Jun 28 2024

Old Castle

3830 Sun City Center Blvd
Ruskin, FL 33573

… more pix on Google Maps & Yelp

Will return for beer only.

This German restaurant’s decor is on the busy side. We walked in 10 minutes past their opening, and everyone seems asleep.

As soon as we sat down, power went out in the area… and was restored 10 minutes later.

34oz beer is fresh and yummy, with robust head – not the artificial turf (per Dennis miller when he commented on a NFL’s owner’s hair in 2000). It reminds me of the beer gardens in Germany (female servers hold up 6 or 8 glasses…) and one in New York’s Central Park.

No pork knuckle offered on the menus.

Food is mediocre. My lamb is dry. The part isn’t covered by the gravy looks aged. String beans are mushy and sour. Potato is tasty. The goulash is ok.

Jun 11 2024

Lucia di Lammermoor, 1835

what a pillow is doing here?

Palladium Theater

… pix on Reddit

Lucia di Lammermoor is a tragic opera in two acts by Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti, premiered in Naple in 1835

Lucia Di Lammermoor by Donizetti; premiered 1835 in Naples.

The music is wonderful, so is the singing. The leading lady is slim in the world of operatic figures. The leading man, oh boy …

  • Lucia by Chelsea Lehnea
  • Ergardo by Benjamin Werley
  • Arturo married Lucia by Chris Romeo
  • Enrico Lucia’s bro, by Kyle Oliver

音乐很棒. 故事既美丽又恐怖. 这个制作 一个舞台设计; 两幕. 非常喜欢 都唱的很好. 女一 瘦美丽 男一 五短三粗肥肥脸 但唱的好 …
大妈贪心 即想👂也想👀

Had dinner at Mio’s

Jun 11 2024

Mio’s Grill and Cafe – Turkish

119 2nd St N
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Downtown St. Pete

… more pix on Google Maps, Yelp & TA

Will return.

A cute little Turkish restaurant, 0.4 miles south of the opera house – Palladium.
A young couple is manning the dining room, with efficient service.


  1. Haydari, Turkish labne, with warm pita bread: wonderfully tasty
  2. Falafels: wonderfully delicious
  3. Mio’s yogurt kebap: won’t order again. The meat is tender but tastes too processed.

Baklava is wonderful, sweet but not killing your throat sweet. The coffee is served in a pretty cup, bitter sweet. It almost knocked me out – so I can write about it truthfully it probably would taste better without the sugar – but it probably the taste of Turkish

May 31 2024

La Faraona Cigars

1517 E Seventh Ave., Unit A
Tampa, FL 33605

… more pix on Google Maps, Yelp & TA.

One of many cigar bars on 7th Avenue in Ybor City.

The owner, I think, is a lady: her photo is on the wall. There was only one staff at 7pm on this Friday, who’s very friendly and courteous. The rollers are off, or too early for them to return. The entire 7th Avenue is dead at this hour – will come to live in a couple of hours.

We got our cigars and headed to Sterling next door.


May 31 2024

Sterling Cigar Lounge & living music

1531 E 7th Ave,
Tampa, FL 33605

Sterling Cigar Lounge & Bar

… more pix & videos on Google Maps, Yelp

We stopped by this bar @ Ybor after dinner at Casa Santo Stefano: a nice roof top cigar bar, with live music.

The bar has two outdoor sections: one on 7th Ave and one on the back. Good service. Lockers for patrons who pays about $1,000 a year.

The band: pretty good. It takes them about 27 minutes to set up. Mom takes pix and videos, daughter Corrine Oliviia sings, who has good voice. I thought she’s pretty and just over 20; but she said she’s isn’t 25 any more. She sings so hard, broke one of her shoes. Oh well.

When we leave at 9:45, there are two guards by the entrance.

I took couple of pix of our pleasant server but probably won’t post it here.

As I watched the jazz band to set up their station, I learnt a good lesson: it TAKES a bit time and it’s a hard work.

The mother daughter team arrived at 7:32, didn’t finish set up till 7:58, this doesn’t include the time packing and loading, drive and unloading …

The daughter has a pretty good voice.

May 31 2024

Casa Santo Stefano

1607 N 22nd St,
Tampa, FL 33605

… more pix on Google Maps, Yelp & TA

Will return.

Across street from Columbia in Ybor I love their tiles: colorful and beautiful. High ceiling, brick walls, really good ambiance, service and food.

Lovely stems. Warm bread. The mussels and grouper with pesto is delicious.

The tiramisu is to die for.

The roof top is nice but the view is so so.

The water in the bathroom is painfully slow. What do they have in the hand soup bottle?

After dinner, we stopped at two cigar bars: La Faraona Cigars and Sterling.

