Last weekend CSP & I took a quick 4 day trip with his parents to Tampa. The main goal of the trip was so CSP & his mom could go to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game against CSP’s beloved Minnesota Vikings. The trip down was fairly uneventful, if loooong. We found our hotel then went to grab a quick dinner at Mimi’s.
The next morning we got up and had the hotel provided breakfast. We were in a Homewood Suites and it was quite nice. CSP and I had one room, then there was a living room, then CSP’s parents in their room. Great set up. After breakfast we got ready for the day and hung out in the room planning our route for the day. Once it was all figured out we headed toward Ybor City (pronounced EEE-bore) to go to the Columbia Restaurant for lunch.
The Columbia is Florida’s oldest restaurant. It’s SO cool! And as you can tell by the pictures, it was a GORGEOUS day!!! Such amazing details and architecture. You could spend a whole day there looking at everything. We arrived right at 11:30 am and it was a good thing because the place really filled up and had a wait by the time we left. CSP was so excited to order a real, traditional mojito, complete with sugar cane! They bring each person their own warm loaf of Cuban bread. And all the waitstaff are in tuxedoes. Very nice. I ordered the Pollo Riojana. It was so good. CSP enjoyed his Bean Soup and the 1905 Salad that they make right by the table. So mad I didn’t get a picture of our sweet server tossing that up! We even had desert. We shared an incredible White Chocolate Bread Pudding. The best I’ve ever had.
After lunch we went into the Columbia’s gift shop. CSP bought the salad dressing from the 1905 Salad, some hot sauce and a cigar (which he still hasn’t smoked!). Then we hit the road looking for the beach!
CSP’s mom really wanted to see the Gulf of Mexico since we were so close. We thought about going to Clearwater Beach where I used to go as a child. Boy has it grown! It was so busy you’d think it was the middle of the summer, not the end of October! So we drove over to Sand Key and drove until we found a public beach access. It was such a gorgeous day I would have been happy to nap on the beach and swim but we had other plans. We did get to walk around a bit on the beach and put our toes in the water. I could have stayed all day!!! But it was time to get back in the car and drive over to St. Petersburg. We drove around looking at the city a bit and went to a park for a little while. Then we found a Starbucks for drinks. I tried the Shaken Green Tea Peach Lemonade and it was delish! By now it was starting to get late in the day and we were thinking about where to have dinner. There were a couple of ale houses CSP was interested in located in St. Pete so we did a quick drive by. Oops! They were having their Halloween parties a little early so they were packed with costumed party people. We even saw a clown throwing up on the side of the road. At 5:30 in the afternoon! They party hard in Florida!!! So we headed back to Tampa. Let me tell you that each trip from Tampa to Clearwater to St. Pete were not short. Traffic- the struggle is real in Florida. And people drive like maniacs. So we spent the better part of the day just in the car trying to get places!
We found ourselves back in Ybor City (Tampa’s Latin neighborhood) for dinner at Tampa Bay Brewing Company, a place visited by Guy Fieri on Diner’s, Drive Ins, and Dives. I had the beer cheese soup and the Firecracker Shrimp. Best beer cheese soup ever! CSP really enjoyed the wings and house brewed beer. You can see the big brew tanks behind us. After dinner we were all tired from our long day so we went back to the hotel and promptly to sleep. I love sleeping in hotel rooms. It’s so dark and the sheets are so crisp and smell faintly of bleach. Ahhh.
Sunday was game day! We woke up and had hotel breakfast again then I laid down with a nasty headache. CSP came in to say goodbye and he was off to his game. I napped until about 1:30 then showered and got ready for the day. FIL wanted to go to Mimi’s again for lunch so we headed over there. After lunch we went down toward the stadium to find a place to park and wait for CSP & MIL to get out of the game. We found some shade in a grocery store parking lot and waited. Then the game went into overtime. Luckily I had my phone with me so I passed the time texting friends and cruising Facebook. We were parked on the main drag so once the game let out all the fans were walking by our car. So fun to people watch! Drunk people, families, people all decked out in team wear. We found CSP & MIL and they were starving. So we went to Miller’s Ale House back near our hotel. I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of CSP & MIL in their jerseys. They looked really cute. At Miller’s we heard a play by play of the game. I needed a cocktail so I ordered a creamsicle. Very yum. We hung out at the Ale House for a couple hours watching the late football game. Then it was time to go back to the hotel and pack up to leave!
We hit the road fairly early the next morning but ran into major traffic around Orlando so we didn’t get home until about 11 pm. CSP fell asleep as soon as we got in the car. The pugs were happy to see us and we were happy to see them! They were very well taken care of by our BIL, who stayed at our house the whole weekend and sent us funny text updates throughout.
Now we’re all rested up and ready for our next adventure!