Category Archives: Tampa Bay

Ruth’s Steakhouse

Yesterday, Max and I wanted to go out to breakfast. I think he wanted to try out Steak n’ Shake’s breakfast, but I wanted to try a restaurant that I had seen a few times in passing. In addition, I love little diners or locally owned restaurants like Ruth’s Steakhouse. I convinced him to try this restaurant with me and I believe he was glad he did.

Ruth’s Steakhouse is located at 7409 Us-301 S in Riverview. It’s located in the same shopping center as The Riverview Flea market and the Dollar General. It’s a very honest looking place. By that, I mean that they aren’t trying to be anything they aren’t. They are a small restaurant that serves up honest food. The restaurant itself is a one room place about half the size of the interior of a 7-11. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

After you seat yourself at at table, there are no booths, a server will quickly come and take your drink order. The servers are all very friendly and they spoke to my kids in a comfortable way that made me feel like we were truly welcome. They serve Pepsi products, which I will admit, always makes me sad. Max ordered a Sierra Mist and I ordered a coffee. Jack was content with the contents of his bottle. The coffee was weaker than my preference, but Max said his Sierra Mist was the best he’d ever had.

The food is priced fairly. I ordered the breakfast special which included 2 pancakes, 2 sausage links, and 2 eggs for $4.55. Max ordered  a meal off the children’s menu for $3.90 which consisted of one egg, 2 slices of bacon, and 2 slices of toast. They only serve white bread. We also ordered a half serving of biscuits and gravy for $2.50 which was a biscuit sliced in half with a generous serving of gravy on top.

The pancakes were perfect and the eggs were cooked exactly the way I ordered them, over medium. I cannot understand why so many restaurants can’t get this right, but I want my egg whites cooked through. The sausage was acceptable, but the sausage gravy seemed to be from a mix or a can with chunks of sausage patty thrown in. Despite this, the gravy was good and for the price I thought it was fair.

Max devoured his food so quickly that I’m 100% sure he loved it. He ate the gravy and, despite better training, declared with his mouth still full that it was “GOOD!”

The meal total with drinks was $15.14 and I felt it was a good value, especially for Riverview where I have not seen many restaurants of it’s kind. I will definitely go back soon to try the dinner menu.

Ruth's Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

>Writing and why I seem to not be doing it.

>Did you know that in addition to this blog I write for three other blogs?

I write for Hotbuckles, Renter’s Regret, and I just started writing for The Kind of Cat Lady. I feel like I have been neglecting my writing lately and I apologize.

When I write for Hotbuckles it’s probably the most challenging. I’m not representing myself. I’m supposed to be writing about things that are important to the company. Unfortunately, whatever pops into my skull simply will not do. I have a small list of things to write about and for some reason, it seems to be a struggle.

I haven’t written for a few months over at Renter’s Regret. I was so furious with a situation that I wanted to scream out the details. I felt like it was a bad move and every time I intended to write something coherent, I wrote out a hateful rant. That’s not really the direction I want the blog to go in, so I had to let it go for a little while. You can expect a few things up there this week. I have some new topics that I’m excited about.

I have written for The Kind of Cat Lady (or The Cat Lady Chronicles) recently. I could talk about cats all day, but whether you, the reader wants to read it is another issue entirely. I will be posting a few things there this week too. I’m super excited about that.

For this site, you’re at by the way, I had planned to have some write ups on some restaurants I visited. The first was for The New York Skyline Restaurant in Palm Harbour. I visited. It was delicious and everything you could dream of in a breakfast place, but when I returned this past Sunday it had been closed and sold! My heart broke! My stomach grumbled! I had to go somewhere else.

My boyfriend suggested we go to The East Lake Cafe. The next blog post will describe that experience!

>Courtney Visits IKEA or "Oh! I LOVE THAT!"

>Last Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny and with a glimmer of glee. It would be my first trip to IKEA. I don’t really know if it should be typed Ikea or IKEA, but after my visit IKEA seems to be correct.

We started out with a visit to Starbucks on Gulf to Bay, in Clearwater. My friend was trying to decide if he should join Sam’s Club or Costco, so we sat having Mocha Frappythings and trying to determine which club carried the Holy Grail. Uh, Pardon me. I meant we had to figure out which store carried Nestle Quick since that’s all he cared about. Costco won the war. We were there. He joined and got his Nestle Quick. We then went on the Costco sample tour which included two B-12 Supplements (1 sublingual tablet and one liquid fizzy drink,) three Acai drinks, several food items, and the worst thing I have EVER tasted, Salad in a cup. (Salad in a cup is actually juiced lettuce.) I was pretty hyped at this point, thanks to over indulging in B-12 and Acai, and suddenly I was in love with EVERYTHING. My poor friend was laughing himself silly. He couldn’t take it anymore when I fell for the backyard bridge and was envisioning myself in a backyard production of Romeo and Juliet, so we ventured on.

IKEA is located in Tampa. On the drive over I pondered what it would be like. The general response from people “IKEA… SQUEEEE! YOU WILL LOVE IT!” My friend and I discussed it before we arrived, but he basically said that it was big and that I’d see it when we got there. We pulled into the parking lot. It is so huge that they have parking people to direct you to emptpy spots. We parked near the back, but that’s the best place to get the full view. Holy SNAP! This place is BIG.

