To start off the weekend, I saw that tamparaces.com off road running and adventure group was holding their first of three annual races in Picnic Island on Friday evening. So a buddy of mine and I hauled the kayaks down the street to Kayak in the Bay, and watch the over 600 racers traverse through the beach, swamp, muck, waters, hills, and woodsy areas of Picnic Island. We got a great spot, watching all 600 trample upon one another about mid way through course through the thick muck and mud, some losing their shoes, some getting stuck, and all coming out as muddy as ever...very entertaining...then we paddled our way over to the beach area and finish line to see them all run about waist deep into the Bay, then back to finish the race....looked like FUN, but alot of agony. Their was a DJ in the park, and lots of food and beverages to be enjoyed before, during and after the races.
Saturday, we all headed to Ybor 's Saturday Market in Centennial Park to see if we could find some good Mother's Day's gifts...there were about 50 booths, alot of crafts and knick knacks, fresh fruits and veges, there was some acoustic guitar for entertainment..a much much smaller Market compared to St. Pete's, I got me some fresh Honey as I do every so often...we then walked over to Jalepnos de Ybor for lunch, on the corner of 5th Avenue and 17th street in Ybor City. A walk up window and you are greeted by VERY friendly order taker, that gives you the special of the day...today was Carnitas, with flour tortillas, rice and beans...VERY VERY generous portion and includes a drink, even beer....so moist, tender and flavorful...we also enjoyed on the side patio(all outdoor seating in a very shaded garden), Chicken Burritos, packed with meat and all kinds of fresh toppings. This place is a must for lunch when in Ybor...unfortunately they close at 2pm each afternoon, would make a great dinner, or even late night stop in the evenings...its really that GOOD!!
After lunch, it was the anniversary of the first Railroad from 1869, so at Historic Union Station in downtown Tampa, there was a celebration going on, with authentic model trains, and some historic booths detailing the streetcar and train tracks throughout Tampa, old pictures, and an opportunity to learn more about the National Train proposal throughout the country, and even TBARTA train service in the Tampa Bay area. A live band was set up outside the platforms, it was interesting to see so many people either embarking or disembarking on the Amtrak train that was in the station, and all those just serious to learn about Union Station and Tampa's old train days.
Sunday was Mothers Day....so the family and I took Madre to the Mothers Day Brunch along the Riverwalk in downtown Tampa. The Tampa Convention Center catering company put on a HUGE display of what seemed like a lavish Vegas Style Buffet,,,A new Orleans section, Wild Game section, Ybor/Tampa section, Asian section, Mediterranean section, Seafood Section, Italian section, and of course Breakfast section, and four kinds of meats being carved...You paid as soon as you walked in, and then were seated....a nice concept and if it wasn't for the company and the view, I prob would not have enjoyed it...in other words the food was just ok...most of it was very generic (Aramark does the catering), and for $40 per person, you would expect at least some culinary skills and more than generic foods...meatloaf, sliders, Mojo pork, Roast Lamb, all very tough or pre-formed meats....the seafood was fresh though, and we took advantage of that...most of the warming trays did not warm the food at all...it seemed you had to walk ALOT and far if you chose to dine outside along the Riverwalk. There was a nice String Quartet playing, but I cant say I will be back to one of their brunches(they also had one on Easter). After a 2 hour brunch, we took the TECO streetcar to Ybor City to enjoy a movie, Star Trek - which was entertaining - and then hopped on an open air streetcar back to the Convention Center. Mothers Day ended with Ice Cream near my house at Dairy Joy on Manhattan Ave just south of Euclid.