Jackson’s Bistro, Bar and Sushi ~ Tampa, Florida

Rev. Sites and Bites

The last meal that I had in Tampa was at the Jackson’s Bistro. If one were to connect all the walls that were attached to the Westin Waterside Hotel that I stayed, then you could say this was under the same roof.

When in doubt, get a burger as I did.

received_862598064254798I also ordered the Au gratin potatoes as well. Both were fantastic. 

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For desert the table shared a the Peanut Butter Torte which was suggested by the waiter. The service was excellent, and much to the surprise of the table, it was our waiter’s first day on the job.

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The menu description for the Peanut Butter Torte does its best to put into words the taste you will get and yet falls short. It really does taste better than it sound. “Light & Fluffy Peanut Butter Mousse, Oreo Cookie Crust Covered with a Silky Chocolate Ganache.” 

If you can only go for one thing, for the dessert, it is amazing.

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Harpoon Harry’s ~ Tampa, Florida

Rev. Sites and Bites

One of my meals out in Tampa was to Harpoon Harry’s. I am not the biggest fan of seafood so I was thankful that they offered a pork chop with the fixings. I had the Pork Flat Iron which is listed as 9 oz. Seared, White Pepper Sausage Gravy & Biscuit, Red Bliss
Mash, and vegetables.

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Though I was rather hungry that day and the food was good, I was not able to finish this entire meal. The others that I attended the restaurant with all partook the seafood and enjoyed it. If you are after great seafood, this place delivers, and if you aren’t into seafood, the pork is a great alternative. The service at the restaurant was on par as well.

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Garrison Tavern ~ Tampa, FL

Rev Sites and Bites

For two of my meals in Tampa, I went to the Garrison Tavern. It was just across from the Tampa Convention Center making close enough to conveniently get a bite between meetings. It was a delicious meal and the service at the restaurant was great both times we went. 

The first meal I had was the Butcher burger with pepper jack cheese and fries.

The second time I ate at Garrison Tavern I had the 8 count of bourbon barbecue wings with the fries. These tasted amazing, but don’t forget to have a napkin handy because they did get a bit messy, though it was worth it it.

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If you are ever in the area for a meal, check out the Garrison Tavern!

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The Westin Tampa Waterside ~ Tampa, FL

Rev Sites and Bites here. This past July I traveled to Tampa, FL as a delegate to our church body convention. For the 7 nights that I was in Tampa, I stayed at the Westin Tampa Waterside. Since their were 1400+ participants taking part in this convention, we were all pre-assigned to hotels within walking distance of the Tampa Convention Center. Fortunately for myself, the Westin was very close and I could see the convention center from my room. The large four story building directly across from my room on the water was the convention center.

The room was very clean and well kept. The construction of the building was such that I could not hear any noise from the hallway. Their were no signs of any wear and tear on the carpet, nor any paint or wallpaper peeling. Overall a great room.

The breakfast that we had was catered by the hotel for our group. This breakfast of eggs and other standard breakfast meal items was delicious. We had the buffet option a few mornings and one morning the staff brought us the food at our tables. Either way, it was a delicious meal to get me going in the morning.

Though I lacked the time and attire to use it, I was impressed with the fitness area and amount of equipment offered.

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The pool area was impressive and looked out on one of the waterways that connected to Tampa Bay. The pool was close enough to the water to see boats docked along the waterway. It was a bit of a maze to find the pool, but the signs were well marked for the hunt. One had to go to the main elevator, go to the third floor, then exit the elevator and go down a hall to the private elevator to the pool. The hall was thankfully clearly marked with a sign and a mural of a person swimming to guide the way.

There were many great shops within walking distance of the hotel as well as access to the Tampa Trolley just across the bridge that gave easy access to downtown Tampa.

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Florida Bucket List- North

This will be the final installment in the Florida regional Bucket Lists. From here we will move on to Mississippi! But first, a little tour through North Florida!

Chipley

  • Falling Waters State Park: This park features Florida’s tallest waterfall

Flager Beach

  • Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park: See the remains of a sugar mill

Gainesville

  • Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park: You can take stairs into a sink hole to experience a miniature rain forest.
  • Historic Haile Homestead: This old plantation is known for it’s “talking walls.”

Jacksonville

  • Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens: I always love zoos and this one boasts a “walking safari.”

Panacea

  • Gulf Speciman Marine Laboratory: This is a place where you can interact with native North Florida sea life in touch tanks.

Panama City Beach

  • St. Andrews State Park: This claims to have one of the world’s best beaches with emerald waters.

Pensacola

  • National Naval Aviation Museum: This is a museum that I figured Andrew would find interesting.
  • Pensacola Lighthouse: Time to visit a lighthouse!

Perry

  • Forest Capital Museum State Park: This museum shows the history of forestry in the area.

St. Augustine

  • St. Augustine Alligator Farm: This seems like a fun way to see Florida’s most famous native species.
  • St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum: We love visiting lighthouses and maritime museums also always prove to be interesting.
  • St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum: This sounds like an interesting way to get some history on the pirate lifestyle.
  • Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth: Of course a visit to the legendary place is a must!
  • Colonial Quarter: This gives an adventure tour of our nation’s oldest city.
  • Historic Tour of Flager College: This architectural tour takes you through the Old Hotel Ponce de Leon, one of the area’s finest resorts back in the day

St. George Island

  • Cape Saint George Lighthouse: Another lighthouse to explore
  • Apalachicola Maritime Museum: This museum claims to be hands-on which is what I love in a good museum!

