
We were actually headed to Marina’s for lunch, then noticed Cafe Bresimo next door so decided to try it instead. There were two women behind the counter and they were being kept very busy.
I ordered one of today’s lunch specials which had a gyro, chips, and a drink. I also got a side of potato salad.
The gyro meat was pretty good and the tzatziki sauce wasn’t overwhelming. It wasn’t a very thick sauce or maybe it just thinned out once it got on the heated gyro meat. The tomatoes weren’t very fresh though. The potato salad had the consistency of mashed potatoes, but had a very good flavor.
Loren ordered the Chicken & Guacamole pita.
He didn’t realized there would be tzatziki sauce on it as well and he said it watered down the guacamole so you couldn’t really taste it. Overall, the food was ok, but nothing really stood out. It was similar to most of the little Greek places around town. I think everything on the menu was under $7. Total bill with drinks was $17.
12117 W Linebaugh
After going to a movie, we stopped at Green Market Cafe for a quick lunch. This place is just so bright and cheerful and the food has always been good. Today, I tried the honey chicken flatbread with chips.
The honey mustard sauce was very tangy, not very sweet at all. Overall, it was pretty tasty, the chicken was tender and there were plenty of mushrooms in it (quite a few kept trying to escape though).
Loren tried the avacado salad with chicken.
It was a huge salad with so many fresh ingredients. Besides the chicken, lettuce and avocado, it had mandarin oranges, goat cheese, onion, corn and pecans with a lime dressing. It was tasty.
You also get a free small frozen yougart with your meal and I got the chocolate cheesecake.
I had mixed feelings about it. I liked the chocolate side, but the cheesecake side had a sort of tangy taste to it that just didn’t do it for me. Total bill was $18.
Green Market Cafe
3150 Tampa Road, Unit 1a
We were headed down to Boyd Hill Nature Preserve in St Petersburg today and ate lunch at Munch’s Sundries. Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive Ins and Dives filmed there earlier this year and based on our experience, I think it was a good pick.
It’s got that diner feel to it. Been around since the 1950′s and the photos on the walls bring you back to an era long gone. We started off with some onion straws.
It was a big ol’ basket of lightly battered, very yummy onion rings. This is one of those addictive appetizers. Loren even found a few bonus items in the basket, some okra and a piece of fried chicken. The waitress said sometimes you may even end up with a fried shrimp in there. For lunch, Loren got a cheeseburger with fries.
He said the burger was good, but that the bun had a bit too much mustard and relish on it for this taste. He ended up having to help me eat my lunch, the BBQ rib sandwich.
Ok, I’m not really sure why they called it a sandwich, maybe because there were two pieces of bread on the plate? It was just three of the tastiest BBQ ribs I’ve had in a long time. They were so tender and had lots of flavor. I didn’t even bother with the BBQ sauce. I would definitely come back for more BBQ. Loren’s even thinking about using them to cater BBQ for one of their autocross events.
And when there’s homemade apple pie on the menu, I find it very hard to resist.
Lots of apples and cinnamon on a tasty crust. And the best part was that the whole meal with a drink was $21. Next time we’re in south St Pete, we’re definitely stopping here again.
3920 6th St S
St Petersburg, FL
On the way home from dinner, we stopped at Greek City Cafe for some take out dessert.
It’s called “The Bomb” and it’s delicious. Chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, vanilla mousse all covered in more chocolate. Mmmm….
Greek City Cafe
2518 SR 580, Ste C
We ate dinner at Jonny Primo’s tonight. They weren’t very busy for a Friday night even though the parking lot looked full. We started off with some bread while we looked over the menu.
They make some really awesome bread here. It’s warm and soft with just enough crunch on the crust, and the dipping oil was very flavorful. Loren ordered the same thing he always gets here, the Giobotto.
This is one of those dishes that has everything you can think of in it. A huge pile of pasta, plus steak, sausage, chicken and veggies. There’s always enough leftovers for at least 2 more meals.
I decided to try something different tonight, the Italian trio.
It had chicken parm, lasagne and cheese ravioli. I have to say, it’s not a dish I’d order again. The chicken wasn’t very tender. I ended up not eating much of it. The lasagne had a lot of sausage in it, so that was the overwhelming flavor. I did like the cheese ravioli though. They were in alfredo sauce which was a nice change.
There was something about our waiter that I just didn’t like. Loren called him insincere and I think that’s the right word to describe him. It was as if our being there in his section was an inconvenience for him. Even when I asked what they had for dessert, he just flippantly pointed to the dessert menu which was on the back of a placard on the table instead of telling me what they had. His whole attitude just turned us off. Total dinner with a drink was $36.
Jonny Primo’s Italian Grill
33180 US 19 N
Palm Harbor, FL
So, where do we go when we need a quick, inexpensive dinner? Cuban Breezes in Oldsmar. For $15, we got the usual, a Cuban sandwich, an order of Lechon and some beans and rice.
It’s just nice to have a place so close that’s consistently good. We never leave hungry and we never leave unsatisfied.
13980 W Hillsborough Ave
Had lunch at Pacific Thai in Oldsmar today. They had the cutest little salt and pepper shakers on the table.
I ordered the Pad See Ew for lunch with chicken. Lunch also comes with soup and salad.
Everything was really tasty. The food here is always fresh and light and the service is very friendly. About the only downside to this restaurant is the available parking out front. Total lunch was $7.50.
Pacific Thai Cuisine
4058 Tampa Road
It was about 8:30pm when we finally ventured out for dinner tonight and we ended up at the Oldsmar Cop Shop. I decided on some honey BBQ wings and some sweet potato fries.
Five wings didn’t seem like a lot, but it was plenty for me. The wings here are really big and the sauce was sweet and tangy. The sweet potato fries are awesome. They’re thick crinkle cut fries served with whipped cream. How can you go wrong with that?
Loren ordered the chicken sandwich with fries.
At the advice of the waitress, Loren got the chicken dipped in buffalo sauce. He said it was pretty good. The regular fries here are really good too. Total bill with a drink was $20.
The Cop Shop
3780 Tampa Road
Craving some etouffee, so that meant a trip down to Pinellas Park to the Cajun Cafe. We really enjoyed sitting on the back patio watching people drift by in their kayaks. Loren got Mama Lynn’s supper with okra and a side salad.
The Mama Lynn’s supper is just their etouffee sauce with rice. The okra was a bit mushy this time. I usually like it with a little more crunch. My crawfish etouffee was mighty tasty though.
They definitely don’t skimp on the crawfish. Sometimes the sauce is fairly mild, sometimes it has a bit of a kick to it. Today was one of those days where it had a spicy kick, but it was soooo good. $31 with a drink and so worth the drive.
Cajun Cafe on the Bayou
8101 Park Blvd
Pinellas Park, FL
The last time we ate at Bawarchi Indian Cuisine in Palm Harbor, the service was lacking. Tonight, however, they had an additional person in the dining room which was so much better. We decided to skip the appetizers and went right for the spicy goodness.
Loren tried the chicken piaza.
He still hasn’t learned that medium spicy here is a bit too spicy for him. He said it was very flavorful and even had some leftovers. I ordered the butter chicken and some garlic naan.
There were chunks of garlic on the naan. Good stuff. The butter chicken was some of the best I’ve had in the area. The chicken was very tender and the sauce was amazing. There were no leftovers for me since I managed to scoop up every last yummy drop. Total bill with a drink was $35.
Bawarchi Indian Cuisine
34832 US Hwy 19
Palm Harbor, FL
We ate lunch at Chef Li in Oldsmar today. Loren ordered the Kung Po chicken and some wonton soup.
I ordered the sweet & sour chicken with an eggroll.
