US A1A..

Thursday morning we dropped the kids off at the airport and then went to Grandpa’s Bakery for breakfast. This restaurant was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  The food is excellent. You get a few samples of some baked good to eat while looking at the menu. After we ate the plane had taken off towards Philadelphia and we were free to explore.  We wanted to stay near the airport in case something went wrong and we had to go back and get them.

We drove to Hollywood Beach and walked the boardwalk. Two miles each way, no hills or snow!  We walked some of the walk on the beach near the water until my DW’s pant legs got wet from several waves. As you can imagine, I took some pictures. The Margaritaville Resort was under construction this year. Last winter the lots were vacant with a sign announcing the arrival of the building. Maybe by next January, the construction will be completed. I don’t image that we can afford to stay there, but we certainly can walk the grounds and have a cocktail.

After our walk we continued down A1A into Miami. We found Joe’s Stone Crab restaurant. This is another place we certainly can’t afford. We can buy our own stone crab claws and the mustard sauce recipe is on the internet, so why should we go there? To rub elbows with the rich and famous, I guess.  We stopped for gas near the American Airlines Arena where the Heat play. In the gas station we saw filling up, a matte black Lamborghini. Talk about awesome. And when the driver was done fueling up, he gunned the engine for all of us who were watching.

We drove around Miami some more and found our way behind the airport where we discovered the Lala Seafood Market. I will admit to being a fish market groupie. My DW will attest that I will stop in random fish markets to see what is for sale. I did spend the first 20 years of my working years in the seafood business. We purchased a fresh Hog Fish and some fresh white shrimp. The lady working the market did a good job filleting and skinning my fish. The entire transaction was done by us in english and her in spanish. Neither of us spoke the other’s langauge. I don’t know if she enjoyed our visit, but we did.

The fish got marinated in the juice of a fresh lemon and some fresh garlic. After an hour I added the fish to a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil.  I used a cajun seasoning to give the meal a little bang. The fish and shrimp turned out good, no leftovers.

Thanks for reading and here are some pictures from the day.

Namaste

 

 

Happy Anniversary – 29 years of marriage..

Happy Anniversary to my DW for 29 years of marriage. We were married on October 7, 1984.  How did/do you celebrate your anniversary or some other big event with your significant other?  Monday was the actual day. We both worked, came home had raviolis and meatballs for dinner. Then we went to hot yoga for 90 minutes of 105 degree sweating and breathing. After yoga we watched some tv and drank our coconut water.  11 pm was bed time. Not exactly a crazy celebration.

However, on Thursday night, we went to Atlantic City to visit the Margaritaville Café and Land Shark Landing at the Resorts Casino. Atlantic City is about 45 minutes door-to-door from our home. We rarely visit.  We are not big gamblers and with three kids facing student loans and the costs of college not covered by those loans, we pick and choose our fun expenses.  As Jimmy Buffett fans, we have tried to visit the various Margaritaville restaurants as we travel.  We decided to eat outside at the Land Shark Landing. Our table as facing the ocean. We had a good time. The waitress was attentive. The two person band did a decent job. The two artists that got the most applause were Jimmy Buffett (of course) and Pink Floyd. Go figure.

For appetizers my DW ordered the Wisconsin Fried Cheese Curds. These came with a choice of dipping sauce. She choose the blueberry ketchup. Yep, blueberry ketchup. It had the consistency of blueberry jelly. It was good, I’m not sure if I would buy it for the house. I had a half-dozen oysters. Five out of six were good. I decided not to eat one of them. No big deal.

For dinner she had the fish tacos. The fish of the day was Tilapia.  I tasted her tacos, they were good. I order the Lobster Mac-n-Cheese. That was excellent. If you eat dinner there and don’t want a burger and fries, get the lobster mac-n-cheese.  We skipped dessert and wondered though the restaurant taking pictures before walking through Resorts and heading home. A good night for sure.

Our gift to ourselves is a four night, five-day trip to Tampa in late February.  Hopefully the weather will be nice that weekend.

Here is a link to the pictures from Atlantic City.  I will post a few on the bottom of this blog.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the pictures!

Namaste

 

 

Asbury Park Oyster Fest 2013..

When is an “Oyster Fest” not an “Oyster Fest”? Maybe when the event is held in Asbury Park.  In two weeks the Red Bank “Guinness and Oyster  Festival” will be held in Red Bank. Then, I will have another “oyster fest” to compare this one to.  I am not complaining. It may sound like I am getting ready to rant about the Asbury Park Oyster Fest 2013, but I am not. Tonight’s blog is a “review” of the festival. I spent over twenty years in the seafood industry and have worked a few of these festivals. I am no expert. I am a consumer with an opinion. And we all know about opinions. They are like, ummm (your butt), everyone has one, nobody wants to hear it..

Parking was a challenge for those attending the festival. I guess that is good for the city of Asbury Park. We drove around for 15 minutes until we found someone leaving a metered spot. Parking was three dollars for three hours. No big deal.  Entrance to the festival was three dollars (a  theme?). The entrance fee benefited the Boys and Girls Club of Asbury Park. A good cause, just a fee.  We (my DW and I) entered the festival around 5 pm on Saturday. I had my trusty camera to record the event. The first order of business was to find the beer truck. We had walked past about a dozen food trucks (some I would guess made famous by food tv) and had not found the beer truck. We saw a women with a beer and I asked her where the beer truck (s) were.  She was kind enough to point out that they (three) were in the complete opposite end of the festival.

We changed directions and walked towards the beer trucks looking at the various vendors and planning our eating adventure (post-beer truck).  As we stood in line we met the person with the best job at the festival.  As you waited in line, someone (a man) would come up to you and check your id. He had the discretion of looking at you and deciding, or asking to see your id. These guys enjoyed their jobs. I would guess they (at each of the three beer trucks) were single and working on meeting women. Me, they had no interest in my id. My DW and every other women in line, they got to show some id or the id checker spent a minute or two talking them up. I could do that job!

After we go our beer (wine for my DW) we continued our search for oysters (Asbury Park Oyster Fest, remember?). We found two vendors shucking clams and oysters. One had a huge line of people waiting. The other had a manageable line of people waiting.  In my mind an oyster fest would include more than two vendors selling shucked oysters. There was no choice of the type of oyster.  How many and how much were the choices. We got a dozen clams and a dozen oysters and found a spot to set our plates down and enjoy our feast. They were nice and cold and really good.

We also sampled a serving of Lobster Mac and Cheese. I will make this at home one Sunday for dinner.  What we got was good but, our portion was the last in the pan and may have been a little light and dried out. It was good. But for a ten-dollar snack, ouch, it was pricey.  And, here was another festival where they really did not have an ice cream vendor. There was a frozen gelato vendor, that was it. After we were done eating we went up to the boardwalk and found an ice cream place there. We sat on a bench on the boardwalk for almost an hour Saturday night watching the waves and the people walking the boards.

We saw a wedding on the beach as we were walking the boards. My DW and I have rarely been to Asbury Park. We live about an hour south so the trip up and back needs to have a reason.  We enjoyed our visit and will be back again as tourists.

Pictures, well of course!  Here is a link to entire folder via Drop Box.

Namaste

 

 

Post Number 500..

Bamm, just like that. 500 posts. This one took four days to write.  Working from where we left off, life has been a little hectic.  Friday was my last vacation day for 2012. The company where I work, you either use your vacation days or loose them. No buy backs or carry over from year to year.  And, only a true dunce would let vacation days “expire”.  What did I do on my December vacation? Well, I did chores around the house. I got my hair cut. And my employer sponsored Christmas party was held.  The party was held at the Shipwreck Grill in Belmar, NJ.  The have great seafood and steaks. I had oysters for my appetizer and filet mignon and sea scallops for dinner. Yum!!  Friday evening while I was out, DS2 returned from college for his Christmas break.

