The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Quiet Dinner

We attempted to eat dinner at Bonefish tonight, but it was mobbed, so we headed over to Big Bok Choy.  With several other food events going on in the area tonight, the restaurant was empty except for us, which makes for a nice, quiet meal.

We both started off with the wonton soup.  Loren’s with green onions, mine without.

Loren got the Hunan Beef and I tried something different tonight, the chicken chop suey.

Mine had very mellow flavors, which is what I was after tonight.  The chicken was tender and there were plenty of veggies.  Loren’s had just enough heat for him.  He likes this dish because it has a lot of vegetables. 

I don’t think we’ve ever had room for dessert here, but the owner surprised us with a complimentary piece of cheesecake. 

It was very thick and creamy with a nice overall flavor.  Even though we were stuffed from dinner, we managed to eat the whole thing.  Total bill was $39.

Big Bok Choy Bistro
3730 Tampa Road #6
Oldsmar, FL

Big Bok Choy Bistro on Urbanspoon


After seeing “Fast Five” at the movies, we went over to Cracker Barrel for lunch.  They were still pretty busy for 2pm on a Sunday.  I figured the crowd would have been gone already.  Luckily we didn’t have too long to wait for a table though.

Loren got some chicken tenders and I got meatloaf with mac & cheese.

What can I say, it’s Cracker Barrel.  It’s stick to your ribs comfort food for $22.  I’m here for the mac & cheese and it didn’t disappoint.

Cracker Barrel
13833 West Hillsborough Avenue
Tampa, FL

Cracker Barrel on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: American, Oldsmar
  • We ate dinner at Juan’s Mexican Grill in Dunedin tonight.  It’s a little place on Main Street with a very limited menu.  It’s definitely what you’d consider fast food.  Tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos and a taco salad make up the menu and all them use the same ingredients from behind the counter.  I guess the difference is what’s served with it. 

    I got the “Flamin’ Fajitas”, which was such an amusing title for what it was.

    The chicken (which would be the same chicken served in any of the other dishes) is served with onions & peppers, jalapenos, sour cream, guacamole, lettuce, cheese and flour tortillas.  For fast food, it was pretty good.  Definitely better than Taco Bell, but not what you’d consider fajitas in any sit down Mexican restaurant.  I actually liked the guacamole because it was very mild. 

    Loren got the grande burrito which came with chips & salsa.

    He liked it.  It was big and filled with rice, beans and most of the toppings they had.   With a drink, the total bill was $17.  If you’re looking for quick take out, this was pretty good for the price.

    Juan’s Mexican Grill
    1409 Main Street
    Dunedin, FL

    Juan's Mexican Grill on Urbanspoon


    Looking for restaurants we hadn’t been to before, tonight we ate at the Magnolia Grille in Palm Harbor.   It’s not a very big restaurant, but the menu had all the right words to satisfy my comfort food cravings, fried chicken, mac & cheese, meatloaf, homemade mashed potatoes, the list went on and on.  It was difficult to decide what to get since everything sounded so good.  Let me stress the word “sounded”.  The execution of many of those comfort foods was nowhere near comforting.

    They brought us bread, which was very soft and tasty.  A good start, we thought.

    It seemed to take a long time for our food to come out.  Loren ordered the Succulent Roast Pork, however, that wasn’t exactly the adjective he used to describe it.

    He said it had the consistency of an overcooked pork chop.  Not tender at all.  If you’re going to list something as succulent on your menu, shouldn’t it at least be fork tender?   He did like the green beans and the extra side of collard greens that he ordered.

    I ordered Alex’s Country Chicken which came with homemade mashed potatoes, cornbread and pinto beans.  I also ordered a side of mac & cheese.

    The chicken and gravy were the only things on the plate worth eating.  It was crisp on the outside and the batter had a nice flavor.  It was two chicken breasts and they didn’t flatten them out at all, so at first glance they looked small, but were actually pretty thick.  When a menu says homemade mashed potatoes, I expect potato, butter, milk, seasoning,  and that’s it.  These tasted like boxed potatoes flakes.  There were some clumps of actual potato in there, but overall, they weren’t good.  The cornbread was missing something as well.  I can’t put my finger on it, but it just wasn’t very good.  The mac & cheese was also very disappointing.  It was beyond dry.  You just know the meal isn’t good when you have a lot left on your plate and don’t ask for a to-go box. 

    And yet, I thought I’d try to let them redeem themselves by ordering the peach cobbler.  I should have known better.

    I can’t put my finger on exactly what it was that wasn’t right about this, but it just didn’t taste good.  The cobbler was undercooked and the peaches weren’t fresh.  There was a spice in it that was a bit overwhelming and it wasn’t very sweet. 

    After reading the menu, I wanted to love this place.  Unfortunately, I could have gotten a very similar meal at Cracker Barrell and enjoyed every bite.   Overall, it was a very disappointing $42 meal. 

    Magnolia Grille
    600 Alt 19
    Palm Harbor, FL


    Magnolia Grille on Urbanspoon


    On our way to Tampa tonight to see “Shrek: The Musical” (great show, by the way) and we stopped at Cuenellis Rotisserie for dinner.  The chicken smelled really good on the way in. 

    Loren ordered the 1/4 chicken white meat with red beans and a salad and I ordered the 1/4 chicken dark meat with black beans and rice.

    Both were very tasty.  The chicken was tender and had plenty of seasoning on it.  It also came with two tasty dipping sauces, one a green chimichurri sauce, the other a mustard type sauce.   I did think the chicken pieces were a little small, but they made up for it in flavor.

    We got a couple of cookies for the road.

    The cookie reminded me of a pecan sandie, but it also had a filling inside that I couldn’t identify.  It didn’t really have a lot of flavor, but it was gooey, almost like a caramel.  The cookies were very crumbly, but tasty.  Total bill was $21 with a drink.

    Cuenellis Rotisserie
    4801 W Hillsborough Ave
    Tampa, FL
    (813) 888-8790

    Cuenelli's Peruvian Style Rotisserie Chicken on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: Dessert, Peruvian, Tampa