Before the vacation: The Blind Tiger Café in Ybor City
A day before our vacation began, I went down to Ybor City to meet with Roberto Torres, owner of iconic Tampa businesses Blind Tiger Café, Black & Denim Clothing Company, and Cowork Ybor, for lunch. We had lunch at La Tropicana Café and talked about all sorts of things, including opportunities to collaborate.
I met Roberto at the first Tampa Company Culture Meetup and later at a Dali Museum workshop where I and a number of local creatives helped brainstorm ideas for a local business. If there’s something happening in town that involves making Tampa Bay’s urban areas better places to work, live, and play (such as the recent Millennial Impact Forum, which he MC’d), chances are that he’s involved, and I want to get involved too.
If you’re in Ybor City or Seminole Heights (Toronto friends: imagine Parkdale just before the Drake Hotel opened, but with a nearby palm tree-lined river), make sure to visit Blind Tiger Café — I recommend the nitro cold brew. If you’re in South Tampa (Toronto friends: imagine a cross of Yorkville and College West), a branch will be opening there soon.
On our way: Traipsing down the Tamami Trail
We packed up the car and started out for Miami on the morning of Saturday, July 1st. The photo above is of us filling up near Naples, where our course changed from southward to eastward.
In southern Florida, the fast way to shoot between the west and east coasts is to take that part of Interstate 75 called “Alligator Alley”, which connects Naples to Fort Lauderdale. It crosses the everglades and offers little to see except swamp, swamp, and more swamp, and is meant to simply be traveled through as quickly as possible.
Then there’s the Tamami Trail, a two-lane highway built in 1928. This two-lane highway doesn’t offer Alligator Alley’s speed, but as a designated National Scenic Byway, it makes up for it in scenery and quirky roadside stops.
It may also be the post office in the U.S. with the most laid-back office hours:
We had lunch at Joanie’s Blue Crab Café, a local legend, and deservedly so. This place is known for its delicious down-home cooking and extremely friendly service, both of which we experienced there:
Anitra had the blackened catfish salad, while I had the soft-shell crab sandwich:
Joanie’s Blue Crab Café offers more than a feast for the mouth, but for the eyes as well:
Don’t worry, they also have toilets indoors. In fact, the men’s room is an art gallery in and of itself, featuring a delightful gallery of nude and motorcycle photos.
If you pass through this area, don’t hesitate to stop at Joanie’s Blue Crab Café — it’s worth it!
Here are the reviews: