Foodie Travel: Cuban Food at the Columbia Restaurant, Ybor City, Tampa, FL

One of my favorite places when I’m in Tampa is the Columbia Restaurant. Located in historic Ybor City which highlights charming Spanish Moorish architecture. The restaurant is decorated on the outside and inside with beautiful hand-painted tile. I love the food and ambiance of this restaurant.

columbia_mojito

Start out the meal with traditional Mojito. White rum with mint and a sugar cane. Refreshing after a hot day walking around Tampa.

cuban sandwich

Their is a  long debate about the cuban sandwich. Which is better; the one from Tampa or the one from Miami. Each sandwich is served pretty much the same with thin slices of ham, pork, swiss cheese, mustard and pickles and then it is pressed in a plancha (grill) to make it flat, served warm and crispy. But, the Tampa version has an additional ingredient of salami. Which adds to the flavor of the sandwich. I love the cuban bread the sandwich is served on from La Segunda Central Bakery’s which is light and airy and makes the sandwich the best. I prefer the Tampa version myself.

Below are some of my favorite cuban dishes from the Columbia. Rollover the images to get information or click on the gallery to see the slideshow.

 

 

Jai Alai India Pale Ale Beer, Cigar City Brewing, Tampa, FL

Cigar City

Happy Craft Beer Week everyone! In honor of this week, here one of my favorite crafts.

When traveling, I like to try a beer that is local to the city I am visiting. On a recent trip to Tampa, FL, I ordered a Jai Alai beer by Cigar City Brewing. I thought it was going to be too heavy being a Indian Pale Ale for a hot day in Tampa, but I was wrong. This brew is light, beautiful carmel color, tropical flavors and has fruity notes. It accompanied my cuban meal perfectly. If you see it on the menu the next time you are in Tampa, order it. I am hooked!

Foodie Travel: Orange Blossom Pilsner Beer, Orlando, FL

When I travel, the same way that I look for unique restaurants and foods,  I like to try a beer on the menu that is local to that region or city. Something that I  just can’t get back home. On a recent trip to Orlando, I found a Orange Blossom Pilsner. Wow! What a surprise. Nice and refreshing! This beer with its hints of orange and honey was very crisp and light. Perfect for a hot summer day in Orlando. I encourage you to do this on your travels. Instead of ordering the usual beer that you can get wherever you live, try some local brand. It will open you up to vast world of crafts beers and the unique flavors of the region.