The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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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
  • We were actually headed to Marina’s for lunch, then noticed Cafe Bresimo next door so decided to try it instead.  There were two women behind the counter and they were being kept very busy. 

    I ordered one of today’s lunch specials which had a gyro, chips, and a drink.  I also got a side of potato salad.

    The gyro meat was pretty good and the tzatziki sauce wasn’t overwhelming.  It wasn’t a very thick sauce or maybe it just thinned out once it got on the heated gyro meat.  The tomatoes weren’t very fresh though.  The potato salad had the consistency of mashed potatoes, but had a very good flavor.

    Loren ordered the Chicken & Guacamole pita.

    He didn’t realized there would be tzatziki sauce on it as well and he said it watered down the guacamole so you couldn’t really taste it.  Overall, the food was ok, but nothing really stood out.  It was similar to most of the little Greek places around town.   I think everything on the menu was under $7.   Total bill with drinks was $17.

    Cafe BreSimo’s
    12117 W Linebaugh
    Tampa, FL

    Bresimo's on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: Greek, Tampa
  • Big Salad

    After going to a movie, we stopped at Green Market Cafe for a quick lunch.  This place is just so bright and cheerful and the food has always been good.  Today, I tried the honey chicken flatbread with chips.

    The honey mustard sauce was very tangy, not very sweet at all.  Overall, it was pretty tasty, the chicken was tender and there were plenty of mushrooms in it (quite a few kept trying to escape though). 

    Loren tried the avacado salad with chicken.

    It was a huge salad with so many fresh ingredients.  Besides the chicken,  lettuce and avocado, it had mandarin oranges, goat cheese, onion, corn and pecans with a lime dressing.  It was tasty.

    You also get a free small frozen yougart with your meal and I got the chocolate cheesecake.

    I had mixed feelings about it.  I liked the chocolate side, but the cheesecake side had a sort of tangy taste to it that just didn’t do it for me.  Total bill was $18.

    Green Market Cafe
    3150 Tampa Road, Unit 1a
    Oldsmar, FL

    Green Market Cafe on Urbanspoon


    We ate dinner at Jonny Primo’s tonight.  They weren’t very busy for a Friday night even though the parking lot looked full.  We started off with some bread while we looked over the menu.

    They make some really awesome bread here.  It’s warm and soft with just enough crunch on the crust, and the dipping oil was very flavorful.   Loren ordered the same thing he always gets here, the Giobotto.

    This is one of those dishes that has everything you can think of in it.  A huge pile of pasta, plus steak, sausage, chicken and veggies.  There’s always enough leftovers for at least 2 more meals. 

    I decided to try something different tonight, the Italian trio.

    It had chicken parm, lasagne and cheese ravioli.  I have to say, it’s not a dish I’d order again.  The chicken wasn’t very tender.  I ended up not eating much of it.  The lasagne had a lot of sausage in it, so that was the overwhelming flavor.  I did like the cheese ravioli though.  They were in alfredo sauce which was a nice change. 

    There was something about our waiter that I just didn’t like.  Loren called him insincere and I think that’s the right word to describe him.  It was as if our being there in his section was an inconvenience for him.  Even when I asked what they had for dessert, he just flippantly pointed to the dessert menu which was on the back of a placard on the table instead of telling me what they had.  His whole attitude just turned us off.  Total dinner with a drink was $36.

    Jonny Primo’s Italian Grill
    33180 US 19 N
    Palm Harbor, FL

    Jonny Primos on Urbanspoon