Whisk Gourmet Restaurant and Catering

After twenty minutes of searching for parking and walking practically four blocks to the restaurant (in Miami we are not used to walking too much), we finally arrived.  My foul mood lifted almost immediately...
The vibe in the restaurant is chic and trendy.  We went for lunch and found a mix of executives and housewives.  Although the restaurant is almost unassuming, it has a certain  "je ne sais quoi".
I really enjoyed just being there.

The menu was different from most I've seen in Miami.  Yet, from the selections I could almost guess, what the meals would look and taste like. 

Once we received our meal, my husband immediately commented that this restaurant was similar to Justine's Kitchen" in Charleston, SC.  I argued and said "No way, you are crazy!!!"  I continued by adding that Justine's was a very southern, home-like restaurant, almost like eating at a southern neighbor's home.  I even added that Whisk was too chic to be like Justine's.

Lunch was fabulous!  We shared a house salad (WHISK House Salad w/ Organic Mixed Greens, Raisins, Gorgonzola, Brown Butter Walnuts, Fresh Tomato & Cider Vinaigrette) and then each had a half of two different sandwiches.  We ordered the Pimiento Cheese & Fried Green Tomato Sandwich w/ Hydroponic Arugula, 3 Fried Green Tomatoes, Pecanwood Smoked Bacon and the Turkey Avocado Lettuce & Tomato w/ Lettuce, Tomato, Mayo & Dijon.  The first was better than the second, however, if you request the raspberry mayo, the turkey sandwich gets a whole lot better.

So while we had coffee and my husband ate a cookie for dessert, our server came over and my husband interrogated her (as he loves to do).  It turns out we were both right. The owner is from the south, and wanted to introduce Miami to gourmet southern cuisine.

I think he hit it right on!!!  This place is great.  You can even look past the horrible parking, because it truly is a special place.

Drop in, you certainly won't be disappointed!

Universal Studios

Well, its that time of year again!  The time for the national holiday that is my birthday and my daughter's birthday.  We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our birthdays! Today is officially MY birthday.  We alternate birthday trips since our birthdays are so close together.  My daughter chose the trip this year.  This year we  will go to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.  She's never been to either of these parks.

We are staying at the Lowe's Royal Pacific Resort, part of the Universal resorts.  When you stay at one of their three resorts everyone in your group receives "Fastpass" privileges at the Universal parks.  This means you can bypass the regular long lines and speed ahead of everyone through a special line.  This is a real time-saver.  Staying at the resort also allows us to go into the park one hour before it opens to easily access the very popular Harry Potter ride.

We arrived at the hotel around 5pm.  We walked around to explore and and admire how beautiful it is.  We showered and changed and headed off to dinner at Kobe Steak House. We drove to the location 10 miles away becasue it was much nicer than the one close to the hotel. We sat at the Tepanyaki table and had an enormous and delicious meal.  When we left the restaurant we couldn't move.  We were all stuffed to the hilt!

When we returned to the hotel, we walked around and took photos and enjoyed the lounge areas.  We went to bed past midnight exhausted but very grateful and feeling very blessed!

Guided Turtle Watches

Although reservations are required and the guided sea turtle walks are very popular, my friend's friend was able to get us tickets to participate this evening.  It was a special favor, so don't attempt to go without a reservation, it won't happen...It is unlawful to harass or disturb the sea turtles as they are preparing their nests or laying their eggs.  There are specific rules regarding lighting and walking on the beach at night which are designed to protect these threatened and endangered species and their eggs.  For the safety of the sea turtles it is recommended that viewers join guided watches.

We've lived in Florida most of our lives and had never been on a Sea Turtle walk.  The Sea Turtle Preservation Society prepares you well for the exciting experience.  We watched a video and a guide explained everything we would encounter and also provided instruction on how to behave during the walk. Flash photography is not permitted so the pictures are a bit dark, but thankfully you can still make out what is happening.

There are permitted STPS guides throughout the beach searching for incoming sea turtles preparing to nest.  Once spotted and once she starts nesting and its safe to approach her, the group quietly comes closer and closer to the nesting mother. Once she has starting laying eggs it is okay to get close and watch this miracle.

Light pointed to Loggerhead Mama laying eggs.

The nest with the eggs inside.

The nest with the eggs.

We had more than enough opportunity to see the entire process.  While we were there we also spotted about five other turtles heading up to lay eggs.  Apparently some got spooked because three of them turned around and left. 

