Showing posts from June, 2012

My 'Light' Summer Reading

You really thought you'd see Fifty Shades of Gray in there? Don't you know me by now?

Happy Birthday, Dad

I wish you were here, to bake you a cake and spend time with the kids. I think you'd get a kick out of your five grandsons, and be proud of Giggles and me-we both have college degrees.

Mets opening day, 1970-when dad and I dressed up for going to the ball park and it was crazy hot.

Your ball teams are still in the fair-to-middling ranges, but that wouldn't stop you from rooting for them, would it? Maybe you'd watch racing with Ed and Big Joe, too?

I'd like to think so.

Mel's Hot Dogs, Tampa

When we first moved to Florida, this is one of the very first unique places that people steered us to, especially after hearing that Ed lived in Chicagoland for a while. Vienna Beef hot dogs and Italian Beef sandwiches and close to Busch Gardens, what could be better?

Well, if I'm perfectly honest, the price. The price could be a LOT better. We got two average size dogs, not even coney length, no extra meats on them, and having one as a combo, one drink and a small order of onion rings set me back almost 18 bucks. I was kicking myself that I didn't talk GameTeen into going to Tijuana Flats, or go to his first suggestion, Five Guys, because we would have left either place stuffed to the gills for a few bucks the gills for a few bucks less.

Yes, those prices are for only the sandwich. I've spent less for burgers at sit down establishments. (I know, I am harping on the price.)

These dogs are boiled and placed into a steamed poppy seed bun. You can get a variety of…

Moving Up in Ranks

(I was going to do a What's For Dinner Wednesday, then I looked at the quantity of food posts in the past week and decided to skip it!)

I've always been somewhat tech savvy. Not an expert, not a pro, but I seemed to know enough to fix the basic issues. If I didn't, I knew where to seek things out to get things repaired. What this meant is that at various jobs, I'd be the go-to person.

It was funny at one job that my first call to the tech support people had the guy manning the phone asking me "are you new?" when I'd been there a year. Honestly, the biggest issues there were the paper jams the piece of crap Okidata tractor feed printer was prone to give me, especially since it sat on a shelf 7 feet off the floor and I had to climb like a monkey to get to it. That guy laughed when I told him there was nothing control alt delete can't fix, then responded that he understood why I hadn't called him. (I saved that employer hundreds of dollars by chan…

You Know You're a Regular When

You walk into a restaurant, sit down, and the server comes up and says the exact order you usually get.

Five times at Bosphorous in a year and that's what happened tonight. Of course, it was just Ed and me and we'd decided we were ordering different things this time!

So, Ed had a lamb saute that was wonderful, and I had lamb kebabs. They brought us extra bulgur because they had been out the last time we were there. As much as we love the mixed grill, the lamb was so wonderfully seasoned and tender.

We were so stuffed that we brought the baklava home. Seriously, theirs is so amazing that I wasn't passing it up. I probably won't have room to eat it until tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, Ed has designs on all the leftovers. When it tastes better than these pictures look, could you blame him?

Daily Eats, Tampa

In the time I worked down in the Hyde Park section of Tampa, I found a bunch of places to get a decent lunch or dinner. My first day on the job, the boss treated me to a meal at the Wine Exchange, and that became the special treat that I'd enjoy with the laptop every once in a while.

The nearby SoHo area has an abundance of little bistros and restaurants that made it easy to find good food, no matter what cuisine I was in the mood for. One day, I tried Daily Eats and their special that day was a greek burger and I was sold. As my work shifts meant I was there for lunch or dinner, the brunch menu never passed in front of me. (The sweet potato fries, the burgers, and their wonderful bowls? Oh, my yes!)

Yesterday, though, the lure of some shopping nearby brought us down Howard street and of course, that meant I was going to visit this old favorite once again. Not surprisingly, the restaurant was packed and had a wait, but it appears that those in front of us were parties of 4 o…

Not So Little Debby

We have a stalled tropical storm overhead. It's not pleasant.

If there was some way to get this rain to relocate over those wild fires in Colorado, I'd send it in a heartbeat.

