Thursday, March 29, 2012

Connect The Dots

OK, here is a project for you.

1 Find a map of the Mediterranean
2 Mark these cities on the map

  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Messina Sicily
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Split, Croatia
  • Koper, Slovenia
  • Venice, Italy
3. Connect the dots in the above order

Congratulations, and thank you. You have just created a route map of our upcoming cruise. No map for this cruise on the NCL site.

NCL Jade

That is all I'm saying (for now).

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Beach Panorama

Amelia Island - Part 2: Here are a couple more photographs from the trip to Amelia Island Plantation last weekend. The first is a stitched together panorama using 4 pictures from our room balcony. The view was great, except for the construction site between us and the beach. The big hole directly in front will be the new pool area

The second photo is a shot of the staff preparing for a wedding reception on the beach. 

That is probable all the pictures I will post from the trip. It was lovely each day, and an enjoyable view to wake up to every morning.

Panorama of the beach 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Amelia's Azaleas

One of the shops in the shopping area on the resort property.
The azaleas were in bloom all over Amelia Island when we visited this past weekend for a 4 day get-away at the Amelia Island Plantation Resort. The island is in the north-eastern most corner of Florida, near Jacksonville, FL. The weather was wonderful all weekend with blue skies, sunny, and comfortable temperatures in the high 70's during the day time. We didn't test the water temperature, as we figured it would be like a very cold shower. 

We departed from Tampa after lunch on Friday and headed eastbound on I-4. For some reason there was a traffic jam from the Lakeland area to north of Orlando that we estimated cost us at least 1 hour of drive time. Oh, not an issue (except for Frank who did all the driving in the backup - thank you sir) as we had no plans except for dinner at the Verandah Restaurant, one of the main restaurants at the resort. You knew there would be some food comments somewhere in this blog. After Check-In at the extremely friendly front desk, and a brief visit to our room - 5th floor, overlooking the Atlantic (as are all the rooms at the hotel) we headed to The Verandah Seafood Restaurant via the free resort shuttle.(click to view menu from their website - MENU). Frank ordered the Chipotle Honey Glazed Grilled Salmon and I opted for the Grilled Grouper. Both were very good and the portion sizes were perfect. For dessert we shared the Mud Pie - wonderful I say.

After breakfast the next morning we shuttled to the Fitness Center to burn off some of the calories we were consuming. Today we spent some time exploring the resort and some of the shops. The Plantation is very large with many private homes and condominiums as well as rental villas and the hotel.

For Saturday dinner, we had a reservation at Le Clos in Historic Fernandina Beach. It is a lovely French restaurant located in at 1906 cottage in the heart of downtown. Click MENU if interested. We started with a shared Pork and Chicken Liver Pate- very nice. For our entrees Frank ordered the Steak au Poivre cooked to a perfect medium rare. I opted for the Lamb Shank, tender and falling off the bone. For dessert we shared the home-made Vanilla Ice Cream with Caramel sauce, a great finish to a lovely dinner.

Sunday was another day of relaxing, eating and (shhhh) drinking. We spent more time roaming the property in a rental golf cart, called an Island Hopper. That was a fun way to cover the property with ease.

Lunch was back in town. Frank was familiar with a Sushi restaurant that he had dined at on a previous visit to the historic downtown area. Unfortunately it is closed on Sunday. We finally settled on The Crab Trap. It was OK, but not worth spending any time to cover on the blog.

Dinner was at the hotel bar where we ordered a nice cheese plate, Shrimp Cocktail and off the Ocean Grill (also closed on Sunday) menu, one of the restaurants in the main hotel. That was a nice way to wrap up our visit to the Amelia Island Plantation Resort. We had a very relaxing time, which was the intent of this journey. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tallahassee - at the Avenue

Last Monday evening (3/12) Frank (on a business trip) and I (just tagging along) had dinner at a new Tallahassee dining spot called Avenue Eat and Drink. The restaurant sits on a park very near downtown and serves Southern Fusion food. We have an Avenue Eat & Drink in St. Petersburg but don't know if that are related. Frank had read some reviews on the Tallahassee Avenue Eat & Drink before we went to Tallahassee. Always on the lookout for a new dining experience, we decided to try it. 

The location is downtown not far from our favorite hotel - Hotel Duval, and near the Florida State Capitol building. Fortunately the senate and house were not in session. The decor was very nice, the service was at times a little slow, but the food was superb.

So, here are our selections:

First Course:
Sliced heirloom tomatoes, fresh burrata cheese, basil chiffonade with extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic glaze. This was wonderful - if you have never tasted burrata Mozzarella and have an opportunity to try some, you must - the mozzarella has a tender exterior and a rich and creamy interior.

Fresh vegetables, gourmet greens and house vinaigrette; a nice mix of ingredients and a very tasty vinaigrette.

Main Course
Braised boneless short ribs with mashed parsnip and potatoes, rosemary Cabernet reduction. This was deep with flavor and extremely tender and the Rosemary Cabernet reduction was a perfect accompaniment. 

Locally sourced season Gulf seafood in a slightly spicy tomato fennel broth served with garlic infused baguette (similar to bouillabaisse, a fish stew.) Every bite of seafood was perfectly cooked and loaded with flavor 

We shared a slice of MIKE’S REESE’S PEANUT BUTTER PIE 
Creamy peanut butter filling topped with chunks of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups drizzled with chocolate ganache and caramel

Can you tell we both thoroughly enjoyed our meals? Go, you will not be disappointed.

That's all I'm Saying