Tasty Tapas Tuesdays in Tampa

$4 dollars tapas, $4 sangrias—I wish I was lying.

Conveniently, Ceviche has reopened right down the block from me.  I went to the first Hyde Park location in Tampa my sophomore year in college but, the food was gone much too fast for me to remember how delicious it was. In another life, my idea of perfection would be attending Ceviche’s tapas Tuesday.  I have probably been to Ceviche about 4 different times since it re-opened in  February.  Now, not everything on the regular menu is $4 but everything that is $4 is worth much more than that.  Last night, for the second time I indulged into a bowl of chorizo, and mussels.  It was the perfect fish accompanied with my red wine sangria.  It was smothered in a red tomato sauce that I was constantly dipping my steaming bread into.  The dish also features tons of red and yellow peppers sliced with onions.  The combination was just what I wanted, it was so satisfying and light but filled me the right way–a.k.a I could keep chugging down sangrias.

The great thing about Ceviche is not only its super close location, but the atmosphere is so lively and comforting.  There are 4 different rooms one can dine in, including the outdoor deck.  It is dark and romantic inside, but there are seating arrangements and people sitting anywhere and everywhere.  The outside deck is subdued yet cool equipped with warming lights for you polar bears out there. Anyone is also welcome to hang out on the deck and bring drinks his/her drinks from the bar.  There is also live music,including salsa (my favorite)!  If you are there on a bumping night, you can even spot some drunken latino/a’s getting it on, which automatically arouses me to shake what my momma gave me.

My recommendations for food are (not only the steaming, crunchy bread that comes with amazing pesto sauce) but for the menu outside the tapas tuesday menu:

  • oaxtail braised in goodness (I never tried the thing until I came there, and it literally falls off the bone)
  • Ceviche de La Casa featured with scallops, shrimp and you don’t even care what is in it because it is so fresh that I can taste the saltness of the ocean
  • Ceviche de Salmon has frekin’ caviar in it. I’ll take 5 please.
  • Atun Estilo Tarturo (aka tuna tartare for us illiterate Americans) is an adorable date snack and supremely fresh (screw T.G.I.F $20 for 2).It even comes with cute cones you can put the tuna into for a texture crunch
Tapas Menu Musts:
  • ASSparagus is just as fit and healthy as any ass you will get (it is cooked and drizzled with a spicy aioli and pico)
  • Almejos and/or something spanish…..are shockingly on this menu.  It is what I described earlier.
  • Mejilones Catalan are probably the most delicious thing on this menu in my opinion.  Why?  It makes your stomach want to hug you it is so happy for the touch of cream and anise flavor. And did I say you can dip that hot bread in it=flavor explosion and comfort all at once.
  • I think the great thing about all the meals on the tapas menu is that the dishes are relatively small so you do not feel overly obese while you’re eating it and can therefore save room for sangria which is extremely important.

Now if we are going to talk drinks, the motjitos are average but there are no sugar canes for you Latin natives and they are not as strong as I would hope.  The margaritas are ok, nothing extraordinary.  As for sangria, my friends love the champagne sangria but, I am just not a fan I think it tastes awkward so I always stick with the Red sangria.  It is a little sweet but, after a couple who can tell the difference?

So if you are with a large group of friends=make reservation ahead of time if going on weekend or Tuesday and buy a pitcher

If you are with a date, sit at the bar have a drink and order a bite before you sit down (the bartenders are extremely nice).

Ceviche in Hyde Park is also opened until 3am Tues.-Sat., and has brunch on weekends.  The brunch menu is just teasing.

  • 2500 Azeele St.
  • Lunch Mon.-Fri.
  • (813) 250-0203 for more info.

–If you order takeout definitely ask for bread and pesto–

UT Students Say ‘Homeless Problem is Affecting Us’

By: Hanifah Abdullah

The rate of homeless people in Tampa has increased over the years. “Obviously Tampa’s attractive weather lures the homeless people in. Up north, the colder winters are very unfriendly to the homeless and can result in severe illnesses, and sleeping at night can become quite a task, while in warmer places, nights may be cool, but not unbearable.”

The homeless population is not difficult to find because to panhandle in Tampa, you are required to wear a bright neon vest. Some don’t actually go out and buy the vest though to become a full time homeless person. They’d rather just use that little bit of money to buy some food or liquid.

“I just sit here on the sidewalk and hope that some generous person will pass by and drop some change into my bucket,” says a middle-aged homeless man.

However, some students do not feel the need to give the homeless money.

“They’re probably just going to buy some alcohol or drugs with the money, the things that got them in this position to begin with,” says Ariel French, a freshman at The University of Tampa.

“They start thinking that you’re a regular and follow you around for some more money. That’s when I knew I had to stop my generous acts,” says Maritza Jaramillo.

Of course many can’t avoid the homeless problem because a simple act like walking down Kennedy Boulevard, which has a vast amount of homeless individuals, can cause you to bump into one.

