Headed over to Tijuana Flats in Oldsmar for lunch today. Surprisingly, for a Friday at noon, they weren’t very busy.
I ordered the same thing I always get, a chicken chimichanga with rice and beans.
I just get it with lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream, but you can also get it with onions, jalapenos and black olives too. There’s also the hot sauce bar, which I avoid completely. I just don’t do spicy. For the most part, it’s typical chain restaurant food, but I’ve never been disappointed eating here.
The staff checks on you constantly. We had at least 4 different people ask if they could refill our drinks or get us anything else. It’s nice to go somewhere and actually feel as though they make an effort to keep their customers happy. And for $8.75, my tummy was content the rest of the day.
3687 Tampa Road
Brady’s Backyard BBQ is our go to place for BBQ. They’re located on Main Street in Safety Harbor and we’ve never had a bad experience there.
They were busy tonight, but we were lucky enough to find a small table when we walked in.
Loren ordered his usual, riblets with a side of collard greens and a “try” of baked beans.
The riblets have a lot of meat on them and they give you a bunch of them. He always has a few left over to take home. He likes to dip them in their mango BBQ sauce.
I ordered the BBQ pork sandwich with a side of corn bread pudding.
I love their corn bread pudding. It has a wonderful flavor and texture to it. Their pulled pork is very tasty too. They pile it on the sandwiches. I got a small sandwich and there was easily enough pork on it for two people.
We tried the apple pie for dessert.
It was ok, but didn’t taste homemade, more like something you’d buy in a grocery store.
Two entrees, dessert and a drink ran us $29. Brady’s smokes all their meats on site for 14-20 hours and you can definitely taste it. Everything is fresh and flavorful.
Brady’s Backyard BBQ
340 Main Street
Safety Harbor, FL
Didn’t feel like cooking tonight, so we headed over the Latin American Grill Argentine in Oldsmar.
We’ve been here a few times. It’s a small restaurant, but the food packs a lot of flavor. They start you off with some cuban bread with a chimichurri sauce to dip it in.
You know it has to be good when Loren eats more bread that I do. The sauce is very garlicy and full of herbs.
We split a chicken empanada for an appetizer.
It was nice and crispy and the chicken filling was really tasty. I’d be happy with just a couple of these for dinner. My dinner came with 2 sides and I chose the chicken soup as one of them.
It was chicken and rice with a lot of veggies. It had a really nice flavor to it, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. There was almost a sweetness to it, but I don’t know if it was just from the fresh vegetables or if something else was added. In either case, it was a yummy bowl of soup on a rainy night.
Loren got the roasted pork with yellow rice and beans.
Inevitably, if there’s roasted pork on the menu, he’s going to get it. This one had a bunch of onions plus the chimichurri sauce mixed it. He scarfed the entire thing.
I went for the Milanesa de Pollo with mashed potatoes.
There was enough chicken here to feed at least two people. It was nicely pan fried with a lot of seasoning on it. Maybe a little too much for my taste. It sort of tasted salty, but maybe with a little lemon thrown in. The chicken was very tender and the mashed potatoes were homemade, which is the way all mashed potatoes should be.
For $35 we got an appetizer, two entrees and a drink, plus have of my chicken for leftovers. Everything was really tasty and flavorful and the service was good too. It’s one of those restaurants we enjoy whenever we go there, but we just keep forgetting that it’s there.
Latin American Grill Argentine
3780 Tampa Road
I’ve been whining for weeks that I wanted to go see Wicked again (I’ve seen it twice), but that the ticket prices were way too high. There’s no way I was going to shell out $180/ticket. Then last night, TBPAC posts $49 tickets on Facebook. Seriously, $49, 8th row, I’m so there.
Since the show was in Tampa at 7:30pm, we needed to eat somewhere that was going to be quick, so we headed over to Cuban Breezes.
They had their Havana burger on special, so Loren got one of those with the ultimate beans and rice.
Cuban Breezes makes a pretty good burger. He scarfed it. I opted for the steak philly with beans and rice.
Their steak philly is different than a cheesesteak you get other places. It has it’s own special blend of spices, onions and peppers on their yummy Cuban bread. I smother the whole thing in their Havana sauce. Good stuff. The rice and beans were a little dry this time, though.
We were in and out of there for $15 in about 45 minutes. Got to Tampa in plenty of time. The show was great. The actress playing Elphaba had a fantastic voice and Richard Kline (yup, Larry from Three’s Company) played the Wizard of Oz.
13980 W Hillsborough Ave
Loren and I constantly play the “where do you want to go for dinner?, I don’t know, where do you want to go to dinner?” game. We finally narrowed it down to Mexican food and decided on Carambas Restaurant in Clearwater.
It’s a small restaurant, but most of the tables were filled when we got there. There was only one waitress, but she seemed to handle things pretty well. First up, some chips and salsa.
The salsa is not your typical tomato salsa, this one was more of a roasted pepper salsa. Loren thoroughly enjoyed it and finished all the chips before our entrees showed up.
I can’t remember the name of what he ordered. It was some sort of skirt steak with rice and beans.
He said the steak itself was nothing to write home about, but when you added the pico de gallo and guacamole, that’s what made the dish. He normally doesn’t eat all of the refried beans when we go out for Mexican food, but he scarfed these down. They had a nice flavor to them.
I ordered the Chicken and Shrimp Mexicano.
It was really tasty. The chicken was so tender and the shrimp were nice and fresh. It was all covered in a tomato/onion/garlic sauce. Not spicy at all which is just the way I like it.
Everything tasted fresh and had great flavors. It took a little time to get our food, but when the result is something that tastes this good, it’s worth the wait. Definitely one of the better $28 meals we’ve had.
1840 Drew St
Coincidentally, I also had Cuban food for lunch today! This was the bi-weekly work lunch meeting at another one of our favorite places, La Terasita in Pinellas Park. Not a fancy place, just good cheap Cuban food.
We almost always go there on a Friday, and their Friday special is one of my favorites: Lechon Asado (or Roast Pork, if you prefer). I like it with black beans and yellow rice, thank you. I didn’t even think about taking a photo, just dug right in and before I knew it, my bowl was empty.
For the record, I go to three cheap Cuban restaurants fairly regularly. This one, Cuban Breezes, and a little place called Andy’s in Oldsmar. Cuban Breezes is okay, the food is decent, quick and cheap… but really, the only reason we go there is that Cathy likes their Cuban sandwiches. Andy’s is IT, as far as I’m concerned. Very authentic Cuban flavor, just awesome. But, Cathy thinks Cuban Breezes has a better Cuban sandwich, so she never goes there with me. La Teresita is somewhere between the two. Their beans don’t taste like they’re out of a can like they do at Cuban Breezes, but they’re not quite as good as Andy’s. But, if you’re down in the Pinellas Park area… La Teresita, it is!
7101 66th Street
Pinellas Park, FL 33781-4004
Did a quick lunch run today between downpours and decided a Cuban sandwich with some black beans and rice would hit the spot.
Since Cuban Breezes is right around the corner, I called ahead & picked up lunch within 15 minutes. Even though they were busy with the lunch rush, they had my order ready when I walked in the door.
Let’s face it, Cuban Breezes puts out a nice lunch for $6.50. Their Cuban sandwich is tasty; ham, pork, cheese, pickles and mustard pressed in their yummy Cuban bread. I could just eat the bread alone and be happy. And I have to have their Havana sauce on everything. It’s sort of like a ranch dressing, but oh so good. The beans and rice are very filling. For me it’s usually a choice of finish the sandwich or finish the side dish.
13980 W. Hillsborough Ave
Tampa, FL (it’s on the Oldsmar/Tampa line)
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
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
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.
13980 W. Hillsborough Ave.