Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wine Wednesday Cadaretta

It's Wine Wednesday!! Today was such a treat. I got a call from Heather Smith at Opici, who just happened to be in the neighborhood with Andrew Broden from Middleton Family Wines. They stopped by the studio with some GREAT wines. The one I am featuring is the Cadaretta SBS a blend of mostly Sauvignon Blanc with some Semillion. It's new to the Southwest Florida Market, coming in at under $25 retail. Hear more here:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lovin' The Lobster Lady

It was a Monday night at a strip mall in Cape Coral, FL and the sidewalks were full, outside of The Lobster Lady.

The Lobster Lady is part market, part restaurant and all parts were packed. Servers negotiated through the crowd with both persistence and patience and as a team.

One wall was lined with cases of fresh seafood, fish dips and other fresh treats. The wall across the room was lined with tanks full of lobsters; the biggest one currently weighing in at about 15 pounds and a $200 Market price. I was trying to get a better look at the big guy when one of the servers said, "Let me help.'

For a brief moment, he held that crustacean over his shoulder like it was his pet. After that, it seemed almost inhumane to eat the old guy; we chose a young, one-pounder for our lobster pot. It's a pick your pound kind of place. Each pot also comes with an assortment of clams, mussels, shrimp, spicy sausage, potatoes and corn.

We also tried a delicious, bacon wrapped salmon. The bacon was generously wound around and over the dijon glazed fish and served with a mixed berry compote. The side of squash was perfectly grilled and dusted with Parmesan. The sweet potato fries were crisp and served with a fabulous with brown sugar aioli dipping sauce.

We also tried the smoked fish dip and juicy, raw Gulf oysters. The bill for three of us with food, drinks and full bellies was $118.

My biggest disappointment; they ran out of lobster bisque before we got our order in. Next time. The market has lobster dinners to go and an off-premise license so you can buy a wide selection of beer and wine (everything from Flip Flop to Silver Oak). They even sell sauces and marinades, everything you need for a great date night at home or picnic on the beach

 Lobster Lady Seafood Market and Bistro on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Beds in Buenos Aires

A number of people have asked where I stayed on my recent visit to Buenos Aires. While I typically like to stay at places with character over commercialism, the Sheraton Libertador was a good choice for our hit and run adventure.

It was exactly what you might  expect from a downtown, big city business hotel. The location was great; right between the main artery of Avenida 9 de Julio and the popular shopping district along Calle Florida.

Check out the view of the city from the rooftop gym. It was a good distraction while trying to offset calories from all of the dulce de leche we consumed. The rooftop also had a small but appealing pool with similar views of the city. The staff was friendly and the beds comfy; no complaints

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Spirits and "Spirits"

My second fast and furious day in Buenos Aires began with MORE walking. The adventure began by paying homage to the former first lady of Argentina, Eva Peron, with a visit to her crypt in the historic Recoletta Cemetery.

The cemetery takes up four city blocks and looks easy enough to find on the map, however, only a small section of those four blocks gives any indication of the burial grounds behind the facade. We walked in a circle for a good 20 minutes before finally getting a glimpse of something that looked sacred. I'll admit, I may have been a little distracted by the nearby store fronts.

Once inside it was easy to find Peron's resting place, just follow the crowd. The tree lined streets were jammed with stunning crypts; some telling stories, some protected by hand-carved angels and saints, some unkempt and others immaculate.

Evita's famous, family tomb is not near as grandiose as I was expecting, tucked in a narrow passage. After taking the obligatory photos and checking in on the proper social media networks, I wandered aimlessly, amazed at the architecture, curious as to the stories of those souls housed inside each structure. That is when I felt it, a chill that went up my spine, causing me to stop in my tracks; I literally shuddered.

No, I had not consumed any wine or other liquid spirits yet. I was sadly dehydrated as the morning sun beat down on me. Perhaps that is why I attracted this particular spirit, to push me along and into a quaint cafe for respite with a glass of Malbec, or something stronger. I continued to feel his presence that day, an uninvited hitchhiker. I even felt him when I looked at the photos of the cemetery, sitting on my couch in the US.

I'm not sure why the guy stowed away with me, but I was sure I needed to send him on to his next destination. My crude method must have worked because as I looked at these photos today, I did not feel him next to me. I Hope he has found peace and his soul is finally at rest.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Buenos Dias Buenos Aires

While having dinner with friends last night, one of them proclaimed they wanted to move to Buenos Aires after seeing it featured recently on "House Hunters International" on HGTV. It's an incredible South American city that I can't wait to visit again, especially since I only had two fast and furious days there recently.

Desperately in need of a good cup of coffee after an overnight flight from Miami, the ride in from the airport was a good substitute for the caffeine. Avenida 9 de Julio was quite a spectacle, the widest Avenue in the world, 7 lanes in EACH direction with three additional lanes running parallel, like access roads. Even with all that space, there was still not enough space as buses, motorbikes and cars navigated with precious inches to spare.

Once on foot we hit the ground running from the Torre Monumental at one end of town, to Plaza de Mayo and touristy photos in front of Casa Rosada where the spirit of Evita lives. We stopped at a trendy cafe along the river for a cool glass of Torrontes, watched Tango dancers in the streets, shopped along the chaotic Calle Florida and embraced as much as we could on this first day.

We landed in the trendy Recoletta neighborhood for dinner. Fervor Brasas, known for it's aged beef, serves typical Argentinean fare in a great atmosphere; pricey by some standards. We sipped a glass of bubbles and nibbled on a bread basket full of fresh treats while waiting for our decanted bottle of  D.V. Catena to open. It was a big, juicy blend of Cabernet and Malbec, exceptional with our meal. The grilled provolone cheese was sharp and smoky, the grilled mushrooms were juicy and flavorful. Then came the 400 gram piece of Bife de Chorizo, seared and seasoned on the outside, tender on the inside, cooked to perfection. The  disks of potatoes on the side were addicting. I couldn't possibly find any room for dessert until it was placed in front of me; dreamy, creamy and delicious Dulce de Leche Gelato.

I love exploring a city by foot because it always leads to memorable discoveries, but perhaps the best part is the lack of guilt you feel when eating like we did at Fervor. It also feels pretty darn good to climb into bed at the end of the day, burrow under the covers and sink into a fluffy pillow, while replaying the highlights of the day and drifting off; only to get up and do it all over again.