I hope you enjoyed reading my post about part one of Shaina’s and my adventure in Tampa at the Epicurean Hotel. Click here to read Shaina’s post, if you’d like to see what she had to say.
So, while we truly had an awesome time at the Epicurean Hotel with all their fabulous amenities and could have easily occupied ourselves there for another couple of days, we did want to get out to check out the culinary scene in Tampa. With the help of Yelp and confirmed by our friend Eric at the Epicurean, we decided to head to a place called the Oxford Exchange for a late breakfast. One of the things worth mentioning is that we left our car at our hotel and decided to rely on Uber for transportation around the city. Boy are we glad we did. The service was more than quick (by the time we ordered our ride, left our room, rode down the elevator and entered the lobby, our driver was just pulling up. Now that’s efficient!
The Oxford Exchange opened 2 years ago and was kind of like a book store, a coffee bar, tea bar, restaurant and gift shop all rolled into one. It had lots of “nooks and crannies” as I like to say. We opted to sit in the restaurant and after checking out their long list of teas, both Shaina and I decided to try the Tropical Green Tea with notes of pineapple, mango and papaya. This was a great choice. We were off to a perfect start!
Breakfast was outstanding at the Oxford Exchange. Shaina had the kale scramble with egg whites and I had the best eggs benedict that I have ever had! I had always held this one I had at a small hole in the wall in Vancouver at the top of my list, but it wasn’t until this day, that this coveted top ranking was replaced! Lol! Well, after breakfast, we decided we’d head back to the hotel to go for a swim in the pool and chillax for a bit before heading out to Ybor City for happy hour, dinner and nightlife. Our Uber driver dropped us off at Columbia, which has been around for over 100 years and is a must if you are looking for authentic Spanish cuisine. We sat at the bar as it was happy hour and ordered a couple cocktails to go along with our tapas. We were looking for just a couple lite items to nibble on here as our plan was to move on and hopefully try a few places on this night. We hit a home run with the Tostones (perfect crunch and saltiness to go with our cocktails) and the stuffed mushrooms were packed with flavor and muy delicioso!
As a bonus, we met a nice young man named Eric at the bar who was in town on business who ended up hanging out with us for the night. From Columbia, we just started meandering the streets until we decided it was time to take another cocktail break and ended up at this place called Contro Cantina.
It had a nice view and it was a nice night to be at this outdoor bar. Moving on, we decided we wanted to check out this place called Edison: Food & Drink Lab that we had read about that had received great reviews. This wasn’t in Ybor City, but just a short ride away. So glad we did. It was a cool place. The three of us sat at the bar where we met Ryan, the bartender. To my left was a couple who I found out were from Delray Beach. “Champagne Wayne” became a new friend that night as well.
Well, there you have it. That’s about as much as we could pack in on our two day adventure in Tampa. There are so many more places to discover and I know that Shaina and I can’t wait to go back.