We were over in Clearwater tonight and ended up at Greektown Grille for dinner. It’s been a while since we’ve been here, but luckily we got here early and it wasn’t too crowded. They started us off with very yummy bread.
This was one of those addictive breads. We had to move the basket away or we weren’t going to eat any of our dinner. Soft and thick and just yummy. We ordered the crab and spinach dip appetizer.
Though neither of us could actually identify any crab in the dip, it was still very good. There weren’t really enough pita chips to finish the dip, but I don’t think there was any way we were going to finish it anyway. Loren ordered the seafood platter.
It came with calamari, flounder and shrimp along with some rice and horta. We had no idea what horta was and it turns out it was boiled greens similar to spinach. The rice was a little on the spicy side and the fish was covered in a lobster cream sauce. I ordered the seafood pasta which had the same lobster cream sauce on it.
My dinner also came with a small Greek salad. The seafood pasta had both shrimp and scallops, but there really weren’t a lot of scallops in it. Some little pieces and maybe one full sized scallop. There was something about the lobster cream sauce that I didn’t really like. I can’t put my finger on what the flavor was, but it just wasn’t vibrant enough. I know that’s a vague description, but there are sauces that sing to me and this one was just flat. Total bill with a drink was $50.
1230 Cleveland St
We didn’t realize there was an art festival going on in Dunedin today, so we had to drive around to find parking before we could get to Café Alfresco. Luckily, they still had some tables available for dinner. Loren decided to try the Cajun seafood pasta tonight.
The dish had mussels, scallops and shrimp in a tangy, spicy sauce. He said it was tasty. I tasted it and it was a bit too spicy for me. I went for the chicken marsala.
Though the marsala sauce had good flavor, the chicken itself was very under seasoned. I rarely add salt to my food, but this had to have some. The pasta was good with the sauce, but the veggies were a bit on the crunchy side. We both ended up with some leftovers. Total bill with a drink was $34.
344 Main St
Tonight’s dinner was at Sirio Ristorante with some co-workers. This was probably the most upscale restaurant I ate at while in Vegas. The food was excellent, but the prices were pretty outrageous.
We started off with an antipasti platter and some bread.
There were several different types of bread and they were all very good. I didn’t eat much off of the antipasti platter. I found the flavors on both the cheeses and meats to be too harsh for my tastes. The guys at the table really enjoyed it though.
I ordered the Cappellacci, a cheese & spinach stuffed pasta.
It was very thick and dense, but overall had some good flavors. Other dishes ordered around the table were the Lobster Risotto, a seafood pasta, and a pork three ways dish.
Everyone seemed very happy with their meals. I tasted the lobster risotto and it was good, but had a really strong flavor to it. I don’t think I’d have been able to eat an entire bowl of it. I didn’t see the final total on the check, but it definitely wasn’t cheap.
3730 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV
We tried the Surf Shack when they first opened and went back again today for lunch. The weather was gorgeous, so we sat out on the patio. They had a good crowd for a Friday lunch and we both tried something different. I opted for the Seafood Stack with a side of mac & cheese.
The Seafood Stack was interesting. I love fried flour tortillas and they added a nice crunch to the mix of shrimp, cod, and veggies inside. The shrimp was a bit overcooked, but otherwise the dish was very tasty. It was served over some rice, but really didn’t need it. It was messy to eat though. The cheese sauce on the mac & cheese was very thin, so it sort of settled on the bottom of the bowl, leaving the macaroni to be a bit dry.
After munching on some chips & salsa, Loren got a Baja chicken burrito with a side salad.
The ranch dressing on the salad had some spice to it. The burrito, on the other hand, was a bit on the bland side. Loren said it was just ok. With a drink, the total bill was $27.
Surf Shack Coastal Kitchen
12217 West Linebaugh Ave
We were looking for something relatively light for dinner, so we drove into Safety Harbor to Crepe-ology. It’s located on 5th Avenue, right off of Main Street. There was a large party in the restaurant, but the waitress told us up front that there would be a wait for our crepes. Loren ordered a salad to tide him over.
The balsalmic dressing was tasty. Everything served here is in disposable containers, paper plates, plastic cups and silverware. It’s a very casual restaurant.
We decided on two crepes and shared them, the seafood crepe and the chicken supreme.
I liked the chicken supreme crepe the best. It has goat cheese in it and the roasted red pepper sauce on top adds a nice flavor. The seafood one was ok, but I thought the shrimp in it were a little overcooked.
