Thursday, March 19, 2009

Arrived Home ...Happy to Be Here

Monday, March 16,2009
We left Norris at 8:45 after having coffee and bagels at Jack and Loy's. The first 2 hours of our drive were filled with rain and heavy, thick fog-the kind that you cannot see 20 feet in front of the car. I was driving about 45 mph while everyone else sped by at 70 mph. Somewhat nerve racking! It seemed like 4 hours of fog not 2 hours. Had rained until noon but skies were clear the rest of drive.

Made stop at Cinci for cigarettes and liquor. We were home aboout and sound. Everything looked good at home ...Thanks to Mike and Pam for watching over everything and stocking the kitchen with food and cookies. Unpacked the car and made a frozen dinner.....big change from what we had been eating. Always good to be home to our bears and our own bed.

This was a good 6 weeks in Captiva but we missed our family and friends who were with us in past years.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Trip Home Continues

Sunday, March 15
We had a complimentary breakfast of waffles, juice and coffee in the motel lobby and then left for the drive to Knoxville to visit Cecilia, Rob and Beth and our great nephew, Jacob who is now 10 days old. We met Cecilia at Stein Mart because she had to work today. While at the store, Al bought more shoes, 2 tee shirts,a shirt, and a grill press. After spending time with Cecilia and shopping, we drove to Rob and Beth's and met Jacob, who is a beautiful baby boy with lots of brown hair and undetermined eye color....maybe green or blue. Proud parents, Rob and Beth beamed with joy and pride.

We headed to Norris, TN about 25 miles north to visit Jack and Loy. We are spending the night at their friends' garage apartment where we have enjoyed staying before.
We had dinner at a local Mexican Restaurant that serves authentic food, not anything like a Taco Belle. Fave place of Jack and Loy's since it is so close and the food is great. Spent fun evening catching up with them and exchanging stories. They promised that will visit us soon and make the trip to Captiva next year.

The Trip to Home Begins

Saturday, March 14
We were on the road by 8:30 after a quick breakfast of toast and juice. It was a sunny morning as we crossed the causeway and left the islands. Al sang his pelican song as is our tradition when we cross the causeway and see a pelican. There were many fish boats under the bridge as we left. We made a stop at Sun Harvest to buy oranges and grapefruit. Al drove the first leg of the trip headed north to our first layover in Carterville, GA at the Best Western at 5663 Highway 20 NE room #318. We arrived there about 8 o'clock shortly after sunset. There was rain on the last 3 hours of our trip at which time Al was driving again. We were slowed down by about 3 accidents. The drive through Atlanta seemed easier than the drive through there on the way down even with some fender benders slowing the city traffic. Al was quickly checked into our room. It has cooled down to the mid 40's...missing the warm temps already.

We went to a nearby Ruby Tuesday's for dinner. The food was great...started with Asian Dumplings filled with a blend of chicken and seasonings, then steamed and served with peanut sauce. I had Jumbo Lump Crab Cake made from fresh, premium crab meat and seared to a golden brown with sweet and spicy chile sauce. Al had Shrimp Scampi & Steak served with fresh, steamed broccoli and mashed potatoes. But the service was as bad as the food was great! Our waitress took our appetizer and drink order and served them to us. We ate the appetizer, waited forever and finally flagged her to come over. She asked if we needed anything and we said..."Yes, we'd like to order dinner and wine." A kitchen person served our food and we asked that she check on our wine orders. Again our waitress came over and asked what we needed...she had forgot what wine we ordered. When we again told her, she got Al's wine wrong and then she said that they did not have the Red Zinfandel that he had ordered from the menu. How many minutes ago was that? Why is she just now telling us that, not when he ordered the first time? DUH? Furthermore she had not removed the dirty dishes and empty glasses or even the menus from the table until we asked her to do. Of course we had to call her back for the check after another long wait. A Good dinner ruined by really bad service!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Day 40 on Captiva

Tomorrow we leave! These 40 days have gone very quickly. We began some serious packing this morning and loading the car. Every thing was loaded except what we need for today and for our trip home. We had brunch around 11 on the porch...made omelet with corned beef. Al checked our reservations in Cartersville, GA. This was another beautiful day to spend on the beach for our last day. No dolphins today... and not many people either...just a quiet day relaxing with each other...sunning, walking and listening to the radio. Left beach about 4:30.

Rene invited us for a fish fry tonight. He and a couple from Toronto had been out fishing this morning and caught several sheephead which is a tropical climate fish. Also invited were Josh and Michelle, the couple from Toronto, and Ella. Rene did the deep frying of the fish in a beer batter. Margarethe served a first course of pasta and tomato sauce. She made a German tartar sauce made with finely chopped apple and sweet cucumber wafers for the fish and served a mixed green salad. Josh,a wine connoisseur, brought several bottles of white wine. The dinner was finished with a plate of cheeses and crackers. Dinner was can't get fresher fish than this!

The sun sets on our Captiva visit.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Day 39 on Captiva

Skimmers at Bunche Beach

We drove over to Ft. Myer's this morning. Our first stop was Bunche Beach to see the skimmers who seem to be here this time of the year. Also spotted a great blue heron and many gulls. Even though it was only 8:30, there were also a lot of people setting up for a day at the beach. Nice view of the causeway from here. Then off to the car wash for a much needed cleaning. Then we made a stop at Tanager Outlet to shop for shoes for Al. We bought white shoes, sandals, white Polo hoodies, and Polo shorts for Al. Also took a quick look at an Arts and Crafts show in the parking lot.

We wanted to lunch at the Lighthouse Restaurant near the causeway but there was no space to eat outside so we drove back to Sanibel to the Thistle Lodge (Casa Ybel Resort)which we have not been to in several years. Al had reuben sandwich with fries and I had a wrap of crab and shrimp salad with fruit salad.
Late afternoon was spent at the beach. We saw a group of dolphins playing in the rooster tail behind the Sanibel Thriller (a diesel powered 55' motor yacht for touring) which sails by every afternoon. Great blue herons are starting to nest in a location by the beach high in an Australian Pine by the dunes. We observed the male heron in the nest doing what seemed to be a mating ritual stretching his neck while another great blue watched from a swaying branch. They both made sounds by clacking their bills together. After sunset, we had dinner again on the porch dining on yellowtail snapper, cheesy grits and salad. Started packing this evening for our trip home.

Great Blue Heron Nest

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Day 38 on Captiva

Early this morning, we walked the Bailey Tract. Not much bird activity but we saw a very large alligator sunning on the shore of the first pond. It must be the same one we heard bellowing about 4 weeks ago. Saw several mottled ducks, grebes, tri-colored herons, and blue winged teals. We noticed that blue ribbons were tied about every 50 feet along the trails marking small hav-a-heart traps. We wondered "what are they trying to trap?"

After our walk we had brunch at Over Easy. Al ordered his usual lox and bagel and I had tuna salad on tomato half. Stopped for groceries at Bailey's. Back to an afternoon on the beach for reading and watching shore birds.

Sunset is now after 7:30 with DST...seems so late. Have not really had a "wow" sunset this trip. For after sunset-dinner I made chicken puttanesca (which has become a fave of Al's) and salad. Was a beautiful sunny day and warm enough to eat outside on the porch.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Day 37 on Captiva

Took early walk on the beach and Al did his walk on bike path. Today is another "free day" so we spent time in the morn leisurely. Lunch of bologna sandwiches. Made copy of Danny Sinoff CD for Ella. To the beach about 2:00.....sun was hot but a cool breeze stirring. Three dolphins from the south swam by and came close to shoreline (directly in front of where we sat) then circled around in the gulf before continuing north. It was the first time this trip that we were together when we saw the dolphins. Think it may have been a young one with 2 adults. I followed them up the beach until they were out of sight.

We had dinner tonight at The Mad Hatter just across the Blind Pass Bridge. Mike joined us for dinner at 6:00. He brought us a copy of the diary that Peggy wrote when she journeyed to Galapagos Islands, Ecuador in 2003 with her daughter Candice. It is titled "The Voyage of the Ahmara". It brings back memories of Peggy since she often talked about her adventures on that trip. (Mike's wife Peggy died October 2007)

Al and I shared a Caesar Salad, hearts of romaine tossed with house Caesar dressing and Parmigiano-Reggiano served with garlic crostini. Mike had Hudson Valley foie gras pan seared with rosemary & honey caramelized Asian pears drizzled with an aged balsamic reduction, as appetizer. Al had as his entree the Grilled Buckhead filet mignon with fresh BĂ©arnaise sauce served with yukon mashed potatoes & grilled asparagus. I had pan seared Tuna Au Poivre with a cracked black peppercorn crust finished with a cognac, peppercorn cream sauce served with roasted garlic baby red potatoes & grilled asparagus (delicious sauce). Mike had another appetizer as his entree....crab meat in a martini glass crowned with tropical fruit salsa & yucca chip finished with mango cream beurre blanc,shrimp with a barbecue sauce, and a third delicacy.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Day 36 on Captiva

Today is free day...nothing planned. Al walked and I worked on blog. We had coffee and pastries from Santiva General Store. Al finished another book "The Associate" by John Grisham. Other books he has read here are "Lethal Legacy" by Linda Fairstein, "Run for Your Life" and "Cross Country" both by James Patterson.
After a lunch of bologna sandwiches we went to the beach for a couple of hours of sun. It was the hottest day we have had on the sand. We left for dinner at 6:00 which was more like 5:00.

We went to McT's Shrimp House which is owned by Paul Gator (Ella's brother). I recognized Paul and Margarita sitting in the bar and went over to say hello. Paul had manager Joe bring us complimentary drinks. We ordered oysters on the half shell to continue our search for the best on the island.
Our rankings to date are: #1 Sanibel Grill, #2 Doc Ford's, #3 Timbers, #4 Lazy Flamingo, #5 McT's.
For dinner Al ordered King Crab legs served with house salad and baked potato. I had Seafood Pasta - Lobster pieces, shrimp and scallops prepared with garlic, white wine, butter and fresh vegetables, served with linguine. Huge serving! Loaded with zucchini, squash, artichoke hearts,tomatoes,etc as well as seafood. Maple bread was very good but salads and dressings and potato were disappointing. Would go back but stay with seafood items. Waiter was new and inexperienced.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Day 35 on Captiva

Forgot to set clocks for DLST..thought I was getting up at 6:30 but really 7:30. Headed to the beach for low tide to check for shells but only found small ones. Saw a dolphin swim by very close to shore so I was glad I was out early. We drove to DDWR...great am to see and photograph birds. We found only 1 lone white pelican at the island where they gather, but we waited and saw several more fly in which is a wonderful sight to see. Pelicans must not have adjusted time for DLST because they were late arriving. Also saw kingfisher, green heron and black-crowned heron as we waited. It was in the high 80's when we left the reserve at 1:00.

