I spent much of Friday starting to catch up on yard work. It’s amazing how fast things grow during the Sunshine State’s rainy season. Miss a week, not too bad; miss more than a month, and all hell breaks loose. I was soaked with sweat but made good progress in just a couple hours: two trash-cans full of weeds plus a pile big enough to fill a pick-up bed, and I managed only a handful of puncture wounds from bougainvillea and roses. Still, there’s a long way to go.

My reward came in the evening, when I met up with friends for shuffleboard. Yep, you read right: shuffleboard. (Here’s where you ask: “What are you, 80?” Nope, not even halfway there!)

St. Pete Shuffle is a legacy of St. Petersburg’s era of green benches and leisurely living. It fell out of favor when the city became a demographer’s joke as home to “the newlywed and nearly dead,” but it has found a renaissance with a younger crowd in recent years. With Mediterranean art deco architecture, stadium seating (no kidding!) and claim to “the world’s largest shuffleboard and duplicate bridge club,” it’s pure retro-hipster delight. Better still are the sunset views and cool breeze, courtesy of the late afternoon summer storms fueled by the gulf and bay.

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After a few rounds we retreated to a casual front porch hang, with a requisite stop at the Taco Bus en route. They were out of the Friday night special (chipotle something) and don’t serve tamales except Saturdays and Sundays (¿Por qué no?), but I still found something adequate as a salsa verde delivery system.

Saturday brought additional outdoor fun. I traded yard work at a friend’s house for a much-needed haircut. I drank and sweated no less than two liters of water while we pruned, transplanted and weeded in the intense mid-day heat. Sculpting the tangerine and live oak trees (like bonsai, but bigger!) was my favorite part. Besides its aesthetic appeal, I got to work in the shade.

After a hose-off, haircut and shower, we strolled down to yet another food truck enterprise in the neighborhood. La Creperia Cafe‘s new St. Petersburg location was on its second day of opening and Chef Dino was all smiles, showing off his baby: a gourmet French kitchen inside an old Airstream travel trailer. The Bon Curry and La Creperia Special were both delicious, as was the dessert crepe (strawberries, bananas and Nutella) that Dino sent home with us.

It’s good to be back with friends in Tampa Bay, even if just for a while. I’m quickly re-acclimating to the Florida summer (it doesn’t feel like fall here until about Halloween), but it sure was nice to miss the brunt of August’s blistering heat.


2 thoughts on “Floridays

  1. My friend Shelly used to write a column for the Gabber. She used the “what are you, 80” line in a column (read it in her blogged copy of her column: http://thesweetsuccession.blogspot.com/2007/06/its-your-turn-to-shuffle.html) YEARS ago. Apparently that’s all anyone who doesn’t know about Shuffle can think.

    They probably don’t make tamales every day because they are labor and time intensive and, in general, not worthy of the masses.

    Finally, it’s friggin’ chilly these days! Summer is over, bud! Alaska spoiled you…

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