Saturday was also a busy day doing various chores and shopping. DS3 came home in the afternoon from college for his Christmas break. Saturday morning I cut the base off the Christmas tree and brought it in the house. A bonus of having a son in the tree business?  Why, a huge tree that was free!  This Christmas tree is the hugest, fullest, tree we have ever had.  My DW, DS2 and DS3 did a great job putting the ornaments on the tree after I strung up the lights.  Saturday night there we no leftovers from dinner. This is the first time since back in August when the two younger boys went away to school. Saturday night DS1 went to Atlantic City to attend the birthday party of one of his friends.  He was not the designated driver!

Sunday, started off slow. I made breakfast for the family. We figured out that DS1 came home early Sunday morning instead of staying in Atlantic City. His designated driver was not feeling well and want to go home. DS1 was under the weather until well into the afternoon. DS2 went grocery shopping with us. This in interesting in that he worked the last three summers in the deli located in a supermarket. He went cold cut shopping with me. I got to hear a few deli “horror stories” while we waited for our food. Dinner Sunday night was flounder and lobster francese. Again, no leftovers!

Monday (today), was a grey, Scranton – like day. I worked in the office. DS1 went to work. My DW went to work. DS2 and DS3 enjoyed their time off. Tonight DS3 and I went to play lacrosse in Robbinsville.  DS3 had two goals. I had two assists and no goals. One of DS3’s goals was on a pass from me! Pretty sweet. There were quite a few college kids there tonight. I stopped playing at 9 pm. The college kids and some of the adults continued to play until 10 pm. I was having trouble seeing the ball and the college kids were throwing the passes much quicker than I could catch them. My DW went to yoga tonight.

Here are a few pictures from the weekend. Enjoy!

Namaste

 

 

Lobster night..

Sunday night dinner was lobster thanks to the local supermarket having them on sale.  As I mentioned the other day, today was our (my DW and I) 28 th wedding anniversary. Wow, that is all I can say.  Sometimes it seems like we were just married yesterday day. And sometimes.. Well, you can figure that out for yourselves.  We both got lots of well wishes on Face Book from our family and friends. We want to thank everyone once again for their well wishes.  So, what do you do to celebrate being married 28 years? Cook a lobster dinner, of course.

The fall weather has caught up with us today. Temperatures in the 50’s all day. Grey skies, some rain. A good day to go out and come back home. Yesterday was a lot warmer and sunny.  Other than dinner we went grocery shopping, watched the NFL Red Zone and just enjoyed a day off. DS1 came home from his overnight on LBI in time to help us with the groceries. We enjoyed having a little extra help. 

College children, hmmm. I traded a few texts with DS2 this morning and this evening.  His friend’s family went to Syracuse yesterday for family weekend. They brought him a shirt and a pin.  His Obama 2012 bumper sticker came in the mail yesterday. I will be sending that back out to school in the mail tomorrow. DS3, AWOL today. No calls, no texts, no Face Book posts. 

Tonight’s picture are of tonight’s dinner and two more from our sailing adventure. Notice the tilt of the boat in these pictures.  Enjoy!

Namaste

Weekend wrap up..

I skipped writing last night.  Duh, no kidding.  Saturday was quiet. It rained during the overnight and into the morning. I escaped yard and garden chores due to the rain. Then the sky cleared, but I had already gotten into a new book. Several hours and a short nap later, the book was done. During that time my DW went into work (she was on call) and DS1 stopped by. He was delivering plants to LBI and stopped by for lunch. The evening was quiet as well. DS2 worked the afternoon shift. DS3 worked the 2 to 11 shift. Me, I goofed off all day.  Our next door neighbors had their annual kids birthday party in their yard.  I’m getting less and less kid tolerant in my old age.  The kids running around after 9 pm all blowing whistles was the worst.

Sunday started out cool. The weather (except for the rain Saturday morning) was great all weekend. The temperatures got into the lower 80’s with tolerable humidity. At night the temperature got down to the middle 60’s. That makes for good sleeping weather with the windows open.  Breakfast was eggs for most of us. DS2 brought home venison from NY when he was there back in June. He leaves for school in a week, so I figured I better cook his venison before he goes back. When he was up in NY they had venison, left over salt potatoes and eggs for breakfast. We just happened to have left over salt potatoes. I cooked him a NY breakfast. He says it was like the meal he had up there.

I did my yard and garden work today. The rain only postponed the work. I picked lots of cucumber and some tomatoes. My DW and I made salsa that she freezes using the tomatoes. The cucumbers will probably go to work since I think we are overstocked with pickles.  DS1 had the day off. Part of his day was spent fishing off the jetty in Barnegat Light. He showed me a picture of a small bluefish that he caught. The fish went back into the water after the picture. DS2 is working the evening shift again. DS3 is also working the evening shift.

Dinner tonight was stone crab claws from Georgia, fresh Bronzino (a Mediterranean sea bass), lobster meat and yellow rice. My DW made the rosemary vinaigrette that went on top of the fish. The fish turned out good. DS1 was the only person home to eat with us. There is a plate waiting for DS2 when he gets home from work tonight.  DS3 has asked if he and his girl friend can use the hot tub tonight after he gets off work. Hmmm. I told him as long as they are done by 11:30 ands quiet, everybody has to go to work tomorrow. Should be interesting. Her mother wants a picture of me and her daughter tonight. I guess she does not belive that DS3’s parents are home..

Tonight’s pictures were lifted from Face Book.  The captions will explain what they are about. Enjoy!

Namaste

 

Take human bites..

Cut your food up smaller. Don’t stuff all that in your mouth at once. Are you a parent? Parent to be? Maybe you are the child that heard these words. Here’s a true story from today.  Tonight we had lobster for dinner. They are on-sale at the Shop Rite. We also had salt potatoes, fresh mozzarella, shrimp cocktail and cucumbers sliced with Tzatziki Dipping sauce. Of course, the lobster and the salt potatoes were served with butter. Hmmm.

At dinner tonight was my DW, DS1 and I. DS2 and DS3 were working. I cooked the lobsters and the salt potatoes and dinner was ready at 7 pm. At 7:05 DS1 decides that he can eat an entire lobster tail without either cutting it up or taking the time to chew it. He starts to choke. He is sitting next to my DW, the nurse. He chokes, bangs on the table and is in distress. My DW tells him to stand up and does the Heimlich maneuver on him, twice. I think the first one was enough, but she made sure.

He was able to breathe again. She was in shock, he was trying to maintain his macho bravado. Me, I was glad she was able to clear his airway. He said  “I’m a little light-headed” and the proceeded to continue eating his dinner. Wow, dodged another Sunday night bullet.  Later when she walked into the tv room where he was watching tv, he thanked her. She said “What for?” He said “Thank you for saving my life.” Maybe a little dramatic, but proper training kicks in an emergency.

The rest of the day was fine. Tonight’s blog was going to be about my bike ride. I finally found the time to take my bike out of the shed. Back in April during the warm Spring, I had my bike serviced so that it would be ready to ride. I had no idea that the first ride of the year would be on July 22. My bike, is a Trek, the kind you pedal.  I rode 27 miles today. My butt hurts from the seat, my legs are a little sore. Now if I can keep riding, the body will get used to the seat time again.

Tonight’s pictures have captions. Enjoy!

Namaste

Day 312, Lots to talk about..

