Sunday, April 6, 2008

St. Pete Southern Eats, Tampa Bike Shopping and Kayak through Tampa

After a long week of travelling(NYC, Atlanta, and Richmond, VA), it was great to be be back home for the weekend in Tampa.
Friday evening, we went over to downtown St. Pete, it was First Friday, a special event they do every First Friday with live bands on Central Avenue, and the St. Pete Grand Prix was happening this weekend, they literally drive these Gran Prix cars through the streets of downtown St. Pete. Dinner was at Savannah's on Central Avenue and 11th Street. We were seated promptly outside on their patio area, the inside was very 'eclectic' looking with an upstairs and downstairs. We noticed when inside that there was no background music, and since the ceilings were very high, all you could hear was people talking and the clinking of forks and knives on their plates..some nice background music would have led to a better ambiance. Outside, the service was rather slow, and the waiter did not seem too happy to be there(no personality), plus he was training a new server at the same time handling the 5 tables outside. We started with Fried Green Tomatoes, only three slices, lightly fried with goat cheese and crushed walnuts, with a very light tomato sauce, they were just OK. For eats we had Salmon on Cheese Grits which was a very large piece and cooked perfectly, the cheese grits were very good. My side if Black Eyed Peas tasted like it was out of a can, very mushy in a bland tomato sauce(no ham hock). There was also a vegetarian plate we tried with a vegetable medley of overcooked zucchini and squash, some very horrid tasting sweet potatoes(even the server didn't like the looks of them), and a small black bean cake with a dab of sour cream, very bland. I'd like to try this place again, the menu looks very good, kind of Southern style foods with an eclectic twist. Afterwards we headed to the waterfront to have some Gelato, and walk around along the beautiful downtown St. Pete waterfront area.
Saturday, I decided to help a friend purchase a new bike. Before going hunting, we stopped off for some lunch in Hyde Park at Taqueria Q, some of the best Burritos and Taco's in Tampa, we took advantage of the great weather and sat outdoors along Howard Avenue. We then walked off the HUGE burritos and chips/salsa with a walk down Howard Avenue to Squaresville, a funky shop with 70's clothes, furniture and accessories...very cool place, like taking a step back ion time to your parents place from the 70's...great browsing. It was then off to Bike Hunt. There are lots of great places to bike both on road and off road in the Bay area, he loves just off Bayshore Blvd, and it's almost a MUST to have a bike if you live off the Boulevard. There are two great bike stores in South Tampa, a Trek dealer on MacDill Avenue just north of Swann Ave and Flying Fish Bicycles also on MacDill Avenue closer to bay to Bay Blvd. Both offered a great assortment of bikes, and no pressure sales, I almost got myself another Trek off road bike to upgrade my 10 year old.
Later that day we explored another area of the Hillsborough River via Kayak, putting in at Rivercrest Park in Seminole Heights. It was nice seeing the many different types of homes along the Hillsborough River in the city of Tampa, you wouldn't see this unless you actually was on the river, it was hard to believe we were only a few miles north of downtown Tampa. Trying to go to Rick's on the River for dinner afterwards, it was just way too busy, with a live band and rowdy we opted for HoHo's Chinese along Armenia Ave and Colombus Ave in West Tampa, a very small 'to go' type place with a few booths to eat in. The food was not as good as the HoHo's I remember in South Tampa along Howard Avenue, but it was decent Chinese food, and was nice to watch the huge rain storms roll out this evening as we sat and dined in the small restaurant.

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