Port Canaveral

Waking up on a Saturday morning with so many options can be daunting. 🙂

After mulling over a few possibilities last Saturday, we chose to drive to Port Canaveral to see the cruise ships and to test out the drive for a future cruise. It’s always fun to see the DCL busses whizzing by. It was a nice familiar sight after living in our new beach town for a month now. We love it, but it is an adjustment to living in an unfamiliar place.

We also had lunch at our usual, Gulls Seafood Deck and Tiki Bar, although we noticed several other restaurants along that row for a future visit. My lunch was so sparse, I was starving afterwards (a few grilled shrimp and nothing else), so we shared an amazing chocolate cake. Basically, I had a margarita and a piece of chocolate cake for lunch – lol! We managed to take a shot of it after a bite or two. 🙂

Rich and his Summer Breeze

Chocolate Chip Cake (minus a bite or two)

After lunch, we walked along the water to see how close we could get to the ships. There were 4 ships in port that day: Disney Fantasy, Norwegian Epic, Carnival Magic, and Carnival Sunshine.

Norwegian Epic, Disney Dream, and one of the Carnival ships in photo

Aunt Catfish’s on the River ala Art Smith

We took some time out from packing up the resort to scout out some of the neighboring beach cities and when we spotted Aunt Catfish’s on the River in Port Orange, we knew we had to stop there for lunch.

We asked to be seated on the porch (inside they were serving a brunch buffet) but we were able to order off the regular menu. Looking for something reasonably healthy, I was dismayed to notice that everything cane with a hush puppy and their “famous” cinnamon roll.

I don’t usually eat cinnamon rolls unless they’ve come highly recommended and I had determined I would ignore it when it came with my sautéed shrimp and cucumber/tomato salad. But as soon as I saw it I knew I would have to taste it.

OMG (I also try to avoid that, too, but trust me – it was definitely OMG-worthy)!! The most amazing cinnamon roll ever!! We’ve since learned you can get boxes in different sizes to go and that spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E!

The hush puppy was special, too, with a crusty outside and soft flavorful with a hint of sweetness inside – they can sometimes be a bit bland. Best hush puppy ever and I go back to Biloxi, Mississippi in the 1980s for my first hush puppy.

Rich had the Catfish with grits lunch and we both had a Bloody Mary, creating our own brunch. We’ll definitely be back – perhaps after church? I’m already thinking about the Fried Green Tomato BLT.

This is the old Florida experience Chef Art Smith is going for at Homecomin’ at Disney Springs, which is a favorite of ours, but at about a third of the cost and a whole lot closer to home, we might just stick to the real deal.

First Look at JBs Post Irma

JBs Fish Camp in New Smyrna Beach, with the ocean on one side and the intracoastal on the other, didn’t fare well with Hurricane Irma. In fact, the inside portion of the restaurant, including kitchen, is all being rebuilt. The outside bar with picnic tables is still there and we stopped in last week to get one of their Salted Sea Dogs, my favorite drink. Right away we saw how the parking lot and stage area is still a bit flooded.

The restaurant should reopen in 2 or 3 weeks.

Tampa Bay on Memorial Day

After our taste of the crowds at Disney Springs on Saturday and wait time to just get our AP,s and hearing insane reports of wait times and staggered park entrances, we decided not to venture back to Disney on Monday to catch the last day of the Flower and Garden Festival.

So we headed back to our beloved Tampa Bay to catch up, have lunch at Frenchys Outpost and spend some time on Dunedin Causeway and/or Honeymoon Island. Frenchys wasn’t too crowded but we couldn’t get on Dunedin. So we squeezed onto a small stretch of the Courtney Campbell Causeway on our way back to Orlando.

It was such a blast being back at Frenchys – we were last there on our Thanksgiving trip from Las Vegas and now six months later we’re living in Florida again. We’d hoped we’d be living in Tampa Bay – Orlando is crazier than over – so much traffic and beat up roads making getting around quite a challenge. And, of course, housing prices are higher in Orlando.

