The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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We’ve seen so many new restaurants come and go lately that I’m pleasantly surprised when one makes it past their one year anniversary.  The first time we visited Southern Fresh in Safety Harbor, I didn’t think they’d survive with such a limited menu.  Don’t get me wrong, the food is amazing; but with so few choices, I had my doubts as to how often customers would return to eat there.  I’m happy to say that they had a packed house tonight and the quality of the food has remained constant.

Loren started off with the BLT soup.

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This is one of those dishes that you have to taste to believe.  It has all the flavors of a BLT in a warm, peppery broth.  The fresh crunch of the lettuce is such an interesting texture for a soup.   Because the restaurant was full, there was a bit of a wait for our entrees.  We were seated inside and I could see into the kitchen where the fried chicken magic was happening.  Every piece was hand breaded and cooked in cast iron skillets.  I also spent some time just looking at the decor.  I liked the old fashioned glass domes on the ceiling fans.

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Our entrees arrived fresh and hot out of the kitchen.  Loren ordered their special tonight which was a blackened red fish with saffron rice and roasted veggies.

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He said it was delicious.  The fish was perfectly cooked and seasoned.  The roasted veggies were tasty, but some were unevenly cooked so harder than others.   I went for their famous fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy and the roasted veggies.

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My only complaint is that I wish it was served on a larger plate.  It was a bit crowded and hard to not knock things off onto the table.   I ordered the dark meat which meant two thighs and a leg.  The chicken was crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside.  There’s nothing I like more than real mashed potatoes and these were the real deal.  Banana pudding is the only dessert on their menu, but tonight they also had a strawberry shortcake on their specials menu so we had to have some.

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Though I’m not a big fan of sponge cake, the rest of this dessert was delicious.  Fresh strawberries, not overly sweet and a perfect portion for two.  The service here is also very good.  They all help each other and clear plates and fill glasses.   Overall, a great dinner for $44.

Southern Fresh
122 3rd Ave N
Safety Harbor, FL
727-216-6341

Southern Fresh on Urbanspoon

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

Rainy Friday


It was a dark and rainy evening in Sarasota, but lucky for us that meant there wasn’t a crowd at Yoder’s.  We’ve tried to eat here in the past, but the line was always too long so we’d just get some pie to go.  As much as I wanted to love the food here, it just didn’t live up to my expectations.

We started off with some bread and clam chowder.

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The bread was fresh and soft and the chowder was pretty good.  It could have used a little more seasoning, but it was thick and creamy.  For his entree, Loren chose the roast beef dinner with mashed potatoes and okra.

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We heard the he ladies at the table next to us comment on how that didn’t like the okra they got, but ours was ok.  He said the dish was very plain and needed more seasoning overall.  I ordered the fried chicken with a side of mac & cheese and corn cakes.

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On Friday’s, they only have pan fried chicken which ended up being tough inside and the skin wasn’t very crispy.  It just wasn’t juicy at all.  The mac & cheese was very creamy and had a nice flavor to it.  I had asked about the corn cakes before I ordered them and the waiter said they were like pancakes with corn in them.  I still had a different picture in my mind until he brought them out with some maple syrup.  Unfortunately, they were a bit too dense.   The main reason we came here, though, was for the pie.

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I got the blueberry and Loren got the butterscotch cream pie.  Getting there late in the day means there aren’t as many pie options available.  I wanted the blueberry cream pie they had the last time I was here, but it wasn’t on the  menu.  Second choice was the double crust blueberry pie, but the waiter brought the blueberry crumb as that was all they had.  I didn’t like the crumb topping.  Loren said he didn’t like the texture of his pie filling.  It was sort of grainy, but it did have a good butterscotch flavor to it.  I also got a slice of pineapple cream pie to bring home and I liked that one a lot better than the others.  Total bill with a drink was $50.

Yoder’s Restaurant
3434 Bahia Vista St
Sarasota, FL
(941) 955-7771

Yoder's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

 

Food3/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.0/5
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  • Filed under: Amish, Sarasota
  • Always on the lookout for new places to eat, we ended up at Southern Fresh in downtown Safety Harbor for dinner tonight.  They’re in the building across from the post office that used to house Brady’s BBQ, then Lulu’s.  It’s a small space inside, but way too cold to eat outside tonight, though their patio area is very nice with a fire pit out front.  The menu isn’t very big, though everything we tried was pretty tasty.

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    Loren started out with the BLT soup.

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    His first reaction was that it was a soup that tasted like a sandwich.  He was really surprised and pleased with the taste.  The combination of tomato, bacon, shallots, and romaine was completely reminiscent of a BLT sandwich.  He’d definitely order it again.   Everything is made fresh here, so there was a bit of a wait for our entrees.  Loren got the salmon salad.

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    The salmon was cooked well and he liked the capers in the salad which added a unique little salty twist to the dish.  He said it all mixed well with the candied lemon zest on top.  I went for the fried chicken, mashed potatoes and roasted veggies.

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    The chicken was perfectly cooked.  Nice & crispy on the outside and moist and delicious inside.  My only criticism is that it could have used more seasoning.  I found it to be just a little on the bland side.  The mashed potatoes were peppery and could have really used some gravy.  The veggies were a mix of carrots, brussel sprouts, onions, and zucchini.  They had two desserts available tonight, so we got one of each.

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    The strawberry shortcake was on a sponge cake and had a fresh, not-too-sweet strawberry sauce on it.  Loren scarfed the entire thing.  I happily enjoyed my banana pudding.  Overall, it was a very enjoyable meal.  Total bill with a drink was $43.

    Southern Fresh
    122 3rd Ave N
    Safety Harbor, FL
    727-216-6341

    Southern Fresh on Urbanspoon

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