A sunset: From the top of the Hurricane Restaurant in Pass-a-Grille in southern Pinellas County.
[Times photo: Jamie Francis]
By Times Staff Writers
© St. Petersburg Times, published September 19, 1999
HOLD THE KETCHUP OR ELSE
The minimum acceptable order on hot dogs seems to be two. Milkshakes -- vanilla and chocolate, pick one -- must be ordered politely, preferably with the head slightly bowed, and lovingly admired when they arrive at one's table.
The strictest rule of all: Don't mess with the chili dogs. Ask for ketchup and here's what you'll get: a curled lip, a dour glare and an immediate price increase.
"Mess with perfection," the waitress will say, adding a nickel to the bill, "and it'll cost you extra."
Coney Island Sandwich Shop,
250 M.L. King (Ninth) St. N,
-- Mary Jane Park
THE OTHER SIDE OF SUNSET
As the sun sets with a flourish on the western side of Pass-a-Grille, the eastern side simmers quietly, regally. Pull over somewhere south of 12th Avenue, where a two-lane road begins to sidle along Boca Ciega Bay, and watch as the fading light electrifies the million-dollar homes of Tierra Verde across the water.
At day's end, the sprawling estates belong to anyone who abandons the showy sunset for its cast-off glow, burnishing the east in liquid rose and gold.
-- Shelby Oppel
LIVIN LA VIDA LOCAL
The regulars gather early around the four horseshoe-shaped bars inside La Teresita Restaurant in Tampa. Men with lined faces, women with serious hairstyles. Friends who grew up 60 years ago in the shadows of the cigar factories in Ybor City and West Tampa
The insults and the jokes are old now, but somehow not worn out. The Cuban coffee and Cuban toast are part of a daily ritual that persists no matter what the doctor says about cholesterol.
The language is a fluid mix of English, Italian and Spanish. You don't have to speak the language or know the people to be welcomed. Just get up early and go. Let them get familiar with your face. They'll make room for you.
3246 Columbus Drive W, Tampa.
-- Paul Wilborn