Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Places I Eat: Flamenco at The Columbia Restaurant ~ Ybor City

While James's parents were here, we decided that it would be fun to do something that they hadn't done before. James's father has taken a keen interest in Flamenco dancing recently, they love the Columbia on St. Armands, so we decided that taking them to the original in Ybor City was a must! Established in 1905, the Hernandez Gonzmart family are now in the 4th and 5th generation to be serving fantastic Spanish/Cuban food in the original location in Ybor City.
Originally a community for Spanish, Cuban, and Italian immigrants in the 1800's, Ybor City was the area capital for cigar factories, a tradition that still lives on today. Today it has a mix of cafes, bars, nightclubs, and funky shops - but still retains a strong architectural flavor of it's ethnical past.
We started with a pitcher of Sangria de Cava, 1905 Salad, and some black bean cakes. After our first course, we were treated to a 45 minute flamenco show. The dancers were fantastic and I would highly recommend going if you are in the area. There is a charge of $6 per person for the show, but this is truly a good value for the quality of dancing.
Our main course followed the dancing. I couldn't resist having the Ropa Vieja. My lovely friend Emily, who is from Cuba, will be teaching me how to make this in the upcoming months. I can hardly wait!!!
In addition, since our visit to the flamenco show, I have started reading a book called The Return by Victoria Hislop. Set in the Spanish Civil War, it is the love story of a young Flamenco dancer and her (almost 5 years older) guitarrista. While I am only half way through this book, I would recommend it as highly as I recommend an evening at the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City.


Moonspinner said...

Hi there, thanks so much for stopping by. No haven't managed to get my SIGG yet, been a bit hectic at my place lately, but I will get one for sure! I like the look of the front of that resturant.

Michelle said...

Oh the food looks awesome!! I've always wanted to learn Flamenco dancing...the girls are so pretty with all the colors they wear...and the feisty fans they use during the dance. :)

Amy J said...

The fan dance was my favorite. It was so good that you really wanted to koin in, though I saved myself the embarrasment :-)