One thing I will say is this: the news station that embraces social media and uses it all the time is the one I will now turn to for most of the news. I was a WFLA girl, but the ABC affiliate was hosting a giveaway a couple of months ago (16 iPad 2's), so I started following all the air talent.

Denis Philips, the lead meteorologist, posts throughout the day, every day and has been doing so through this weather situation, in between hosting their web channel and a chat, too.

He has called tornadoes that touched down before the National Weather Service, by analyzing the doppler images during the broadcasts, checking the wind speeds and other activity in the area. It's impressive.

Those of you here in Florida, please stay safe.

Olde Town Pizzeria and Pasta, Plant City

While New York style thin crust is my absolute favorite pizza, there is a place in my heart for Chicago Deep Dish, too. When Pizzeria Uno expanded years ago and opened one on LI convenient to the movie theatre my dad, sister and I patronized most often, it got a lot of our business. Years later, I even got a job waiting tables at Uno's, because I loved their product.

Here in Florida, we've got several places that serve the pizza that you eat with a fork and knife. This is good, because the nearest Uno's locations flank either side of Walt Disney World and are way too hectic to consider on anything but a weeknight. Enter Olde Town.

Their Brandon location is in the same little strip mall as Carvel, so it was a matter of time before we decided to give them a try. When we did, we agreed that it was dumb to wait so long, because their representation of deep dish is so good: flaky crust, bright tomato sauce, plentiful fillings and an atmosphere that is pleasant and relaxing…

Crazy Buffet, Tampa

We have lived in Central Florida for eight years, half of those just outside Tampa, and there are quite a few places we haven't tried yet. An avowed carnivore, I am definitely in the doghouse for not getting to Bern's. Soon, though.

Meanwhile, other than Sam Seltzer's by RayJay Stadium and Wright's in South Tampa, we haven't been to any of the restaurants dotting Dale Mabry Highway. Several people had mentioned that Crazy Buffet is a superior location serving Asian food, so when we were passing by on the way over to International Plaza today, Ed asked 'Why not?'. I couldn't argue, and a filling meal was in the cards.

If you want variety, Crazy Buffet has it. I counted over 30 varieties of sushi rolls, with types I'd never seen before, like salmon skin. These were being prepared as we chose them, and the ones we sampled definitely were fresh. I'll be honest, if I'm going to a place that has sushi on a buffet, my objective is to visit t…

The Obligatory Schoolwork Photo

I think I missed a couple of semesters, but this is one of the rare occasions where I'm not typing documents on the computer...


I've been watching a tempest brewing for a long time. Not a friend, not a person I'd even associate with if not for the kids. Perpetually amazed at this one person whose life makes the afternoon soap operas seem boring. Of course, none of it is ever her fault.

Well, things have blown up around her lately, the husband walked out, the car needs $1,000 in repairs, and strangely, all the buddies she claims to have are nowhere to be found when she's in need. The Facebook wall tells a dramatically different tale from the reality, but I'm seeing both sides of it and neither one is pretty-or accurate.

Last summer, I fell for the stories and the little mouths to feed. Had money to share, so I did. The offer of a check to repay it was contingent on me giving her some cash when I had none, so of course, that check was not handed over. Oh well, I chalk it up to a lesson learned. Wiser this time, I wasn't going to help her out. She's notorious for 'can you watc…

Shells, South Tampa

Living in Florida, one does not travel far before finding a seafood restaurant. Here in Lakeland, for instance, we've got Red Lobster (it started here), Bonefish Grill and easily a dozen independent restaurants serving the fruits of the sea. (Mr. Fish, you're on my list!). As you get closer to either shore, the number of places increases exponentially.

When we lived near Brandon, we would opt for Shells probably about as often as we went to Red Lobster. The food was good, the prices were about the same and they didn't have the insane crowds. It never disappointed, but we were sad to find that the chain was shuttering several locations, including Brandon. As that was a couple of years ago, before the economy really tanked, I thought that it was gone, especially since the last newspaper article about the chain wasn't very optimistic.

Tonight, however, we were over in Tampa around dinner time and spied a Shells location on Dale Mabry. (At that point, I think the fa…