We went out to the Garden Grille Cafe for dinner tonight and had a waitress in training. Luckily, she had another waitress working with her whispering in her ear everything she forgot to do. We started off with some clam chowder and some calamari.
The clam chowder was a bit on the gritty side. They definitely needed to rinse the clams more. It needed some salt, but was ok otherwise. The calamari also needed some seasoning. Loren got a Greek salad with chicken.
He said the chicken was very tender and the salad was ok. I ordered a mushroom burger.
It was cooked way past medium and was pretty dry. They brought out the dessert tray and I was surprised at how many choices there were. We settled on a raspberry cake with cheesecake filling.
Unfortunately, this cake must have come frozen and was not thawed out properly. Parts of it were frozen solid, part of the cake was dry and the other part was wet. Not moist, but wet. The actually cheesecake filling was pretty tasty. Service was lacking in some areas as there were dishes left on our table way longer than they should have been. Total bill with a drink was $36.
Garden Grille Cafe
8425 Hillsborough Ave
We got a bit of a cold spell this week, so I was craving soup for lunch. The lobster bisque at MecaFresh was calling to me so I went for the soup and half of their bacon, ham & cheese panini special.
I’m not a big bacon fan, but there actually wasn’t that much on the sandwich, so all I really tasted with a bit of saltiness. The panini was tasty though. The bisque was hot as lava when it came to the table, but once it cooled down, it was smooth and delicious. Satisfying my soup craving for a while. Loren got the soup/salad combo.
This was some sort of Mexican bean soup. It wasn’t very spicy, but he said it had some good flavors. Perfect for a chilly day. They offered us some frozen yogurt today too.
Loren finished every last bit of his. He said the vanilla flavor was just yummy today. Total bill with a drink was $20.
3235 Tampa Road
Palm Harbor, FL
We were looking for a quick dinner before heading out to a concert at Ruth Eckerd Hall, so we stopped in to the Beef O’Bradys on McMullen Booth & Enterprise. It’s impossible to hear yourself think in this restaurant. Guess it’s more about yelling at the TV’s than actually talking to the person you’re with and we weren’t even in the bar area.
Loren tried the Santa Fe Salad.
He said it was ok. I’d have been all about eating the bowl, but I don’t think he even ate any of it. I went for a boneless basket with a side of onion rings.
The onion rings were a disappointment. They weren’t crunchy at all. The chicken wasn’t as tender as I’d have liked it to be, but there was definitely more than I could eat in the basket. The spicy sauce for the onion rings was way too spicy for me. It seemed to take a really long time to get our food too. Total bill with a drink was $25.
2471 N McMullen Booth Rd
Safety Harbor, FL
We had a AAA coupon for 25% off at Olive Garden that expired today, so we headed over there for a late lunch. We weren’t sure how busy they were going to be on Christmas Eve, but when we got there at 1pm, we didn’t have to wait for a table. We started off with soup, salad and breadsticks.
I think we could have stopped right here and been very full and very contented. The breadsticks were fresh and soft and both the salad and soup were yummy. I like the pasta fagioli soup here. It has a nice blend of flavors and textures. For some reason, we felt the need to order an appetizer.
Calamari & stuffed mushrooms… oh so good! They prepare a really tender calamari here. The mushrooms were also flavorful and filling. As if this wasn’t enough food, we ordered entrees as well. Loren got the braised beef tortelloni.
It was definitely more tortelloni than beef, but he said it was very good. I ordered the fettucine alfredo.
This is my favorite dish here, though it could have used a little more sauce on it. It’s very creamy and the noodles are cooked perfectly. There’s a reason we don’t come here very often; we eat too much. We both took home some leftovers. For a chain restaurant, they really do prepare the food very well. After the coupon, the total bill was $26.
29461 Us-19 N
Our last few ventures to Cody’s Original Roadhouse have been less than satisfying. Though we usually enjoy the salad and yeast rolls, the entrees have been hit or miss. Tonight’s dinner, though, was much improved. The salad and rolls were fresh and tasty.
This is usually the best part of the meal for us. I was good this time though and didn’t order a second basket of rolls. It was tempting though. Loren went for the chef select NY Strip with a loaded baked potato.
The steak was cooked a perfect medium and was very tender. He only ate half of it and took the rest home. This was definitely one of the better steaks he’s had here. I went for the 1/2 rack of baby back ribs.
They were very tender tonight and the portion seemed larger than usual. Fall off the bone with a sweet and tangy bbq sauce. I actually had some leftovers as well. This is the first time in a while that we actually left here satisfied. Total bill with a drink was $35.
