Thanks to all the generous hounds that made out trip to tampa great. I'd never been before and really loved the city, the little I got to see of it. 1920 era neighborhoods are my favorite--i'm a bungalow lover and Tampa has some fantastic neighborhoods, especially near berns and sideberns, where we spent our evening. It was a tough call. so many ideas. but dinner was at sideberns, dessert at berns and breakfast at la tropicana with a stroll through the (very small with few quality vendors) saturday morning market in Ybor.
There was a bike rally in Ybor while we were there, and didn't partake in the craziness at the bars. I took a walk early the next morning along 7th and i think we didn't miss much. The leftovers were enough. Honestly, we were just too full, dizzy and tired after the berns extravaganza.
The food: Sideberns had uniformly fantastic food. I ordered the chefs selection of 5 dim sum thinking it would be 5 small bits and it ended up being a small meal! Thankfully chad has a monstrous appetite. Although much larger than anticipated, everything was delicious. Chad's foie gras was the best i've had (although my experience has been small). Sidebern's service was excellent--I had our server choose a meal around my dim sum and he did a very good job. He also reccommended a very good pinot noir that complemented both our meals. His duck breast with pomme frites was the best thing on the table, hands down. Crispy skin, meltingly tender, rich but not heavy.
dessert at berns was great because of the piano player. some of you probably know his name. he has been playing there for years and and kept us cracking up in our wine barrel for an hour. we were one of only 2 couples in his small room and he was great fun to talk with. my cheese and fruit plate was very unmemorable. supermarket variety on both. cheese that was rubber with salt. but the flight of port was good. if i hadn't just eaten way too much food, I could have focused on their subtlty more. Chad had two vintage scotches. The wine/spirits list was formidable. I could go back every week for the rest of my life and just begin to try some of the rare and unusual vintages out there. how fun.
i loved breakfast at la tropicana. definitely the place to be for local denizens. i got there early and watched the place fill up with people who had obviously been meeting one another there for years. The cuban toast was fine and the cafe con leche pretty good, but the people were great.
Thanks to everyone who made this trip memorable. Let me know if you ever need recs in ft pierce/jensen/jupiter/wpb or st paul mn.