BEST PLACE TO EAT OUT
My favorite is the green enchiladas. Oh, man, I love those green enchiladas. It´s the sauce — tomatillas, onions, comino — It´s not hot, just spicy, but they can make it hot. And the posole. Mmmmm. I get it every time I go. It´s got pork, tomatillos, jalapenos, potatoes, squash. They let it simmer a long time, so it´s very flavorful. They serve it with hot tortillas. The tortilla soup is good too, but I have to get the posole, even if I´m having the enchiladas. I´ll just take it home and eat it later. The owner, Gustavo, is so wonderful. He´s always so nice, and he acts like you´re his old friend when you go in there. The place can be crowded and he´ll still come over and talk to you and make you feel warm and welcome. He´s really sincere. He´s glad you´re there. It´s just like the restaurants we go to in Austin. We stop in there, and it´s like we´re outta Tampa.
Al Gusto, 912 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, 813-250-3500.
BEST PLACE TO BUY DOO-DADS
Suncoast Resort Gift Shop
I´ve got a lot of gay customers, and I like to buy them things. This one couple had a dream catcher in the window. Well, you can´t have a dream catcher in the window; it´s got to be over your bed. So I moved it over their bed, and that was OK with them. Then I bought a rainbow equality pin and put it on the dream catcher. They didn´t notice it for weeks. But they loved it when they finally saw it. I got this refrigerator magnet there. It says ¨Oh well, I wasn´t using my civil liberties anyway.¨ Don´t get me started on that. It just makes me so mad. But we´re supposed to be positive in this, right? Suncoast is a really cool gift shop.
Suncoast Resort, 3000 34th St. S., St. Petersburg, 727-867-1111.
BEST PLACE TO FIND A PLUMBER
Corona´s Coffee Shop
I love going every morning to Corona´s. They make the best Cuban coffee. It´s a blue-collar place, and we all sit and visit and have coffee. If you need a plumber, there´s a plumber, an electrician, a bail bondsman, you name it. Policemen come in too. The people who work there are really nice, especially Larissa. She´s always got a smile for you. I´ve got a little homeless friend I meet for breakfast there. I buy him breakfast, and on occasion, he´s bought me breakfast.
Corona´s Coffee Shop, 9307 N. Nebraska Ave., Tampa, 813-933-8646.
BEST PLACE TO TAKE YOUR SICK KITTY CAT
Kindness Animal Hospital
Dr. T (Tellekamp) is a good ol´ country boy who wears his Chuck Taylors. He and his staff really love animals. He´s told me before, ¨If your cat´s sick and you don´t have money, come anyway. We´ll settle up later.¨
Kindness Animal Hospital, 1909 N. Nebraska Ave., Tampa, 813-933-8944.
BEST PLACE FOR ART SUPPLIES
They´ve got everything. The people who work there are all artists, so they know how to help you get what you need. I´m a folk artist, I guess what you might call an outsider artist. I pride myself on that.
AOE, 12908 N. 56th St., Tampa, 813-971-8520.
BEST PEOPLE TO DEPEND ON WHEN YOUR LIFE´S AT STAKE
Lifelink, Dr. Marian Menezes, Dr. Jose Cariaga
My husband needed a liver transplant, and Lifelink gave him another chance to live. If someone hadn´t donated a liver, he´d probably be dead today. During the whole transplant process, Lifelink was there for both of us. I´d lose it, and they´d be right there for me. It´s like they were concerned for me as well as the patient. I really did appreciate that. I wish people understood how important it is to donate their organs. People are afraid they might not be saved in an emergency situation if they´re an organ donor. It doesn´t work that way. Dr. Menezes (rhymes with ¨diseases¨) is wonderful. He gave me his phone number and said ¨don´t hesitate to call me 24/7,¨ and he meant it with all his heart. The staff is great; they take care of everything. He treats you like you´re his only patient. He never rushes you, and he listens so intently. He really pays attention to everything you say.
Lifelink Transplant Institute, 409 Bayshore Blvd., Tampa, 813-251-8017; Marian Menezes, 3000 E. Fletcher Ave. Suite 270, Tampa, 813-977-7794; Jose Cariaga, 13801 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa, 813-971-8520.