Saturday Night Serenade–Ready To Feel Good

It was a week.  I can’t complain, not really.  We had a Cat 5 hurricane barreling toward us, and ended up losing power for only about 15 hours.  No damage to the house, just a lot of tree branches and debris down in the yard.  Parts of the Keys are devastated.  I almost feel guilty for feeling relieved.

Local news was 24/7 hurricane coverage for a good five days, warning us of doom, gloom, and imminent disaster.  We had no idea what was going on in the rest of the world.

When the electricity and internet were back up, I was ready to go back to normal life.  Not so fast, though.  Not everyone around here has had their power restored.  We were apparently among the very fortunate.  And the county just lifted the curfews they’d enacted.  For quite a few days, there was no going anywhere from dusk to dawn.

View of the Jupiter Lighthouse from Square Grouper, after Hurricane Irma.

Cabin fever forced Mr. R. and I to go exploring on Wednesday.  On the most off chance, we cruised by one of our favorite watering holes, knowing that because it’s on the water, it would definitely be closed.

It wasn’t.  Precious few people knew, so it was blissfully uncrowded and we spend a nice hour decompressing toward normal.

I’m ready to feel good again.  So for tonight’s serenade, I’m bringing along Ed Sheeran with Castle on the Hill.  I love this song.  It makes me feel happy.

I hope you’re enjoying this September evening.  Is it cool where you are?  It’s still steamy hot here.  Hug those you love, and maybe consider donating to hurricane relief.  Between Texas and Florida, there are a lot of hurting folks out there.

Happy Saturday night!

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Saturday Night Serenade–Ode to Irma

Confession…
I’m writing this post on Thursday.  On Saturday, we’re supposed to be under tropical storm conditions, then Sunday (as of now), we’re supposed to have a Cat 4 hurricane pass right over our heads here in north central Palm Beach County.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this isn’t our first rodeo.  Coastal areas are going to be under encouraged, if not mandatory, evacuations.  We’re about 15 miles away from the coast, so we’re just going to batten the hatches and hunker down.

Roads, and I mean I-95 and the Florida Turnpike, are crowded with folks seeking higher ground.  But the storm is supposed to ride up the entire peninsula, so unless you’re planning on heading to Omaha (which we considered–our son and his wife live there), you might as well stay put.

I should be nervous.  I’m certainly taking the situation seriously.  We’re securing valuables, packing up some changes of clothes in case we need dry things, storing water, digging out the battery-operated and solar lights, etc.  It’s pretty much a given that we’ll lose power and wi-fi.  We have a well, so we’ll lose water until the electricity is restored.

But I’m feeling cheeky.  So tonight, we’re Riding the Storm Out.  And, as a two-fer, we’re going to Rock You Like a Hurricane.  We’ll keep you posted, and we’d appreciate your prayers, if you’re so inclined.

Hug those you love–I know I will.  Happy Saturday night!

I Love This Place!

Mr. R and I went out for dinner last weekend to celebrate the closing of his first real estate listing.  Unsure of where we wanted to go, we looked online to find some options.  We really wanted to try someplace we’d never been before.

We landed on Cool’a Fishbar at Legacy Place in Palm Beach Gardens.  The menu looked good, and the prices were moderate.  The website offered us the opportunity to make a reservation, which we did.

When we arrived about 10 minutes early, we were seated immediately in a large booth.  The interior is upscale indoor tiki, with lots of dark wood and woven rattan.  Our server, Steven with a ‘v’, was both friendly and efficient, and extremely knowledgeable about the menu, which boasts fresh, locally caught seafood.

We ordered coconut shrimp as an appetizer, and I opted for Cool’a’s signature drink, a strong rum and citrus concoction.  I cannot tell a lie, I had two.

For dinner, Mr. R ordered the Mediterranean Seafood bowl–a mixture of shrimp and scallops with tomato, spinach and feta cheese, sauteed with white wine, lemon, butter, and oregono over angel hair.  I chose the Island Grilled Salmon, which was topped with crabmeat and a Hawaiian aioli.  My entree came with two sides, and I had the mixed baby greens and the Cool’a potato, a heavenly kind of au gratin served in a ramekin.

