Archive for ‘Observations’

Wolfgang Puck Cooking Demo

I was fortunate to get a last minute invite to attend the Wolfgang Puck Cooking Demo at the Hard Rock Casino in Tampa this past Saturday. I barely made it in time since I worked during the day and hard to shower and then drive over an hour to get there.

It was well worth the rush, since the food was delicious and Wolfgang was surprisingly entertaining. My favorite dish was the seared beet and goat cheese salad, but the salmon and caviar pizza was also tasty. Though I’m not much of a sweet eater, the chocolate cake was a light and fluffy surprise.

Best part of all, I don’t think any item required over seven ingredients. The simple and unfussy preparation really let the flavors shine (plus, the recipes should be somewhat easy to replicate).

It was refreshing to hear Wolfgang talk so openly about his career. Several times in the early stages he was kicked out of kitchens and told he didn’t have the ability to make it. Thankfully, he’s a stubborn character and he obviously found a way to persevere in his chosen path. During the closing Q&A session he urged us all to “Stay Curious” as an antidote to aging. Cheers to that!

 

Music on the Bay

Shortly after moving here I became a member of the Tampa Bay Parrot Head Club. I had so many good experiences last year in Texas with the Parrot Heads of Port Aransas that I knew I wanted to continue with it.

The tagline of Parrot Head clubs is “Party with a Purpose” and they are a bunch of people that get together to enjoy music and raise money for charity. Last year’s Music on the Bay in Tampa raised over $62,000 for the local Shriner’s hospital, which is pretty impressive!

Unfortunately for me, I could only attend on Friday as I had to work the rest of the weekend but it was still a great event. I enjoyed seeing some of my favorite Trop Rock performers on stage again – I think they have as much fun as the audience (if not more)!

I just love Donny Brewer’s bluesy version of Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville!

Throughout the day, lots of talent hopped on stage, including Paul Overstreet (he wrote Diggin’ Up Bones, among many other hits).

Feels Like Forever

For a number of reasons, I am very thankful that I don’t have to do a lot of driving here in Florida. Number one is probably just plain safety, Florida has some of the worst accident rates in the country. Their auto insurance rates reflect those statistics, I am now paying double what I paid previously (and I’ve lived in three different states recently: Texas, Oregon, and Arizona). I almost fell out of my chair when I received the quote – ouch!

The other reason has to do with the traffic signals. To the best of my knowledge Florida doesn’t utilize smart signals (that sense traffic, or lack thereof) and they have the longest greens I’ve ever seen. Which can be a good thing if you’re on that side of the light but sitting at reds feels like a sort of slow torture (especially for little, ol’ impatient me).

I am happy to know that I am not the only one who feels this way, as evidenced by this gif that I discovered recently. Note: it’s not mine and I don’t know who to give credit to but someone deserves a shout out for it!

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Treasures from the Sea

I participated in our local beach cleanup yesterday morning with 13 other hardy souls who braved the chilly temps (it was 48° when we started out). It is interesting to walk the drift line after a storm has blown through, I never know what I’ll find. Especially after one that riled up the surf as much as this last one did.

This time it was a lot of stuff that is usually firmly anchored to the sea floor: from sponges, sea whip, and soft corals to man-made objects such as crab pots (not pictured), split tires, and buoys.

It was a lovely morning on the beach plus, I scored a few treasures: a beach towel, three sand dollars, four pennies, two hair ties, a fishing lure, a can koozie, and two pairs of sunglasses (though one pair was a bit small for me).

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Vintage Florida

When scouting Treasure Island as a potential home base back in December I was charmed by the low-slung, retro motels that lined Gulf Boulevard. It was a pleasant reprieve after the towering condos and crowded beaches of Sarasota. Many of them have been converted into efficiencies that snowbirds from Canada (and other northern climes) rent out by the week or month.

As I wander past, I enjoy watching the clientele as they play shuffleboard, use the barbecue area, and gather for happy hour by the small pools. Thankfully, many of the beach motels have retained their spunk and sass (as evidenced by their signs).

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Considering the beach is only a block away, that’s not a whole lotta love!

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C’mon, admit it!

Skim Boarding

After a few chilly, gray, and drizzly days it was nice to get out on the beach again. While waiting for sunset I was entertained by this enthusiastic group of skim boarders. The Gulf Coast of Florida doesn’t have great waves for surfing but the small bend in the coast near my house creates just enough action for skim boarding.

Wintery Skies

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Treasure Island Afternoon, Florida January 2020

Every once in awhile the weather decides to remind Floridians, that yes, winter is a season and yes, winter is cold (full disclosure: cold down here means anything under 60 degrees).

As these “seasonal disturbances” blow through and interrupt our sunshine state of mind they create some rather striking designs in the firmament. And though I have to put on extra clothing for my afternoon ramble, I really have nothing to complain about. After all, I’m still living near the beach!