We’ve been househunting like crazy and are absolutely exhausted mixing that with so much fun – lol! Hard to believe we’ve only been here two weeks.

Above: Blackenef Mahi Mahi Sandwich, Fiery Shrimp Tacos, Blue Paradise, and the “Perfect Margarita”

Catching up with Central Florida Weekend, Day 2: Port Canaveral/Cocoa Beach/Disney Cruise Ship

We woke up this morning and thought, “Hey, let’s go to Cocoa Beach.” Imagine that – waking up and saying that. Much harder to do in Vegas. 🙂

But first we wanted to stop by that new housing community we’d had our eyes on – the one with the rental we almost got but somebody got there first. Later I thought, “Hey, we’d rather buy one of these than rent one – we should look into it.”

Lots for the next phase should be available in August or so and then time for building. This might work out but we’re going to see what else is out there, too.

After our tour, we headed toward Port Canaveral. And, yes, a Disney ship was in port. Woo hoo! We remembered a seafood restaurant we’d gone with Brother Bob during the 2010 Food & Wine Festival trip but we couldn’t remember the name. So I searched on our web site and, sure enough, found the name. We did the voice GPS thingie and “she” found it.

Outside seating was full and we were starving so we were happy to be seated by the window. We ordered drinks – this time I got the Margarita (one of the most amazing ever!) and Rich got some sort of Rum, Vodka Fruity thingie. He was quite happy with it.

We looked at the menu and I wanted the tacos, which came in 3s, but I only wanted 2 so we solved that problem when Rich ordered the tacos, too, and ate the extra one. They were quite scrumptious, but, for me, the real star was that Margarita. After lunch, we walked around and soaked up the atmosphere, views of the Disney cruise ship, dolphins, and pelicans. And then drove to Cocoa Beach for a brief stop on the beach. Can’t do it all at once – lol!

I can see from the photos that this is when Rich flashed his “happy, happy” smile – it was so worth all the trouble to get here.

I could do this every Saturday. I’m sure Rich could, too.

Living on Redwood Shores in the San Francisco Bay when we were newlyweds, we were surrounded by Pelicans – how we have missed our little friends!

Preview Video here.





Catching up with Central Florida Weekend, Day 1: New Smyrna Beach

We moved in on Tuesday and after unpacking most of our boxes by Friday night, we decided it was time to celebrate Rich’s first week in the Orlando office. So I picked Rich up from work and we drove the back roads through horse and vegetable farms to New Smyrna Beach. We were headed for our favorite eatery in NSB  – JBs Fish Camp.

But first we stopped at the beach and walked around just a bit because we were both hungry, and I wasn’t feeling like walking the beach in my Vegas clothes – really need to shop for some Florida clothes. 🙂

By the time we arrived at JBs, the parking lot was packed, but we found a spot close to the road, and when we approached the restaurant, a band was playing and singing Red, Red Wine. We put our name in and about 15 minutes later, we were seated outside (inside seating was available right away but we chose to wait for an outside table.)

Rich ordered a Margarita, and I ordered a Salted Sea Dog, JBs version of the Salty Dog, a favorite drink from my youth. Normally, it has vodka and grapefruit juice, but JBs adds pineapple juice. It was so tasty.

Striving to avoid the temptation of my favorite fried Shrimp basket, I ordered the Shrimp Scampi with Corn on the Cob and Dirty Rice (at least I could choose how much of the butter to drip over the shrimp and corn), and Rich had Scallop Scampi with Bay Scallops with Hush Puppies and their especially good Cole Slaw. It was all delicious!

Rich had on his happy face and he said each mile he drove from Las Vegas to Florida was totally worth it!

Or maybe he said that the next day. Whatever day it was, it was awesome,and why we moved back to Florida. It doesn’t get any better than this. Or does it? Stay tuned for Day 2. But I could do this every Friday.

Preview Video here.