Tampa Recap

August 20, 2019

While we were in FL, we drove over to Tampa for another daytrip because we like to pack our days with lots of activities & break up the trip with various destinations. While we enjoy laying beachside for hours on end with the soothing sounds of Brian Wilson’s voice singing Kokomo on repeat (& yes, I realize this probably some people’s personal hell. Namely, Brian Wilson), there is only so much beachin’ a near two year old can handle. Keeping her growing mind & busy hands occupied (with something other than fistfuls of sand intended for eating - see my previous post), was imperative to our survival as a vacationing family of 3. But, as Filch would say, we needed to have our wits about us, so coffee was required.

We started our morning with a quick stop over at the Donut Experiment. This place is actually in Indian Shores, but was basically on our way to Tampa. This isn't your average donut shop, guys. You get to design your own donut here, with everything from the base, to the endless flavors and frostings, and an impressive amount of toppings. I was boring and went for a vanilla rainbow sprinkle, because I panicked at the last second, and sprinkles are always a win in my book.

With our bodies sufficiently fueled and running at a safe 100% caffeinated level, we hit the road for Tampa. Our first stop was none other than Oxford Exchange (because what kind of blogger would I be if I didn't check this place out?)

So Oxford Exchange is really interesting because it really isn't just one thing but a combination of several. Oxford Exchange is part restaurant, part coffee/tea house, part boutique, part bookstore, and all around hangout/meeting spot (the great hall area has some Harry Potter vibes). There was food, coffee, and books - so basically I was in heaven. Barry on the other hand, not so much - too hipster for his taste. But I digress.

I felt like I fit the Oxford Exchange vibe in my outfit, which my husband (lovingly?) refers to as "Farmer Chic." Whatever, I'm into it. Also just going to call myself out here and say I have no idea why I post so many photos of me demurely touching my hat. I think it's just a blogger/instagrammer thing, and I do this completely on autopilot now, like, "oh my my, let me just gingerly touch my hat, lest a gust of wind come through and blow it right off my dainty little head!" (somehow I'm hearing this in my head with a very thick Louisiana accent). Yup, even I am eyerolling at this, but hey, these were the only good ones out of the bunch & I was feeling my outfit & had to share. As Tim Gunn would say, "Make it work!" (which coincidentally is also the motto for any time my hubs takes my photos. 50 snaps and maybe 2 that work? Challenge accepted.)

All of that pretend shopping had us hungry (correct, we didn't buy anything. We're those people), and lucky for us, Tampa has one amazing foodie scene! We settled on tacos and stumbled upon Green Lemon. We drove past and I saw this rainbow mural on the side of the building & pulled in (smart marketing, guys. Ok, Green Lemon: you have my full attention.) 

This taco joint was so vibrant and just bursting with personality. The decor was fun and the food was delicious! Then again, it's pretty hard to mess up tacos...

I ordered the "Cerdo Perfecto" (pulled pork, black beans, bell pepper, sweet plantains, and mojo vinagrette) and the "Ancho Chicken" (grilled chicken, avocado, red onion, queso fresco drizzle and chile de arbol sauce). We also had to get the Trio Dip (guac, queso & lime salsa) because one type of chip-dip is just not enough (plus, #indecisive).

After lunch, we wandered around a bit (there's tons of street art in Tampa, much like St. Petersburg) and then what do ya know, we got hungry again - this time for dessert! I'd seen some pretty epic milkshakes on instagram at a place called The Hall on Franklin (which is basically the bougiest food court ever constructed), so we set off in search of sugar to quell our (mostly mine) raging sweet tooth. Unfortunately, the epic "cake shake" from Bake n' Babes I'd seen on insta cost a cool $30 (picture a literal piece of cake or cupcake perched delicately atop the most epic milkshake you'd ever seen). I'll do it for the gram just as much as the next girl, but even $30 was a bit steep for my taste. So I settled on a waffle shake and Barry got some kind of death by chocolate creation (& bonus, both were well under $30! Huzzah!). 

The Hall on Franklin also has some pretty cool bathrooms. Yup, I went there. I'm officially that girl & am not above taking bathroom mirror selfies. I'm fully embracing this life, y'all.

And of course, no trip of mine is complete if it doesn't involve a brewery. One of our favorite pastimes (vacation or not) is checking out new breweries, especially when we travel. We hopped in to Hidden Springs Ale Works (because it was 2 steps from The Hall on Franklin) and sampled a few of their beers and watched an artist working on her mural for the tap room. 

Our next and final stop of the day was Cigar City Brewing. The beer here wasn't really all that special to me, but what I did love was the back room that was kind of sectioned off from the rest of the brewery, which meant Lilly could run amok & explore, while mama was safe from prying, judgey stares. Have at it, baby!

Lucky for us, all that running around & general excitement of the day really wore her out, so we had a nice quiet ride back to our hotel. While I wish we had a little bit more time in Tampa, I feel like we still got to see & do a lot. Next time though, I'll definitely have to plan an extra day, and I can't wait to go back!

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