Back home to a lunch of tuna salad on croissants and cold beer. Worked on downloading some pictures and then headed to the beach. Hottest day we have had the entire time that we have been here.

For dinner we had porterhouse steak(cooked by Al), Rene's potatoes (wedges of potatoes coated in oil, then fine bread crumbs with garlic and grated Parmesan cheese roasted at 450 degrees for 30-40 min) and baby green salad with orange sections and citrus vinaigrette.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Day 34 on Captiva

Busy day today. Had early breakfast and went to 72nd annual Shell Fair at the Community house about 9:30. This is an showing of both scientific and artistic exhibits of shells and also booths selling shells and items made of them.(See Pics) Spent 2.5 hours looking at exhibits much to Al's chagrin. Then we went to Gulf Beach for a picnic lunch of corned beef sandwiches and chips. We made a stop at Jerry's for milk and OJ and to CVS. Then to our beach for a couple hours of sun.

Dinner tonight at Ellington's Jazz Bar and Restaurant at 7:30. Enjoyed Danny Sinoff and his quartet....Danny Miller was on the trumpet. Guys on drums and bass were sitting in for his regular members. We met the manager Sharon Wise who said business was off 25%. We bought Sinoff's last released album with his Quartet and David "Fathead" Newman on saxaphone. We shared a Cotton Club Caesar-hearts of romaine, lemon garlic dressing, applewood smoked bacon, pickled red onion,and corn bread croutons. Al dined on Ellington's Lamb "Wellington" with wild mushroom, spinach, wrapped in pastry, mashed potatoes, Madeira wine sauce and mint salsa verde. I had Sinatra's Yellowtail Snapper-pecan crusted snapper with jumbo lump crab, lemon butter sauce, crab boil potatoes, frisee-asparagus, red onion salad. The fish was very rich. Had drinks before dinner, wine, coffee, and after dinner drinks. Pricey dinner but worth it with the great Jazz!
Click on pointer to start Video of Band

Friday, March 6, 2009

Day 33 on Captiva

Restful day at the beach.Worked on pictures. Made dinner of pork chops with sauce of onions, garlic, wine, broth and mustard served with salad and grits.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Day 32 on Captiva

We took an early drive through DDWR...usual birds....was low tide so a lot of shore birds feeding. Picked up subway sandwich and picnicked at Tarpon Bay while watching canoes and pontoon boats and birds in the bay. While out, Cecilia kept us posted about Beth and Rob at the hospital awaiting the birth of Baby Nye. Jacob Robert was born at 1:25 in the afternoon.

This evening we attended Ella's birthday dinner at Rene and Margarthe's home. Also attending were Agnes(E's sister), Paul (E's brother)and his wife, Magarita, Mike and his date Debbie, Sally from Boston. Dinner began with Margarthe's antipasto followed by Agne's Lasagna. Entree was roasted lamb with Rene's potatoes, salad, and green beans with tomato. Margarthe served homemade pumpkin roll for dessert. It was an evening of conversation and fun.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Day 31 on Captiva

Another cool day but very sunny. Went to a new art gallery in South Seas, 2 Island Gallery. They were featuring works of 2 fine art photographers of Florida, Alan Maltz (left) and Clyde Butcher (right).

Stopped at Doc Ford's for oysters on half shell and beer and we then went to 5:00 show at the Island Cinema and saw "Last Chance Harvey"....a light drama with Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson. Not outstanding but entertaining. This was the first movie we have been to in years.

Had light dinner at Island Cow...Al ordered fried clam basket with fries and coleslaw. I had catfish basket. We sat at bar becuse there were so busy. Girl at bar reminded of Lazy Flamingo service. Fun day.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Day 30 on Captiva

I went shelling early again ...just after sunrise. Not as good as yesterday. Lot of calico scallops that were still alive had washed up .....good feeding for the gulls. Of course, I managed to find some to bring in. Stayed in most of the is very cool....high of 60. Al took a short walk.

I created a blog for Tom and sent to him so he can enjoy blogging. Hope he will use. Al spent most of day reading. We went to Sanibel...looked for a lamp to fill with shells for the bathroom. Shell Fair starts here on Thursday...always a big event for Sanibel. Stopped at Jerry's and Timbers fish market.