There was a lot of chicken in this dish and it was cooked perfectly. The batter was crunchy but not too thick and the chicken was very tender. The sauce was very sweet and tangy. There was so much chicken on the plate that I was only able to eat about half of the eggroll. Total lunch with a drink was $14.
4013 Tampa Rd, Ste 20
Ate dinner at Pete & Shorty’s in Clearwater tonight. It was crowded and noisy inside, so we sat on the patio. I have to say, every so often, you got a whiff of something not quite fresh out there. I don’t know if we were upwind of some trash bins or what, but it definitely had a funky smell. I also wish there was both smoking and non-smoking outside seating. It got hard to breathe out there after a few people lit up. I thought the water fountain on the patio was cool though. A friend of mine called it the premium “tap” water fountain.
We both ordered burgers. Loren got the BBQ Bonanza and I got the Chalet Burger with some onion straws and tater tots.
I like the burgers here. They’re cooked to order and just taste good. The onion straws and tots are really tasty too. We decided to try the Big O dessert which is four deep fried Oreo cookies on top of vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.
Though deep fried Oreos sound interesting, they were really pretty nasty. It was like eating stale Oreos covered in batter. Just not good. Total bill was $27.
Pete & Shorty’s Tavern
2820 Gulf to Bay Blvd
We drove up Hillsborough Ave tonight and ate dinner at Mi Bandera Restaurant. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve driven right by it and never even noticed it was there. It’s in a small shopping center on the opposite corner of the Ranch House Restaurant. The dominant language for both staff and customers is Spanish and the whole place had a very community type feel to it. You could tell it has a lot of regular customers just by the greetings and smiles.
Our waitress started us off with some bread which was quite awesome.
Let’s face it, bread is one of my favorite things, and when it’s served warm smothered in butter and garlic, I’m one happy gal. We ordered a couple of appetizers, some calamari and an empanada.
The enpanada was very tasty. It had a mixture of potato and beef in it. It was very crispy on the outside and the flavors were excellent. Loren really liked the salsa that came with it. At $1 each, we should have just gotten a few of them.
The calamari, unfortunately, was the downfall of the meal.
Completely overcooked and totally inedible. It was like trying to bite into rubber. Luckily our meals came out pretty quick.
Have you ever watched Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives? Do you remember the episode where the guy was making mofongo? Well, they had mofongo on the menu and how in the world were we supposed to pass that up after Guy Fieri was so enthralled by it?
Loren ordered it with fried pork. It was interesting. Fried green plantains smashed with lots of garlic, plus a whole bunch of other stuff in it. It was very unique and tasty. He said the pork was good too. It came with another sauce on the side, a green chimichurri sauce that he really liked.
I wasn’t feeling very adventurous tonight, so just ordered the chicken breast with mushroom sauce which came with three sides. I got rice, red beans, and boiled red potatoes.
The mushroom sauce was just like a marsala sauce. It was very good. The chicken was pounded very thin which made it a little tough. The red beans had a lot of flavor to them. There was enough food on this plate for 3 meals. We both ended up taking a lot of food home for lunch tomorrow. Our waitress was very friendly and seemed genuinely sincere about us having an enjoyable meal. Overall, the flavors were very good throughout the dishes. Total bill was $31.
Mi Bandera Restaurant
7748 W Hillsborough Ave
We decided to try Salsa’s Mexican Restaurant for lunch again today. It’s been a few months, so we were hoping things have gotten better.
Loren said the salsa was better than last time.
He said it still tasted like canned tomato paste as the base, but there were a lot more fresh ingredients in it as well. It’s amazing what some garlic and cilantro can do for a salsa.
He ordered the Speedy Gonzalez lunch which is an enchilada and taco.
Although the taco shell was a bit stale, the rest of it was ok. He said it was better than the last time we ate here. I got a beef chimichanga.
I was actually surprised that it was beef chunks rather than ground beef. The beef was a little chewy, the shell wasn’t crunchy enough and the tomatoes were overripe. The flavors were ok though.
