The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Tonight we went over to La Trattoria Da Gaetano in Dunedin for dinner.  This is one of those places that makes you feel like you’ve walked into an Italian Grandma’s kitchen.  From the pictures on the walls to the red & white checkerboard tables, it just has old world Italy written all over it.  If you’ve never been here, it’s a little odd in that they don’t have a menu.  First, they drop off bread at the table and then for the appetizers, they bring over what’s available that day.  Tonight there were artichokes, stuffed mushrooms, and cheese stuffed rollatini.  We got a couple of mushrooms and split the rollatini so we’d have room for our entrees.

Everything’s made fresh that day.  I could have eaten a few of each and not thought twice about it.  Once you finished up your appetizers, they come around with a cart of proteins and list off all of the different ways they can cook them.  They’ll pretty much accommodate whatever you want.  Surf or turf, they have ways to cook all of it.  I come here specifically for the amaretto cream sauce with crab and pasta.

It’s all about the sauce for me.  It has one of those flavors that makes my tastebuds sing.  The sauce is a bit on the sweet side and goes perfectly with crab and pasta.  I all but lick the bowl.  Loren went for a NY strip steak with garlic and a side of spaghetti.

He said the steak was tender and there was plenty of garlic on top.  It’s a simple dish, done right.  We ordered the ricotta cheesecake for dessert.

It’s not a smooth and creamy cheesecake and honestly, not one of my favorites.  It’s dense and just doesn’t have the right mouth-feel to me.  Otherwise, though, it was an enjoyable meal.  Total bill with a drink was $69.

La Trattoria Da Gaetano
2152 Main St
Dunedin, FL
(727) 733-5664

La Trattoria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food4/5
Service4/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.7/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Dunedin, Italian
  • We’ve walked by Grimaldi’s Pizzeria at Countryside Mall a bunch of times and finally decided it was time to check it out.  It was about 8pm on a Sunday night and they weren’t very busy.  We got a small regular pizza and added garlic, meatballs, and mushrooms to it.

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    I understand charging for toppings, but $2 for fresh garlic is a bit on the unreasonable side.  I liked the crust of the pizza, but not the sauce.  It had that “not cooked long enough tomato from a can taste” and desperately needed the garlic we added.  The meatballs were ok, and normally, I don’t like a thin crust, but this one had the right texture to it.  You could even watch the guys in the kitchen tossing the dough.  They had a special butterscotch cheesecake that we couldn’t pass up.

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    I’d come back just for the cheesecake.  It was silky smooth with a wonderful butterscotch flavor.  Absolutely delicious.   Would I come back for the pizza?  Probably not.  It was overpriced and lacked the flavors I was after.  Total bill with a drink was $32.

    Grimaldi’s Pizzeria
    27001 Hwy 19 N.
    Clearwater, FL
    (727) 725-1200

    Grimaldi's Pizzeria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Food2/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value2/5
    2.5/5

    We tried to eat lunch at Craft Street Kitchen today after going to a movie in Oldsmar, but they haven’t started opening for lunch yet.  Instead, we came back for dinner with some friends.  We got there around 6pm and the place was already crowded, but we were able to get a table without a wait.  They have both inside and outside seating and rearranged the space quite a bit from the restaurant it used to be.  It’s a bit on the loud side, but we didn’t have any trouble hearing each other across the table.

    The menu had a lot of interesting choices and the waitress came by and explained her favorites (they’re to die for and simply amazing!) in vivid detail.  I’m not sure if she even took a breath while she recited almost the entire menu to us.  We skipped the appetizers tonight and went straight for the entrees.  Our friends ordered the Southwest flatbread and the Roma Chicken sandwich.

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    The flatbread was huge!  It had BBQ’d chicken, pepperjack cheese, avocado, corn relish, pico de gallo, black beans, cilantro and a chipolte crema on top.  It had a nice crispy crust and a mix of sweet and spicy that our friend really liked.  The chicken sandwich also went over very well.  It had mozzarella cheese, prosciutto, tomatoes, arugula and a basil mayo.  On our end of the table, we ordered the Angry Pig Sandwich with a side salad and the shrimp and grits.

