Road Trip Vacay, Second Leg - Fort Lauderdale, and Third Leg

So, apparently, I basically stopped taking food photos, except for one.  I'll just have to explain the dishes to you in great detail....

We left Lakeland in the morning.  It took under 4 hours to get to the Airbnb.  Once again, the last, half hour or longer was just sitting in traffic in Fort Lauderdale.

So, we picked our Airbnb based on the fact that it had a large yard and a pool.  We figured Rudy missed having a pool, so he would be happy to have access again.  So, this house was on one of the canals right off Las Olas.  Of course, it was the only original construction 2 bedroom single story house on the street.  The house itself was nothing special.  It was clean enough, but it has rust, and holes in the walls and ceilings that needed patched, water stains where the ceiling had leaked.  But it was really all about the backyard.  We tested out the pool.  The water temp was a little on the cool side.  This was hilarious because it was pretty warm out.  Rudy wouldn't go in the pool.  But we figured we would give him some time.

 Here's the clock in the kitchen that I guess is meant to make it feel like time is standing still while you are on vacation.

This was in a neighbor's yard.  I guess it was offerings from a cat?  Either that or a still life someone arranged for a painting?

This little guy was hiding in the shrubbery at the Airbnb.

So, after decomposing in the house and walking Rudy in the neighborhood, we were ready to eat.  We decided to go to Louie Bossi which was down the street.  We used to go there every once in a while on a Monday for lunch, when barely anyone was there.  This time, we were walking in at the beginning of dinner, and it was already pretty busy.  The bar was full.  Then we remembered, it was still happy hour.  So we had to take 2 seats on the patio that were facing the bar but not connected to the bar.  So the outside server would help us rather than the bartender.  Which was fine.  So, we ordered the Arthur Avenue salad, which we always get.  So here's the description from the menu

antipasti salad, giardiniera, chick peas, celery, tomato, salumi, olives, provolone, peppadews
So, before, when we used to get it, it would have thin slivers of celery.  Which, if you like celery, is brilliant.  This time, it had both raw celery and some big sticks of pickled celery.  It had lots of stuff.  The sweety peppers are one of the nice touches that I like.  It's a pretty big salad, at $17, but we ate the whole thing.  We also got the meatballs.  They were big.  I didn't write home about them.  That would be weird though, as both my parents are deceased.  Also, they would be like, why are you sending a letter about meatballs?

Then we got the linguine with clam sauce.  The clams were dirty.  There was no flavor.  TFP pointed out there was no olive oil - it was like they put canola oil instead of olive oil.  We didn't complain, we didn't ask for olive oil.  We just sat there.  I think I ate more than TFP because I was starving.  Not a great start to our Fort Lauderdale trip.  We just wanted to leave, but this 13 top had sat behind us and our server spent the longest time setting them up and pouring ALL OF THEM wine.  It was like 20 minutes before we were able to get our check.  We often have issues with getting our check.  We aren't the type to sit around after we are done eating.  Also, I think once a table's meal is served, some servers tend to overlook the table if they don't need to turn the table.  Because of the wonderful invention of yelp and "reviewers" who complain about things like the check being dropped too early, maybe a lot of servers don't give the check until asked.  Anyway, we paid and got out of there.

We headed to Invasive Species.  This is our favorite brewery.  End of story.  Yes, they are our friends, and yes, we watched this place being built.  But even if we just walked in and didn't know anyone, we would still love the place.  Their menu is often heavy on the IPAs (for TFP) and sours (for me, even though I drink like 6 oz).  When we walked in, one of the brewers was there.  So, he ran behind the bar and poured us beers without asking.  He poured me a taste of all the beers he knew I would like.  All really fucking good.  So, this is just a guess.  Don't question my accuracy because I'm telling you I'm not sure.  Frosted Tips, Tickle Stick, Rabbit Radler (this is the one I'm not sure of), and Purple Rain.  Anyway, it was great to go there!

When we got back to the Airbnb, we went in the pool.  Rudy was interested in going in, but he couldn't figure out how to step in.  He doesn't like to jump, and it was a long step down for his long legs, so he just couldn't figure it out.  So, TFP pushed him in.  He was a little surprised, but then he swam a couple laps before trying to get out.  He was trying to heave his big body over the side with his thin legs.  This proved to be problematic, so TFP had to push him back up the steps.  Then he ran around the yard and went nuts.  