For dinner we made Yellowtail Snapper, rice, and tossed salad with country French dressing.
Snapper Four Seasons Recipe: 4 Snapper Fillets, Lemon Pepper, 2T butter, 1/2 c Sherry(used white wine). Melt butter in saute pan at medium heat. Sprinkle lemon pepper on top of filets. Place filets, seasoned side down., in pan and cook 3-5 min. Flip fish and add sherry. Cover pan. and cook another 3-5 min. Serve with the sauce from the pan.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Day 29 on Captiva

After a day of high winds, this morning was a great day for shelling. I spent over a hour on beach collecting a lot of banded tulips, whelks, more calicos, olives, angel wings, lace murex and conches. I found one each of sailor's ear, sand dollar, nutmeg, and Florida cone. Best day of shelling for the trip! Had to bundle up because it was cold and windy.

Al took short walk and brought home bagels for breakfast that we had with scrambled eggs and bacon. Spent day cleaning shells and reading.

Ate at Sanibel Grill next to Timbers tonight. Shared oysters on half shell and house salad which was enought for 4. Al had hamburger with grilled onions,etc and fries. I had crabcake appetizer. Place was very busy even tho we went at 6:00....guess everyone had same idea to skip sunset.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ospreys Seen From the Boat

Ospreys spotted on our boat trip. Osprey nests were quiet numerous on Buck Key.

Day 28 on Captiva

We went out at 8:00 this morning with Rene on his 16 ft fiberglass speed boat to go birding in the Buck Key area in Pine Island Sound. There were a lot of little and great blue herons, tri-colored herons, snowy egrets, ibis and kingfishers. But the highlight of the trip was a pair of bald eagles spotted sitting in a tree and flying together. Was a magnificent sight! Al and Rene were busy clicking their cameras ---lot of Kodak moments. Rene was also checking out fish in the area...saw red fish and trout to name a few. I think he wished he had his fishing equipment along.

We arrived back to the dock just as clouds came rolling in encompassing the sky and bay. It began to rain as we climbed onto the pier.

Rest of day was very windy and cool. Did a drive through DDWR around 4:30 but most of birds were keeping tucked away from wind.

Dinner tonight was inspired by a meal that Al read in a book this week. I prepared chicken puttanesca....chicken breasts were browned for about 4-5 minutes and kept warm while a sauce of garlic, diced tomatoes, capers, black olives, anchovies, red pepper flakes, tomato paste or puree, basil, and lemon juice simmered until thick. Served chicken and sauce over pasta with arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette. Enjoyed with red wine. Great dinner for a cool night!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Day 27 on Captiva

Brunch out this morning. We went to Sanibel Cafe in Tahitian Gardens. Al ordered creamed chip beef over eggs and toast, one of his faves. I had Crabcake Benedict which was much better and much less expensive than I had at Sunset Grill. The muffin was fresh and eggs poached time just order half if that is an option.
Crabcakes were on grilled tomato slices.

Checked out stores at Tahitian....a fave is the gift shop where we bought shell soaps, napkins-"Head for the Drink", and shot glass. Bought 2 Cats Meows...wood blocks painted with Sanibel landmarks at Needful Things. Went to Comfort by Design and Al purchased 2 pair of Mephisto sandals(one at half price) from Heidi. Quick stop at Bailey's.

Home and to the beach for couple hours. ran to Island store for gin for Ella. Dinner at Ella's with Rene, Margarethe, Agnes, Sally and Mike. Served antipasto, pasta - bowties with broccoli sauce, grilled chicken, stuffed mushrooms, broccolini and several bottles of wine. Good converstion ...Rene said they enjoyed when we here.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Day 26 on Captiva

Weather has improved everyday this was warm and breezy at the beach. Al walked and was almost too warm on the last leg of his route. We had lunch of tuna salad on croissants on the porch. We then headed to beach about 2:00. The mysterious sailboat is no longer anchored in the gulf. We spotted some dolphins in the distance.They did not come in as close as the one I saw a few days ago.Was a quiet afternoon on the beach.....only the sounds of the birds and the passing boats broke the sound of the waves lightly lapping the shore.

We returned to the beach about 6:00 to watch the setting sun. Not a spectacular sunset for Captiva but what is not to enjoy!

Dinner was apppetizer of shrimp cocktail, garlic shrimp over angel hair pasta served with arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette.

Day 25 on Captiva

Thursday, February 26,2009

Pelican Feeding at DDWR

We took an early trip to DDWR. It was a perfect day for birding. Al made some photos of tri-colored herons and brown pelican. We only saw 2 roseates and no white pelicans. After lunch of ham sandwich and salad, we headed to the beach for a relaxing afternoon. Today was the nicest day yet on the beach. Lot of boat activity but not many people on the beach....almost like having a private beach.

When we checked emails, we had one from Mike inviting us to join him for sunset at his house and dinner at the club. We thought he had gone back to VA but he had changed his plans. We enjoyed the evening with him, Ella, Agnes, and Sally who was visiting from Boston.

Al had Caesar salad and Filet Mignon served with fingerling potatoes and asparagus spears. I had house salad and sea bass served with crab risotto and steamed bok choy.

