Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Independence Weekend in Tampa!

Another good buddy of mine flew in from Chicago on Wednesday night, after picking him up from the rooftop short term parking deck at TIA(one hour free parking and great views), we headed for Cityside and Green Iguana Westshore to catch up and mingle with the locals in the area. Thursday we headed for Vero Beach, straight across State Road 60 from Tampa, about a 2.5 hour ride, to his sisters place on the water in Vero Beach...beautiful home, great catered party, LOTS of fireworks!

Saturday we drove back into Tampa, and did some relaxing at my friends pool down in the Port Tampa City neighborhood, a bit south of where I live in South Tampa. Dinner Saturday night was at Yoko's for Sushi, we all shared some of the best rolls in the area, Ive blogged lots about this place before, still my fav. It was then off to Ybor City to partake in the 1st annual Gaybor Days. Starting out at Spurs, there was a brief power outage and one block in Ybor was out of power for a few hours, Spurs happened to be one of those places. It was then onto Streetcar Charlies, where we met up with a bunch of other friends, enjoyed the videos that played to music. Next up was G.Bar, where there was no cover and $1 drinks till 11pm, it seemed each place was busier than the next. On to Club 714 and The Forge for a bit, then it was back to G.Bar to close out the night....don't go out to these places much, but this end of Ybor was ROCKIN' this evening, I believe the 1st Gaybor Days was a success, and was glad to be able to contribute and run into alot of people I haven't seen in quite some time.

Sunday was brunch at Mad Dogs and Englishmen on MacDill Ave in South Tampa, GREAT food on the Brunch menu, but service today was a bit slow, as we had the bartender for a server who had to come out from the bar anytime to tend to us, and he forgot about us a few times. Very apologetic, it was the food that made the Brunch worth the visit(we had Crab Benedicts, Bacon and Cheddar Omlet with English Sausages and Steak and Eggs and an order of Hummus. Back over to Ybor and the Muvico Premiere theaters, a bunch of us really enjoyed the move "Wanted", and as we left the theaters a major storm was brewing so we hopped on the elevator in Centro Ybor and had some dinner at the Tampa Bay Brewing Company. Ive always ate outside , and this was my first time inside, nice casual with the Brewing Vats inside to view, and a pool table, very long bar area. Seems that weren't ready for the rush of people this Sunday in Ybor City, as service was EXTREMELY slow, again a very apologetic server...we did finally get our food which consisted of Pizzas, Calzones as big as your head, Salads, French Onion Soup, Meatloaf...all the foods have a bit of one of their many in house brewed beers, and they did offer us free beers for the wait...we weren't much into drinking after the long weekend.

Monday was my buddy's last day in town, we headed to Clearwater Beach for lunch and some beach time. Ended up at Shepards, free valet parking, great large open deck in the back right on the water...live band was playing, and plenty of tables for dining. We munched on some wings and had a HUGE fresh Grouper sandwich and Fish Tacos...both very tasty. We managed to lay by the pool at Shepards afterwards, and take a dip in the Gulf at their small beach area, all while listening to live music...my buddy mentioned how the place really felt like vacation, I just thought about how nice it is to have all this about 30 minutes form my house and year round. We washed up after the beach and went over to Westshore Mall, my buddy needed to do a bit of shopping this last evening, and then over to International Plaza, where we ended the night at Bamboo Club with anther friend of mine. Always liked Bamboo Club, lively and authentically decorated place at the Bay Street area of Intl Plaza. Sharing the Maui Beef Explosion, Chicken with Mushrooms and Asparagus, Chicken Fried Rice, and Lettuce Wraps, plenty for the three of us, with enough left over to take home. Sitting outside having some coffee's at Starbucks while listening to the live music blaring from Blue Martini, we were reminiscing on the loooong very enjoyable Holiday Weekend.

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