Dining extremes

I can now cross two more eateries off my nonexistent list of Tampa restaurants I’ve never been to before. After work yesterday, I met some friends for drinks over at Bella’s in SoHo. Later, I went (at my friend’s request) to La Teresita Cafeteria on Columbus Avenue.

Why mention these? Not to praise or criticize, though the drinks at Bella’s were fine, and the picadillo and fried plantains at Teresita were tasty. Rather, both demonstrated the polar extremes of dining atmosphere.

Bella’s was, for me, uncomfortably dark. I understand the concept of mood lighting and romantic ambience, and while I’m probably in the minority on this, I don’t like dining by the equivalent of candlelight.

From those swank environs, I drove to the relatively proletariat Teresita for some late-night grub. Unlike Bella’s, the joint was lit up like high noon. It was so bright I was antsy to leave shortly after taking a seat at the counter.

Both are fine establishments with good service, but as I drove back home over the Howard Frankland, I couldn’t help but think I’d endured two of my pet peeves of dining out at two places in one night. What are the odds?

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