The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.


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Sushi for Lunch

Another Friday, another decision on where to go for lunch.  Decided it was a good day for sushi, so we headed over to Sakura Japanese Restaurant in Oldsmar.  It’s in the little plaza in front of the Lowe’s in Oldsmar.  I think they opened in December 2009.

They have a good deal for lunch, any 2 rolls on the lunch menu for $8.99 or 3 rolls for $11.99 plus soup and salad. 

They serve a miso soup.  Unfortunately, neither of us really like the taste of it.  The salad had a nice ginger dressing on it though.


We got a 2 roll and 3 roll lunch to split between us.  A California Roll, Salmon and Avacado, Salmon and Cucumber, Spicy Tuna, and a Shrimp and Cucumber roll.   The shrimp roll was the only one that wasn’t very good.  The shrimp had no flavor whatsoever.  Like it had been boiled or something.  Just a very bland roll.  The rest of the rolls were pretty tasty.  I love fresh avacado and the salmon had good flavor too.

They have some other lunch specials as well.  A Bento box with soup or salad, vegetable egg roll, California roll and white rice for $8.99 and a Japanese curry for $8.50.  They also have about 30 special rolls on their menu, ranging from $8.00 to $13.99 each. 

Total for our lunch today was $22.


Sakura Japanese Restaurant
13823 W. Hillsborough Ave
Tampa, FL

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Great Discounts!

My buddy, Jeff, has mentioned this to me several times, and I finally tried it tonight. allows you to search your local area for restaurants that are registered with them and they sell gift certificates at a significant discount.  You can usually get deals like $10 for $4, $25 for $10, etc.  Good stuff if your local restaurants are listed.  Fortunately, a lot of restaurants in our area ARE listed.  In fact, two of them are places we go regularly!

But, wait, it gets better… they offer discounts on their discounts!  There are always discount codes available, up to 70 or 80% sometimes.  You can find discount codes here. (also a great resource for any other website that will accept a discount code)  Currently, the code “INDULGE” will get you 80% off.  So, I just spent $14.60 on $145 worth of gift cards.  If we  have no issues with these cards, you can bet I’ll be doing this again!

Movie and Lunch on MLK Day

Since I was off work today, we headed out to a matinee of “The Book of Eli”.  It was an interesting movie.  Stopped for lunch at Niko’s Pizza and Seafood in Oldsmar.

They had a lot of items on their specials board today.  I chose the meatball parmesean sub and Loren got the turkey club.  Both were served with fries.   The meatball sub was good.  I’m picky about meatballs and these were homemade and tasty.  Lots of cheese and the sauce was good too. 

Niko’s is a small, local restaurant and we’ve always gotten good food there.  Their prices aren’t bad either.  $18 for two subs, fries and a drink.

Niko’s Pizza and Seafood
3705 Tampa Road
Oldsmar, FL
(813) 818-0284

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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

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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

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