The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Casa Tina

It was a rainy Saturday and Mexican food sounded good for lunch so we headed over to Casa Tina in Dunedin.   We were reminiscing about our first visit here when they were just a narrow, one room restaurant.  It’s expanded and grown several times over the years, but the food is still tasty.  We just missed the lunch crowd and Loren was ready to dig into some chips and salsa.


He said the salsa had a definite kick to it.  Fresh and tasty, but a bit spicier than he remembered.  He ordered the carnitas which came with beans and rice.


I tasted the carnitas and couldn’t stop eating them.  They were so tender.  Perfectly cooked tasty bites of pork.  I figured I should stop before I got forked in the hand.  Besides, the chicken flutes were calling to me.


This is one of my favorite dishes here.  Shredded chicken deep fried in flour tortillas.  It also comes with beans and rice.  I’ve learned to get the salsa & guacamole on the side since they’re both too spicy for me, but Loren loves them.  Our taste buds were very happy by the time we were done.   Total bill with a drink was $34.

Casa Tina’s 
365 Main Street
Dunedin, FL

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  • Filed under: Dunedin, Mexican
  • Carmelita’s Mexican Grill recently opened up where Spoto’s was in Dunedin.  We didn’t have any issues with parking, but there was a 30 minute wait when we got there.  I’m not sure exactly when they opened, but everyone seemed a bit frazzled and overwhelmed.  At one point, our waitress ended up giving up another table because she just couldn’t handle it.  We started with some chips and salsa and then both ordered combos.





    Loren likes their salsa.  For his entree, he got the Del Rey combo.  It comes with a beef taco, cheese with shredded beef
    enchilada, and a smaller version of the Del Rey burrito along with rice and beans.  I ordered the pick three combo and got a chimichanga, Del Rey burrito, and a flauta.  We both liked the food, but it’s fairly generic and not overly flavorful or spicy.  As I mentioned earlier, our waitress was overwhelmed and we waited a long time for both our food and then our check.  Drinks were never refilled either.  The other thing we both noticed is that both the waitress and the food runners were less than graceful when delivering things to the table.  They both slammed the food and glasses down with audible thumps.  I was afraid they were going to break either the glasses or the dishes.  Total bill with a drink was $33.

    Carmelita’s Mexican Grill
    1280 Main Street
    Dunedin, FL

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  • Filed under: Dunedin, Mexican
  • We were heading to Bradenton to see the DaVinci exhibit and had planned on eating at El Durango’s, but it was closed.  Alvarez Mexican Restaurant was across the street, so we ended up there instead.  It took a while before the waiter came by with menus and took our drink order.  In fact, while we were waiting, we watched another patron walk out due to poor service.  Loren liked the chips and salsa.



    The salsa didn’t look like much, but he said it was fresh and tasty.  He ordered a #7 which is a taco, burrito and enchilada.



    He said the enchilada sauce was more sweet than spicy.  Overall, it was just plain, inexpensive Mexican food.  I ordered the beef and bean chimichanga.



    The cheddar cheese sauce tasted like Cheez-whiz and seemed like an odd choice. The chimi didn’t have the same crunch as I’ve had at other places.  The flavors were very plain.  There was just nothing memorable about any of the food.  Total bill with a drink was $19.

    Alvarez Mexican Restaurant
    1431 Eighth Avenue West
    Palmetto, FL

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  • Filed under: Mexican, Palmetto
  • Headed to Tampa tonight to the Straz Theater to see La Cage aux Folles and stopped at Guadalaja Mexican Restaurant for dinner before the show.  Loren usually goes through two baskets of chips and salsa here.

    For his dinner, he went for the beef fajitas.

    He said the beef was tender and tasty.  He had some leftovers, but since we weren’t heading right home, we didn’t take them.  I went for a beef chimichanga.

    It wasn’t very crispy and I didn’t realize it had pico de gallo inside.  I’m just not a fan of raw onions & cilantro, so the whole flavor profile was a bit off for me.  It’s strange because I ordered this same dish the last time & really liked it, so I’m not sure if they just changed the ingredients or they weren’t as strong the last time.  Total bill with a drink was $28.

    Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant
    4502 W Hillsborough Ave
    Tampa, FL

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  • Filed under: Mexican, Tampa
  • We decided to try Salsa’s Mexican Restaurant for lunch again today.  It’s been a few months, so we were hoping things have gotten better. 

    Loren said the salsa was better than last time.

    He said it still tasted like canned tomato paste as the base, but there were a lot more fresh ingredients in it as well.  It’s amazing what some garlic and cilantro can do for a salsa.

    He ordered the Speedy Gonzalez lunch which is an enchilada and taco.

    Although the taco shell was a bit stale, the rest of it was ok.  He said it was better than the last time we ate here.  I got a beef chimichanga.

    I was actually surprised that it was beef chunks rather than ground beef.  The beef was a little chewy, the shell wasn’t crunchy enough and the tomatoes were overripe.  The flavors were ok though. 

    The biggest issue this place has had from the beginning is that the service is lacking.  They never come back to your table to check on you.   They’ve made a few improvements in the food, but overall, it’s still lacking freshness and attention to detail.  I think they give you large drink glasses so they don’t have to come back to your table for refills.  It’s a quick, inexpensive Mexican restaurant, but there are definitely better places in the area.   Total bill with a drink was $15.

    Salsas Mexican Restaurant
    3970 Tampa Road
    Oldsmar, FL

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  • Filed under: Mexican, Oldsmar