Sunset at Mike's

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Day 24 on Captiva

Wednesday was a very relaxing day. We had breakfast after Al's walk. Made scrambled eggs and steak (leftovers) with sliced tomatoes and toast. Spent most of the afternoon on the beach watching the pelicans diving for food. Tried to figure out a mystery regarding a small sailboat anchored near the beach. We watched two men row onto the shore and then back to the boat at which time one guy climbed the mast to lower the jib. Then they rowed back onto land at which time an officer approached them. One guy walked away and disappeared among the houses while the other guy talked with the officer. Then they walked away together heading toward the pass. The suspicious guy then returned alone and then walked through the houses out to the street. The sailboat had been moved and anchored farther north on Thursday. Were they illegals coming ashore, drug smugglers, or just sailors in distress?

We decided to eat early and left for Doc Ford's about 5:15. Good move since we were able to get a table before the crowd arrived. We shared oysters on the half shell. Al had Achoate Grilled Grouper seasoned with a blend of South American spices served with saffron rice mixed with mushrooms and broccoli, topped with pineapple salsa. I had Calamari salad of greens, cucumbers, tomatoes with Sweet and sour vinaigrette dressing topped with crispy wontons.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Day 23 on Captiva

Today we went to Ft. Myers birding. First, I dragged Al to Estero Beach Lagoon located behind the Holiday Inn beyond Ft Myers Beach but only saw a few egrets and skimmers or terns as expected. We then went to 6 mile Slough where we had a picnic lunch before walking the boardwalk. Was a fairly uneventful walk but enjoyed....saw great blue, cormorants, turtles on the platforms in water at entrance. Did see anhingas, ibis, green heron, alligator,mergansers and more turtles at Otter Pond. Spotted a yellow warbler in tree as were getting in car to leave.

Stopped at the Lighthouse Restaurant for manhattans,cosmos and calamri appetizer at their bar. Nice view of the marina and boats. Was nice ending to our day trip.

Dinner was pork chops coated with panko and Dijon mustard, rice and green salad with tomato. Was fun day! Sunny and warm.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Day 22 on Captiva

Today after our usual walks, we had a wildlife adventure right on the property where we are staying. Margarethe came over to tell us about a bobcat that was stalking the bunny cage behind their house. She had a great picture on the digital camera and invited us to the house to see for ourselves. The bobcat was hiding in the brush and came out several times as we watched and made pictures.

We had lunch of onion soup (homemade) and then went shopping for groceries. First we stopped for a quick walk through Bailey Tract to see what the controled burn did. All the vegetation was burned the entire length of the right side of main path. The left side of trail was unscathed.

For dinner we made ribeye steak with mushroom wine sauce, garlic mashed potatoes, and tossed salad.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Day 21 on Captiva

Up early today. I went out to check shells at 7:30...was low tide this am...but only small ones...need a storm and warmer weather. We had pastries and coffee and headed to DDWR about 9. Was a good am for birding ....warm and low tide. Lot of shorebirds feeding but Out in the distance. Was a lot of woodpecker activity everywhere. Saw one going in tree cavity. Kingfisher in his usual spot. Spotted Green heron in same location too. Not many roseates....mostly sandpipers, willets, white pelicans,ibis and blue heron. Home about noon for sandwiches and beer.
Turned cloudy so did not go out to beach. For dinner, we made shrimp scampi(bought shrimp from Santiva general store) with angel hair pasta with mushrooms and garlic sauce. Improvised salad of broccoli, celery, tomato, red onion, red pepper, walnuts with Marzetti aged Parmesan Ranch dressing. Recipe: Blanch broccoli and cool. Chop all ingredients. Add dressing, salt and pepper and toss.
Watched Oscars while Al read on computer.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Day 20 on Captiva

Today started off cool but warmed up to be a nice day for the beach. After a late breakfast of cheese omelet,grits and toast, we spent a couple hours sunning. Shelling was not good. Decided to go to Lazy Flamingo for an early dinner. Arrived there at 5:30...tables all full and people waiting but the bar was empty. So we sat in our "spot" and started with cold oysters on the half shell and cold beers. Al ordered Caesar salad with blackened shrimp skewers (half order). I had seasoned hot peel n eat shrimp and half order fies. Finished with Key Lime pie. The bar quickly filled up and the porch was filled with people waiting for tables. Staff was only three tonight with same gal but cook and other guy were different tonight.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Day 19 on Captiva

Friday was on the cool side. Temperatures have taken another dip and will be cool next few days. High was only 65 but that is better than 6 degrees. We went to Bailey Tract for a walk but the area was closed. They did a conrol burn there on Thursday but it looks as if the fire may have got out of control! Most of the tract including palm trees appeared charred. DDWR is closed on Friday so we checked out eagle's nest near us but lighting was not conducive to a picture. We did see a hawk that made a good subject for this photo.

