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A round trip for a perfect evening out

Published Oct. 6, 2005

Show your date your taste in art, or lack thereof, at the 24th Annual Gasparilla Sidewalk Art Festival this weekend. Admission is free, and there's not only work by 300 artists but great people-watching, food, and entertainment by The Plaids and Richie Kicklighter. The festival takes place from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday on Ashley Drive downtown. You'll have to leave skateboards, rollerblades and bicycles at home, but there's plenty of parking. Sorry, no pets or coolers allowed.

After strolling around, you might try some out-of-the-ordinary dishes at nearby Cool Beans Cafe at 109 Hyde Park Place. The airy restaurant across from the bay features a combination of Cuban, Creole and Caribbean tastes. You can fill up on appetizers, soups and salads for not a lot of dough. Try the quesadilla of the day for $5.75, the large house salad with wild field greens, papaya and avocado for $4.75, or black bean soup with Tostones, $3.50.

After dinner, why not go to the movies? This time, avoid Steven Seagal and Luke Perry at those shiny multiplexes and impress your date with a hip foreign film at the Tampa Theatre. Snapper _ an Irish comedy about twentysomethings coping with unexpected pregnancy and breaking the news to Da, as well as pub life and the peer rumor mill _ will show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.