The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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We had tickets to Young Frankenstein at Ruth Eckerd Hall tonight (great show), so wanted to eat dinner somewhere close.  We tried Johnny’s, but they were mobbed, so we ended up at Grind House.

Service was a bit lacking tonight, but the food was good.  We started out with the shrimp and lobster bisque.

This is one of those soups that left a lasting impression since the first time I had.  It’s rich and creamy with a wonderful flavor.  Definitely a must order if you eat here.   Loren decided on a burger with mushrooms and provolone.

It also came with home made chips.  He said it was cooked just right and tasty.  The chips were crunchy and not like anything you get out of a bag.

I ordered some bangers and mash.

The sausages had a nice flavor.  You could definitely taste the fennel.  Homemade  mashed potatoes with an onion mushroom gravy went great with it, though more gravy would have been better.  And for dessert, I got a slice of chocolate cheesecake to go.

It wasn’t a very big slice, but it was rich with chocolately goodness.  I’d definitely order it again.  Total bill was $28.

Grind House Bar & Grill
1500 McMullen Booth Rd
Clearwater, FL

Grind House Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon


We’ve eaten at Fratelli’s in Oldsmar a few times for lunch, but hadn’t been over there for dinner yet.  They had a coupon out on, so it seemed like a perfect excuse to head out there for dinner.

We started off with some calamari.

It had a wonderful, light batter on it and the calamari was cooked perfectly.  I really enjoyed the tomato sauce they served with it.  It has some really nice, cooked all day flavors in it. 

Soup or salad came with our meals, so we got one of each.

The pasta fagioli had a wonderful aroma and tomato flavor, but unfortunately the homemade pasta in it had practically dissolved.  You put it in your mouth and it turned to mush. 

Loren ordered the meat ravioli. 

These were really good.  Excellent sauce, the pasta shells were fresh, and the meat filling was unique.  It was a very soft filling, but had an interesting meaty flavor to it.  I normally don’t like meat ravioli, I go for the cheese, but I’d actually order these for myself.

I went for the chicken marsala with rigatoni pasta.

The marsala sauce was very good with a hint of sweet, which I like.  The pasta was excellent.  Homemade pasta is just so different from store bought.  The texture and consistency is so much better.  Two big pieces of lightly battered chicken and there was definitely more food there than I could eat in one sitting. 

And yet, I still ordered cheesecake for dessert.

The actual cheesecake filling was creamy and yummy.  I didn’t like the crust though.  There was too much cinnamon in it and that’s all I could taste.  It was overwhelming the delicateness of the cheesecake.

Total bill after the coupon was $22 which is an amazing deal for the quality and quantity of food we ate.  Service was good, though I thought the pacing of the food was a little fast.  I don’t want a lot of time between courses, but I would prefer to be completely finished with the appetizer before salads and soups came out, and completely finished with those before the entree arrived. 

One thing I noticed tonight was the lighting in the restaurant.  It was very well lit and the lights didn’t blind you.  So many restaurants dim the lights a little too much.  It was nice to be able to actually see each other and our food. 

The quality of the food here is really amazing.  I just hope their location doesn’t hurt them.  They don’t have a very big parking lot and are located off the beaten path, but hopefully people will find them and have as great as a meal as we did.

Fratelli Italian Restaurant and Bar
120 Commerce Blvd, Ste 1
Oldsmar, FL

Fratelli Italian Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: Italian, Oldsmar
  • Big Portions

    We headed over to the Lucky Dill Deli for dinner tonight.   I noticed it across the street when we got sushi the other night.  It was fairly crowded for a Sunday evening.  I’m not sure if it was a good thing or a bad thing, but we were seated next to the dessert counter.  I just wanted to skip dinner and fill up on pastries. 

    The rolls brought to the table were fresh and tasty.

    If you’ve read this blog before, you know by now if there’s mac & cheese on the menu, I gotta try it. 

    This was a huge bowl of homemade mac & cheese.  It had some really good flavors,  but it wasn’t heated all the way through.  It also needed some more liquid in it.  It was quite solid and not very creamy.  The parmesean cheese on top was very strong.  If you got a bite with it, that’s all you tasted.

    I ordered the cheeseburger sliders, thinking it wouldn’t be that much food.  I was wrong.

    Three thick cheeseburger sliders with fries.  I don’t think I’ve ever had sliders where the meat was this thick.  They had good flavor, but were a little dry. 

