The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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January Recap


Hard to believe January is over already.   Looks like we visited 23 different restaurants and spent about $560 between the two of us.  There were definitely some memorable dining experiences… both good and bad. 

Here’s my best and worst of January dining:

Best Appetizer:  Mexican roll at Thirsty Marlin

Best Dessert:  7 Layer Dark Chocolate Cake at Green Springs Bistro

Best Bread:  Garlic bread at Panos Kouzina

Best use of Cheese: Queso Supremo at Tia’s

Best Fries:  Sweet potato fries at Whistlestop Grill

Best Value:  2 for 1 Fajitas at Chicos

Best Atmosphere Green Springs Bistro

Worst ServiceOzona Pig

Worst use of Cheese:  Wild Mushroom Risotto at Kuzina Mediterranean Grill

Worst entree: Shrimp Lo Mein at Hin Lee II

Worst Side Dish: Potato Salad at Thirsty Marlin

The Restaurants at My End of the Universe Tampa Bay restaurants

Two for One


After going to the 11:30am showing of “Edge of Darkness” (good movie, definitely worth seeing), we were ready for some lunch.  Chico’s Wood Fired Grill on Linebaugh offers two-for-one fajitas on Sundays, so off we went.

We didn’t get there until almost 2pm, so they weren’t very busy.  It’s nice to be able to eat a quiet lunch. They start you off with some colorful chips and salsa.

We didn’t even need to look at a menu.  I ordered the chicken fajitas and Loren got the steak and chicken combo fajitas.

Chico’s makes a pretty good fajita.  Fresh and tasty with lots of onions and peppers and all the fixin’s.  You can easily get 3-4 fajitas out of the lunch serving. 

You just can’t beat this deal, two orders of fajitas and a soda for $16.  If you like fajitas this is definitely the place to go on Sundays.

This was the mural above our table:

Chico’s Wood Fired Grill
12217 W Linebaugh Ave
Tampa, FL
813-814-2023

Chicos Woodfired Grill on Urbanspoon

Food3/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value4/5
3.2/5

On our quest to try new places, we set out to the Green Springs Bistro in Safety Harbor for dinner tonight. 

It’s an eclectic little restaurant.  Lots of bright colors and artwork in the three dining rooms and outside.  We wanted a quiet part of the restaurant and were seated on the back porch.  The restaurant is in a 1930’s house.  The live music was in the dining room in front of ours.  It was very soothing and we knew every song. 

Loren ordered an iced tea which turned out to be a raspberry blend that he really liked.  He normally doesn’t like fruity teas, but he was really impressed with this one.  We were served a complimentary taste of their potato soup.  It was tasty.  

Because we just can’t resist appetizers, we ordered the Saganaki,  an oven-roasted Greek Kefalograviera cheese, bathed in olive oil and fresh-squeezed lemon.

It had a strong parmesean cheese taste to it.  I don’t think I’d order it again, but it was good with the bread.  The salad had a poppy seed dressing on it that was good, though the onions were really strong.

For my entree, I ordered the Roasted Duck with a blackberry orange sauce.  It came with mashed red potatoes and roasted veggies.

The duck was tender, but it had the skin still on and it was just the wrong texture.  The same with the blackberry orange sauce, great flavor, bad texture.  I kept getting blackberry seeds between my teeth.  The mashed potatoes were really good.  The roasted veggies were peas and sweet potatoes.  I thought it was odd to serve a roasted potato with mashed potatoes, but I liked them nonetheless.

Loren ordered the special, a swordfish in a Beurre blanc sauce with the same mashed potatoes and roasted veggies as mine. 

He really enjoyed the swordfish.  He joked about having leftovers, but there wasn’t anything left on his plate except a bite or two of mashed potatoes.

We were both pretty full by this point, but I kept hearing the waitress describe the desserts at other tables.  All I had to hear were the words “7 Layer Dark Chocolate Cake” and I was sold.

At first glance, and even in the photo, the cake doesn’t look all that appealing.  My first thought was that it was going to be really dry.  Boy, was I wrong.  It was one of the moistest, freshest cakes I’ve ever tasted.  One bite and I tried to steal the plate away from Loren.  It had a decadent thick chocolate frosting on top and rich, dark chocolate mousse between 7 layers of cake.  Even though we felt like we couldn’t eat another bite, we managed to finish the entire thing.  I’d go back for the cake alone.

