The weather’s finally beginning to cool down here, so we went over to Southern Fresh and had a very pleasant dinner out on the porch. They had a guitar player on the patio which completed the lovely atmosphere. Loren had to start off with the BLT soup.
How a soup can taste like a sandwich is beyond me, but this one does it. The broth has a wonderful flavor from the tomato and bacon and you get the crisp crunch of lettuce in each bite. It’s a tasty little soup. For his entree, Loren got the roasted pork with mashed potatoes and greens.
The pork was cooked perfectly. It had a nice smokey flavor and was tender and juicy. I had to steal a couple of bites. I went for their famous fried chicken with roasted veggies and mashed potatoes.
Normally, it’s two pieces of chicken, but the waiter said because the pieces were small, they were serving two thighs and a leg for the dark meat portion tonight. The chicken is perfectly seasoned and cooked. It’s got a nice crunchy exterior and very juicy inside. Some of the best chicken in the area. The roasted veggies and potatoes were good too. We both cleaned our plates, so that meant we could have dessert, right?? Tonight, they had just finished making a peach crisp.
I had mixed feelings about this dessert. On one hand, it was quite delicious. The peaches and crumb base were excellent. The only part that didn’t work for me was the candied lemon peel on top. Some bites were ok, but others were way too bitter. Overall, though, this was a great meal for $39.
122 3rd Ave N
Safety Harbor, FL
Loren was craving Chinese food tonight, so off to Big Bok Choy we went. The table we were sitting at was kinda dark, so my photos are a bit on the blurry side. But that didn’t change the tastiness of the food. I’m still on my fried dumpling kick, so we had to get some for an appetizer.
Yum, yum, yum. The filling was very flavorful and there were actually more than we could eat if we wanted to be able to finish our entrees. The leftovers made for a great snack the next day. We didn’t stray from our normal dinner order, there are just some things that are so good, it’s hard to pass up when we come back here. First some wonton soup, then the hunan chicken for Loren and the honey garlic chicken for me.
The hot peppers in Loren’s dish were bigger than usual, which was probably a good thing so he could pick them out of the dish. Even pulling them out, he was still sniffling a little from the heat. But, he loves how they enhance the flavor of the dish. My chicken was tender and the sauce is sweet, but not overly so. It has a tanginess that keeps me coming back for more. Total bill with a drink was $45.
Big Bok Choy Bistro
3730 Tampa Road #6
We decided on Indian food for dinner tonight and headed over to Desi Tadka in Oldsmar. Loren got some Mulligatawny soup and we split an order of keema samosas.
The soup had a nice flavor and wasn’t overly spicy. You could really taste the lentils in it. The samosa had a nice crunch and the filling was flavorful. We didn’t stray far from our comfort zone for our entrees. I get what I always get, the butter chicken and Loren got the Chicken do Pyaza.
And the meal wouldn’t be complete without some garlic naan. My dish was spiced perfectly, meaning very mild. Loren’s was a bit spicier than he had anticipated. The different Indian restaurants we go to are very different in their interpretation of medium spicy. We both had some leftovers tonight. It’s such a hard balance deciding whether or not to finish what’s in front of you because it’s so tasty or extend the tastiness and bring some home. The only issue we had was that the service was really slow. Total bill with a drink was $45.
Desi Tadka Indian Cuisine
3780 Tampa Road
We’d already eaten at two new places for us this weekend, so I decided to try for a third. We ate dinner at La Bella Eva over in Clearwater. It’s a small Italian pizza place in strip mall on Belcher. It was nice and toasty inside which was perfect on this rather chilly evening. We decided to try the potato soup.
My first bite was very flavorful, but cold. We had to send it back to the kitchen to get heated up. After that, though, things went much better. The soup was really good. Thick & rich with a wonderful flavor. Loren kept trying to slide it closer to his side of the table. The bread was crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. You know it’s good when Loren reaches for more before I get a chance to. We also got some calamari.
The calamari was a little chewy and needed some salt, but otherwise pretty good. You can get a medium or spicy sauce to go with it and we chose the medium. It wasn’t really spicy, but definitely had some red pepper in it. At this point, we both realized we had already ordered too much food, and then the entrees came. Loren got the linguine with meatballs.
He liked it. It was a rich sauce. I though it tasted like there was wine in it that hadn’t been fully cooked off. I got the eggplant rollatini.
