Had lunch at Green Market Cafe today. The Florida Wrap is one of my favorites, chicken, avocado, lettuce, tomato, and goat cheese. Yummy, yummy!
It also came with kettle chips and a free small frozen yogurt. I got the cookies and cream.
It was tasty, but the creamsicle one my friend Cathy got was even better. Lunch with a dessert was $7.50.
Green Market Cafe
3150 Tampa Road, Unit 1a
Joseph’s Little Italy in Dunedin has changed their name to Julian’s Little Italy. Looks like the exact same place and staff. We went in with our Restaurant.com coupon and needed to spend $40 to get the $25 off.
The restaurant was fairly busy for a Sunday night, but we should have known something was wrong when our waitress didn’t even come take our drink orders until we’d been sitting there for almost 15 minutes. The service only got worse from there.
This was a long night of waiting. Our waitress would disappear completely from the dining room and when she would come out, she’d either walk right by our table or would be completely inefficient in what she would bring out at any given time.
We started off with the meatball appetizer.
Flavor-wise, it was pretty good, but texture-wise, the outside was tough. They were definitely overcooked. Loren ordered a dinner which came with house salad, three bean appetizer and soup.
He really liked the dressing on the salad and even though he thought he didn’t want the three bean appetizer, he liked it so much that he scarfed the entire thing. The garlic bread brought to the table was pretty good, except for the burnt pieces hiding at the bottom.
After he finished his salad, we waited and waited for our soup to come out. His drink glass was empty at this point at well.
Our waitress brought my bowl of soup out, but not Loren’s. She also said she’d refill his drink, but then disappeared again.
The pasta fagioli was really good. I didn’t realize I had ordered a bowl instead of a cup of soup, so I ended up with some leftovers. It had good flavors and the veggies and pasta weren’t mushy, which was nice. There were also pieces of sausage in it.
Eventually, Loren’s soup and another drink came out.
His was a minestrone soup that had a lot of potatoes in it. Again, nice flavors overall.
As we waited for our entrees, several other parties came into the restaurant and to our amazement, the host kept seating them in our waitress’ area. I was stunned. There was another waiter working and he spent the majority of his time clearing the table of a big party of his that just left. I wanted to warn the new patrons to not expect much in the way of service, but I bit my tongue. Instead we watched them get ignored as much as we had been.
Our entrees finally arrived and they were both lukewarm. The mushrooms on mine were actually cold. They had obviously been sitting in the kitchen for sometime before our waitress brought them out. So disappointing. Again, the flavors were pretty good, but I took the majority of it home so I could at least microwave it to a normal temperature.
I ordered the chicken marsala and Loren ordered the chicken with artichokes. Both came with a side of spaghetti.
And then to top things off, when I asked for some boxes, our waitress walked off with my water glass. Who does that? I went to get a drink while we waited for her to bring our check and I realized it was gone.
When we went to pay, the host asked us how our dinner was and we told him how bad she was as a waitress. He was completely unaware. I told him the other patrons in her area were already deeply disappointed as one couple had been sitting there for a good 15 minutes and she had yet to stop by their table.
Total bill after the coupon was $27. Unfortunately, the Restaurant.com coupons include an automatic tip for the wait staff, because otherwise, we wouldn’t have left her a dime.
Julian’s Little Italy
916-A Patricia Ave
Our experience with Indian cuisine is less than a year old and given my aversion to very spicy food, I’m probably not the best judge of authenticity, but I do know what I like. We’ve been to a few places in the area, most recently, Laziz Indian Cuisine tonight and before that, the new place in Oldsmar, 5th Element Indian Cuisine.
I order pretty much the same thing no matter which restaurant we go to. I like the creamy, tomato based sauces. Tonight at Laziz, I ordered the butter chicken.
The dish here has a more earthy taste. I’m not sure how to explain it. The cilantro (at least I think it’s cilantro) permeates the dish more. Unfortunately, I find it detracts from the dish more than enhances it. I prefer the sauce at 5th Element. The chicken, however, was cooked better here. At 5th Element the pieces are thinly sliced and I’ve found more inedible pieces of chicken in their dish.