EVERYTHING, and I mean everything, was delicious.  We ate like we’d just tapped out of Naked and Afraid.  Across from us, a couple shared a slice of Key lime pie.  I wanted some so badly, but I was too full to even think about it.

Suffice it to say, we’ve found a great new place to go for date night.

*The first three photos are taken from the Cool’a website.  The last one, of my dinner, is mine.

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Date Day With The Parentals

This past week, my folks drove all the way from the icy reaches of Pennsylvania  to our humble abode in sunny South Florida.  I took a day off work to spend a little time with them and we found some fun things to do.

First of all, we took them to Grassy Waters Preserve.  It’s a wetland preserve that both Mr. R. and I pass twice every day as we go to and from work.  We probably take the folks there every time they visit because you’re always guaranteed to see a gator or three.

This time, however, we were going to see an art exhibit by The Highwaymen, an event that has been advertised out by the entrance all month.  Here’s a link to a promotional video for the exhibit.

The Highwaymen is the collective name for a group of African-American artists who painted Florida landscapes starting in the 50s.  According to a sign at the exhibit, during that time an African-American farm day-laborer could expect to earn between $5 and $10 per day.  These artists could sell a painting for $25 to $35 each.  Which became a huge economic incentive for these guys to paint as many pictures as they could, often selling them while they were still wet.

However, don’t assume that because they were hastily done they were inferior in quality.  As I looked over the paintings on display, I was struck by the beauty, by the contrasting light and shadow, by the amazing colors.  We ended up buying a signed copy of the official poster of this year’s event, a painting done of Grassy Waters.

After we left there, we toodled around for a while before we ended up at the brand new, just opened Manatee Lagoon Discovery Center at the FP&L plant in Riviera Beach.  Manatees are drawn to warm water, especially on cold days, and the power plant puts warm water into the Intracoastal Waterway.  People have shown up for years to glimpse these gentle creatures.  FP&L finally realized that rather than fighting it, they should accommodate the curious animal lovers and so they built this terrific discovery center with a two-level observation deck.  Oh, and there’s a gift shop.

It was a cool day so it was a good bet that we’d see manatees.  And we weren’t disappointed.  I kept snapping pictures, unable to see my screen because the sun was so bright.

There are times when the lagoon is packed with the critters literally body to body, but the folks were thrilled by their first glimpse of manatees in the wild.

We ended our outing with dinner at Duffy’s on Clematis.  It was a great day to skip work and hang out with loved ones.

April Fool’s

Yesterday, Opinionated Man posted a hilarious April Fool’s piece on his blog HarsH ReaLiTy wherein he said that it would be his final post on WordPress. He would henceforth be writing a column for Cosmo on relationships and marriage.

imageAfter I recovered from gales of laughter, I recalled one of my all-time favorite April Fool’s pranks.  One fine spring day as I headed to work, a commercial came on the radio.  In a basso profundo voice, an announcer said, “Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!  At Moroso Motorsports Park…It’s bullfighting!”

What the…? I thought.  Moroso Motorsports Park is a drag strip.  Where in the world would they…?  Why in the world would they…?  The radio announcer went on to say that the best matadors in all of Spain would be demonstrating their skill and bravery, “Sunday, Sunday, Sunday at Moroso Motorsports Park.”

I shook my head in disbelief.  That’s so weird.  Who’s going to the drag strip to see bullfighting?  Then came one final detail.  “The Spanish national anthem will be performed by Enrique Iglesias.”  My mouth popped open.  It’s April first!  I laughed hysterically all the way to work.  But the fun didn’t end there.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one who heard that commercial.  A bunch of PETA-types lost their ever-loving minds.  There were calls to the radio station and protests were organized.  How dare anybody think they’re going to bring bullfighting to Palm Beach County?!

When they finally understood that it was an April Fool’s joke, their official comment was that, “It’s not funny.”

wpid-screenshot_2015-04-01-19-56-18-1.pngOoooohhh, yes it is.

Friday Eve

You know, if you think of Thursday as ‘Friday Eve,’ it seems more like the weekend.  I’ll keep telling myself that, anyway.  That means it’s almost Date Night.

