Visitors came into Tampa for their first trip ever here...I believe they had a great time lounging by my friends pool on the Bay, soaking up the excellent weekend weather..yet again!
Friday we all went over to Busch Gardens, there was a front that came through and produced huge rains for the morning, but by noon, all was cleared up, and it turned out to be an excellent day...with barely anybody in the park this past Friday, we were able to walk on all rides and attractions...FUN!! We miss the "free samples" of Anheiser Busch beer products that the park used to give out, and they have now turned the Hospitality House into a Cafe, SELLING beers as they do throughout the park..we also noticed prices for food have gone up by $2...the BBQ was great yet again near Sheikra...and its always nice being able to casually walk around and see lots of animals and exhibits between some of the best roller coasters ...I saw an exhibit I've yet to see all the times i have been to the Gardens, the Hippo Gorge near Egypt.
Saturday was a perfect day for yet another outdoor festival, the annual Hyde Park Art Festival, in the Village. Over 200 artisits from all over the world converged in the Village, excellent creativity...we were able to grab a nice table outside of Rastaurant BT for their sandwich's (Lemon Chicken and Sliced Tenderloin), served up on some of the freshest, soft warm baked bread(rolls), and served with a tangy Cucumber salad...Mojitos were on call for the afternoon, and they were excellently prepared here at BT. After walking through the village, and Hyde Park neighborhood, we stumbled upon the Tiny Tap on Morrison Ave near Howard Ave for a pitcher of beer and some socializing in this, one of the oldest bars in Tampa. Simple, plain, cheap bar with Pool tables, TV's, Foosball, a Juke Box and some video games...
Saturday night..Italian food was calling the visitors, so a trip to Ybor was on call for the Laughing Cat...as I have written many times, THE place for Italian in Tampa. Before dinner, we visited a few places..Gaspar's Grotto patio was having a Great Dane Rescue charity party, then we went to a new Mexican place called Cinco de Mayo..it was the old Sushi place Sushi on 7th, and they did a great job inside the long stainless steal bar, where we had some Margarita specials, on the rocks, with Salt. The it was a trip to Columbia's bar, where there was a piano player and small band playing very cool tunes, and we imbibed on the Imported Red Sangria, and as my friends all said, it was PERFECT. Of course I was giving them a little history along the way to Laughing Cat restaurant...Peter was our server this time, and as usual GREAT SERVICE-GREAT FOOD, all were happy and very full, but not too full that we couldn't stop across the street at Streetcar Charlies for an after dinner drink, the Club Czar, where I had to take one of them cause he is a Liquor distributor, and LOVES his Vodka...and this is the place in Tampa, with over 50 varieties of Vodka from all over the world, he was in heaven...a few ice shots that they pour any brand of vodka in an ice shot, and then throw the ice shot against the wall...great DJ's were playing in both rooms of Club Czar.....then a stroll over to Reservior Bar, where Momma did what she does best(besides bartending), and took one of my friends, (the birthday girl), over the pool table while everyone watched, and gave her the Birthday spankings...a tradition in this place when Momma has the time. It was nice to see all the wait staff from Laughing Cat in the Reservoir Bar, we were able to have quite a few laughs there, before hitting up Green Iguana a few blocks down on 7th Avenue, only to find about 2 dozen people in the whole place...with no band(only acoustic) in the one room, and a DJ in the other room spinning dance tunes...we knew it was time to head home, but you cant leave Ybor without a slice of late night Pizza..so off to Demi's Market, where they usually have a band, but this night the bands ended there around midnight...and then a safe Taxi ride back home.
Sunday they all took off for Pass-a-Grille beach, my favorite in the area when you want a beach with some restaurants and shops, but not overwhelming, its a small town/village like just south of St. Pete Beach.