As you may already know, next month we'll be living in Florida. For the first time in my entire life, I'll live outside of my beloved Arkansas. As we get closer to moving, I have found myself getting more and more anxious. Though, like any real adventure, I believe the move will be great for us and stimulate our growth as a family as well as in our professions. Each time I start to feel doubtful, I look back at the photos from the trip we made in April, and get excited all over again.
There are several places I can't wait to return to food wise. We had the best luck; Every restaurant we ate at was a hit. At Boca, I had a killer brunch with quiche, mimosas, and roasted potatoes to die for! It had a nice atmosphere (complete with fresh greens growing on a wall inside) and was in Hyde Park, but it didn't take itself too seriously. Not only did we have perhaps the best waitress in town, Boca had a hangover special on the menu that consisted of a breakfast sandwich, a PBR, and brown paper bag which I thought to be pretty clever.
My favorite meal from the trip was a toss up between the turkey, apple, brie croissant at The Independent and the fish of the day served with greens, cornbread, and a sweet corn puree at The Refinery. Both restaurants are in Seminole Heights, a neighborhood I just cannot get enough of. We were fortunate enough to be visiting during the neighborhood's tour of homes, and were thoroughly impressed with its historic features and preservation efforts. Our hope is to find a home in the area (fingers still crossed the perfect place comes through for us)! In addition to The Refinery and The Independent, we had an awesome meal and listened to a kick-ass band at Ella's Americana Folkart Cafe. This place is top-notch, and their soul-food Sunday is not to be taken lightly. I'm talking bloody mary's served with a pork rib atop and plate-licking good homemade bacon mac and cheese -- also in Seminole Heights!
I must also confess I should have NEVER tried Oxford Exchange's Coffee Nut iced coffee. OMG! It's going to be habit forming I am afraid. Oxford Exchange is probably the nicest bookstore I have ever entered. Near the University of Tampa, they have a great cafe (lunch was stellar) and a market next door where they serve up all these on-the-go coffee's and smoothie drinks. Sadly, we were there the weekend before Anna Rifle Bond of Rifle Paper Co. visited and just missed that amazing event. Anyway, you should follow their instagram @oxfordexchange because I am pretty sure it's like the coolest place in town.
So if Oxford Exchange is the coolest, Schiller's is screeching in at a very close second place. If a design and architectural salvage yard exists it is always where I am going to end up. They had the biggest selection of old doors, windows, iron work, and barn wood I had ever seen. Such an eye for detail these folks have! We will definitely be back! I have to pick up some fun letters for sure.
I'll admit that I was totally skeptical of Ybor before we visited, but it's vibe sucked me in immediately. The smell of insanely good Cuban coffee coming out of the shops, watching cigars being rolled through the street windows, and chickens roaming around the sidewalks - I honestly didn't want to leave!
On the last leg of our trip we got to enjoy some beach time! We stayed at the Postcard Inn in St. Pete's, a really cute motel right on the beach. It was such a great break from the stress of home buying, trying to make offers, and line up inspections. I loved the details of this place: green vines, wood worn naturally from the salty air and splashes of water, and cute details painted along the hallways. Really, I can't wait to get back to the PCI beach bar - killer sandwiches, watermelon salad, and endless icey cold margaritas. We had a blast watching college kids drink too much and played a little volleyball. My favorite part was when a 19 year old said she thought I was her age :)
Once we get settled in our new city, I am sure plenty more Tampa photos will follow as I begin to explore, camera in hand, and start to spread my roots. I hope to get some good shots from all the Seminole Heights restaurants I mentioned, too. You'll definitely want to stay tuned!