Cooked in Friday night. Menu was broiled lamb chops with balsamic reduction sauce-balsamic, garlic, fresh Rosemary, and honey-(Rachel Ray), caesar salad, and rice pilaf (my recipes). Yum yum!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Day 18 on Captiva

Sunset from Tuesday evening. First really nice one of our trip.....most evenings have been cloudy or foggy. Beach was windy today.....went out middle of day for couple hours...almost had to ourselves. Took late drive through DDWR... saw large flock of what we think was Red Knots.....were resting on an island and then they flew away as an entire flock all at once. Beautiful sight!
Decided to go to Lazy Flamingo, a neighborhood bar and grill just across the pass.
What a fun place....was very busy....only 4 people working the place....the cook, 2 girls taking orders, and a guy who seemed to be manager. Was a long wait (45-60 min) for a table so we set at bar. No waiter for tables...customers order at bar and pick up drinks and food when name is called for order. Quite a show to watch....orders are attached to a clip sent to kitchen and fly on a wire to cook. Al ordered mesquite grilled ribs that fell off the bone. Served with fries and slaw. I had fried grouper basket...crunchy and hot...with fries. Panko crust??
Best place to sit is the bar.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Day 17 on Captiva

Another sunny day. We had pastries and coffee after Al's walk. Ham sandwiches on the porch for lunch. Checked out Rene's printer Epson 9600...40" wide. Gave him some of Al's photos that he might print. Drove to Bailey's for groceries and stopped at Timber's for mussels. Then to beach for short time. Dinner was steamed mussels with wine and Italian sauce over pasta and tossed salads.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Day 16 on Captiva

Beautiful sunny day. Al took his daily walk. Coffee and pastries afterwards. Lunch of ham sandwiches and chips. Spent afternoon at beach....Al got a little red on arms and shoulders....when will he learn to use sun lotion? Lot of birds...saw new bird....Forster's Tern along with the Common Tern and Royal Terns. Many Willets here too. Lot of boats including the one that sprays out so much water....some kind of tourist boat. We went to Matzaluna for busy...30 minute wait with a call ahead. Al had Veal Saltimbocca (not on menu anymore but they made anyway) served with smashed potatoes and sauteed mixed vegetables. I had Eggplant Parmesan served with penne pasta with pomodoro sauce....too much ricotta and not crispy. Dinners served with salad and bread with roasted garlic in oil...very good.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Day 15 on Captiva

Al walked early. Rene has water leak in office...had water turned off in house for awhile. Al brought pastries home which was our breakfast. Drove in to Sanibel to buy couple of new books and see art exhibits at Big Arts. Stopped at library which is very nice. Checked out Three Crafty Ladies which is for sale. Today is Presidents' Day...lot of traffic on the island. Stopped at Timbers to buy some peel n eat shrimp for lunch and a strip steak for dinner. Sunny but on cool side. Went out to beach about 3:00 but too windy to stay very long. The Royal and Common Terns are back on the beach.
Beautiful sky at sunset but did not go out. For dinner made strip steak with pinot noir sauce with mushrooms and garlic (same as did filets), noodles with sour cream, and mixed salad with tarragon vinaigrette.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Day 14 on Captiva

Another foggy day. I say that literally, the fog rolled in, in waves. Thin whispy strands of cotton pulling off a solid roll in the background.(Watch Video) Last night's weather man called it "spooky fog", his partner called it "pea fog". Whatever you call it, it was not what we were here for. As we entered the DDWR bird sanctuary the fog seemed to lift, the sun came out, and we had 2 hours of 80-90 degrees with plenty of sunshine. Took a few shots of a resting Roseate, and a huge flock of Willets (maybe 200 birds) sitting in the sand on the edge of a small island, all facing the same direction, as if they were all waiting for the same thing. Monday is "supposed" to clear off, then a cool front comes thru, and 70's and 80's for the weekend. We may ride down to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary this week to see what birds we can find there. We cooked in tonight making scallops baked in a lemon, wine, and butter sauce with green salad and confetti rice. Was not as good as I expected. Had to cook scallops longer than recipe said.

Day 13 on Captiva

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Al walked early. Breakfast for Valentine's Day was mushroom omelet, Ribs of lamb (leftover last night), grapefruit hearts, orange juice, and toast. Around noon we drove into Sanibel for the Rotary Club annual Arts and Crafts Fair at the Community Center. This jury show of artists is ranked as one of the finest in Florida and draws artists country wide and people from all around. Ikki Matsumoto now living in Ohio used to have a Sanibel gallery and is known worldwide attended. Another Sanibel celebrity Kate Gardenia had a booth of dolls that she designs. She was the original owner of the Bubble Room and Mermaid Factory. 105 booths in all. Lot of great photographers, artists, jewelers, and other craftsmen. Was tempting to buy.

Shopped at Jerry's for Valentine Dinner. Decided would enjoy dining at home since Valentine's is a mad house at all the restaurants. And the fog is still with us along with some drizzles.

Entree tonight was Filet Mignon with Pinot Noir sauce with mushrooms, garlic, and fresh Rosemary. Used idea from Tyler Florence recipe. Served with Caesar salad and baked potatoes. Dessert was Creme Horn from Jerry's Bakery. David Bruce Pinot Noir 2005 was wine of the evening. Dinning table was decorated with red candles and rose petals. Received beautiful cards from Al.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Day 12 on Captiva

This morn was very foggy...could see fog rolling. No beach today. Al walked. Breakfast of bacon, eggs, grapefruit supremes, and toast of that great bread from Bailey's. Played on computer. Margarethe, Ella, and Ella's sister Carol came over to make some pics of bedroom for renter. Drove down to 'Tween Waters to check out rates---much higher than here. Al checked out Post Office at end of island.