Mr. R. and I are attending a wedding on Saturday.  I’ve been kind of excited about it.  Who doesn’t love an an excuse to get all gussied up?  We couldn’t remember the when and the where so I dug out the invitation the other day.  Here’s the thing:  The service is at 2:30.  And the reception is at 6:00.  That’s an awfully long time.  I hadn’t planned on committing to a whole day for this thing.  Sigh.

I was thrilled by an opportunity we had for Sunday.  We were invited by one of Mr. R.’s work contacts to share a table at a fund-raiser for Big Dog Ranch Rescue, the largest no-kill animal shelter in Florida.

The event is called Wine, Women, & Shoes and it’s being held at Mar-a-Lago, the opulent Palm Beach estate-turned-resort of Donald Trump.  Jimmy Choo is the official shoe sponsor.  What’s not to love about this?

The problem is that Mr. R. works on Sunday.  I suppose it’s just as well.  It would be rough hitting the work week having been out all weekend.

I’ll keep telling myself that.  Just like I’ll keep calling today Friday eve.

Date Day Saturday–Priorities, People!

Mr. R. and I had date ‘day’ Saturday rather than date night on Friday.  That’s because on Friday, Mr. R. was feeling a little under the weather.  Why not go out on Saturday night, you ask?  Well, because Sprint Cup racing was in Bristol AND the Dolphins were playing on Saturday night.  Priorities, people!

So we found ourselves out on Saturday afternoon running a few errands and with the general intention of stopping somewhere along the way to celebrate date ‘day’.  After errands, we made a couple of stops to appreciate the beautiful, if hot, afternoon (it is August in South Florida, after all).  We stopped along A1A and went down to the beach to snap a few photos of the amazing blue water.  We progressed to Jupiter Inlet to watch the boats for a while.  Finally, we realized we were ready to find some grub.

After kicking around a few possibilities, Mr. R. took us to one of my absolute favorite places, Guanabanas.  We had considered it last week but passed on it due to inclement weather.  Understand, ALL seating at Guanabanas is outside.  It’s on the Jupiter River on the west side of US 1 in Jupiter.  The place is utterly beautiful, all lush tropical gardens, tiki huts, tables right by the water. But Guanabanas has something else going for it besides its gorgeous setting:  their incredible food.  They use fresh, local ingredients as much as possible.  All their seafood is certified ‘Fresh from Florida.’  They use locally grown produce, and they even source the hot sauce on the tables from Palm Beach Gardens.  That attention to detail is apparent in the flavor of their food.

We chose a high-top table in the bar area, where often they feature live music, ranging from great local musicians to national acts like Natasha Beddingfield and Rob Thomas, although all was quiet on Saturday afternoon.  Be forewarned, if you sit in the bar area, you can only order from the left side of the menu (appetizers, sandwiches, etc.).  If you’d rather have a proper entree, you have to sit in the dining area.  The good news there is that the regular dining tables are next to the water, where in all likelihood you’ll watch kayaks and paddle boards go by as you enjoy the view of the river and mangroves. 

They offer a nice Happy Hour, too, but Mr. R. and I were about an hour early for that.  No matter, I knew what I wanted and promptly ordered the Cat 5, their spin on a traditional hurricane.  It is yummy, delicious, and more importantly on a hot day, marvelously cold.  Mr. R. settled for a Diet Coke. 

Foodwise, we started with the fish dip.  It was absolutely enjoyable, local fresh-caught fish, pureed and mixed with a savory smoky dressing.  For lunch, I ordered the spicy shrimp wrap while Mr. R. had the Cuban sandwich.  My wrap was amazingly tasty, and served with a side salad of mixed greens and their signature vinaigrette.  Mr. R.’s Cuban sandwich (which was delicious, I tasted it) came with Guanabanas’ fresh-made lightly seasoned wavy potato chips. 

We can’t recommend Guanabanas highly enough.  It’s everything I love about a restaurant:  local, beautiful setting, great food, friendly staff.  Next time you want a casual place to eat or have a cocktail, Guanabanas is for you.