The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Cheap Lunch

We ate lunch at the Chatterbox North Family Restaurant in Palm Harbor today.  They were pretty busy, but we got there right at the end of the lunch rush, so we didn’t have to wait long for a table.

Loren ordered a corned beef sandwich with a bowl of their vegetable soup.

The soup had some wonderful flavors.  It was the best part of the whole meal.  Loren said the corned beef wasn’t remarkable at all.  I ordered the country breakfast.

The problem was that I didn’t mean to order the country breakfast.  I totally managed to read the menu incorrectly because I wanted pancakes, eggs and homefries and got biscuits and gravy, homefries, eggs and sausage.  Our waitress was kind enough to fix my mistake and brought me out some pancakes.  The eggs and pancakes were good, the homefries, not so much.  They were a bit too crispy and lacked any seasoning whatsoever. 

I was craving fruit pie, but when the waitress mentioned Boston Cream Pie, I had to get that instead. 

It was ok, nothing special about it.  The whole meal cost us $17 with a drink.  The prices are definitely right here, but overall the food was pretty mediocre. 

Chatterbox North Family Restaurant
2710 Alt 19
Palm Harbor, FL

Chatterbox North Family Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Spicy Rolls

We were craving sushi tonight and went back to Tom Yum Thai & Sushi in Dunedin.  We both started off with some soup.

Loren got the chicken and rice and I just couldn’t pass up the chicken coconut soup.  It’s one of the tastiest soups in the area.  The flavors all meld together wonderfully. 

We decided on 4 sushi rolls, the Sea Monster, the Hamachi Lover, the Dragon Roll and the Rainbow Roll, plus some salmon.

My favorite was the Dragon roll, shrimp tempura roll topped with avocado , mayo & eel sauce.  The shrimp was cooked perfectly and the avocado was fresh and tasty.   My next favorite was the Rainbow roll.   The other two rolls had spicy sauces on them that were a bit overwhelming.  Loren made a comment that all the flavor seemed to be in the sauces and that the rolls themselves were rather bland. 

The rolls here are pretty big compared to other places.  We had leftovers even though we only ordered 4 rolls and that never happens.  At most other places, we know we’ve ordered too much when we get 6 rolls.  Total bill was $56. 

Tom Yum Thai & Sushi
104 Patricia Ave
Dunedin, FL
(727) 953-9898

Tom Yum Thai & Sushi on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: Dunedin, Thai
  • Expectations

    We were going to eat at Bonefish tonight, thinking we could get there before the crowd, but even at 5:30pm, they already had a 30 minute wait.  So, instead we drove into Dunedin to see if Walt’s Seasonal Cuisine was busy.  At it turned out, we were the first customers there for the evening. 

    Let me preface this review by saying the food tonight was absolutely better than we get at most places; however, my expectations when I end up paying $73 for dinner are a lot higher than if I’ve spent $30.  I didn’t feel that the experience tonight was worth the price.  Granted, it’s a lot of little things that added up to that feeling, but because my expectations were so high and we’ve had wonderful experiences here before, I just left somewhat disappointed.

    We sat down, ordered our water and iced tea and were served some bread and oil. 

    I know this is silly, but this was the first thing I thought was off tonight.  The bread was just served in this little bowl.  No napkin or cloth under or around it to help keep the warmth in.  It just came across as tacky to me.  Don’t get me wrong, the bread was warm and tasty, it was just the presentation that turned me off.

    Another couple came in at this point and sat at the bar.  I overheard their conversation with the waitress to discover that Walt had the night off.  Later in the evening, I heard the couple ask the chef if he was calling for help when he had his phone out and he said no, he was just looking up a recipe.   So, maybe the key to dining at Walt’s is knowing that Walt is in the kitchen.

    Loren started out with a house salad and I got the soup which was butternut squash with blue crab.

