Monday, January 5, 2009

A VERY Happy New Year in Tampa!!

Another beautiful long weekend for the New Years Holiday...started off with ending work a bit early on Wednesday, New Years Eve and heading up to a good friends house for a small gathering in the Wellswood neighborhood of Tampa. Fireworks, LOTS of fireworks going off all night long, it seemed throughout the neighborhood, everyone was having some sort of fireworks was nice to be on the back deck, and seeing the explosions and sounds throughout the evening....we had some of our own as well...after the clock struck New Years, it was an easy call to United Cab for a taxi back to South Tampa, and a stop by the Green Iguana Westshore before stumbling home.

I was feeling pretty good on New Years day, and we went up to the Palma Ceia neighborhood for some breakfast at Pinky's, a very small cafe, with a few tables outside. Service was VERY bad this time around, seemed the servers wanted anything to do today except work....the bread on my buddies roast beef sandwich(which was piled high with rare roast beef) was hard and stale, the Egg Sandwich I had was just ok, but most importantly it was the lacking of service and rude ness that somehow makes me not want to come back to this place, there are so many other places nearby for excellent breakfast.
Later we met up at Centro Ybor movies for a late afternoon flick in the Muvico Premiere Theaters, my favorite with extra large leather seats, large armrests, full liquor bar and free popcorn, to see Jim Carrey in Yes Man. Afterwards we took our ticket stubs next door to Rock n Sports Cafe for some half priced appetizers while we waited for some friends to get out of there movie. The Chicken Quesadilla was stuffed with all white meat chicken and cheese, salsa and sour cream accompanied the delicious quesadilla, and it all went sown fine with a few ales. After meeting up with our other friends, it was Burger time, and Green Iguana in Ybor City was calling us with their excellent versions of my favorite burgers...Santa Fe, Florentine, and other burgers were all cooked perfectly, and there is nothing better after a night of drinking than salty, crispy, fresh crinkle cut fries that go along with the burgers. Live music, and a table at the open windows with a great view of the passerby's along 7th Avenue in Ybor City. from what we were told, there were close to 50,000 people in the Ybor area for NYE, it was alot more quieter this evening on New Years Day night.

Friday, we decided to take the kayaks out and explore downtown Tampa. Putting them at the far end of Davis Islands, near the dog beach, it was easy access to the Channel, up along side Harbour Island and Davis Islands, seeing the beautiful mansions, and with the downtown skyscraper's getting closer and closer. Several Crews from the Tampa Rowing Club were out practicing along the Channel, and as we made up to where the Hillsborough River ends and lets out into the bay, it was a great sight to be paddling along side the skyscrapers....on the way back the over mile long channel, we were able play with a few dolphins...
After washing up a bit, we made it out to Yoko's with some friends for the freshest Sushi in Tampa, and then it was over to another friends house in the Palma Ceia neighborhood where about 20 of us partook on Karaoke in their not much of a singer, but who knew Karaoke could be so much fun amongst good friends. Ending the night at Green Iguana, of course.

Saturday, we went downtown for breakfast at First Watch, where the Bacado Omelet fullfilled me as always, there food as consistently been fresh and filling each time I have gone, and this was the best service I received there to date. We walked over to Indigo Coffee for a drink, and then walked over to the new Tampa Firefighters Museum on Jefferson and Zack Streets. Its so new that we had to buzz someone to come down and let us in...its small and has about a dozen displays, old trucks, interesting facts, a memorial area, you could probably go through the entire museum in 30 minutes, they even have a gift shop. It compliments the Tampa Policy museum, also downtown, very nicely. They only accept donations.

Sunday, it was a nice day for biking.... the city we started along Bayshore Blvd near Bay to Bay Blvd, heading towards downtown, and proceeded along the Riverwalk through Channelside and up to Ybor City. A nice ride along 7th Avenue, all the way east to 34th Street, and south we stopped by McKay Bay Nature Park and Trails...where we biked alonga few paths, and a boardwalk that meandered through mangroves into a lake. On the way back, we stopped downtown at the Oaklawn cemetery, very interesting graves dating back to the mid 1800's, and then headed north up to Tampa Heights neighborhood, on the way back through downtown, we biked through University of Tampa and Plant Park, down through Olde Hyde Park neighborhood, and back to where we started at Fred Ball Park along Bayshore Blvd. GREAT RIDE...I found this site to do more tours of the Tampa area this year Bike Tampa.
After a nice break, went over to Oldsmar to see the movie 'MILK' -great story!! This was the only theater in the Tampa area that was playing this movie, and afterwards we stopped by a new place called Flamestome Grill...very surprising, we wanted to know if this was the only one, and it is a first, soon to become a franchise...polished, perfect service, elclectic dining, excellent menu...there was nothing bad to say about the 9oz Filet that came with buttery and whipped potatoes, and perfectly cooked veges, or the 14oz RibEye and Parmesan Oysters(their version of surf and turf)...a must if in Oldsmar area of Tampa Bay!

Back to the grindstone for this looking forward to my first overseas trip next week to Italy for two weeks!!

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