It was like lava when it came to the table. The eggplant was cooked very well. It still had some texture to it and the cheese and sauce were tasty. Too many places overcook the eggplant to mush, but this was a really good dish. We both had leftovers and decided to split a Manhattan truffle for dessert.
Vanilla and chocolate ice cream covering a cherry & almond center and completely enrobed in dark chocolate. It was delicious. They had several different varieties of these truffles and I think we may have to go back just to try some of the other ones. Total bill with a drink was $38.
La Bella Eva
1469 S. Belcher Rd
Always on the lookout for new places to eat, we ended up at Southern Fresh in downtown Safety Harbor for dinner tonight. They’re in the building across from the post office that used to house Brady’s BBQ, then Lulu’s. It’s a small space inside, but way too cold to eat outside tonight, though their patio area is very nice with a fire pit out front. The menu isn’t very big, though everything we tried was pretty tasty.
Loren started out with the BLT soup.
His first reaction was that it was a soup that tasted like a sandwich. He was really surprised and pleased with the taste. The combination of tomato, bacon, shallots, and romaine was completely reminiscent of a BLT sandwich. He’d definitely order it again. Everything is made fresh here, so there was a bit of a wait for our entrees. Loren got the salmon salad.
The salmon was cooked well and he liked the capers in the salad which added a unique little salty twist to the dish. He said it all mixed well with the candied lemon zest on top. I went for the fried chicken, mashed potatoes and roasted veggies.
The chicken was perfectly cooked. Nice & crispy on the outside and moist and delicious inside. My only criticism is that it could have used more seasoning. I found it to be just a little on the bland side. The mashed potatoes were peppery and could have really used some gravy. The veggies were a mix of carrots, brussel sprouts, onions, and zucchini. They had two desserts available tonight, so we got one of each.
The strawberry shortcake was on a sponge cake and had a fresh, not-too-sweet strawberry sauce on it. Loren scarfed the entire thing. I happily enjoyed my banana pudding. Overall, it was a very enjoyable meal. Total bill with a drink was $43.
122 3rd Ave N
Safety Harbor, FL
Pacific Thai in Oldsmar has become one of our go-to places for a quiet, delicious meal. The food here is always fresh and quick and we both always leave with happy taste buds. I’m still on my dumpling kick, so we had to start off with some of them as well as some soup.
The dumplings are flavorful and just yummy. It was a chilly night tonight, so I went for some won ton soup and Loren got the chicken & rice soup. I did find the soup in need of salt, but otherwise it warmed me up very nicely. Loren decided on the nam sod tonight.
It’s a salad with pork, veggies, and nuts and he really likes it. I decided to try the broccoli with oyster sauce with chicken.
The veggies were cooked perfectly and the sauce had a nice flavor to it. It came with broccoli, carrots and mushrooms and Loren kept stealing mushrooms off my plate. I even had some leftovers. Total bill with a drink was $37.
Pacific Thai Cuisine
4058 Tampa Road
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
I’m on vacation all week and we’ve been craving cheeseburgers, so headed over to Athens in downtown Safety Harbor.
A mushroom cheeseburger with fries for me and a bacon cheeseburger with a side of chicken noodle soup for Loren.
He really liked the soup and we both devoured the burgers. They’re just fresh, simple, inexpensive, and tasty. Total bill with a drink was $16.
226 Main St
Safety Harbor, FL
I’m on vacation this week and we were heading to an 11:30am movie so decided to grab some brunch at Cracker Barrel. I say brunch because Loren’s not much of a breakfast eater. He got a chicken BLT and some soup, while I went for pancakes, eggs, and hashbrowns.
He said the sandwich was ok, not a lot of seasoning on it. His soup went missing and he was half way finished with his meal before our waitress came back & we could tell her.
My over-easy eggs were perfect and they make a darn good pancake here, especially with the warmed up syrup. I don’t know how anyone could get through a stack of pancakes with just one little bottle of their syrup though. I barely manage it with two. Total bill with a drink was $21.
13833 West Hillsborough Avenue
After another long day hiking, we ended up at Hell’s Backbone Grill in Boulder, UT for dinner. It’s a cute little restaurant and we had high hopes for an amazing dinner. Sadly, that didn’t happen. We both ordered soup, Loren got the black bean and I got the corn chowder.
The thing they boast most about here are the fresh vegetables grown in their own garden. I really enjoyed my corn chowder. It was creamy and had a nice flavor to it. Loren wasn’t quite as enthused about his. He thought it tasted more like a chili. The bread was very good and came with a basil butter.