The only downside was the bill.  This was not a cheap dinner.  $72 for the two of us.  We’re not likely to go back often, but this is definitely a place I’d recommend if you want the occasional special night out. 

Green Springs Bistro
156 Fourth Ave North
Safety Harbor, FL
727-669-6762

Green Springs Bistro on Urbanspoon

Food0/5
Service0/5
Atmosphere0/5
Value0/5
0.0/5

When in Rome


My friend Cathy and I went to the movies this morning and saw “When In Rome”.  One of those chick flicks I can’t drag Loren to.  We enjoyed the movie, it was cute and so was Josh Duhamel as the leading man. 

Since it was starting to rain, we wanted to grab lunch close by so we headed over to Eve’s Family Restaurant which is in the same shopping center as the AMC Theater in Oldsmar.

Eve’s is a local place that seems to have a big clientele from the retirement community across the street.   

I ordered a Belgium waffle with blueberries and whipped cream.

The waffle was ok, but nothing spectacular. I would have liked it more crispy throughout.  The edges were good, but it was kinda mushy in the middle.  I don’t think I’d order it again. 

$5 for the movie, $7 for the waffle, and good conversation with my buddy Cathy.  Not bad for a rainy Saturday morning.

Eve’s Family Restaurant
3150 Tampa Road
Oldsmar, FL
727-787-6886

Eve's Family on Urbanspoon

Food0/5
Service0/5
Atmosphere0/5
Value0/5
0.0/5

Not Feeling Neglected, Are You?


Got home from work around 5:30pm and decided to see if I could get any decent photos of the full moon since it was supposed to be its biggest and brightest of the year tonight.  Unfortunately, it was cloudy over the horizon, so I wasn’t able to get any shots of the moon rising, but did manage a few decent ones once it got above the clouds.

I got back home around 6:30pm and Loren had a hankering for steak, so we drove out to Longhorn Steakhouse in Palm Harbor.  The drive through the parking lot showed a large crowd of people waiting on tables and there weren’t any parking spots, so I suggested Outback instead.  I saw some empty parking spaces when we had passed it on the way to Longhorn.

We parked at Outback only to go in and find there was a 50 minute wait.  By now, we were both fairly hungry and being the geeks that we are, Loren whipped out his cell phone and searched for steakhouses near our location.  The gps came up with Ozona Blue in Palm Harbor, so we headed out there.

Unfortunately, though, the gps didn’t have the address correct, so we drove right by the restaurant and headed into Ozona.  We were at the Ozona Pig before we knew it.  We’d eaten there before and the food was good, so we pulled into the parking lot and our steak dinner turned into BBQ instead.

The last time we were at The Ozona Pig, it was almost empty.  Not so tonight.  It was packed and noisy.  So noisy that we could barely hear each other from across the table.  Our waitress brought our drinks and then it took a while before she returned to take our order.  It was an omen of things to come, but we didn’t know it at the time.

I ordered the pulled pork dinner with macaroni and cheese and potato salad for my sides. 

 Loren got the half rack of ribs, garlic mashed, and baked beans. Both dinners came with a deviled egg and we ordered a couple of extra too.

The ribs and the pulled pork were really good.  They definitely know how to do BBQ.  We even had some leftovers.  The sides were a different story though.  The potato salad and the beans were ok.  The macaroni and cheese was dry, the deviled eggs were tough, and the garlic mashed could have warded off Dracula and all the vampires from Twilight and True Blood combined.

All during dinner, we didn’t see our waitress.  In fact, for at least 45 minutes after we’d finished eating, we didn’t see hide nor hair of her or any other waitstaff for that matter.  I get that they were busy, but you can’t just ignore tables all night.

Evenutally, she made her way over to us and said, “Ya’ll haven’t been feeling neglected back here, have you?”.  Ummm.. yeah. 

Total bill was $28 and the BBQ was good, but the service was horrible.  Perhaps take-out would have been a better option.

The Ozona Pig
311 Orange St
Ozona, FL
727-773-0744

Ozona Pig on Urbanspoon

Food0/5
Service0/5
Atmosphere0/5
Value0/5
0.0/5