    Loren ordered the chicken kabobs.

    The chicken wasn’t very tender and the knife he had was very dull.  At one point, while trying to cut a piece, it slid off the plate along with much of his rice.  He said it tasted ok and the veggie side with it was tasty.

    Since he ordered a drink, he got a free dessert and chose the raspberry cheesecake.

    We were so full, that we got it to go.  It was very creamy.  I also ordered a napoleon to go as well.  Granted, there were about a dozen desserts that tempted me, but I settled for just one.

    The chocolate ganache topping on this was excellent and the cream was rich and tasty too.  I didn’t like the pastry layers in between though.  They were very dry. 

    Total dinner with desserts was $24 and we both had leftovers.  We were amazed at the size of some of the sandwiches being served around us.  You definitely get your money’s worth here. 

    Lucky Dill Deli
    2800 Alt 19 N
    Palm Harbor, FL
    (727) 789-5574

    Lucky Dill on Urbanspoon


    I did manage to leave work a little early so we could go see “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”.  What a fun little movie.  I really enjoyed it.  Nicholas Cage was quite the character.

    For dinner, I decided on Outback Steakhouse.  The Palm Harbor location is always busy.  I definitely recommend calling ahead and getting your name on the waiting list.  We ended up waiting for about 20 minutes for a table.

    Our waitress was really good.  She started us off with some of their fresh brown bread.

    In fact, she even brought us a 2nd loaf without us even asking.  She was really good about filling drinks and clearing plates. 

    We both got salads with ranch dressing. 

     The salad has lots of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, cheese and croutons and their ranch dressing is one of my favorites.

    Loren ordered the 6 oz sirloin with a baked potato.

    The steak was cooked  a perfect medium and was very tender.  His only comment was on how bare the plate looked.  In most restaurants, there’s usually some sort of green flourish on the plate, not here, just meat and potatoes.

    I ordered the Alice Springs Chicken.

    This is one of my favorite meals here.  The honey mustard sauce is awesome.  The chicken is covered with mushrooms and cheese.  It also comes with bacon, but I order it without it, might as well save a few calories. 

    We were both stuffed by this point, but I had to get a dessert to go for my birthday.

    This is the to-go version of their Sweet Adventure Sampler Trio.  It had carrot cake, brownie, and cheesecake plus vanilla ice cream, raspberry sauce, chocolate fudge sauce, and whipped cream.  Some assembly required. 

    We ate it later in the evening, but the only thing I liked was the cheesecake and the sauces.  I’m not a fan of carrot cake, but Loren is, so he was happy.  I was hoping to enjoy the brownie, but it was full of nuts and had a really hard texture.  Not my idea of an awesome brownie.  The raspberry and chocolate fudge sauces were really good though.  Next time, I’ll avoid the trio and just go for a slice of cheesecake.

    Total birthday dinner was $40 and I probably consumed enough calories today to last me the rest of the week.

    Outback Steakhouse
    31988 US Hwy 19 N
    Palm Harbor, FL

    Outback Steakhouse on Urbanspoon


    We called around to a few places to see who was open on Memorial Day and ended up at Georgie Boy Restaurant in Clearwater.

    They have a big menu with lots of choices.  We both ordered off of the specials menu with came with bread, soup or salad, and dessert.

    Loren got a salad & and I got the cream of chicken soup.

    The soup was very flavorful.  Definitely homemade.

     Bread baskets always make me happy.  For our entrees, Loren ordered the roast beef dinner which came with mashed potatoes and corn.

    Down home goodness on a plate.  Nothing fancy, just good food and lots of it.  I ordered the fettucine with meatballs.

    Gotta love a place that actually gives you a bunch of meatballs.  The sauce was really good, very similar to my grandmother’s recipe.  The meatballs were also very tasty and had a nice consistency.  I ended up taking half of it home for leftovers.

    For dessert, we both decided to get cheesecake.  There were some options that came with dinner or you could substitute cheesecake for half price.

    This was a decandent NY style cheesecake.  Very thick and rich with a delicate flavor.  There were a few other desserts in the dessert case that looked amazing. 

    Total dinner was $25.  Great value, and lots of tasty food.  This is definitely a place we’ll try again.

    Georgie Boy Restaurant
    1101 S Missouri Ave
    Clearwater, FL

    Georgie Boy on Urbanspoon