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    The salad was supposed to come out first, but Loren only got a few bites in before the entrees arrived.  The ranch dressing was unusual.  I think it had dill in it or some other herb that made it unique.  The Angry Pig was mojo braised pork, apple slaw & fried pickles with an Angry Orchard BBQ sauce.  It was tasty.  It had a nice sweetness to it that I really liked.  The shrimp and grits were also good.  It had smokey cheddar grits with a very mild andouille sausage and shrimp swimming in a roasted poblano buerre blanc sauce.  The only think I didn’t really like were the herbs on top.  They really overpowered the other flavors.   We were all happy with our entrees and decided we’ll be back again.  We got some desserts to go, the peanut butter pie and the Founders raspberry chocolate cheesecake.

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    I wasn’t as impressed with the dessert as I was with the meal.  The cheesecake was not one of the ones on our waitress’s “to die for” list and I could understand why.  It was thick, but not at all creamy.  The chocolate flavor wasn’t rich enough and the whole thing was just kind of crumbly.  Not something I’d order again.  Our total came to $40, not sure what our friend’s total was, but probably pretty close since the prices are all very reasonable.  Overall though, we’ll be back and when they start opening for lunch it’ll be a perfect after movie place to eat.

    Craft Street Kitchen and Drinks
    3153 Curlew Rd
    Oldsmar, FL
    727-314-4270

    Craft Street Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Food4/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value3/5
    3.7/5

    So full


    We ended up at Longhorn Steakhouse tonight after we couldn’t find parking at the restaurant we had planned to go to.  I was shocked that we didn’t have to wait for a table at 6pm on a Friday night.  Of all the chain restaurants, I think Longhorn has become our favorite.  The food is consistent and the flavors are there.  We started off with one of their new appetizers, the sweet chili calamari.

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    This was some perfectly cooked calamari.  I couldn’t stop eating it even though the sweet chili sauce had my tongue tingling.  I would definitely order it again.  After bread and salads, out came out entrees.  Loren got the 6 oz Renegade sirloin with asparagus.

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    He said the steak was very tender and tasty.  Unfortunately, the asparagus was a little too far on the tender side.  He likes his asparagus much crisper.  I ordered the half rack of baby back ribs.

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    They were very tender with a slightly sweet sauce.  I really enjoyed them.  And even though we were both stuffed at this point, I just couldn’t pass up the dessert sampler.

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    This is the dessert to get here.  Chocolate stampede, caramel apple goldrush, and strawberry cheesecake.  Yum!  I devoured the chocolate stampede.  It’s layers of chocolate mousse on a chocolate cake.  So good!  Loren favored the caramel apple dish and the cheesecake was pretty darn tasty as well.   We had to roll ourselves out of the restaurant.  Total bill with a drink was $55 and worth every penny.

    Longhorn Steakhouse
    35645 US Highway 19
    Palm Harbor, FL
    (727) 781-9300

    Longhorn Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

     

    Food4/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value3/5
    3.7/5

    Big Crowd


    We were in Ellenton today for a Mini car rally for Relay for Life and the final stop was at Woody’s River Roo.  The place was packed with their normal Sunday crowd, plus about 50 additional people from the rally.  Luckily, we managed to find a table in their small air conditioned indoor seating area.  With so many people there at once, our waiter told us the kitchen was backed up about 30 minutes, so our calamari & our lunch came out at the same time.

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    The calamari was tender and tasty.  Some of the better calamari we’ve had in a while.  While Loren went for the blackened grouper, I tried their blue crab cake sandwich.  All the food was flavorful and cooked well.  We both felt that the ciabatta bun was too big for the fish & crab cake & we both ended up just eating it on one half of the bun.  The fries were crisp & tasty too.  We also finished off with a slice of cheesecake.

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    For a plain cheesecake, it was pretty good.  The texture was smooth, the crust was firm, and it had a delicate flavor to it.  Overall, a tasty meal for $47.

    Woody’s River Roo
    5717 18th St East
    Ellenton, FL
    941-722-2391

    Woody's River Roo Pub & Grill on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value3/5
    3.7/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Ellenton, Seafood