Dinner at Twilight Cafe that has moved to the former Nutmeg House then Riviera. Not much changed since Riviera except interior is more casual decor and no liquor license. Similar layout. We shared mixed baby greens salad with toasted almonds and warm fried goat cheese croutons(very good) in a citrus vinaigrette.....waiter did not split salad...just brought extra plate. Al ordered New Zealand rack of lamb with mashed potatoes made with garlic and red pepper and a currant and sweet onion demi glace and grilled broccoli (almost black). I had salmon (but not blackened as on menu) topped with spinach and corn pesto accompanied by cajun risotto with crawfish meat, andouille sausage, sweet corn, and cheese. Good but did not make our must list.

Was a foggy drive back home.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day 11 on Captiva

Thursday, February 12, 2009
Quick breakfast of coffee and pastries and then headed to DDWR at 10am. Overcast and foggy this am. Saw 2 yellow-crowned nigh-herons by side of road just as we entered drive. Not as many white pelicans and roseates today even though it very low tide. Lot of ibis and blue herons feeding. Nothing spotted on dike but lot of tourists. Al found his kingfisher area with mangrove island...same as last year. Was shooting a great blue heron when we saw directly above grh. Back to house for lunch of sandwiches on the porch. Worked on organizing pictures. Too overcast for beach today.
Made Chicken Francese with orange juice, lemon, and wine sauce served with angel hair pasta and garlic sauce. Salad was arugula with honeybelle orange slices, red onion, parmsan cheese, and walnuts. Very good!

Day 10 on Captiva

Wednesday, February 11, 2009
After coffee and pastries, we packed up cameras,etc for trip to Bailey Tract. Arrived about 9:45. Sunny morn and comfortable temp for walking. At Mangrove Island heard a bellowing alligator before we saw him near the water edge...never heard this before....sounded like an elephant. Al got some good pictures but missed with mouth wide open. Was highlight of walk. Saw other alligators in far water area. Saw ibis, heron, blues, osprey, mottled ducks, and grebes.
Went to Over Easy for lunch just before noon...Al had Reuben Wrap with fries and I had half tomato with tuna salad. Bought some blinking Shamrock earrings at store there.
Went to Bailey's for Wed and Thurs dinners. Headed home and then out to beach for couple of hours. For dinner we made pan fried snapper with rice and arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette. Quiet evening at home.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Day 9 on Captiva

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Another lazy morn...Al did a short walk. After late breakfast of basted eggs,bacon,toast, and juice we headed to beach about 1:00 and enjoyed the surf and sand for couple of hours.

Decided to have dinner at Timber's. Called ahead at 6:00 to get on seating list. Left at 6:20.....arrived at 6:40ish to walk right in and get a season always a 15-45 min wait. Ordered calamari with marinara to share. Al had fried oysters with salad , broccoli and rice pilaf. I had salad and peel n eat shrimp appetizer and shared some of Al's broccoli.

Home to watch "Mentalist" but fell asleep on couch.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Day 8 on Captiva

Monday, February 9, 2009

Al walked around 8:30. Had brunch around 11 of pasta omelet with shrimp and sliced tomatoes. Went out to beach around 1 til 3. Nice day in 70's and sunny. Very quiet with few birds....willets, ruddy turnstones, sanderlings, gulls. Saw Great Blue for the first time. Sailboat and motorboats in the gulf. Enjoyed afternoon at beach.

Had dinner with Mike at Traders after watching sunset from his decks. Al and Mike had Caesar salads. Mike had New York Strip with Cabernet demi glace served with roasted fingerling potatoes. Al had Frenched veal chop topped with portobello mushroom and served with garlic mashed potatoes and spaghetti squash. I had panko crusted salmon on baby greens with lemon caper dill vinaigrette served with avocado salsa. Had after dinner drinks at Mike's.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Day 7 on Captiva

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Lazy morning drinking coffee and reading paper. Made late breakfast. Took drive to Bailey Tract and walked short tract...saw ibis, egrets, blue herons, Florida ducks, grebes. Stopped at Timbers for large shrimp (12)...10 was enough and a crab cake. Made brief stop at Tarpon Bay.

Served martini and gimlet and crab cake with tartar sauce(made with caperberry) on porch. Dinner was shrimp and pasta with garlic lemon wine sauce with capers. Served with arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette and Parmesan. Early to bed.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Day 6 on Captiva

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Al was up early again and went walking. He almost did too much ......was exhausted when returned after walking 3 miles. Needs to pace himself. Had some pastries and coffee and decided to go out for brunch around noon. Ate at Sunset Grill.....Al had bagel and lox platter. I had Crab cakes and poached eggs on English muffins with lime sauce....not as good as in past...muffins too done. Warmer today and sunny. Drove to Island Bookstore across from Jerry's....Al bought new James Patterson book, "Run for Your Life." Stopped at Jerry's for some dinner and supplies. Drove through DDWR.......lot of Roseate Spoonbills sunning. Al made some great pictures (see Slide show) and I made some videos. See below.

For dinner we made panko crusted pork chops seasoned with marjoram and basil served with sweet potatoes. Salad was mixed lettuce with Parmesan, walnuts, red onion, capers, and the "best" sliced tomatoes. Al had key lime dessert cup to finish.

