The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.

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Dinner with Paul


We drove out to Tampa tonight to have dinner with an old high school friend, Paul Zabodyn.  He drives a charter bus and had just dropped off a girl’s basketball team at USF.  We headed over to Tia’s Tex Mex on Fowler Ave.

We used to have a Tia’s down on Gulf to Bay in Clearwater, but they closed, so I’m happy whenever we get to the one in Tampa.  Two words… queso supremo. 

It’s ooey, gooey cheesy goodness mixed with taco meat.  Mmmmm….  I don’t even need to order an entree, I could just eat that and be happy.  It also comes with guacamole, so Loren’s happy too.

I did order an entree, though I only ate half of it.  Too much queso.  I got a Su Casa Combo.  You pick three items plus rice and beans.  I got two chicken cheese empanadas and a taco.

Like I said, I brought half of it home.  Way too much food for me.  The empanadas were tasty.  Very cheesy and crispy. 

Loren ordered his usual, steak fajitas.

And Paul got the chicken quesadillas.

Tia’s gives you big portions and we’re always stuffed when we leave.  The fajitas, queso, and my combo plate ran us $33.  Not bad considering I have lunch for tomorrow too. 

Tia’s Tex Mex
2815 E Fowler Ave
Tampa, FL
813-977-5025

Tia's Tex & Mex on Urbanspoon

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Power Lunch


What to do when you need to discuss a potential $100,000 project?  Have a cajun lunch!

Went to one of the boss’ favorite lunch dives today, the Cajun Cafe in Pinellas Park.  Situated right on the waters of Cross Bayou right next to the Wagon Wheel flea market, it’s the only real Cajun restaurant that I know of in Pinellas county.  Their food is very authentic and quite good.  Most of it is also spicy!  There isn’t much on the menu that isn’t at least somewhat hot.  Cathy doesn’t do spicy food, and she absolutely loves their Shrimp Étouffée… but won’t touch anything else on the menu other than maybe the Gumbo because she thinks it’s too spicy.

We started off with a basket of their Cajun Popcorn (spicy batter-fried crawfish), which is worth going there for by itself.

I usually go for the Chicken Étouffée, same sauce as Cathy’s Shrimp Étouffée, just with chicken.  A little less expensive and just as good.  (in fact, sometimes I just get their “Mama Lynn’s supper”, which is the plain sauce over rice!)  That’s what I had today, but sadly, for the first time ever, I had an iffy meal.  The chicken tasted funny, and I don’t like taking chances with chicken.  So, I just ate around it and enjoyed the sauce and rice!  It was more than I needed to eat for lunch, anyway.  When our waiter came around, I told him the chicken was a little off, he took it back to the kitchen and took my entree off of our bill.  Even offered to bring me something else.  Great service, as always.

Fritz had his usual Aligator Sauce Piquant, which comes with a written warning on the menu, and they are required to caution you when you order it to be sure you understand that it’s HOT.  No complaints from Fritz, but I don’t even like my food to get too close to that dish!  Ash had a bowl of Jambalaya, which is REALLY good stuff, just a little spicier than what I wanted today.

Cajun Cafe on the Bayou
8101 Park Blvd
Pinellas Park, FL
(727) 546-6732

Cajun Cafe on the Bayou on Urbanspoon

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Friday! Yippee!


It just seems wrong to bring your lunch to work on Friday, so I ordered some take out Chinese food from China Taste in Oldsmar. 

I go to China Taste mainly for the crab rangoons.  I order them at every Chinese restaurant, and China Taste has the best ones.  They’re crunchy with a lot of filling.  Mmmm….  To go along with my rangoons, I ordered honey chicken today with white rice.  The chicken is tender and the sauce isn’t too sweet.   Lots of food, even have some leftovers for later.  Their lunch specials are a great deal, $4.95 for the entree, fried rice and a drink.  Add in the $3.95 for the rangoons and I’ve got a yummy lunch for under $10.

China Taste
13887 W. Hillsborough Ave
Tampa, Fl
(It’s in the Publix/Lowe’s shopping center right on the Oldsmar/Tampa line)
813-818-0881

China Taste on Urbanspoon

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Chimis and Burritos


Didn’t feel like cooking dinner tonight, so we headed out to Poblanos Mexican Grill on McMullen Booth.  We eat at Poblanos pretty often.  It’s quick, relatively cheap, and tasty. 

Loren got the burritos tipicos, burritos made from beef tips, topped with queso dip.  I decided to try something different tonight, the grilled shrimp chimichangas.   The shrimp chimi was tasty, but needed to be deep fried a little longer.  It wasn’t crispy at all, more like a shrimp burrito.  They smothered the whole thing in queso which is ok by me.  The cheesier, the better.  Plenty of food for $24.50.

Poblanos Mexican Grill
245 McMullen Booth Road
Clearwater, FL
727-796-7080

Poblano Mexican Grill and Bar on Urbanspoon

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Something New


We braved the cold a second night in a row in search of food.  A new restaurant, Kuzina Mediterranean Grill & Bar, opened up recently where Winners used to be, so we headed out to Oldsmar to check it out.

Interior

The interior was cozy.  The naked trees were an interesting design.  They brought bread and hummus to the table to start with.  Loren liked the hummus, said it was very garlicy.  I liked the bread, though it would have been better if it had been warmed.

Because we just can’t say no to appetizers, we ordered the calamari.  It was very good and the sundried tomato sauce that came with it was excellent.

Calamari

For dinner, I ordered the Wild Mushroom Rissoto and Loren got the Salmon Farfale.  I was disappointed in the rissoto.  All I could taste was parmesean cheese.  It was completely overwhelming.  The cheese even began to solidify on my spoon, it was so thick.  Loren enjoyed his salmon pasta dish and I took his leftovers to eat tomorrow.  I’d probably order his dish again, but I’ll pass on the rissoto.

Since I didn’t eat all my dinner (yeah, I’m using that as an excuse), we ordered dessert.  Let’s face it, I’m not passing up a chocolate dessert.  It was listed on the menu as “Molten Chocklate Lava Cake”.  I’m not real sure what “chocklate” is, but I figured I’d take a chance anyway. 

Because they make the dessert to order, it took about 15 minutes to get to the table.  They should probably let you know that ahead of time so you can order it early.  Though it was an ooey, gooey chocolate dessert, it really didn’t have the deep dark chocolate flavor that I crave.  The cake was really bland and the interior “lava” didn’t have a strong chocolate taste either.  There was a darker chocolate sauce on the outside that was good.  It could have used some whipped cream or ice cream on the side to make it sweeter.  Don’t get me wrong, we ate the entire thing, but I probably won’t order it again.

The service at the restaurant seemed very inexperienced.  Granted they just opened, but our drinks went unfilled at times and when we sat down, our table was set for four and even though there were only two of us, the waitress never took the other settings away. 

We probably will go back again and try some other dishes.  Appetizer, two dinners, dessert, and an iced tea ran us $46.     

Kuzina Mediterranean Grill & Bar
3980 Tampa Road
Oldsmar, FL
813-749-7550

Kuzina Mediterranean Grill and Bar on Urbanspoon

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