The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Far Out, Man


Woodstock on 5th recently opened up in the space where Crepeology used to be in Safety Harbor.  It’s a really small building and I’m amazed at the quality of food they were able to put out of that tiny kitchen.  There aren’t a lot of tables, but there is a patio out back and they had live music tonight.  The whole restaurant and staff are decked out in a 60’s music theme and the menu items are all named after musicians and bands of the era.  We started off with some of the white chili.

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When it came to the table, we both thought it looked like a bowl of cheese queso dip.  And to be honest, it would have gone great with some tortilla chips.  It was very thick, creamy, and cheesy. It had a nice flavor to it, just a hint of heat and overall very tasty.   For his entree, Loren ordered the “Grateful Dead”.

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It was two tri tip grilled steaks with potatoes and green beans.  The steak was cooked a perfect medium, seasoned wonderfully, and was very tender.  I ate some of it because it was actually too much food.  Drop the price a little and just serve one steak and it still would have been enough for an entree.   I ordered the “Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young”.

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It was a pappardelle pasta with wild mushrooms.  One bite and I was hooked.  The cream sauce was amazing.  The only thing I really didn’t like were the wild mushrooms.  Some of them were really tough and chewy.  The pasta was cooked perfectly and I licked every last bite of that sauce off the plate.  We also decided to try the desserts.  We got the citrus cake and a strawberry mousse tart.

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They don’t make the desserts in house, but instead get them from a local bakery.  Loren really liked the citrus cake.  It was moist and had a wonderful orange flavor.  I found the crust on the tart to be a little hard, but the strawberry mousse filling was tasty.

Overall, the food was amazing; however, other aspects of the experience weren’t as great.   It did take a while to get our food, but, it was definitely fresh and homemade.  They have a very young and inexperienced wait staff.  They were very sweet and pleasant with bubbly personalities, but seemed a bit over their head when it came to actually keeping up with their tables.  The other thing we found annoying was that the door to the patio is in the small dining room, so there was a constant opening & closing of the door as people went in & out.

They post their weekly menu specials on their website and also serve breakfast & lunch.  We’ll probably go back again as the food really was delicious.  Total bill with a drink was $61.

Woodstock on 5th
155 5th Ave N
Safety Harbor, FL
727-797-4444

Woodstock on 5th on Urbanspoon

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

Rafferty’s


On our way up to North Carolina to see the autumn leaves, we stopped for the night in Athens, Georgia and ate dinner at Rafferty’s.  We missed the entrance to the restaurant twice as there’s only one way in and out. 

For a chain restaurant, the food was pretty good.  We started off with some batter fried mushrooms. 

These were really tasty.  The batter was very crunchy and Loren liked the horseradish sauce that came with it.  I opted for some ranch dressing.   For his entree, Loren got the West Texas BBQ chicken. 

He said it was good and believe it or not, it actually had more bacon on it than he could eat.  It was a little crispy around the edges, but otherwise tender.  I got the rack of baby back ribs and a baked potato.

The ribs were tender, but I’m not sure how to describe the BBQ sauce.  It wasn’t sweet, but it had a fruity finish.  It was different, but I liked it.  Our waitress was really nice, but she kept apologizing for putting in our entree order after the mushrooms.  The wait really wasn’t all that long, but she seemed to think she had to constantly tell us how sorry she was about it.  Total bill with a drink was $40.

Rafferty’s
15 Huntington Drive
Athens, GA
706-613-0045

Rafferty's on Urbanspoon

Food3/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.0/5
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  • Filed under: BBQ
  • We ate dinner at Fratelli Italian Restaurant in Oldsmar tonight because we had a Restaurant.com coupon.  The restaurant was pretty busy.  We hadn’t been back in a while and unfortunately this time, we didn’t find the food to be as good as it had been in the past.

    Our waitress seemed a bit scattered.  She came to get our drink order, but forgot to leave us menus and had to come back to the table after we ordered to verify some things.

    We started off with the stuffed mushrooms.

    They had a sausage stuffing and were covered in mozzarella cheese.  They were rather dense and had no depth of flavor.  We’ve had stuffed mushrooms at other places where we fight over the last one, but that wasn’t the case here.

    Our entrees came with soup or salad, so Loren got the salad and I got a cup of the pasta fagioli.

    The pasta is always overcooked in their pasta fagioli.  It’s like mush.  The soup itself has some good flavors, but the texture isn’t quite right. The garlic bread was ok.

    Our entrees showed up before either of us had finished our soup and salad.  I hate it when a restaurant doesn’t get timing right.  Loren ordered the chicken francese for his entree.  It came with pasta and had a lemon wine sauce.

    This is where the lack of seasoning became very apparent.  You could taste lemon, but that was about it.  It desparately needed some salt and pepper.  It was a fairly big portion though and we ended up with leftovers of both our entrees.  I ordered the chicken marsala because I really liked it the last time I had it here.

