Thursday, April 30, 2009

Primi is Primo

Post in two parts:
1. After my five-hour dash around Moffitt yesterday, I found out that I am currently tumor free. Although the lung tumor is melanoma related which puts me at stage 4 melanoma. The good news is that there are currently no other tumors. I get an eight-week break from scans/tests/etc. Then it is back to Moffitt and a determination of future treatment.
2. Primi is Primo: My dear friend Carol, from Mount Dora, was here yesterday to take me to my doctors visits. After we returned to St. Petersburg, we went to dinner with Frank at Primi Urban Cafe, surprisingly an Italian restaurant that I had not yet tried. What have I been missing... It is not fancy, and the exterior is a basic downtown storefront, but they are working some magic in the kitchen. We started with a shared order of sweet potato fries (good, but nothing special). I had Chianti braised short ribs served over creamy risotto. The beef was "cut with a fork" tender, and very tasty. Carol has wild mushroom ravioli in a butter sage sauce... very nice. And Frank had the Mahi Marsala; something different. The fish was cooked perfectly and the Marsala sauce was very good. We were all very happy with our meals. This one goes on the must eat at spots in downtown.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lucky Dill Excursion

For a late lunch today, I walked to Lucky Dill Deli on Central. This was good exercise for my recovery, although the temperature was up there by 2PM when I left the loft. After a soup and sandwich combination, Chicken Veggie and Chicken Salad, I sat back to watch TV coverage of an unfolding semi tractor chase south of Atlanta on I-75. Apparently this guy hijacked the semi, and the original driver was sitting outside on the back of the cab. Why are we so attracted to situations like this. I was glued to the table until the chase was brought to a safe conclusion.
On my way home I stopped at The Cupcake Spot, also on Central and picked up two lovely cupcakes; The Chocolate Elvis (who knew), and Tuxedo Bites. Both are still waiting for the taste test. Stay tuned for future updates on the results

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bob... Buona Vita

See Bob, not only are you getting a mention in my blog, you got top billing. 

Bob Grove, my good friend, and a "just another perfect day in paradise" promoter of the good life in St. Petersburg, moved form St. Petersburg to Tampa after I moved to St. Petersburg from Tampa. We all knew that Bob's heart was in Pinellas County, and so it is. He is in the process of purchasing a condo in the Clearwater area. Congratulation Bob. So it seemed appropriate, although unscripted, that we had lunch at Buona Vita, (the good life). Here is the rest of the story...

I was joined by Bob, Biff, Butch, Clyde, and Karen for a lovely Sunday Italian Brunch at Buona Vita restaurant on 1st Ave S in St. Petersburg. I had been to Buona Vita for dinner and mentioned it in an earlier post, but this is my first foray into their brunch offer. The brunch menu has something to please everyone, in my opinion; from the traditional eggs Benedict variations, to BYO Crepes, build your own crepes, where you pick a meat, chicken, seafood, item, add two from the cheese and vegetable column and then add two eggs your way. I built mine with smoked salmon, goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and two eggs over-easy. All of these ingredients were folded into a nice light crepe and was served with  sides of fresh fruit and potatoes. The menu also included a nice selection of frittatas, including options of smoked salmon, chicken, etc. Some of our group ordered frittatas and claimed them to be very good. The menu also included Italian "French" toast; although none of us ordered it, we all considered it as an option.

We enjoyed excellent service from a young hip server, McCarron. She was a delight and knew how to start our day by suggesting Bellinis (five of the six of us agreed).

Buona Vita has an outdoor patio but it was full when we arrived. We had a nice meal inside overlooking 1st Avenue S. I highly recommend the brunch, especially if you want to step away from the normal brunch fare. (I could not find a web site for the restaurant, hence no link.)

Check out Buona Vita, and ask for McCarron (We learned that her parents were dining at the restaurant while we were there).

This is my third excursion since my surgery. After Barnes & Noble on Friday, my boss Pat, and her husband, Paul and I went to Red Mesa Cantina for lunch on Saturday. We actually stopped at Buona Vita but they were not open for Saturday lunch. So, on to Red Mesa. As always we had a very nice meal. It feels good to get out once in a while, and I will continue my daily excursions to rebuild my strength.

