Monday, October 27, 2008

Biking on the Beach and Tampa's GUAVAWEEN 2008!

Saturday was a great day out, fall is definitely here, it was dry and mostly sunny, temps hovering close to 80..a great day for a bike ride. We headed over to one of my favorite parks, Fort DeSoto, parked near the boat ramps where the bike trail in the park begins. The park was barely busy this Saturday, after a little over an hour riding the paths, with great views of the Bay, Skyway, Gulf beaches, we stopped by the Fort for some great homemade lemonade while climbing to the top of the Fort.

Tampa's annual Guavaween festival was set for the evening. Before attending the 23rd annual event that draws close to 100,000 to the Historic District of Ybor City, we got all in costume and headed to a friends pre-party at the Seybold Condos in Hyde Park. This restored Bread Factory had a nice rooftop deck, great views of the city, and within the two hours we were there, we had some great laughs at some of the costumes showing up...most of them were all going to the All Hallows Ball being held at the Performing Arts Center this year.
Guavaween was not as crowded this year as it typically is, it was a great crowd, another fun time...going bar to bar, meeting LOTS of interesting people. As for our costumes, in spirit of the Rays being in the World Series, we dressed up as Evan Longoria's(3rd baseman) white trash girls fan club...and were a HUGE hit in Ybor City!!

It wasn't a good sports weekend for Tampa Bay...USF Bulls lost to Louisville, Tampa Bay Bucanners lost to Dallas, Tampa Bay Lightning lost to San Jose and the Rays lost to Philly in the World Series game 4.

Monday, October 20, 2008

USF Homecoming; Biking and Jazz in Clearwater

Saturday afternoon, we went up to my Alma Mater's Homecoming Football Game, USF Bulls vs Syracuse Orangemen. We killed Syracuse, 45-13, in an exciting game for most of the first half, then we just dominated. It was alot of fun, tailgating before hand and seeing some Alumni in the Stadium at half time near the Ship as we do every year.

Sunday, we took the bikes over to Clearwater, and rode the Pinellas Trail through downtown Clearwater, then over to Clearwater Beach along the BeachWalk which is looking great, a major improvement to the area. Lunch was at a place I havent been in a while on the beach, Post Corner Pizza, probably the best Greek Salads, huge hunks of Feta Cheese, and they came with some Gyro and perfectly seasoned and moist chicken on top...back on the Bikes, we went to downtown Clearwater again, listened to some Live Jazz at the Annual Clearwater Jazz Holiday at Coachman Park along the Intracoastal...we then hopped on the bikes and rode the Pinellas Trail up to Dunedin, a great little town, with excellent shops and restaurants, a few blocks off the Intracoastal waterway...a perfect day to be outside, Fall is settling in nicely here in Tampa Bay area.

Sunday night was the Rays clincher against the Red Sox, we WON and are off to the World Series against the Phillies. GO RAYS!!


Friday, October 17, 2008

Busch Gardens "Howl O Scream"

A crew of us went to the Annual "Howl O Scream" at Busch Gardens Thursday evening...the park transforms itself at night into a very dark, and supposedly scary was definitely very dark in the park...Busch Gardens is typically not open in the evenings except special events such as this, and some summer nights. A totally different atmosphere at night, with all the rides open, the coasters are a even wilder ride at night time. There was a very party-like atmosphere, with DJ's set up throughout the park, and about half a dozen Haunted Houses and some shows scattered about.
Note to Self: make sure to check the School schedule before going next time...since the schools were closed Friday, the park was the most crowded I think I have ever been..its open from 7:30pm to 1am on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays through the month of October. By 7pm, there was already lines of cars getting into the parking area..we were in for a VERY busy night. We were able to ride a few coasters, and walk through a few houses. One house reminded me of the old Texas Chainsaw Massacre house, with strange people milling about the very dark and eeery corridors, excellent make-up and special effects...ALL of us were scared at one point or another. Thursday's are only $20.00 with a group of four, otherwise it is over $60.00 to get in on Fri and Sat nights. Next time I go it will be on a Thursday when the kids are not out of school the next day...alot of Fun, A ton of laughs, very Interesting themed areas..and definitely different! You will scream and be entertained....

Sunday, October 12, 2008

An evening on Franklin Street in Downtown Tampa.

