Gasparilla Guide 2020

Another year has come and with that, the future of our city is at the mercy of the pirate invaders.


Happy New Year, Tampa! It's now January, and that can only mean one thing... It's GASPARILLA season! This is the most important season for the city of Tampa. Now, for those of you who are looking for information, or simply looking to impress your friends, lets discuss the details of Gasparilla.

Dates

January 18, 2020, 11:00am: The Gasparilla Children's Parade

January 25, 2020, 11:00am: Gasparilla Pirate Festival

February 8, 2020, 7:00pm: Gasparilla Knight of Sant Yago Parade

February 29, 2020, 2:00pm: Gasparilla Outbound Voyage

Price

Gasparilla has, is, and will always be a free event to attend, hosted by the City of Tampa. Upgrades are available to add to the experience, and other aspects of the parade (parking, alcohol, food, etc) will cost money, but the parade itself is free. If you are looking for upgrades to this event, the best place to find them is the official Gasparil…

Holy Hog: Florida Style BBQ

Barbecue? In Florida?

Holy Hog: Carrollwood, 2017

Lets be honest, Florida isn't known for their barbecue. In 2010, Danny Hernandez decided it was time to change that. A native of Tampa, and a man with a taste for smoked meat, Hernandez opened his first location on Armenia Ave. After that location, two more opened up in Amalie Arena. Then, arguably the biggest addition came when Hernandez opened his Holy Hog Downtown location, now putting a decent BBQ place in close proximity to the people of Tampa. The Carrollwood location came after that. There's also a South Tampa location, but I can't find any info as to when that one opened. If there aren't enough locations for you, then feel free to also track down their food truck, which can easily be found at local Tampa events. 

Beer? Yeah, They Have It, 2017

I still remember the first time I stepped foot into a Holy Hog. Stormy and I were covering one of the very first Exploring Tampa events, which just so happened to be a big bicycle rally in Downtown Tampa to debut the new Coast Rise Share contract in Tampa. The excitement was in the air as we walked through multiple tents, saw some interesting bikes, and got some cool film for the channel. The one downside is that we got dehydrated very quickly. We decided to pop our heads in to the first watering hole we found. Alas, we walked to the outside patio of Holy Hog's Downtown location. Finally, water! Well, not quite. We were quickly talked into the sangria that they had behind the bar. Unfortunately, they were closed for the day. They just happened to leave the bar open a little later and we caught them as they were closing that up too. I remember it being REALLY early for them to close. It put a bad taste in my mouth at the beginning. Luckily, I had ice cold sangria to wash it out. It wasn't until a good year later that Stormy and I decided to give it a shot. Now I see what I had been missing. But I know that's not why you came here, so lets get started!

Hog & Heifer, 2017

Alright, so, on the menu for this review, we were at the Carrollwood Location, Stormy got the Hog & Heifer Sandwich, slaw on the side, with Mac & Cheese. I decided to do something completely blasphemous and went with the BBQuban (how DARE you mess with the classic!) and the jalapeno mac on the side. Stormy made sure our sandwiches were expertly cut in half by someone with much more skill than either of us, and then we shared sandwich halves. Right off the bat, the half sandwich is probably enough for a hefty lunch. I wouldn't go here expecting to eat the entire meal. Now, when I go to a BBQ place, I tend to drench the meat in as much BBQ sauce as I can. I find it incredibly dry. So, it's a true testament to Holy Hog that I didn't touch a drop of BBQ sauce while eating the Hog & Heifer. The slaw added a really nice, sweet flavor to the meat that complimented it perfectly. The meat itself was perfectly cooked, moist, and was tucked sloppily into the bun as any real barbecue should be. But that wasn't the best part...

BBQuban, 2017

Remember when I said that you shouldn't mess with the classics? Good. Now, forget that. There is no accurate way for me to describe how good this sandwich actually is. Look at the size of that ham in there. Then look at the amount of pork! Swiss cheese, tons of pickles, and mustard top this off. I'll even forgive them for not including salami. The bread was perfectly toasted, the Swiss melted over everything, as if to give it a hug goodbye as my teeth ripped it apart and sent it to its demise in my stomach. I will say, don't order this expecting a Cuban sandwich. The pictures alone should tell you that you'll be disappointed. Instead, order this knowing that it's a BBQ ham and pork sandwich with Swiss cheese. Then we got to the disappointing part of the meal: The jalapeno mac. Maybe it's because I was incredibly full, or maybe it was because I was expecting more spice, or maybe it's because I've just been spoiled with some really good mac and cheese... But this mac didn't live up to the hype. I was expecting a little kick from the jalapenos, there was none. As a matter of fact, the entire dish was kind of bland. Maybe this was just a bad batch, as I hear people preaching about the greatness of this cheesy goodness. However, on this trip, it just wasn't there. However, it was a side, and there were many others to choose from, so I can't hold it against them.

Speaking of Sides, 2017

Things you should know before you go:
- There are many locations of varying sizes.
- The BBQuban is my current favorite sandwich in Tampa right now.
- This is probably the best barbecue I've had in Tampa. I'm sure others will disagree with me.
- The Jalapeno Mac & Cheese lacks the spice.
- They carry craft beer!

What is your favorite barbecue meal? Is there a better barbecue restaurant in Tampa? Leave a comment below. If you'd like more information on Tampa, check out my YouTube Channel and if you'd like to support my efforts, don't hesitate to buy a shirt from our Spreadshirt (we have new designs!). Also, don't be afraid to click subscribe and you'll instantly be notified whenever a new entry is posted. If you'd like to meet other people who love Tampa, consider joining our Facebook Group. Thank you all and I will see you next time!

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