The biggest issue this place has had from the beginning is that the service is lacking. They never come back to your table to check on you. They’ve made a few improvements in the food, but overall, it’s still lacking freshness and attention to detail. I think they give you large drink glasses so they don’t have to come back to your table for refills. It’s a quick, inexpensive Mexican restaurant, but there are definitely better places in the area. Total bill with a drink was $15.
Salsas Mexican Restaurant
3970 Tampa Road
We’ve never had Ethiopian food before, so we headed over to Tampa to Queen of Sheba. There was only one waitress working the dining room and she seemed to forget about us quite often during the meal. It took a while to get our drinks and appetizer. We ordered the beef sambussa.
It was very similar to an empanada. The beef filling was flavorful and the pastry was nice and crisp. I’m glad we ordered it since it was still quite a while before our entrees arrived. Loren ordered the Queen’s Eight so he could try several dishes.
It had two chicken items, red lentils, cabbage and carrots, collard greens, potatoes and carrots, lamb and a beef item. His chicken dish was a bit on the spicy side. The rest of it had decent flavors, but nothing that was really remarkable.
I ordered the Doro Alecha which is a mild chicken and hard boiled egg dish. Pretty much the same chicken item that was in the Queen’s Eight platter, just not spicy.
It also came with red lentils and potatoes and carrots. The lentils were on the spicy side, so I didn’t like them very much. The rest had very mellow flavors.
The meal is served with injera which you use instead of forks to scoop up the items.
I didn’t like it at all. From it’s color to its spongy texture to its taste, it just didn’t do it for me. We had a Restaurant.com coupon, so we needed to spend $35. When we asked about dessert, the waitress said they had honey chips.
While we were waiting for them, she brought over our check, which didn’t have the dessert on it. Then we watched her try to serve our dessert to another table. She just wasn’t very attentive. The chips, however, were pretty tasty. The drizzled honey was warm and gooey on top of crisp chips. I have to say, I think I enjoyed it most of all. Total bill after the $25 coupon was $15.
It was definitely a different dining experience, but nothing about it made us feel like we needed to go back anytime soon.
Queen of Sheba
36356 Henderson Blvd
We went back to downtown Safety Harbor for lunch today at Athen’s Restaurant. I was craving breakfast, but then decided a gyro sounded better.
At first glance, it looked kind of deceiving. It didn’t look as though it had much gyro meat on it and that it had tons of tzatziki sauce. It actually had quite a bit of meat on it and the sauce wasn’t overwhelming, so it gave it a nice balance. The gyro meat was flavorful and tender. The pita bread was very good too. I think a little lettuce would have added a nice crunch to it.
Loren got a bacon cheeseburger.
They make a pretty good burger here and definitely slather on the mayo. the fries were nice and hot and yummy. Service was ok. Our waitress spent most of the time talking to customers that I’m guessing were friends of hers. She didn’t come back to our table until we had already finished eating. Total bill was $15.
226 Main St
Safety Harbor, FL
We couldn’t decide where to eat dinner tonight, but finally settled on BBQ. Brady’s is close in downtown Safety Harbor. They weren’t very busy tonight and luckily this time, they had everything on the menu.
I’ve been wanting brisket since the last time we were here.
I have to say, I was a little disappointed at the quantity on the plate. Granted, it was plenty for me and the three pieces were pretty thick, but it just didn’t seem like a lot for the money. It also wasn’t as good as the last time I had brisket here. I admit, I like a very tender, somewhat fatty, juicy brisket. These pieces were fairly lean and a little dry. Loren liked it more than I did. He got the riblets.
He must have been hungry because he ate all of them. Usually, he has a few leftover, but there was nothing left on his plate tonight. All of the sides were pretty good too. I really like the cornbread pudding and potato salad, Loren likes the greens. Total bill was $32.
Brady’s Backyard BBQ
340 Main Street
Safety Harbor, FL