Cody’s Original Roadhouse
26210 US 19 Clearwater, FL
A new seafood restaurant recently opened up in Safety Harbor. The Nantucket Bucket is located on 2nd Street S, just off of Main Street. Their indoor seating was full when we got there, so we sat out on the back patio. As we walked back there we noticed the kitchen was in what looked like a trailer to the left of the building. There were plenty of long tables on the patio and we were seated on one end while another couple was at the other end. This wasn’t really an issue, but as the place filled up, there was a family of four seated between us and it felt a bit crowded to me. I’m just not a fan of community seating, I prefer having my own table.
We started off with some potato bites (tater tots) and lobster based corn chowder.
The key word here is lobster based, meaning there wasn’t actually any lobster pieces in the chowder. In fact, the only thing in the chowder was corn. It tasted like frozen corn to me which has a texture I’m not fond of. The chowder itself was ok; rather peppery, but the amount of corn in it was ridiculous. I can’t imagine anyone being able to consume that much corn in one sitting. It really needed some other vegetables to alleviate the monotony of the dish.
The tater tots were good; but in all fairness, it’s hard to mess up a tater tot. Loren said the cheese sauce was pretty bad. Basically canned cheese sauce with canned jalapenos on top. For his entrée, Loren ordered the house salad with blackened mahi on top.
The salad was huge, but he said the menu indicated it should have had bacon on it and it didn’t. He liked the mahi and said it was cooked well, but he didn’t finish the salad. He also had to wait for the salad dressing since the waiter didn’t ask him which kind he wanted when he took the order. I decided to try the lobster roll and lobster based mac & cheese.
Let me start off by saying I’m originally from a fishing family in New England and we had fresh lobster quite frequently right off the boat. There is very little that needs to be done with lobster in order to make it delicious. A lobster roll, in my opinion, needs just a little bit of mayo, some salt & pepper and you’re done. Maybe a little celery or lettuce for crunch. I don’t know what they did to this lobster roll but it was quite inedible. The only word I can use to describe the taste is briny. It just got more and more unpleasant to eat with every bite and after just a few bites, I gave up completely. Loren tasted a chunk of the lobster and didn’t think it was bad, but then took another bite and tasted exactly what I did. The mac & cheese suffered the same fate. It had that same briny flavor to it. It was also a rather waxy mac & cheese versus a creamy version. Even the coleslaw had way too much vinegar in it.
When our waiter came back to our table and saw my uneaten meal, he asked if I wanted a box. I said no because it wasn’t very good. He cleared our plates and an experienced server would have mentioned something to the manager. That didn’t happen in this case. He brought the check and that was it. Granted, this place has only been opened a few weeks, but there was absolutely nothing about the experience that would make me go back again. Total bill with a drink was $41.
519 2nd Street South
Safety Harbor, FL
Some quick soup, salad, and sandwiches for lunch today. We went over to MecaFresh and Loren got the half roast beef and a salad and I got the half eggplant parm with the lobster bisque.
It was all fresh, tasty and good. We didn’t get our free frozen yogurt today though. I don’t know if we were supposed to go back up to the counter to get it or what. They seem to be a bit inconsistent about how they offer it. Total bill with a drink was $19.
3235 Tampa Road
Palm Harbor, FL
Since MecaFresh is closed on Sundays during the summer and that’s when we usually went there after going to a movie, we decided to go for lunch today instead. They had the Valentino, a meatball panini on special today, so I went for that while Loren went for a combo roast beef panini and salad.
I always forget that the full panini is too big for me. I ended up eating one half and then picking the meatballs out of the other half. I like the meatballs here. They’re soft and tasty and the tomato sauce is flavorful. Loren liked his roast beef & salad as well.
I forgot they started offering free frozen yogurt here. We were getting ready to leave when the server came by and asked us if we wanted some.
They only have one flavor a day & today’s was vanilla. It’s very rich and creamy and by the look on Loren’s face, cold enough to trigger brain freeze. Total bill with a drink was $19.
3235 Tampa Road
Palm Harbor, FL
Back to Winter Park today to meet my sister & niece and that meant eating at Keke’s. Usually we get breakfast, but we all went for lunch items today. My sister got the chicken sesame salad and my niece got a cheeseburger.
They both liked their dishes, but the cheeseburger was really messy. The burger didn’t quite fit the bun correctly and with everything on it, there were no amount of napkins that were going to help. I got the Chicken Marsala Panini.
It was also a bit on the messy side, but had a really good marsala flavor. The chicken was tender and it had big pieces of portobello mushrooms in it. I’d order it again.
