We went over to Cafe Alfresco in Dunedin for lunch today. The restaurant was packed and we ended up with about a 20 minute wait. It wouldn’t have been so bad except that they don’t have any place inside to wait and it was so hot & humid outside. I was melting by the time our table was ready. Loren decided on the buttermilk chicken sandwich and I went for a cheeseburger.
Both were tasty and the fries were nice and crunchy. This is one of our go-to restaurants when we want simple, tasty food. Total bill with a drink was $23.
344 Main St
Salt Rock Tavern recently opened up in Oldsmar and from start to finish, this was not a pleasant experience. For some reason, they chose not to use the entrance in the front of the building, instead choosing to use an unmarked door on the side. We really weren’t sure we were in the right place when we walked in from the parking lot. It was 5:30pm when we got there and though the inside looked spacious and rather empty, we were told there was an hour wait unless we wanted to eat on the patio or at a communal table in the bar area. We went ahead & chose an outside table.
Our waiter brought over a lukewarm carafe of water and two small glasses. Since I drink water with my meals, I had to ask for a larger glass with ice. Loren ordered the crispy chicken sandwich which came with fries.
The Texas toast was quite a bit bigger than the piece of chicken and the name “salt rock” aptly applied to this sandwich. The chicken was coated in what tasted like large crunchy rocks of salt. Loren actually thought it was bacon at first, but since bacon wasn’t listed on the description and it had no bacon flavor, I have to assume it was just salt. Quite inedible in my opinion. My meatloaf sandwich wasn’t much better.
It was almost as salty as the chicken sandwich and had a strong fennel flavor to it. I’m guessing the meatloaf was made partly with sausage. There just came a point where I couldn’t ingest any more salt. The fries weren’t hot or crispy and tasted like they had been sitting in the kitchen for quite a while.
The layout of the patio was also poorly planned. While we were out there, a typical Florida thunderstorm came through drenching the one table of people that were at the edge of the seating area & sending everyone at the bar running inside. There wasn’t an overhang between the restaurant and the side of the patio we were on, so the waiter got wet every time he had to go back inside. Their satellite TV went out with the first raindrop. We won’t be back. Total bill with a drink was $18.
Salt Rock Tavern
3689 Tampa Road
I received a coupon in the mail for $8 off two entrees at Outback, so we headed out there for dinner tonight. They were also doing a 4-course special, so we both opted for that. The kitchen was backed up, so it took a while to get our bread and soup and salad.
We both chose the clam chowder which was quite a bit spicier than I had anticipated. It was creamy and had good flavors though. What we didn’t know, until the bill came out, was that there was an upcharge for the clam chowder. I’m always a little miffed for things to show up on the bill that we weren’t told about ahead of time. Our waitress said she didn’t know there was an upcharge.
There are a limited number of choices on the 4-course entree menu, but that wasn’t an issue for Loren. He got the 6 oz sirloin with a baked potato.
Though the presentation left a bit to be desired, he said the steak was cooked a perfect medium. He enjoyed it. Normally, I order the Alice Springs Chicken, but it wasn’t one of the options, so I tried their new Honey Mustard Chicken.
That was a mistake. There’s a distinct difference between lightly charred and burnt. This fell into the burnt category. I tried to eat around the crispy parts. The main reason I didn’t send it back is that Loren would have been finished with his meal before something new could come out of the kitchen for me. We’d already been waiting a long time so it wasn’t worth the effort. The waitress asked if I wanted to bring the leftovers home and I told her no, couldn’t she see how burnt it was? The manager came over and was very apologetic and took it off the bill. Let’s face it, something that looks like this never should have made it out of the kitchen. For our last course, we got one of each desserts offered, the cheesecake and carrot cake.
For me, the cheesecake was the best part of the meal. It was creamy and the raspberry sauce was good. Loren liked the carrot cake. Since we no longer had two entrees on the menu, I didn’t use my coupon and the final bill ended up being $21 with a drink.
31988 US Hwy 19 N
Palm Harbor, FL
We eat out a lot and one of the things I’ve noticed is that a lot of places have gone to a very minimal presentation of their food, but that’s not the case with Pacific Thai Cuisine. Their plating makes the food look that much more appetizing and it’s those little details that can take a meal to that next level. Loren decided to try the Yum Beef tonight.
He got it medium spicy and he was sniffling a little by the end, but really enjoyed the dish. He loves entrees with lots of veggies. I went for the Pad Se-ew tonight.
It’s a very simple dish, but they do it well here. It has that right mouth-feel, the veggies are crisp, the flavors subtle, and the noodles are cooked perfectly. It’s just a pleasant dining experience from start to finish. Must be why we eat here quite often. Total bill with a drink was $33.
Pacific Thai Cuisine
4058 Tampa Road
We went over to the Little Greek on Linebaugh for lunch today. It’s almost identical to the one over at Boot Ranch. We both got Greek salads and Loren also got some dolmades.
I always forget that the mini-Greek is plenty of food. Loren had ordered the mini with chicken and I got the regular with gyro meat. I think the main difference is that there’s two scoops of potato salad and some more lettuce in the regular one. The gyro meat was very fresh and tasty today. Total bill with a drink was $24.
12117 W Linebaugh Ave
I’ve been wanting to try the new Yummy House out on Hillsborough for a while and we were finally out that way today so we stopped in for lunch. It was really crowded. The restaurant is a lot bigger than the other one, but the waiting area was very small and people just kept coming in the door. We had to wait about 15-20 minutes, but the food was worth the wait. We started off with the salt and pepper calamari.
This is one tasty appetizer. Granted, I shake off most of the pepper and other stuff on it, but Loren enjoys every last bite. The batter it’s dipped in is light and crunchy, the calamari is tender and the salt just adds an amazing little zing to it. There are a lot of items on the menu and it’s all very reasonably priced. Loren settled on the beef short ribs with black pepper sauce.
He said it was good, but he probably wouldn’t order it again because it was difficult to eat since the ribs were still on the bone. It had a very intense black pepper flavor to it. I ordered the orange chicken.
It was very tender with a sweet mandarin orange flavor. You do have to order rice separately here, but with a drink the entire meal was $36. Everything is just very fresh and flavorful. They also walk around with dim sum and other items on carts that you can order, but we both had leftovers as it was, so we didn’t try anything else.
Yummy House China Bistro
2620 E Hillsborough Ave
We went out to the Garden Grille Cafe for dinner tonight and had a waitress in training. Luckily, she had another waitress working with her whispering in her ear everything she forgot to do. We started off with some clam chowder and some calamari.
The clam chowder was a bit on the gritty side. They definitely needed to rinse the clams more. It needed some salt, but was ok otherwise. The calamari also needed some seasoning. Loren got a Greek salad with chicken.
He said the chicken was very tender and the salad was ok. I ordered a mushroom burger.
It was cooked way past medium and was pretty dry. They brought out the dessert tray and I was surprised at how many choices there were. We settled on a raspberry cake with cheesecake filling.
Unfortunately, this cake must have come frozen and was not thawed out properly. Parts of it were frozen solid, part of the cake was dry and the other part was wet. Not moist, but wet. The actually cheesecake filling was pretty tasty. Service was lacking in some areas as there were dishes left on our table way longer than they should have been. Total bill with a drink was $36.
Garden Grille Cafe
8425 Hillsborough Ave
Loren was craving Chinese food tonight, so off to Big Bok Choy we went. The table we were sitting at was kinda dark, so my photos are a bit on the blurry side. But that didn’t change the tastiness of the food. I’m still on my fried dumpling kick, so we had to get some for an appetizer.
Yum, yum, yum. The filling was very flavorful and there were actually more than we could eat if we wanted to be able to finish our entrees. The leftovers made for a great snack the next day. We didn’t stray from our normal dinner order, there are just some things that are so good, it’s hard to pass up when we come back here. First some wonton soup, then the hunan chicken for Loren and the honey garlic chicken for me.
The hot peppers in Loren’s dish were bigger than usual, which was probably a good thing so he could pick them out of the dish. Even pulling them out, he was still sniffling a little from the heat. But, he loves how they enhance the flavor of the dish. My chicken was tender and the sauce is sweet, but not overly so. It has a tanginess that keeps me coming back for more. Total bill with a drink was $45.
Big Bok Choy Bistro
3730 Tampa Road #6
We decided on Indian food for dinner tonight and headed over to Desi Tadka in Oldsmar. Loren got some Mulligatawny soup and we split an order of keema samosas.
