Anyway, since I haven’t talked much to you all, I’m going to share some parts of the most fabulous summer of record. Or as I call it, The Summer of Fabulousity.
Allow me to back up just a bit, though. Remember the post, Key West My Pictorial Love Letter to Key West/Thank You For My Life? Well, we tore down our place…
And yeah, we lived in this 28′ fifth wheel camper.
And our puppers “enjoyed” their time here…
Ahhhh yes, The Redneck Ranch. We lived here from January 1 – June 7. Yes, I know the exact dates. When you’ve bonked your head on the “over-the-bed cabinets” (and yelled “F***”) as much as we have, you start knowing things like dates…and when you can GTFO of your current “abode”. All kidding aside though, it was an adventure. Not one I’d like to repeat any time soon, although we did stop hitting our heads on the overhead cabinets…after a while.
So our house arrived on April 18….all four pieces. It went from this…
Ugh ladders <shudder>
To this. The decks will be stained in the winter, when it’s not as hot as a pizza oven.
Then there was the interior work that needed to be done. We hired a guy to paint all the rooms except one. Eddie didn’t want to cut in around the cabinets.
And some days it’s like this (post-ceiling paint)…
We awoke Sunday morning, June 9 and opened the French doors of the master bedroom….
Beautiful, even when cloudy.
So betwixt and between moving and learning how to properly back up the Mini…I turned 50. After a glorious morning of sleeping in, The Handsome Captain™ took me to a waterfront lunch at SHOR American Seafood Grill. The view from our table….
This is what outdoor dining looks like in the early evening. You see, as is often the case, my thoughts were with my stomach. Thus, no outdoor table pic that day.
Believe it or not, we don’t eat Cuban mixes a whole lot. Greg was in the mood.
Me? Spicy fish tacos!
Until later, when Joseph fixed us up with our favorite table at our favorite restaurant, Hot Tin Roof.
Oh, and look at these! Who doesn’t love shrimp (besides Pay-am and my mother)?
It was at this birthday dinner that I learned there was no surprise party that evening. My “not-really-a-surprise-party-party” at Vino’s on Duval would be the following week because my good friend Kimberley was in the Bahamas. Plus, the guest-of-honor can’t be surprised at a costume party, now can she? Noooooooo. Also, Greg opted to let my fabulous girlfriends Val, Eden, and Kimberley throw my party because they know a whole lot more about disco than Greg. He prefers it that way.
And with The Handsome Captain™, who decided against putting on his Boogie Shoes.
Being that we partyed like Bianca Jagger and Andy Warhol (minus the drugs) the night before, you can bet that we weren’t moving too quickly Saturday morning. However, we had a reservation at Viceroy in Brickell and needed to check in before the Daniel Tosh show at The Jackie Gleason Theater. We hoped for a quick dip in the pool, but that was not to be as peeps were getting scooted out for safety purposes.
So we went walking and just as we were feeling a couple droplets hit our faces, we knew we’d better run.
And just in the nick of time….It came down in BUCKETS for about 20 minutes. One drink was it, though. We had a totally inappropriate show to make, and it didn’t disappoint. Talk about equal opportunity offending. So guess who’ll be back in M-I-A when he returns? Oh yeah.
So this was my chance to get Greg to love Miami as much as I do. Okay honestly, I only needed him to like it. He enjoyed our time walking Brickell. Plus. We had a leisurely and lovely walk from Jackie Gleason over to Collins. Plus. Then I suggested we walk down Ocean Drive because I have many fond memories of it between 2001-2009. Apparently those memories needed to be left there. What was once handsome waiters serving beautiful people has turned into hawkers chasing common trash with promises of $15 gigundus margaritas and cheap steak. Minus. I suggested to Greg that we hop a cab to Vino’s In The Grove. Greg’s eyes perked up at the very idea of getting out of
Ocean Drive Hell . So hail the cab we did. Between Manhattan, Bahamas, Bermuda, and Cancun, I’ve had some scary-assed cab rides. But this one beat them all in the fright factor. We almost got whiplash when the light turned green and I didn’t even have to tell Greg to fasten his seat belt. The weaving, the brakes, oy! Did I mention there was no A/C in the car? And that the windows were closed? I was not only going to die a week after my 50th birthday, but my face would look like an oil slick. We didn’t die, but I was tempted to kiss the ground. Seriously.