Friday late afternoon, we went downtown Tampa, and started the evening at Fly Bar, for some happy hour cocktails...its a very cool place, the rooftop was empty, but by 7pm, the place was filling up, all the tables on the outside patio were was then a stop at the Hub for an extra strong cocktail they are known for in this very smokey dive joint along Franklin Street...the 'clip' Film Festival was keeping things busy in front of Tampa stop was a new restaurant/bar called Boss Hogs, very walking into a western saloon, there was an upstairs balcony overlooking the place...we tried the wings there, they had a very different type of sauce, and were very small....we then heard about a new invention they thought of that night called "reverse wings"...tossed in a blue cheese sauce, and give buffalo sauce for dipping. Last stop was Hattricks to watch the Red Sox/Rays game, place was very busy, cold drinks and good food as ususal.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

'clip' Film festival and Dinner in Downtown St. Pete

Wednesday evening, I got back from an emergency meeting in Atlanta(I had to fly up there in the morning after getting back from Jersey City the night before), and decided to partake in this years 'clip' Film Festival. It is said to be the third largest Gay and Lesbian Film festival in the country, as far as number of films and length of the program(almost two weeks). The film we saw was Clapham Junction, playing at the Baywalk theaters in downtown St. Petersburg. Very interesting plot and story line where the three different stories kind of intertwined into one by the end. Prior to the movie, we went for dinner at Parkshore Grille, took advantage of the great October weather dining outside, with nice views of the water and parks along Beach Drive in downtown St. Pete. Parkshore always has great food and service, this trip was no different, starting out with the Stuffed Meatballs appetizer, about eight small meatballs stuffed with blue cheese in a beef sauce(great for dipping the bread)....and a small "Wedge" salad, great dressing and crisp and cold....for entrees it was the Salmon, perfectly cooked and flavorful, and also the Parkshore Salad with Chicken.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Nina O's new Grille and Bar; and a Kayak Day

Friday after work, went over to a new restaurant that opened up in South Tampa called Nina O's Grille and Bar(they say the Grille comes first because of the great food). They did an EXCELLENT job rehabbing this place that used to be an old strip club, dive bar. Beautiful large bar area, clean modern fixtures throughout, lots of windows and natural light, 11 large flat screen tv's throughout...uniquely, you get your own speaker brought to your table to listen to whatever you choose to watch. The place was packed, but the new outside patio had tables available and a TV outside as well, to watch the 2nd Rays game. The patio had some nice plantings and a few fountains......A friendly server brought us our speaker(we were the only ones outside at the time), menu's and explained the special of the day(all you can eat fried fish and sides). We started with Wings which we were told came breaded, but we could order them naked if we wanted, but he suggested the breaded because they were a house specialty...and they were HUGE, very lightly breaded and fried, almost like southern style, with a little heat. A Turkey and Ham sandwich, which I was told was very good; Patty melt, very fresh Angus beef patty with Swiss cheese and sauteed onions on buttered Rye toast..perfect and delicious!; Also a Philly Steak sandwhich, piled high with meat, my buddy said the meat was slightly luke warm, but he ate the whole thing. The sandwich's came with very fresh potato salad made with red new potatoes, very light mayonnaise, very light flavor. One sadwhich came with Pasta Salad, very overcooked pasta in an oily mess. It was all good, nice relaxing outside, but noticed that the Patio is where the smokers go from the bar to smoke, it was a friendly, family style Grille and Bar...I will be back, they now do Brunch on Saturday and Sunday mornings. One note, DO NOT PARK AT THE LOT NEXT DOOR(thrift store), they lock the gates at 9pm, good thing I had my 4Runner.

Saturday took the kayaks out to a new area, the War Veterans Memorial Park in Pinellas County off Bay Pines Road. Great park area, very wooded and secluded, they had an excellent launch site for the kayaks into the Intracostal waterway...paddling the area there are many private islands to explore, you can even paddle through John's Pass over to the beaches of Madeira or Treasure Island! A great day to be out on the boat.

Both the Bucs and the Rays are playing at the same time this afternoon(4pm)...good thing I got new batteries for the remote, as I will be doing some switching back and forth between the games this afternoon.

Work takes me to Jersey City till Wednesday.