Sunday, July 28, 2013

{life} home sweet home

Guess what? After more than a month of counting down, I'm finally back in America! I am so excited to be back in my hometown with my parents and childhood friends. The coolest part about coming back to the States after being away is the new found love you discover that you have for your country, state, and hometown.

My goal while I'm home is to revisit my favorite restaurants, bars, and places, but to explore new things my city has to offer as well! I plan on staying extra busy during the next six weeks... and probably gaining 10 lbs as well. #eatallthefood

Here's an InstaRecap of my trip home so far --


I teared up quite a bit as we were flying into Tampa. I could see downtown Tampa, Raymond James Stadium, and all of the little houses on the water. Home sweet home indeed.


A few things I severely miss while living in Spain: indoor shopping malls, American candy, and gooood Mexican food & margaritas.

check, check, aaaaaaand check! top left: international plaza (tampa); bottom: the green lemon (south tampa)

More things I severely miss while living in Spain: happy hour, live music, and craft beer.

check, check, aaaaaaaand check once again! top photos: WOB SoHo; bottom: MacDinton's SoHo


My students often ask me what I consider to be "American food." I tell them that there is no right answer - unless we are counting BBQ of course! ;) I talk about how different "American food" is state-to-state, and how different cities within a state can be influenced by different cultures as well. I always give the example of my hometown, Tampa, FL. We have tons of Cuban immigrants in Tampa, so Cuban restaurants and Cuban cigars are everywhere.

I knew I had to get a Cuban sandwich while I was home. Luckily for me, the new Cigar City Brewpub opened up while I was away. A Cuban sandwich + a delicious Tampa-made beer made for the perfect classic Tampa outing with my parents. PS. if you have never heard of Cigar City beer before, you should check it out! It is gaining popularity like crazy in the States!


Today is my momma's birthday so I made breakfast for my parents this morning.

sweet potato hash with an egg sunny side up, breakfast sausage, and sliced peaches - recipe coming tomorrow! :)

We wanted to go to the beach today, but it decided to be all overcast and sad, so we headed off to the famous Dali Museum in Saint Petersburg instead! They had a temporary exhibit with paintings borrowed from the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid. It was pretty cool to sit there and think, "Hey I've been there in person!" 

The garden outside of the museum has a unique tree called "the wishing tree." People tie their wristbands onto ribbons hanging from the trees with their dreams and wishes written in. 

Happy birthday to my wonderful momma!

After the Dali Museum, my mom wanted to go to a restaurant that she and my dad hadn't been to in 30 years. Enter Ted Peter's Famous Smoked Fish.

It has been open for 56 years, and was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives last year. My parents said that nothing had changed in the restaurant since they went 30 years ago. My dad ordered the smoked fish spread sandwich while my mom and I shared the smoked mullet dinner platter. It came with tomato, onion, pickle, coleslaw, German potato salad, and two horseradish sauces. Yummmmmy. Florida simplicity at its finest. :)

I've had such a great time at home so far. I can't wait to see what else I'll be able to do in the next 6 weeks.

To see these kinds of pictures in real-time, follow my Instagram. :)

PS. I've created a Facebook page for this blog. I'd love you if you would like it. :)

xx, Jen


  1. WELCOME BACK! I am sure that you will have an amazing 6 weeks of food and fun!


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