The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.


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Out in the Fog

It was a foggy evening in Safety Harbor tonight, but it was warm enough to sit outside at the Whistlestop Grill downtown.  

They have live music several nights a week, though I’m not sure who was playing tonight.  I gotta say, I was glad we weren’t seated near the stage.  The band was good, the singer didn’t do much for me though.

Although fried green tomatoes are their specialty (yeah, just think “Steel Magnolias”), I opted for the corn fritters instead.

They were crispy on the outside and had some corny goodness going on inside.   Loren was craving a burger, so he got the Santa Fe burger.  It had jalepenos, onions, cheese, avacado, and crushed tortilla chips on it.  I thought the crushed chips were weird, but he seemed to enjoy it.

I went for the Portabello Mushroom wrap with goat cheese.  I ordered it without the roasted red peppers, but somewhere between my mouth and the waiter’s ears, that little tidbit got lost.  Otherwise, it was pretty tasty.  I got some sweet potato fries with it and those were awesome.  I could have just sat there and eaten those for dinner and been quite happy.

For $24, we got an appetizer, two dinners, and a drink.  Their appetizers are half price during happy hour, 4-7pm.

My only sadness tonight was that they stopped carrying the raspberry truffle ice cream I loved.  It had the most delicious dark chocolate hearts with raspberry filling in a vanilla/raspberry ice cream.  I think it was a Working Cow ice cream, so I’m going to have to see if  I can find it somewhere else. 

At least they still have the cow…

Whistlestop Grill
915 Main St
Safety Harbor, FL

Whistle Stop Grill on Urbanspoon


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

Sakura Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon


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

Niko's Pizza & yummy Seafood on Urbanspoon


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

Tia's Tex & Mex on Urbanspoon