The entrees took quite a while to come out of the kitchen. We both ordered the specials of the night. Loren got the prime rib and I got the filet.
Talk about appearances being deceiving. As beautiful and appetizing as this plate looked, the prime rib was stone cold. The vegetables were a mix of warm and cold and we’re still not sure if that was on purpose or not. The carrots were so hard that we could barely cut them with a knife.
I ordered my filet medium, but it was closer to a medium rare. The main issue I had with it though was the sauce that was on top of it. It was horribly spicy. Loren said it tasted like jalepeno, but I don’t what it was, I just had to cut off the top part and put it on Loren’s plate. The mashed potatoes were supposed to be some sort of lemony potatoes, but I couldn’t taste even a hint of lemon in them. Overall, it was just so disappointing and even more so when we got the $99 bill.
Hell’s Backbone Grill
N0 20 North Hwy 12
We drove into New Port Richey today to have lunch at Caposey’s. The place was packed and we ended up waiting a while for a table, but the whole time, everyone in there was very friendly. We even had another customer ask us if we wanted to share his table. This is one of those locals places where they know everyone’s name and what they’re ordering.
Loren decided to try their salad, soup, and 1/2 sandwich combo.
He got the chicken salad sandwich and said it was pretty good, just needed a bit of salt. Same with soup, great flavor, just a little underseasoned for his taste. I ordered the cheeseburger and fries.
It was a tasty little burger. I also couldn’t pass up dessert. I ordered the brownie & the waitress asked if I wanted it heated…well, of course, and would I like whipped cream… most definitely.
Yummy, yummy, yummy, though I would have preferred real whipped cream with it. Heating it up really made the difference since it got all warm and gooey. Good stuff and the best part was the whole thing was $17 with a drink. I really do love little restaurants like this. The customers come first and they put out simple, tasty food for great prices.
Caposey’s Whole Works Restaurant
5250 Green Key Rd
New Port Richey,FL
We decided to give Bella Kouzina another try, but unfortunately, this visit wasn’t any better than the last. It started with the fried calamari.
We order calamari almost every place that has it on the menu, so I think I’m a pretty good judge of how it should taste. This was just beyond chewy and had no flavor whatsoever. When the waitress stopped by and asked how it was, I told her it was chewy. She looked at me and said, “But, it’s calamari.” I’m guessing she’s just never had calamari cooked the right way before. She took it back to the kitchen and we heard someone say “drop another order of calamari”. Since nothing else was said as to cooking it differently, we ended up sending the second batch back as well & they took it off our check. The waitress said they must have just gotten a bad shipment. Personally, we both thought they just didn’t have the oil at the right temperature, so it was getting overcooked. But, on to the soups.
Loren got the clam chowder and I got the pasta fagioli. His had a decent flavor, but it wasn’t thick and creamy. My first bite tasted like baked beans and each subsequent bite had sort of a metallic taste when it hit my tongue. Loren said he could taste what I was tasting as well. The bread, however, was the highlight of the meal for me.
Loren ordered the salmon Cleopatra which had artichokes, celery and mushrooms in a white wine lemon sauce.
He said it was ok. At first, he didn’t like the sauce on it. I tasted it and thought it just tasted like olive oil with a little bit of lemon in it. His dish also came with pasta. He said it was overcooked and the sauce wasn’t great. I decided to try the pastitsio.
Again, this is a dish I order at most Greek restaurants, so I expect certain flavors. This one didn’t deliver. Instead of being cooked as one large dish and portioned out, it looks like an individual serving was made. The pasta wasn’t drained properly, so there was water in the bottom of the bowl. The meat filling had no flavor and the pasta sauce was tart. It hadn’t cooked anywhere near long enough to develop any decent flavors. This was a pretty disappointing meal for $29.
3101 SR 580
Safety Harbor, FL
We drove over to Nana’s in Tarpon Springs for lunch today. They’re only open until 2pm and the place was packed when we got there. We split a bowl of seafood chowder.
Yum! Thick and rich with some very nice flavors. We both decided to get sandwiches, though we should have really just split one. Loren got a BLT and I got the chicken salad melt.