May 29 2024

Finn’s Dockside Bar & Grill

1112 Apollo Beach Blvd.
Apollo Beach, FL 33572

… more pix & videos on Google Maps, Yelp & TA

Will return.

On the water and pretty big. Great view. The wrapped around outdoor section on two sides are pretty big. Decent food, good service – there are 20 of us and one young lady served us adequately.

My crab cake is ok, so are many others.

I did ask for French Open tennis to be up on one screen but they didn’t – either she forgot or they don’t have the channel.

It’s a 90+ degree day. When I went out to their desk – the outdoor section, although hot but relatively comfortable out. My group chose to stay inside. Oh the flies.

May 10 2024

The Vineyards Trattoria and Pizzeria

250 Apollo Beach Blvd.
Apollo Beach, FL 33572

… more pix on Google Maps, Yelp & TA

Will return

For Italian restaurants, this one is better than Joia.

We came for lunch. It’s empty and we chose the last booth.

At first there was only one young lady serving, who’s very pleasant and efficient, and very pretty – hope this last adjective isn’t going to get me in trouble with Yelp and anyone else.

Looking at the booth in front of us, we decided no appetizers. We’ve 3 main courses

Chicken piccata
Eggplant Parmesan
Veal Parmesan

The spaghetti is al dent and all are pretty delicious.

.., and huge portion: the reason is bec they’re off the dinner menu when we thought we ordered off the lunch menu (so many menus …) Maybe the staff should confirm it at time of ordering, to avoid any confusion. We were going to pay but they re-ran the bill. I think they put dinner menu out during the lunch time, is just to give dinners more choice.

We ended up with a few doggie bags – I took their bread too – they are warm and delicious, and probably will be threw away.

Btw, I’ve been talking about spoons (dessert mostly) – their pasta spoon is HUGE, has to be the biggest I’ve seen in a restaurant so far. Oh well, what do I know 😜

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend and a happy Mother’s Day 2024 to moms.

Apr 13 2024

Grateful Dead @ Yuengling

12499 USF Bull Run Drive,
Tampa, FL 33617

… more pix on Reddit.

A gorgeous Saturday, perfect for tailgating.

The venue is at Yuengling Center @ University of South Florida in Tampa, built in 1977, with 10,411 seats.

The musician is Billy Strings (1992-) – great performance, great music, great crowds.

Many young people among the concert goers – great news, ensure the longevity of the music.


Apr 11 2024

What a thrilling conductor!


… more pix on Reddit.

WOW Wow wow … the violinist Julian Rachlin (1974-; Vilnius, Lithuania) is a conductor and, a better performer: enthusiastic and energetic – gotta to go to his concert, and bring your glasses or binoculars. His large and intense movement and facial expression are the highlight of the evening. I’d like to know

  1. if he does warm up
  2. if he gets tennis elbow

Oh gosh … everyone should go to his concert!!! Unfortunately at his age, he’s not going to have any break through and becoming that hot commodity. So do go while you can.

Tonight’s program:

  1. Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) Roman Carnival Overture, Op. 9
  2. Wolfgang A. Mozart (1756-1791) Sinfonia Concertante, K.364 (320d)
  3. a surprise piece by ??
  4. Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) Symphony No. 9, From the New World or New World Symphony

Sarah McElravy plays both violin and viola. She’s pretty, with a narrow waist but lacks virtuoso flair: holding her viola very low, I feel she looks like a cowboy performer than a soloist of classical music. Up class, the stage light is harsh on her.

The surprise piece: every now and then, they insert a small piece in the program. This time, it’s Krzysztof Penderecki (1933-2020). Without prompt – like no applause, she returned, followed by conductor Rachlin, to give us the surprise – a contemporary piece. Can do without it. The reason of this piece: McElravy said she and Julian Rachlin performed at Penderecki’s funeral, per his wish.

Bathroom issue: the toilet water is brown, which is unfortunately … yucky.

One of our neighbors is volunteering as the usher and he found us from the second floor – we were playing bridge on Monday mentioned this concert.

The real surprise is after the intermission: a spectacular performance by Rachlin when he conducts Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, New World Symphony while he was in US, and was premiered Carnegie Hall in New York in 1893 – a lot of Americana in it. Rachlin is on fire … I normally listen to concert and tonight, I’m on the edge of my seat, watching! What a treat, his movement is dramatic and flashy (hence my tennis elbow wonder…) thank you conductor. I sure will come for more. As soon as the last note ends, a man yelled out: BROVA and the applause is thunderous.

They allow patrons to bring their glasses to the seats … and one broke. Someone has to come in with broom to clean it up.

Our dinner at Steelbach is good too: a good prelude to the weekend.