February in Bloom

I played tourist in my own town this month.

Tampa lights up this time of year with tabebuias, azaleas, and bougainvilleas. We celebrated Valentine’s Day with my father-in-law, Richard, who was born on Valentine’s Day. I made him a cake with Plant City strawberries and whipped cream and a fluffy angel food cake. Also roses for all of us Roses. One night we had a fish fry. Not pictured, the smoky mac & cheese in a piping hot cast-iron skillet our friend Suzanne brought over that was to. die. for. When I get the recipe I’ll test it out on my Instagram story.I finally went to Berns. I’ve lived in Tampa 17 years and never been, which is met with outrage every time I reveal that to other locals. I thought it would be lost on me because I’m not into steak. Okay. I admit it, y’all were right. It’s an incredible experience, the food was amazing and the wine was superb. We got the works, including the kitchen tour, the wine cellar tour (half a million bottles), and the best part: The Henry Waugh Dessert Room. Put a fork in me. Here are some homegrown sprouts. Now my vegan friends, scroll past these next ones.For balance in more ways than one, I finally tried a pilates & yoga class on a stand-up paddle board. Much more challenging than on land & more pleasant to be outside floating in the sunshine. Speaking of sun, my friend Coley posted this article about how sunscreen could be the new margarine… please let it be so.Another night we took a water taxi to Ulele, where we sat outside for a drink at sunset and had a great meal of what’s billed as “native Florida cuisine.” I wish they served exclusively Florida seafood & meat, but they’re on the right track. The roasted okra is my jam.A bronze Princess Ulele in a ring of fire. She’s wearing a Spanish moss skirt, which my mom says would give her chiggers. Watching the cruise ships set sail. 
Quick garden update: Everglades tomatoes are sprouting everywhere, including the gutters. Collards and kale are massive, but damn the whitefly. Radishes and carrots are popping. Tomatillo: dead. Sungold tomatoes: plants look rough but still producing like mad. Took a quick road trip to the Keys. Said hello to my key deer friends and I sat on the most tranquil porch. It was hard to leave. A unicorn key deer.Couldn’t resist the nautical details on this No Name Key house. My mom and I saw Hamilton Tuesday night. It was all the hype and then some. I got the audiobook it’s based on for our next road trip. Until now, what I remembered about Hamilton and Burr’s story was thanks to this Got Milk? commercial

And I did one more thing I’ve always wanted to do this month: my friends and I went on a special feeding tour of Big Cat Rescue. I’m gonna do a whole post on that, so come back soon.



12 Comments February in Bloom

  1. misti February 28, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    Ooh I miss tabebuias! I think they can get a bit invasive in south Florida but they are gorgeous!

    What a month you had! Sorry about the whitefly!

    Cute unicorn key deer!

    1. suwanneerose February 28, 2019 at 6:22 pm

      Thanks, Misti! Yes, the tabebuias do sprout up like weeds even here, but they’re easy to pluck out. Wish me luck with the whitefly battle! I’ve learned so many tips from your podcast. Just listened to the one with Meg of Seed to Fork. What a dream garden.

  2. Coley February 28, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    Every time a person has a bad thing to say about Florida they should be forced to scroll through one of these posts. They get me every time! I want to sit on that porch with a tropical cocktail, a slice of that strawberry cake and have a conversation with your father in law. He looks like he has a lot of wisdom under that hat!

    1. suwanneerose February 28, 2019 at 6:13 pm

      I can only defend the natural beauty here. The people are another story. Hope we can make all of the above happen one day! Richard does indeed have the best stories.

  3. Julie February 28, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    What wonderful pictures and stories! We definitely need to revisit Tampa. And by the way, your mom is totally right about the chiggers!

    1. suwanneerose February 28, 2019 at 6:05 pm

      Well you (and of course Phil) would know about the chiggers. Haha. I think Tampa’s pleasant as cities go. You’ll have to call us up next time you’re in town.

  4. Kitty Donnelly February 28, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    Wonderful February issue!!

    1. suwanneerose February 28, 2019 at 6:00 pm

      Thank you, Kitty! Hope all is well with you!

  5. Evangelia February 28, 2019 at 5:55 pm

    What a special edition…sharing such a special birthday! Beautiful strawberry cake Florida style. Always enjoy seeing your travels, you take me away in my mind.

    1. suwanneerose February 28, 2019 at 6:01 pm

      Just as your snowy travels take me away… Thanks for doing that paddle board class. Glad we didn’t fall off.

  6. Richard Rose March 2, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    Thanks Daniele for a wonderful week in Tampa and the incredible birthday cake. As usual, the best kitchen in Tampa is yours. Love you.

    1. suwanneerose March 2, 2019 at 2:26 pm

      Thanks, Richard! Your birthday coincides perfectly with strawberry season. Let’s do it all again next year.


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