I returned from my trip this past Tuesday and have finally uploaded the photos that I remembered to take.
Saturday July 1
My friend Mike and I departed Providence on a full flight. After a quick stop in Baltimore, this middle aged lady got on with her husband. She ended up sitting between my friend and I and for the duration of the flight she was talking to us. Actually she kept talking and talking and talking, after a while all I heard was gab-gab-gab-blah-blah-blah-yack-yack-yack.
Anyway, we arrived in Fort Lauderdale where I called Stevekoe to let him know we arrived and that we were going to be meeting at Moe's Bagel and Deli in Aventura.
After renting this monstrosity of a car- A Dodge Magnum with a faulty GPS tracker we headed on over to Mo's and had dinner with Stevekoe. The place is excactly the same as it was 7 months earlier on my previous trip. The place was rather crowded and just about everyone was over the age of 70. I ordered the Pastrami and Corned Beef on Rye, a cup of Matzoh Ball Soup and I substituted Kasha Varnishkes for the French Fries. I had a Dr Brown's Diet Black Cherry Soda too. The Sandwich was delicious, not too lean however it wasn't one of those monstosities that you might find at The Carnegie or Harold's in Edison NJ. Probably close to a half pound of meat. The Matzoh Ball soup was a little bland, nothing that some pepper couldn't remedy. And the Kasha served warm was also on Par with the sandwich. Unfortunately I forgot to take photos of this meal.
After dinner we parted ways with Stevekoe and checked into our hotel in Coral Gables. We got a great deal on priceline at the Holiday Inn. Both rooms were $50 each! We took a walk down the Miracle Mile and stopped at an Irish Pub for a Bass- There was a very non Irish Live Band playing there that night.
Sunday July 2
We were going to check out a local coffee house in the Gables but I went onto their website at the hotel and found out they were closed on Sundays. We ended up taking a short drive to Coconut Grove and ended up going to one of the Cafes near Senor Frogs. Unfortunately I didn't get the name of the place but I ended up having a Full Stack of Whole Wheat Pancakes with Bananas. It was good and so was the coffee. Again, no photos- I wasn't expecting to take any anyway.
After breakfast we took a walk around Coconut Grove and then drove back to the hotel. Shortly afterwards we drove to Dolphin Stadium which is the "new" name for the Excuse of a Ballpark that the Marlins Have. It's a football stadium for cripes sake! We had exceptional seats in the Club Box section which kind of made up for it. It was a cloudy muggy day and I was glad that the sun wasn't out, although we were "almost" under cover if it ended up raining. Stevekoe showed up right about the time the game began. The Marlins were playing the Red Sox, since I'm a Yankees fan I knew who I was rooting for. It seems that 75% of the people there were visiting from the Boston area based on their loud, obnoxious and boisterous ranting cheer of "Yankees Suck!" Anyway it was a close game, the Red Sox won 4-3 after a game that lasted over 3 hours. As we left the ballpark it began to rain and we got wet as we were heading back to the monstrous Magnum.
Mike and I drove to Puerto Sagua in South Beach. Stevekoe met us there. I ordered the Roast Chicken with Yellow Rice, Black Beans and Fried Plantains along with their homemade iced tea. Stevekoe ordered the same thing (I think) and a Chicken Noodle Soup (I thought that was Jewish! Not Cuban???) Mike ordered Seafood Enchiladas. I asked him why he would order something Mexican in a Cuban Restaurant. Crisp Cuban Bread arrived with the meal- Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and the Enchiladas were not what I thought they were as you will see in the photos. My meal was really good, although I'll admit I enjoyed the Picadillo that I had on my previous trip a little better however the Black Beans are some of the best I have had ever!. Overall an outstanding meal.
This is a Wall Mural Inside the Restaurant which I believe is supposed to depict Havana
After dinner Stevekoe headed back "up north". Mike and I walked over to Mangos on Ocean Drive. A salsa band was playing that night. We both had a couple of Pina Coladas (When in Rome!) sat back and watched the HOT LATINAS dance on top of the Bar.
Monday July 3
We ended up going to Breakfast at the Coffee House in Coral Gables that was closed on Sunday called Cafe Demetrios. I was surprised to see that even though this place was a coffee house they also had empanadas and even a Spanish Omelette Pie. Well, Mike had the Spanish Omelette Pie and I had a Corn Muffin. That's it.
We left for St Pete around 11AM. After just over a 4 hour drive we arrived at La Teresita in Pinellas Park. Stevekoe mentioned the day before that the original location in Tampa has much more "atmosphere" well I just drove 270 miles and settled on the Pinellas Park location and yes, it had the atmosphere of a "Wendys"
I was delighted to see that there was Garlic Chicken and Yellow Rice on the menu. I haven't had Garlic Chicken since La Rumba in South Beach closed . I also ordered Black Beans and Fried Plantains. Mike ordered the Picadillo and we shared an order of Cheese Croquettes.
Buttered Cuban Bread arrived at the table, I actually thought it tasted better than the loaf at Puerto Sagua. The Garlic Chicken was absolutely amazing. I thought that the Yellow Rice and Black Beans were not quite as flavorful as it was at Puerto Sagua. The Cheese Croquettes were really good, they kind of reminded me of Wisconsin Fried Cheese Curds. Overall Big Portions and another good meal.
I guess things happen for a reason because as soon as we arrived at the Hotel we encountered a massive thunderstorm. If we went to Tampa, we would have been caught in the middle of it. After the one hour deluge the sun was actually starting to come out and we drove Tropicana Field. Again, the place was mobbed with Red Sox fans. Although its a domed Ballpark I thought that Tropicana Field was almost a decent place to see a Ballpark I thought it was better than the old Kingdome in Seattle, or maybe anything looked good after my encounter with Dolphin Stadium. Anyway I am happy to report that the Devilrays shut out the Sox that night 3-Zip. I had a Cuban Sandwich at the Ballpark- It was OK- nothing special.
We flew back home the next morning.