But, let’s face it, we’re here for dessert. They had a citrus cheesecake crepe tonight that I just couldn’t resist and we also ordered a carmelized banana crepe.
Trust me, if you like orange, order the citrus crepe. It was divine. The cheesecake filling was still a little cold, but it had such a burst of flavors in it. I asked them to put some chocolate sauce on it because I love chocolate and orange together, but honestly, it didn’t even need it. The carmelized banana one was pretty good, but I found the bananas to be a little too mushy. The homemade caramel sauce was very good though.
With an iced tea, the total bill was $36.
155 5th Ave N
Safety Harbor, FL
We headed out to Tarpon tonight to go back to the Zante Cafe. We needed some awesome food and they didn’t disappoint. The owner seemed a bit frazzled as the restaurant filled up, but they still managed to bring out one delicious course after the next. Their kids tend to the dining room and the youngest was more interested in playing than helping out. But, our drinks stayed filled and they were pretty good at clearing away plates. It’s a very laid back place, so expect to spend about 2 hours here for dinner. Everything is made fresh and well worth the wait.
First out were their homemade rolls.
Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside with a slight hint of garlic, served fresh out of the oven. It’s a good thing they just serve these one at a time, otherwise, I’d fill up on bread without thinking twice about it. Next up was the gumbo.
The flavors are delicate in this gumbo, but you can taste the freshness of all the ingredients. Chicken and sausage in a light, flavorful broth. Again, I could eat so much more of this and be incredibly happy.
We ordered the Crawfish Vol Au Vent for an appetizer.
Crawfish, mushrooms, and onions in a creamy sauce served over heart shaped puffed pastry. I’m guessing the heart shape was because it’s Valentine’s weekend, but regardless it was yummy. There were lots of crawfish and mushrooms and the sauce was lightly spiced.
Loren ordered the seafood fra diablo with a spice level of 2 out of 5.
Crawfish, shrimp, mussels, scallops and veggies in a creamy, spicy sauce over spaghetti. It had a lot of flavor and it all blended well together. Loren would have preferred rice to spaghetti and he’s not a fan of cauliflower, but he still enjoyed the dish.
I ordered the Paneed Tilapia w/ Crawfish and Tasso in Brandy Cream.
The tilapia filet was thick and cooked perfectly. It was flaky and tender with a crisp breading. The crawfish and mushroom brandy cream sauce really complemented the fish well.
At this point, we really were quite full, but I wanted to try the bananas foster.
The owner/chef comes out and flambes it right at the table. It was delicious served over vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. It had a nice carmelization and was a perfect ending to a wonderful meal.
And even better, we had a $25 Restaurant.com coupon, so the bill before tip ended up being $42. Absolutely the best $42 we’ve spent on food so far this year.
Zante Cafe Neo
13 N Safford Ave
Tarpon Springs, FL
When we first walked in to the Portofino Mediterranean Grill in Clearwater, we were mesmerized by the walls in the dining room. They had a textured wave pattern and then sea blue lights shining on the waves. It was a very pleasant and peaceful decor surrounding you.
We chose the Portofino tonight because we had a $25 Restaurant.com coupon. It was fairly early, around 5:30pm on a Sunday when we got there and there weren’t that many people in the restaurant.
You can see a reflection of the walls in the bread photo:
The bread was warm and crispy and served with an herbed olive oil. We ordered some calamari as an appetizer.
You can get it with a mild or spicy marinara sauce and I chose the mild. The calamari was cooked well. It had a nice crunchy coating and was tender inside.
Our salads arrived before we were finished with our appetizer. Since we were at a small table, it made things a bit crowded.
Loren liked the salad, but it didn’t do much for me. It had a balsamic dressing on it that was rather tangy. For his entree, Loren got the grouper d’capri.
It had capers, shallots, and tomatoes in a white wine lemon butter sauce. You could really taste the lemon in the sauce. It was served with potato and veggies. Our waiter didn’t mention that he could have had it with linguine (I just looked at the menu online) when he placed the order, but that’s one of the first things Loren said when he got it is that it would have been better over pasta.
We had to laugh because both the butter and sour cream were solid as a rock. They must be stored in the back of the cooler. I ordered the chicken marsala.
I found the marsala sauce to be really weak. When it comes to marsala, I don’t want subtle. Loren liked it and half of it came home as leftovers since there were two chicken breasts and I only ate one.