The next day we predictably got up early.  We had to go to Starbucks because the good independent coffee shop wasn't open yet.  We went to the Starbucks in a hotel across the street from the beach.  So after we got our coffee we went to the beach.  It was windy with like gale force winds.  And the water was cold.  So, we were only on the beach a few minutes.    We went to Hollywood Beach, and TFP ran while Rudy and I took a leisurely walk.  Honestly, Rudy didn't feel like walking much.  I guess it was a little hot.  He just wanted to sit on the grass.  So we did.  

We went back and hung out in the backyard after.  It was too early for lunch, so we were forced to chill.  We tried to get Rudy in the pool again, but he wasn't having it.  He was content enough sniffing the perimeter of the yard, having a conversation with the neighbor dogs who lived across the canal, and rolling around on the grass.  There was an old plastic Easter egg bucket left in the yard.  Rudy decided that was the only bucket he would drink water from, even though it had dirt all caked inside. His own water bowl in the house was barely used the whole time we were there.  

Finally, it was almost lunch time, so we got ready & went to El Camino right at 11 am when they opened.  We had wanted to go when they first opened, but something weird happened.  Either we tried to walk in for lunch and they weren't open yet, or they gave us dirty looks and we decided not to go in.... or maybe both.  Anyway, we finally went.  It was a big festive wide open space with high ass ceilings and nice decor.  It had the feeling of a restaurant at a seaside resort or a Disney or Epcot restaurant (not that I had been to either since I was like maybe 20).  

We started with the chips and salsa.  And apparently, this was the only photo I took there.  

We also got the Smoked Octopus with black garlic crema, ancho chiles, pickled shallots, scallions & arugula.  It was ok.  

We also got the avocado salad with onion, tomato, quest fresco & cilantro vinaigrette.  So it was like one and a half or two avocados sliced and fanned out on the plate with the garnishes.  It was delicious.  And it was only $9.  I've seen avocado toast with like a half avocado for the same price or more!  

We also got the squash blossom quesadilla with oaxacan cheese, epazote & salsa verde.  This was also really good.  Sure wish I had taken a photo to show you....

That night we went to Phat Boy Sushi on N Federal Highway.  We met our friends for dinner.  They are now regulars there - partially because we closed our restaurant 🤣.  As always, dinner was solid.  They sent us out a nice little nori wrapped roll which was very nice of them.  We pretty much got the usual.  Hamachi Kama, seaweed salad, hamachi jalapeño roll & pork belly kimchee fried rice.  The fried rice is probably my most favorite dish in Fort Lauderdale.  One time, we went to Phat Boy with our crew for our cook's birthday, and of course, we got the pork belly kimchi fried rice.  The next night, TFP went out of town.  I ordered the pork belly kimchi fried rice for pick up.  Yeah, it was a little embarrassing as the same server from the night before helped me.  But, it was so satisfying.

Our friends got like one appetizer and one roll each.  I noticed that we always order so much more food than everyone else when we go out with other people.  We are insatiable!  

After that, we went to Orchestrated Minds Brewing.  This is a new brewery that some of our regulars had just opened.  They are so damn driven and energetic that they are working their day jobs full time & running a brewery simultaneously!  Anyway, their beer was great.  The space was great.  The logo and T shirts were great.  Unfortunately the T-shirts were so popular that they only had small and XL left.  So, we didn't get any.  Damn, I wish I took some pictures.

I'm gonna interject right here.  This is really difficult to write.  I need photos to direct my thoughts.  So, I'm gonna just try to plow through (this used to be my mantra at work when my mind was bogged down with all the shit I had to deal with) and then continue on my not so merry way....

So, the next day, we were going to go to Calypso Restaurant for lunch.  This is probably our favorite restaurant in the area.  It's just an old school Florida/Caribbean seafood joint.  We had been dreaming of going here for weeks.  And this was gonna be the day.  

We went to drop Rudy off to his old daycare and it was a magical reunion.  When he saw one of his favorite daycare counselors coming to get him, he barked with joy!  It was so amazing!

And then on to Calypso for us.  We pulled in the parking lot, and the shutters were up.  The foreboding closed for vacation sign was up!  They close like a whole month every year.  And that month is September.  And I had deja vu from last year, driving up to Pompano to discover they were closed for vacation.  But last year, we lived in the area, so we would be back.  This time, the disappointment was exponential - which is way more.  

So, TFP suggested we go to Funky Buddha.  Which was great.  We got to see some of the staff who we love & the burger was really good.  