Both were served on grilled sourdough bread, which I love. Lots of bacon on his BLT to satisfy his craving. My melt had grilled onions on it, but I found them not grilled quite enough for my taste. I wanted them a lot softer and more carmelized. Loren thought it was perfect just the way it was though. I also got a side of Nana’s home fries with their hickory mayo to dip them in. We were both stuffed and ended up bringing home half of each sandwich. Everything is just so fresh and flavorful here. It’s a great homestyle restaurant. Total bill was $22.
857 E Klosterman Rd
Tarpon Springs, FL
Sometimes the simplest dishes can be the tastiest. We went to Nana’s Restaurant in Tarpon Springs for brunch and Loren was just as happy as could be with his BLT sandwich and soup.
The sandwich just made him happy. Crispy bacon, lightly toasted bread, mayo, crunchy lettuce and tomato. So simple, yet so tasty. Plus he really likes their black bean soup too. I went for a Country Scramble.
This was one heavy dish. Eggs, potatoes, cheese, sausage gravy, biscuit and it also came with bacon that I got on the side. There was way too much of it for me to finish. It was good, but one note texture-wise. Total bill with a drink was $21.
857 E Klosterman Rd
Tarpon Springs, FL
Went up to Tarpon Springs back to Nana’s Restaurant for lunch today. It was pretty crowded, but luckily we didn’t have to wait for a table. We were there for lunch, but I wasn’t going to pass up the cup of danish they dropped off.
They were a sweet little snack while we waited for our food. Loren started off with a bowl of black bean soup & then we split a Danny Burger.
He really enjoyed the soup. It had a lot of good flavors going on. The Danny burger has onions, mushrooms, and a burgandy wine sauce on it & it was tasty. Extremely messy to eat, but tasty nonetheless. The homefries weren’t as good as I remembered from the last time, but they hit the spot with some honey mustard to dip them in. Total bill with a drink was $15.
857 E Klosterman Rd
Tarpon Springs, FL
Leo’s Italian Grill opened up 3 weeks ago in Palm Harbor so that was our destination for lunch today. It’s a huge space with a patio, banquet room, and large bar area. We were seated in a booth that seemed rather awkward to me. The table was too long for us to sit opposite each other, so we sat in the middle & looked out at the other diners in the restaurant. The experience didn’t get off to a good start when the waitress brought Loren sweet tea instead of unsweetened and just went downhill from there.
Both our entrees came with soup or salad. Loren chose the wedding soup & I got the pasta fagioli.
Both were desperately underseasoned. A little salt can go a long way. This was the theme of the meal though, it was all very bland. I certainly prefer non-chain restaurants, but I compared everything I ate to that at Olive Garden and the chain definitely wins out this time. The bread sticks were really tough and thick.
Even the dipping oil was lackluster. I also noticed a definite lack of consistency in how the waitresses handled their tables. When another waitress brought out the bread & oil, she explained what was in it. When another table said the bread was hard, she brought them out a different basket. When ours went to clear some plates, she asked if she could take the bread basket & I said yes because it was hard. Her answer was oh, well, sometimes they just come out that way.
We tried the calamari.
It had a very thick coating of batter on it, so they were very crunchy and also in need of some seasoning. The marinara sauce had an undercooked taste to it. It was almost a metallic taste from the tomatoes not being allowed to simmer long enough.
For his entree, Loren got the chicken piccata.
Now, this is a dish he gets at a lot of restaurants and the key flavor you expect to taste is lemon. It was non-existent in this dish. In fact, the sauce tasted like eggs & butter. He did say the chicken was very tender though. I went for the eggplant rollatini.
I’m not sure how to describe the taste on this. It had a lot of mozzarella which I guess ended up being the predominate flavor. The eggplant was very mushy and the ricotta also tasted like eggs. There just weren’t any Italian spices or even salt & pepper to give it any flavor whatsoever. I ate half of one. Needless to say, this isn’t a restaurant we’ll be returning to. I’d choose Olive Garden over this any day. It was a very disappointing $29 lunch in both food and service.
Leo’s Italian Grill
33286 US Hwy 19 North
Palm Harbor, FL
We ate lunch at Nana’s Restaurant in Tarpon Springs today and it was one of the best lunches we’ve had in a while. They serve breakfast & lunch throughout the week & dinner on Friday nights. We decided to split a burger, plus some soup & salad.
First up, the Louisiana Butter Shrimp soup.
There are people who know how to make soup and the folks here at Nana’s definitely do. This was really flavorful and creamy with lots of shrimp and homemade goodness. Next up was the salad & burger.
