The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.


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Cold Night, Hot Food

The temperature rarely gets into the 30’s in Florida, but we’re in the middle of a cold spell right now.  I wasn’t sure I even wanted to leave the house, but the thought of comfy Cuban food was enough to get me to dig out my winter coat and head out to Cuban Breezes in Oldsmar.

We started with a couple of appetizers, a chicken empanada and a cup of chorizo soup. 

We eat at Cuban Breezes a lot, but this is the first time I tried their Fricase de Pollo.  It’s shredded chicken and diced potatoes in a tomato based sauce over rice.  It was yummy.  Shad got his usual Lechon, marinated shredded pork, and some beans and rice.

Appetizers, two dinners and a Pepsi ran us $25.

Cuban Breezes
13980 W. Hillsborough Ave.
Tampa, FL

Cuban Breezes on Urbanspoon


Getting Happy with the Girls

It was Friday night out with friends and we went to the The Living Room in Dunedin.  This was the first time I’ve been there.  It’s in Dunedin, right on the corner when you turn to go downtown.  Unfortunately, there’s a bunch of construction at that intersection and their parking area is really small, so some of us had to park in the hospital parking lot across the street.

Since we didn’t have reservations, we ended up out on the patio, which under normal circumstances would have been fine, but it was one of the coldest nights we’ve had in Florida in a long time.  They have heaters and heavy vinyl drop curtains on the patio, but there was still a draft.  My feet and butt didn’t thaw out until well after I got home.

I’m the only one in our group who doesn’t drink so while their cocktails kept them warm, I needed to find something else.  I wanted hot chocolate, but had to settle for tea.  It was an orange sanguine tea and helped warm me up.

Four of us ordered the same thing, the Wild Mushroom Grilled Flatbread Pizza.  Flatbread grilled and topped with sundried tomato, wild mushrooms, artichokes, and Gorgonzola cheese.  It was really good and plenty for one person.  I also ordered the chocolate mousse for dessert.

Dessert…  I love sweets, and if that sweet includes chocolate, then I am so there.  It’s a wonder that I don’t weigh 500 lbs given my weakness for pasta and chocolate.  But, let’s just say, I don’t usually pass up an opportunity to check out the dessert menu.

As for the chocolate mousse, it was very thick and rich.  I should have taken a photo of it (I really will start doing that) because the presentation was pretty.  It was tear shaped with raspberry sauce, whipped cream, and graham cracker crumbs on the plate. 

My bill was $15, and the mousse actually cost more than the flatbread. 

The Living Room on Main
 680 Main Street
Dunedin, FL

The Living Room on Urbanspoon


Working Lunch

Being a largely “work from home” business, my boss likes to get us together every other Friday for a lunch meeting.  These lunches rarely last less than two hours, and have dragged on as long as 4 hours on occasion!  But, we always try to go someplace with good food, a good view, or both.

Since is was cold as hell this week, and raining today, we skipped the beach (we do love lunch on the beach!), and went to Los Mariachi’s for a cozy meal.  The chips and salsa are free, tasty and plentiful, and Los Mariachi’s has a nice inexpensive lunch menu with prices in the $5.00-$8.00 range.  I almost always get lunch special #1, the “Speedy Gonzoles” (a taco, an enchilada and rice or beans), but today I opted for their lunch Fajitas for about $7.00.  They skimp just a little on the meat, but plenty of everything else, especially flavor!  I was quite satisfied, as always.

The boss paid for this one, but the total for my lunch with tip wasn’t more than about $12.

Los Mariachis
9100 Ulmerton Rd
Largo, FL 
(727) 584-9739

Los Mariachis Mexican on Urbanspoon


Time for Thai

I usually bring my lunch to work, but on Fridays my friend Cathy and I head out for lunch.  With the temperature dropping, soup was high on the list of desired menu items, so we headed out to Amarit Thai in Palm Harbor.

They start you off with some chicken and rice soup and an spring roll.  It’s a great place to go for lunch and there’s almost always other people from work there.  You just can’t beat soup, spring roll, and a big ol’ dish of pad thai for $10.

Amarit Thai
1000 E Lake Road
Palm Harbor, FL 

Amarit Thai on Urbanspoon


What the Butler Saw

We were on our way to Tampa to see “What the Butler Saw” at the Jobsite Theater and needed to eat somewhere we could get in and out of quickly on the way.

I try to avoid chain restaurants as much as possible, but sometimes you just gotta do it.  I got the pulled pork with a sweet potato and mac & cheese and Shad got the baby back ribs with baked beans and a baked tater.

Now would probably be a good place to divulge my obsession with macaroni and cheese.  I’m completely challenged when it comes to making homemade macaroni and cheese.  I’ve tried every recipe known to man and still can’t come up with one that I like.  It’s very frustrating because I love macaroni and cheese.  What’s not to love about macaroni covered in ooey, gooey cheese.  If it’s on the menu, I’m gonna order it.

Which brings us back to Sonny’s.  Their mac & cheese is not “it”.  It tastes like Stouffers frozen mac & cheese to me.  Edible, but not the homemade goodness I crave. 

For $37.42, we were able to keep our stomachs from grumbling during the play, which, by the way, was really funny.  It’s not often you go to a show where 4 out of the 6 cast members end up in their underwear.

Sonny’s BBQ
8106 W. Hillsborough Ave
Tampa, FL