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.
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