That's my story and I am sticking to it.

Friday, April 24, 2009

One Street in the Road to Recovery

I decided to test my limits a little today before Carol headed back to Mount Dora. So, we headed down 4th Ave S to 3rd St. and one more block to the Barnes & Noble bookstore at USF- St. Petersburg campus. While that is only a 3.5 block trek one way, it was a major accomplishment for me. And I did it without any support equipment. It was great to be outside for a while, and walking. We had a light lunch, and coffee at B&N before heading back to the condo. While I was slightly tired, (OK, ready for a short nap) I was not winded nor fatigued. All good things.

Every day gets a little easier.

That's all I'm saying!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Road to Recovery

with a few stop along the road.

For those of you who did not received my medical center update earlier today; I am home, since late Monday afternoon, recovering at the expected pace or better. Overall, I have minimal pain, which is well controlled by the good drugs. I am eating good food, thanks to my friends who are looking after me this week. While I am on smaller portions as my stomach re-acclimates to the digestive process, I have not lost my appetite nor my taste buds. 

A week ago tonight, Frank and I had my pre-op dinner at Pacific Wave, in, where else, downtown St. Petersburg. Wow, it was very good. I won't go into the all the finite details but I must cover the entrees. They were excellent. I had the mixed grill. It had a small Filet Mignon, cooked perfectly medium rare, served with a Chimichurri, sauce; next was a couple seared diver sea scallops on a bed of mango salsa.  The third item of the trio, and the best of the three, was the escalar, a large-flake white fish (also known as butter fish) which was served on a bed of Okinawa sweet potato.

Frank's entree was a wonderful Crispy Seared Duck Breast and Confit with Soba noodles. Everything was great, not a mis-step the entire evening. We will go back. 

Monday, April 20, 2009

Going Home Today

Finally... so much to tell, but it will have to wait for another day. The good news is that I will be released from the hospital around noon today.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Watch Out Jacque Pepin

Chef extraordinaire Jacque Pepin may have invented the famed lobster roll during his days at Howard Johnson; yes that HoJo, but he now has some strong competition from my good friend Frank. Tonight, I had dinner at Frank's place in Clearwater, and he fixed a wonderful PLT, his spin on a BLT but so much better. Prosciutto, Lobster, and Tomato combined with a mayo, paprika, lime juice, and olive oil mixture that put it over the top. This was all served on the traditional toasted hot dog roll, just like Jacque's. The prosciutto was lightly browned, the lobster was in big chunks, as were the tomatoes. It was soooooooooooo good. A few years ago, we had Lobster Rolls at Legal Seafood in Baltimore, but I must say, Frank's Lobster Roll surpasses that. 

Yummy !!!
That's all I'm saying

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Carol

Yesterday was my good friend, Carol's birthday and I was able to join her and others for a nice dinner at Toscano Grill in Clearwater. The company was nice, and it is always fun to see Carol and her sister Lois. But being the food snob that I can be, I must comment on the restaurant. This was my second visit, and it is not high on my list of good Italian food. Of course, I have been spoiled by Vino e Pasta in Tampa. The Caesar salad was the highlight, from there it was an average meal. I had a seafood pesto, which had nice pieces of sea bass, shrimp, and salmon in a creamy pesto sauce. The sauce lacked flavor, or at least flavor that I would expect in a pesto sauce. The seafood was cooked perfectly which helped offset the lack of flavor. Frank had a Pumpkin ravioli in a brown butter sauce, which actually was very good, and full of flavor. Frank and I split a Limoncello Panna Cotta... I think they forgot the limoncello, as any lemony flavor was missing. Although I must say it was topped with some nice fruit. Here comes the snob in me... I make a heck of a lemon panna cotta, so that is my standard that all other panna cotta is measured against.  

With that said, I still have a nice evening, but it was the company that made the evening. Dining with good friends is always "a good thing"

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Number Three

So here is the deal; surgery number three is scheduled for April 16 at Moffitt. I am planning on this being the last one for a long time. My surgeon will be guided by a video camera inside my body, but don't look for me to post the video here, or on YouTube. 

That's all I'm saying (at least on this topic, until post-surgery)