Beer and Loathing in Tampa
(Or why I was at the gym at 5:13 Wednesday morning and expect to assiduously count calories for the remainder of this week.)
It’s hard to believe the Republican National Convention has been over for almost a week.
Many of those who braved Tropical Storm Isaac to cover the coronation of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney are once again battling the elements (and countless talking heads) in Charlotte, N.C., even as we speak.
Yours truly was spared the indignity of living out of a suitcase for two weeks in a row. Which is not to say I escaped Florida completely unscathed.
As you can see from my exhaustive dining diary, covering the convention was no picnic. Most days, I failed to eat a single nutritionally balanced meal.
And don’t even ask about my liver.
Saturday, Aug. 25 (travel day — en route to Tampa)
Breakfast: salami-roasted chicken-asiago wrap
Lunch: snack bag of pomegranate-flavored rice cakes, snack bag of chocolate chip cookies; ginger ale
Dinner: chicharron and fried yucca appetizer plate, rustic feast of more fried pork, thinly sliced steak, spiced sausage, beans, rice, plantains and arepitas at La Pequena Colombia; multiple Aguila beers
Sunday, Aug. 26
Dinner: Hard Hat grinder (generously stacked with salami, honey ham, roast beef, pastrami, pepperoni, provolone, lettuce, tomato and mayo) from CDB Pizza; multiple glasses of unsweet tea
Nightcap: countless cubes of aged cheese and slices of cured salumi, zesty shrimp, crispy goat cheese fritters at Cassis; enough whiskey and vodka to blind an ox
Monday, Aug. 27
Breakfast: scrambled eggs, sausage, biscuits, sausage gravy, home fries at Courtyard Marriott; single cup of coffee, single cup of orange juice
Dinner: bacon jam wedges appetizer (s’aright) and small New Haven pie (terrific clams) at Wood Fired Pizza; multiple glasses of unsweet tea
Nightcap: pulled pork sandwich with sour orange glaze and crisp slaw at Florida Aquarium; vodka, club soda, whiskey, ginger ale (repeat until bleary eyed)
Tuesday, Aug. 28
Lunch: chopped salad at Carne Chophouse; gallons of ice water
Snack: snack bag of Doritos in media workspace; multiple bottles of water
Dinner: mounds of gouda, brie and crackers at Carne Chophouse; two glasses of Stella Artois; mojo-soaked roast pork with shredded beef-filled tamal, fried plantains and beans and rice at La Teresita; one bottle of Presidente beer
Dinner: handfuls of crab-spiced chips, half a Cuban sandwich (very good) and one carne taco at CNN Grill; So. Much. Whiskey.
Nightcap: bottle of Bud Light at Hammered Harry’s; multiple vodka, whiskey drinks at Florida Aquarium; bites of baby back ribs, shrimp and grits, breaded crab cakes at Raymond James Stadium; shot of Southern Comfort-laced punch
Thursday, Aug. 30
Lunch: tree-trunk-like stogie at Liberty Plaza
Snack: chicken kebabs at Glazer Children’s Museum; multiple bottles of Stella Artois
Dinner: after waiting an hour and a half for an illusory Cuban sandwich at CNN Grill — Ari Fleischer, President George W. Bush’s former mouthpiece (pictured above), seemed to have no problem scoring a meal — I retreated to the media workspace, where I finally broke down and pounced on a days-old vegetarian sandwich (roasted red peppers, sliced Portobello, ripe tomatoes) crunchified by a handful of Cheetos
Nightcap: mini slices of pastrami-topped pizza, two cheddar cheeseburger sliders, single serving of sausage and peppers at Hattricks Tavern; multiple drafts of Stella Artois; an ungodly number of barbecue meatballs and a makeshift grilled chicken sandwich at Liberty Plaza; few more vodka drinks (what the hell).
Oddly enough, I somehow still managed to LOSE 1.5 pounds during my stay in Tampa — a benefit, no doubt, of having to hike every which way in stifling heat.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find an AA meeting that dabbles in colonics …