Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Channelside Dinner and Movies

Went down to Channelside tonight...it was eerily quiet on this Tuesday eve compared to the weekend that just passed. Ended up eating some dinner at Hooters, which was the most crowded..my first time at this spot and although the ladies are a sight to see, the food was horrible for a Hooter's, and service dragged. Made it out in time to see a flick, the theaters were sooo empty, I wonder if this place will be busier during the week when all the condos under construction are filled? Its a nice 9 theater complex that has a full bar, and beer and wine, along wiht an IMAX theater. Sunday they are showing the Super Bowl game for free in one of the 400 seat theaters.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Chinese Take Out in South Tampa

It was a rough day, still getting over Gasparilla this Day after. Decided to order some take out Chinese. The Peking Chinese Restaurant on Manhattan Ave and El Prado Ave, is some of the best take out Chinese i've had in Tampa. Very quick and reliable, usually 10-15 minutes to wait for pick up. The portions of the Deluxe Dinners, which come with Egg Roll and Pork Fried Rice, are huge, best of all, the food is Delicious, and as I remember from growing up in NY. My favs include Garlic Chicken, Chicken with Veges, Pork or House Lo Mein, and Steamed Dumplings!! I highly recommend if you live in this area, they also deliver.

Gasparilla Weekend!!!

My buddy Dave flew in from Boston for the Gasparilla festivities. Friday after my conference, I met up with Dave and we headed downtown Tampa. Dave had to take care of somethings at the courthouse. We had some lunch at Eddie and Sams pizza, some of the best Pizza ive had in Tampa. We walked around downtown, went to the Police Museum, which had some very interesting items to view, and old pictures of Tampa. Dave wanted to check out the Riverwalk, so we headed to Kiley Park which was very sad. I hope they plan on doing something about that space. We started our happy hour around 2pm at Hatricks, which was very crowded, as there seemed to be a lot of people in town for the weekend. We then headed over to Ybor, and had another chilly beverage at Green Iguana, then Tampa Bay Brewing Company. Ybor was also VERY busy for the middle of the day. Happy Hour continued at Channelside's Margarita Mama's. Day turned to night, and we headed to SOHO to eat at Dubliner, and of course, more chilly ones. We ended Friday night at Green Iguana Westshore-walking distance to home.

Saturday morning was beautiful, a great day for a parade. This was my 19th Gasparilla, and goes on the list again as one of the BEST. This year, Dave, Lisa Maryann and I started at Bay to Bay and Bayshore, and walked up to where Maryann's friends were on the boats near the bridges crossing to Davis Islands. It was great to be able to watch the parade by boat anchored along Bayshore. The usual mayhem and drunkenness of course, lots of beads...and a lot of reunions with people I havent seen in about a year. Lisa enjoyed liftin guys shirts, checkin out their abs, and she did several lifts of her own of course....we did the usual chicken and beers stop at Publix to rest up before walking over to The Hubb, and ended the long day with bar hopping in Ybor. Dave and Lisa party'd like rock stars, literally, as the took over the stage at Gaspars Grotto, Dave with the mic, and Lisa with the Tambourine. I had no idea that Gasparilla is the 3rd largest public event in the nation(behind Mardi Gras and New Years in Times Square)....

Innisbrook Resort

Had a conference at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor. Great resort, but why have a conference at a hotel that is spread out over 40 acres, around of golf course? There were about 200 people at the conference, and our rooms were all over the resort as there are about 20 separate buildings scattered throughout, and the meeting facilities were almost a mile from my room. We all had to drive the the meetings. Anyway, and beautiful resort, my room over looked the 7th hole greens.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Westshore Mens Hair Shoppe

