SUSAN CAIN

Former Nurse and Trapeze Artist, Devoted Wife, Cosmic Cowgirl, Housekeeper, Old Soul

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click to enlarge Former Nurse and Trapeze Artist, Devoted Wife, - Cosmic Cowgirl, Housekeeper, Old Soul - photo by Gwendolyn Rodriguez - GWENDOLYN RODRIGUEZ
GWENDOLYN RODRIGUEZ
Former Nurse and Trapeze Artist, Devoted Wife, Cosmic Cowgirl, Housekeeper, Old Soul
photo by Gwendolyn Rodriguez

BEST PLACE TO EAT OUT
Al Gusto

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
AOE

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.

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