A lot of blogs do “Sunday Round-Ups”of links to other blogs with the same subject matter…Well,right now our subject matter at FrugalDinks is pretty loose,so I’m going to point you to some things that I was looking at in the last week…
Originally,I sent this link to Kate …we agreed that this isn’t a trip we’d like to be on! — ’Nakations‘from Reuters.
Our friend Kris from Savannah usually walk-runs the Princess 5K at WDW in February,I’m thinking of joining her and her “posse”in 2013 for the 5K;that may mean that a pink tutu is in my future . Additionally,the medal is being changed since this is the 5th anniversary of the Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend.
Here’s a cake that looks terrific,but I don’t think that creating it is in my future (2 reasons:waistlines and dairy!)
That’s all for now,
While in LA on business,our last day ended too late for anything but the red-eye flight. We opted to stay the night and take the first flight out. So we had a chance for a meal not at the meeting we were attending. Where we were staying was touristy so lots of chain restaurants. We try to avoid chains when we can,but the tag line for Yard House caught our eye…“World’s Largest Selection of Draft Beer”.
When we walked in,we found a very large restaurant but the oblong circular bar and taps called us over. I cannot dispute their claim to world’s largest selection of draft beer. In fact the only non-draft they offer is non-alcoholic beer. The taps circled the whole center of the bar. Plus their were two full sets without duplicates.
We started with Spaten Lager and Modelo Especial as we looked over the menu. It was happy hour so we decided to share 3 appetizer ‘specials’as we didn’t want to over-eat as we planned to go to bed very soon after our meal. We could have ordered just two because we could not finish all three –they were quite large.
Above is the calamari. Yes,that is a pretty big mound of calamari –more than I ever recall getting as an appetizer. It was not greasy and had tentacles too. We suspect that they clean and bread their own calamari. It was good but not the best we have had.
Chicken lettuce wraps –yes a very large serving of chicken. These were very tasty but too much filling for the amount of lettuce they served. The sauces did not taste homemade but they were decent quality.
Last and our favorite,Hawaiian Poke Stack. Yum! This is the only appetizer that was normal sized,probably due to the cost of the sushi grade tuna. The tuna was cut well and the sauce did not over-power the quality of the tuna.
We finished with a Big Sky Moose Drool (yes,a beer) and AleSmith Nautical Brown. All four beers were not too cold and very drinkable. The bartenders were knowledgeable and efficient. I could see this being a fun place to hang out with friends –were certainly enjoyed our introduction to the Yard House.
Although Yard House is a chain,it is still quite small. If you like bar food and draft beer take a look at their website to see if one may be in a pace you are traveling to. I’d certainly try one again if I get the chance.
In my last post,I wrote about our visit to LA and mentioned the disappointment with our tour. We only had 5 free hours and wanted to see as much as we could. We asked our tour guide if she could take us to Disney Studios in Burbank. She had no clue where The Studios are but with smart phones we directed her. Even though we only saw it from the outside,it was the best part of our tour. So I’ll share the photos I got with my iPhone (thus the lower quality).
I’m not the Disney fan that Nora is,so I know little about The Studios. So please excuse my lack of knowledge and ability to tell you exactly what the photos are. One thing that struck me after our 3 days in LA,the area around The Walt Disney Studios is cleaner and nicer than the other areas we saw. Note the street in front of the entrance below:
The entrance gates were so Disney. One thing I appreciate about WDW is all the attention to detail and “decorating”. Well,so did the entrance to The Walt Disney Co. Studios:
Along the fence are little flat Mickey Heads at each post. But at each column there is a large 3D Mickey “globe”. Behind the globe (photo below) you may notice that the building has film reels on it. Plus there is a Mickey Mouse water tower. Now I better understand why the water tower (but with mouse ears) was the original “wienie”for WDW’s Disney’s MGM Studios (now Disney Hollywood Studios).
I also noticed several buildings and architectural styles that are identical to what I’ve seen on tours of WDW’s Disney Hollywood Studios. If you have done the backstage tour you’ll probably recognize the architectural style in the below photos.
We also stopped at another entrance. The architecture here also reminds me of things I’ve seen on a backstage tour at WDW’s Disney Hollywood Studios.
I wish we could have seen so much more. This was September 11th and security kept coming out BUT they never chased us off. As I understand,there are no tours of The Walt Disney Co. Studios. Well,no “public”tours. My favorite building (that I could see from the gates) was the Team Disney Building. This is what Wikipedia has about this building:
Team Disney –The Michael D. Eisner Building
Formally known as the Team Disney Burbank building,it is the main building located at The Walt Disney Studios. Completed in 1990 and designed by Michael Graves,The Team Disney Burbank building contains the office of President and CEO Robert A. Iger,as well as the boardroom for the Board of Directors. It also houses offices for members of Senior Management,such as Rich Ross, Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, Thomas O. Staggs, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts,and Andy Bird, Chairman of Walt Disney International. Prior to the opening of the Team Disney Burbank building in 1990,Disney executives were located in the old Disney Animation Building. Disney artists and animators were relocated into warehouses in Pasadena. The building is sometimes called the “Seven Dwarfs Building”;it has a stunning fascia of the seven dwarfs holding up the roof of the building,an homage to the animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,which provided Walt Disney with the revenue to purchase the Burbank lot. The building is located opposite the Frank G. Wells building,Eisner’s former colleague,and President of The Walt Disney Company from 1984–1994. In 1996 the building was featured in Hollywood Pictures film Spy Hard. On January 23,2006,in honor of Michael Eisner‘s 21-year leadership of the company,the Team Disney building was rededicated as Team Disney –The Michael D. Eisner Building.
Okay,look at the below photos (sorry about the quality) and you’ll see what this is the “Seven Dwarfs Building”.
This building gave Nora and I huge grins. Because I am not a big Disney fan,I had no idea it existed. How cool! I wanted a better idea of what the “Seven Dwarfs Building”looks like. A quick Google search revealed two good photos here and here.
So although the tour was a bust,we did have one nice experience. The Walt Disney Co. Studios in Burbank gave us big grins even though we couldn’t see much…
By the time we had been in LA for 5 hours,Nora had already started quoting the song line:
“She said hey ramblin’ boy why don’t you settle down
LA ain’t your kind of town
There ain’t no gold,and there ain’t nobody like me
I’m the number one fan of the man from Tennessee”
Not sure how long and/or political I want this post to be. I had a business meeting in LA (JW Marriott at LA Live) last week. With my aversion to flying I always try to fly direct. This trip flying direct got us to LA 5 hours earlier than we needed to be there. So I went to TripAdvisor and found us a 4 hour private tour. The tour was of the highlights of LA/Hollywood.
To keep this short,I’ll just mention the tour issue and not go into details. There were numerous problems. I ended up writing a very long and detailed email to the owner and to the general manager. The owner turned out to be very receptive as they rarely get negative feedback. In fact they are the highest rated tour company on TripAdvisor. The owner appreciated all the specifics I gave and plans to use this to make some changes. Additionally,he gave me a full refund. Nice gesture…
My tour complaints had nothing to do with my/our dislike of LA. We figured out we didn’t like LA because of what we saw on the tour. This was no fault of the tour company they were just showing us LA and Hollywood.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame,Kodak Theater,Grauman’s Chinese Theater,El Capitan,et al are clustered together. This area was as trashy as the last time I visited Myrtle Beach or Daytona Beach. I was shocked;I had no idea this area was so cheap and sordid. This is where the stars walk the red carpet. This is where many movies are premiered. I expected it to be elegant or at a minimum “nice”. It was a huge disappointment.
We drove out to Griffith Park and the Griffith Observatory where the best views of LA are available. Due to a glitch with our tour we didn’t get to stop at the Observatory. But winding through the park I was amazed at all the trash. There was trash everywhere. Does no one in LA use trash cans? Driving out,the Freeways were also trashy. I’ve visited a few places where the Freeways are littered but none have compared to LA. They even have the “Adopt a Highway”clean-up program. Does anyone ever pick up trash or do they just put their names on the signs?
We were driven to Paramount Studios for an event. Hollywood stars come here every day. The neighborhoods approaching Paramount are more littered than anything I have ever experienced (I know that there is much worse outside the USA.). Stores have huge fences with the Concertina (razor blade) wire on top. Then there is more Concertina wire around the roof line of the building. The few windows or doors are covered with steel bars. The housing is all falling down and each had kids in rags running around in the yards (amongst the trash). Buildings that looked abandoned had people clustered on crumbling balconies “smoking”.
My political statement. I know some (not all) Hollywood stars say that we need to pay more taxes and help the poor people. Okay. They drive to work in this. Their homes overlook this area. Why don’t they put their money where their mouths are and try to clean up their own “front”yards? If they can make it work in LA –then they can come ask me to pay more to help out. Until then they should be ashamed and embarrassed to open their big mouths with LA so trashy and destitute.
Hollywood looks like the grass is cut with scissors. Two blocks away in LA,there is no grass at all –just trash blowing around. The streets in Hollywood are pristine and everything looked perfect. Everything is green and lush and freshly painted. In LA,everything appears to be falling apart. The contrast was startling. Maybe I am just naive? Regardless,I was appalled.
I know there must be nice areas of LA and I’m not trying to bad-mouth the whole city. But where they took us as tourists was shocking. Where we stayed downtown was actually fairly nice. It had some trash issues but nothing like the areas we drove through. Downtown LA was not as nice as Chicago,San Francisco,Boston or Atlanta,but after what we had seen on our tour it was a relief.
I didn’t take my camera but I did take a few photos (of the tourist sites) with my iPhone. I’ll add a few below. Okay,I’m done…LA ain’t my kind of town!
View behind Kodak Theater,Hollywood sign is just to the right (didn't get a decent photo)
Grauman's Chinese Theater
closer shot of Grauman's
El Capitan and Disney Store with Soda Fountain,the building was gorgeous but our guide was clueless
El Capitan and Disney Soda Fountain
Yes,Disney Soda Fountain ice cream stand menu board (none of my other photos from inside were useable)
El Capitan box office
Ceiling detail above El Capitan Box Office
Architectural detail above El Capitan Box Office
Way back in January we took our first cruise. Many of you know that I am very cautious and don’t like new things. Who knows why but that is just how I am. Fortunately Kate and Calvin have been on several cruises. After us talking way too many times they decided they would find a weekend cruise and go with us. In addition,Walter would be going too –his first cruise as well!
This was good in so many ways. Three new cruisers with two experienced ones. Kate and Calvin explained everything in advance. Then when we got to each stage of “doing”they told us again what to expect and what to do. I really felt pretty comfortable with everything –luggage tags,port arrival,dropping off bags,checking in,boarding,food,tips,dress codes,cabins,meals,casino,shore excursions,bars,shows,leaving the ship on last day —most everything. I had literally talked their ears off and emailed numerous times too. (Yes –this is part of my planning process that keeps me comfortable doing new things.) The only thing I could not prepare for was –would I have “sea legs”? Could I handle “vacationing”on a rocking,reeling “boat”with all the food I could eat at my disposal? Well,let’s see…
We were booked on the Monarch of the Seas with Royal Caribbean. We were sailing about 5 p.m. Friday and would be back about 7 a.m. on Monday. A weekend cruise you can do and miss no work at all if you have flex time –at least when you live 45 minutes from the port! The price was very reasonable and since I have been researching cruises for almost 9 months –I had low expectations. My low expectations were partly due to cost and partly because Kate and Calvin forewarned us it would be an older ship with fewer amenities (compared to what you see in the ads).
The weekend would be Friday night at sea and arrival late Saturday morning in Nassau,Bahamas. Then an evening departure and overnight sailing to Royal Carribean’s private island –CocoCay where we would spend Sunday. Sunday was the longer day not at sea where they could hold you (and your wallet) captive on their island and get all the money you might be spending. There was a beach BBQ to be held in the afternoon. Then sailing overnight Sunday back to port.
I’m not going to make this a super long post. I’ve provided the background and told you how it was arranged so I (well Nora and Walter too) could be as “comfortable”as possible trying something new. And everything was good thanks to Kate and Calvin. Never once did I feel anxious which was absolutely amazing. I get anxious very easily. I even felt fine when the captain announced about dinner on Saturday evening that due to rough seas we would be staying in Nassau overnight. I didn’t even get anxious when waves were crashing so high over the sea wall in Nassau that Senior Frog’s deck was nearly submerged. Hey –we were tied down tight so we just had to watch the high seas resulting from some serious wind (maybe 50 –60 mph based on my experience with midwestern winds).
So what did I think/learn?
Food –we only had one dinner in the dining room (Friday night). For a variety of reasons we ate at the buffet all other meals. The dinner menu was duplicated at the buffet so we only missed being “waited on”. This also meant we could eat when we wanted,dressed however we wanted to be dressed. Nora,Walter and I all eat rather simply so the buffet suited us just fine. My only problem is wanting to try so many things and over-eating. None of us did horribly with over-eating. Most of the food was quite tasty. In fact Nora has said often that it was better than she had expected. I agree –so no problems with the food.
Exercising –with eating more than normal,exercise was very important. We love to walk. So I was a bit concerned how I would feel walking laps on a moving ship at sea. We tried to take a stroll after dinner on Friday. However the dark and some poorly lit areas made this a no-go. But on Saturday morning we hit the gym before sunrise! We did our stretching routine and then made our way up to the pool deck. There we enjoyed a beautiful sunrise while we did laps. I love,love sunrise. Sunrise over a vast empty ocean is incredible. I’ll go on another cruise for that experience alone! No problems at all with feeling sick or anything. By the time we got into Nassau I had managed to walk about 8 miles and added another 2 later in the day! Then on Sunday I got in another 10 miles –so exercise was no problem.
Entertainment –this was so-so. Friday night the shipboard entertainers did some song and dance stuff. Their performance was such that the three of us who went left before it was over. Saturday night (as best I recall –I didn’t make notes) we spent in the casino. Sunday night there was a comedian that I enjoyed. It was Kate,Nora and I who went to the show and all three of us got some good laughs at the routine. As we understand from Kate and Calvin the entertainment on newer ships and longer cruises is way better.
Public areas –always clean and it only felt crowded on Sunday afternoon when an NFL play-off was on TV and our ship was still tied up in Nassau as our Sunday plans were all cancelled due to the rough seas and wind. There was not much of a library/quiet area. Kate tried to find a place to read a couple of times and this proved difficult. I guess since this ship does primarily 3 and 4 night cruises –the focus is only ‘partiers’. Kate said that on longer cruises and newer ships she has always been able to find a quiet spot to read.
Cabins –small but functional. Nora and I had upgraded to a larger cabin just in case we felt sick so we’d have some extra space. We never needed to escape to our cabin but it made me more comfortable in planning to have it available. The cabins were definitely intended for just crashing. And I don’t know how those people who did the full on formal night were able to get dressed and groomed in the these tiny spaces?
Crew –no complaints. These folks work hard so I understand that they are not always smiling. The entertainment folks tried really hard (their job). The folks at the buffet were the least helpful. The bartenders,waiters and waitresses overall were good. In fact Calvin and Walter had their own waitress in the bar pretty quickly. By getting to know her we ended up with very good bar service.
Nassau –the only place we stopped due to weather. We did not book any excursions. Kate and Calvin have been through here a couple of times. They had forewarned us that it is not too nice. I knew to expect lots of people hustling/selling –and there were. I was glad to not do anything as just a few weeks before our cruise 9 tourists were robbed about a mile from the terminal and about 3 blocks from the police station. Really,9 people together? And they were at a major tourist attraction –the Queen’s Staircase.
We did get a cab to Atlantis (where we knew security was tight). The cab was not safe but none of them looked safe. We made it over and back in one piece. We gambled for a short while and walked around the resort. I’d definitely go back to Atlantis but from what else I saw –maybe I’d do a buggy tour? I might even walk down the street right across from the terminal. But why bother –I’d just be looking for a cocktail and they are easy to get on the ship. Plus we have learned from several friends that the ship is always quiet when it is in port. So why not take advantage of the ship itself when you are in a place like Nassau that you don’t want to explore?
I didn’t take many photos on the cruise. Since we ended up in Nassau for over half our time I thought it would be good to just show you what our view was. If you have been to Nassau you will immediately recognize the images.
Nora and I did like our first taste of cruising. Though we have realized we still have some reservations and fears. Fortunately it appears that Kate and Calvin are willing to go with us again. We want to try something a little longer. Plus as I have asked questions and researched I want to try Norwegian Freestyle cruising. No set dinner time and no formal nights. That fits me so much better –I think. The only way to find out is to try it. Plus Norwegian is not expensive. The other cruises that seem to catch my eye are more expensive. I am not going to spend lots of money until I make sure that cruising will work for us and what we like most and least. That allows for better planning and decision making in the future.
The other reason I’m hesitant,Nora did have a few problems on our return Sunday night. The seas were not as calm as they had been on Friday night. We had a cabin very,very close to the center of the ship. We had learned that these cabins pitch the least in rough water (makes sense once someone tells you but I never thought of it). Nora was reading in bed and she felt like her feet would go way up and then down as her head rose. I did feel/experience the pitching –but it didn’t bother me. Nora didn’t get much sleep as her brain/stomach got so focused on the pitching that she kind of “fixated”on it. Other than that we had zero problems.
While looking through my photos for this blog post I found one that I’d like some help with. As you enter/leave the protected port/harbor in Nassau there is a structure (opposite the little lighthouse). It looks like a space needle. Kind of like the one at SeaWorld (and many other amusement parks) that you can ride. It looks like there are windows all around but maybe it is not used right now? I’m posting it below. What is it?
Well,I could write more things but not much that would be of interest. I was not going to post about the cruise because I didn’t have many photos,we didn’t do much and it was short. However as I thought about how significant our first cruise might be for future travels I decided to post as best I could. Certainly doing this with Kate,Calvin and Walter was what made it fun –regardless of what we did or in this case didn’t do.
We are going to try cruising again. What I look most forward to are seeing more sunrises and sunsets at sea.
I mentioned in an earlier post that we had an after dinner cocktail on Saturday night. As we are approaching the longest day of the year here in the northern hemisphere,we had time for a quick stroll before we headed to the pier for sunset. On our first visit to Dunedin we never made it out for sunset. Like all other places on the Florida gulf coast people always turn out for sunset. The pier was busy but not packed. As we approached the pier I noticed that the moon was nicely lit by the setting sun.
Fortunately we arrived at the pier early enough that I was able to get a few photos in various directions before concentrating on getting sunset images. As you may know I love sunrise and sunset –they are such powerful and beautiful times of the day. It is one of the major reasons I am early to bed and early to rise –I like to see sunrise and sunset every day if I possibly can.
Photos can never truly capture a sunrise or sunset. For every thousand photos I take one might relay the power and beauty I saw in person. This sunset gave me no truly memorable shots even though I snapped about 30 while the sunset. To give you a sense of the view though,I picked out four photos to share. They truly do not do this sunset justice.
Fortunately I’ll have future photo opportunities. We still have restaurants to try and beers to sample in Dunedin. :) As I tried to impart in these recent Dunedin posts about our second visit (last weekend) –Dunedin is not perfect. But so far I really enjoy visiting…
One of the things I like about the coast is watching boats and ships. My hope is we find a place to settle where I can easily see boats and not just pleasure boats. We lived on a lake so I’ve had my fill of “just”pleasure boats. Tarpon Springs is not a clean marina just for pleasure boaters –it is still a working fishing town. That is one thing I liked.
There is also a pleasure marina across the river right next to a Cap’n Jack’s. It might be interesting to rent a boat there and explore the area?
And the waters are also calm enough to allow paddle boarding. This is a sport I’ve wanted to try. But I know there is a paddle board rental place near Dunedin where I could give this a try.
With all the kitch I expected to see lots of bars but surprisingly,we didn’t on our brief tour. This is the closest I saw to a kitch bar.
Just past this place was a small bar playing reggae. But at the end of the street was a cool looking place with a huge deck right over the water. If the Greek food is not good,maybe we can try Rusty Bellies? I was impressed when I looked at their website.
Fortunately there is a trolley that runs from Tarpon Springs to Dunedin. So even if we want to enjoy a few adult beverages we have a ride home. Although Tarpon Springs doesn’t look like a place to settle and even though it is way too kitchy,there appears to be a couple of places to try the food/atmosphere. It was well worth the visit to learn these things. It makes future planning easier too.
Yep,Tarpon Springs is kitchy…too kitchy. So I’ll go ahead and say it,“it ain’t for us.” But we like Greek food so no reason not to explore and see what we could find.
Here are a few examples of what we saw and I didn’t take photos of salt water taffy and t-shirt shops.
There was also the shop that sold all the hot sauces that I already posted about.
But since Tarpon Springs is on the coast there is fresh seafood. We saw the boats tied up at the end of the street only about 100 yards from a seafood shop. Although the sign in the window plays along with the kitch…
So what about all those Greek restaurants? We saw at least a dozen. Many had tables outside and we saw people eating some incredible looking food. The guidebook had recommended three places and one in particular sounded good so we sought it out to check out the menu. It is “Mama’s Greek Cuisine“.
Mama’s serves the fresh local seafood. Whole Snapper (Linthrini) is the specialty of the house. They also have lunch specials that include soft drink and baklava for only $9.95. Oh the baked goods –yummy (but I was drooling so much I didn’t take photos). So although we didn’t like the kitch –we plan to return to sample some Greek food! We don’t know when but know that we’ll blog about it when we do.
And yes,the restaurants even get in on the kitch. This is not Mama’s but it shows you just how bad it is in Tarpon Springs.
There were some more things that caught my eye in Tarpon Springs. I’ll post about them next in part 3.
You may recall we are exploring various places on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Until we can make time to take longer trips we are focusing on the Gulf Coast because so far it has proven the closest to the place we are looking to eventually “settle down”in. The websites and guides I’ve been using pointed me to just checking on Tarpon Springs with a short visit.
From the Moon Handbook,“Florida Gulf Coast”:
Tarpon Springs was founded about 1900 by John Corcoris,a sponge diver from Greece. “Soon,he persuaded friends and family,sponge divers all,to relocate from Hydra and Aegena,Greece,to this little Florida backwater.”“Greeks begot more Greeks and a booming town of Greek restaurants,Greek Orthodox churches,and Greek festivals centered around the sponge industry. Tarpon Springs was the largest U.S. sponge-diving port in the 1930′s,but a sponge blight and new synthetic sponge technology caused business to dry up.”
“The town is still more than a third Greek,with a sweet,kitchy,“Old Florida”tourist attraction charm and several fine restaurants.”
Well I wanted to visit and it is only a short ride from Dunedin. So after our lunch from Eli’s,Kate,Jeanne,Nora and I headed up to Tarpon Springs to see it for ourselves. Using directions from the guide book we knew where we wanted to walk around. As we drove down the street we noticed it is touristy and every little lot was paid parking –folks got to make a living. We found a parking lot that looked clean,paid our $3 and started walking.
The town definitely pays homage to its founding. There is an older plaque and two murals that denote the founding by John Corcoris –denoting it was 1905.
Across the street on the dock side there is a newer statue. This statue is dedicated to all the “Spongers of Tarpon Springs”and was erected/dedicated in 2002.
Tarpon Springs continues to make money on its sponge diving history. There are several tours with some including a sponge diving demonstration. Below is one of the tour boats.
There was one small boat tied up on the dock with a middle aged man sorting and unloading sponges. So there are at least a few people who continue to ply the sponge diving trade.
The guidebook had said there are sponges everywhere…there are. There is even a sponge museum –we didn’t visit. So as we started to walk further away from the homages to the sponge divers we began to see lots of kitchy shops…coming in part 2.
Before our first visit to Dunedin,Kate sent us links to various places &menus for us to consider. One of them,Cafe Alfresco,immediately struck us a too frou-frou –Calvin and Kate assured us that although the website (here) and the dinner menu (here) may LOOK “fancy”that neither the restaurant nor the food were too fancy for us to feel comfortable. We didn’t try Cafe Alfresco on the first visit,but we had dinner there on Saturday night on our last visit –and Calvin &Kate were absolutely correct,the food wasn’t too fancy,the atmosphere was calm &relaxing without being pretentious,and overall we enjoyed our food (more on that below)…
We started with two appetizers…
- Nora ordered the Feta Alfresco
- the feta was slightly creamy &salty,the marinara was a pleasant surprise of fresh tomatoes without too much garlic or herbs,and the garlic cheese bread reminded us SO very much of Dear Aunt’s Bubble Bread
- the only thing I’d do different –leave off the grated parmesan cheese (it was a little overboard &a bit conflicting with the other cheesy goodness)
- Nora,Nick and Kate ate some
- Calvin ordered the Pork Pot Stickers
- Calvin wasn’t ready to try the seaweed salad (actually one of Nora’s FAVORITE foods)
- he’s taken to ordering pork dumplings (pot stickers) at Mikado lately,I’m pretty sure that he thought these were better than those
- Kate had one (or two?) and thought they were quite good too
"Feta Alfresco - Feta Cheese,Lightly Breaded in Panko Crumbs,Fried Golden Brown and Served over Red Sauce with Garlic Cheese Bread"
"Pork Pot Stickers - Wok Seared and Steamed,Served with Asian Dipping Sauce"
The Specials had some good looking items,Nick ordered the “Sesame Crusted Amberjack”and Kate ordered the “Wild Alaskan Salmon”…
Special's the night we ate there - Nick had the Amberjack
- for those who aren’t familiar with Amberjack (wiki page here) —these are really fun fish to catch and typically have a nice,firm flesh
- Nick’s piece of fish wasn’t very uniform in thickness,he started with the thinner end and it was overcooked,chewy and dry
- also,the sesame seeds crusting the fish weren’t toasted before being applied to the fish,thus the chef tried to “toast”them while cooking the fish –this resulted in poorly toasted &overly chewy sesame seeds,keep in mind that the flavor of sesame seeds is dramatically changed by toasting,so the flavor wasn’t what we expected
- rather than complain or get another meal,Nick tried a thicker area of the amberjack and was much more pleased
- note:this was not a small 4oz portion of fish
"Sesame Crusted Amberjack - Served with a Red Curry Thai sauce with Jasmine rice and Vegetables"
- the salmon was cooked well (no,I don’t mean “well-done”I mean that the fish was cooked properly)
- the color was consistently “salmon pink”as you’d expect with wild salmon
- although I didn’t get a full report Kate obviously enjoyed it
- and…. it was accompanied by Kate’s favorite R-I-C-E
"Wild Alaskan Salmon - Copper River Wild Alaskan Salmon Bronzed with our special spice blend and topped with a Wild Mushroom Dijon sauce. Served with Rice and Vegetables"
Calvin had the Lobster Roll…
- the portion of lobster meat was really good
- the amount of “dressing”or mayonnaise wasn’t sufficient,it was a little dry
"New England Lobster Roll - Maine Lobster Salad in a Soft New England Roll with French Fries"
Nora had the Chicken Salad Fruit Plate…
- there were other things on the menu that normally would have been very yummy looking,but Nora had a tummy ache &there wasn’t a lot of anything that seemed appetizing —so she went simple and hoped that the Chicken Salad wouldn’t be loaded with celery (yuck),onions (double yuck in Chicken Salad),or green peppers (absolutely triple yuck in Chicken Salad)
- wonderful! chunks of moist white meat chicken,the right amount of mayonnaise,a few small pieces of celery,a little salt,and a small bit of black pepper –perfect for the upset tummy
- the fruit was flavorful and cool –important given how warm it had been on Saturday
"Chicken Salad Fruit Plate - Homemade Chicken Salad with Fresh Fruit &French Baguette"
We all skipped dessert and took a short stroll down the street &peeked in to Strachan’s Homemade Ice Cream Shoppe (here). Jeanne had discovered her lunch here earlier in the day (3 scoops of ice cream) &Nora has a fond spot for ice cream (especially since her first job was at Baskin Robbins back in the dark ages of 1981). In the interest of Nora’s tummy ache,her current goal of losing weight and an inability to digest lactose —no ice cream. BUT we headed across the street to the Chicka-boom-room &watched the horse race and 3 of us enjoyed cocktails (the Maker’s Mark calmed down Nora’s tummy &all was right with the world).
All in all,a rather nice dinner,definitely a “give it another go”sort of place –so,another place to go back to when we go back to Dunedin.