The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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We ate lunch at Chef Li in Oldsmar today.  Loren ordered the Kung Po chicken and some wonton soup.

I ordered the sweet & sour chicken with an eggroll.

There was a lot of chicken in this dish and it was cooked perfectly.  The batter was crunchy but not too thick and the chicken was very tender.  The sauce was very sweet and tangy.  There was so much chicken on the plate that I was only able to eat about half of the eggroll.  Total lunch with a drink was $14.

Chef Li
4013 Tampa Rd, Ste 20
Oldsmar, FL
813-814-9988

Chef Li on Urbanspoon

Food4/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value4/5
3.6/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Chinese, Oldsmar
  • 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
    Clearwater, FL
    727-797-7541

    Laziz Authentic Indian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere2/5
    Value2/5
    3.1/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Clearwater, Indian
  • Not too many people in Cuban Breezes tonight.  I figured it’d be crowded since the football playoffs were tonight, but since they close at 8pm on Sunday, it makes sense that people wouldn’t want to have to leave halfway through the game.

    Loren got the masitas with some ultimate black beans and a salad.

    He said the pork was very tender and flavorful.  He even had a little left over for tomorrow.  I ordered the fricase de pollo with beans.

    This is one of my favorite dishes here.  It’s got some wonderful flavors and textures with just a little bit of spice.  I kept telling myself to save some for tomorrow, but I ended up eating the entire thing. 

    And yet, I still managed to save room for the chocolate lava cake.

    Thick, rich, chocolately oozing warmth with some vanilla ice cream.  It was yummy.  We had a $10 Restaurant.com coupon, so the total bill after the coupon was $18.

    Cuban Breezes
    13980 W Hillsborough Ave
    Tampa, FL
    813-814-9939

    Cuban Breezes on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value4/5
    3.9/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Cuban, Dessert, Oldsmar
  • Tangy Thai


    We headed up Hillsborough Ave today at ate lunch at Thai Ginger.  This was our first time here.  It’s a small restaurant in a strip mall and we were the only customers in there today around 1pm.

    As usual, Loren ordered the ginger chicken.  He’s got to try it at every Thai place we go.

    He said it was flavorful and his medium spicy had his nose running a little.  I tried something different, the Thai Tamarind with shrimp.

    I have to say, when both dishes came to the table, I thought the amount of food was very small compared to other places we eat at.  I think we’re just so used to oversized meals that when a normal sized plate is placed in front of us, we don’t know how to react.  Don’t get me wrong, there was definitely enough food on the plates for lunch and both meals came with an egg roll and jasmine rice. 

    The tamarind sauce on my dish was very tangy.  The dish had onions, peppers, and pineapple in it and the shrimp were lightly fried and crunchy.  The service was good and the food came out really quick.  Overall, it was a tasty lunch for $16. 

    Thai Ginger Restaurant
    6821 W. Hillsborough Ave
    Tampa, FL
    (813) 901-8999

    Thai Ginger Resturant on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value3/5
    3.7/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Tampa, Thai
  • Loco Moco


    We haven’t had a loco moco since our trip to Hawaii, so when we saw the menu for the Ohana Cafe in Palm Harbor, we had to go check it out.

    It’s a cute little place on Orange St.  We got there before the rain this morning, so were able to sit out on the patio.  They said they also have a tent out back with heaters for when it gets too chilly.  The menu is filled with healthy items.  Lots of organically grown food as well as vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options. 

    Our loco moco was made with a lean buffalo patty and organic egg covered with gravy, onions and served over jasmine rice.  I also couldn’t resist a popover and some red potato home fries.

    The home fries were my favorite thing.  They were yummy.   My favorite loco moco in Hawaii actually had roast pork on it, but this one was pretty good.  Loren thought everything needed more salt on it.   The popover would have been much better if it had been fresh out of the oven.  It wasn’t warm, so didn’t have the burst of steam and goodness that you’d expect if it had been served piping hot. 

    The service was good and everyone was really friendly.  Total bill was $17.

    The Ohana Cafe
    306 Orange St N
    Palm Harbor, FL
    727-787-1234

    Ohana Cafe on Urbanspoon

    Food3/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere4/5
    Value2/5
    3.3/5