Thursday, January 16, 2014

Tampa Bay Eats: Columbia Restaurant

The rehearsal dinner was held at the Columbia Restaurant, a Tampa establishment since 1905.  The Spanish-inspired food was delicious---paella, plantains, black beans, warm bread, key lime pie?   It was everything you could want for a big dinner with friends.  They also do flamenco shows!  It's well worth a trip if you're in town.

And I will say...I've never had shrimp so perfectly cooked in a paella.  It was served buffet-style to the whole room, in a pan about three feet wide.  The shrimp were perfect.  Even now all I'm thinking about is how to make shrimp at home that taste that good. 

However, the decor left us...a little confused.  The large scale oil paintings of couples that looked to be men and trophy wives, dressed up in medieval costumes felt a little strange.  Once the whole story was explained, however, it made a lot more sense. These were the Kings and Queens of the Krewe of the Knights of Saint Yago...essentially a Latin version of King Boreas of the Snows.  Started in the 1970s, the knights sought to preserve and maintain Latin culture in Tampa.  The King and Queen are pillars of that effort, and every year get dressed up, there's a parade, and the costumes, yes, totally real. 

On her last night as a single lady!

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