It’s a good thing we decided to share the burger. It was way more than I was going to be able to eat. We got the mushroom burger, but I opted for American cheese instead of Swiss. It was cooked a perfect medium and was juicy and flavorful. The home fries were delicious. Again, perfectly cooked and seasoned. I really enjoyed the dipping sauce that came with them too. It was sort of a honey mustard BBQ sauce. Very, very tasty. And here’s the best part, the whole thing with a drink was only $17. This is definitely a restaurant we’ll be back to often.
857 E Klosterman Rd
Tarpon Springs, FL
Panos Kouzina has changed owners and they’ve renamed it Bella Kouzina. It looks the same inside and the menus haven’t been changed yet, but there was definitely a difference in the food.
We both decided on the clam chowder to go with our entrees.
The chowder was pretty good. Not quite as creamy as other places, but it had a good flavor to it. The bread was tasty. I seem to remember it being a lot more garlicy here before though. For his entree, Loren got the Pork Medallions.
He said the pork were very tender and tasty. The dish was served with rice, but he sort of wished it was served with a vegetable as well to round out the meal. I ordered the chicken marsala with a side of fettucine alfredo.
My plate was very plain looking. The marsala sauce was very thin and looked like chicken stock, though it absolutely tasted like marsala. It had a nice sweet flavor, though I’d just never seem a marsala dish that looked that color before. (Here’s a photo of the last time I ordered it) The chicken was ok, though, very plain. It didn’t even have any sort of breading on it whatsoever. They also hit on a pet peeve of mine by not giving us steak knives to cut our food. I’m sorry, but butter knives just don’t cut it, literally.
Surprisingly, Loren liked the taste of the fettucine alfredo more than I did. There was just something off about it. I don’t know if it was the type of cheese in it or if they added some additional herbs. All I know is that it just didn’t do it for me.
Unfortunately, our waitress ignored our table quite a bit. We were done eating long before she ever stopped by again. And once she brought us boxes for our leftovers, she disappeared again. The owner ended up clearing the dishes off our table. We didn’t even get asked if we wanted dessert. Total bill was $30 with a drink.
3101 SR 580
Safety Harbor, FL
We spent the morning at Lowry Park Zoo and stopped at La Pequena Colombia in Tampa for lunch. The restaurant was packed, but luckily we were able to get a table. We started off with some empanadas.
These were some tasty little bundles of goodness. We had to hold ourselves back from ordering a few more. The filling had a really nice flavor. Loren decided on the beef soup for lunch which came with a side of rice and beans.
He really liked the soup. It had a lot of flavors going on including a strong cilantro taste. The beef was tender and it had a lot of different veggies in it. The beans had a lot of flavor as well. I went for a country platter which had ground beef, pork skin, rice, beans, plantains, corn cake, an egg plus a salad.
There was a lot going on on this plate. I didn’t like the ground beef that much as it had a strong cilantro flavor, but everything else on the plate was really good. The pork skin had a very familiar flavor and was really addictive. I think we narrowed it down to a flavor similar to the fried chicken at Publix. I don’t know how to explain it, just that it was pretty darn good. The plantains were also very tender and sweet. Half of this dish came home with us. Way too much food for me.
I also couldn’t pass up getting something from the bakery.
Except for the fact the the pre-sliced edges were a little dry, the rest of the cake & strawberry filling was good. There were several items in the dessert case that I would have loved to take home with me, but there’s always next time. Service was ok. Our waiter seemed to have a hard time understanding me and we had to wait a while before he finally returned to our table with the $25 check. Overall, though, definitely a place we’d eat at again.
La Pequena Colombia
6312 N Armenia Ave
We drove into Crystal Beach tonight thinking we’d watch the last sunset of the year only to have a fog bank as thick as pea soup roll in. Instead, we ended up at Thai Nana for dinner.
The last time we were here, we ordered a combo appetizer and I really enjoyed the Mee Krob. Since Loren just wanted some soup, he got that for an appetizer & I got the Mee Krob.
I just love the tamarind sauce on this dish. The noodles are crunchy and the sauce is sweet. It’s just addictive. The shrimp on top were good, but the chicken was really tough.
For our entrees, Loren went for the garlic beef & I got chicken with broccoli & carrots.
Both dishes were ok. I thought mine was a bit on the bland side but the chicken & veggies were cooked well. Total bill with a drink was $30.
1462 Alt 19
Palm Harbor, FL