Tampa trip wrap up..

I think I have covered the entire five days in various blogs. As I look back I have missed a few things that may be of interest.  Missing from the Clearwater, Florida is a video that I shot of a street performer.  Here is that video

Monday we traveled home from Tampa to Philadelphia. When we landed in Raleigh – Durham Airport we found out that our flight from RDU to PHL was cancelled. We learned this as we stood on the jet way waiting for our  gate checked luggage to arrive. We flew on one of those regional jets that have no overhead space. While we are waiting one of the passengers that had flown first class was complaining that his bag did not come up in the first group. He said, I’m flying first class!  The gate attendant was not impressed.

Seems he was traveling to PHL as well. I said my flight to PHL is cancelled, he said same here. Then a college age girl came up the jet way and asked about the flight. Cancelled I said. She said why?  I told her that I don’t know why. And really, what difference does it make? You won’t be able to convince someone to un-cancel the flight. The most important thing at that point is to find the next flight before your fellow passengers do. There are not an unlimited number of seats.

I called the Delta 1 800 number and went into a queue, call me back in 10 minutes. I looked over at the counter and saw the attendant finish up with all the customers that had been standing there. I walked over and explained my problem. She took care of my re-booking and gave both of us 20 dollars for lunch and dinner since we were going to be stuck for a while.  We went to a white table-cloth restaurant and ate good on Delta’s dime.

The flight home was uneventful as was the drive to the shore.  I hope you enjoyed the trip, we sure did!

Namaste

 

Blowing off a little steam, Chicago style..

We were in Chicago for the Columbia College of Chicago’s Graduate Open House.  The trip to and the actual open house can be found at http://limeguy50.com  This blog is about DS2 and I being tourists for a few hours before crashing at the hotel and flying home on Sunday.

The first stop after we left the school was the Navy Pier on Lake Michigan. They have restaurants, bars, boats and in the warm weather, they have an amusement park with rides. Saturday was not a warm day. It was windy (Windy City) and chilly. I think we saw some snow flakes even. We parked the car, called my DW and gave her the lowdown on the open house. Then DS2 and I walked the pier and took pictures. I wanted to stop for a beer but it was cold and that beer would have gone in and right back out.  And, we had an early dinner, late lunch stop planned and I wanted to save my appetite for the next stop.

We walked and played tourist. Then we paid 25 dollars for parking at the pier. One price fits all. Park for an hour or a day, all the same price. When you see the pictures from the pier, enjoy them, they were expensive.  I never got to stick my foot in Lake Michigan. That was one of the goals, but the pier was way to high above the water to reach down and stick something into the water. And, I did mention that it was cold.

After the pier we drove through a GPS blind spot in the city. The GPS had us going in circles. Just as we would come to the next turn, the GPS would grey out like we were in a tunnel then the picture would start to spin in random directions. DS2 loaded the address into his phone and between them, we found our way. How silly.

Our destination was Shaw’s Crab House. One side of the business is a very upscale steak and seafood restaurant. The other side is the Oyster Bar. That was our destination. We sat down and enjoyed oysters, sushi and fried calamari. We did appetizers for dinner.  The table next to us ordered the two most expensive appetizers on the menu. She had the Florida Stone Crab claws (64 dollars a pound) and he had the fresh Red King Crab served chilled with a mustard sauce (65 dollars a pound). Add the a martini for each and tip and you are in the 175 dollar neighborhood and you have not yet eaten dinner. Yikes!  Our oysters and sushi were outstanding.  One of the sushi we had was called a Godzilla roll. At Shaw’s that sushi comes with BBQ Smoked Eel.  Just a little slice like an archive. You could pick it off the top but then you miss a unique and delicious flavor.

I had couple of local brewed beers, DS2 drank water. I think he was pretty beat at that point in the day.  When you ask where the bathroom was, the standard answer was make a right, walk past “death row” and you will see the doors on the right. “Death row” was the four tanks of live lobsters that were waiting for the chance to grace some bodies plate.  The bathrooms were upscale, everything was upscale.  Dinner, eat here is you can afford it. If not, try the Oyster Bar. Not cheap by any means, but less expensive than the main restaurant.

After we ate we followed that same GPS back to our hotel.  At that point we were both beat. DS2 had some reading to do for school, so I went down to the bar for a drink and to watch some college football. 

Here is a link to all the picture from our trip. I will include a few below. Thanks for reading!

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