Thursday, February 28, 2013

Day 27 on Captiva

Thurs, Feb 28
Another cloudy day...where is that sun????
We had breakfast of mushroom omelet with bacon, toast, grapefruit, and orange juice on the porch.  It seemed a bit warmer today.
 We decided to visit the eagle's nest today.....Margarethe told us that one of the eaglets has left the nest and was seen on the ground. When we arrived at the nest we saw only one eaglet sitting on a branch of the Australian Pine Tree but the other one soon joined him/her. The one eaglet seemed to be encouraging the other one to fly.

The sun finally came out and it was warm enough to head to the beach.  We gathered our chairs and towels and to the beach we went.  Not many beach goers out today or birds. But it was sunny enough to enjoy the gulf.

Tonight we had 6:30 reservations at Traditions on the Beach.  The host of the restaurant is Andrea Mucciga whom we have know all the years that we have been coming to Captiva.  We have followed him from Bellini's on Captiva to Riveria, Dolce Vita, and now Traditions all on Sanibel.

Andrea and his wife with Award

It was great to see Andrea as always.....his places always have the best entertainment .....some musicians have been working with him for years.
We started dinner by sharing  PRIME BEEF CARPACCIO-Hearts of palm shavings, rugula,
reggiano, lemon EVOO drizzles ...not as good as I remembered.  I shared a salad of greens and  artichokewith a shallots-balsamic vinegar with Cecilia. Al had the Julius Caesar salad.   He ordered Veal Chop with sautéed chanterelle mushrooms and brandied-creamy veal pan demi,     Cecilia ordered Grilled Scottish Salmon with asparagus, roasted garlic, ciboulis, vino cotto white wine fusion. I had Crab Cake with creole spiced jumbo crab meat withsautéed, red bell pepper remoulade. For dessert, we shared  Amaretto crème brule with a caramel crust.  Andrea treated us with after dinner cordials.

The best part of the evening was music by Joe McCormick and the vocalist, Marvilla Marzan. She has a beautiful voice.  I think Cecilia really enjoyed the music and entertainment.
Marvilla on the left and Joe performed.  Barb on the right performs other nights.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Day 26 on Captiva

Wed, Feb 27

Cecilia and I spent another early morning at the beach collecting shells... even better today.... and not as cool. Found a lot of olives and more variety.  Photo on right shows most of what we found.

This morning Al had a massage with his therapist at 10:00 and Cecilia and I used the time to shop at the Tahitian Gardens.  I bought Jacob and Hannah "Life is Good" tee shirts for their birthdays and some cute books. Cecilia bought Hannah the cutest pink cap and Jacob a book about seashells. She also found a box for a treasure chest for him to hold seashells. Their birthday party themes are Pirates for Jacob and Princess for Hannah. Her gifts will tie into their themes. 

We manage to shop most of the stores before Al met us for Brunch at the Sanibel Cafe.  Al had his usual lox and bagel platter. Cecilia and I both had the quiche special of the day served with hash browns.
Then we shopped The Brown Bag (a men's shop) where Al bought a pair of shorts and a shirt. And we also shopped the remaining stores.  Our next stop was Tarpon Bay to see what was going on there. This is the place to go for canoes and pontoon boat tours of DDNWR. Here we saw some Ruddy Turnstones, Osprey, and Piliated Woodpecker.  Not any birds on the water or islands.

The skies were too overcast and cloudy to spend time at the beach today.  It did rain late afternoon so no sunset to see. We decided to go to dinner about 5:30 to Doc Ford's which usually have call ahead seating but we found out they no longer do that starting today.  We had a 40 minute wait but it was worth it.  Once seated, we started with oysters which we shared. Cecilia and I had to have the Mojito.

 Cecilia ordered Cedar Plank Salmon-freshly cut salmon filet topped with a mango chipotle glaze, served with au gratin potatoes, wilted spinach and caramelized mushrooms-which she shared with me.   Al had  Panko Fried Shrimp - with french fries and cole slaw. I ordered the Calamari Salad - lightly battered calamari tossed with mixed Everglades greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, a sweet and sour vinaigrette dressing, topped with crispy wontons. I shared the salad with all.....  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Day 25 on Captiva

Tues, Feb 26

Cecilia and I went out at 7:00 to check for shells....after heavy winds and rain, we found some great shells but we had to be careful not to pick up live ones. There were a lot of live conch shells. We also saw a lot of dead fish because of the Red Tide and we had some coughing spells caused by it. We were all by ourselves and had all the shells to ourselves.

After coffee and pastries, we drove to DDNWR for a drive through the reserve. There seemed to be more white pelicans and ibis today but feeding seemed to mostly finished at the time we drove through.


For lunch, I made mussel salad sandwich with last night's left over mussels adding mussels, remoulade sauce, and lettuce  to buns.  This made great sandwiches.
Since the weather was not great, Cecilia made a card using my supplies. She did a great job since she had not made a card before. To check out her card see the post on my blog.
Tonight we went to Timbers for a seafood dinner.  Cecilia ordered the Oysters Rockefeller- oysters baked with seasoned spinach and cheese and we ordered Flight Oysters on the half shell for appetizers and shared. For entrees, Cecilia had Captiva Crabcake  served with dill sauce. Al had the Triple Shrimp Platter-scampi, baked stuffed, and crunchy. I had Baked Stuffed Shrimp with seafood stuffing.  We enjoyed salad or clam chowder  with sides of steamed vegetables and baked sweet potatoes.  It was a great dinner.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Day 24 on Captiva

Mon, Feb 25

We arose early enough to go and view the sunrise on the bay from the dock.  There were not many birds on the islands in the bay but many were flying over. Photos of the rising sun:

We have not seen many roseate spoonbills at DDNWR this year but we did see one lone roseate feeding at sunrise this morning:

We all then walked over to the beach to see if anything was happening. As we approached the eagle's tree, we all spotted the eagle sitting on a low branch on the tree.....we had not seen it as close to the ground before. I was glad everyone got a good look because as I walked further down the path I must have scared it off because he suddenly flew away.  Not much seen on the beach...looks like another cloudy day.

