Arriving back in Tampa at 730am Wednesday morning(took the red-eye back from Denver), my buddy Larry from LA came into Tampa for a few days. We went over to Mad Dogs and Englishmen for a nice long lunch outside on the patio, and as always great food(Curry Chicken Salad, large enough to split for two, and juicy chicken sandwich with sweet potato fries), our server Summer was not her typical happy self, but who wants to work the day after Christmas..Larry and I were able to put a smile on her face by the end of the meal. Afterwards we went across the street to The Junction for some coffee and home made ice cream. This evening we met up with some friends, all in town for the Holiday, in Ybor City. Dinner was outside at Tampa Bay Brewing Company in the courtyard of Centro Ybor. It was eerily quiet in Ybor this Wednesday evening, the food and service were once again excellent at the Brew Co. After dinner, a few of us went to show the out of towners the new area of Ybor that is emerging, and throw some darts at Lounge 7 at 14. Again, not many people out this evening, we even saw a popular spot that is usually open and busy in Wednesday's close their doors by 11pm. By this time they had all wanted to stop by and meet up with some other out of town guests at City Side, which was busy as usual...and then a last night stop at Green Iguana Westshore.
Thursday I bought everyone lunch from Lenny's Subs..these have to be the largest, and freshest subs around. They freshly slice your order, pile it high with meats and cheeses, and the bread is made fresh daily. The Red Hot special sauce is one of the best toppings.
The evening brought us to Malio's for dinner. We had a table reserved for us outside on the patio over looking the Hillsborough River and UT minarets. It was an awesome atmosphere. For my second time here, I was again overwhelmed by the professional service, quality of food(filets with blue cheese, I tried the Lamb Chops which was smaller than expected but very tasty, Salmon was delicious, but came out a bit more done then we would have liked-the manager came quickly to apologize profusely and provide dessert on the house if we liked, Tuna was cooked perfectly and my buddy exclaimed it was probably the best piece of Tuna he has ever had....our sides which are all a la carte included a very cheesy macaroni and cheese, onion rings piled high on the plate, spinach with garlic and asparagus)...we were all there for about three hours just enjoying the company, atmosphere, food, oh and drinks...LOTS of drinks(Dirty Martini's, Coffee with Bailey's)....after Malios(we were the last ones there), we left to see some live music downtown and some of us did not want to stop the dirty martini train, so we headed a few blocks to Fly Bar downtown. A few people were in the bar, the rooftop bar was closed. We got a nice big table outside on the patio, and watched a great Raggae/Rock group, Jafari, who often came outside to sing and interact with us. By 1am, it was time to head home, but a few of us stopped by the Green Iguana Westshore for some more late night live music and played a great interactive video game at the bar. Looks like the last of the renovations is almost complete.
Friday some of us were hurting from Thursday, and I had to take my buddy's car back to him up in Cheval. I stopped by Five Guys Burger and Fries on Kennedy Blvd, cause there is nothing better for a hangover than a HUGE greasy burger with LOTS of toppings, and a bag full of FRESH CUT potato fries! If its fresh huge burgers, with over 15 free toppings that you choose, this is the place. Friday evening we went to a Holiday Party in the Historic Neighborhood of Roser Park in St. Pete, and then checked out the new nightclub in St. Pete, PUSH. It was time this place had opened, very laid back attitude, but very upscale atmosphere. A restaurant is on the ground floor, my buddy Jason did all the landscaping for the courtyards and it looked great. The second floor was the main bar with a huge dance floor and stage for performances. An excellent "lounge/dance" style DJ was playing great tunes to a mostly 30+ crowd. There is an outside bar area on the second floor as well, but the best area was the rooftop deck and bar, overlooking all of downtown St. Pete. As we headed back home, it was yet again anther late night stop at the Green Iguana Westshore, where hard rock band "IPD" was entertaining the crowd.
Saturday was Larry's last day in town, he was heading back to LA this evening. We took the kids to the dog park at Picnic Island, it was a beautiful day, as was this whole week. One thing about Picnic Island is it's a hidden oasis on Tampa Bay. The dog park on the beach is HUGE, and not many people know about it, there are actually hills here overlooking the bay and downtown St. Pete skyline..it makes for a great escape in South Tampa.
Before Larry's flight, we reserved a table for six of us on the outdoor upper balcony of CDB's south off Westshore. It was great to sit outside above Westshore Blvd, this was my forth time here, the service was good, our waiter had a bit of an attitude, almost like he just didnt want to be there. The Greek Salads were huge, a small is enough to share for at least three. The Pasta Fagoul was the worst I have ever had, the ear shaped pasta was over cooked and soggy, I hardly saw one bean in the soup. Meals came out and although this isn't the best italian food, it is good(the sauce is a bit thick and too sweet for my liking). The small Meatball Parm grinder was huge, almost a dozen homemade meatballs on large fresh italian bread.
After dropping Larry off at the airport it was either going to another Holiday Party, seeing my favorite band from the 90's, Tragic Rabbit-now called Three Green Windows-at Dave's Aqua Lounge, or just hunkering down with the Patriots/Giants game at home.....I stayed home!!
The looong weekend isn't over yet, my Aunt's 50th bday is today, tomorrow is the USF Bowl game from El Paso, and New Years Eve.
One of my buddy's with 'Jafari' lead singer at Fly Bar downtown Tampa.