UT Students are complaining though that the thing that scares them most is the arrival of the homeless on campus. Recently a couple of residents of Austin Hall found a homeless man lying on their floor. When asked about their first impressions of waking up to a homeless man on their floor, they responded quickly and with a degree of passion.

“I was really startled by his presence, but he was pretty chill for the most part and didn’t seem like he meant to offend us,” says William Klingbeil, a resident of the third floor of Austin Hall. “What shocked me and scared me most was the fact that he could get past our so-called security and on to the third floor with no student I.D. card.”

William Klingbeil and Ryan Messina were the only two in the room when the homeless man was there and complain that anything could have happened. They say thankfully nothing of theirs was stolen.

“He left his bag there like as if he were planning on coming back. But we called security to remove his bag and luckily we haven’t seen him since then,” explained Ryan Messina.

This event has students thinking about the level of safety actually on campus as this is a private university open to the public because of its many attractions.

“I don’t feel that the homeless people are harmful at all. I just think that they’re just looking for a place to stay. They’re in survival mode sort of,” says Dakota Nguyen, a freshman forensics major as well as my roommate.

Whether these homeless individuals are harmful or not and just looking for a place to stay, it is undeniably clear that they are increasing by the day.

“I usually see at least one homeless person when I’m walking into town,” says John Konizewsky.

Students say something needs to be done to combat this problem of homelessness. Perhaps more shelters need to be made and a method needs to be used to broadcast the existence and location of these shelters so that homeless people know where to go to find housing and food.

The problem will not be solved overnight but hopefully it will be solved in time. Until then, UT students hope to not see homeless people on campus or in their rooms.

Email me at hanifah.abdullah@spartans.ut.edu

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UT Students Say Campus might not be as Safe During the Night

By: Hanifah Abdullah

It is evident that college campuses may not be as safe as they were once upon a time, and that college students have to be observant and careful while they are on their campuses.

With the occurrence of several skeptical events on The University of Tampa campus recently, such as the Homeless man sleeping in a student’s dorm in Austin Hall, a student being violated by a grown man at night in front of the Medical center, several students being robbed, and more recently a freshman named Liz Gustafson forced to jump out of a moving taxi cab due to cab driver’s unwillingness to let her out of the cab, students are beginning to wonder if they need to take precaution before it’s too late.

“The world has changed greatly. There’s too much to worry about as far as predators go,” says former UT student. “I just hope that I don’t become a victim of yet another crime on the UT Campus,” Daniela Castillo adds.

Contrary to what some students have said, other students do not feel a difference at all and are not worried about something happening to them. “There is always someone on the UT campus. Not much will happen here. Students should be more concerned about what could happen off campus,” explains Marcus Brewer, an ROTC Freshman.

Whether Students feel safe or unsafe, the important thing is that UT has the Laser team option. Students can reach the Laser team at (813) 257-4515 to pick them up from anywhere on campus after 7 and bring them anywhere they need to go on campus. The purpose of the Laser Team is to ensure that students are safe on campus at night.

“I love the Laser Team! I get a free ride and I feel safe when I’m with them,” says Brandon  D’Arezzo.

Post a comment and/or email me at hanifah.abdullah@spartans.ut.edu

Many Begin College! But Question is: Who will finish it?

By: Hanifah Abdullah

The college dropout rate continues to increase. Many students enter college, but a large number do not graduate or even pass the first year of their college career.

According to a 2005 report issued by The Education Trust, a Washington-based nonprofit group, only 63 percent of students who enroll in a four-year university will earn a degree and it will take them on an average of six years. The other 37 percent will either drop out of college before finishing or else flunk out of their programs of study (USA Today).

More up to date reports display, on the other hand, that nationally, four-year colleges graduated an average of only 53 percent of entering students within six years, and graduate rates of less than 30 percent are often the case, according to a report by the American Enterprise Institute. (2011)

The college dropout issue is a very important issue facing today’s youth. It is essential that we understand why this tends to happen though.

A small percentage of students drop out of college because they do not want to apply themselves, or because they were forced to attend when they really did not want to do so, while a vast majority of students do tend to dropout because their financial situation and the great expenses associated with college.

Many students have no financial assistance from their parents and rely on a job to take care of their needs. All of this may be quite overbearing so they decide to just dropout.

A variety of students are dropping out of college but if we take into consideration the main reason why many students drop out-the cost of college-then perhaps we can change this by educating our youth about the expenses of college and the importance of applying to outside scholarships or even cheaper universities to make dropping out something of the past.

Students Be Aware As Beach Season Approaches

As Florida’s winter comes to an end the beaches are beginning to be packed with people of all ages.  Beach safety is something that everyone should take into consideration when hitting the sand this season. We all know the basic rules of the beach, sunscreen, be sure to eat so you don’t dehydrate etc. the rules haven’t changed much over the years. But, the most important thing that students should watch for is the beach police. Underage drinking is at a peak these days and the police aren’t messing around anymore.

