In Episode 6 we blast you with an assotment of great things in Tampa Bay!
Transcript at the bottom of this page!
Ocford Exchange, Tampa
Wat Tampa (Thai Temple Market)
Replay Museum Arcade
Canoe the Hillsborough
Tampa Bay Rowdies
Great Things Tampa Bay is hosted and produced by Kyle Sasser.
There was no paid advertising in this episode. All recommendations are given based on personal experiences.
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Kyle Sasser: Hello and welcome to Great Things Tampa Bay, the podcast about great eats, great places and great people in the greater Tampa Bay area. I’m your host, Kyle Sasser from Tampa Bay. I’m a realtor and all around good bloke. This is episode six, “Rapid Fire” and I’d like to thank you for inviting me along on your commute to work, or maybe you’re mowing the grass and thinking about what you’d like to do with the rest of your day, and so you’re giving us a listen to find out all the cool stuff that’s going on in the area and for that, I thank you. I’d like to invite you to come talk to me on social media. Just go to our website, greatthingstb.com and then click on the “Get Social” up at the top and there you’ll find links to all of our social profiles. You can go there and give us all the likes, shares, comments, pros and cons. What you like, what you don’t like and all that good stuff. Please go there and let me know.
Segment one, rapid fire. So I thought I would do this a little bit different than the other previous episodes. You know, kind of get in a rut and if it’s one things I don’t like, it is a rut so I’m trying to shake things up a little bit. So our previous episodes have basically gone like, review a restaurant, then some personal stuff and then end off with something fun and this time I thought we would do something a little different where I would just cover a wide variety of things to do in Tampa Bay and some of these are restaurants, some of these are places to go, some of these are parks. And you can just kind of pick and choose if there’s something that interests you. I’m gonna put what links I can on the show notes so you can go there for more information on our website, greatthingstb.com. Probably gonna be covering a few of these in more detail in later episodes, but I thought it would be nice just to cover a lot of these, instead of having to wait for subsequent episodes to come out. So without further ado, and I’m just going to go through these. You might hear me shuffling papers here and there, but basically I’m gonna read it off. Maybe give a quick blurb if I’ve been there or if I have any thoughts on it, and then just mosey on along. And I’m not gonna spend a lot of time on any one of these, but as I said, I’m probably gonna be covering some of these in later episodes, so please subscribe.
So over in Tampa we have the Oxford Exchange. That’s downtown by the University of Tampa. That’s a really cool building there. They have like a restaurant, book store, coffee house. The place is absolutely awesome and is definitely worth a trip. Arcades. There are some arcades around. The Lowry Parcade and Tavern is pretty cool and then there’s another Replay Museum up in Tarpon Springs. Personally, I really wanna go to these. Supposedly there, the Replay Museum in Tarpon Springs is a museum of over 100 pinball games, video games from the past. You know, old arcade rat like myself, that kind of gets me excited. Next up is the Sponge Docs in Tarpon Springs. Surprisingly I have lived here my entire life, I have never been. My lovely wife’s brother has invited us on a couple of occasions and we just haven’t made it up there yet. I don’t know what they have, I don’t know if it’s just like people selling bins of sponges or if there’s whatever, but yeah, definitely a cool place to go from my understanding, but I have not been yet.
Next up we have the various markets that go on around both in St. Pete and Tampa. Specifically, the Saturday Morning Market in downtown St. Petersburg. Typically that’s down by the Rowdy Stadium. Then over in Tampa they have the Hyde Park Village Market which happens on the first Sunday of each month. And the Hyde Park one is really cool because they shut down the entire street and it’s very festive. So there’s music going on, there’s people milling around, there’s all sorts of vendors and cool stuff to see. The St. Petersburg one is awesome as well and that one happens pretty much every weekend and they have cool vendors. I bought a hat there once which was pretty sweet.
I finally found like a, well, it’s a straw hat, but it’s not of the hayseed variety. It’s one of the more stylish like going to the horse races hats. They have other cool things there, headbands and the normal crafts, knick-knacks. They also have exquisite local produce and cheeses, things of that nature. So definitely worth it. It’s definitely a good way to spend half of a day or a quarter of a day. And in that same vein we also have the First Fridays in St. Petersburg and then the Fourth Friday in Tampa and I’m not sure what it is with Fridays and festivities, but for some reason we really love that in this area. So First Friday in St. Petersburg and then Fourth Friday over in Tampa. You go there, it’s more of an adult sort of thing. I wouldn’t really put that for kids, but yeah, it’s fun stuff. The one in Tampa is a little interesting because they do also do free admission to many of the museums down there, so a little added bonus there.
Next up we have the Manatee Viewing Center which is down over in Apollo Beach. The big old power station there, Big Ben Power Station there, there’s a platform you can go and view the manatees there. That usually is a little more of a winter time sort of thing. The manatees nowadays are kind of out and about doing their thing. But once the chill gets in the air and the water temperatures go down, the manatees come up into the local rivers, springs and over by the power plant, that’s where they discharge the water over there. So it’s a little warmer, the manatees like to go there. I would save that one more towards let’s say November.
Camping. So if you like camping there’s a bunch of great places to go around here. Just ones off the top of my head we’ve got Hillsborough River State Park which is cool. So the interesting thing about the Hillsborough River State Park, two things that I know. One, is that the Spanish, whenever they came into Tampa Bay, when they put the little boats in the water and they went up the river, that was pretty much as far North as they got. They couldn’t get past, there’s actually a cascade of rapids there and that’s how far they made it. The other interesting thing was that the tannic waters of the Hillsborough River which has kind of that brown tint to it was actually highly prized to make tea with by the English from my understanding. So they would actually barrel the stuff up and ship the stuff back to Jolly Ol’ and brew up some Earl Grey Hot. I’m not sure if I would recommend doing that currently, but you know, just kind of a historical thing.
Other cool places, Lithia Springs which is out south of Brandon. One of the largest springs in the area. A great place to go, swim, you can canoe down the river there as well. Over here in Pinellas County we have Fort De Soto which is a great little gem. It’s a little tough to get in there on short notice, however a little bird has told me that they do do cancellations, so if you check the week of, kind of early mornings, say like 9:00 or 10:00 sometimes you’ll luck out and a spot will have opened up. And then if you wanna head a little bit further North there’s the Chassahowitzka which is a really cool place. My wife and I went there last year. A bunch of springs to view and swim in and it’s on a real pretty spring run and to get there it’s basically you take the Sun Coast Parkway all the way North until it ends and then you head left. And that’s pretty much where it’s at. Those are kind of my favorite local camping spots. I’m sure there’s more, so if you know any, please let me know. We have Lettuce Lake Park which is up by USF. It’s a real nice local park with some boardwalks, viewing tower. You can see some pretty interesting things there on occasion.
Tampa Theater which I’m sure is pretty obvious, but if you’ve never been there it’s definitely worth a trip. Pretty cool, it’s one of the original Mediterranean old-timey theaters. The chairs aren’t particularly comfortable, I mean it’s not a super IMAX with all the cup holders and the rumble seats and all that stuff, but it’s a great place to see a show or an even better place to see a concert if someone you happen to like is gonna be playing there. I would definitely recommend going and checking it out. They also offer tours. I know they upgraded the electrics recently. One of my favorite parts was always seeing the old electrics, like the electrical breakers out of cartoons where it’s like the knife edge where they came down and all the sparks…fun stuff, fun stuff.
So next up is the Thai Temple which is the Buddhist place down on Palm River Road. It’s a little to the East of Ikea and then on the South Side of the Palm River there. They do a tremendous Sunday Morning Market there. Great food, I believe that is from 8:30 to 2:30 every day, but I would recommend getting there early. Sometimes the food runs out and all that, but everything is authentic and delicious. They also have a great selection of plants, orchids and all that good stuff. Definitely, definitely worth the trip there. And, you know, you don’t have to be Buddhist to go there. They welcome all types.
Next we have Edison which is one of my favorite restaurants over in Tampa Bay. They have a real unique take on every one of their dishes. Definitely recommend that. Also recommend checking out O’Reilly’s Game. Even if you’re not a tremendous soccer fan it’s definitely worth going to the game just for the atmosphere. People jumping, dancing around. There’s a whole section of the stadium there that’s called Ralph’s Mobs and if you’re part of that, thank you for the liveliness to the games that you bring to the games, but basically there’s this whole section of stand there and they jump around, beat on drums, sing songs for the entire length of the game. Brings a lot of energy that’s missing from Bucks games or the baseball games. So definitely go check it out. As a bonus, tickets are relatively inexpensive. They’re $25 apiece if you buy like two or three at a time, definitely check it out.
A couple other fun things to do would be to canoe the Hillsborough River or Lithia which I kind of mentioned earlier. Pretty much like a half day ordeal. And it can be an ordeal depending upon the weather and how the mosquitoes are doing, so you definitely wanna call the canoe company and make sure that everything’s good. A lot of times if we don’t have a lot of rain, especially on the Lithia River, you’ll have to get out and push the canoe or pull it over rocks and it gets a little tiring. Bonus point for Lithia River though is that you can find shark’s teeth there if you happen to know where to look. So always be nice and ask your canoe provider for the best place to look for shark’s teeth would be. Hillsborough River is a little more quiet, a little more serene. It’s not as hectic as the Lithia River is. The Lithia is usually a little bit busier. Definitely a lot more alligators on the Hillsborough River. Once you get past Morris Bridge there, the mosquitoes can get dense, so make sure to pack your bug repellent.
