The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Went over to Oldsmar Smokin’ BBQ for lunch today.  We’ve driven by a few times and finally made it in.  And I’m glad we did!  I tried the two meat combo and Loren ordered the Skippy Sandwich.


You get your choice of meats with the combos so I choose ribs & brisket, plus mac & cheese and coleslaw.  The mac & cheese was one of their “competition sides” and it lived up to it.  Creamy with a great flavor & texture.  I’d definitely order it again.  The ribs were tender with a savory rub on them.  Just a hint of spice and absolutely delicious.  I ate all of them.  The brisket was also flavorful & tender.  After Loren finished his sandwich, he had to help me with the rest of the brisket.  His sandwich was also brisket with cheese, fried onions & a horseradish mayo.  He scarfed it up.  Total bill with a drink was $23  and we’ll definitely be back.

Oldsmar Smokin’ BBQ
120 Commerce Blvd
Oldsmar, FL

Oldsmar Smokin' BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

  • Filed under: BBQ, Oldsmar
  • BBQ Lunch

    Went to Sonny’s in Palm Harbor for lunch today.  Not my first choice for BBQ, but it was close.

    Their lunch specials are pretty reasonable.  For $7, I was able to get the beef brisket, a baked potato, mac & cheese and cornbread.  Overall, it was ok.  I thought the brisket was a little salty, but add some BBQ sauce and all’s well.  The mac & cheese wasn’t very creamy, but at least it wasn’t as dry as the last time I ate at Sonny’s.  I think the earlier in the day, the better. 

    30503 US Hwy 19 N
    Palm Harbor, FL
    (727) 785-5585

    Sonny's Real Pit Bar-B-Q on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: BBQ, Palm Harbor
  • Since I had to work on my birthday, I figured comfort food was a good choice for lunch and that can only mean Cracker Barrel.

    What can I say, I like their mac & cheese.  It just makes me happy.  Toss in some chicken fried chicken and cole slaw and I’m a happy camper. 

    Loren went for the roast beef with collard greens, mashed potatoes, and cinnamon apples.  He said neither the roast beef nor the greens had been cooked long enough.  Normally, the roast beef is very tender and the greens very flavorful, but not this time.  Guess we just got here too early and they didn’t have enough time to simmer.   The biscuits were really good this time though.  Very buttery and flaky… mmmm.  Total lunch was $25.

    Cracker Barrel
    13833 West Hillsborough Avenue
    Tampa, FL

    Cracker Barrel on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: American, Oldsmar
  • Patience

    When I went to Zerillo’s earlier in the week, I noticed another restaurant in the same shopping center call “A Taste of Heaven New Orleans Cuisine”.   Since they’re only open for dinner, figured we’d head out there tonight.  It’s not like there are a lot of New Orleans/Cajun places to eat around here.  The closest one that we like is the Cajun Cafe down in Pinellas Park. 

    The restaurant was empty when we got there a little before 6pm.  The owner/chef, Jocelyn, came out to greet us.  She’s really personable and made us feel very welcome.

    We ordered our drinks and she recommended the tea so Loren got a glass.

    I’m not a tea drinker, but trust me, this is not what I would consider tea.  It was a sweet fruit drink made with fresh pineapple, mango, and raspberry.  Almost like a lemonade.  I ended up ordering a glass of my own.  It was actually too sweet for Loren, but just right for me.  Jocelyn said she makes different fruit blends depending on what fruit is in season.  Definitely order the tea when you visit.

    We ordered our meals and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Patience was definitely the order of the evening.  Granted everything was made fresh to order, and we were warned that the homemade corn bread would take 15-20 minutes, but it took at least an hour to get our food. 

    Finally our entrees arrived.  Loren ordered the Jammin’ Jambalaya. 

    The jambalaya was good.  It had some spice but not too much.  She actually asked what level of spice we wanted in the food.  He said it was dryer than what he wanted, but had plenty of chicken, sausage and shrimp in it.  He’d probably order it as a side dish next time, not a meal.

    I ordered the shrimp etoufee and a side of mac and cheese, sweet potato casserole, and corn bread.

    The menu said the etoufee came with fried okra slices, but it didn’t.  I ordered it non-spicy and though it had a good flavor, it was actually a little bland.  I think it needed some of the spice afterall.  The sauce was smooth and the shrimp and rice were both cooked well.  The menu also said warm cornbread upon request, which I assumed meant it came with it, but we were charged separately for it. 

    The thing about the cornbread is that it was supposedly the reason our meal took so long to come out and unfortunately, it wasn’t worth the wait.  It was ok for cornbread, but nothing to write home about.

    I like mac and cheese and this one was a tasty version.  Homemade, very cheesy with a hint of garlic.  Even Loren liked it and he’s not that into mac and cheese.

    The sweet potato souffle had a strong clove flavor.  Loren liked it more than I did.  I like a sweeter version of the dish, more cinnamon, less clove.   It had a nice consistency and the ramekin it was in kept it steaming hot. 

    Our waitress was Jocelyn’s 13 year old daughter.  Unfortunately, she doesn’t have the necessary experience, nor would you expect her to at her age.  A few more customers came into the restaurant while we were eating so it took a while for her to get back to our table.  They didn’t have any desserts on the menu, only for special occasions we were told.  I was really hoping for some beignets, but no such luck. 

    We finally got our $43 check, but then they had to fight with their credit card machine.  So we waited.  And waited.  Luckily, we had enough cash on us because they didn’t get the machine working.  This was about a 2 hour outing for dinner and we were the only customers when we got there.  I really wanted to love this place.  I definitely recommend going for the food; it was fresh and made to order.   Jocelyn is a great host and has a wonderful personality, but since she’s also the chef, once she went into the kitchen, the dining room lacked the service and attention to detail it needed. 

    A Taste of Heaven
    11665 Countryway Blvd
    Tampa, FL

    A Taste of Heaven New Orleans Cuisine on Urbanspoon


    This was our first visit to Jolli Mon’s Grill in Dunedin.  Luckily, we weren’t there for the live music as the band finally showed up as we were leaving.  The patio was full nonetheless, so we grabbed a table inside.  The bar area filled up quickly with people watching the Rays/Red Sox game. 

    The restaurant had all the typical island decor.  Palm trees, tropical fish, mermaids, and pirates decorated the walls.

    Loren started out with a salad and I got a cup of crab chowder.

    The mango poppyseed dressing on the salad was kind of sweet, whereas the chowder had a peppery flavor that wasn’t exactly pepper.  We couldn’t figure out exactly what spice it was.  It was a really thick chowder, lots of crab in it. 

    Loren ordered the mahi fish tacos.

    It was three tacos, but he wasn’t really impressed.  The mahi had been pre-cooked and was cold and the tortillas didn’t taste fresh either.

    I got a Scallywag burger with gouda and a side of mac and cheese.

    The burger was pretty good.  It had a lot of onions and mushrooms, though the onions were really strong.  I ordered it medium and it came out more of a medium rare, but still had good flavor.  The mac and cheese wasn’t very creamy, but it tasted good. 

    Overall, dinner was just ok.  The food and service didn’t wow us enough to make us say we need to go back again.    Total bill was $27.

    Jolli Mon’s Grill
    941 Huntley Ave
    Dunedin, FL

    Jolli Mon's Grill on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: American, Dunedin