Originally a community for Spanish, Cuban, and Italian immigrants in the 1800's, Ybor City was the area capital for cigar factories, a tradition that still lives on today. Today it has a mix of cafes, bars, nightclubs, and funky shops - but still retains a strong architectural flavor of it's ethnical past.In addition, since our visit to the flamenco show, I have started reading a book called The Return by Victoria Hislop. Set in the Spanish Civil War, it is the love story of a young Flamenco dancer and her (almost 5 years older) guitarrista. While I am only half way through this book, I would recommend it as highly as I recommend an evening at the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City.
We started with a pitcher of Sangria de Cava, 1905 Salad, and some black bean cakes. After our first course, we were treated to a 45 minute flamenco show. The dancers were fantastic and I would highly recommend going if you are in the area. There is a charge of $6 per person for the show, but this is truly a good value for the quality of dancing.
Our main course followed the dancing. I couldn't resist having the Ropa Vieja. My lovely friend Emily, who is from Cuba, will be teaching me how to make this in the upcoming months. I can hardly wait!!!