They say you can’t keep a good man down…I’m not sure if that’s true, but I know there was no grass growing under *our* feet in the months of June and July! We no sooner unloaded the Mini from Miami when we re-loaded it for a very long July 4 weekend in Naples.
This particular shot is our friend Jeff, co-owner of Hampton Inn Colonial Boulevard, Fort Myers. We enjoyed wine and apps at Blue Water Bistro, among a couple other spots.
And a couple weeks later….
We had ourselves a party…a housewarming, to be exact. We had about 75 people throughout the night, two dogs (our’s), and one bird (not our’s). And wine….please, of course we had wine.This wasn’t everything. Let’s just say I’m glad I never see the Waste Management folks who pick up our recyclables.
But on to the house…at least the images people managed to capture. We were MUCH too busy to get many pictures.
Then there’s the pièce de résistance:
Our wine cellar (at least one angle). The Insignia crate was signed by Bill Phelps, President (and son) of Joseph Phelps Vineyards. A huge thank you to KK and everybody at Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Helen and Sean McConnell of Grand Vin, and Jeff Webb.
A different angle….
The master bedroom.
Another angle, though this is not the whole room by any means.
And what the bed looked like after Miss Kyla was finished. At least until I could put it back together.
Penn wasn’t quite so rambunctious.
Meanwhile, I was playing Hostess With The Mostest downstairs.
Fast forward two weeks when my Ohio galfriends Stephanie, Christine, and Lori came to town. Our plan was Martini Monday.
They wanted to name him something Key West-y and since we had some great memories at Martini Madness earlier this year, hence…”Virgilio”. In Ohio, the name Virgilio means “Grow your own boyfriend”.
And a few days later came the precursor to our first anniversary: brunch at Little Palm Island. It’s one of my Top 10 favorite things to do in The Keys. (Broken record time….there is more to The Keys than Key West).
I tend to get a little heavy handed with the syrup.
The little plates arrived, each wanting to be admired for it’s petite beauty…like the Toy Division at Westminster.
Churrasco with spinach mashed potato, beet escabeche and feta
Little Palm definitely knows how to treat people and the 20% local’s discount doesn’t suck 🙂
While we awaited the next boat, we enjoyed another cocktail.
And the next time, we’ll lounge in this area….when it’s a little cooler.
Time to fast forward once again, 5 days later.
After a lovely lunch with some of my close Key West girlfriends at Hot Tin Roof, it was time to get on the road to Fort Myers. Why? Redhead Weekend 2013.
With my favorite Hampton Inn view
As much as I love both the room and the view, they only pale in comparison to what I really love: my girls! My sister redheads Pam and Staci. Of course we all adore Staci’s husband Jeff, the poor SOB who had to chauffeur and endure us. Yep, totally love my girls! (This was taken at our pre-wedding festivities, 2012)
So this ride to Fort Myers felt particularly long and I wanted to get there in enough time to get to Mad Fresh Bistro.
Now look at the smile on Chef Xavier. While he’s no Soup Nazi, you’re not “gettin’ it your way”, either. No ketchup for the fries (aioli, baby) and no substitutions. The place is always packed so Fort Myers must not offend easily. Good on them.
And my side of HAND.CUT.TRUFFLE.FRIES.
So Jeff and Staci thought it would be fun to take Pay-am and I to Sanibel & Captiva. Pam had been before, I had not. OF COURSE, I was thrilled!
Our first stop? The Mucky Duck!
One of the things they’re noted for is….(surprise)
Speaking of a place being noted for something….next stop, The Bubble Room.
