Week 49: Screw Debby, We Are Going to Hattricks.

Week 49: Screw Debby, We Are Going to Hattricks.

Tropical Storm Debby has declared the state of Florida its bitch as our Gulf Coast experiences high winds and up to 25 inches of rain. Bayshore Boulevard is underwater and contrary to my faith in Saab, it is not capable of floating. Stupid Swedes.

We’re on our way to Wimauma and would have been there an hour ago if we didn’t encounter so many detours due to all of this flooding. I’ve been fascinated by tropical storms and hurricanes since I was a young girl and “Bob” struck Cape Cod. Although I was young I remember waves going right through people’s homes and their furniture floating down the street like a parade with no audience. Oh, and the horrid smell of Bob’s aftermath: dead fish and crabs.

Years later when I was 11 and sitting at my best friend’s dinner table, her old, old, old grandmother read a headline to us (yes, she was reading the newspaper at the dinner table): “Michelle is blowing right through Cuba.” My friend’s dad immediately shot back with an amusing reply: “Yep, that sounds like her.” My friend alongside her entire family, including her teenage brother and mother, burst into laughter. It wasn’t until just recently I realized that I never got that joke. I was so quick to assume Hurricane Michelle “blowing right through Cuba” meant that I was crazy, outgoing and all over the place. Not quite.

Fail. Fail. Fail. We finally pull up to Wimauma only to realize they are closed due to the storm. Ryan asks me to get out of the car and take a sad picture in the rain. For some reason I do as I’m told. Back in the car, wet and cold sitting in the AC, we discuss Plan B. Datz is nearby and sounds like a great idea. We pull into Datz, get out of the car, and as we’re walking in Ryan says, “Shit, we’ve already written about Datz…. Let’s go somewhere else.” Turn around, Plan C. I hope no one saw that.

Where to go, where to go. Got it. The Cheers of Tampa… a staple in so many people’s lives… sports viewings, college years, corporate happy hours… whatever your relationship is with Hattricks, it’s probably a good one. I guess I’ve never thought about it, but Hattricks has certainly been a staple in my life since moving to Tampa 8 years ago. In college we frequented Hattricks for happy hour and football on Sundays. When I landed my first job in Tampa, we went there for corporate happy hours. Oddly enough, both of those happy hours, regardless of the crowds, were centered around getting sloshed. In fact, the only time I ever hurt myself was at one of the corporate happy hours.

Hattricks has an epic Happy Hour: 4PM-8PM every single day… and, if you can survive it, it repeats itself 10PM to close. I have yet to meet anyone capable of that marathon ($1.00 off all import drafts, 2-4-1 premium well liquors and $0.50 chicken wings). If you’re not an alcoholic, you can still go to Hattricks for the sports. Sports fans of every team and every sport find their way to Hattricks because of their amazing game viewing packages and plethora of televisions.

There’s only one rule, or at least in my book there is only one rule: You can’t go to Hattricks and not order wings. It’s like going to a wedding and not ordering a drink. A sin of sorts. Speaking of weddings, Ryan’s wedding diet is unruly so he does not care about the calories associated with chicken wings. Just 6 weeks from the wedding? Sure, let’s have 20 bbq/hot sauce combos prepared in shake ‘n bake. And a side of bacon cheese fries. Unfortunately for me, my wedding diet is screaming no, but my mouth is screaming yes. I steal 4 of the wings and move on to my grilled shrimp salad and side of honey mustard.

Let’s address something. Hattricks is not somewhere you should go if you want to eat healthy. Their healthy choices are bland at best. However, they sure as hell know how to whip up some greasy grub. Wings=awesome. Bacon cheese fries=awesome. Buffalo shrimp= awesome. Super nachos= awesome. Burgers= awesome. Sandwiches= awesome. The list goes on. Salads… merrrr.

I try to stall by picking at my salad between my 4 bbq/hot sauce combo wings to savor the flavor forever. The man next to me at the bar leans in closely, “I hear a lot of lip smacking over there….” A) What the shit? B) Do you enjoy it? Or am I offending you? C) Again, what the shit?

I deliver a blank stare and then resort my stare back to the ridiculously hot Czech bartender in front of me. Actually, I have no idea if she is Czech. She’s simply hot and foreign. She tells the mortgage brokers at the end of the bar that she does “INSANITY” workouts every day. No shit you do. That’s another thing Hattricks is really good at, recruiting hot waitresses and bartenders. I’ve yet to see an ugly one in 8 years.

Hattricks’ portions are large, so fortunately for us, we’re taking home dinner. The storm may have kept us from Wimauma’s, but Plan C (sorry Datz, Plan B) was a great choice. Following our wedding, we’ll host a Hattricks chronicle from 4-8PM and then see who’s capable of standing at 10PM for round 2. I’m determined to see what inner champion resides in some of you. The only food allowed will be chicken wings. Interested parties should contact us, and we’ll set the date.

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