Service was just ok today. They forgot one of the orders of sweet potato fries and took a while to bring the mustard my niece requested. Total bill was $36 with a drink.
Keke’s Breakfast Cafe
345 West Fairbanks Ave
Winter Park, FL
We ate lunch at Cuban Breezes today. I don’t blog every time we eat here because we eat here a few times a month, but Loren’s Mahi Salad was just too pretty not to take a photo.
They make a nice piece of mahi here and it’s reasonably priced no matter what form you get it in. He likes his blackened, but I always prefer mine grilled. I stole a few of the tomatoes on his salad and they were really fresh and tasty.
I went for the prime rib dip they had on special with a side of rice & beans.
The roast beef is so tender and matches so well with the cuban bread. My only gripe was that it was really salty. I noticed it with the first few bites and then didn’t think much about it, but I spent the rest of the afternoon drinking lots of water. Total bill with a drink was $21
13980 W Hillsborough Ave
So, did you know that April 27th is National Prime Rib Day? Prom was also going on tonight, so we needed to find a place that the kids weren’t going to be, so we settled on Cody’s out on Hillsborough. I have a love/hate relationship with Cody’s. Love the rolls & salad, but the entrees don’t always live up to expectations.
They were pretty busy tonight and it took our waiter quite a while and two tries to get us a salad without onions and some rolls.
The rolls were fresh and so good that we had to order a second basket. Like I said, this is the best part of the meal to me. Loren, being in the holiday spirit, decided to try the prime rib.
He said it was pretty tender and he enjoyed it. Surprisingly, he actually ate the whole thing. I ordered the half rack of baby back ribs.
Some of the ribs were tender, some parts were not. They definitely don’t have the smoked taste and flavor you get from an actual BBQ joint. I’m still working my way through the menu. Eventually, I’ll find something I like. Total bill with a drink was $33.
Cody’s Original Roadhouse
11202 West Hillsborough Ave
Went for a quick lunch with a friend of mine today & she chose Applebees. Chain restaurant food pretty much tastes the same wherever you go. I opted for a lunch combo with a half roast beef sandwich and fried chicken salad.
For $9, it was ok. The edges of the sandwich were toasted a bit much, but otherwise it was pretty good. I liked the honey mustard dressing they put on the salad.
4016 Tampa Road
Outback Steakhouse seems to always have a wait, but as we were driving by this afternoon on our way to another restaurant for lunch, the parking lot looked fairly empty so we made a quick U-turn and pulled in. We were just ahead of the Sunday lunch crowd and able to get a table right away.
The bread & salad make me happy here. There’s just a touch of spice in their ranch dressing which I like especially mixed with the cool of the cucumbers.
Loren went for one of their specials, a mixed grill with a 6 oz sirloin.
The steak was cooked very nicely and the shrimp & scallops were also pretty good. It came with a mango salsa that he seemed to enjoy as well. I went for my tried & true favorite here, the Alice Springs chicken.
I’m sure I’ve said it before, but it’s the honey mustard that really makes this dish for me. The chicken was tender and the baked potato was good. Even though I get this dish without the bacon, it’s still about a zillion calories of goodness. No room for dessert today, so the total bill with a drink was $38.
31988 US Hwy 19 N
Palm Harbor, FL
We ate dinner at Cody’s in Clearwater tonight. I’ve come to the conclusion that I should just order rolls and salad here and not bother with an entree anymore. The last few times we’ve eaten here, it’s just been disappointing.
Loren munches out on peanuts and I devour the yeast rolls. Ok, he devours them too.
These were fresh out of the oven and so delicious. The cinnamon butter just puts them right over the top. The salad is also yummy minus the onions.
Loren ordered their 7 oz sirloin steak & shrimp special.
He said it was ok, not great. It lacked seasoning, but was cooked ok. The garlic shrimp were also just ok. I thought I ordered something that couldn’t be screwed up, a mushroom burger with baked potato.
The bottom bun on this was soggy, not juice running off of the burger juicy, but actually soggy. It was just gross. By the time our waitress came back to the table, Loren was finished eating, so they just took it off the bill and instead charged me for a side salad. Total bill was still $22.
Cody’s Original Roadhouse
26210 US 19 Clearwater, FL
We ate dinner at Stone Chase tonight. We were actually heading to the new restaurant next door, but it wasn’t opening until next weekend. Loren started off with a salad while I scarfed the bread.
Loren likes the ranch dressing here. It’s a bit too peppery for me though. The bread, however, is quite tasty. For his entree, he went for the steak melt.
He thought it was ok. It turned out that the steak in his sandwich was more tender than the filet in my noodle bowl.
I was one of the folks who claimed a free steak in Outback’s latest promotion. Actually Loren ended up with the steak, I’m more of an Alice Springs chicken person myself.
But, first there’s bread, and soup, and salad.
The ranch dressing here has a little peppery kick to it, but it’s tasty. The bread doesn’t last long at all the Loren slurped down the soup pretty quick. The free steak was a 6 oz sirloin which he got with a baked potato and a side of mushrooms.
Perfectly cooked all the way around. Outback makes a pretty consistent steak. There were enough mushrooms to feed several people. The Alice Springs chicken was yummy too.
For me, it’s all about the honey mustard sauce. It just goes so well with the cheesy chicken and baked potato. After the coupon, total bill with a drink was $24.
31988 US Hwy 19 N
Palm Harbor, FL
We ate lunch at Cafe Alfresco in Dunedin today. It was around 2pm, so the Sunday Brunch crowd had already come and gone. We got a nice table on their air conditioned patio. Loren ordered the bayou burger with fries.
The burger had bleu cheese and a spicy mayo. It was cooked well and he liked it. I ordered the crispy chicken salad.
I first grabbed an onion straw and it was stone cold. Then I tried the chicken and it was barely warm. I can understand not wanting to wilt the spinach salad by putting food straight from the fryer on it, but it should have been a lot warmer than it was. I really enjoyed the spinach and tomatoes and the ranch dressing was great, but the cold chicken and onion straws ruined an otherwise delicious lunch. Unfortunately, our waiter never returned to check on us, otherwise I would have complained about the temperature of my food. Total bill with a drink was $24.
344 Main St
We ate dinner at the Olympia Greek Restaurant over by Fresh Market on US 19 in Clearwater tonight. There are so many of these little Greek places in the area and they all seem very generic. It’s pretty much Greek fast food.
I’m a sucker for pastitsio, so I had to try that. It came with a Greek salad.
The salad had a little bit of everything in it and the dressing was tangy and tasty. The pastitsio was ok, but both it and the sauce lacked in flavor.
The sauce really tasted like it had just come out of a can. It was tart and definitely needed to simmer a lot longer to give it any depth of flavor. The pastitsio had a decent texture, but just didn’t have enough spices in it. Unfortunately, the rice was a bit overcooked as well.
Loren ordered the gyro platter.
There’s a mound of rice under the gyro meat, but out of everything we had here, the gyro was the best. It had a nice flavor and texture and tasted very fresh. Both meals came with pita bread & tzatziki sauce and I also ordered a side of potato salad, forgetting that there’d be some on the salad.
I like the pita and tzatziki. It was creamy and had a good flavor without being overpowering with garlic. The side of potato salad was way more than we could eat. I was expecting one scoop, not four, so this is definitely a side to share. I also ordered a cannoli to go.
It was disappointing. The shell was too thick and not crunchy at all and the the filling was also too thick. It had the consistency of cookie dough. After the $5 coupon from their website, the total bill with a drink was $23. If I was in the area and wanted a quick gyro, I’d try it again, but otherwise, there wasn’t much that would draw me back in.
Olympia Greek Restaurant
25821 US 19 Hwy N
Loren was out of town all weekend, so we didn’t go out to eat, but we got caught up with lunch today at Daddy’s Grill.
I got an old standby, the mushroom & swiss burger with some macaroni salad.
They do a pretty good burger here. It was medium, just like I ordered and very juicy. Their macaroni salad is one of my favorites. Loren was being good today (since he pigged out all weekend) and got a grilled chicken salad.
He said the chicken was tender, but didn’t offer a lot of flavor. The ranch dressing took care of that though. Total bill with a drink was $16.
3682 Tampa Road
After going to a movie, we stopped at Green Market Cafe for a quick lunch. This place is just so bright and cheerful and the food has always been good. Today, I tried the honey chicken flatbread with chips.
The honey mustard sauce was very tangy, not very sweet at all. Overall, it was pretty tasty, the chicken was tender and there were plenty of mushrooms in it (quite a few kept trying to escape though).
Loren tried the avacado salad with chicken.
It was a huge salad with so many fresh ingredients. Besides the chicken, lettuce and avocado, it had mandarin oranges, goat cheese, onion, corn and pecans with a lime dressing. It was tasty.
You also get a free small frozen yougart with your meal and I got the chocolate cheesecake.
I had mixed feelings about it. I liked the chocolate side, but the cheesecake side had a sort of tangy taste to it that just didn’t do it for me. Total bill was $18.
Green Market Cafe
3150 Tampa Road, Unit 1a