Monday, April 30, 2007

Birthday Weekend in Tampa!

Got back from my business trip on Friday, and decided to watch Robin Williams "Man of the Year" on Pay Per View...funny flick. Saturday, my friends took me out to 717 South in Hyde Park on Howard Avenue. Most of the restaurants were all packed and not seting until at least 9:30pm, so we ended up at 717, and glad we did. We were able to get a table outside along Howard Ave within 15 minutes..the weather was excellent this evening. Angie provided incredible service, we ordered the 8oz fillets, and Pork Chop which was huge and cooked perfectly, I will definitely be back. The menu is Italian and Pan Asian. Afterwards we went for a few cocktails at Mangrove's which started getting busy around 11:30, great DJ.
Sunday, wen to the Green Thumb Festival in St. Pete, this had to be one of the biggest and best plant, outdoor art, and landscaping festivals ive been to. Got myself a unique Pitcher Plant. WE then went to Green Iguana on Bay Pines near the causeway leading to Maderia Beach. Crab Rangoon was awesome, and of course they serve some of the best burgers. We ate outside, watching the boats come in and out on the intracoastal. Sunday evening was birthday celebration with the family...homemade baked Ziti..and lots of laughs with Aunt and Uncle, Bro and Sis-in-Law and Sebastian, and my mom.
Monday, the actual BirthDAY, we had a small BBQ at my house, and watched "Tenacious D" with Jack Black...another good movie, interesting storyline.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Channelside Saturday Night

Bryan came over and we decided on a movie at Channelside, "Disturbia" . We saw the 630pm show, so there was plenty of parking at the garage but it was quickly filling up. (Parking is only .50 cent if you have it validated by the theater). The theater was not crowded, unfortunately the staff behind the counter was all under 18, and could not serve any alcohol, so we had to wait until someone finally came back to serve(I think one of the managers). It took awhile, so we decide not to get any chilly ones for the flick. The movie was good, a few surprises, creepy, and decent storyline.
After the movie, we went for dinner to Thai Thani, one of the dozen or so restaurants in Channelside. The service was VERY quick, Thai Spring rolls to start out that were cut like sushi, the meals were decent at best, and came out very quickly. I just didn't think there was enough Chicken in the Ginger Chicken, or Chicken w/Baby Corn and Mushrooms.
They just opened another new Country/Western bar, McGraw's. Not sure I understand as there is another"SlingSHots" right next door, which actually looks much better than McGraw's. All the windows in McGraw's are open to Channelside, which gives a nice view of the courtyard, and almost like being outside.
My work takes me to Chicago and Atlanta this back Friday!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Friday Night Ybor...

WE were heading to see the band "SemiSoul" in Ybor last night(Great band), but never made it to actually see them. Lisa came over around 630, we picked up some friends off Bayshore went to Ybor. We decided for the some dinner before the show, and Valet parked at Centro Ybor on 9th Ave, behind the theaters(great idea if you are goign to the movies, or eating in the restaurants in Centro Ybor-only $3 with validation). We ate at the Tampa Bay Brewing Company, great outdoor patio that was lively with music..the food was great, service was excellent(thanks Phil). I had the Shepards Pie, and the others had Salads. Lots of homeade Brews in this joint.
After dinner we went over to the Orpheum to see the show, SemiSoul was opening for Del Castillo. Arriving about 5 minutes before 8pm, we were let in, and then told that we would need to come back at 8. After asking the bouncer and others when SemiSoul would be playing(there were three bands playing), that did not know the line-up, and then we asked if we could just hang out for 5 minutes(till 8), and they said no we had to leave and wait outside...for 5 minutes! What a joke...we left and watched the Tampa Bay Lightning lose to the Devils in the Stanley Cup playoffs game 3 at Rockin Sports Grille. A good time there, we talked with some strange woman(she must have been 80 yo, and an Ybor resident), but she had lots of good stories. After the game was over(about 845), we went back to Orpheum, only to hear as we walked in that SemiSoul was playing their last of us stayed, the rest of us left to go elsewhere. The Orpheum is a very grungy type music venue, large stage, one large bar, but definitely not kept up like the State Theater in St. Pete(their sister venue-same owner).
We walked down 7th and stopped by Adobe Gila's, great guitarist playing, and it was sort of outdoors on the 2nd floor of Centro Ybor. There were some fine looking people in this place. Centro Ybor was packed, Tracey Morgan was a the Improv. After a drink there and some laughs, we headed again down 7th Ave to Green Iguana, great crowd, played some darts, and the live band was awesome.
Deciding to be closer to home, we left Ybor, and headed to the Green Iguana Westshore. Again, a great crowd..had some Yummy Chicken Nachos(John the manager made sure the kitchen made one last item for us) band inside, but we stayed outside on the Tiki Deck.
Busy weekend ahead..Madre is moving into her home in South Hillsborough, so my bro and I are doing lots of stuff for her, then a BBQ in Roser Park neighborhood of St. Pete, Mainsail Art Festival at Vinoy Park, and the Lightning are home on Sunday for an afternoon playoff game at the Forum.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Ybor and the Easter Bunny