    Loren liked the ginger dressing on his salad.  He said the nuts on the salad were both sweet and spicy.  My soup had very subtle flavors, in fact, too subtle for my tastes.  It was very thin and the crab was overcooked.  It was a little rubbery. 

    At this point, we heard the waitress telling the other customers what the special was tonight.  Don’t you hate it when you’re not told the specials and you get to overhear them at another table after you’ve ordered?

    For his entree, Loren chose the surf and turf which is steak and scallops and he ordered asparagus as his side.

    The steak is where the chef shined tonight.  It was perfect.  A nice sear on the outside, cooked a perfect medium and was incredibly tender.  Loren loved it.  The scallops were sliced thin and had a mango vinaigrette on them that completely overpowered the flavor of the scallop. 

    I ordered the crab crusted grouper with garlic mashed potatoes.

    It had a sherry butter sauce on it that I couldn’t taste at all.  It was a thick grouper filet that basically had a crab cake on top of it.  Individually, each piece was pretty good, but the crab cake had very strong flavors that overwhelmed the grouper. 

    For dessert, we tried the chocolate cake.

    Let’s face it, first bites are everything and this one just didn’t wow.  The cake was very dense, but not overly moist.  It was good,  but I’ve had better.  And since I’ve been picky all night, I just felt like some homemade whipped cream would have been much better than stuff out of a can. 

    Service tonight was also lacking.  My water glass was completely empty for quite a while and Loren’s iced tea also got down to the bottom.  Plates weren’t cleared as quickly as they should have either.  Again, it’s all about expectations.  If I’m spending $73, I want the entire experience to feel worth the money. 

    Walts Seasonal Cuisine
    1140 Main St
    Dunedin, FL

    Walt's Seasonal Cuisine on Urbanspoon


    We had tickets to Young Frankenstein at Ruth Eckerd Hall tonight (great show), so wanted to eat dinner somewhere close.  We tried Johnny’s, but they were mobbed, so we ended up at Grind House.

    Service was a bit lacking tonight, but the food was good.  We started out with the shrimp and lobster bisque.

    This is one of those soups that left a lasting impression since the first time I had.  It’s rich and creamy with a wonderful flavor.  Definitely a must order if you eat here.   Loren decided on a burger with mushrooms and provolone.

    It also came with home made chips.  He said it was cooked just right and tasty.  The chips were crunchy and not like anything you get out of a bag.

    I ordered some bangers and mash.

    The sausages had a nice flavor.  You could definitely taste the fennel.  Homemade  mashed potatoes with an onion mushroom gravy went great with it, though more gravy would have been better.  And for dessert, I got a slice of chocolate cheesecake to go.

    It wasn’t a very big slice, but it was rich with chocolately goodness.  I’d definitely order it again.  Total bill was $28.

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

    Grind House Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon


    Tasty Thai

    We ate lunch at Siam Thai in Westchase today.  The restaurant was completely empty at noon on a Sunday.  We weren’t sure if that was an omen or not. 

    We both started off with some soup.  Loren ordered the chicken and rice and I got the Tom Kha.

    They were both fairly big bowls of tasty soup.  The Tom Kha had a wonderful lime flavor,  but there were way too many chopped onions in it.  We also ordered some egg rolls.

    Crisp and crunchy with a slightly spicy dipping sauce.  Between these and the soup, I didn’t even need an entree.  Loren ordered the ginger chicken and I got the masaman curry with shrimp.

    Both were tasty.  My only concern with my dish, though, was that I tried to order it without certain items and was told that couldn’t be done.  I was able to pick around the things I didn’t like, but if you’ve got peanut allergies, stay away from this dish because they weren’t willing to make it without them.

    We both ended up with some leftovers.  Total bill was $36.  There wasn’t anything that really distiguished this place from any of the other Thai restaurants that we’ve eaten at.

    Siam Thai Restaurant
    9546 W Linebaugh Ave
    Tampa, FL

    Siam Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: Tampa, Thai, West Chase