Friday, January 14, 2005


I've started a list of all the different restaurants we've been to in the last 5 weeks. I know that there will be a price to pay for this much eating out, but I resolve to eat lighter and exercise more once we return to Italy.

The first American restaurant we went to was SONNY'S in Tampa. We always enjoy the barbeque there and were excited to see that it was within walking distance of our motel.

We've eaten one time at McDONALDS, and I had my usual grilled chicken ceasar salad with basalmic vinagrette dressing. Nothing inspired, but at least it was less fattening than a Big Mac! I also had a suasage McMuffin for breakfast one morning. We drove through RALLY'S one day and got a 99ยข bacon cheeseburger and curly was disgusting and wonderful at the same time, and once was enough!

We've eaten at several Mexican restaurants. Our favorite is just up the street from my sister's house, and that's where we headed for our first meal in Louisville. EL REY'S is small, but the salsa is wonderful and the food is great. We also ate at TUMBLEWEED, but only because someone else picked it. When Tumbleweed was still local it used to be my favorite. As the years went by and they expanded, the quality decreased right along with the quantity. Apparently they've decided they now want to be a steakhouse instead of a TexMex restaurant. The food we had here was terrible...the beans were dry and the rice was so salty I literally SPIT IT OUT on my plate! We also ate at DON PABLO'S, mainly becasue we had a coupon.

We had great fish and chips at THE IRISH ROVER, our usual grilled chicken salad with the hot bacon/honey mustard dressing at RAFFERTY'S. I had my usual Alice Springs chicken at OUTBACK, warm chocolate chip cookies for dessert at MAX AND ERMA'S, and a nice lunch at CHEDDAR'S. That place is ALWAYS packed.

We took Nicholas to PANERA'S for lunch one day and he loved it. He was especially intrigued by the soup in a bread bowl, and I'm sure he'll order that on his next visit. I think their prices are a little high, but the food is always good, and it's fun to look at the pastries on the way out...that way I'm too full to be tempted!

We met some friends at TGIFRIDAY'S because the location was convenient, and the food was okay...nothing spectacular, but at least you know the food will be passable. Art had to drive through FRISCH'S one day to get a Big Boy, but I only took a bite. The dressing was all off center on the bun, making it ooze out of one end of the sandwich, and someone forgot to put lettuce on it.

Friends took us to AZALEA'S. It's a nice white tablecloth restaurant, but for the prices, I just didn't think it was worth it. There just wasn't anything special about the food, the service or the atmosphere. Everything was nice, but that's all. I don't mind spending the money on a great restaurant, but this one wasn't it.

We also ate at JOHN E'S, which is alwasy good. We told our friends that you can get the same food at half the price by eating on the (enclosed) patio instead of inside the main restaurant.

Last night we met friends at ASIATIQUE and were quite impressed. Although it's a little pricier than normal for us, the food was excellent and the restaurant itself was stunning. We ate in the lounge, which consisted of grouping of sofas, chairs and coffee tables. I felt as if I were in some trendy hip restaurant in a big city.

Today I had lunch at J ALEXANDER'S. The salad was nice...nothing special, but the atmosphere of the restaurant was really nice. It had that "clubby" feel...lots of dark woods. The service was excellent, and I look forward to returning here with Art.

Needless to say, my meals at Italian restaurants have been disappointing. The best meal was at FERD GRISANTI'S, but that's no surprise. We tried BUCCA di PEPPO since it had been a long time since our only other visit. The service was terrible. Our waiter ran around like a chicken with his head chopped off, and getting refills on drinks was a challenge. The kitchen forgot one of our entrees' and the room was SO NOISY you couldn't even hear yourself think. Never again. We also tried ZA'S PIZZA after reading an article in the paper about local pizzerias. I can't find anything good to say about their pizza...the crust was taste and not crisp. There was little if any tomato sauce, and the main ingredient seemed to be a THICK layer of mozzarella. this cheese was so thick that I couldn't even chew...I just kept chomping and chomping on this rubbery ball of cheese.

We went downtown to see what was new and to visit a friend. Luckily she was free for lunch, so we walked over to the new HARD ROCK CAFE. The food was good, if a bit overpriced, as usual. We had a $5 coupon so that helped.

We also had eggrolls from the food court at the Mall, but no other Oriental food.

Oh, and a delivered DOMINOES pizza one night...Ncholas had a coupon for a free pizza, and we ordered in while we watched "Spiderman 2".

Tonight we made it to CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN for one of their thin crust pizzas with arugula. We also had the hummus appetizer, which was surprisingly good! After dinner we stopped at DAIRY QUEEN. Art had been wanting a vanilla milkshake, and I decided that a Butterfinger Blizzard might hit the spot...and I was right!


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