Monday, February 6, 2023

Tampa Redux

We spent a few days in Tampa almost exactly one year ago, and this return trip is turning out to be just as enjoyable.

We found a bargain stay on Hilton points, with the fifth night free, at the Embassy Suites Convention Center, surrounded by restaurants, a riverwalk, and a free trolley that goes out to Ybor City, a quaint and historical neighborhood that was the cigar-making capital of the world in the early 20th century.

Our first night here we ate late at Garrison Tavern, downing pastrami-topped hamburgers.

We walked around the area yesterday, enjoying the watery views.

We never cease admiring these mooring slips with their electric hoists.

We hung out at the ES pool for awhile, and couldn’t help notice that the pool is similar in shape to that of the Hilton in Lima, Peru. The rectangular footprint of this ES (a narrow atrium) on such valuable property probably explains it.

Last night after a stop at the ES happy hour, we walked across the street to dine at Harpoon Harry’s, a Florida chain we just realized we’d visited in Key West a decade ago, in addition to our 2021 visit to this location.

We shared a meaty and filling “Cuban Egg Roll” appetizer.

Kathy enjoyed her snapper main.

Brian had high hopes for his seafood risotto, but was disappointed. 

The scallops were cooked perfectly. Sadly, the lobster tail, shrimp, and risotto were all over salted, and he left the last shrimp on the plate. Oh well…

Today we rode the trolley over to Ybor City, named after Vicente Martinez Ybor, the Spaniard who first developed the cigar making industry there.

After a leisurely 15-minute ride, we disembarked to wander around the scenic streets.

We even spotted, outside one of the cigar stores, a couple of politically incorrect Indians.

We returned to Thai Asiatic, a pleasing little fusion joint we’d also visited on our previous trip.

Truth be told, our light and inexpensive lunch was the most pleasing meal of the trip so far.

We bought advance tickets to visit the Florida Aquarium tomorrow, and can trolley over to within half a block of the entrance.

The temperature is just about perfect and the locals are friendly. It’s a fine place to spend a few days in February.


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