Leslie @ Lunch
With Guest Peter Stark
The first time I met Peter Stark, dance department chair and artistic director of Next Generation Ballet at The Patel Conservatory, he asked, “Want a look inside the tutu closet?”
I have never wanted to Facebook friend-request someone so fast. Peter is so cool. He’s sweet and fabulous to be around—what with all the ballerinas and dreamy costumes and beautiful music. Even a few not-so-pesky mice.
After scoring the sweetest parking spot in downtown Tampa, Peter and I met up on the street outside Spain Restaurant & Toma Bar. There was marked glee in my reaction to his arrival. What is it about this guy? A former ballet dancer himself, with leading roles at New York City Ballet, Boston Ballet and Washington Ballet, Peter is light on air. And dashing in a handsome blazer with a collarless shirt, jeans and polished shoes.
Wearing something I envision twirling around at The Nutcracker’s Christmas Party scene, I led Peter into Spain’s crisp white space and owner Fred Castro welcomed us. Peter hadn’t dined there before and when he learned they offer a Flamenco dance performance, he lit up and likely plans to bring a clan of visiting friends to see one. From the lunch buffet, we were served our choices: a light, fresh fish dish for him and arroz con pollo for me. Both of us were delighted upon delivery of a small slice of buttered, pressed Cuban bread.