Back to the land that was built by a mouse…..
For the first time in a while, we returned to somewhere we had already been. It’s weird these days to do that. In fact, the only other place to have that distinction in the last 10 months has been Medina Lake outside of San Antonio, and that was for family reasons. But I digress. We are back to Orlando for a few reasons. First, it’s free. Well to stay here it is. Second, with all of the issues with our RV lately, we felt that being near a major RV hub is a good idea. Third, there is a huge RV show in Tampa starting on Wed. of this week and we want to go, so staying near is a good idea.
We embark on many new adventures in the coming months, so having some “down” time if you will is a great idea. Orlando/Clermont is familiar, we know where all of the stuff is that we want, and everything we want is relatively close (although Orlando seems to be a town where everything is 20-40 min away).
We ended our time down in Wauchula by hitting up what has become known as the GREATEST FRIED FISH OF ALL TIME place. It’s called Julie’s fish house and most people just call it the fish house. We went on the recommendation of some friends of ours that we first met in Nashville and ran into again down here. They are a really nice couple and were super helpful in helping us find some places to go see. Well Julie’s was one of those places. Fancy? No. Easy to get to for us? No. Some of the best fried fish I have ever had and I liked it so much I wanted to get a weeks worth of to go items and go back every day since? YES. YEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS If that isn’t enough to entice you to check it out if you are ever in the area, I don’t know what will. Skip the combo baskets, skip all the extra’s, just get a fish basket, or 8, and a sweet tea. Sit down and listen as the heavens begin to sing their praises from the depths of your newly satisfied stomach. I guess what I am saying is that it was pretty good. Plan out your visit though. She is only open a few days a week and serves only what is fresh caught, and the lines can be long, but it’s all worth it in the end. Her FB page is here.
I was so busy eating, I didn’t get a single picture, but I feel I painted a pretty good one above. GO.
Lisa and I also hit our 17th year of being a couple. I feel lucky and blessed every time I say that. I have been with her for the majority of my adult life, and she has been such a great partner and friend. We, like all couples, have our challenges, but we are like Yin and Yang. My strengths are her weakness’s and my weakness is her strength. Something that has been amplified in the last 10 months. I try to appreciate every day with her to the fullest, even if the day is just spent in bed chilling.
Anyway, back to Orlando. (my mind is officially lost in a sea of fried fish memories now). This last two weeks have been more of a preparation for the months to come. Z finished her semester in school and started the next one, I got caught up on work and prepped for some changes to come, Lisa has been and always is very hard at work making sure our house is a home and that we live in a beautiful one. We took a few short trips. One to Tampa Bay where the girls got to get their hair done. We ate at Columbia Restaurant, which is the oldest restaurant in Florida (over 110 years). We went to the original in Ybor City and it was delicious too. (winning the restaurant game).
We stopped by Orlando Brewing for a few tasters one day when Lisa and I were out shopping. I found a few new flavors that I really liked and there we met some really nice folks that pointed us to Winter Park FL. We found out that Winter Park, unlike the one in Colorado, is where rich folks from the north east go to get away from the brutal winters up there. We also uncovered a boat tour on the lakes there. It was an hour well spent and gave us some great history of the area. It’s nice to see how the other half live sometimes too. The main drag there was a neat mix of shops and restaurants that rounded out our day. We ate at Prato, a very nice upscale farm to table Italian spot that unfortunately was only serving their pizza at the time (between lunch and dinner). The good news is that Z loves pizza and theirs was very good.
That night Lisa and I went out on a little date to the Irish pub just up the street. It was fun to get out with my wife for a few and it was a cute little spot. We ran in to a couple from Scotland that has a house in Orlando and we talked with them for hours. I think Lisa found a new BFF in the wife. They had a lot in common and talked the night away. There was a comedy/music group playing while there, but I didn’t listen much and couldn’t tell you if they were good or not.
The next day we headed back toward downtown Orlando to the farmers market held there on Sundays. I hesitate to really consider it a farmers market, but more of a street fair with vendors of all kinds. In fact, we had to struggle to find the actual farm produce portion of the “farmers market”. It was packed and a fun way to spend the day. There was music, food from everywhere, drinks if you wanted, and a variety of local vendors schlepping their wares. It was cool and something to see if you are in the area with a Sunday to kill. It’s located near Lake Eola and there are a ton of restaurants in the area. Lisa really wanted Sushi and there was a highly rated spot nearby called Shari, but it didn’t open for over an hour. We needed something to snack on and to kill some time so we headed next door to Baoery Asian gastropub. We had a fun time dancing to the electronica provided by the DJ and watching the collection of gay men at the bar vie for attention. I believe that there was some sort of pride event recently, and it provided us with entertainment as there was one very boisterous man that had been drinking for some time and was dropping back mimosa’s like water. He would dance all around and was fun to watch. Between that and the old school kung fu movies being shown we were entertained until it was time to head next door for dinner. We got a good laugh because we had actually had some snacks at Baoery and joked about sneaking next door before anyone saw us because we would look like pigs. I will say, Baoery had it going on too. Their Bao’s were some of the best I have had and we had a cauliflower appetizer that had a sauce that I wanted to drink. Our waitress was nice and seemed to like chatting with us, but I also think she got slammed with tables as we didn’t see her much. No big deal, we were mostly killing time anyway.
It turned out to be one of the best days for us. Z was in a particularly good mood and her funny side was on fire. The girls danced, we joked a lot. We headed next door to Shari Sushi. A stark contrast to Baoery, it was quiet and certainly more upscale than we were dressed for, but hey, I never give a crap about that. My money spends like anyone else’s. There were a few folks at the bar, but most everyone else was outside soaking up the nice weather. We opted to sit indoors as to not be spotted for our restaurant transgression. We were greeted by our waitress Diem. Little did I know that this little Asian firecracker would be one of the best waitress’s we have had in a while. She knows how to do her job and she does it well. I have a typical question I ask when going to a new restaurant, particularly if I might not ever return. The question is “if you could eat here only one more time and then never again, what would you have”. The question takes many servers back, but more often than not I am rewarded with the best of what a restaurant has to offer. Not often, but sometimes I get told whatever is the priciest thing on the menu, or if the server is busy and doesn’t have the patience to think that much, I am told the special of the day, but the good ones nail it and we are both generally rewarded for the effort. Diem did just that. She was funny, witty, and put up with our crazy family antics well. Much like our waiter from Epcot at Spice, she was engaged with our table and got where we were coming from. She recommended some wonderful dishes that we wouldn’t have seen, was honest if she felt like something wasn’t our thing, and was patient as we sat there for almost 2 hours if not more. I left feeling more than full, I felt satiated with the meal and the time spent with Lisa and Z. I love those types of experiences. At Ice Cube said so eloquently, “today was a good day”.
I am just realizing that it seems that many of our best social encounters seem to be with wait staff at restaurants. I am going to continue to track this theory.
So long Orlando. Till next time. After that fun weekend, we are now poised to begin another chapter in our adventure. We head to the Florida RV show this week in Tampa. It’s one of the biggest and I look forward to checking it out. We then head toward Ft. Lauderdale then the Keys. The next month will be spent very close to the beach, so expect some good sunset pictures. Thanks as always for following, more to come from the RV show soon.