Tallahassee

  • Florida Historic Capitol Museum: Of course old capitols are always worth checking out.
  • Museum of Florida History: I’m sure this would give us a nice overview of the history of the state

All attractions were found in Florida’s 2018 Travel Guide.

Florida Bucket List: South

The next installment of the Florida Bucket Lists takes us to the south region. This is an area I’ve never visited before but can’t wait to given they have 3 National Parks in the area.

Boca Grande

  • Port Boca Grande Lighthouse and Museum: A lighthouse to check out!

Bradenton

  • Mixon Fruit Farms: This sounds like a fun way to explore some of Florida’s fruit groves via a tram tour.

Fort Meyers

  • Edison and Ford Winter Estates: How much fun would it be to check out these two estates from people who changed history!

Homestead

  • Biscayne National Park: This park is known for it’s underwater portions. Take out a kayak or spend some time snorkeling!
  • Coral Castle: This looks like a unique roadside stop.
  • Everglade National Park: This has been on my bucket list for years! I’d love to see some gators in the wild!

Jupiter

  • Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum: Another lighthouse to check out!

Key West

  • Dry Tortugas National Park: This fort is actually located out in the ocean off of Key West and can only be reached by boat tour or sea plane. It’s supposed to have really great snorkeling!
  • Harry S. Truman Little White House Museum: Having visited the Truman presidential library in Missouri, this seems like it would be interesting to visit.
  • Key West Aquarium: Another aquarium which we all know I love visiting!

Marathon

  • Dolphin Research Center: This seems like a fun way to see dolphins and sea lions up close. Plus you can also choose to add on swimming with the dolphins if you want.

Miami

  • Burger Museum: This sounds like a quirky roadside stop
  • Miami Seaqurium: Another opportunity to visit an aquarium!

Sarasota

  • Sarasota Jungle Gardens: This seems a little pricey but also sounds like a fun way to get up close to flamingos!

Sunrise

  • Stonewall National Museum: I think this would be an important historical and educational stop.

West Palm Beach

  • Palm Beach Zoo and Conservatory: I’ve had plenty of aquariums listed on my Florida lists, but this is one of the few zoos I’ve found!

All attractions have been found in Florida’s 2018 Travel Guide. Tune in next week for North Florida!

Florida Bucket List: Central

It’s finally time to get back to the state bucket list series! I’ve finally received my next few state travel guides for 2018! As you may recall me mentioning I had to zoom ahead to Alabama after Georgia because my 2018 Florida guide hadn’t arrived yet. I’ve got 3 regions to cover in Florida and then we will head into Mississippi. I’ve actually been to Florida twice, but all those pictures are either stashed away in storage until we move in the summer, or they reside at my parents house, so you will have to just use your imagination if I say I’ve been somewhere, but want to give it a shout out.

Today we will be making our way to Central Florida, what I like to call the amusement park mecca. I’d usually much rather visit a National Park or historic site/museum than spend time at an amusement park, but there are a few that I think are/would be worth checking out when in Central Florida.

Daytona

  • Daytona International Speedway: Growing up my dad was always a big NASCAR fan, so on one of our trips down to Florida we made a point to stop off and tour the speedway. I don’t remember a ton about the actual tour, but you did get to virtually race at the end if you choose to and I do remember that being pretty fun!

Fort Pierce

  • Manatee Observation and Education Center: This seems like a fun and inexpensive way to see some of Florida’s natural wildlife, even if you aren’t guaranteed a manatee sighting, it’s worth the try  for a buck.
  • National Navy SEAL Museum and Memorial: I feel like this would be a great learning opportunity about a portion of our military I know little about.

Lake Wales

  • Florida’s Natural Growers Grove House: Juice samples! A self-guided tour through the orange grove! Sign me up!

Orlando

  • The Crayola Experience: I love everything about Crayola! My room as a kid was crayon themed. The fact that I can make a name my own crayon is enough to have me visit here!
  • Disney World: This of course is a must. I’ve been twice, but any visit to Disney is always magical!
  • The Holy Land Experience: I remember passing this on the interstate on our way to Disney World years ago and being intrigued by what it may be like. While I’m sure it’s nothing when compared to actually visiting the Holy Land, but the price is fairly reasonable for an “amusement park” type attraction and I feel like it could be educational.
  • Sea World Orlando: I have visited Sea World once and love our time there. I’ve always loved the chance to get up close and personal with ocean animals.
  • Universal Studios Florida: I want to visit here simply to go to Harry Potter World!

Ponce Inlet

  • Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse: We love our lighthouses!

Port Canaveral

  • Exploration Tower: From what I’ve read, this sounds like a fairly new attraction that gives you some history on the area, as well as info about the cruise and space industries, and a nice city view from the top floor observation deck.

Sebring

  • Sebring International Speedway: This is America’s oldest racing track, so I imagine it would be worth it to stop by.

Tampa

  • Busch Gardens: I’m putting this on the list because I’ve always heard pretty good things about it, but not sure if I’d want to spend the money on a visit or not!
  • The Florida Aquarium: I love aquariums and I’m guessing they’d have some unique creatures being Florida is surrounded by so much ocean!

Titusville

  • Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex: I feel no trip to Florida is probably complete without this experience, although I’ve never been either time I’ve been to Florida!
  • Space Walk of Fame: I’m sure this would be something simple to stop by and see!

This has been the first of three Florida bucket list posts. All attractions were found listed in the 2018 Florida Travel Guide.