As more people came into the restaurant, we found the service at our table begin to dwindle. We sat for quite a while after finishing our entrees before our waiter came back to the table to check on us.
We decided to try the Palermitana for dessert.
It was strawberry gelato with tangerines, bananas, strawberries, a raspberry sauce and whipped cream plus some sprinkled nuts not mentioned in the description. It was tasty. The gelato had a wonderful rich strawberry flavor. I liked the strawberries and bananas, but I didn’t think the tangerines went with the dish. Loren seemed to like them though.
After our $25 coupon, the total bill was $28. Overall, it was a pretty enjoyable meal.
Portofino Mediterranean Grill
18825 US 19 North
After trying three different places for lunch today only to find none of them were open on New Year’s day, we decided to just drive up US 19 and stop wherever there were cars in the parking lot. We ended up at Longhorn in Palm Harbor.
Our last experience here was very good, today’s experience was lacking something. Sometimes, it is just the little things. Loren opened up his silverware to find a rather nasty looking fork. He laid it to the side of the table, but our waitress didn’t notice it when she took our drink order. When she returned, he showed it to her and she apologized, but never brought him back another salad fork. Like I said, sometimes it’s just the little things.
Loren ordered a salad and there was some yummy bread brought to the table.
It was a fairly big salad. The bread was warm and fresh, just the way I like it. He ordered an 8oz sirloin with a baked potato.
He said the steak was good, but the potato didn’t seem very fresh. They definitely know how to cook steaks correctly here. Order it medium and you actually get a medium cooked steak.
I was making an attempt at eating healthy for the new year (like that’s gonna last), so I ordered the grilled trout with a sweet potato.
It was pretty good. Tender and flaky, with a fairly mellow flavor. It had some big chunks of garlic on it. The sweet potato came with cinnamon butter, which was actually butter with cinnamon and sugar just sprinkled on top. I was expecting it to have already been whipped in with the butter. Most of the potato was good, but one end was not. Personally, I wouldn’t have put that potato on a plate.
Overall, it was just an ok experience. Total bill was $29 with a drink.
35645 US Highway 19
Palm Harbor, FL
Went to Boston Cooker for dinner tonight. Hmmm… guess what I was in the mood for? Sure, the yeast rolls are awesome, but it’s the Ipswich clams that keep me coming back for more.
They’re just so yummy. Crunchy on the outside, soft and flavorful on the inside. The batter doesn’t detract from the taste of the whole belly clams. It’s a taste of my childhood in New England.
Loren got the cedar plank salmon special.
It was on a bed of spinach with a lemon sauce on top. He enjoyed it. The fish was cooked just right, light and flavorful.
The only downside to the meal was where we were sitting. We were in the path to the kitchen and everytime someone passed by Loren’s chair, they ended up hitting it.
We tried their chocolate silk pie for dessert.
It was ok. Not the best I’ve had, but it finished off a yummy meal nicely. Total bill was $46.
3705 Tampa Road Unit 6
We were on our way to Tampa to see the musical “9 to 5″ and found a little Peruvian restaurant called Machu Picchu on Hillsborough Ave near Dale Mabry. It’s not a very big restaurant, set up like a diner, but the folks there were very friendly.
This being our first time trying Peruvian food, we asked the waiter what he recommended and he brought us out a mockup of their new menu which included photos of the dishes. He said seafood was the way to go, recommending a dish resembling paella. They also had a goat special that Loren ordered, but found out they had just run out, so he ordered another of the seafood dishes.
We started out with some calamari.
It was a little chewy for my taste. It also had a piece of fried yucca on the plate which was pretty good. Loren ordered the fried fish in a seafood bisque, Pescado a lo macho.
It was tasty. The batter on the fish went nicely with the sauce. It also had calamari, shrimp and mussels. He said he would have liked some veggies instead of all of the other seafood, but overall it was very good. They also gave him a hot sauce that added a little kick. I would definitely order this dish again.
The paella dish I ordered also had shrimp, calamari, octopus and a mussel in it. It was called arroz chaufa de Mariscos.
There was enough on this plate for at least two people. The flavors were very subtle, but everything was cooked perfectly. I ended up taking half of it home.
Total bill was $35. The dishes were very authentic and even as they were trying to close up for the night, more customers kept coming in, which is a wonderful sign in this economy.
