The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.


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We started our drive back to Florida from North Carolina and stopped in Athens, Georgia for lunch at Etienne Brasserie.  This turned out to be one of the best places we ate on vacation.  It’s a little French bistro kind of place with someone who knows what they’re doing in the kitchen.


We started off with the fried calamari.


We eat a lot of calamari, it’s one of our favorite appetizers, and this one did not disappoint.  It was perfectly cooked.  Crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside and not at all chewy.  It was served with a delicious lemon aioli.   Loren got the French dip and I went for the Croque Monsieur.



I actually ordered the Croque Madame which came with a fried egg, but they forgot to put it on.  The waiter realized the mistake and asked if I wanted to send it back, but I figured it was just going to make it super messy and difficult to eat, so I settle on the Monsieur instead.  Both sandwiches were delicious.  Flavorful meats and cheeses.  The only thing I didn’t like was the herb mustard.  It was a little too strong for me.  For dessert, I couldn’t pass up the chocolate mousse.


Yum!  Perfect ratio of mousse to whipped cream and it had a deep, dark rich chocolate flavor.  Perfect ending to a lovely lunch.  Total bill with a drink was $37.

Etienne Brasserie
311 Broad St
Athens, GA

Etienne Brasserie on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: French, GA
  • 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
    Oldsmar, FL
    (813) 855-4575

    Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: American, Oldsmar
  • I’m not big on chain restaurants, but the food at TGI Friday’s is usually pretty good. They also have a killer vanilla bean cheesecake.  For lunch today, though, I settled on a cup of broccoli cheese soup and half of a California Club sandwich.

    Overall, it was a tasty lunch.  The bread was very soft on the sandwich and anything that includes avocado is tops in my book.  The soup was thick & cheesy.  Total bill was $8.

    TGI Friday’s
    11705 W. Hillborough Ave
    Tampa, FL

    T.G.I. Friday's on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: American, Tampa
  • Both Sides

    We were driving up to Holiday this afternoon, so we stopped at the Americana 50’s Diner for lunch.  I always have high hopes when I walk into a diner that it’ll be like all the places Guy Fieri visits on Diner’s, Drive In’s and Dives.  Sadly, the food here didn’t live up to the expectations.

    I went for breakfast and ordered the French Toast, two eggs over easy, and some homefries.

    I really should have taken out my camera again because the French Toast was only toasted on one side.  It was weird.  It was like they flipped it over on the griddle and immediately put it on the plate.  Unfortunately, it also hadn’t been soaked very long in the egg custard as it was rather dry inside as well.  Once it was drenched in syrup, it was ok, but the overall execution of the dish should have been better. 

    The eggs were cooked ok, but the home fries were too thinly cut, very dry and flavorless.  I guess when I envision home fries, I expect them to be mixed with onions at the very least and be at least salt & peppered. 

    Loren went for a pastrami & corned beef club club with Manhattan clam chowder and fries.

    The chowder was pretty good, but definitely needed salt.  He said the sandwich was very dry and also lacked flavor.  I think that’s the downside with some of these local diners; they try to create a menu that won’t offend any palette and end up serving very bland food.  If nothing else, at least the prices were reasonable.  Total bill with a drink was $17.

    Americana 50’s Diner
    1730 Us-19
    Holiday, FL
    (727) 942-7880

    Americana 50's Diner on Urbanspoon


    I actually left the house today because I just couldn’t miss Chocolate Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall.  My friend Cathy and I ate at Grind House before heading over there.  It was empty at noon, but I’m guessing it probably filled up as the football games started later in the afternoon.

    She got a burger and I got the grilled ham and cheese with fries.

    A little overly grilled in places, but still rather tasty.  The bread was thick and crunchy and the ham had a nice saltiness to it.  The fries were nice and crisp too.  Less than $20 for the two of us.

    As for Chocolate Sunday, it was really crowded.  There were some interesting things to try and a few that I definitely wouldn’t want seconds of.  The chocolate avacado mousse didn’t do it for me, neither did the sauerkraut chocolate cake.  The chocolate dipped shrimp had so much cayenne pepper on it that I thought my mouth was on fire.  I can’t remember which restaurant had it. 

    Grind House Bar & Grill
    1500 McMullen Booth Rd
    Clearwater, FL

    Grind House Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon