Monday, March 30, 2009

CRAZY-BUSY-FUN Tampa Weekend

One of my blogger buddies indicated to me that is was a CRAZY-busy weekend...and indeed it was, as are many....

With the perfect 'spring' weather, on Friday after work, headed out to Tampa's Hyde Park neighborhood and Cork on Howard Avenue across from MacDinton's. With a new large outdoor patio both in the front and side of Cork, there was plenty of room to enjoy some great wine or beers al fresco...and do some great people watching at the HUGE crowds of pretty people all lined up to get into MacDinton's for their Friday Happy Hour...its like a circus on Friday's in MacDinton's, a great time when i was a bit younger..not too much into the crowded, beer fests that occur there on Friday's(by the way, you can ourchase a beer at Cork, and get a wristband to get into MacDintons - no waiting and no paying $10 for a wristband..great deal). Cork has a small menu of mostly Appetizers like cheeses, meats, Bruschetta's, and olive trays that all go great with the large variety of wines by the glass and bottles(very reasonably priced too), and also Salads, and Flat Bread pizza's. They also have a large selection of beers from around the globe. Service was great and friendly, always on top of things. We had several others join us from the mass across the street, and easily they accommodated us all outside. The Crostini's with dips were very tasty to snack on, buttery toasted sliced cuban bread, with Hummus, a Tomato/Garlic and Spinach/Artichoke dip. We ran out of Crostini's for the dips, and immediately our server brought us more, no questions asked. The Portuguese Sausage pizza was also delicious, thin crust, perfect amounts of cheese and delicious sausage.
After a few hours here, we wondered over to the SOHO Tavern on the corner of Howard Ave and Platt Street where we ran into yet more friends...and casual place, full liquor bar, and outside patio along Howard Avenue...with plenty of flat screen tv's throughout to keep up with College Basketball Finals....then it was a quick walk to Mangrove's, only to be rudely told by the door guy that men are not allowed in with Sandals...even though we were dressed with nice Jeans and collared shirts, a pair of nice sandals could not make it in the door. I would figure in these days with the economy, people that were willing to spend some cash on expensive drinks would not be 'shunned' off, but my guess is that Mangrove's feels they can pick and choose who they let in, so things must be going very very well for them...and I say good for them, I understand dress codes, but in Florida, especially Tampa, FL...and the fact that a nicely dressed guy with Sandals can be refused, but scantily dressed woman with barely any shoes on are more than be more Mangrove's for me(EDIT---I talked to Sam the owner, he was VERY VERY VERY apologetic and insists it is NOT their policy to not let anyone with sandals, they want to maintain an 'upscale' atmosphere, but underestand that sandals are a Florida norm with a nice pair of jeans and collared shirt). It was then a ride over to South Tampa Green Iguana to end the night with a great live band, and plenty of fun my sandals.

Saturday, weather couldn't have been better, but wow was it BREEZY with constant 15-20 mile an hour winds. The skies were all clear, and no place better to be than on the Bay to enjoy the annual Air Show that MacDill AFB puts on. Since it is always so crowded down on the base, we went to Hula Bay, off Westshore Blvd, just south of Gandy Blvd. Even better, we caught the 19 Bus just three houses down from my house off Westshore responsible of us. Hula Bay was busy, not too crowded, lots of pretty people along the pool side and cabanas, even though the Bay was very rough, there were boaters out there that had docked along the many slips and docks along Hula Bay. We had a perfect seat to watch the Thunderbirds put on an amazing show, flying over head the restaurant and bar numerous times, lasted over an hour. After the show, some more friends stopped by and we proceeded down to the lower level of Hula Bay to Duke's...another waterfront bar with about a dozen tables, you dont need a reservation for to be seated. We found a nice table, great waterfront view, and an even nicer server, Jessica, who took great care of us this Saturday afternoon. Food was great...HUGE blackened grouper with Blue Cheese, on a very soft potato like roll, thick thick Steak Fries and homeade Claw Slaw was my order...others enjoyed the Lobster Rolls(sushi tempura style), Garlic Shrimp, Grouper Bites, Mahi Mahi, and Chicken Sandwich...all very very good....lots of great fun to be had at Duke's or Hula Bay, professional friendly service...all from the Green Iguana people...getting there by boat, car, foot, bike, or even bathing suits and t-shirts, or nice shorts and a polo shirt..its a come as you are and enjoy....a DJ played pool side at Hula Bay, an excellent guitarist was in Duke's entertaining everyone.

Sunday it was time for Family Fun Day to return, and I met my family at Channelside to take in an early movie since the clouds were still around from a very early Sunday morning thunderstorm, which was clearing up around noon. before my family arrived to Channelside, I went to an Art Show called "Duets", it was in one of the galleries at the Channelside complex and featured art and lyrics from John Lennon and the Beatles and Jerry Garcia....great way to see what exactly alot of the songs they wrote were really all about, and there works were being sold to benefit the Children's Cancer Society....Yoko had many of Lennon's art pieces colored in for the event...there were friendly people there to explain many of the over 150 pieces on display.....Channelside was very busy, two cruise ships were in, so people were milling about everywhere......I don't do many move reviews(I go at least once a week)...but I will say that "I Love You, Man" is a funny, roll in the aisles, laugh out loud kind of movie...we all had a good time with this movie. After the movie, we decided to play tourist and take the StreetCar to Ybor City, about a mile up the road from Channelside, for the annual Italian Festival. The Streetcar was very busy, $5 for all day rides($2.50 all day for Seniors). We made it to Ybor in about 10 minutes, not bad on this authentic vintage streetcar system, which is definitely more for show and tourism than actually transportation.(My uncle mentioned it would have been alot less expensive and easier to maintain if it was just and electric bus line with a dedicated lane like the streetcar), but it was definitely different. Ybor Ciy was VERY busy, the skies had all cleared up, it was dry and breezy, perfect for yet another festival....trying out the Italian Sausage and Peppers, meatballs, Eggplant Fries, Canoli's...and great Italian entertainment. Al Martino was the headliner, seemed most everyone at the festival made sure they got a glimpse at this guy, who was in the Godfather movies, and a huge star in the 60' family new all the songs, you could see many dancing in the streets....and it was interesting to see the authentic Italians from Tampa who were descendants of the immigrants that came over in the late 1800's to work the cigar factories, and there families all together for this annual festival. Before heading back on the streetcar back to channelside, we had some delicious Argentinian dinner at El Puerto on 5th Aveue and 17th Street in Ybor.

Another perfect weekend to a close....hoping that work this week flies by...St. Pete's Festival of States, Grand Prix, First Friday are just some of the happenings coming up this upcoming weekend.

No comments: