Monday, May 28, 2007

Tampa Bay - Memorial Day Weekend 2007

Amazing weather this Memorial Day weekend! Very dry, breezy, sunny days, and cooler than normal evenings with great breezes...PERFECT(as long as you weren't on a boat)...
THURSDAY my buddy from LA came to Tampa, I picked him up from TIA(so damn convenient to park in the garage for free, grab his bags and head up to the top deck for a great view), we had to scout out the area for Heffe Weisen beer-first the Rainbow Mart Package store on Westshore, then Sweetbay Liquor store on Gandy, the the Warehouse Wine and Package on Gandy, only to settle for Corona's.....we relaxed with some chilly ones on the patio, and ordered Westshore Pizza. Had some friends come over and we headed out in Tampa for the evening. We met up at Mangrove's on Howard Ave in South Tampa, only a few people in the bar, DJ was spinning downstairs a mix of 80's/90's dance tunes. We tried to get some eats from the late night menu, but the manager demanded that we had to wait 20 more minutes(unitl 10:30pm) to order off the late night..with only a few people in the bar, I really didn't understand this thinking, and was extremely disappointed in Mangrove's!! We ventured out in South Tampa down Howard Ave to MacDinton's..there was a VERY lively crowd, many outside on the patio enjoying the cool breezes. I ran into some people I haven't seen in a while, and we chatted with quite a few people in for the Holiday weekend. My LA buddy was not too happy as they didn't have Heffe-Weisen, but settled for Hoe Garden beer instead(he insisted we get Heffe-Weisen everywhere we go)...we then ventured off to Whiskey Park a few blocks down, the crowd was ok, DJ was spinning here as LA buddy mentioned he was bored, so we left to the MCD's drive thru and called it a night.
FRIDAY we finally got out of the house around 1pm to head to Fort DeSoto Park. We parked along the grassy side road on the way to the North Beach area. The beaches in this area are so wide, and there is so much space, you are practically out there on your own, plenty of room for frisbee throwing, and the water was a lukewarm 82 degrees. Some of the most pristine beaches in Tampa area are here at Fort DeSoto. After the beach it was time to prepare for the Mojito and Meatballs party I annually throw different times of the year..since my buddy was in town, I decide this would be a good time to get some friends together for refreshing mojitos and yes, meatballs(the frozen balls are great heated in Pasta Sauce, served with toothpicks and crusty bread). After the rum was gone, it was a quick walk to the Green Iguana Westshore in Tampa for some shots, and great live music. Then it was on to Hyde Park again, this time Dubliner, where there was a great guitarist outside, and some interesting people to watch and mingle was about 2am, and we were a little hungry so some of us headed to The Deck for Pizza and beers, while others ventured to the packed MacDintons.
SATURDAY I wound up picking up my LA buddy at Rainbow Mart on Howard Ave in South Tampa at 11am..I didn't even want to know what kind of mischief he got into last night, just glad he was safe and not in jail. I dropped him off to sleep off his drunk stupor, and I headed to St. Pete for a great bike ride from 62nd Street to the Pier in downtown St. Pete. It great to bike through a variety of really nice neighborhoods in northern St. Pete along the waterfront Tampa Bay - Riveiera Bay, Venetian Isles, Snell Isle, Old Northeast to name a few...Tampa's Rock station 97X was hosting the annual memorial Day BBQ at Vinoy Park, with a number of bands and events at this all day long festival along the Tampa Bay in downtown St. Pete...again great breezy day, and DRY. A quick nap and it was out to dinner, we ended up at Seven17 on Howard Avenue in Hyde Park are of South Tampa...again! Seven17 is nice, they have outdoor seating, but it was pretty busy this evening around 9pm. A few disappointments will not have me coming back here soon for dinner, the meal didn't come out for about an hour, my filet was very rare when I ordered it Medium, and not once did the waiter ask how everything was, I had to tell him after a while, and he just shrugged his shoulders and just said "sorry bout that"...oh well. Being kind of tired from the Bike ride, we looked for a relaxing Saturday night, so we went to Fly Bar on Franklin Street in downtown Tampa. An excellent spot for great drinks, rooftop bar, eclectic surroundings, and there was a trio of guitarists and a bongo player..very cool and relaxing...then we checked out the new bar across from University of Tampa called The Retreat Bar, on Hyde Park Ave. The Green Iguana guys fixed this place up, great juke box, pool tables, dart boards, and a variety of beers, and ONLY beers...we played some darts, they did a great job fixing the place up, and are adding a restaurant soon.(The Retreat was the original name when it opened in 1938, there is alot of history to this place.)
SUNDAY I took my boy to the dog beach at Picnic Island in South Tampa. VERY busy today, but still alot of space for the dogs to explore and roam around the beach. My LA buddy decided it was time to visit family, so he took off for Ft Myers, and I headed up to Wesley Chapel for lunch with my brother, sis in law and my new nephew. Leaving South Tampa, and Tampa in general on the way to Wesley Chapel, I was what seemed like millions of love bugs...uggg, all over the wind shield and front bumper! There was some heavy mating by Lovebugs this season...Later Sunday evening we went to my friends in the Historic Roser Park in St. Pete, and took there boat out into the Bay to drive it over to dinner at Fresco's, on downtown St. Pete's waterfront. Not a great idea, as we got out of the channel and into the Bay, it was sooo rough, we had to head back, and just drive it to the restaurant, and the fact that the rough seas caused a lil bit of a spillage of our red wine we were drinking to kind of make a bit of a was alot of laughs though. Dinner at Fresco;s was great, a bit pricey, but the outdoor seating and views are worth the price. The food is excellent as was the service. WE then headed to BayWalk for some Ice Cream, and then called it a night watching "School of Scoundrels" on Pay Per View(hilarious movie).
MONDAY-MEMORIAL DAY, hung the American Flag out today, and did the family thing, we BBQ Brats and such in the backyard, enjoying the last of what we feel will be a non-humid, dry, breezy perfect weekend in Tampa Bay! One last note, I inherited a new little girl to my family, 5 year old Rica, a min-pin, from my brother. I have always thought about getting a second dog for my boy, and they wanted to keep her in the family, but two border collies, and a new baby were too much for Rica, so I was able to take her in, and very happy to have her!
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