A gastronomic tour of our Tampa favorites

2 Sep

While packing for our next, month-long, vacation, I realized that I am really going to miss this little city I now call home. Sure, I am so excited I might die about our train trip from Toronto to Winnipeg, north to Churchill to see the polar bears migrate, back to Winnipeg, across the Canadian Rockies to Vancouver, over to Victoria, down to Seattle, San Francisco, Las Vegas, then home! Phew! I get a little lightheaded in anticipation of such a fabulous vacation! But I have learned to truly love a lot of things about Tampa. Mostly food. And I know I will miss them while in Canada. You can only eat so much poutine…

We immediately became huge fans of a little pizza place called Pizza Pazza. It’s tucked away inside an Italian restaurant on Harbour Island.The view of downtown is beautiful and the pizza is fantastic, which is very important to us, as NY transplants.

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My favorite, the Mediterranean.

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The view is fabulous, even on a rainy day!

And if you aren’t in the mood for pizza, they have other stuff too. The Husband looooooves the chicken parm sub, even if it is way more food than he needs.

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HALF of the chicken parm!

And the company is fabulous. Whether you sit at the bar and talk to the owner about beer, wine, or sports, or sit at a table for two and listen to live music, it’s always a fantastic dinner out at Pizza Pazza.

When I’m craving a lobster roll I head to Taste of Boston in Ballast Point Park. It really, truly, is a taste of Boston.

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The perfect amount of lobster, mayo, and toasted roll.

And, just like Pizza Pazza, the view is stunning. My favorite animal is the pelican, and there are plenty of them frolicking around in the water.

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Pelican pelican, your mouth holds more than your belly can!

We live next to Holy Hog, a BBQ place. The Husband loves ribs, chicken, sausage, all the things they serve them. I do not. I’m not a vegetarian, but I don’t particularly care for meat. So when the Husband wants ribs and I don’t feel like eating just sides, we break my “no chain’ rule and go to Grillsmith. I must confess, I love Grillsmith. The food, the wine list, the sangria, the happy hour, all of it. I even won a gift card on their Facebook page once. The staff is fabulous and never ever disappoint. One of the best waiters I have ever had was there.

I always get the same thing, the crab and shrimp burger with a side of mac and cheese.

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My go-to meal.

The best part is that I always have half a sandwich left for lunch the next day.

Of course, living in Tampa is not complete without a trip to Frenchy’s on Clearwater Beach for grouper sandwiches and sangria. Hands down, the best grouper sandwich and sangria ever. The sandwich comes a bunch of different ways, but I always get the buffalo grouper (obviously). The sangria has just the right hint of cinnamon and I could just drink it and drink it on a hot summer day. If only I had my own personal chauffeur…

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Do yourself a favor and go there RIGHT NOW!

Every month or so we head to the Loew’s Don Cesar for lunch or dinner. Everyone knows about my obsession with the Pink Palace. So whenever the Husband wants to drive over the bridge, I beg to go there. Luckily, he almost always complies (a shout out to whomever told him “happy wife, happy life”). We always sit at the bar and usually Mario is the bartender. He has a memory like I have never seen before. Not only does he always remember us and what we drink, but he’s usually right about what anniversary we are there to celebrate, if that’s what brought us there. The food is really pretty good, and they used to have a fabulous watermelon gazpacho that was to die for. Unfortunately, they haven’t had it in a while. But they have added one of the Husband’s favorite meals to the menu, chicken and waffles, but with a twist. And it’s actually really good, even the picky Husband loves it.

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Don Cesar’s version of an Atlanta classic.

I usually get the quesadillas. I don’t know what makes them so yummy, but I love them.

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And while I travel through Canada and the northwest United States, I know I will miss the food that has helped me call Tampa home.

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3 Responses to “A gastronomic tour of our Tampa favorites”

  1. girlychristina September 3, 2013 at 12:47 am #

    Oh, great choices! I am a Tampa native, and the food here really is great. =) I love going to Ballast Point Park and seeing the pelicans there! It also has one of the best views of Tampa Bay. =) Enjoy your trip! It sounds really amazing.

    • Patti September 3, 2013 at 5:58 am #

      It took me a while to appreciate the Tampa food culture after moving here from NYC but I’ve truly grown fond of many places. Thanks for the follow! I’m hoping to have lots of posts on my trip, especially polar bears and the northern lights!

      • girlychristina September 3, 2013 at 9:29 am #

        Oooh, polar bears and northern lights! =) I’ll stay tuned for sure!

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