Oops on the Gap….

I managed to let a couple of extra days slip by without posting and could say I’m not sure how that happened except I do know. I’ve had overlapping deadlines and am juggling several other projects and let the calendar slip a bit. On the other hand, I certainly don’t get bored. I caught up with a friend by phone whom I hadn’t spoken with in a while and have been looking at different travel arrangements I need to make. No exotic locales this time – all family or business related. Our son, who as most of the regular followers know, is with the Bowen McCauley Dance Company in the DC area. (http://www.bmdc.org) We try to go up to see him perform at least once a year and there’s almost always a performance close to our granddaughter’s birthday. It’s a little later this year being in May about six weeks after, but that’s close enough. The performance is ordinarily at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater, but that’s being renovated. The Lansburgh Theater is in a different location which means managing new logistics. It’s supposed to be a nice venue and is where the Shakespeare Company often plays. It’s very much “in the District” not too far from the Capitol and the National Mall. Although we spent a fair amount of time in the area, we almost always took the Metro in. I don’t recall us being near that theater, but if we take the flight I think we will, there will be adequate time to scout things out.

The trip I’ll be taking to Wisconsin the following month is to present at a quilting guild and then go to see my friend whom I called the other day. I wasn’t sure if everything would come together and as she said, she didn’t want to get her hopes up. It looks as if it will all “sync” nicely and I am looking forward to it.

Another Piece Added to the Culinary Landscape……

The Capri Restaurant in Florida City/Homestead is approaching their 59th anniversary. It is the longest serving family-owned restaurant in the area and for many years was the primary restaurant with a full bar, special event capability, etc. Third and fourth generations still gather and swap stories of their first meal at Capri.

The restaurant has been remodeled a few times and this week’s unveiling of Pub 935 brings another new “Foodie” experience. It’s a completely different menu and look, and is in the “King Richard” Room – that’s the room to the far left as you are facing Capri. Small plates, “farm-to-table”, craft beers and small batch bourbons are featured. The menu is limited, but of the four dishes we have now tried – they are all excellent. The Cajun-spiced pork rinds they bring to nibble on are delicious if that’s something you like.

The shrimp and grits is a big hit, although again, it does have spice to it. The short ribs with polenta were terrific. The fried green tomatoes had a wonderful crunch and the crab bites are fried. We haven’t made it to the sliders menu yet and Hubby definitely plans to try the “From the Garden” selection of mushrooms, caramelized onions, and manchego. Unlike so many places, the portions are such that you are not likely to have leftovers. Sampling multiple dishes is what we enjoy though.

The ambience is terrific with rustic reds, beams, the original terrazzo floor brought back and more. “Sandy”, originally from Tuscany, joined Jimmy Accursio at Capri several months ago and she’s been on a roll ever since. Pub 935 will not suit everyone’s taste, but for those who have longed for a “gastro-pub”, your wait is over.

Lazy Lobster in Key Largo….

We’ve never made it down to Lazy Days restaurant, although a number of people have recommended it. The owners have now also opened Lazy Lobster in Key Largo, Bay side. (MM 102, 102770 Overseas Hwy, 305-451-0565; http://lazylobsterinthekeys.com)

A couple of weeks ago I needed to make a run to Key Largo and asked a dear friend if she had half a day open and we’d go down for errands and lunch. Since she didn’t have a particular favorite place in mind she wanted to go to, I suggested we give Lazy Lobster a try. As most people here know, there are lots of restaurants in Key Largo and it’s one of the toughest businesses to be in. It’s not really a surprise they opened in a previous restaurant that wasn’t able to sustain. Another absolute in Key Largo (well, throughout the Keys), is there is only so much waterfront. If you’re not on the water, you really have to focus on food and Lazy Lobster does so. The decor is pleasant, there are some tables on the front porch (okay, you overlook the highway), and more outdoor seating is on the patio.

The food is fresh, well-prepared, a nice variety, and the staff is friendly. Prices are in line with places like the Fish House. If you’re in the mood for raw bar fare you won’t be disappointed and if you have a non-seafood person along, he or she will have plenty of choice as well.


Something About the Blues…..

Despite not being quite myself with battling a cold last night, we’d had tickets for weeks to see Muddy on the Waters, A Blue’s Tribute at the Seminole Theatre. I grabbed a nap and we had dinner at home instead of out as we usually do as part of a theater evening. It was the Nighthawks performing with Muddy Waters’ son, “Muds” Morganfield joining them in the second part. I had debated about going, but I had also booked us a seat on the aisle so that meant I could be on the side and not breathe on anyone other than Hubby and it was his cold that was passed to me anyway. What a fun performance it was and a really talented group. In looking around, there was definitely a preponderance of Baby Boomers. There were some younger people too, but it got us to wondering if the Blues as a music genre is fading. I certainly hope not.

In fact, we sat next to a couple visiting from Iowa.The gentleman is a big National Parks fan and they’d been to the Everglades earlier and will be headed down to Dry Tortugas. They are major Blues enthusiasts and assured us the Davenport, Iowa Blues Festival is well attended every year. It’s actually the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival put on by the Mississippi Valley Blues Society and this past July was their 31st. Having been to the area multiple times during my Army days, summertime is when you want to have an outdoor festival. On the other hand, that’s also peak dive season here, so I doubt we’ll be headed up there. Then again, we haven’t tried the Blues, Beer, and BBQ Festival at Fruit and Spice Park since that first year. I’ll have to see if it’s still an annual event.

You Really Can’t Always Tell By Appearances……

Carnivorous alert! It’s funny how your memory is sparked at times. Hubby was prepping rib-eye steaks for dinner last night and it reminded me of Joe Allen’s BBQ in Abilene, TX. That was where I had my ROTC assignment and as always, restaurants were high on my list of places to identify. It didn’t take long to hear about Joe Allen’s, but it wasn’t on a direct route for me getting back and forth to work. One day I drove past at a time when it wasn’t open and sort of shrugged. It was the ramshackle side of rustic and I wondered if maybe the reputation was overblown. Then a friend who was helping me get acquainted with the area took me there for dinner.

As a longtime, multi-generational resident, she explained.  Food was what mattered at Joe Allen’s, not ambience. There was BBQ and steak, and a big galvanized tub of ice for the long-neck beer bottles. The point about the steak though was it was rib-eye with a secret rub then grilled over mesquite. Period. The deal though was the steak was cut according to what you chose – from 1/2 inch to 4 inches thick. You wanted sauteed mushrooms or peppercorn sauce – go to another restaurant. You wanted a nice wine list – go to another restaurant. You wanted one of the best steaks you would ever eat and an icy cold beer – sit down and enjoy yourself. I have no doubt the BBQ was excellent, but I admit I never had anything except the steak – my friend and I usually went for the 1-inch.

Other places with stuccoed walls, timbered ceilings, good steaks, and a larger menu were closer to where I lived and where I usually met with friends. That didn’t prevent me from going to Joe Allen’s though and I was always quick to recommend it to newcomers.

Ah, Computer Woes….

As I’ve mentioned before, we have become such a connected world (well, many of us anyway), when we lose those connections, it can really upend our schedules. I’ve returned from my trip where I was plagued with multiple computer and electronic issues. Now, in all fairness, most of those were my own fault. The mishap that knocked out my travel computer was totally on me and I’ll see today if it is recoverable. The second issue of not being able to have access on my I-phone while at the hotel was probably my fault. (I haven’t told Hubby about that one yet so he can explain what I was doing wrong.)

Anyway, I returned late last night and did in fact get catfish and hush puppies in during the trip. Th cold snap that descended was only going to last a few days, but 40 degrees and mist was distinctly uncomfortable. I do realize there are plenty of other places where that would be quite welcome at the moment. On the other hand, if you’re planning a ski vacation, lots of snow is on the wish list instead. Today and the weekend will be catch-up for me with multiple tasks. Ah well, it works that way at times.


And Another Trip…..

I am once again in Louisiana on an unexpected trip. Things are okay with my dad from a physical perspective, but there are some administrative things that need to be taken care of. It might be fairly quickly resolved and it might not be. While Daddy is fine with cognitive aspects – you should see him playing dominos – his short term memory is such that he can’t recall from day-to-day many normal things. It makes it impossible for him to manage tasks he used to routinely do and although he has come to grips with it most days, there are other times when he is perplexed. It is still a much more stable level of Alzhiemers than other friends of mine have had to deal with with regard to their parents, so I can’t complain. It’s never easy of course, but it could definitely be far worse.

