Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Florida Food and Music

Two of our favorite pastimes during our Winter Sabbatical in Florida is to explore new and favorite eating establishments and to enjoy live music whenever possible. Each of our restaurant experiences this winter have been delightful.

February 8th, Grumpy Gators, Homosassa: On a sunny Sunday afternoon following worship at Nativity Lutheran in Weeki Wachee we headed north on route 19 to Harold's Flea Market. After making a few small purchases we were ready for lunch and I remembered Dewey telling me about a place called Grumpy Gators just a bit north of where we were. Upon we arrival we settled in at a pleasant but dark interior dining room and after ordering we discovered there were tables in the backyard. With the waitresses permission we moved outside and and enjoyed the 60 degree temperature with bright sunshine. We also discovered that they had horseshoe pits set up and soon a fellow customer invited me to play. I did pretty well despite the fact it had been a couple of years since I had pitched horseshoes. Mary had roast beef, John had chicken Parmesan, and I had a fish dinner. It was all delicious.

 Friday the 13th, Sweet Tomatoes in Port Richey: It was a cool yet sunny Friday and we decided to drive south on route 19 to shop at Aldi's and celebrate Valentine's Day by having lunch at our favorite chain restaurant, Sweet Tomatoes, This restaurant has the largest and most varied salad bar I have ever experienced. In addition they offer a variety of soups, pastas, and desserts all at one low price. 

Sunday, February 15th, Sam's in Hudson Beach: On this Sunday we came out of church to sunny skies and temperatures in the 70's. With such a beautiful day we decided to head south on 19 to Hudson Beach and 

We waited about 30 minutes for a table outside on the deck where we could see the water and hear the live music playing at the Tiki Bar. Our waiter, Angel, was very attentive and treated John with respect and compassion as John ordered a fried chicken club wrap. Mary enjoyed a seafood wrap that was bulging with shrimp and lobster while I ate a catfish dinner. The food was great, the service terrific, and the setting relaxing.

Monday, Feb. 16th, Farmer's Market Restaurant, Webster: On President's Day we decided to make the hour long drive to the famous Webster Flea Market which is only open on Mondays. It was a beautiful sunny morning and traffic came to a crawl over 2 miles from Webster. We finally arrived and lucked into a convenient parking space. This flea market is HUGE and especially on this day as many more vendors then usual had tables set up displaying everything imaginable. After walking and shopping for three hours we were ready for a good lunch. We found it at the country buffet offered on Mondays at the Farmer's Market Restaurant right on the grounds of the market. 

Fried and roasted chicken, roast beef, broiled fish, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, Brussels sprouts, chili, salad bar, and strawberry shortcake. Delicious and all for $8.95.

Tuesday, Feb. 17th, Pappas in Clearwater: Dewey and Elizabeth picked Mary, John, and I up to take us to Ruth Eckerd hall in Clearwater. The occasion was an early celebration of my 70th birthday next month. We were going to see and hear the Nelson Riddle Orchestra in a Sinatra Centennial Celebration. The show was scheduled for 1:00 pm so we met our friend Ruth Teal at Louis Pappas Market and Cafe, This is an authentic Greek cafe with salads, flat breads, and spannakopitas.

I am certain that we will have some more eating adventures as our time here continues.


Friday, Feb. 13th, Woodview Coffee House, Lecanto: I discovered this venue while searching the internet for concerts. It takes place once a month in a local church fellowship hall. We arrived around 6:15 for the 7:00 show and met Dewey and Elizabeth. Arriving early we were able to find seats in the 2nd row center in what turned out to be a standing room crowd. The admission was only $7.00 and what a bargain it turned out to be. The opener was a Florida singer-song writer named Frank Julian. He offered entertaining songs like Get Off the Main Highway, Songs of Florida, and Don't Be a Weenie whch was John's favorite. Without an intermission the main act took the stage and quickly captured our ears and hearts. This husband and wife duo calls themselves Acoustic Eidelon and they are the most innovative and creative musical artists I have ever heard live. 
Joe and Hannah played mostly original pieces like 75 North Second Street ( a song sung from the perspective of the house that Hannah grew up in), and Stay Awhile (a beautiful love song), and a cover of While my Guitar Gently Weeps. I don't remember ever feeling so emotionally moved by music as I was this night. Here they are doing Stairway to Heaven at a different concert. 

Tuesday, Feb 17th, The Nelson Riddle Orchestra: As mentioned above, Dewey and Elizabeth treated us to this Big Band concert as an early birthday present to me. And what a wonderful gift it was. A sold out audience enjoyed such classics as All the Way, Chicago, I've Got You Under My Skin, and Night and Day. The musical arrangements were so intricate and the soloist, Bryan Anthony, nailed Sinatra's phrasing and laid back style. 


Dewey said...

Nice summary of your recent adventures. However, you can't seem to get right what Mary ate. I recommended the "dry ribs" so you told Mary I had enjoyed the "prime rib" so she got the "rib eye steak" which is nothing like the "roast beef" mentioned in your report.
I hope that is cleared up now. See you later today.

Chuck Schwartz said...

Yeah, Mary already scolded me for getting it wrong again.