The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Archive for August, 2015

Asian Pearl


Tonight we went over to the Asian Pearl in Clearwater for dinner.  This was our first visit and definitely not our last.  The food was fresh and tasty from start to finish.  We started off with the wonton soup for two.

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It comes with 4 dumplings, but we’d already devoured two of them before I took the photo.  The broth was light with a nice flavor.  Perfect for a rainy Sunday night.  The dumplings were homemade and filled with pork and shrimp.  Next up was the salt and pepper calamari.

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We both love calamari and order it in almost every restaurant we go to and this version was delicious. We’ve had salt & pepper calamari at other Chinese restaurants, but this one had the herbs and peppers in a tangy vinegar based sauce.  It added a different dimension to the dish because not only did you get the saltiness, you also got a little sour that worked really well.  Loren ordered the Kung Pao Chicken for his entree.

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It came with green beans, mushrooms and onions in a spicy sauce.  He really enjoyed it and had leftovers for the next day.  I went for the orange chicken.

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It was served with baby bok choy.  The chicken was tender on the inside and crunchy on the outside with a sweet orange glaze.  Very tasty.  White rice was also included with both dishes and I also had leftovers.  We decided to try the coconut milk balls as a dessert.

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These were interesting.  I actually thought they were going to be smaller and was surprised at how big they were.  We ended up taking half of them home.  It’s a crispy exterior surrounding a creamy custard inside.  They’re actually on the appetizer menu, but they work really well as a dessert.  For the ones I brought home, I dipped them in some melted chocolate and they were divine. Service was great, they kept drinks filled and plates cleared.  Total bill with a drink was $49 and we’ll be back again.

Asian Pearl
2551 Drew St #104
Clearwater, FL
727-797-1888

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Food5/5
Service4/5
Atmosphere4/5
Value4/5
4.4/5

Extra Crunchy


We went over to the Thirsty Marlin in Palm Harbor for dinner tonight.  Our experiences here have been hit or miss.  From the food to the service, you never quite know what you’re going to get.  The food tonight was good for the most part, but the service could have used some improvement.  Loren got a salad & we started off with a Rainbow Roll.

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The rainbow roll was tasty.  It wasn’t rolled quite as tight as you get from most sushi restaurants, but the fish was fresh and the rice had a good consistency.  It could have used a little more avocado on it though.  For his entree, Loren got the blackened mahi sandwich.

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He enjoyed it.  The fish was perfectly cooked and the blackened seasoning had a bit of a kick to it.  I went for the fried grouper sandwich.

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I found the coating on the grouper to be way too thick & crunchy.  It was hard to eat.  I ended up pulling most of the coating off and just eating the fish which was tender and flaky.

Our waitress was friendly enough, but compared to the one waiting the table behind us, she just didn’t offer up the things I wanted to know.  If there are specials, I expect to be asked if I want to hear them and at the end of the meal, I expect to be asked if I want dessert before the check is brought to the table.  Total bill with a drink was $41.

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

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Food3/5
Service2/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
2.7/5

Surf Shack has become my go-to place for mac & cheese lately.  The filet with mushrooms and onions is my favorite, but the spinach, bacon & goat cheese is pretty tasty too.

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The filet is unbelievably tender and the addition of the crunchy haystack onions on top gives the dish that little bit of texture it needs.  The pasta is perfectly cooked with a creamy Monterey jack & American cheese blend.  While I’m going the decadent route, Loren leans toward their salads.  This time he chose the chicken & walnut salad.

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The chicken was nicely cooked and the mixture of ingredients gives you a bunch of different textures and flavors, from crunchy walnuts to tangy dried cranberries and creamy goat cheese.  Then on occasion, we feel the need for something sweet… ok, on most occasions.

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Their brownie sundae should really be served in a big bowl because it is messy!  Vanilla ice cream, brownie pieces, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce and whipped cream.  We made a huge mess, but it was tasty.  Total bill with a drink was $30.

Surf Shack Coastal Kitchen
12217 West Linebaugh Ave
Tampa, FL
(813) 475-5916

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Food4/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.4/5
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  • Filed under: American, Dessert, Tampa
  • Casa Tina


    It was a rainy Saturday and Mexican food sounded good for lunch so we headed over to Casa Tina in Dunedin.   We were reminiscing about our first visit here when they were just a narrow, one room restaurant.  It’s expanded and grown several times over the years, but the food is still tasty.  We just missed the lunch crowd and Loren was ready to dig into some chips and salsa.

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    He said the salsa had a definite kick to it.  Fresh and tasty, but a bit spicier than he remembered.  He ordered the carnitas which came with beans and rice.

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    I tasted the carnitas and couldn’t stop eating them.  They were so tender.  Perfectly cooked tasty bites of pork.  I figured I should stop before I got forked in the hand.  Besides, the chicken flutes were calling to me.

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    This is one of my favorite dishes here.  Shredded chicken deep fried in flour tortillas.  It also comes with beans and rice.  I’ve learned to get the salsa & guacamole on the side since they’re both too spicy for me, but Loren loves them.  Our taste buds were very happy by the time we were done.   Total bill with a drink was $34.

    Casa Tina’s 
    365 Main Street
    Dunedin, FL
    727-734-9226

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    Food5/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere4/5
    Value4/5
    4.4/5
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  • Filed under: Dunedin, Mexican
  • Greek Lunch


    We stopped at the Greek City Cafe on SR 580 for lunch today.  We ordered at the counter and then grabbed a booth and waited for our food.  We could see the folks prepping the food behind the counter and knew they had no idea what was going on.  They brought out a configuration of food that had parts of our order and parts of someone else’s.  Then they came back & grabbed it all and eventually brought us out what we had ordered.

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    For Loren, it was a Greek salad with chicken and a bowl of lentil soup.  He said the soup was good.  The lentils still had some texture to them instead of being complete mush and the flavors were there.  He liked the Greek salad, but the chicken was pretty plain.   I ordered a gyro with feta fries.

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    The gyro meat was cut into very thick pieces instead of shaved.  The feta fries were interesting.  I would have never thought to put feta cheese on French fries, but they were tasty.  Total bill with a drink was $23.

    Greek City Cafe 
    2518 SR 580, Ste C
    Clearwater, FL
    727-726-9600

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    Food3/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value3/5
    3.0/5
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  • Filed under: Clearwater, Greek