Day 5 on Captiva

Friday, February 6, 2009

I slept late and Al was up early. In the afternoon after a brunch of bagels and scrambled eggs, we shopped at Periwinkle Shops. Not much changed in stores. I bought jacket, tank, pants, necklace, and earrings at Chico's. Stopped at Timber's for grouper. Home about 5:30....went out for sunset but no clouds.....came in before set. For dinner we prepared Panko Crusted Grouper, arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette dressing and Parmesan, and rosemary garlic potatoes. Selected red Santa Cristina Antinori and white Villa Antinori wines for dinner.

Al walked about 3 miles early this morning. While crossing the bridge at Blind Pass he made some video of the work going on there. Sanibel and Captiva are again clearing the sand under the bridge to reopen the flow of water between the gulf and bay. Then the island of Captiva will be a true island again. The video on the top shows work on the gulf side and the bottom shows the bay side. The Milville's home can be seen to the far end of the row of homes on the bayside.

Day 4 On Captiva

Thursday, February 4th
Al walked early today...down to Santiva store for paper. Still cool outside. Had frost yesterday. Had pastries from Bailey's with juice and coffee after Al returned. Spent lazy morn.....I am still fighting a cold...head stuffed up and have sniffles. Made sandwiches for lunch. Al spent time reading and on computer. I started seashell puzzle that Mother gave us. Mike invited us over for sunset but I decided to stay in but Al went over about 5. Guys night out! Had drinks at Mike's then went over to Timber's bar for dinner. Al had crabcake sandwich. Mike filled in Al on best restaurants to eat.... Mad Hatter has moved back to top and the Club and Sunset Grill have fallen out of grace for dinner. Mike had redone front of house with new entrance to second level and re-landscaped back of property. Al was impressed with new look. Finished my puzzle and napped away the evening.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Day 3 on Captiva

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I was out at the beach about 8 this morning checking for shells. I was bundled with several layers with coat and gloves to keep from freezing. Nothing exciting but did pick up a few shells.

Al left for a short walk when I got back. We had breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast, and juice. We then drove to Bailey's for a razor for Al---he has not shaved since we left home. Made a few other purchases. Took detour by DDWR on way home at 2pm. When we got home Renee was at end of drive with the remote control bucket truck blocking the drive so we parked at Ella's where Margarethe was parking too.

For dinner we ate at Doc Ford's....called ahead so not a long wait....but Al tipped for a quick table too. Al had panko fried jumbo shrimp crispy fried with french fries and cole slaw. I had grilled shrimp with jalapeno grits and vegetables with lime cilantro sauce. I enjoyed a mojito too. Dinner was very good! Finished with Key Lime pie at the house.

Day 2 On Captiva

February 3, 2009

Cool morning for Florida! Glad we packed clothes to layer. Al sat on porch with computer but was too cool for me to stay there long. Had almond pastries with coffee. Just "chilled out" (literally) this am. Had lunch of soup and sandwiches then did drive thru DDWR to check out. Was low tide so lot of birds feeding....nothing out of the usual. Drove down to South Seas end...lot of traffic and lot of building going on. The 2 huge Roman homes ( Roberts Transportation) still being built. Their offices at corner of Andy Rosse are now finished.
Checked out new home across from Renee's....6 bedrooms and 7 baths...huge! Bright blue roof stands out. We Took a quick walk to beach but too windy to stay. Reopening pass between bay and gulf....looks like a long process. Renee has lift using to clean out trees and coconuts.
Stayed in for dinner: Porterhouse steak, sauteed mushrooms, baked potatoes, salad, and Key Lime pie. Quiet night at home.

Drive to Captiva Island February 2009

We had scheduled our departure on Thursday, January 29, but delayed our leaving until January 31 because of weather conditions on Thursday and then another day because we were not feeling that well on Friday. We finally started our drive at 8:30 on Saturday morning the 31st. The roads were clear but trees and roadsides were covered with snow and ice especially throughout Kentucky which looked like a winter wonderland. We drove to Norris to Jack and Loy's and arrived about 5 pm. Jack cooked his famous chicken chili, carrot salad, cornbread(made by Loy) and bread pudding. Turned in early and left on Sunday am about 8:30 after coffee with Jack and Loy. Had sunny weather on the way to Ocala were we arrived at 7pm....stayed at Best Western at exit 320. Had nice large room (#438) with walkin closet and sitting area with sofa and chair.
Since Bella Luna, a fave restaurant, has closed, we chose Olive Garden to eat. To our surprise, it was very good...Al had Chianti Braised Short Ribs served with portobello mushroom risotto and steamed vegetables. I had Chicken Marsala in a savory sauce of mushrooms, garlic and marsala wine served with Tuscan potatoes and bell peppers.
We left about 8 the next morning after a quick breakfast. We had a beautiful drive with some rain mixed in arriving in Ft Meyers about 2pm. We shopped for groceries at Publix....very crowded....then to Captiva arriving about 3:30 just in time for some rain. Al unpacked entire car by himself! Went to Tween Waters to bar for dinner...Al had Ribby Beef sandwich and I had Grouper sandwich both with curly fries. It is cool here, in low 50's. House is as we left it.