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Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

thai thoughts to stay warm

My first weekend home in a couple of weeks means lots of domestic tasks to stay on top of things. Just back from a midday run to Half Price Books where I lugged two years worth of books to clear out space for newer ones received at Christmas. It was cold work in 10 degree temps since I had to make three trips back to the car. And the wind is howling out today, making that 10 degrees seem like 20 below with the wind chill. But they paid me $30 for my books and I spent back half that on 2009 calendars and thank you notes...the ultimate recycling
But I have my memories of recent warm weather getaways to keep me warm. In fact I am still wearing the ankle bracelet of tiny turquoise beads given me by a beach vendor in the Dominican Republic. It's somewhat lost beneath my wool socks and calf-high boots here in Northeast Ohio but it reminds me of the 80 degree temps and silky white sands at my Barcelo resort just a week ago.On the flight back home were some diehard tropics lovers, still wearing their shorts and sandals on the flight. They carried on their winter clothes and changed in the airport restrooms as they were waiting for their checked bags to arrive. It was a bit dicey, because after clearing customs in one area of the Cleveland airport, you have to go outside to board a bus to take you to where you collect your bags. The walkway was shoveled though so at least they didn't get snow between their bare toes.
I can't think of a nicer three night escape from here than a 3 hour flight to Punta Cana with flights, lodging, meals and drinks included at one of these resorts. Apple Vacations has priced these getaways starting at about $1200 a couple in Jan. The price goes up in Feb and March. Check out or
And I spent part of this week warming up as I wrote about the Thai temple I visited in Tampa just the week before with my daughter. That story runs in Sunday's News-Herald so catch it if you can. I just discovered that you can click on the photos Ive added to make them the size of your screen.
Every Sunday temple volunteers stage a Thai food sale on the wraparound porch on an adjacent building, setting up their giant woks and grills to turn out all manner of delicious dishes. Lauren & I brought a cooler to take home Pad Thai and other foods, but ate soups and yummy deep fried platains at picnic tables between the Palm River and the Temple's mediation garden. The foods all sell for $1 to $4 dollars and I think I was the only out-of towner there.
But for all you folks headed to the Tampa area for Super Bowl or just to make a brief escape from winter should think about spending part of a Sunday at the Thai temple. The food sale's hours are 10:30 a.m. to around 2.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tampa Wat Mongkolrata Temple is located at
5306 Palm River Rd
Tampa, FL 33619
(813) 621-1669

Great for a nice sunday afternoon, and the food is fantastic! I got a big bag of sesame fried plantains for $5. Very Yummy.

January 17, 2009 at 5:36 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, I live in Tampa and I had no idea that was there. I will have to check it out.

January 19, 2009 at 3:05 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thai food is wonderful. Any hopes you will ever do a story about places in the area one can get good Thai food?

January 21, 2009 at 8:28 AM 

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