Every now and then a good birthday weekend comes around and for us that usually means a weekend getaway. This time it was Orlando for dinner, a late night and a long day at the outlets. Orlando is just over an hour so its a quick shot for us over in Tampa. This trip was a change of scenery and a hotel room that we didn’t have to clean. It’s usually a mess after celebrating anything but not when you are staying at the Embassy Suites in Downtown Orlando with three of the coolest kids around. A conveniently located hotel a few blocks from bars, restaurants and (what looked to be) a fun nightlife. We didn’t end up sticking around after our delicious meal from Loft 55 because we planned to head to Pulse Nightclub and Parliament House (P-house). And let’s not forget a Sunday filled of shopping for gifts (and ourselves). With so many good deals how could we not.

We left Tampa Saturday afternoon and arrived in Orlando around 6pm, with just enough time to valet (an unnecessary $21/night), check-in and make it to complimentary happy hour for a drink. (HH was from 5:30-7:30). Then we headed a few blocks from the hotel in search of a place to eat. We stumbled past a few bars and restaurants before Loft 55,  located a flight up from ground level, caught our attention. This American Tapas bar serves up a tasty menu every night and has a smashing selection of hand crated cocktails. Of course the Mac & Cheese called our names so we ordered two along with some Wagyu Beef Sliders, Popcorn Shrimp and Chicken & Waffles. These dishes were anything but ordinary, don’t take my word for it, check out the menu and the pictures below.

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But that was just the beginning of the fun. After filling our bellies with the perfect balance of pasta and protein, it was time to head back to the hotel, hydrate and head out. The house bartender AKA all of us mixed up some Coke (of course) and Rums. This drink is second to our standard “Pretty” Polynesian. After a couple of cocktails we picked up a taxi for a quick ride to Pulse Nightclub. This was not our first time to Pulse but it was our first Saturday night. We caught the drag show with a contestant from the upcoming season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Dropped a few dollars and danced our feet off. Then we headed to P-House to meet up with some other friends. If you ever get to visit the Orlando scene you must stop by P-House, its a staple and there is always something going on… and yes they have a motel attached to a nightclub, restaurant and pool area. So in the summer this place is the best.

Skip to the next morning, after we all reluctantly got our acts together, we headed out to hit up the extensive maze of outlets that Orlando has to offer. What used to be two separate sets of outlets are now under one owner, Premium Outlets Vineland and Premium Outlets on I-Drive. Make sure you check out which stores you want to visit before heading out. Even though the outlets mostly mirror each others collection of shops, we had to go to both for a select few stores, and since it is holiday season it was crowded and the discounts were bountiful. I picked up a few good deals but the birthday boy definitely took the cake with his $15 jacket (retail $130). Kenneth Cole to Burberry and Nike to J. Crew, we hit them all. We took our awesome buys and packed the car, grabbed a bite and headed back to Tampa just in time for our Sunday night ritual, premium cable shows and so Nicholas could write his Homeland recap.

Whew… what an exhausting weekend but I was able to check off so many people on my gift list and I got to spend some quality time with some good people. Its not to late to plan a night to take the trip to Orlando so you can stay in your holiday budget and cross off the extended family from your gift list. Its great to be so close to another city that has so much to offer. It is refreshing to get away for the weekend and although this one is for pleasure, they are not always.

Where should we go for our next birthday weekend getaway?


Loft 55

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