Later that afternoon, we had our friends and their daughter (our god daughter) over and we hung out in the backyard.  It was a very nice time.

The next day was our friends' wedding celebration.  The groom was one of the brewer owners of Invasive Species.  They had gotten married the night before.  So the party was at the brewery, of course.  So we walked in and it was a big party with so many people we knew, and the groom's family - which probably 50 were there, which isn't all of them.  

These guys were the entertainment.  Hot Rod.  So, the guy's name is actually George Orr.  We had seen him around town before.  There were stories of him.  And there he was.  So, he was wearing white pants.  And it spread quickly that there was something really large in those pants.  So there we were, all ogling Hot Rod's package.  I don't know.  I still say it might have been filler.  Anyway, it was a nice time.  We left after TFP had an adequate amount of IPAs.  

We went to the Airbnb and got delivery from the Indian restaurant that was down the street, Bombay Darbar. I would show you photos, but you know, I didn't bother to take any.  Anyway, it was good.  And nice and fast because it was like... oh a mile away.  

Then next morning we woke up early, picked up our dog, and we were back on our way too Lakeland.  We drove pretty damn fast.  

I always love driving by this place.  The Desert Inn.  I would love to have money to throw around and take over this place and renovate it and reopen, and then not have to live there or run it.  It is such a weird little motel on the historic registry.

So, we got too Lakeland.  We unloaded the car.  We got situated.  Then we had to find a place to go watch the football.  We settled on The Brass Tap.  It was the safest choice as far as having enough IPAs, spots at the bar, and TVs.  We would have liked to go to a brewery instead, but either the hours weren't right or there weren't enough TVs to guarantee NFL ticket or a free TV to watch.  It was fine. Here's the one photo I took there.

I did see there was a cupcake place in the shopping center than sold pupcakes.  So during the second half, I walked over and got some stuff.

These are obviously the cupcakes.  They were really just carrot cake with milk bone treats on them.  I forgot to ask the woman who helped me, so I had to taste one to figure it out.  Anyway, Rudy likes carrot cake and he liked these. 

I got these cupcakes first, because I didn't see the cupcakes right away.  If I had seen the cupcakes first, I probably would have gotten 1 or 2 cupcakes.  I think they were lemon, blueberry & birthday cake flavored.  I actually only ended up eating the lemon one.  It was too difficult to bring the other 2, so I left them in the freezer for my sister.

On the way home, we picked up wings from Hooters.  They were good.  They were you know, Hooters wings.  We saw that the beer on tap selection was awful, so it was good we didn't go there to watch the game.  

I went to Publix, because we were probably going to wake up before any of the coffee shops were open.  So, I got some iced coffee.  I thought I should get 3 to be safe.  I could have gotten 4 or 5.  I got 2 Buddy Brew nitro cans, and then I got one other local.  Buddy Brew is one of our favorite coffee shops.  Needless to say, the canned coffee was also good.  The other one sucked.  It's probably better that I don't remember the name.  

 Wilya look at the selection!  It just boggles the mind!

So, the next morning, we got up early and were on our way before the sun came up.  We stopped much less this time, and we made it back in like 10 hours, I think.  We had one last road meal.  It was a doozy.  It was like 9 or 10 am, and there was a 24 hour Arbys.  24 hours.  Red flag right there.  But we went right in and ordered 2 double beef and cheddars and like the loaded fries.  Dis-Gus-sting (yet kinda good).  I didn't eat all of my sandwich, because, c'mon, it was morning and it was a big sandwich.  Oh, and I knew Rudy would want a taste of that beef and cheddar.  So I went in the store to get a water, and I was walking around with a bowl of roast beef.  Lol.  Why didn't I bring it to the car first and then buy the water?  I don't know. 

Anyway, we got home.  No one had broken into our house or anything.  Our garbage cans were still on the curb from the week before.  That was that.  The next day, we went back to our vegetarian (pescatarian in my case) diet.

My sister had told me that there were some bananas on the tree ready to be cut in the backyard.   The branch had actually broken, and they were barely hanging down.  So I cut them down to take home with us.  Here is a fascinating photo study of them ripening.  I don't know for sure what variety they really are, but I just call them baby bananas or lady fingers.  They are kinda too short and stubby to be lady fingers, more like toddler fingers.  But, they were dense any creamy and sweet and kind of... appley tasting with some of that green tang still present even when ripe.  They made a great banana bread too.