3974 W Hillsborough Ave
Had lunch with the boss today at a place I hadn’t been to in a long time, Wahoo’s Waterside Pub in Redington Shores.
If you like fresh fish, this place is fantastic. It is literally a couple hundred feet from a fishing boat dock and fish market, and Jimmy cooks it up right! Located on the intracoastal, the view from the back deck isn’t bad, either.
Today’s fish special was Bar Jack, served as “fingers”. Fritz got them blackened and really enjoyed them. I opted for a bronzed Grouper sandwich, which was awesome, as always.
They’ve changed their menu since I was last there. Used to be a folded photocopied page. Simple but effective. Now, it looks like they’ve streamlined the menu, taking a few things off of it, and gone with a full-color design on glossy paper. Still just one page folded. Still simple, but effective.
Left my camera at home, so no photos. Go for the fish. You can’t go wrong with whatever is on special.
Wahoo’s Waterside Pub
17801 Gulf Blvd
Redington Shores, FL 33708
Went to Miami to run the “12 Hours of Miami” race at Homestead International Raceway this weekend. On the way there from Tampa, we had brunch at a Cracker Barrel. It was good, but it’s Cracker Barrel… you either like Cracker Barrel or you don’t, but I ain’t blogging about it! We also ate at the same Cracker Barrel again on the way home Sunday, it was good then, too. Saturday, we had an early breakfast at Denny’s (conveniently next door to our hotel, which was curiously not a “La Quinta”, which I was sure was Spanish for “next to Denny’s”), and it was pretty good… it’s about the only thing that Denny’s does well. Somebody made a Wendy’s run for chicken sandwiches during the race… any food is awesome after 2 hours behind the wheel of a race car, and that was no exception. And late, late after the race Saturday night, we ate dinner at Denny’s… which was marginal at best, but what else are you gonna do when you’re hungry at 11pm?
Ah, but there was one meal that stood out! Friday night, we had time to kill, it was early, and we were hungry. We made our way to a seafood joint down the street from the hotel after searching for some Puerto Rican place that apparently burned down and was nowhere to be found. The place was a tad fancier than we were dressed for, but it’s Florida, and we figured we probably wouldn’t be the only t-shirt wearing racers to stroll in there this evening. (and we weren’t)
The menu was loaded with awesome-sounding seafood dishes. Lots of fresh fish, some steaks, just all-around good stuff. But, it was all a little pricey. Not much under about $16-18. But, then the waitress reminded us of their $9.99 specials. While a nice bronzed Mahi sounded really good… for about half the price, steak and shrimp sounded better. Two of us went with that. Everyone else got seafood dishes.
Of course, the two of us who did the $9.99 steak special also bit on the conch chowder without realizing that it was a $7 bowl of soup! So, we ended up spending $17 on dinner, anyway. But, let’s back up a little. First, there was bread…
It was really good bread! A light crunchy crust on the outside, soft, warm and delicious on the inside. As you probably know from reading this blog, if *I* bother to comment on the bread, it’s GOOD bread. Then our conch chowder showed up in these neat little pewter pots that kept it piping hot. We both agreed that we could have just eaten the soup and some bread and been good for the night. It was a good-sized bowl of soup and very hearty.
The entrees came without too much of a wait. Seeing the $9.99 special next to the other entrees made it clear what the difference was. Our steak and shrimp came with fries rather than a choice of two fresh sides, and didn’t have that “gourmet” look about it. I should have passed the camera around the table to get photos of the other dishes, as they all looked very good. The specials weren’t bad, but to be fair, they’re not what I would judge this restaurant on.
The shrimp were well-cooked, good crunchy batter and with a decent sauce. The fries were fries. Absolutely nothing special about those fries. The steak was surprisingly good, even though they overshot “medium” and went right into “medium well”. The beef was tender and juicy, can’t complain for the price.
I just looked this place up on Urban Spoon to find some weak reviews and a low “like” percentage. All I can say is, if you go here, plan on spending $20-25 per entree. You can get cheap here, but you get what you pay for. Spend the money and you won’t be disappointed!
11 SE 1st Ave
On our way home from the track today, Jeff and I stopped in Ocala for dinner. Jeff popped up Urban Spoon and picked out a well-ranked place in the appropriate price range, and off we went. I used to live very near Ocala when I was younger (in the early 80′s!), imagine my surprise to see that Ocala now has an “old town” district with a bunch of nice restaurants! After a little circling and some odd right-turn-from-the-left-lane action from Jeff, we found a place to park and we walked across the street to this place called Harry’s Seafood.
