So, the plan was to eat at the Bavarian Haus Restaurant in Winter Garden on our way back from Disney. We drove around the area where the GPS said it was, but couldn’t find it. Loren even called the number on their website, but it wouldn’t connect, so we ended up at Mimi’s Cafe. They started us off with some rather hard rolls and banana bread.
Loren ordered the Monterey Chicken burger. You know you have a new waitress when she asks you how you want that cooked.
The piece of chicken on the sandwich was very thick. I wasn’t sure how he was going to eat it. He said it was ok. I ordered the chicken crepes and made it a meal with some corn chowder and a chocolate mousse for dessert.
The corn chowder was rich and creamy, but the temperature was lukewarm at best. It makes it really hard to enjoy something when it’s not heated properly.
The crepes were ok and the salad had a nice balsamic vinegarette on it. It was just all very generic. The chocolate mousse was tasty with the added sweetness of strawberry on top.
Total bill with a drink was $30. There was nothing about the experience that would make me want to come back. It was just average at best.
3130 Daniels Rd
Winter Garden, FL
We’re at Disney for the Backstage Magic Tour and decided to spend the night since we’ve got to be here early in the morning. We went to a movie in Downtown Disney and ended up eating dinner at Bongos Cuban Cafe. Unfortunately, it was too late for us to go find a restaurant off property which we would have preferred.
This was another one of those restaurants where you can’t hear yourself think. It was really crowded and we had about a 15 minute wait for a table. We started off with some fried stuffed potatoes.
They were interesting. They looked like they had a crunchy exterior, but it was actually pretty soft. The filling was flavorful, but the overall texture didn’t really do it for me. Loren ordered the masitas.
He said they were ok. Honestly no better than what he gets at Cuban Breezes for half the price. He didn’t like the rice and beans that came with it. I tried the shredded chicken breast.
I liked the flavor of the chicken. It had a lime flavor to it and the onions were flavorful too. The rice was very soft, but I kinda like it that way. My only complaint is that the dish felt like it needed some tortillas or Cuban bread to go with it. Total bill with a drink was $47. Overpriced for what it was, but what we expected in Downtown Disney.
Bongos Cuban Cafe
1498 E Buena Vista Dr
We’re on our way to Orlando and stopped in Lakeland for lunch at Bosphorous Turkish Kitchen. From the moment we walked in the door, the aroma from the kitchen made our mouths water. Everything on the menu sounded delicious, so we opted for a Mixed Grill platter for two so we could try several different things. But first, Loren decided to try the lentil soup.
It was a rather thin soup, but packed a bunch of flavor. It had a deep, rich spicy flavor that consumes all your taste buds. The Mixed Grill platter didn’t disappoint either.
Besides the salad and rice, the dish had Chicken Adana Kebab, Lamb Shish Kebab, Doner Kabab, Chicken and Lamb Kofte. It was all very, very tasty. Seasoned perfectly and all the meats were tender. I really enjoyed the texture and flavor of the Kofte. Loren preferred the kebabs. We were quite stuffed by the end of the meal. Service was very friendly as well. Definitely a place we’ll return to the next time we’re in Lakeland. Total bill with a drink was $28.
Bosphorous Turkish Kitchen
127 S. Kentucky Ave
So, did you know that April 27th is National Prime Rib Day? Prom was also going on tonight, so we needed to find a place that the kids weren’t going to be, so we settled on Cody’s out on Hillsborough. I have a love/hate relationship with Cody’s. Love the rolls & salad, but the entrees don’t always live up to expectations.
They were pretty busy tonight and it took our waiter quite a while and two tries to get us a salad without onions and some rolls.
The rolls were fresh and so good that we had to order a second basket. Like I said, this is the best part of the meal to me. Loren, being in the holiday spirit, decided to try the prime rib.
He said it was pretty tender and he enjoyed it. Surprisingly, he actually ate the whole thing. I ordered the half rack of baby back ribs.