Weather got much cooler this weekend, temps barely reached 70, and in the upper 40's to near 50 in the evenin...brrrr, last minute cold front. Saturday, I finally decided to spend some gift cards from Christmas, so Bry and I headed to Hyde Park Village, and Restoration Hardware and Pottery some crap for the home. They're doing some major renovations where Cactus Club used to be, looks like Wine Exchange is moving there, and some coffee/dessert place. We then headed to Ybor City, to go see the Quentin tarnatino flick "Grindhouse". I love the Premiere Theaters there, cost a little more but well worth it. The movie was classic Tarantino, it's a double feature nearly 3 hours long but well worth it. After the flick we wanted some Sushi, so Samurai Blue was callin us, but it was PACKED...9pm, and a 50 minute wait, I decided to try another Sushi joint in Ybor on 7th Ave called Sushiyaki..what a great find! They were playing 70's disco music, and had a disco light spinning, very interesting atmosphere, and on top, there was a live band playing 70's/80's tunes. The menu was great, many rolls to choose from, but also Japanese favorites. Not nearly as good as Yoko's, but a close match for Samurai's rolls, without the wait or attitude I can sometimes get from Samurai Blue.
Spent Easter with the fam at the Aunt and Uncle's house in Brandon. Lots of laughs, and delicious Lamb!!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Sushi and St. Pete

Went over to Debi's Friday evening, we decided to head for Hook's on 9th Street and 11th Ave North. Hook's was excellent, not a fancy place like across the street at Sushi Rock Grille, but casual, and an abundance of yummy rolls, and very fresh sushi. This one tops my list for Sushi in St. Pete. ON our way there, we took a ride down 9th Street(MLK Blvd), and my first time driving through a neighborhood called 'Allendale'. Reminded me of LA(Sunset Blvd near Beverly Hills), as to the many tree lined streets, and HUGE homes.
After dinner we got a few duraflame logs at Walgreen's(it was chilly last night), and had a fire in her backyard in Riviera Bay.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Pizza and Will Ferrel...

Went out last night to Channelside for some Pizza and a movie. We wound up at NYPD Pizza, next to Hooter's in Channelside. Great Pizza, thin NY style with a crispy crust. You can get by the slice or a pie ranging from 10" to 18". They have sit down service, or take out. It was tasty and fast.
We then went to see the Will Ferrel movie 'Blades of Glory'. Channelside was hopping for a Thursday evening, the movie was Will Ferrel at his best, lots of out loud laughs, and just plain silliness.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Boring Tampa Weekend...NOT! Airfest, Grand Prix, Italian Fest....