The soup had a nice flavor and wasn’t overly spicy. You could really taste the lentils in it. The samosa had a nice crunch and the filling was flavorful. We didn’t stray far from our comfort zone for our entrees. I get what I always get, the butter chicken and Loren got the Chicken do Pyaza.
And the meal wouldn’t be complete without some garlic naan. My dish was spiced perfectly, meaning very mild. Loren’s was a bit spicier than he had anticipated. The different Indian restaurants we go to are very different in their interpretation of medium spicy. We both had some leftovers tonight. It’s such a hard balance deciding whether or not to finish what’s in front of you because it’s so tasty or extend the tastiness and bring some home. The only issue we had was that the service was really slow. Total bill with a drink was $45.
Desi Tadka Indian Cuisine
3780 Tampa Road
Pacific Thai in Oldsmar has become one of our go-to places for a quiet, delicious meal. The food here is always fresh and quick and we both always leave with happy taste buds. I’m still on my dumpling kick, so we had to start off with some of them as well as some soup.
The dumplings are flavorful and just yummy. It was a chilly night tonight, so I went for some won ton soup and Loren got the chicken & rice soup. I did find the soup in need of salt, but otherwise it warmed me up very nicely. Loren decided on the nam sod tonight.
It’s a salad with pork, veggies, and nuts and he really likes it. I decided to try the broccoli with oyster sauce with chicken.
The veggies were cooked perfectly and the sauce had a nice flavor to it. It came with broccoli, carrots and mushrooms and Loren kept stealing mushrooms off my plate. I even had some leftovers. Total bill with a drink was $37.
Pacific Thai Cuisine
4058 Tampa Road
As I’ve said before, we like dining at quiet restaurants, so tonight we ate dinner at Pacific Thai in Oldsmar. I’ve become addicted to steamed dumplings to we had to start off with those.
These were really dense, but had lots of flavor. There’s just something about them that tickles all of my taste buds. Loren didn’t sway too far from his comfort zone and got some ginger beef tonight. He loves all the fresh veggies, though he said it wasn’t very spicy tonight even though he ordered it medium.
My massaman curry, on the other hand, was much spicier than I expected.
The thing about this dish is that the spiciness just builds up. After a while, my lips were tingling. It’s the sweet and spicy flavors that keep me ordering it though. Total bill with a drink was $32.
Pacific Thai Cuisine
4058 Tampa Road
It’s not often that we eat at the chain restaurants, but we found ourselves at Chili’s for lunch today. They didn’t seem all that busy for a Friday at noon, but the food sure took its good sweet time coming out of the kitchen. In fact, the manager stopped by our table and several others to let us know it’d be “just a few more minutes”.
Loren & both went for one of their lunch specials that came with a salad and half a sandwich.
Loren got the chicken & guacamole sandwich and I got a Philly cheesesteak. It was a bit on the salty side and really difficult to eat as it all just wanted to slide off the roll. There’s just something so generic about the food at all of these chains and this Chili’s is just notorious for being way too slow when you only have an hour for lunch. Total bill with a drink was $20.
3701 Tampa Road
We prefer small, quiet restaurants, so tonight we headed over to Laziz Indian Cuisine for dinner. We started off with the Onion Bhaji.
This was the first time we tried it and it was really tasty. It had a little bit of spice, lots of flavor, and a nice crunch. I also ordered a cucumber & tomato salad.
We’d eaten most of it before I remembered to take a photo. I’m always surprised that something so simple tastes so good, especially as a contrast to spicy food. No surprise with what I ordered, it’s the butter chicken for me every time. Loren got the Chicken Jalfrezi and we also got some garlic naan.
Our taste buds were really happy. The flavors are just so wonderful in these dishes. We even managed to have some leftovers, though it was hard to keep from eating every last drop of it. Total bill with a drink was $41.
Laziz Indian Cuisine
2475 N McMullen Booth Rd
We were looking for a quick dinner before heading out to a concert at Ruth Eckerd Hall, so we stopped in to the Beef O’Bradys on McMullen Booth & Enterprise. It’s impossible to hear yourself think in this restaurant. Guess it’s more about yelling at the TV’s than actually talking to the person you’re with and we weren’t even in the bar area.
Loren tried the Santa Fe Salad.
He said it was ok. I’d have been all about eating the bowl, but I don’t think he even ate any of it. I went for a boneless basket with a side of onion rings.