Just as we were crossing the street, at least 3 parties of 4-6 people walked in the door right ahead of us! But, it was 5:30, so they weren’t packed yet, and we didn’t have to wait for our table for two. A quick look at the menu revealed that Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grill has the tagline of “A New Orleans Style Restaurant”. Cool!
We figured out why the crowd was rolling in at 5:30, too. They have a 4-6pm “early bird” menu (they call it something else, but that’s what it is) with some very reasonable prices on it!
So, we ordered some typical cajun fare with not a lot of great expectations, this being Ocala and all. Our waiter was quick with our drinks and did a good job of keeping them topped up and taking care of us in general. While we were waiting for our entrees, we got bread. Now, I’m not a huge bread fan. I often don’t even bother tasting it, but if it’s good and/or has something good to dip it in, I’ll enjoy it. This bread was AWESOME! Very fresh, just a little crispy on the outside, and oh-so-tasty with a spread of their delicious herbed butter. We had to get a second loaf, it was so good!
Our entrees arrived VERY quickly. Jeff’s comment was “did I order yet?” But, there it was. His steaming plate of Crawfish Etouffe, which looked and smelled great! He commented on it being a bit spicy… of course he dumped some of the Harry’s-branded hot sauce that was on the table on there, anyway. I ordered the Jambalaya, which had ample portions of shrimp, smoked sausage and chicken and was pretty darned tasty, if I do say so myself! Not “hot”, but definitely spicy. We both ordered off of the “early” menu, which is smaller portions than what’s on the regular menu, and neither of us could imagine needing more food than we got. I even boxed up about 1/3 of mine to take home. (could have eaten it… just wanted to enjoy it later)
I guess Jeff picked up from Urban Spoon that this place is supposed to have an incredible mud pie, and he couldn’t live without trying it. It’s like a coffee-flavored ice cream cake with a crisp layer of chocolate on top and who knows what else. I was kinda turned off by the coffee (not a fan) and wasn’t going to try it. But, it was HUGE, and Jeff didn’t get too far past half-way with it. Being ice cream, he couldn’t take it home… so, I tried a bite. To my pleasant surprise, the coffee flavor was very mild and with the giant mound of whipped cream on the side… well, let’s just say there wasn’t a lot left on the plate!
We got out of there for about $35 with extremely happy tastebuds and full bellies. Too bad it’s so far away, I’d go back here often!
Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grill
24 SE 1st Ave
We had originally planned to hike down to Waipio Valley, but after several other hikes on the island we realized that was way too ambitious for us. Instead we decided to take a horseback riding tour through the valley which meant we got to ride in a 4WD van both up & down the steep incline road to get there.
On the way to Waipio, we stopped at Tex Drive In for lunch and some malasadas. I’d heard this was THE place to get the Portuguese doughnuts.
We both got a cheeseburger and fries for lunch.
The burgers had a nice flavor and were served on Hawaiian rolls. They were really tasty. The fries were cooked really well too.
Then came the malasadas.
We got a Bavarian Cream, chocolate, pineapple, and raspberry filled one. They were good, but I thought they were really doughy. I was a little disappointed because my expectations had been really high. Total lunch with the malasadas was $20.
Speaking of malasadas, we stopped at Baker Tom’s later in the week to try his and I gotta say, it was a much better doughnut. He talked our ear off when we stopped by and told us all about how he still uses butter and buttermilk and makes them so authentic that he’s had some Portuguese grandmothers come buy from him instead of making them at home.
It was a completely different consistency, texture and taste than the ones at Tex Drive In. We both preferred Tom’s, especially since he had a lilikoi filled one. We also got an apple, blackberry, and a strawberry cheesecake one.
Quick stop at the Waipio valley overlook, then off for our horseback ride.
By the time we finished our ride through Waipio and then the visitor center at Mauna Kea, we were ready to head back to Hilo for some sushi at Ocean Sushi Deli.
The sushi was really good and the rolls were huge. We got some salmon and hamachi as well as a Merrie Monach roll (shrimp tempura, cucumber and unagi), a Big Island roll (ahi, avocado, and macademia nuts), a Sunset Roll (ahi, hamachi, avacado, and tobikko, a Hilo roll (baked mahi, imitation crab, and avocado) and a Rainbow roll (imitation crab, cucumber, ahi, salmon, and avocado).