I like the garlic naan bread at Laziz, even though occasionally, some of the pieces are a little burnt. I found the naan bread at 5th Element to be a little more doughy and softer. It has good flavor, but I think the texture should be a little firmer.
Loren ordered the chicken saagwala at Laziz tonight. It had chicken and spinach with some spices.
He really liked it. He said you could definitely taste the spinach and even though he ordered it medium spicy, he said it wasn’t too spicy to eat. I don’t have anything to compare it to since this is a new dish for him.
Portion size is about the same. As for pricing, Laziz is more expensive. Tonight’s dinner was $34. Our last meal at 5th Element was $31, plus we had an appetizer. Where 5th Element really shines, though, is in the service. The owners are very friendly and seem happy to see you. Granted, it’s a brand new restaurant, so they’re trying to impress, but I prefer their smiles to the almost standoffish service at Laziz. 5th Element stikes me more as a family-type restaurant.
So, which would I choose? I’m leaning more toward 5th Element, mostly because I feel more comfortable there. The flavors are similar at both restaurants, but I find I enjoy the experience at 5th Element more.
Laziz Indian Cuisine
2475 N McMullen Booth Rd
We were looking for something relatively light for dinner, so we drove into Safety Harbor to Crepe-ology. It’s located on 5th Avenue, right off of Main Street. There was a large party in the restaurant, but the waitress told us up front that there would be a wait for our crepes. Loren ordered a salad to tide him over.
The balsalmic dressing was tasty. Everything served here is in disposable containers, paper plates, plastic cups and silverware. It’s a very casual restaurant.
We decided on two crepes and shared them, the seafood crepe and the chicken supreme.
I liked the chicken supreme crepe the best. It has goat cheese in it and the roasted red pepper sauce on top adds a nice flavor. The seafood one was ok, but I thought the shrimp in it were a little overcooked.
But, let’s face it, we’re here for dessert. They had a citrus cheesecake crepe tonight that I just couldn’t resist and we also ordered a carmelized banana crepe.
Trust me, if you like orange, order the citrus crepe. It was divine. The cheesecake filling was still a little cold, but it had such a burst of flavors in it. I asked them to put some chocolate sauce on it because I love chocolate and orange together, but honestly, it didn’t even need it. The carmelized banana one was pretty good, but I found the bananas to be a little too mushy. The homemade caramel sauce was very good though.
With an iced tea, the total bill was $36.
155 5th Ave N
Safety Harbor, FL
Every time we go out for Indian food, we’re both amazed at how many flavors can be packed into what look like rather simple dishes. The sauces are so rich and have such a warmth as you’re eating it that we both can’t seem to find the right words to describe it. The same held true for our trip back to 5th Element Indian Cuisine in Oldsmar tonight.
We were there for their opening a couple of weeks ago and decided to try it again tonight to order off the menu. I was happy to see at least half of the restaurant full with customers. New restaurants come and go so quickly nowadays.
Loren munched while we looked at the menu. He loves the green sauce.
We wanted to try the lamb samosa for an appetizer, but they didn’t have any, so we ended up trying the veg samosa instead.
It had some spice to it. I used the sweet sauce with it, but it still made my tongue tingle. For a potato and peas deep fried pastry, it packed a lot of punch.
Loren ordered the chicken tikka masala with medium heat.
The heat level on this dish was very deceptive. I tasted it and it didn’t taste overly spicy to me, but Loren said he really didn’t feel it until later in the evening. The chicken was very tender and the sauce creamy and flavorful. He really enjoyed it and even had a little left for lunch tomorrow.
I ordered the chicken makhani, mild, and some garlic naan.
The chicken was julienned, so the pieces were thin, but really tender. The sauce was amazing. Again, I just can’t find the words to describe it. It’s smooth and silky with an overall warmth and a spice combination that just works. The naan bread was good, but I couldn’t really taste a lot of the garlic. Mind you, by this point, my tongue was probably numb anyway. I had some leftovers as well. For $31, we left full and our taste buds were really happy.
5th Element Taste of India
3780 Tampa Road