There’s nothing better than my nose getting slapped by the delicious smells of food. Except eating it perhaps.
After fighting the cobblestone corners of the tiny Ybor City in search of a parking space for less than $5… I stumbled onto 7th Avenue victoriously- “I made it!”… and was promptly rewarded when my nose was pleasantly attacked by the smells of the Ybor City Fiesta Day.
MmmM… no wait… seasoned PORK!
Drool… roasted coffee!
To most college-aged adults, “Ybor City” (just minutes from Downtown Tampa) means nightlife and don’t-go-there-at-night-alone. But daytime Ybor City is a Jekyll and Hyde version of its nightly twin. A strong Cuban influence has shaped its history; you can still find it in the strong coffee, the old cigar factories, the restaurants. Despite being a Fiesta to celebrate the Cuban culture… on 7th Avenue there wasn’t much of it. Several performers displayed the beauty of the culture while food stands displayed created mouth-watering food and other artists showed Cuban-inspired creations… …but when compared to the many more non-cultural stands, I was still entertained, but wished I could have experienced more of the Cuban culture.
After being serenaded by a pair of guitarists, the nearby Saturday Morning Market featured an extension of the Fiesta… the Flan Festival.
Tables were lined with traditional and non-traditional versions of the sweet, creamy Latin-inspired heaven stuff while one person waited to be crowned the ultimate flan-making champion. After taking my sample, I licked the crevices of the spoon – oh SO GOOD – while wandering among the goods of the weekly Saturday Morning Market.
I left Ybor City with the same Ybor knowledge as when I entered. I realized later that to experience Ybor City’s culture, the stores and restaurants lining the Avenue should’ve been more involved. While open, these permanent stores allowed the stands and stages to take center stage that day… and I didn’t get to experience the culture to its fullest.
But at least my nose got it’s fill.