My least favorite was the Hilo roll. I didn’t care for the baked mahi. The Big Island roll was very interesting. I’d never had sushi with nuts in it before. And though I’m not a fan of nuts in general, the macademia nuts were actually pretty good in it. Prices were really good and they had a lot of items on the menu. For $38, we were plenty happy with our choice of sushi restaurants.
Tuesday was our day to drive around the island. First stop was the Punalu’u black sand beach to check out the sea turtles.
This was one of my favorites stops on our trip. We saw quite a few sea turtles in the water and then this one was coming ashore as we were leaving.
We stopped at the Hana Hou Restaurant for brunch.
By this point in our trip, we realized that the amount of food served everywhere we’ve been is way more than we can eat, so we decided to split a pork loco moco with a side of avocado.
This was definitely a winner in the loco moco category. The eggs and rice were cooked perfectly and the pork and gravy were both delicious.
As you walk in the door at Hana Hou, be sure to check out the dessert case.
There it was. My new favorite dessert, lilikoi pie. I ate half of it before remembering to take a picture.
Awesome flavor, fresh whipped cream, and a nice crust. I was in heaven. I really liked this restaurant. With a couple of drinks, the total bill was $22. If you’re visiting the south end of the island, this is definitely a great place to stop.
We couldn’t drive down to Southpoint due to some road construction, so we headed up the west coast and stopped at some beach parks and the Place of Refuge. We got into Kona around 4:30pm looking for a place to eat. Unfortunately, the first place we tried didn’t open until 5pm, so we headed over to the Manago Hotel. They didn’t open until 5pm either, but we figured we’d wait based on the review we read.
This was by far the most disappointing meal we ate on the island. They have a very limited menu which is on the wall in the dining room. Then they bring you out 4 side dishes before your meal.
Rice, a spaghetti/potato salad, mixed veggies (which tasted like frozen veggies), and black eyed peas which were served cold and tasted like they’d been cooked in sugar. At this point, I think we both realized we had made a mistake in dinner choices.
I forgot to even take photos of our entrees. I ordered the ono and Loren got the ahi. Both were cooked in some sort of lemon garlic sauce and the portions were small. The ono and ahi were both overcooked. At most, ahi should be seared, but this was cooked through and through. Blech! I have a feeling no matter what you ordered, it was going to be prepared the same way. It was $25 for dinner and this was the night we ended up stopping back at Huli Sue’s BBQ because we needed something else to eat. Supposedly, Manago is famous for their pork chops, but I know I wouldn’t go back to find out.
When you live in Pinellas County, Spring Break takes on a whole new meaning. One of extremely dense and slow traffic and out-of-state morons who have no understanding of the term “courtesy”. Today’s high-powered lunch meeting takes us to the Sloppy Pelican in St Pete Beach, Florida… which, for me, meant a 22.5 mile journey across the county at the peak of Spring Break season. Joy.
Now, I didn’t think to take any pictures of the food today. But, I did get a shot from the upper deck while I was waiting for the boss to show up. Would you just look at that view! Almost worth over an hour of driving in Spring Break traffic to get to even if the food wasn’t good… and the food IS good.
I had a nice lightly blackened Mahi Mahi sandwich. About $8 with chips, pretty typical for that kind of sandwich. Did I mention the view?
677 75th Avenue
St. Pete Beach, FL 33706
I grew up in New England and there are some foods that immediately bring back the flavors I grew up on. The Boston Cooker in Oldsmar does it best with one simple dish, fried Ipswich clams with bellies. But, let’s not start there, first there’s the yeast rolls.
As soon as you sit down, someone comes to your table with a pan of fresh out of the oven yeast rolls. They’re hot and light and so delicious. And they keep coming by your table to offer you more. I’d love to say I stopped at one, or even two, but I finally made myself stop at three because otherwise I’d never eat my dinner.
Then there’s the chowda. (yes, that’s how you say it)
Thick, rich creamy clam chowder. It has great flavor and we all but licked the bowl clean. Next up, the salad.
The salad is served family style and they’ll bring you more if you want it. It’s got a light, creamy dressing on it. Not quite ranch, not quite Ceasar, but very good.
Ok, at this point, we’re already pretty full, and then come the entrees. Loren got the Mahi special.
