The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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We ended up at Longhorn Steakhouse tonight after we couldn’t find parking at the restaurant we had planned to go to.  I was shocked that we didn’t have to wait for a table at 6pm on a Friday night.  Of all the chain restaurants, I think Longhorn has become our favorite.  The food is consistent and the flavors are there.  We started off with one of their new appetizers, the sweet chili calamari.

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This was some perfectly cooked calamari.  I couldn’t stop eating it even though the sweet chili sauce had my tongue tingling.  I would definitely order it again.  After bread and salads, out came out entrees.  Loren got the 6 oz Renegade sirloin with asparagus.

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He said the steak was very tender and tasty.  Unfortunately, the asparagus was a little too far on the tender side.  He likes his asparagus much crisper.  I ordered the half rack of baby back ribs.

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They were very tender with a slightly sweet sauce.  I really enjoyed them.  And even though we were both stuffed at this point, I just couldn’t pass up the dessert sampler.

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This is the dessert to get here.  Chocolate stampede, caramel apple goldrush, and strawberry cheesecake.  Yum!  I devoured the chocolate stampede.  It’s layers of chocolate mousse on a chocolate cake.  So good!  Loren favored the caramel apple dish and the cheesecake was pretty darn tasty as well.   We had to roll ourselves out of the restaurant.  Total bill with a drink was $55 and worth every penny.

Longhorn Steakhouse
35645 US Highway 19
Palm Harbor, FL
(727) 781-9300

Longhorn Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

 

Food4/5
Service4/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.7/5

For the last few years, we’ve tried to catch a sunset on the last night of the year.  Unfortunately, mother nature hasn’t been very cooperative.  Last year it was fog, this year the clouds were just too thick so we ended up just going over to Cafe Alfresco in Dunedin for dinner.  Quite a few other people had the same idea tonight and we ended up waiting about 20 minutes for a table.   They remodeled the restaurant recently and removed the high top tables and changed the seating a bit.  We ended up at a nice table in the back against the windows which was perfect for looking out at the holiday lights.

We started off with some pot stickers, salad & bread

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The pot stickers had a tasty pork filling and the dipping sauce was sweet and spicy.  Loren ordered the grouper francese for his entree.

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The only thing he didn’t like about it was the overly eggy taste that the batter had.  He expected to get more flavor from the sauce and capers, but his first few bites all he could taste was egg.  The fish was perfectly cooked though.  I decided to try the pork osso bucco that was on the specials menu.

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The dish came with a wild mushroom risotto that was very creamy and tasty.  The osso bucco was extremely tender and flavorful.  It slide right off the bone.  Definitely a dish I would order again. There was enough food on the plate for at least two meals. I know what I’m eating for New Year’s Day.  And we had to close out the year on something sweet, so we ordered the Devonshire chocolate cake.

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It had layers of mousse and cake and all sorts of chocolately goodness.  A great way to end 2013.  Total bill with a drink was $56.

Cafe Alfresco
344 Main St
Dunedin, FL
813-736-4299

Cafe Alfresco on Urbanspoon

Food4/5
Service4/5
Atmosphere4/5
Value3/5
3.9/5

We’ve lived in Florida long enough that hunger wins out over rain any day.  We had just gotten out of a movie and even though it was pouring out, we braved the weather and ended up at the Marathon Grille for lunch.  Loren tried the chicken keftedes (at least I think that’s what it was) which came with a Greek salad and potatoes.

They were little chicken patties of tastiness.  Lots of Mediterranean type spices in a flavorful little package.  He really liked them along with the salad.  I got a gyro with Greek salad.

It was very good.  There were cucumbers & tomatoes on it (I had them hold the onions) and the tzatziki sauce was tasty.  Most of the places that I get gyros from have lettuce on them, but I kinda liked the cucumbers.  My only complaint was having the Greek salad served on the same plate.  The dressing just went everywhere and I had to save my gyro was getting soggy.  Since the rain decided to whip up to a frenzy about the time we were finished, we decided to try some dessert.

It was a tasty chocolate cake which we ate slowly to savour every bite and avoid getting drenched by Tropical Storm Debby.  Total bill with a drink was $26.

Marathon Grille
33675 US Highway 19N
Palm Harbor, FL
727-787-4246

Marathon Grille on Urbanspoon

Food4/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.4/5

We planned to go to an Italian restaurant called Saimira European Grill in Palm Harbor tonight, but the “No Trespassing” sign out front led us to believe they weren’t open.  I’m not sure if the restaurant is closed for good or if they’re on vacation, but either way, we still needed to find some dinner.  We continued north on Hwy 19 and ended up back at The German Restaurant.

They weren’t very busy for a Friday night, but perhaps the crowd shows up for the early bird specials.  I enjoy dinner in a quiet restaurant though.  It’s always nice to be able to actually carry on a conversation without having to yell.

The bread came quick to the table.  It’s a dense bread, but pretty tasty.

For an appetizer, we ordered the potato pancakes.

Loren didn’t like them that much, but I thought they were ok.  It’s sort of like a hashbrown served with apple sauce.  He was very happy with the meatball soup though.

This is a soup with lots of flavor.  It’s obvious that it’s been simmering for long hours to get all the deep, richness that just warms you from the inside out.   Loren ordered the goulash with spaetzle.

He enjoyed it.  It had a vinegary, mustardy taste to the sauce and the beef was very tender.  He said the spaetzle was good to cut the tartness of the sauce.

I ordered the chicken schnitzel.  Ok, I admit, I didn’t read the menu all that closely and thought that schnitzel was always made with pork, so I was actually a little surprised when it was chicken.

I gotta say, though, this was some of the best chicken I’ve ever had.  It was pounded thin, but it was so tender and juicy inside and the crisp coating on the outside was outstanding.  There was way too much for me to eat in one sitting which is always a plus.  The leftovers were yummy too.  The spaetzle was good as well and the broccoli was a little overcooked and soft, which I’m sure a lot of people don’t like, but I prefer mine that way.

Even before we sat down, I already knew what we were ordering for dessert…. the Black Forest Cake.

Layers of chocolate cake and whipped cream.  Yummy!  The only issue with this dessert tonight is the homemade whipped cream on the plate didn’t have enough sugar in it.  Normally, I would never leave whipped cream on the plate, but this just wasn’t sweet enough.  Total bill was $50 and we both had leftovers.

The German Restaurant
2616 US Hwy 19
Holiday, FL
727-937-7400

German on Urbanspoon

 

Food4/5
Service4/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.7/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Dessert, German, Holiday
  • Great Dip


    When we were driving down Gulf to Bay Thursday night, we noticed Pappas Ranchhouse had finally opened, so we headed over there for dinner tonight.  It’s a large restaurant and they were pretty full when we arrived.  We waited about 15 minutes for a table.

    The first thing we noticed was how loud it was in the dining area.  This is definitely not a peaceful and quiet restaurant.  Turning down the music would help some, but they also need to find some way to damper the overall noise level in there. 

    I had read some other reviews that said if you wanted bread you had to ask for it, but our waiter brought us some without us having to say a word. 

    The bread had a nice flavor, texture and crispy crust, but either it needed to be warmer or the butter needed to be softer.   Trying to spread rock hard butter on barely warm bread is not an easy task.

    We decided to get the artichoke and spinach dip.

    This is definitely an appetizer for more than 2 people.  The crock was huge!  We ran out of chips way before we ran out of dip.  Hands down, this was the best part of the meal.  Loren said the key to a great spinach dip is garlic and this one had plenty.  It was cheesy, creamy, and full of flavor.  We’ll go back just for it.

    Loren ordered a 6 oz sirloin with mashed potatoes and a salad.

    They didn’t quite get medium right on his steak.  The majority of it was medium well, with just a small bit of the thicker piece of the steak anywhere close to the medium range.  He said it was tender, but just a bit dry from being overcooked. 

    I ordered the prime rib sandwich with sweet potato fries. 

    The prime rib was very tender and juicy.  The sandwich also had grilled onions and mushrooms on it.  I think they need a thicker bread to put it on though because the bottom slice was extremely soggy.  The au jois was a bit salty to me, but overall, the sandwich was really good.

    We also got a piece of chocolate cake to take home.

    It was a very moist cake and the mousse layers had chocolate chips in it.  I could have done without the chocolate chips though as they ruined the smooth texture for me.  Total bill was $41 which was pretty good for the amount of food we got. 

    Pappas Ranch Steakhouse
    2630 Gulf to Bay Blvd
    Clearwater, FL
    (727) 797-9800

    Pappas Ranch Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere2/5
    Value3/5
    3.3/5