Some of the ribs were tender, some parts were not. They definitely don’t have the smoked taste and flavor you get from an actual BBQ joint. I’m still working my way through the menu. Eventually, I’ll find something I like. Total bill with a drink was $33.
Cody’s Original Roadhouse
11202 West Hillsborough Ave
We ate lunch at Chef Li today in Oldsmar. Our lunches came with soup and we both ordered the wonton.
It was ok. I scooped out the green onions & tossed them in Loren’s bowl. He got some hunan chicken & I went for the orange chicken.
Though I liked the flavor of mine, the chicken wasn’t tender enough. A bit too chewy for my taste. I got the sauce non-spicy, so it had a nice sweet & tangy flavor. Loren’s chicken was in much smaller pieces than mine & he liked it. Quick lunch for $14.
4013 Tampa Rd, Ste 20
We were actually heading to Nauti-Nancy’s for lunch, but they still weren’t open at 12:30pm, so we headed into Clearwater and ended up at Angie’s Restaurant. It’s a little diner and had a pretty good lunch crowd today.
I was going to get their lasagne special, but they were already out of it. Must not have been a very big batch to be out of it by 12:30pm. Instead I went for a gyro platter.
My first thought was that there was very little gyro meat on the plate, but with the Greek salad, fries & pita, there was more than enough food on the plate. The gyro was tasty and I enjoyed the dressing on the salad as well as the tzatziki sauce. Loren went for a chicken pita with a regular salad.
He also had plenty of food on his plate and it was amusing watching him try to pick this up to eat it. He said the chicken was tender. Total bill with a drink was $18.
725 Cleveland St
We were heading to the Jon Stewart show at Ruth Eckerd Hall and stopped at The Grindhouse Bar & Grill for dinner beforehand. From the moment we sat down, we knew this wasn’t going to be great dining experience. We like the food here and in the past, everything’s been really good; but tonight, they were swamped and it really reflected in both the service and food.
We were there at least 10 minutes before a waitress even acknowledged us. We were getting ready to walk out when the first waitress came over to get our drink order. Then we got switched to another waitress who was much better than the first. We can’t come here without getting some of the lobster & shrimp bisque.
So yummy. Thick and rich with bits of seafood. This is one of those soups where there isn’t a drop left. We both went for burgers tonight. Loren got a regular burger with provolone and I went for a Grind House Burger with fries. We ordered both burgers cooked medium.
Both burgers went straight past medium into well done territory. Mine was so dry, even with the fried egg on top. Loren ate most of his and I ate part of mine and the fries. When the waitress asked me if I wanted a box, I showed her the well done burger and she had the manager take it off the bill. They also came over and apologized and gave us a coupon for a free appetizer next time. The total bill ended up being $14 with a drink. We’ll be back again, but probably not before a show at Ruth Eckerd.
Grind House Bar & Grill
1500 McMullen Booth Rd
We know better. We really do know better than to try to go to BJ’s at Countryside Mall on a Friday night. Besides the half hour wait, the noise level inside was deafening. You could barely hear yourself think, nevermind try to hear the person you’re with.
We started off with some calamari.
It was very tender and had a nice crunchy texture on the outside. It came with two dipping sauces a marinara and a lemony mayo sauce. Both were tasty. If you’ve seen the menu at BJ’s, you know it’s huge. We thumbed through it a few times before Loren settled on the chicken fried steak and I went for a mini pizza.
Loren liked the chicken fried steak. It was way more than he could eat in one sitting along with mashed potatoes & veggies. I didn’t like the flavor of it. My mini portobello mushroom pizza was somewhat disappointing.
For one, there weren’t a lot of mushrooms and the balsamic dressing on it was very overpowering. The outside edges were a bit too crunchy for me as well. For $38, it definitely wasn’t our best experience. I do like their appetizers, but from now on, we’re going at off hours when they aren’t too crowded.
BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse
27001 US Highway 19N
We ate at the Lazy Maguro Sushi Restaurant tonight in Palm Harbor. It used to be Wasabi and our memory of that restaurant was the overwhelming chemical smell when we walked in. The restaurant may have changed name & owners, but the smell is still there. It’s right next to a pool supply store and from the moment you walk in, that’s all you smell. I had a headache and my nose was burning by the time we left the restaurant. Really, really unpleasant.
As for the food, it was just ok. We started off with some Asian pork dumplings.
This was the best thing we ate here. They were very flavorful and cooked perfectly. I’d order these again… as take out… if I didn’t have to go inside to pay & pick them up. Loren ordered a salad, but there’s no photo because the waitress never brought it out.
As for the sushi, we actually ordered a reasonable amount tonight. Mostly because I wanted to get out of there quickly and not too many of their rolls sparked our interest. We ended up with a KC Salmon Roll, a Buccaneer Roll, a Spicy Tuna Roll and a Salmon Lover’s Roll.
The rolls were just ok. They had way too much green onion in them for me and for some reason I ordered two rolls that have cream cheese in them and that just overwhelms the flavor of the fish. Total bill with a drink was $41. The food could have been amazing, but you still couldn’t drag me back in here under any circumstances. The chemical smell is just that overwhelming.
36221 East Lake Road
Palm Harbor, FL
We avoid chain restaurants, but there are a few that I really do like. They just opened a BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse at Countryside Mall and their menu is filled with so many yummy options. They have a little bit of everything on their menu, so it really is hard to choose. Today we opted for some appetizers and small bites.
The first time we ate at a BJ’s we ordered the avocado eggrolls and that experience stuck with me. If you like avocado, this is the appetizer for you.
These are so awesome. The crunchy shell with the soft avocado plus a bunch of other flavorful ingredients. They have just a hint of spiciness and they make my mouth water just thinking about them. Yum!
We also tried the spinach stuffed mushrooms, mini meatballs, and gourmet mac & cheese.
Out of the three, I’d say the mini meatballs were my favorite. They had an interesting flavor that was tangy and sweet, yet had a little bit of spice too. I really liked them. The stuffed mushrooms were good, but fairly generic. The mac & cheese was like lava when it was served, so we ended up eating everything else first and taking most of it home. It was very creamy & had a nice flavor though. Loren really liked the bread that came with the dishes too. It was toasted perfectly, crunchy, yet not hard. With a drink, the total was $27. They make some really tasty comfort food here.
BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse
27001 US Highway 19N
If you’ve even been to Cracker Barrel on a Sunday, you’ll notice that they really push the Sunday homestyle chicken special. I swear everyone we come in contact with at the restaurant just raves about it, so tonight Loren decided to try it & I got the chicken fried chicken, which we normally get.
The homestyle chicken comes with two chicken breasts & two sides. Loren got mashed potatoes & collard greens. The chicken fried chicken comes with one piece of chicken, gravy, & three sides and is 30 cents more. The verdict? The homestyle chicken was good, it had a much different crunch than the other chicken, but I didn’t think it was that much better. The chicken fried chicken is always tender here and I like the gravy on it. I’m also more about the sides anyway, so I’d rather have the three side dishes versus another piece of chicken. I couldn’t eat two chicken breasts if I tried. So, it’s a toss up really. If you’re really craving chicken, go for the homestyle, but if you’re really just there for the mac & cheese, the other chicken with do. Total bill with a drink was $26.
13833 West Hillsborough Avenue
I felt the need for tater tots tonight and the best place I know to go for them is Pete & Shorty’s. Actually, we couldn’t even come up with another restaurant that served them since the Sonic close to our house closed down.
Mmmmm… little bundles of crunchy potato joy. I can’t explain it. There’s just something about tater tots that make me happy. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even need to order a burger, but I still did, the mushroom swiss.