Caddy’s in St. Pete is the hot spot today for 18-25 year olds.  But if you think you’re going to get away with drinking underage, you might want to think again.  Caddy’s has beach police in full uniform that at any point can approach a group and ask for their i.d.’s.  Not only do they look at the picture and the date and expiration date but they have an on sight scanner to be sure it’s a legitimate for of identification.

“This is the first time I have ever seen cops in uniform on the beach.  I have been to many beaches and seen beach patrol but never an officer,” says Lindsay Nichols, a 23 year old from Riverview, visited Caddy’s this past Sunday.  Students should be wary of drinking at the beach because cops have no problem taking out the cuffs and heading to the station with you in your teeny bikini or American flag board shorts.

One other thing that students need to remember is that drinking alcohol at a bar is totally different than drinking in the sun.  The sun it self can be tiring and especially if it’s really hot your body needs water to keep hydrated and alcohol dehydrates you.  This means that if you normally drink 5 beers and feel “buzzed” then probably at the beach 3 will have you feeling good.  “I saw so many girls and guys that were so messed up because they were just constantly drinking and in the back of my mind I was wondering how they all are getting home,” adds Lindsay.

DUI’s cause 41 percent of traffic deaths in Florida.  If you decide to go to the beach and load your cooler with alcoholic beverages, make sure you have a designated driver.  Drinking and driving is never cool and can cause major problems for you and possibly someone else.  Alejandra Barrios turned 21 last April and by June she received a DUI, she tells “I did something very stupid, I drank then drove.  Now I don’t drive at all and have to find rides to and from work 6 days a week.  I’m lucky that I didn’t hurt anyone, but I let myself and family down, and now all my hard earned money goes to the DUI.”  Most of the beaches are about an hour away from the Tampa area, give or take.  Could you imagine driving that far after drinking all day in the sun, it’s just an accident waiting to happen.  As summer time approaches students should remember that having fun is also being responsible because it’s no longer fun when you’re sitting in a jail cell.

Top 5 Nightlife HotSpots in Brandon/Valrico

Sunday funday, Monday Sunday, trashed Tuesday, wasted Wednesday, thirsty Thursday, and so on and so forth are common terms used by college students, or just the younger generation in general, of today.  When choosing a hotspot to go to the one thing most people want to know is what kinds of drink specials are at what places on what days.  The most popular drinking days are Wednesday thru Saturday because students are usually enrolled Monday thru Wednesday of Thursday for classes, although there are some of those crazy ones who participate in all of the above days.  Living off campus in Brandon or Valrico can make it harder to go out with the students who live on campus because getting a cab to and from a place in Tampa or vice versa can get expensive so here are the top five hang out spots of the area in order of most frequented.

All of these places offer daily drink specials during the day and night and are all open late into the evening everyday of the week.  As well as daily drink specials and late hours all of these hotspots offer a full food menu so when you get the “drunken munchies” you can pick up a menu and order a basket of fries or whatever you may like just beware later into the night the kitchen sometimes closes earlier then the bar.  Green Iguana and J.F Kicks would be the only places that offer a dance floor usually on the weekends.  Take into consideration these place when looking for something to do in Brandon or Valrico.  Remember it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!

Busch Gardens Continues to Make Improvements


                It’s like stepping into Africa except there are massive roller coasters, tourists, and expensive food.  Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, located right across from USF, has been making some major changes lately.  One large addition is a new roller coaster, Cheetah Hunt.  This roller coaster is said to last approximately three and half minutes, almost ten times the length of most roller coasters in the park.  With the new coasters long length, many may think that a long wait is worth it because instead of a thirty second ride they will be enduring three and a half minutes of roller coaster fun.  This will be the fifth large rollercoaster added to the park, not including the baby coasters.

  • Gwazi
  • Montu
  • Sheikra
  • Cheetah Hunt

The construction zones for the making of this coaster are an inconvenience to visitors as it detours guests in a large circle when they could easily access areas by using a straight path.  Also added to the park are additional pathways to look at the animals grazing on grass in the Serengeti as well as Jamba Junction where guests can look at more animals, repitiles included.  Busch Gardens has a couple of different baby animals, but the cutest by far is the baby cheetah located in Jamba Junction.  After a day of adrenaline filled roller coasters, Cirque De Solei shows, and train rides through the Serengeti the best way to end your eventful day is a Serengeti Safari.  Busch Gardens offer three different safaris, but they cost a little extra money.

  • Serengeti Safari $33.95 must be five years old +
  • Serengeti Endangered Species Safari $39.95 must be five years old +
  • Sunset Safari $39.95 must be twenty-one years old +

They also offer other tours but these three allow visitors to ride in the back of a truck and see animals up close and feed giraffes.  Busch Gardens in making many changes, good changes.  This will engage more Floridians to visit the park since it won’t be the same scene every time you visit.