Picture Perfect weather, tons of things going on in town, who had time to be bored??
Started Friday night having dinner with Lisa and some friends. My buddy from New Tampa had a friend fly in from Tulsa, OK...first time in Tampa. We met at my house in South Tampa, and headed to Lime on Howard Ave in Hyde Park. VERY busy this Friday eve, we got there around 845pm, and there was a 45 min wait. We hung out at the bar, they were playin some Brazilian/Spanish music, place was jumping. We opted for the large part table at the bar, which had 4 seats opened up. We were able to gets eats and drinks from there. The food was OK at best this time out, we all ordered Chicken Enchiladas which were kind of bland, Bryan got the Steak Tacos, which he said were good. The music got a bit loud after 10pm, and we couldn't talk to one another without screaming, so we walked over after eating to Whiskey Park SOHO, not too busy, good DJ playing, the pool tables were jammed. We got a few drinks in the 'lodge' area of the club(it looks like a lodge, all wood), and proceeded outside where the night temps were great. After a few there(im still on the water habit, and enjoyin it!!), we went to Mangrove's down the street. Again, a decent crowd around 11pm, and the tunes were just flowing from the DJ upstairs. Very loungy, we got a booth on the first floor, and did some people watchin for a while, then sat outside on the deck, until we got the itch to dance, so we headed over to Hyde Park Cafe. DJ's Freddy Fernandez and Tony Faline had the Dance side really groovin', the center courtyard in the place is real nice, gathering area, and the Hip Hop side is ok, if that's what your into. Place had alot of empty 'Reserved' tables and booths all night, don't know why they just lower there reservation standards, instead of holding out all night for those special peeps that spend $300..i think they are missin out, we just wanted to get a bottle of champagne, they wanted us to get more to be able to sit at a table..there loss, many were left empty all night. Still, HPC is one of the best neighborhood dance clubs in the area.

Saturday, my brother and sis in law came down with the baby. My brother and I went over to 'Sweetwater Kayaks' on Gandy and 4th street to rent him a kayak. We were taking the kayaks out in the Bay at Picnic Island to watch the Blue Angels and the MacDill Air Show. What a perfect place to watch the show, there were NO crowds at all in Picnic Island, granted your not right on the base, but you can see most of the show from the park. We got into the bay, and there were lots of boaters around, it was a blast! The Blue Angels were incredible. Saturday night, I went out with Bryan and his friend from Tulsa, OK to Bella's in Hyde Park for dinner. We met some other friends there, again, Bella's pars up there as one of the top three Italian Restaurants, everything was very fresh, service great. We then headed over to Jackson's on Harbour Island, we watched the Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey game on the outside deck over looking downtown Tampa and the River/Bay. Our Tulsa friend was VERY impressed so far with Tampa. Tunes were playing in the background, but it was nice to be able to sit outside on the water, talk, watch the game, and of course, do some people watchin'. We all eneded the night with some Gelato at La Casa Dolce on Howard Ave in Hyde Park. This place has the BEST Gelato, and great desserts. This time we sat on their front patio, watchin the partiers bar crawl along Howard Ave.

Sunday, as if the past two days were not enough, it was off to the annual Italian Fest in Ybor City. The family and I got there early(around noon), and were able to get in and try lots if Italian Treats, by 1:30, there was quite a crowd, but it was fun, and there was alot going on, Ybor was VERY busy. My brother and I had free tix to the St. Pete Grand Prix, so we headed over there around 2:30. No problems with traffic or parking(we parked in Roser Park neighborhood, a GREAT historic area downtown St. Pete), and walked over to the races. LOUD, FAST, AMAZING! I'll definitely be going back again year after year. Earplugs next time, so many corners, and tight curves through downtown and along the waterfront, for General Admission tix, we were able to walk around the whole area, and get some really good views. Westshore Pizza wrapped up the night(seems like a Sunday eve tradition kind of)...and im off to Baltimore and Jersey this week for work....another killer weekend here in the Bay area.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket