Saturday, August 1, 2009

Week in Florida - July 2009

From DC, I flew to Orlando. Jonathan had arrived a few days before that, as he had a conference going on there. He picked me up from the airport, and I slept really well from a long conference myself! Monday morning, I headed down to Melbourne. Now that you know how I got there, here's the highlights from the week...

Tuesday evening, my brother, sister, and I went to dinner. Jon (my brother, who I can't believe will be 23 so soon!) introduced us to a place off Becker Road called Bonefish Mac's. I was particularly amazed, since when I started driving (now more than a decade ago) there was absolutely nothing on Becker - it was just the quick way to get down to Martin County. Now, there's a few traffic lights and plazas and stuff. The menu at Bonefish Mac's is quite extensive. Given that it's a seafood place, I was really surprised at the amount of non-fish on the menu! We started off with the queso dip, and it was a smidge better than average. I went with the Drunken Sailor Pasta - penne and vodka sauce with scallops, shrimp, and mahi mahi. It was just okay... the caesar salad it came with was pretty good, though. I did take the leftover pasta home, and after adding mozzarella, it made a fantastic lunch the next day! Kyla had the Knuckle Sandwich, which was a burger on Texas Toast with ham and bacon. She felt it was okay. The fries were fine. Jon (who has had about half the menu it seems) went with a dish I don't really remember well... it was a sandwich that he wasn't in love with, though. The red potato salad was pretty blase as well. I wouldn't write off the place completely... I imagine that there's got to be some great stuff on the menu... the ambiance is nice enough!Friday morning Jonathan and I drove to Steinhatchee for the annual scalloping trip. For about five years now, we've spent one weekend a year (usually in late August) in the small fishing town near the panhandle. We rent a house and a boat, and go out into the gulf to catch our limit (2 gallons per person) of scallops. It's kinda like an underwater Easter egg hunt, since you snorkel in 4-6 feet of water, searching for scallops in the grass and in the sand. This year, we weren't able to make the "big group trip" since we'll be in PA, but we did go out with Jonathan's parents, his uncle, and one of his uncle's nephews. We also only had about three hours this time, but were able to capture a few dozen, so we did have dinner that night!

On Saturday we went kayaking down the river (there's a new boat ramp across from the Dollar General), and checked out the new "music park" (same location as the new boat ramp) that night. The owner of the ramp/park plays guitar and harmonica, and he gathers a crowd for a few hours on Friday and Saturday nights (starting at 6pm). We went from 6:30-8pm or so, and tried out the food, too. Jonathan and I shared a cheeseburger ($6) and an Italian sausage ($4), with a coke ($1). Each meal came with chips, too. They were pretty good for the price.We headed out Sunday morning, and stopped in Apopka to buy a snowboard from Craigslist on the way to the airport. Jonathan flew back to Philly, while I headed back to Melbourne. I was greeted by Joe, Bryan, and DJ, who were gearing up for one of Joe's "famous adventures." I went along, since I generally don't, and wanted some fun. After all, it was only "a park two exits down..."This is what the route ended up being! Two exits became four, and then there was another hour's drive after we got off the highway (this isn't including the traffic we hit on I-95). After four counties, we found ourselves at the Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park in Okeechobee. The park itself is pretty plain - there aren't any fantastic things to see... and it's really mostly prairie. There were, however, unexploded ordnances around, which was kinda freaky. We saw a couple turkeys, about a dozen deer, two frogs, and a turtle. We did walk down the path three miles or so (with the intention of finding a river that Joe remembered) when it began to rain. Of course, the desire to find the river overwhelmed Joe's desire to stay dry, so on we persevered through the drizzle. After determining that the river must be down a different path, we began our retreat... in a regular rainstorm. Of course, that turned into a downpour, and the path began to flood as we trekked back. Forty-five minutes and several gallons of water later, we made it to the car, sopping wet from head to toe. This is rather par-for-the-course on a Joeventure, as was taking a different route back, stopping for dinner while we froze in an air-conditioned Ruby Tuesday's, and getting back around 11pm... instead of "7 or so." Don't get me wrong, Joe makes life exciting, but it's certainly always a gamble with what we'll be doing!

Monday and Tuesday were spent getting ready to head North, but I did want to mention that 6 of us went to Orchid Bistro up on Wickham (in the old Pizza Gallery) on Tuesday night, and nobody was impressed. We were nearly the only ones there, arriving about 8:30pm. The sushi wasn't fresh, the summer rolls weren't the greatest, the teriyaki chicken wasn't anything spectacular (and included a plethora of mushrooms which weren't listed on the menu!), but I can say that the ginger dressing on the salad was very good. Bottomline: avoid the place.

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