A few other good restaurants, I’ll just rattle off here. Sea Critters out on Pass-A-Grille, absolutely delicious. Give it a try. That’s absolutely delicious, can’t recommend the chicken and waffles enough. Restaurant BT which is also right over there has some of the absolute best Vietnamese-French fusion in the area that I’ve had. Yeah, I think that’s enough of my spots. That should give you enough coverage to where you can pick something out there that you like. Just pick one of them and go do it, even if it’s just for a half day maybe walking around a local park or something. I’m gonna put those links to some of this on our show notes on our website. I’m not going to do all of them, just because that would be insane, but if you have any questions on all of these, again just go to the get social link. Hit me up, I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.
Segment Two: House Cleaning. As promised we were having a contest. You tell me your favorite burrito in the area and you have a chance to win a $25.00 gift card to Red Mesa. I have to tell you that I was a little disappointed with the contest entries and turn outs. I had a total of four entries. So if you would have entered this contest, you would have had a 20% chance of winning. But a promise is a promise and I would like to congratulate Ellen Stanford who recommended the Burrito Bomb at Burrito Border and it is delicious. I actually went and tried this, like I said I only had four burritos to try just from the entries. So I did actually try this burrito Bomb at Burrito Border which is a local taco/burrito place in downtown St. Pete there. Next to Lucky Dill although Lucky Dill is, something’s happening there soon I believe, but it’s I want to say Central and Second. But if you are in that area it’s an absolute great place to stop by and get your taco fix. So Ellen, congratulations. I will be sending you an email and just to get your information so I can mail that out to you.
Segment Three: Let’s Get Personal. So you know we’ve been through five episodes here of Great Things Tampa Bay. I kind of powered through the first five. I did one by itself, and then I did another two and then I knocked out two again. I just kind of took a break for a month. You know, just kind of think about things, give it some thought to see what was working, what wasn’t working. What is interesting to you all. What you all are actually tuning in for. So, you know, I’m going to be trying a couple of different things over the next few episodes. You heard the earlier part of this episode we had the rapid fire section. So, you know, I have a couple fun ideas. I’m always looking to try out things. Like I said, if you do the same thing over and over and over you get burned out. I definitely wanna keep this fun and entertaining for you all. You all don’t tune into this to be bored out of your minds, so I try to spice it up a little bit, try to keep your interest, try to bring something a little bit new to you each time.
Real estate market is going nuts as I’m sure many of you has noticed. Median prices in the county are up like 11%. So if you’ve been thinking about selling, now’s a great time. My number is 727-300-2111.
And with that, I think we will wrap up this episode. Just to give you a little heads up on what’s coming up, i do have an interview booked with Salvatore the Butterfly Man and that should be pretty interesting. You remember the episode from Pass-A-Grille, which I believe was episode two, might have been episode three. We met this guy and bought an art piece from him. What he does is he takes butterflies from around the world and he doesn’t murder them, he arranges them into art installations inside of like a clear plexiglass box, from a singular butterfly to a whole arrangement of them. He’s a really, really interesting guy so I’m excited to be having that interview with him this week.
What else has been going on personally? Dog’s doing okay. She’s a whopping I think like six and a half pounds now. Been taking her on her own walks down to the bay and doing a little obedience training and all that good stuff so it’s a lot of fun.
If you haven’t shared Great Things Tampa Bay with your friends and family yet, all you have to do is go to our website, greatthingstb.com, that’s greatthingstb.com, we’re also on YouTube now so if somebody is not able to figure out the podcast thing, you can just send them a link to us on YouTube and they can listen to all of the episodes that way. If you’re looking for your own great place in Tampa Bay, please give me a call at 727-300-2111. I definitely have a passion for real estate as well as great things in Tampa Bay, so I would love to talk to you and help you out with that. Or, maybe you just wanna tell us how awesome, or how horrible we are. You can also do that at our website, greatthingstb.com, that’s greatthingstb.com and click on the “get social” link at the top of the page and there you can go and stalk us on all of our social profiles. You can also find show notes, recaps, transcripts and contests. Greatthingstb.com. So please subscribe to us on iTunes and also on Google Play if that’s your thing. That way you can find out the butterflies and balm are.
So I would also like to thank Dave who was kind enough to send me a testimonial. The sentiment that he expressed in the testimonial was heartfelt so I thought I would share it with you. If you would like to send me your own testimonials, easiest way is probably just to record a voice memo on your phone and then text it to me. You can text it to 727-300-2111. If this starts becoming a thing, I will probably just set up a phone number that you all can call and leave messages. You won’t have to speak directly to me. Sometimes it can get a little weird when people are saying nice things to you. I have difficulty accepting a compliment. But anything you think you want me to know, just record it and send it on over. Thanks for listening and see you next time.
Dave: So I’ve listened to all the episodes and I really like it. I find that I’m learning things each episode about the Bay Area and it’s kind of refreshing to hear one man’s journey through an area that doesn’t have all too many locals. So I like…I’m gonna keep learning. I really like the interview that was broken up over two parts. I think that would be something I would personally like to hear more of is getting another person’s story. And good job, keep it up. Keep up the good work, man.