Eavesdropping on Old Timers at La Tropicana in Tampa, Florida
By night a somewhat Jimmy-Buffetized debauchery district, Ybor City was once a bustling and tight-knit neighborhood of Cuban, Spanish, and Italian immigrants who worked in Tampa's famous cigar factories. Pockets of the old neighborhood still exist if you know where to look and La Tropicana is one of these places. Here the abuelitos who grew up in Ybor still get together in the morning for cafe con leche and pan tostado (buttered-up Cuban toast that gets dunked in your coffee). Classic Tampa-Cuban standbys like devil crab and Cuban sandwiches are on the lunch menu (no dinner here), but the food isn't really the attraction here—it's the tradition.