It’s one of those super trendy spots – an old converted mill that’s now the place to be in Florida’s third biggest city by population.
The Oxford Exchange is a co working space, design studio, restaurant, lifestyle gift store and event venue all in one. Best of all, the whole place is a treasure trove for breakfast lovers, with different sections depending on how much time and money you want to invest in your morning munchies.
My friend Joe and I sat in the ‘ladies who lunch’ area, as I thought accurately described it, although of course this time it was brunch and there aren’t many ladies in the photo above. There were loads when we left.
The white wash brick walls and dark wood elegant tables gave the whole event a sense of occasion, and we could look out the front and see the people go by through the huge tinted windows – a necessity in super-hot Tampa.
We could’ve sat in the conservatory – which at the time was drenched in the 25’C sun of an average December day in Tampa. Black and white tiled floors and a forest of plants gave an al fresco feel, but the welcome air conditioning told you differently.
Or we could’ve sat at the bar stools and tables in what could be called ‘the grand hall’. This is where the quickie breakfast brigade dined. Strangers shared tables and the food came from a coffee shop like bar. The coffee was supplied by local gem Buddy Brew. If you didn’t want a cup of the strong stuff there was a whole stall selling teas of every variety, you could even do a tea tasting.
I went for the green smoothie, sweet potato hash with chorizo and fried egg and an Americano coffee, to get the full hit. I needed the injection of goodness from the smoothie after the long flight and a touch of jetlag. The food was great – huge, obviously, seeing we were in America, but every piece of that chorizo definitely made it down the hatch before the sweet potato defeated me.
Joe had cinnamon pancakes, which looked and tasted absolutely incredible. Again, a huge portion that sadly went half uneaten, but undeniably delicious. And those little chocolate brownies on top, aar yes.
In fact I’d have happily eaten all the food that came out of the kitchen – the plates were distracting me from our conversation.
Other stuff to do
If I had the time, and had I remembered to withdraw some dollars, I could’ve spent a lot of money at the brilliant gift shop. It was full of little treasures I hadn’t seen before.
The Oxford Exchange is just opposite the huge palace-like Tampa University building, worth an ogle, and just across the bridge you’ll find the city-wide bike rental service to burn off all those calories. A leisurely bike ride along the newly renovated waterfront was the perfect end to the morning.
I was in Florida as a guest of VISIT FLORIDA and Hertz.co.uk. Visit Florida have a whole January of activity in London – check out their ‘Moments of Sunshine‘ here.