Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Five

The Excuse

None needed! W00t!

The Week

I found myself in Tampa again this week. After a couple of visits I begin to become more comfortable with a city, and more complacent when it comes to actually doing anything touristy (if that’s actually possible). But familiarity with a town does help the week go by faster.

By far the highlight of the week was seeing Bill Murray. The Outback Pro-Am is being held in Tampa this week, and I’m assuming that Bill’s playing the tournament (as he’s known to do). The hotel I was in was a host hotel for the tournament. I was walking up towards the elevators and there was a group of people in front of me and I didn’t pay them much mind. Then I turned the corner into the elevator lobby and standing 15 feet from me was Bill Murray.

Karin asked if it was a, “Hey, isn’t that ….?” moment. Absolutely not. It was an instantaneous - “That’s Bill FREAKIN Murray!”

I just stopped dead in my tracks in dead silence. I just stared, and he gave me a “Yup, it’s me” grin. The rest of the time my mind went about a million miles an hour trying to figure out how to react. I know he’s supposed to be a friendly guy and likely would have posed for a pic if I would have asked. But he was chatting with the people he was with and I didn’t want to be *that guy* and interrupt. Rather than do much of anything, I just stood there with what had to be the dumbest look ever on my face. One of his peeps did compliment me on my “geeks rule” shirt. I managed to eek out a “thank you” to that.

Abram did come up with what should have been my line: “What are you supposed to be? Some kind of cosmonaut?”

The Exercise

Moving on…

The Restaurant

I basically have two rules whenever I’m travelling – No chains, and no hotel restaurants. “Well, it’s more of a guideline than a rule”. After I finished work on Thursday, the Bill Murray night, I decided I wanted to treat myself to seafood (good seafood). The hotel really drummed up The Oyster Catcher, their seafood restaurant. I’ve always found that restaurant quality is inversely proportional to the amount that they feel the need to hype the place. But laziness won out, and I decided to check the place out.

I’m so very glad I did.

I sat at the bar (<voice style=”Eddie Izzard”>like I do</voice>) and started off with my standard very dry Maker’s Manhattan up. (If you’ve ordered anything at Starbucks that takes more than 4 words to specify I don’t want to hear any static for being specific.) It was made to perfection.

I ordered the salad and then froze when it came to make a decision on food. The bartender suggested the yellowfin tuna blackened. I decided to trust him and was not disappointed – it was just amazing. Great sear on it, very rare on the inside, and just all-in-all a great piece of fish. He also paired it with a pinot noir, which I never would have put with a fish. Excellent match.

I don’t normally do dessert (and if I didn’t – and if I didn’t get interrupted during dinner by both my brothers – I wouldn’t have seen Bill Murray), but they had a goat cheese cheesecake. Anyone who knows me knows my love for goat cheese and cheesecake, so the two together sounded like one of the greatest things ever created. And it was. Once again I relied on the bartender for a drink pairing, and he brought out a cappuccino with some Gran Marnier. It worked perfectly with the sweet/savory flavor from the cheesecake.

To top it all off, the restaurant is right on the bay, which offers a fantastic sunset if you get there at the right time. I will definitely be back!

The Travel Note

An open letter to all hotels: Putting a sheet of glass over the work desk in your rooms only kills a mouse from working while adding nothing to the decor of the room. Just knock it off!

The Five

In honor of Bill Murray, my five has to be my five brushes with greatness (and almost greatness).

  1. Bill Gates – This one is almost too big. I basically can never just bring this up in conversation without being the world’s biggest name dropper. But man it was beyond cool, if for no other reason than hearing him say “sh**”.
  2. Bill Murray – Still wishing I would have asked for a picture.
  3. Wayne Brady – He was the male lead for Chicago on Broadway one week while Karin and I were out there. We heard from the ticket agent that he was the nicest guy and would come out after the show and sign every autograph and take every picture. And sure enough he did. At some point I need to scan the pic with Karin and him.
  4. Joe Bays – On our now First Annual New Year’s Eve Vegas Trip <pause for moment of silence in reverence> Abram and I sat down at a 1-3 poker table at Excalibur, which is by far the cheapest stakes to be found in Vegas. Sitting just to my left was Joe Bays, who was the 2nd boss in Office Space. Very friendly guy, and mentioned that Office Space was by far his favorite movie.
  5. Tsuyoshi Shinjo – This definitely falls under the “almost brush with almost famous” category. Karin and I were up in San Francisco to check out (then) PacBell Park. Afterwards we found ourselves at a great little Japanese restaurant named Anzu (go if you’re ever up there). As we were sitting there, Shinjo, who was a journeyman center fielder for a few years and was with the Giants at the time, walked in with his “posse” and was seated at the table next to us.

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