The onion rings were a disappointment. They weren’t crunchy at all. The chicken wasn’t as tender as I’d have liked it to be, but there was definitely more than I could eat in the basket. The spicy sauce for the onion rings was way too spicy for me. It seemed to take a really long time to get our food too. Total bill with a drink was $25.
2471 N McMullen Booth Rd
Safety Harbor, FL
We went over to Salsa’s for lunch today. Loren got some chicken fajitas and I went for the shrimp chimichanga.
The chimichanga was cooked well this time. It had a nice, crispy shell, even after being drenched in cheese sauce. Loren said the fajitas were pretty good too. Simple, filling lunch for $19.
Salsas Mexican Restaurant
3970 Tampa Road
We didn’t realize there was an art festival going on in Dunedin today, so we had to drive around to find parking before we could get to Café Alfresco. Luckily, they still had some tables available for dinner. Loren decided to try the Cajun seafood pasta tonight.
The dish had mussels, scallops and shrimp in a tangy, spicy sauce. He said it was tasty. I tasted it and it was a bit too spicy for me. I went for the chicken marsala.
Though the marsala sauce had good flavor, the chicken itself was very under seasoned. I rarely add salt to my food, but this had to have some. The pasta was good with the sauce, but the veggies were a bit on the crunchy side. We both ended up with some leftovers. Total bill with a drink was $34.
344 Main St
We went down to Dunedin to take an end of year sunset photo and ended up at Casa Tina for dinner. We got there fairly early and they were too busy. Loren munched on the chips & salsa while we waited for our nachos to arrive.
The Monterrey nachos definitely were appealing to look at when they arrived at the table. All of the chips around the edges were burnt to a crisp. As far as I’m concerned, it never should have left the kitchen. We ate around the burnt parts and when our waiter finally stopped by the table to ask if we wanted to take the rest home, I showed him how burnt it was and he took it off the check for us.
For his entree, Loren got the chicken fajitas.
The fajitas were tender, but the veggies, especially the onions, weren’t cooked enough. For $18, it also seemed like a rather small portion. I got the chicken flutes.
They were less than great this time. They just weren’t crispy enough. The guac was really spicy this time too. Overall, the prices just seem to be getting higher here, but the food quality isn’t. Total bill with a drink was $36.
Oh, and here’s that final sunset of 2012. Good eatings to all for 2013!
365 Main Street
A friend and I went to lunch at Big Bok Choy today for her birthday. We both got the wonton soup and chicken dishes.
I got the honey garlic chicken which is so tender and tasty. I don’t know how they get the chicken so tender. The sauce on it is both sweet and tangy. So delicious. Total bill for the two of us was $20.
Big Bok Choy Bistro
3730 Tampa Road #6
We ate dinner at Lager Haus in Palm Harbor tonight. The front bar area was pretty busy and loud, but we were able to get a relatively quiet table in the back. I come here specifically for the Jaegerschnitzel when we don’t feel like driving up to the German Restaurant in Holiday.
I got the half portion tonight, which was plenty of food along with a side of spaetzl. The chicken was tender and the mushroom sauce had a nice flavor. The spaetzl was completely flavorless and needed salt and pepper at the least. Loren tried the rosemary chicken tonight with a side salad that was brought with the meal instead of before.
He said the chicken had no flavor whatsoever. Not a hint of rosemary to be found. He had to liberally salt & pepper it just to get a hint of flavor. It was tender, but not something he’d order again. Total bill with a drink was $25.
Lagerhaus Brewery & Grill
3438 East Lake Road
Palm Harbor, FL
We normally eat lunch at Daddy’s Grill, but decided to try it for dinner tonight. They were pretty busy, but we didn’t have to wait for a table. Loren’s meal came with a salad & I got some clam chowder to start off with.
That clam chowder was really good. It had lots of clams and potatoes plus a nice thick, creamy texture. Loren thought we were going to share it, but I think I scarfed most of it. Loren ordered off of the specials menu and got the chicken stuffed with veal, spinach and cheese.
He really liked it. The chicken was very tender and the fillings and gravy just made it that much more scrumptious. He’s not a big fan of carrots, but he said these were cooked very well. I ordered a mushroom cheeseburger and macaroni salad.
I actually ended up bringing half of it home because I ate so much of the chowder. It was a well cooked burger though. Nice & juicy with just the right amount of seasoning. Total bill with a drink was $27.
3682 Tampa Road