Culinary Crawls around Tampa Bay
I recently wrote "A Culinary Crawl Down Boliche Boulevard" and have become more interested in the idea. Trib food writer Jeff Houck did something close about a year ago, but I prefer to stick to a single street. Of course, Boliche blvd is Tampa's Columbus Ave. The highlights: the usual Cuban suspects (Le Teresita, Arco Iris, Lincoln), Snack City, Antojitos, Grass Roots, and a new favorite for me, Brocato's. I'm still surprised that so few old timers seem to know about this place. It is Tampa's answer to Chicago's Portillo's, with all the local favoites.
I'm also tyhinking about new tours. In Tampa, Armenia, Howard, 7th Avenue, and even Hillsborough or MacDill are obvious choices. Other ideas? what about good chow streets in Pinellas? 4th Street?
I live in Ybor and I have been unwittingly doing the Columbus Ave Crawl. It's is a great strip to cruise and just pop in somewhere to eat. Thanks for the tip on Brocato's, we'll hit it up soon.
I definately think Ybor deserves some love. Though you couldn't isolate it to just one street, within just a few blocks we have some really great and/or unique little joints. Cepha's, Creperia, Jalapenos de Ybor, just to name a few.
Great blog Andy!
Armenia would be ok, but most of the restaurants are bordering on mediocre. That being said, Ceviche and Royal Palace Thai are the exception.
Although all of your ideas for future tours are good, I feel that the small town of Dunedin puts the big city wannabe's of Tampa and St. Pete to shame. There are so many great choices, all within walking distance and culinarily diverse. Your best bet is to start off with a beer at the Dunedin Brewing Company and then go from there!
I'm in for the crawl idea and will send you an email.
I strongly disagree that the restaurants on Armenia (or close to it) are mediocre. Going north there is: West Tampa, the Pupuseria, Happy Fish, Mi Mexico, La Lechonera (I prefer Mi Pueblo, but it's still good), El Paisa, A new Colombian Truck which I have not been to yet, La Casona Caribbena, La Antioquena, Yummy House, China Yuan, and the Colombian and BBQ place at the top where it turns. These are just the places that I have been to (oh yeah, I went to Wholly Smoke, but that was mediocre). If we did Armenia, which I would be happy to do, I kind of hope that we could stop in to the places that we haven't been to. You know what, I think I understand the problem now that I read your post. You are thinking of Armenia in South Tampa. In that case, your assessment is entirely correct.
Central Ave should defiinitely be on the list. I'm also intrigued by the 50th street Mexican suggestion. And of course Armenia would be an epic expedition. A group crawl would allow all to try a huge variety. If anyone is interested, please email me at email@example.com
I'm thinking sometime in October...
Howard or MacDill might be good for variety... Various cuisines...
I never did a food crawl before (drinking yes) ---so 'variety' might materialize as a nauseous mishmosh, I dunno...
I never wrote the word mishmosh before, hah!
Cruising Armenia could be like a multi-hour latin tasting menu, with maybe a touch of Yummy or Yuan...
You'll have a lot more fun if I go, so--- I'm in...
Nice piece. I enjoyed the read and the pictures. I cannot wait to check out Brocato's. If you ever decide to make the crawl a social thing, let me know. I have been trying for a year to get friends to do Armenia. I have been wanting to do a carribean crawl ever since your post on that cuisine. I was also thinking that it might be fun to eat Mexican all the way down 50th street to Bradenton. I have to make one small niggle on your post. Portillo's seriously pales in comparison to Hot Doug's (http://www.hotdougs.com ) or even Weiner Circle (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vo1LPf... ). Thanks for taking the time to write up your eating tour of Columbus Blvd.