The charm of this restaurant is that it looks like Christmas threw up inside.
This isn’t even 5% of the Christmas decor. I think the owners needed to open the restaurant, else they’d be starring in the Captiva version of “Hoarders”.
The Bubble Room is actually named because there are bubble lights all over the restaurant. I bet you thought, because I was there, it must’ve had to do with champagne or prosecco? I did get some bubbles, though.
So the other thing The Bubble Room is known for….
CAKE!!!!! Had Marie Antoinette actually said “Let them eat cake” (historians say it didn’t happen), this is where she’d have shipped those French subjects. While I do love me a good Red Velvet cake (left), it’s the Orange Crunch (right) that’s won awards. A moist yellow cake layered with an almond brown sugar crunch and covered with orange cream cheese icing, it’s the kind of cake that makes me close my eyes and moan.
This is probably one of the few non-yuletidey sights.
Despite The Handsome Captain™ and Payam’s boyfriend getting all nervous on Facebook, rest assured Payam and I didn’t run off together. We all did need to leave, though. So full of cake and icing, we went walking.
So nobody proofed me 🙁 That being said, they didn’t proof anybody else, either. I have a co-worker who, when she doesn’t get proofed, her Peruvian comes out. It’s all good. I LOVE 50, if I haven’t said that already. 🙂
Suffice it to say, all four of us are on the same page regarding our childfreedom. We love it! Looks like RC Otter’s has a decent sense of humor. From there, we went on to Keylime Bistro where that last drink did me in and I needed a nap before dinner.
Located in Fort Myers’ river district, we loved Twisted Vines Bistro.
We had a rather ummmmm….enchanting and animated server.
Pam and I both had the beef short rib grilled cheese with carmelized onions and tomato jam.
Jeff wanted a more he-man kinda meal….
Jeff was extremely proud of how tall his shank sat. And it was delicious. (So I hear). After a couple bars, we made our way back to the Inn, bidding our farewell to our wonderful friends. The next morning, Payam and I said au revoir to each other. It was sad to leave, but I had my family awaiting me at home.
So it was back to work for a week prior to Labor Day Weekend. Also known as “our first anniversary”.
No real reason for this shot. Just a gratuitous doggie pic!
During LDW, we made our way in to Vino’s (big shocker) and we found ourselves in the enviable position of enjoying Val & Clayton’s last Baby Blue.
On Sunday morning, we decided to start a tradition and have brunch at Martin’s….just what we did the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend one year prior (the day we were married). In the afternoon, we visited our NJ friends’ second home in Sugarloaf. Because we caretake the property, we can use the pool whenever. We don’t get to enjoy an afternoon there often, but it’s fabulous when we can.
The puppies loved it, too.
The next day (Labor Day), it was time for our anniversary reservation at A&B Lobster House. Sautéed jumbo scallops with braised shiitake mushrooms for me and Key West shrimp pasta for Greg. After our lovely dinner (first time at A&B where the temperatures didn’t plunge unseasonably), we had some anniversary champagne at Grand Vin.
Not quite two weeks later, we needed an impromptu trip to Naples for auto work and warm weather clothes for Napa. During the weekend, we met up with friends Karen & Stan from the Middle Keys. Ironically enough, they were going to Captiva for a triathlon. Often, our respective schedules are too busy to see each other often. Ironically enough, 280 miles from home, we made it work. But I needed something to do before they got to Tin City.
Karen and I each enjoyed one of these special margaritas.
The next day, after some strenuous shopping, Greg needed Japanese cow.
We finally got to try Sea Salt in Naples, where The Handsome Captain™ enjoyed the Wagyu beef burger. It included fontina cheese, avocado, tomato, grilled onion, and fried egg. Are there any cows left in the world?
So anyway, I promise to get better about blogging AND get back to restaurant reviews. My next Key West restaurant review will be Café Solé. Prior to that, I have to keep my promise to Payam and get another Napa post out there. For those of you who love food porn, I hope there was enough for you.
Until next time, be fabulous!