Monday, September 28, 2009

Date Night in downtown St. Pete

Friday evening we ended up going to 400 Beach Seafood and Tap House...WOW, what a great choice...valet parking along 5th Avenue was full, but we found street parking in the neighborhood a block away...upon arrival, we noticed there was a HUGE list of waits(the place is HUGE by the way, and very loud inside, great bar area, a few separate rooms for banquet and group dining of the hostesses advised that there were several tables outside with no wait, and we took one of those and were seated right was a beautiful evening, great views of the bay and pier...the menu was excellent, lots of seafood choices, great appetizers, and over 20 beers on tap, I tried the Widmer Drifter, and we ordered Flash Fried Calamari - cooked perfectly, tender, excellent seasoning, and a great sauce for dipping; for meals I had the Ahi Tuna with Lobster Risotto - HUGE piece of Tuna, coked perfectly, and a nice dipping sauce, the Risotto had huge chunks of Lobster, in a very cheesy and delicious al dente pasta; my date had the artichoke stuffed Grouper, again another HUGE piece of moist and tender grouper, atop perfectly cooked and seasoned greens..we both shared each others meals, they were excellent, and im looking forward to my next trip back.
We then walked over to the Gelato place, and walked around the waterfront, finally grabbing a seat along the sea wall...there was a great breeze...a perfect evening.

Saturday we went up to Orlando to visit some college buddies of mine, and watch the USF/FSU game at one of my friends retsaurants, CityFish...they had $20 wing and buckets, $5 slider and fish taco specials...all very good, it was a fun atmosphere to watch the games...USF beat FSU 17-7. That evening we went and saw Juliette Lewis perform at the Social in downtown Orlando..she was very entertaining in this small venue that only holds about 200 was then up to Skybar afterwards. Finally crashing at the EoInn, another palce my buddy owns, and nice historic Inn in downtown Orlando.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Meetings, Parties, Biking and Football

This past Thursday, me and a friend ive know since 2nd grade(thanks Facebook), had some dinner in Hyde Park Village at the Wine Exchange. Sitting outside was nice with the cooling fans, and we had some of the best and friendliest service from Dion...she was one of the highlights of the evening...the food is almost always good here, Cuban Salad with Blackened Chicken, the large was enough for more than two, and a perfectly cooked Filet. The mistake they made by putting the Gorgonzola cheese sauce on the meat was quickly corrected, and Dion insisted we have dessert on her, and we did, an amazing Chocolate Cake with Chocolate moose inside. A nice walk through the village after dinner made a great ending to catch up with an old friend.

Friday I had a meeting with a friend, we met at the 9 Bangkok restaurant on Central Avenue in downtown St. Pete. It was easy enough to find a parking spot on the street along 1st avenue, there was so much activity going on this night in downtown St. Pete. Excellent service in this small, quaint Thai/Sushi place, the food is the best...We shared some Sushi rolls, all very fresh, although the Spider Roll was sliced a bit thin, and left the crab to fall apart when picking up with chop sticks...and also the Duck special, and a spicy Curry sauce...very very tender, moist and again very good. A nice walk through downtown to the Coffee Shop across from Jannus Landing led to good conversation and excellent people watching...downtown St. Pete attracts ALL KINDS. And it so nice to be able to go out anywhere in shorts and flip flops in downtown St. Pete.

Saturday, a buddy of mine and I were going to check out the new off road Bike Trails at Balm Boyette, but he had never been off road biking, so we went to a place for novices, Wilderness Park Off Road biking trails in New Tampa area off Morris Bridge Road. Been here plenty of times, great trails for the beginner, some technical spots...he mentioned how nice and quiet it was, very woodsy, alot of fun.
Saturday night was the USF Bulls game against Charleston Southern...USF won 59-0, and unfortunately Grothe was finished for the rest of the season due to a torn ACL. Its FSU next Saturday!! A bunch of us went to an annual 'end of summer' party in Port Tampa City neighborhood of Tampa..then escaped to Green Iguana, Baxters and City Side, with a 3am breakfast stop at iHop before calling it a night.

Sunday turned out to be a relaxing day for watching the games, and I met my friend from Friday night, and we went over to Hula Bay for some early dinner..sitting outside with great views, watching the thunderstorms blowing in from the Bay, and enjoying the Mahi Mahi Tacos,,,they provide large portions of grilled or blackened Mahi Mahi..with rice, black beans, lettuce, tomatoes, Guac, cheese, sour cream, and fresh soft tortillas...make em how ever you like them...awesome!!

IM looking forward to heading to Orlando next weekend...Juliette Lewis in concert at the Social in downtown Orlando...good times!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Lunch with the Tampa Bay Lightning

This past Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey Team(2004 Stanley Cup Champions) opened up the Forum to the public for Free Lunch while watching them practice on the ice. It was a nice gesture for the group, Hot Dogs and Cheeseburgers, and plenty of them..and it was great to look over the new Roster, and watching them practice on the Ice. It also gave some new comers an ability to see the Forum.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Labor Day Weekend in Tampa!

Sometimes im out of town for the holiday weekend..this time I was not, and did the local thing in was a great weekend.

Friday, ending work a bit early, some buddies and I headed over to the Bucs preseason home game against the Texans. Arriving near the stadium about an hour early, taking MacDill Ave from South Tampa to the neighborhood just east of the Stadium, we found no traffic, and were able to park conveniently at my friends uncles place a few blocks from the stadium. On the way there we saw lots of parking opportunities from the neighbors for about $5 per car, which is ALOT less than the $25 Tampa Stadium charges. We also stopped by a party house, about a block from the game. Seats were great, game was ok, Bucs are not looking so good...that's another story. After the game, which we left early, we headed to meet some other friends that we saw at the game at SOHO Tavern in Hyde Park on Howard Avenue....the district was hopping on this Friday evening, and then ended the night at Green Iguana Westshore.

Saturday evening about 8 of us went to dinner to Pelagia Tratoria at the Renaissance hotel in Intl Plaza. Very nice, upscale, modern decor, the kitchen rests inside the restaurant for all to view. Their menu is very upscale tastes of Mediterranean styled seafood, meats and pastas. I will say that the service was excellent, and the food was even better...Risotto of the Day, Sea Bass, Veal stuffed Ravioli, Seared Scallops, and a few Chicken dishes..not a complaint in the house....after a nice long dinner, we went upstairs to Bay Street, and Blue Martini...a $10 cover gets you in to a live band, and very pretty mostly 30s and 40s crowd....after hanging out in the 'mall' lounge, we headed to Baxters Lounge for a nightcap.

Sunday did an afternoon in Ybor, seeing 'Inglorious Basterds' the new Quentin Tarintino movie, in great Tarantino style, entertaining. Then a walk over to the Green Iguana to sit outside along 7th avenue, and enjoy some of Tampas best burgers and people watching, always a unique crowd on the streets in Ybor City. Sunday eve was my friends birthday dinner, and she wanted Mexican..there were about 8 of us together, and my fav mex place, Algustos on Kennedy, was unfortunately closed this Sunday Labor Day eve the next best was Miguels also on Kennedy Blvd. Great food, fun atmosphere, friendly service...and free flan and Mexican song/dance for the birthday girl....we then went to a friends Skypoint Condo downtown for some after dinner drinks and meet some other folks before heading to the 60th anniversary party at the Hubb a block from Skypoint.

Labor Day, met a friend for dinner at Hula Bay...was a perfect ending to a great weekend...beautiful sunset along the Bay, great food as always at Hula Bay.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

TampaIam Back from Colorado

Back from a very nice loooong weekend visiting family in Colorado - Golden and Colorado Springs...some highlights included seeing Depeche Mode at Red Rocks Amphitheater, must be one fo the nciest amphitheaters to see a concert, and all natural venue, huge rock formations providing the perfect acoustics and viewing.. i wll now be making this an annual visit each year. Golden is just a pefect little town, just like the old west...Aces Lounge, Buffalo Rose, Table Top Mountain Inn Cantina, Naures Food Store, Farmers Market, Cold Creek Park...and then just overall family time with the two of my brothers and their families.