We seem to have eaten our way through the weekend. How that happens (not by design), I am not sure.  Today is Sunday, May 6, 2012.  For lunch DS1 and I had soft shell crab sandwiches. I bought the soft shell crabs from my local fish market on the way home from grocery shopping. My DW does not like soft shell crabs. The claws and legs sticking out the sides of the sandwich is too much for her. I have pictures at the bottom of the crabs being cooked. We had them on italian bread (the real stuff from Newark, NJ) with fresh romaine from the garden and tater sauce.  They were delicious!  I taught DS1 how to clean the crabs for cooking. The most important part of the purchase/cleaning is that the crabs are alive when you buy them. Once they die they have a limited shelf life. We used J.O. Original Soft Shell Crab batter. There are directions on the back of the box on how to clean the crab. Or, your local fish market can clean them for you.

Dinner tonight was lobsters, steamers and corn on the cob. The same fish market had 1.75 lb lobsters on sale. We (DS1, DW and I like lobsters) so we decided to have them for dinner. The steamers are soft shell clams, maybe you know them as piss clams. They have a “foot” that sticks out of the shell.  The corn was left over from Friday’ s crab cake meal. The steamers are served with melted butter. Some people, like us, also have a bowl of the broth the clams were cooked in to rinse the sand off.  This is the best way to go.  Last night we had veal chops on the grill with home-made breakfast potatoes. Like I said, we ate our way through the weekend.

No planting in the garden today. I did get a few new sprinklers so that all the necessary areas could get watered without moving a sprinkler. I am more likely to water the garden in the morning if I can just turn the hose (s) on and walk away. DS1 and I went down to the local lacrosse field and threw around some this afternoon. I feel more confidant about my stick after re-stringing it last week. I need time throwing and catching. Boring, but necessary.

DS2 went on a March of Dimes Walk A Thon today. This was his first experience doing this. He had a good time. He said that he took a nap after the walk when he returned to school. He was not happy with the pork that the school served tonight. He wanted lobster and steamers instead. One more week and he will be home.  DS3 has texted quite a bit this weekend. He and his friend are now officially dating. She has also agreed to drive him to Little Falls after they both sing at the University of Scranton commencement  on Memorial Day. He continues to find cars that he might want to purchase. We (DW and I) continue to counsel that since he can’t have a car at school it is dumb to pay car insurance so the car can sit here in NJ. Two words.. deaf ears.

I have lots of pictures tonight. As usual, the captions will explain. I can’t seem to rotate the pictures in the blog like I used to do. When I try, the entire page resets. Hopefully I have a backup of the page when this happens. Enjoy!
Namaste

Day 259, How about a story Mister LimeGuy?

Tonight’s blog will be that story. Out of the past (June 2007) comes the story of our 30 hours in Jamaica. We found tickets on Spirit Airlines for .01 each to Kingston, Jamaica (plus tax). The total came to 101.00 with the various fees. My DW and I flew down one day and left the next for a total time spent on the ground of 30 hours. Prior to going we looked on Trip Advisor and posted a question in the travel forums looking for ideas about what to do with our 30 hours to get the most out of our trip. 

 We flew from Atlantic City to Fort Lauderdale. In Fort Lauderdale we changed planes. All the plane from Florida to Jamaica needed was chickens flying around the cabin and we would have been in an old movie. The people, their manner of dress, the huge bags of various goods that they were carrying on the plane, priceless! It really was a sight to see. This was way before carry on and luggage fees. After our trip I wrote the following as my review of Kingston, Jamaica for Trip Advisor.

Hotel, stay here! Nice, people are nice, charming remnant of an older time in the Caribbean. Older yes, but nicely fixed up. Not your glass tower and sanitized hallways, the old Caribbean, but cleaner.

Courtyard was nice, did not use the pool. Food at the bar was good, bartenders were attentive and helpful. Room was clean and spacious with a balcony overlooking the courtyard. The boat to Lime Key goes on the half hour (which part of the half hour is the question!). Nice vibe all around.

 The neighborhood outside of the hotel, different story. Johnny B Good suggested a restaurant called Gloria’s. We asked the girl behind the desk where we could get a taxi to Gloria’s, she said it was a 2 min walk to the restaurant. She said go out the gate, make a right, first street make a left, down on the left side, can’t miss it. So, out we went. Main road going into Port Royal was fine, made the left at the first street, looked like a less than desirable neighborhood. The middle of the road was about 200 feet of debris strewn empty lots. On the other side was the working class part of town, not bad or threatening, just not where the tourist board wants you. We walked down the street, stray dogs, kids, people just milling around.