It had a dijon, horseradish, and breadcrumb coating and he got garlic mashed potatoes for his side dish. He said the fish was really flaky and tender.
I ordered what I always order when I come here. The Ipswich clam dinner (with bellies) and steamed red potatoes.
Just one bite of these and I’m back in New England. There aren’t that many places that serve clams with bellies and it’s a taste straight out of my childhood. Loren wanted to take pictures of the silly, happy face I kept making every time I bit into one.
Everytime we go to the Boston Cooker, I always wonder why we don’t go back more often. We’ve always gotten great food there and it’s not that expensive. Two entrees with sides, soup, salad, rolls and a drink for $42. Plus a stroll down memory lane of the flavors I grew up on.
Even the artwork reminds me of home.
3705 Tampa Road Unit 6
On our quest to try new places, we set out to the Green Springs Bistro in Safety Harbor for dinner tonight.
It’s an eclectic little restaurant. Lots of bright colors and artwork in the three dining rooms and outside. We wanted a quiet part of the restaurant and were seated on the back porch. The restaurant is in a 1930′s house. The live music was in the dining room in front of ours. It was very soothing and we knew every song.
Loren ordered an iced tea which turned out to be a raspberry blend that he really liked. He normally doesn’t like fruity teas, but he was really impressed with this one. We were served a complimentary taste of their potato soup. It was tasty.
Because we just can’t resist appetizers, we ordered the Saganaki, an oven-roasted Greek Kefalograviera cheese, bathed in olive oil and fresh-squeezed lemon.
It had a strong parmesean cheese taste to it. I don’t think I’d order it again, but it was good with the bread. The salad had a poppy seed dressing on it that was good, though the onions were really strong.
For my entree, I ordered the Roasted Duck with a blackberry orange sauce. It came with mashed red potatoes and roasted veggies.
The duck was tender, but it had the skin still on and it was just the wrong texture. The same with the blackberry orange sauce, great flavor, bad texture. I kept getting blackberry seeds between my teeth. The mashed potatoes were really good. The roasted veggies were peas and sweet potatoes. I thought it was odd to serve a roasted potato with mashed potatoes, but I liked them nonetheless.
Loren ordered the special, a swordfish in a Beurre blanc sauce with the same mashed potatoes and roasted veggies as mine.
He really enjoyed the swordfish. He joked about having leftovers, but there wasn’t anything left on his plate except a bite or two of mashed potatoes.
We were both pretty full by this point, but I kept hearing the waitress describe the desserts at other tables. All I had to hear were the words “7 Layer Dark Chocolate Cake” and I was sold.
At first glance, and even in the photo, the cake doesn’t look all that appealing. My first thought was that it was going to be really dry. Boy, was I wrong. It was one of the moistest, freshest cakes I’ve ever tasted. One bite and I tried to steal the plate away from Loren. It had a decadent thick chocolate frosting on top and rich, dark chocolate mousse between 7 layers of cake. Even though we felt like we couldn’t eat another bite, we managed to finish the entire thing. I’d go back for the cake alone.
The only downside was the bill. This was not a cheap dinner. $72 for the two of us. We’re not likely to go back often, but this is definitely a place I’d recommend if you want the occasional special night out.
Green Springs Bistro
156 Fourth Ave North
Safety Harbor, FL
After a day of geocaching in Dunedin, Ozona, and Palm Harbor, we headed over to the Thirsty Marlin for dinner.
We’ve been to the Thirsty Marlin a few times. This was the first time I noticed sushi on the menu.
I ordered a Mexican roll which is fried shrimp, avacado, and mayo. I was very impressed. The shrimp was cooked perfectly, nice and crunchy, the avacado was very fresh and the rice had great flavor to it. I should have just ordered another one for my dinner.
Instead, I ordered the ahi tuna and Loren got the Mahi Mahi. Don’t get me wrong, I like my tuna rare, but I thought this one could have been seared just a bit longer. It was covered in sesame seeds and the whole thing was cold. I got Miss Bliss potato salad and Smugglers sweet potatoes for my side dishes.
I ended up sending the potato salad back. I took one bite and realized it was full of raw onions. I don’t like raw onions in anything, so I got another order of the sweet potato casserole. At first, I really liked it. It was sweet with brown sugar and marshmallows all melted on top, but as I got further into it, it had a bitter flavor to it, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. When I scooped the second order into our to-go box, there were really dark parts of it that turned out to be mollasses. Ruined the entire thing for me. All that awesome sweetness, turned bitter because it wasn’t mixed well.