I usually get my hair cut about once every three weeks, my usual spot that I was going to for the past 6 years just wasnt 'cuttin it'-no pun intended. The owner and I became good friends, but then he started not returning calls, or even showing up to cut my hair, he went through a rough divorce, and is dating women half his age and getting into all kinds of stuff...so I ventured off to Westshore Mens Hair Shoppe on Westshore Blvd., and no they dont sell hair there...but they do offer the great haircuts, they way I remember..there is one guy, John, from Long Island who moved down 6 years ago to be with his kids and grandkids, hes been in the biz for over 30 years. Then there are two women, bi-lingual, that are native to Tampa. What's nice about this place is they remember you, are extremely friendly, and a locals place. It seems everyone knows everyone else..which is kinda nice. Its the kind of place where you here stories of peoples families, things going on in town, etc. its a great neighborhood place. But most of all, they are experts with the clippers and scissors, and provide and strait razor shave to the neck, and a clip of the eyebrows..a total mens shoppe. This was my third visit, and it has always been consistent. Another plus, is you never have to make an apppointment, just walk on in. Its a Mens Shoppe, the most you'll maybe wait is 10 minutes..no hair dye smells, no smells of nail polish, just a guys place.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Tampa's Wilderness Park system

Another beautiful day, blue blue skies, temps in the low 70's. Headed out to the Wilderness Park system in the northern most part of Tampa. It comprises of three parks, all with different amenities. I go for the biking and kayaking. Today, em and my brother checked out Trout Creek Park, just off Fletcher Ave, about a mile west of I-75. Amazing off-road bike trails, today we ventured out on 'Gator Bait', 'Indian' which were the toughest, with plenty of small hills, all woods with different terrains from swampy, to pines, to scrubs...went over loots of rocky, sandy, and rooted areas, all single track..we then headed for 'powerline', 'Grandpa' and 'Palmetto' which was kinda neat cause it got 10 degrees warmer on the Palmetto trail, surrounded by all Palmettos. Im sure if we took our time, there was an abundance of wildlife around we could have seen. There is also a 19 mile main trail, connected with a 7 mile paved trail where you see bikers, bladers and walkers/joggers. There are still plenty more trails to explore, the Hillsborough River also runs through these parks as well.

Gasparilla Extravaganza Day

Well, Gasparilla has officially started today, Saturday, January 20th. Did a few things around the house in the morning-got these really nice Cedar Adirondack chairs and foot rests for a steel at this place Faye's Side Porch and Garden Center over on Dale Mabry and El Prado-very cool stuff, alot of antique stuff inside, but garden and backyard stuff outside; then ventured out on the kayak in Riviera Bay area with Debi. At 6pm we headed to Bayshore for the Gasparilla Night airshow, and then Fireworks, I had no idea that the firework display is one of the largest in the nation..over 25 minutes synchronized to music. We then walked over to Yoko's on MacDill Ave. for sushi-one of my favorite Sushi places in Tampa Bay. It was a beautiful day in January, about 74 during the day, deep blue skies, and a bit of a chill in the evening(around 59) perfect for fireworks!!!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Lunch at Interbay Meat Market

I decided to go out for lunch today, and on a referral, wen to Interbay Meat Market over on Interbay and MacDill Ave. Its like a small neighborhood grocery store with a meat and sandwich counter. I ordered the Large Cuban all the way. A foot long cuban(enough for two) came pressed. Very disappointed with the amount of meat in the sandwich(one slice of boiled ham folded in half, one slice of roast pork, one layer of swiss cheese, with the bread slathered with mustard on one side, and mayo on the other, and a few pickles, shredded lettuce, and three tomato slices sliced the wrong way. So far, my best cubans have come from Roberts Meats on Westshore Blvd. I may go back to try one of the other sandwich's, and they do have great lunch specials for under 5 bucks.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Dog Walks and Mediterranean Eats

Decided to take Tyson to Gadsden Park on MacDill Ave next to the base. Great walking, blading trail along the lake, and one of the nicest dog parks, with shaded trees, all fenced in. It was very quiet with just a few people around 4pm this Wednesday.
This evening, decided to eat out on a recommendation from flfoodhound, and tried Gengis Khan on MacDill near Interbay Ave. EXCELLENT Shish Kabobs(chicken, lamb and beef)..great menu! While driving back home, I realized how nice it is that there are all these little neighborhoods in South Tampa, with great Mom and Pop type retail and restaurants: Interbay Ave near MacDill Ave and Bayshore Blvd, MacDill Ave from Bay to Bay Blvd to Wallcraft Ave, Bay to Bay Blvd from Bayshore to Himes Ave, Westshore Avenue near Euclid Ave.

Picnic Island

Just a short word on this excellent park. I took my boy there today after work, as I do most days. Quiet, serene, incredible sunsets, a dog beach, kayak/canoe/boat launch, fishing pier, picnic areas, even a great hill with incredible views of downtown St. Pete and the Bay. You would never think such a beautiful park would be located in this area, keep following the signs down Westshore Blvd to Commerce Blvd..you'll get there, and keep coming back.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

MLK weekend!

After a hellacious Friday at work(whats up with Fridays being so busy, espeically on a three day weekend)....it was quittin time at 4pm, and headed off to Debi's home in St Pete neighborhood of Riviera Bay. She's got a great home on the Bay overlooking Mangroves, so serene. Anyways, we headed off to Johns Pass over in Madeira Beach to see our friend Rob play guitar at The Hut. He is an amazing musician, and the lead of a great group Buffalo Strange. The Hut was fun, great food, and of course Rob playing guitar, flute, percussion for us till 7pm. My brother and sis in law joined us, today is the day she was supposed to deliver...her new baby boy! Instead she's out with us enjoying her root beers. We attempted to catch up with Rob and Buffalo Strange at Ringside Cafe on 4th street in St Pete(great food and bar in an old house), but when we arrived at 9pm, the place was packed, and no tables in site..so we headed back to Debi's to sit on the dock and socialize over some chilly ones...
Saturday was workin on the house and yard..speant the Home Depot Gift Cards, and did some landscaping...then it was back to Ringside Cafe in St. Pete for dinner(there food is AWESOME), and we had great seats to see Buffalo Strange..Rob told Debi and I a few really good stories(the Schizzle?)...
Sunday morning was speant on the kayaks, it was a beautiful day, saw many dolphins today in the Bay..out near Weedon Island and Riviera Bay(northern St. Pete)..then watched some pre=season football. It was an early dinner with the fam at Galley Pizza on Westshore, we ate out on the dock. (The tomotoe sauce here is very sweet, I consider this place "Southern Italian" as in southern american italian-kinda of bland but OK)
MLK day was another beautiful day in paradise, took the bike up to Wilderness Park's Flatwoods area off Bruce B Downs. They opened a few more off road biking trails, a very rough 2 hour ride through woods, scrub, pine barrens, and marsh. There was also a 7 mile paved biking/blading trail through the Park. Afterwards while wating for my brother and sis in law to have their baby, me and the fam went and saw Rocky Balboa at University Mall(not a very nice place)..and the movie sucked. We made it to UCH Womens Center to see my new nephew that was delivered at 9:30pm. The Womens Center at UCH was very nice, very large private rooms, all hardwood floors, state of the art entertainment centers..all in the delivery rooms...
What a GREAT weekend!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Went to Boston

I travel a few times a month for my job(gets me out of the home office). This week it was Beantown..I love Boston, small, walkable city, TONS of history, and lots of great PUBS!!
Another accolade to Tampa's Airport, with a 12 minute cab ride, a 10 minute security line, I was at my gate within 25 minutes if leaving my house...NICE!!!

Sunday, January 7, 2007

First Weekend of 2007

Saturday evening started with the annual Night Pond and Garden Tour. There were 11 homes this year in South Tampa, showing off there backyard Pond and Lanscaping in the evenings with lighting. A great time, going from house to house ended at my neighbors.
We then headed to Ybor City, first Wranglers to meet up with Kyle and his friend Joe, then to Green Iguana, and ending the evening at GBar.
Sunday was speant with the family. We first went to the 80th anniversary party of Tampa Theater, took backstage tours, and even was able to explore the projection room. Then we had some light fare at Jacksons Bistro on Harbour Island sitting outside along the waterfront with great views of downtown(The Pats beat the Jets)...a nice car ride down Bayshore followed to Ballast Point Pier for ice cream, and a nice walk on the Pier.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Happy New Year Tampa

Well, im back home from LA, great times, and a great New Year! Out to Chipoltle tonight, then saw Blood Diamond at the AMC Westshore(Wednesday is free popcorn night).