We had breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, grapefruit, and orange juice when we returned to the house.  Mike left for Marco Island around 10:00 am.  Since it is too cloudy to sit at the beach, we headed with Cecilia to Periwinkle Place to do some shopping.  Cecilia bought the cutest binoculars at Friday's Child for her grandchildren who both have birthdays in March. We bought some items at The Original Chico's for ourselves.
Ibis feeding at Periwinkle Place
For tonight's dinner, we stopped on the way home at Timbers Fish Market and purchased fresh mussels (one of Ce's favorites) that had just arrived from Maine.  It began to sprinkle as we got back to the house.

Dinner was a joint venture tonight.  Al scrubbed the mussels, Cecilia made the salad, and I cooked the sauce, boiled the pasta, and  baked the rolls. The mussels were some of the largest, "plumpest" ones that we  have ever had.  Our mussels with light Italian sauce served over pasta was delicious as well as the tossed green salad.   Luckily, it was nice enough to eat dinner on the porch.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Day 23 on Captiva

Sun, Feb 24

Al, Mike, and I were up early at 6 am to get ready to go to DDNWR at 7:00 when the gate opens. It was a sunny morning and birds were out feeding....mostly saw white pelicans, brown pelicans, ibis, blue herons, great blue herons, tri-colored herons, reddish egrets, snowy egrets,  great egrets, yellow-crowned night herons, pied billed grebes, red-breasted mergansers, cormorants, anhingas, wood stork, and osprey. Special sightings were a Little Green Heron and a Yellow-Crowned Night Heron feeding on a crab. Mike saw several birds for the first time.

I left at 9:30 to drive to Punta Gorda airport to pick up my sister, Cecilia, who flew in from Knoxville to spend a week. Al and I are so thrilled that she is coming as it always a fun time with her.

Al and Mike drove to Bailey Tract for a walk to see more birds. These are photos of some of what they saw there:

Al and Mike had lunch at the Sunset Grill in nearby Santiva. Cecilia and I arrived at the house about 1:30 after stopping at the Farmer's Market to buy a fresh bouquet of flowers. I made us some turkey roll-ups with chips for lunch.

We all headed out to the beach for some sun and rest.  One of the eagles again landed in the tree and sat there for about 2 hours...that seems to be the eagle routine.

Tonight we had 6:00 reservations at The Mad Hatter, our most favorite dinner spot even though it is a small restaurant. We had hoped for a great sunset but the clouds prevented that but the lack of a sunset did not put a damper on dinner.


We began dinner with wine and salads. Al started with Mad House Salad-mixed organic baby greens, sliced pear and candied walnuts tossed with  house shallot and red wine vinaigrette, garnished with raspberry coulis  crowned with tempura Gorgonzola.  Mike had Strawberry Blue Salad-mixed organic baby greens, red onions, cherry tomatoes & fresh strawberries lightly tossed in a shallot and red wine vinaigrette, topped with Maytag Blue Cheese, drizzled with an aged balsamic reduction.  Cecilia and I shared Spiced Watermelon Salad-fresh watermelon tossed with roasted pine nuts, cayenne pepper, fresh mint and feta cheese served atop organic baby arugula.  All of the salads were delicious.
For entrees, Cecilia, Mike and I ordered Crab Cake dinners-2 panko crusted jumbo lump crab cakes with mustard sauce and  yucca  fries. Al dined on Rack of Lamb-pan seared, oven roasted Free Range Australian Rack of Lamb with walnut and cherry pesto crust, finished with a rosemary and port wine demi-glace served with roasted garlic risotto and mixed vegetables. This was a very delicious meal with excellent service and great conversion!

 We chose to finish the evening with coffee and Key Lime Pie on the porch back at the house.  It was a very enjoyable day especially with Mike and Cecilia joining us.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Day 22 on Captiva

Sat, Feb 23

Today we went to Jerry's for breakfast....this grocery has a restaurant that serves a very good breakfast and is very reasonably priced compared to other breakfast spots. After eating we shopped for groceries buying for tonight's dinner.  The pictures below are of amazing South American birds scattered about in the atrium of  Jerry's Shopping Center.


We spent the afternoon on the beach and were surprised by 2 adult eagles landing in the tree behind us and spending almost 2 hours in the tree.  I took these pictures with my point and shoot camera.
This is the tree that the eagles frequent on the beach.

 We were excited today that our friend and neighbor, Mike, arrived for a visit with us before he goes to Marco Island for a visit with his sister.  He arrived on a flight from Akron-Canton airport to the Ft. Myers airport this evening. We decided to cook in tonight rather than trying to get into a restaurant.  Al cooked at his best tonight preparing some delicious beef fillets and asparagus on the grill.  I served the meal with iceberg salad with bleu cheese dressing and hot rolls. We enjoyed wine with dinner. For dessert, we served Key Lime pie from Jerry's.  We had an evening of great food and wine, conversation, and wonderful company. It was so great to have Mike here for a visit. Our only disappointment was that his wife, Pam, was unable to join him for the trip because of her work.  Mike retired in January so we will be looking for Mike and Pam both to come next year.