Loren enjoyed his mahi, baked potato and salad. I should have just stuck with the sushi. Our total bill was around $50 and there’s plenty of leftovers for tomorrow.
As we were leaving, there were cop cars out where we parked asking if we had locked our car because several cars had just been broken into. Luckily, there wasn’t anything in ours to steal, but I’d suggest locking your car if you’re eating there at night.
1023 Florida Ave
Palm Harbor, FL
What to do when you need to discuss a potential $100,000 project? Have a cajun lunch!
Went to one of the boss’ favorite lunch dives today, the Cajun Cafe in Pinellas Park. Situated right on the waters of Cross Bayou right next to the Wagon Wheel flea market, it’s the only real Cajun restaurant that I know of in Pinellas county. Their food is very authentic and quite good. Most of it is also spicy! There isn’t much on the menu that isn’t at least somewhat hot. Cathy doesn’t do spicy food, and she absolutely loves their Shrimp Étouffée… but won’t touch anything else on the menu other than maybe the Gumbo because she thinks it’s too spicy.
We started off with a basket of their Cajun Popcorn (spicy batter-fried crawfish), which is worth going there for by itself.
I usually go for the Chicken Étouffée, same sauce as Cathy’s Shrimp Étouffée, just with chicken. A little less expensive and just as good. (in fact, sometimes I just get their “Mama Lynn’s supper”, which is the plain sauce over rice!) That’s what I had today, but sadly, for the first time ever, I had an iffy meal. The chicken tasted funny, and I don’t like taking chances with chicken. So, I just ate around it and enjoyed the sauce and rice! It was more than I needed to eat for lunch, anyway. When our waiter came around, I told him the chicken was a little off, he took it back to the kitchen and took my entree off of our bill. Even offered to bring me something else. Great service, as always.
Fritz had his usual Aligator Sauce Piquant, which comes with a written warning on the menu, and they are required to caution you when you order it to be sure you understand that it’s HOT. No complaints from Fritz, but I don’t even like my food to get too close to that dish! Ash had a bowl of Jambalaya, which is REALLY good stuff, just a little spicier than what I wanted today.
Cajun Cafe on the Bayou
8101 Park Blvd
Pinellas Park, FL
We braved the cold a second night in a row in search of food. A new restaurant, Kuzina Mediterranean Grill & Bar, opened up recently where Winners used to be, so we headed out to Oldsmar to check it out.
The interior was cozy. The naked trees were an interesting design. They brought bread and hummus to the table to start with. Loren liked the hummus, said it was very garlicy. I liked the bread, though it would have been better if it had been warmed.
Because we just can’t say no to appetizers, we ordered the calamari. It was very good and the sundried tomato sauce that came with it was excellent.
For dinner, I ordered the Wild Mushroom Rissoto and Loren got the Salmon Farfale. I was disappointed in the rissoto. All I could taste was parmesean cheese. It was completely overwhelming. The cheese even began to solidify on my spoon, it was so thick. Loren enjoyed his salmon pasta dish and I took his leftovers to eat tomorrow. I’d probably order his dish again, but I’ll pass on the rissoto.
Since I didn’t eat all my dinner (yeah, I’m using that as an excuse), we ordered dessert. Let’s face it, I’m not passing up a chocolate dessert. It was listed on the menu as “Molten Chocklate Lava Cake”. I’m not real sure what “chocklate” is, but I figured I’d take a chance anyway.
Because they make the dessert to order, it took about 15 minutes to get to the table. They should probably let you know that ahead of time so you can order it early. Though it was an ooey, gooey chocolate dessert, it really didn’t have the deep dark chocolate flavor that I crave. The cake was really bland and the interior “lava” didn’t have a strong chocolate taste either. There was a darker chocolate sauce on the outside that was good. It could have used some whipped cream or ice cream on the side to make it sweeter. Don’t get me wrong, we ate the entire thing, but I probably won’t order it again.
The service at the restaurant seemed very inexperienced. Granted they just opened, but our drinks went unfilled at times and when we sat down, our table was set for four and even though there were only two of us, the waitress never took the other settings away.
We probably will go back again and try some other dishes. Appetizer, two dinners, dessert, and an iced tea ran us $46.
Kuzina Mediterranean Grill & Bar
3980 Tampa Road