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Friday, August 20, 2010

Food: Lunch at the "Bamboo Chicken"

Did you know that in some parts of the world, like Belize, that the green iguana is referred to as the bamboo chicken? Neither did I, but what (you are probably asking yourself) does that have to do with anything?

After a heat stroke inducing five mile hike (walk, run, sprint) this morning we decided that we needed to rejuvenate ourselves with a bite to eat and a couple of cold beers. One of our favorite establishments to go to for a bite and a beer is the Green Iguana, but not just any Green Iguana. Just like in the Yucatan and in Belize you can find these creatures around every corner. Our special spot is at the table to the right of the outdoor bar at the Green Iguana on South Westshore Boulevard in Tampa.

I think most of the servers are familiar with us and we are considered to be regulars. When they see us seat ourselves it is my understanding that they draw straws to see who has to wait on us. They are such dears and regardless of who draws the short straw service has always been exceptional.

What about the food, though? You might consider the menu selections as typical bar food, but I would have to disagree. It may be bar food but it is some of the best we have experienced in Tampa. The hamburgers, and there are many choices, are superb...juicy and delicious. My bride enjoyed one today while I opted for the seafood basket...fried shrimp, fish, scallops, fries, and conch fritters. When we are concerned about our weight we usually choose one of the Iguana's salad choices, and again, there are several. My favorite is the Capri Salad with a slab of grilled salmon. Of course, if we are eating heavy we always choose a diet beer. We are health conscious, you know.

The Green Iguana has brand new HD flat screen TVs and live entertainment several nights a week plus a full bar with some really nifty specialty beverages. For the longest time I thought the inside bar was clothing optional since they have a sign above the entry way that says "No Cover." Thankfully, my bride set me straight on that before I got barred from the premises for life. That was a close one!

The Iguana isn't what I would call an upscale dining spot, but the food has always been tasty and the prices are reasonable. The vibe is "neighborhood tiki bar" with bamboo, sports on the TVs, friendly clientèle, and except for that guy in the kitchen with the whiskers who brings out our orders from time to time, the servers are lovely.

Green Iguana - West Shore on Urbanspoon

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