After a hectic few weeks, it was time for me to have a simple, relaxing, and enjoyable day. And did I ever!
The early morning found me loading up my Mad River Canoe Synergy 14 (a canoe/sit in/sit on/ kayak hybrid kinda thingie) and heading down to Fort Desoto Park to meet up with 3 fellow WaterTribers for a leisurely paddle around the Shell Key area.
At 10:00, I met up with Paddledancer, SandDollar, and DancesWithWaves. Paddledancer and SandDoller were in sea kayaks, and DancesWithWaves had his Hobie AI Tandem trimaran. Needless to say, I felt a little underboated!
No matter… we launched off the seawall, which was quite easy due to the exceptionally high tide the Super Moon gifted us with, and headed north across the channel.
It took me about 5 minutes to get swamped by a powerboat wake in the busy, choppy area, but I crossed the rest of the way, beached for a moment, and drained the cockpit. The Synergy is open from bow to stern, and as I had forgotten my spray skirting, I was easy prey to a couple of impressively sized waves.
I caught up with the other three, and found that our travelling speeds were virtually identical, which made for great company and conversation. We ended up on the north end, swimming and having snacks before heading back. We did come back on the inside, which was great for the kayakers (especially me, the submarine captain), but I suspect DancesWithWaves would have had a bit more of a sail had he gone outside the barrier island area.
We made it back to the launch point about 1:30 or so, and had a leisurely time packing up and heading out. As she is a fellow music lover, I gave Paddledancer my new Soraia CD to enjoy (Soraia is a female-fronted band with a LOT of soul), and headed out of the park.
My next scheduled stop was at 5:00 PM at the Puppy Palace in Tampa, where Sue had boarded her dog Polly overnight. Now… what to do for 3 and a half hours…?
That was a no-brainer… with that much time to kill, there was only one place I wanted to go: CATRINAS COCINA Y GALERIA in Tampa, my absolute favorite REAL Mexican restaurant on the planet!
Owned and operated by Karol and Tisbeth, Catrina’s is a gem of a place… art gallery and incredible food, all wrapped up in what you will soon come to believe is a real home away from home. Karol and Tisbeth treat you like family, as do their entire staff. The artwork and the recipes are all Tisbeth’s, lovingly reflecting Guadalajara and ancient Aztec Mexico. I prefer not to see a menu when I am there, because Karol and Tisbeth somehow always know what it is that I want or need on every visit.
On this stop, I had not-yet-on-the-menu Cactus Tacos, and a measurable percentage of their Negra Modelo, spaced out over the course of more than two hours of casual dining, and great conversation with my friends. All in all, it was a day to treasure. If you ever find yourself in South Tampa, I think you’d be crazy not to stop in, introduce yourself to the two sisters I never knew I had, and enjoy some absolutely fantastic REAL Mexican cuisine!
http://www.catrinascocinaygaleria.com/ Closed on Mondays, BTW!