The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Always on the lookout for places we haven’t visited yet, we ended up at Pensare Italian Bistro in Dunedin for dinner tonight.  The place was packed and really loud.  We were seated in this little alcove and I felt like the sound just reverberated off the walls.  Our waiter came over and explained the specials and brought bread and oil to the table.



The bread was warm and crusty and the dipping oil was very flavorful.  We were optimistic about the rest of the meal only to be quickly disappointed when our appetizer arrived.



It was a fried platter of calamari, shrimp and zucchini.  The calamari was thin and like rubber.  The breading had no flavor whatsoever.  The shrimp were overcooked and the zucchini was burnt.  If our waiter had actually come back to the table in a reasonable amount of time, I would have sent it back.  Salads came with our meal and we both got the mixed greens.



Loren likes mixed green salads, I’m not a fan.  They also brought oil & vinegar to the table & you can have the waiter dress the salad or you can do it yourself.  Eventually, our entrees came out.  At this point, I felt like we had been there for quite a while. Loren ordered the Salmone Asparagi which was salmon in a lemon buerre-blanc sauce and asparagus.



He said it was pretty good.  I found the sauce to be a bit too tart and sour for my tastes. I went for the pappardelle bolognese.



This was not a good dish.  The pasta was undercooked and the sauce was flavorless.  It was just very uninspiring.  Our waiter disappeared at this point, I think he had tables out on the patio, so we didn’t see much more of him.  My expectations were so low at this point that I didn’t even bother with dessert.  We won’t be back.  Total bill was $59 with a drink.

Pensare Italian Bistro
799 Highland Ave
Dunedin, FL

Pensare Italian Bistro on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: Dunedin, Italian
  • My dining experiences at Rumba Island in Oldsmar have been going downhill for a while and tonight was no exception.  They remodeled the interior since the last time we were there and now the entire restaurant is open to the bar area which made it a bit louder inside.  Not sure how that’s going feel once the summer heat sets in.  We started off with some grouper fritters and corn muffins.



    The corn muffins were yummy as usual.  That’s about the only consistent thing I’ve found here.  The grouper fritters were ok, but a bit on the spicy side for me.  Loren ordered a bacon cheeseburger.



    He liked it.  In fact, he usually has a pretty good experience with the food here.  I’m the one that ends up with the wonky entrees.  Tonight, I went for something I’ve had before with relative success, the BBQ salmon.



    One bite was enough to tell me that the salmon was not fresh.  I eat enough salmon to know that it shouldn’t have a fishy taste to it.  And just to be certain that I wasn’t being overly critical, I had Loren taste it and he agreed.  When the waiter finally came back to our table, I told him the fish wasn’t good.  He said salmon is a very fishy tasting fish and I politely disagreed.  If that’s what he thinks, then he’s obviously never had fresh salmon.  They took it off the bill and the manager came out as well, but I sort of got the impression from him that he didn’t think there was anything wrong with the fish either.  Total bill with a drink was $19.

    Rumba Island Bar & Grill 
    3687 Tampa Road
    Oldsmar, FL
    (813) 475-5974

    Rumba Island Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon


    Very Crowded

    We went back to Woodstock on 5th tonight in Safety Harbor.  They were really busy and we ended up at one of the high top tables right next to the kitchen.  It was really uncomfortable sitting on bar stools, the table was small and we could see & hear everything going on in and around the kitchen.  I just felt cramped and crowded.  We started off with the white bean chili again and Loren got a salad.



    They also served it with pita bread and apple butter this time, which they didn’t the last.  The chili was thinner this time, which was good.  It was really thick the first time we had it.  It seemed to have a lot more chicken in it as well.  For his entree, Loren got the Molly Hatchet, which was a grilled swordfish.



    It was served with arugula and a spicy tomato puree, but Loren didn’t think it was spicy at all.  He wasn’t a big fan of the arugula, but said the swordfish was cooked perfectly.  I went for the Janis Joplin.


    This was a seared salmon on top of spinach, zucchini, corn, & red peppers.  It also came with a potato pancake that was really dense and flavorless.  I didn’t care for the tomato vinaigrette on it either.  Too much vinegar and was way too sour for me.   The salmon was perfectly cooked though.

    Overall, I just found the experience to be very uncomfortable.  There seems to be a lot of people working there which made it feel even more crowded in such a small space.  Though we both enjoyed the fish, the items served alongside didn’t impress.  Total bill with a drink was $54.

    Woodstock on 5th
    155 5th Ave N
    Safety Harbor, FL

    Woodstock on 5th on Urbanspoon



    Mmmm… Sushi

    It was a dark and stormy night and sushi seemed like a perfect way to chase away the gloom.  We headed over to Ocean Blue since it was close and I could hear the Super Crunchy calling to me.



    Luckily Loren isn’t quite as enamored with it as I am, either that or he’s just afraid I’ll swat his hand away if he tries to eat too many pieces of it.  I just love that roll.  We also got a Mexican roll and a Rainbow roll.  Both were delicious.  Yeah, you didn’t think we stopped there, did you??



    Loren had to have a spicy tuna and a Scott roll plus one more that I can’t remember.  I think it was tuna or maybe salmon, either way, it was good.  As always, everything was fresh and tasty.  Loren also got a salad.



    Oh, and remember that dark & stormy night?  About the time we were finishing up, the sky opened up and a deluge of rain poured down.  That could only mean that we had to order dessert, right?



    Fried cheesecake is one of the strangest and tastiest desserts around.  Soft and slightly frozen on the inside, crispy on the outside.  Very tasty throughout.  Finally the rain let up, our taste buds were happy, and our wallet was $62 lighter.

    Ocean Blue Sushi Bar & Kaiko Japanese Restaurant 
    2475 McMullen Booth Road
    Clearwater, FL

    Ocean Blue Sushi on Urbanspoon



    We wandered around Universal Studios all morning and then decided to get lunch out on City Walk.  We didn’t realize so many of the restaurants didn’t open until late afternoon.  We finally ended up out on the patio at Pastamore.  The waitress brought bread & dipping oil to the table first.


    The bread was wonderful.  Soft and warm and very tasty.  The dipping oil, on the other hand was served in a rather large bowl and didn’t have any herbs in it.  It was just odd.  We started off with the fried calamari.


    I felt the portion size was small for a $9 appetizer, but I had to remember we were in a theme park.  Realistically, though, it was enough to share without totally spoiling our appetites for our entrees.  The calamari was cooked well and had a nice crunchy exterior without being too chewy on the inside.  The balsamic glaze and garlic aioli added a nice flavor, but the marinara sauce was pretty bland.  Loren got the salmon salad.


    He said the salmon was cooked perfectly and he enjoyed the salad.  He likes olives and there were plenty in the salad.  I went for the chicken marsala.


    This was the lunch half portion, though to be honest, I didn’t realize that’s what I was ordering.  Again, I had to remember theme park prices.  The chicken was very tender and the pasta was just the right tenderness. The dish could have used a bit more of the marsala sauce, but overall, it was pretty tasty.  I was also craving chocolate, so we settled on the chocolate sabayon for dessert.


    It was a pretty little plate with a very tasty raspberry sauce.  It was a light and fluffy sort of dessert, just what I was craving.  Total bill with a drink was $47.

    6000 Universal Blvd
    Orlando, FL

    Pastamoré Ristorante and Market on Urbanspoon