We found the restaurant, ate upstairs with a nice breeze, excellent view of the water and good food. We certainly were the only tourists that Tuesday night. I ordered the lobster, it was not available. The fish of the day was red snapper, I like red snapper, so I ordered it. Choice of stewed, broiled, brown gravy, curried or fried. I like fried fish, ok. What I got was two whole red snappers that had been scaled and deep-fried. Hmmm.. It was damm good! We also had Festival as a side dish. Really, a good dinner. We walked home in the dark sticking to the middle of the road, absolutely no problems, maybe we just imagined them. The next day we asked the girl behind the desk about going to the fort, she said “Walk there??” I told her we walked to Gloria’s the night before, she was appalled. We decided to book a taxi for half a day to take us to the fort and around Kingston.

Lime Key, nice beach. You can take the boat from the hotel right to the island.  Slightly European the day we were there. A few of the young women were topless and just to balance the day out, a few of the young men got changed out of their suits before heading back a little further up the beach from the women. Something for everyone to see! No food during the week, carry in, carry out. If you go to the hotel, save some time for this beach.  

Port Royal, visit the fort. Take the tour. It was really interesting and the guide was informative. She had a few words with the taxi driver for telling us the wrong information during the tour. It was fun to watch. She scolded the driver like a young school child. 

Kingston, taxi ride through, another trip not on the tourist board schedule. We saw the soccer stadium, the Bob Marley statue, “Beverly Hills”, the slums and Bob Marley’s house. This is a must visit in Kingston. 

Back to the airport, flight delayed, got home same day (two hours late). I would do it again, this time I would try to get up in the mountains or visit or stay at Strawberry Fields

 

I hope you enjoyed reading this story. I enjoyed revisiting the story and the pictures. Oh, the pictures are below!

Namaste

Day 204, Off to the Florida Keys..

This is what a real vacation is all about.  The day started out with a nice breakfast of scrambled eggs and sausages. With excellent Guatemalan coffee from Northern Lights in Scranton. Then we went food shopping for a few items that we ran out of this morning. After we returned there were two missed calls on my work cellphone. I know, why did I leave it on if I am on vacation? Is it that I am that important? Nope, not a chance. I did some really challenging work this week and was afraid that there might be problems. I returned the one call that left a message. The customer said that a call back on Tuesday would be fine. I suggested that he email me the details.

After fielding that call we packed the car and headed south. We drove south on I 75 and connected onto the Florida Turnpike. At the end of the Florida Turnpike we joined US 1 south. We drove through Key Largo, and bunch of other towns and decided that we had driven as far south as time would permit by the time we reached the end of Islamorada. We turned around and headed back north. We stopped at Mr. Lobster in Islamorada. We bought stone crabs (12 dollars cheaper per pound than the grocery store and probably 7 days fresher) and a pound of fresh head on shrimp. After we were done taking pictures (see bottom) and shopping we continued north.

We stopped alongside the highway and put our feet in the Gulf of Mexico. We took some pictures (below) and headed north again. We stopped at the Islamorada Fish Market for lunch . We had smoked fish dip, she had the broiled snapper sandwich and I had the fried grouper sandwich. All of the items we ordered were excellent.  We took some pictures (see bottom) and headed north again.

We got back to the condo with an hour to spare. At 5 pm my mens lacrosse team met at the tournament field to practice, hand out SWAG and have a few beers. It was really fun to meet up with the rest of the team. Most of us only see each other twice a year. So there are always the questions about children and jobs.  Dinner was at POC Buffett. This is the usual Thursday night team dinner location.

Our first game is at 8:30 am tomorrow. There are several pictures below. The captions will explain what they are of. Enjoy!

Namaste

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