We walked in. You are asked to not take a cart because you will wander through the showroom first. ALWAYS, follow the arrows. This keeps you safe and not lost. We headed up the escalator and it began. “OH! I LOVE IT!” I said it so much that by the time we left my throat was raw. They have furniture, utensils, storage solutions, dishes, plants, pots, and pretty much every other thing that your little heart could want for your home.

They have bookshelves filled with books. The books are all in a language that I am going to assume is Swedish. I thought they would be fake books, but upon picking one up, I found them to be real (and very funny.)

All of the items have funny names that often have to do with their function or the room they are meant to be in. This one was for a light that went in the bathroom. Way to keep it classy, IKEA. (My kids are gonna love this.)

After you think you just might die from looking at more home items than you ever wanted to look at in your natural life, you stumble into my favorite section of the store. The cafeteria. Yum! I ordered the Swedish Meatballs with mashed potatos and Lingonberries. I drank Lingonberry juice. It was so good. The Lingonberry is everything the cranberry wishes it was. Also, I call it the Klingonberry, because it makes me laugh. The food tasted good, but it was not hot enough. It was barely lukewarm.

Bob had the Lox plate. It looked and tasted wonderful. He’s a good guy, he let me taste his food. I would have gotten the lox, but I was starved and it didn’t look filling. Paired with the soup and Garlic bread they offer, I bet it would have been just right.

To end our meal we had their chocolate cake. It was highly reccommended by another shopper. We liked it. It was more mocha than sweet chocolate, but it was a good end to a meal. I would have taken a photo of it, but we kind of scarfed it before I had a chance.

After our lunch we went back down the escalator to the self serve portion of the store. At this point it is acceptable to grab a cart and fill it up. I ended up buying a set of little cups, a doormat, a pot for my fully recovered mother’s day plant, and an ice cube tray for heart shaped ice (for the kids, I swear!)

I did love it, but IKEA is not a place where you can pop in and out. IKEA is an adventure. You really need to devote several hours to pawing around and figuring out what you want and how things work.

>Sunshine and a small town.

>Last Saturday, Annika and I explored Dunedin, Fl. It’s not far from where we live and I had to drop my son off at a birthday party with his father. Downtown Dunedin is so small, but everything in it is exciting and worth seeing. My adventure will my six year old daughter is chronicled below.

Our first stop was Kelly’s Restaurant. (You must check out their cool web page.) Our server was Lisa and she was great. She did a wonderful job and spoke directly to my daughter, as opposed to over her. (My daughter loved her, her tattoos, and said that she looked like someone on TV.) I ordered the Seafood Omelette with the Hellfire and Damnation sauce. The omelette had scallops and shrimp and was good, but I felt that the sauce had a constistency too much like spaghetti sauce for my taste. My daughter ordered the spaghetti off of the children’s menu. The sauce was incredibly spicy, especially for a child. I noticed Annie was suddenly coughing a lot and trying to keep eating. I asked her what was wrong. When she told me that it was too spicy, I assumed that she was just not wanting to eat like she often does. I tasted it and coughed a little myself from the spiciness of it. I ordered some cinnamon toast for Annie and gave her some of my omellete. I might have said something about the pasta, but as it cost me a penny per pound of Annie, I let it slide. Our total was $15.58.

Our next stop was the Dunedin Marina. Annika and I looked at the boats and talked about how they work, anchoring, and navigational equipment. Then we saw a HUGE school of fish and watched them for about twenty minutes.

Annika noticed that there were boats coming in and out of the water and she wanted to go see how that was done. We marched ourselves down to to the dock and sat there watching people struggling to get their boats in and out of the water. Annika was especially impressed with the jet skis. I’ll admit it, I was impressed too. I told her that they were like motorcycles for the water. I realized that I was suddenly sunburnt and told Annie we should head for our orginal destination, the playground.

The playground is located right next to the marina at Edgewater Park. My kids love this place! If you click on the link, you will see why! The Jungle Gym is a PIRATE SHIP! Annika was in Heaven! She ran around and bossed the little kids. She was clearly the captain of this ship! I got to swing on the swing set while Annika ran around like a maniac. The park is beautiful with clean bathrooms, a gazebo, and picnic tables.

I noticed Annika was a bit red, so I suggested we walk back to town and have some ice cream at the recently moved Strachan’s Desserts. They have not updated their web site, but the new location is directly across the street from Kelly’s Restaurant. Strachan’s carried fudge, cakes, and ice cream. Annika went for the Cherry Vanilla and I went with the cookies and cream. It was very good. They have the perfect set up for people watching. They have a bar against the front window and you can watch the people cruise down Main Street while you enjoy your favorite flavor in the cool air conditioning.

Annika and I were beginning to wind down, but I wanted to get a post card for my brother. We decided to hit The Boxcar at 349 Main St. They are an authorized USPS location and they sell trinkets, tourist items, coffee and snacks. The woman working there was very nice and laughed at my bad jokes. I found the perfect post card and our trip was over.

Dunedin is one of my favorite places in the Tampa Bay area. In addition to the places we visted on Saturday, they have Flanagan’s Irish Pub. This small pub is everything you hope it would be, complete with live music that you are encouraged to sing along with. I have never before been to a place that made me feel like I was right at home as soon as I crossed the threshhold, but Flanagan’s is it. I didn’t get to visit that day, but as we passed 4 men came out of the bar (at 11am) hugging each other. As they walked down the street, arm in arm, they were singing at the top of their lungs and laughing at what was surely the funniest joke ever.

Dunedin is a good natured, good time.