We had a long delay in leaving Atlanta and some very bumpy weather. On the other hand, the severe thunderstorms were coming from Louisiana (might have been Texas, too) through Mississippi and Alabama. That meant the delay in arriving here allowed that storm system to have moved east and it was actually quite pleasant when we landed instead of the crappy stuff it would have been. I did take the 6:30 a.m. flight out of Miami though so I’ve been up since 3:30. We’ll see what tomorrow brings and somewhere in the mix, there is likely to be catfish.

Bundle of Energy….

Ah yes, the reason for the gap in postings is not unexpected. Our son, daughter-in-law, and eighteen-month old granddaughter are here for a visit. Their flight Tues was delayed a bit, then there was getting luggage, trekking to the car because I parked in the wrong terminal. I don’t care for either airports parking garage directions and I am not familiar with Fort Lauderdale Airport at night. Anyway, Tuesday was definitely a late night and the idea of flying them in with an evening arrival made much less sense than it did when I booked the tickets. Oh, apparently she was quite good on the airplane and didn’t seem overly distressed with the pressure changes. They did give her a dose of liquid cold medicine and she had her pacifier so that combination seemed to have worked.

At any rate, as always with an eighteen-month old, you are in that stage of minimal ability to communicate. I have no doubt she is fully aware of exactly what she wants to convey to us if only we could speak her language. She probably wonders how it is grown-ups are in charge considering we can’t master something as simple as “baby babble”. She has, however, picked up a couple of words, “stairs” being one. Although they live in  condo where they climb stairs to get up and down, this is her first time to be in a two-story house. She mastered “up” pretty quickly. “Down” is tricky, especially in sock feet on hardwood. So far, she waits for assistance, although I’m not entirely sure how long that will hold. Having a pool in the backyard has been a delight for her and unfortunately, the temperature has plummeted all the way to sixty today and the wind picked up. Definitely not a day for splashing about. That should be interesting to try to deal with.

Anyway, I absolutely do empathize with her nap/sleep patterns being disrupted – it’s a reality of traveling with young ones. On the other hand, it’s something all parents who travel learn to cope with.

Travel Over….

Ah yes, you never know what the holiday road trips will bring and yesterday was no exception. When we made the drive home from GA back in May, things were going well until a little past Ocala when we encountered rain. For the next five hours, it was steady precipitation, although in varying amounts from torrential downpours to drizzle. Yesterday, the skies were mostly sunny and the 54 degree morning gave way to 78+ as we stopped for a quick refuel and lunch. Ocala is our primary spot depending on timing. There are plenty of fast food choices and it’s pretty easy on and off. Okay, we get past Orlando and then it happens. Major wreck on the Turnpike with a pick-up truck that apparently managed to literally elevate up onto the guardrail. I’m not certain, but I guess there were a total of three vehicles involved and I hope no one seriously injured. As it turned out, we were fairly near where the accident occurred and I don’t know how far back the line stretched. We sat for a little over an hour.

People shut their vehicles off, got out and formed little clusters; all of us with the same basic point of view of. Granted, none of us in our group were traveling with small children. The temperature was pleasant at that stage and there was no threat of rain. So, if one must be stuck, at least we  had that going for us. That was the only major issue though and the rest of the trip proceeded smoothly. Unless something unexpected comes up, we won’t be taking any more road trips for a while.

Giving Extra Tips……

I did a Facebook post earlier about pausing amid enjoying friends and family to remember those who aren’t in a position to celebrate. It’s easy to think of the military and first responders, as we should. It’s even easy to think of nurses on duty, but it’s also easy to forget how many round-the-clock jobs we have primarily to make our lives more comfortable. The lights are on in your house because teams are always at work at a power plant. Airplanes are in flight and truckers are hauling rigs to get shipments where they’re going. Restaurants that offer special Thanksgiving meals or even something like a 24-diner or fast food place are staffed. You’re probably planning to watch at least some TV today and if you’re computer starts acting up, you might call for tech support. Now, the flip side to the coin is employees are often paid overtime, so for some, it is a chance to earn extra money. For others who have no special sentiment for a particular holiday, it’s not a big deal.

I would just ask that if you encounter someone today who is working, give a smile or perhaps an extra tip if that’s appropriate. Happy Thanksgiving to all whether you relax for some quiet time or are out and about.