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Surf Shack – Tampa, FL

Bree and I have been friends since college.  I honestly can’t remember exactly how we met, but we worked together in the Maryland Football office for 6 years.  It’s way too long to go into lots of detail, but suffice it to say we did a lot together, and had tons of fun…Ocean City, Preakness, away football games, Final Four lacrosse, Bentley’s, The Cellar, and lots more.  After she left Maryland we fell out of touch for a while, and then it was pretty sporadic over the years, but we’ve always remained friends.  And we always will.

I was going to Orlando in June for my annual suite director’s conference, and since it was only about 90 minutes from Tampa, went a little early to stay with Bree, who’s been living down there for a couple of years.  I’d never met her husband, or her twin 2-year old daughters, and figured this was the perfect opportunity.

We both forgot that she had to work on Friday, so I entertained myself by going to Honeymoon Island state park, about 30 minutes from Bree’s house.  It costs $4 per car to get in, but the beach is well worth it.  And if you live in Florida you can buy an annual pass that gets you into any of the state parks.  The beach was pretty quiet, very peaceful, and beautiful Gulf water.  I spent most of the day Friday there, and then again Saturday morning before heading to Orlando.

Surf Shack, Tampa FL - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Friday night we went to dinner at Surf Shack.  I was all for it, seeing as they had lots of seafood.  It’s a neat place, located in a strip mall not far from Bree’s house.  There’s a covered patio in the front, and you walk through a tiny portion of it to get inside.  It was hot (big surprise in Florida in June) so we decided to sit inside. There’s a bar and a few bar area tables to the right, and the main seating is to the left.  There’s a really cool design feature behind the bar that looks like it’s a water wall, but I think it’s just made to look that way.  The restaurant was pretty crowded when we arrived, but luckily we were seated immediately.

I thought about having a drink, but the kids were with us, and nobody else ordered a cocktail, so I just stuck with my water.  They bring you out chips and salsa, which were both very good.  The salsa had a little kick, but not too bad.  We also ordered wings.  It comes in an order of 10, and you get your choice of 3 different sauces.  I honestly can’t remember what sauce we got, and of course I forgot to take a picture.  But the wings were amazing.  They were huge and meaty, and I was really impressed.  Good thing there were 4 adults, because it kept me from eating a bunch of them.

For dinner, I couldn’t choose between the fish tacos or the pacific pork tacos (orange-chili pork with pineapple salsa).  Both sounded so good, but I wanted to stick with fresh fish as long as possible, so I went with the Longboard fish tacos

Surf Shack, Tampa FL - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Beer battered cod, chipotle sour cream, surf slaw and pico de gallo in a pair of flour tortillas

These were awesome.  The cod was light, and the cole slaw was delicious.  The sour cream was good, but they were a little heavy handed with it.  I should have ordered it on the side.  The first taco I ate with the tortilla, but by the second I knew it would be too much so I just ate the filling.  It also comes with a side of the surf slaw, but it wasn’t much.  But that’s okay, because I was full from the rest of the meal.

Will I go back?  Next time I’m in Tampa, definitely.

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