Ok, so I order the mushroom Swiss with American cheese instead of Swiss, but it’s still one of the tastier burgers around. The buns they use here are very soft and doughy in a good way. I really like them. The burger was juicy and quite messy. Loren went for the tenderloin sandwich.
The piece of pork on this sandwich was enough to fill two sandwiches. He said it was tender & crispy. With a drink, the total bill was $21.
Pete & Shorty’s Tavern
2820 Gulf to Bay Blvd
Stopped by Eli’s BBQ today & picked up a couple of BBQ pork sandwiches & headed down to the water to enjoy them.
Eli’s is it when it comes to BBQ for me. The pork is always tender and moist. There’s always a line of people there since it’s open Friday & Saturdays until 6pm, but always worth the wait. It’s also cash only and the best $15 we spent this week.
360 Skinner Blvd
We were looking for a quick dinner tonight, so we went down to Greek City Cafe over by the mall. Ok, so maybe it was because I had a chocolate craving and wanted one of the Chocolate Bomb desserts they sell, but we’ll get to that later.
I went for a gyro with Greek potatoes and a Greek salad.
The gyro was good. The meat was flavorful and the tzatziki was tasty without being overwhelming. The overwhelming part were the potatoes. I found them to be rather inedible. They were so sour as though they had been drenched in vinegar. Loren actually liked them and said they tasted more German than Greek. They just made my mouth pucker.
Loren decided to try one of their specials, the portobello flatbread with a Greek salad.
The flatbread had a nice crunch and really good flavors. It’s something I’d order again. You’ll notice a slight difference between our two Greek salads. I remembered how much stuff they put on them and they dice up everything, so I had them build mine without the onions and peppers.
And then there’s the thing that keeps me coming back to this restaurant.
This is just one delicious dessert. It’s got layers of mousse inside and it’s so creamy and decadent. They brought over two forks and I tried to hide Loren’s, but he still managed to grab a few bites. Yum! Total bill was $24 with a drink. Speaking of that drink, it’s not something that I mention often, but most places do such a horrible job with their soda fountain mixture that it’s such a wonderful treat to actually go to a place that does it right. I’ve never had a bad soft drink here. Whoever sets up their machine actually knows what they’re doing.
Greek City Cafe
2518 SR 580, Ste C
Went for a quick lunch with a friend of mine today & she chose Applebees. Chain restaurant food pretty much tastes the same wherever you go. I opted for a lunch combo with a half roast beef sandwich and fried chicken salad.
For $9, it was ok. The edges of the sandwich were toasted a bit much, but otherwise it was pretty good. I liked the honey mustard dressing they put on the salad.
4016 Tampa Road
Time for too much sushi as usual. This time around it was back to Ocean Blue in Safety Harbor. Loren wanted a salad and I wanted some egg rolls to start off with.
Now, you would think that we’d order less sushi since we got an appetizer, but sadly, that wasn’t the case.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, the Super Crunchy is my most favorite sushi roll around. Everything else was fresh & tasty as well. I really like the no rice cucumber roll too. I think what we both like most about this place is that they don’t drench all the rolls in mayo or sauces. They let the fish be the star. $60 later and we had to roll ourselves back out to the car.
Ocean Blue Sushi Bar & Kaiko Japanese Restaurant
2475 McMullen Booth Road
Went up to Tarpon Springs back to Nana’s Restaurant for lunch today. It was pretty crowded, but luckily we didn’t have to wait for a table. We were there for lunch, but I wasn’t going to pass up the cup of danish they dropped off.
They were a sweet little snack while we waited for our food. Loren started off with a bowl of black bean soup & then we split a Danny Burger.
He really enjoyed the soup. It had a lot of good flavors going on. The Danny burger has onions, mushrooms, and a burgandy wine sauce on it & it was tasty. Extremely messy to eat, but tasty nonetheless. The homefries weren’t as good as I remembered from the last time, but they hit the spot with some honey mustard to dip them in. Total bill with a drink was $15.
857 E Klosterman Rd
Tarpon Springs, FL