The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.


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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
  • 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