    This was not the same recipe I had last time.  The sauce in this dish wasn’t thickened at all.  It was watery and lacked seasoning.  I was very disappointed as I remembered how tasty it was the last time.  We also got a piece of cheesecake to go.

    It was creamy, but really not anything to write home about.  The whole experience was just a bit disappointing.  Between lackluster service and under seasoned food, it just didn’t leave either of us with the desire to come back anytime soon.  Total bill after the $25 coupon and included tip was $24.

    Fratelli Italian Restaurant and Bar
    120 Commerce Blvd, Ste 1
    Oldsmar, FL
    813-854-1717

    Fratelli Italian Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

    Food3/5
    Service2/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value3/5
    2.7/5

    We celebrated Loren’s birthday at Green Springs Bistro in Safety Harbor.  We’d eaten here once before and enjoyed the food, but this time around it just wasn’t up to par with the prices they charge.

    We were seated in one of the front rooms and it was really loud.  For such a cozy little restaurant, you’d think they could figure out a way to dampen some of the noise in there.  Our waitress brought over a taste of their potato and scallion soup.

    It was creamy, but the first thing Loren did was grab for the salt shaker.  That was the start of the relatively unseasoned food we had all night. Next up came our appetizer, Harold’s shrooms.

    Roasted portobello mushroom caps with red peppers, olives and garlic goat cheese.  I found the olives to be overpowering in the dish, though I really liked the taste of the goat cheese.  The mushrooms were meaty, but a little tough to cut.  Salads also came with our meal.

    For his entree, Loren ordered the filet mignon which came with mashed potatoes and roasted veggies.

    The filet was very tender and cooked medium, but underseasoned.  The gorgonzola on top completely overwhelmed the taste of the meat though.  As you can see from the photo, some of the veggies were a bit charred while others were a bit underdone.

    I ordered the blue crab and lobster stuffed mahi.

    The mahi was overcooked and tough.  My first reaction was that the mahi I had recently at Cuban Breezes, for less than half the price mind you,  was cooked way better than this piece of fish.  The crab and lobster stuffing tasted like a crabcake.  There was absolutely nothing textural, visual, or taste wise that would have indicated to me that it had any lobster in it whatsoever. The Key Lime white wine sauce had very little lime flavor ( I actually thought it was a lemon sauce) and there wasn’t much of it on the plate.  My butter knife was also a bit inadequate to cut through some of the roasted carrots.

    I’d heard good things about their black & blue cobbler so I got some to take home.

    It was very sweet and there wasn’t enough of the crumb topping.  It came with a tasty vanilla bean ice cream though.  Our waitress was very friendly and kept plates cleared and drinks full.  Overall though, we were fairly disappointed in the whole $73 experience.  If I’m going to pay that much for dinner, I expect wonderful flavors and textures and to leave the restaurant wondering when I’ll be able to go back again.  After this meal, I don’t think we’ll be returning anytime soon.

    Green Springs Bistro
    156 Fourth Ave North
    Safety Harbor, FL
    727-669-6762

    Green Springs Bistro on Urbanspoon

    Food2/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere2/5
    Value1/5
    2.5/5

    Nauti-Nancy’s isn’t a very big restaurant, but the food definitely packs a bunch of flavor.  It looks like a little dive, with just a few tables inside, an outside patio and bar area.  I don’t think either of us was expecting much from the food, but we were pleasantly surprised throughout the entire meal.  This is one of those places where the food takes its time coming out of the kitchen, but your patience is rewarded.

    We started off with some crab stuffed mushrooms.

    When I first saw them, I thought the mushrooms were a bit small to be stuffed, but they were filled with a wonderful crab stuffing and topped with melted provolone cheese.  We’d definitely order these again.  Loren liked the spicy sauce that came with them.

    For his entree, Loren ordered the Vidalia onion chicken sandwich.

    He said the onions were very sweet, the chicken tender and the overall flavor of the sandwich delicious.  I ordered the chicken saltimbocca which came with a salad and side of parmesean noodles.

    The chicken was topped with prosciutto, spinach, provolone cheese and a very nice mushroom marsala sauce.  It was a touch salty, but not overwhelming.  The noodles were very garlicy, but in a good way.    The whole dish had a lot of good flavors going on.  When the waitress cleared our plates, she said she was going to bring us some beignets.

    This was a delicious surprise.  I don’t know if she brought them because she had forgotten to bring my salad earlier, or if they brought them to all the tables.  Either way, it was a wonderful dessert.  They were hot out of the fryer and completely covered in powdered sugar.  If I wasn’t stuffed before, I definitely was now.  Overall the service was just ok.  Like I said, our waitress forgot to bring my salad and she never refilled drinks.  But the kicker for this whole experience was that the total bill with a drink was only $26.  This was one of the better meals we’ve had recently at an incredibly reasonable price.  There’s no doubt we’ll make our way back to Nauti-Nancy’s again.

    Nauti-Nancy’s
    700 Eldridge St
    Clearwater, FL
    (727) 446-3717

    Nauti-Nancy's on Urbanspoon
    Food4/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value5/5
    3.7/5