My little Brother was in town this past week and we spent a lot of time showing him some of our favorite places in the area. We had to work two days in the middle of his visit and there was also a holiday tossed in there (NOTHING happens on Labor Day in the Tampa area apparently), so we didn't even come close to doing everything we wanted to do. We still had a great time and it was nice to see him for the first time in years.
The second my Brother arrived we took off for the Florida Fairgrounds to attend the World's Largest Food Truck Rally Ever. There were 99 food trucks and 32,000 people to break the Guiness record for the most food trucks assembled at one event. It was pretty packed, but we arrived early and didn't have too many issues. After about 30 minutes of trying to get in and park, we were in front of NYO (Not Your Ordinary) Food Truck. This food truck has been on my "to try" list for awhile now. They have game meat and other interesting grub. For the food truck fest they had kangaroo on a stick for their meat. We decided to go for it.
It was really freaking good (and it left me feeling really guilty a few days later....but we will get to that). It looks like steak, but doesn't really taste like it. I do not like steak and I loved this. It was tender, juicy and very lean.
Then we had Banana Whips form Gone Bananas (I got mine with peanut butter...so yummy), BBQ Brisket from Desert Wingman (a truck that traveled from TX for this event), my Husband had Red Beans and Rice from an Atlanta truck (I didn't get the name), my Brother had a Pastrami sandwich from a deli truck (again, I didn't get the name) and I had an amazing meatloaf and mac n'cheese sandwich from The Dashing Diner (a Sarasota truck). This sandwich was my favorite of the event:
|Banana Whip from Gone Bananas|
|Grilled Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf Sandwich with Mac n'Cheese and Homemade Ketchup|
We honestly didn't try anything that we didn't like. It was a great time, but super hot. Afterwards we decided it would be a good time to take Corey (my Brother) to Cigar City Brewery. It is our favorite local brewery and it is becoming really popular elsewhere as well. One of his Cincinnati friends was really jealous that he was visiting CCB and asked for a beer to be brought home. We couldn't get into the tour because it was Saturday and they were all full, but we still enjoyed some beers.
After Cigar City we stopped at Total Wine and More to show my brother all the different types of beer we had for sale here. We had several that he can't find in Cincinnati and he stocked up.
My Bro lived in the Tampa area about 7-8 years ago, so we didn't have a need to do all the touristy things in the area. We did however want to show him a lot of our favorite eateries and bars. So, we spent a lot of time eating a lot of great food. Here are the restaurants we hit up:
-Square 1 Burgers and Bar
-Seasons Cafe and Bakery
-Terra Mar Brazilian Steakhouse
-Da Sesto Italiano Ristorante e Vino
-Mazzaro's Italian Market
-Little Pepperoni (delivery..this places serves Italian AND Indian)
Corey loved all of the places that we picked. Like I mentioned, there were a lot of other places we wanted to take him to and we just didn't get to them. Urban, Square 1, Crowley's and Da Sesto are among some of our favorite restaurants right now. Most of these places I have done raving Yelp reviews for (see the right sidebar on my webpage to see all my Yelp reviews). I took a few pictures, but we mostly enjoyed our meals and enjoyed the company while we ate.
|Trip's Diner Blueberry Pancake and Canadian Bacon - this pancake was over a foot in diameter!|
|Trip's Diner - French Toast and Bacon|
|Seasons - Chicken Phad Thai (minus bean sprouts because they were out)|
|Seasons- Hibiscus Boba Tea|
|Seasons - Romeo and Juliet Shaved Ice|
|Da Sesto - Penne Arrabiata with Chicken|
|Da Sesto - Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken|
|Da Sesto- Capelli D'angelo with Scallops|
The one touristy thing we did do was Busch Gardens. We used to have Fun Passes and we would go dozens of times every summer when I was in High School. I can no longer ride roller coasters due to my spine damage from a car accident; but I was happy to wait in line with my Brother and Husband and let them ride. Unfortunately, we quickly found out that Busch Gardens roller coasters are not made for people that are 6'4. My "little" Brother passed 6 feet awhile ago, but had not been to a theme park in years. He was really bummed, but I was determined for us to have a good time. Luckily Busch Gardens is half zoo. We focused on the animals and rode the Congo River Rapids (a water ride that has a round raft that floats through rapids and under a waterfall) and had a lot of fun.
We were there on a Wednesday and it was pretty empty compared to my previous Busch Gardens visits. We lucked out in that we were able to witness an elephant demonstration and their "recreational time" which was pretty amusing. They love playing with large plastic blocks. The Busch Gardens employee informed us that they are like Kong's for dogs and had treats in them. We also had a lot of fun petting and feeding the kangaroo's. This made me feel incredibly bad about eating the kangaroo on a stick a few days before. I don't know if I would eat it again after interacting with these amazing animals. The boys thought it was funny.
|I adore Meerkats|
|This sloth was passed out upside down hanging from a tree and methodically drinking water. So funny.|
|I also really love lemurs!|
|The Kangaroos were spooked by the train and they all started hopping around - so neat!|
|This little guy was so sweet and fun to feed and play with|
We spent another day playing pool at a local Billiards place and we bowled a couple of games at the bowling alley. We had a great time with my Brother and we hope he will be able to come back soon.
My Brother and Myself:
Did you do anything special this week? Where do you take visitors?