My brother flew in on Wednesday night, no better way to welcome him than an evening at the Green Iguana Westshore in the neighborhood, live music, dollar anything to drink, good times! The next afternoon, the rest of the family came over and we walked over the the Iguana for lunch, again a great hit, eating outdoors on the Tiki Deck, very juicy burgers, large fresh grouper sandwich and an amazing Caribbean salad with shrimp. The crowd was a bit different than last evening(biz people on lunch, and locals). After work we all went down the street with the little one to Picnic Island, where we tossed the disc for a while, and played on one of the two larger playground areas with the toddler, both with great views of Tampa Bay. The evening brought more family members over to my house, and we decided on one of the largest take out orders i've ever called in to Peking Chinese Take Out on Manhattan Ave and El Prado. Even with the HUGE order, everything was cooked perfectly, my uncle swears it to be the best take out in the area, I have to agree.
Friday, went with some friends and my bro and sis in law to 717 South for dinner, sitting outside along Howard Avenue. Food as been consistently good here, the Asian Pot Roast, Grouper Special, Chicken Firenze and Buffalo Mozzarella and Tomato Salad. We tried the Spinach Egg Drop Soup which everyone exclaimed was the best tasting soup. All dinner were served with 717 House or Ceasr salads, a large portion, and also fresh bread with an Italian Sauce and cheese for dipping. After dinner we walked up Howard Ave which was getting busy by 10pm, to Mangroves. the DJ was not set up yet, but there was great lounge type music playing downstairs in the bar area and outside deck...we then ventured off to Hyde Park Cafe for dancing..I decided to give the place another shot after my bad experience last year, and if you make reservations ahead of time, you wait on no lines, and no cover charge. A great looking crowd, and of course DJ Tony Feline spinning some great tunes. By around 100am, the place was packed, and it was time to leave, but we wound up stopping at the Dubliner for one, where there was a great live band outside on the deck. With taxi's waiting outside along Howard Avenue, we got a ride back home, where one of us crashed in the house, and us others...went to Green Iguana of course till closing. On the walk back home, m,y brother waved his arm out at a taxi, and instead of a block ride home, we went to Waffle House down the street for a late night snack....it was a Great Long Friday night!
Saturday, we woke with lots of plans on our minds(Riverwalk Platt Street Bridge Opening, Gulfport Springfest, GreenThumb Festival, Pondscapes Pond Tour, the Beach)....being a bit tired, some of us went on the Pond Tour to a few homes in South Tampa, great to view how people landscape their backyards, in some of the nicest neighborhoods in South Tampa. By noon, we all took off for Anna Marie Island, about 45 min drive from Tampa. This beautiful island and small village town is just east of Bradenton. The waters were crystal clear, sand a very fine powdery white, and we were in a very secluded area with not many people around. Made for a great relaxing beach day...rafts in the Gulf, paddle ball and frisbee on the beach, tunes playing on the radio, sandwich's in the cooler.
Sunday was another relaxing day heading over to Pinellas County and the GreenThumb Festival, one of the largest plant and garden festivals in the Tampa area, some friends of mine had a booth, showcasing many of the Exotic and Tropical plants and services they offer from Exotica, Inc. tropical nursery on 22nd Ave South in St. Pete.
Work brings me to Orlando this week, and then it's off to the Florida Keys for a nice long weekend.