The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.

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Spent my day driving my car on a race track today, good times!  But, a racer has to eat… and that’s what this is about.  Now, “track food” isn’t known for being good eats.  Occasionally it’s okay, but more often than not… it’s merely expensive and convenient nutrition that you’re stuck with because you’re at a race track in the middle of nowhere.  Well, wouldn’t you know it, the concessions at this track were closed today!  Darn!  But, the track is within 5 miles of Keystone Heights, FL… which isn’t far from nowhere, but at least they have some restaurants!

My buddy Steve and I tried our luck at a fairly well-established local BBQ joint called Johnny’s.  The place “felt” like a Sonny’s, but the food was marginally better.  Good barbecue, not “great” barbecue.

Steve ordered the pulled pork and commented on it being moist and tender, but not “greasy”.  And he got that and a giant glass of iced tea for 8 bucks and change!  Me?  I saw St. Louis style pork ribs on the menu for $9.99 and just couldn’t come up with any good reason to not order them.  They were very well-smoked with lovely pinkness and flavor.  Could have been meatier, but I didn’t go away hungry.  For sides, I got a baked potato and baked beans.  Baked potatoes are hit or miss in a place like this, but in this case, it was definitely a hit.  Well-cooked, fresh and hot.  The beans were from a can, but very well seasoned.  I like fresh-cooked beans better, but I’ll take really good canned beans over weak fresh beans, so I’m not complaining.  I was sad that there were no greens on the menu.  As “country” as this place was, I really expected some fresh-cooked down home sides.  At least the waitresses were cute!

A nice cool break from the 104-degree heat-index at the track, some good grub, and much-needed hydration.  Would could ask for more?

Johnny’s BBQ and Catering
7411 State Rd 21
Keystone Heights, FL

Johnny's-bar-b-q & Catering on Urbanspoon

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  • Filed under: BBQ
  • Having not satisfied our Mexican food craving from Friday night, we headed out to Los Mayas in Clearwater.  This used to be a Los Mariachis, but they changed the name.

    Started off with some chips and salsa.

    The chips were fresh, warm and crispy.  They definitely didn’t taste like they’d been sitting around for too long. 

    I ordered the Pollo en Crema (Mayan Style).

    It didn’t have a lot of flavor, but it was still pretty good.  The chicken was cooked with onions and mushrooms and it came with some tortillas and refried beans. 

    Loren ordered the carnitas.

    Plenty of big chunks of fried pork, plus rice, beans, onions, jalepenos, guacamole and tortillas to wrap it all in. He had plenty of leftovers for tomorrow too.  For $25, this was much better than what we had Friday night. 

    Los Mayas
    1200 Cleveland St
    Clearwater, FL

    Los Mayas Mexican on Urbanspoon

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  • Filed under: Clearwater, Mexican
  • TGIF


    For a four day workweek, this one seemed to last forever, so when it came time for lunch on Friday, a few of us headed over to the Latin American Grill in Oldsmar.

    My two co-workers hadn’t eaten there before, but I’ve had dinner there a few times and it’s always been good.  The restaurant was empty though, which was a surprise for a Friday afternoon.

    For $18, we got pork chops, steak fajitas, and a small Cuban sandwich.

    Everyone enjoyed the food.  I got the Cuban and if that was a small, I don’t even want to imagine what a large looks like.  The pork was really tasty in it.  For a quick, inexpensive lunch, this is a great place in Oldsmar. 

    Latin American Grill Argentine
    3780 Tampa Road
     Oldsmar, FL‎
    813-855-0332‎

    Latin American Grill Argentinian Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

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    When all I’ve brought for lunch is a sandwich, it doesn’t take much to convince me to go out for lunch.  Loren likes Andy’s on the Bay and since they’re only open during the week for lunch, I suggested we head over there.

    Andy’s is a small cafeteria style restaurant that’s usually very crowded at lunchtime.  I was surprised there weren’t more people in there today.  The name is a bit confusing, since the restaurant isn’t on the water.  Instead it’s located in an industrial neighborhood in Oldsmar.

    I decided to try the chicken today and Loren got some pork with rice and beans.

    The chicken was a bit dry.  The pork was really good and tender.  I should know better than to order anything except the pork.  I think this is Loren’s favorite place to get rice and beans.  For $11, it’s a cheap, quick lunch.

    Andy’s on the Bay
    472 East Douglas
    Oldsmar, FL
    813-855-8166

    Andy's on the Bay on Urbanspoon

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  • Filed under: Cuban, Oldsmar
  • We headed over to Poblanos for a quick lunch today.  We’ve been on vacation in Hawaii for the past 10 days and even though we hiked all over the Big Island, we both managed to gain weight, so we decided to split an order of chicken fajitas.

    Ok, rather we thought we were going to split an order of chicken fajitas, instead our waitress brought us out steak fajitas.  Personally, I don’t think chicken and steak sound anything alike, but since we were in a hurry, we just ate what she brought. 

    I ended up only eating one fajita because the steak was really tough.  Luckily, it came with rice and beans, so I ate some of that instead.

    And Loren was happy with chips and salsa.

    Total bill was $16 and next time I’ll just have to make sure the waitress reads back our order so we actually get what we ordered.

    Poblanos Mexican Grill & Bar
    2451 McMullen Booth Road
    Clearwater, FL
    727-796-7080

    Poblano Mexican Grill and Bar on Urbanspoon

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  • Filed under: Clearwater, Mexican