We were also lucky because during our experience, the Loggerhead turtle we were watching had a tracking device on her.  The scientist who'd been tracking her, showed up looking for her.  It was the third time she'd come ashore since May to lay eggs on that beach.  The scientist drew blood and performed other exams, which was an added bonus.  The guides that were with us had never experienced that at all.

The scientist holding the turtles head.

The scientist examining the turtle.

We all loved the experience and recommend it highly to everyone...we even had seven year-olds in our group and they were patient, cooperative and awe-struck throughout the entire process.  It is so amazing that  everyone remains actively involved the entire time.

Go ahead and experience this wonderful miracle of life...

Sea Turtle Preservation Society
PO BOX 510988
Melbourne Beach, FL 32951
or check out the link to their website above.


Our Wedding Anniversary in Melbourne, FL

When Al and I got married seventeen years ago, I was a teacher.  I planned our wedding in the middle of the summer to ensure I would have ample time to get ready for the wedding and ample time from the honeymoon until the start of the new school year.  It worked out perfectly. 
It also works out well for our anniversaries.  We usually travel for our anniversary just because we can...work is usually not as busy and the children don't have any commitments, so its perfect.  Although we weren't planning to be away this year, it worked out that way.  We were in Melbourne.  We had a great time celebrating our special day.
Melbourne is only a short 3 hour drive from Miami but there are things to do there that you couldn't do in Miami such as visiting  Kennedy Space Center.  The beaches are different from the beaches in Miami because they are a bit more rough.  Surfing is a possibility there (unlike Miami).
We spent the early part of the day relaxing and then had frozen drinks and appetizers at SquidLips.  It has a "Florida Keys feel" with the live music playing, the raw bar and just sitting by the water relaxing and sipping cold drinks.  We had a table for the adults and a table for the children.  Everyone had an enjoyable time while listening to beautiful music, enjoying terrific scenery and munching on delicious treats.

We had the frozen Margaritas to start, accompanied by the  Artichoke and Crab Dip, Conch Fritters, Coconut Shrimp and Chicken Wings, yum!!!

Stop by SquidLips, you'll be happy you did!
Afterwards, we went to our friends house and I beat all the kids on the Wii game, Just Dance 2.  WE went to the mall, which was small and very empty, and then off to our next adventure...
We had a picnic on the beach for dinner.  It was beautiful, and a unique experience.  We ordered takeout from ThaiThai2 on A1A and then took it across the street and had a lovely dinner. 
The meal was delicious, the company great and the evening was spectacular!

After dinner we had yet another amazing experience in Melbourne.  Guess what we did...
Check tomorrow's post for the details...

Dinner in Melbourne, Florida

Our friends took us to dinner at this fabulous restaurant, Palm Shores Diner, which is a house that has been converted to a restaurant.

They offer an extensive menu which makes it very hard to make a decision for me.  I know...I have issues...everyone prefers to have many choices, but I become overwhelmed.  I usually choose something different from other members of my group so I can taste different things.

We went for dinner, but most of us ordered "breakfast" items.  I had the Salmon Benedict (delicious!), my daughter had her usual cheeseburger, my husband had like 3 different dishes for himself (he always orders some kind of egg entree, a side dish or two and then a dessert entree, like pancakes or waffles).  He loves breakfast foods!  My son ordered the NY Style Cheesecake Pancakes with Fresh Strawberry Topping and Whipped Cream, which was incredible!!! It's his new favorite now.

The ambiance was good, the meal was delicious and the service was good.  All in all a great experience and one I would recommend...

The Last Space Shuttle Launch

One of the great things about living in Florida is there is always something exciting to do...and most of the time those things are fairly close by.  On a whim (and the urging of friends who live in Melbourne, FL) we decided to drive up for the last Space Shuttle launch. 

It didn't look like it was going to happen because of the terrible weather all day yesterday, but we drove from Melbourne to Cocoa Beach (Jetty Beach to be precise) at 6:00 am this the morning in the hopes that we would be able to catch a glimpse of the last shuttle take off and enjoy this historic moment.
(Along with about 1 million others.)

Thank goodness we took our chances...we had to wait until the very last minute, but finally the control center gave the okay and the shuttle was off!

I was not a big follower of the space program, however, those moments after the launch I felt my heart tugging and tears filled my eyes.  It was a bittersweet moment...

I am so happy we experienced it!  As always, I am grateful that we have the opportunities to experience so many amazing things...

Blogathon 2011 Update

As you may have noticed, I stopped posting for several days. First there was an issue with the blogger site. The blogs could be viewed but it was not possible to post for several days last week. I continued writing in a notebook, in order to post when the site came up. Unfortunately there were a series of "life events" (nothing serious) just time-consuming things, and in order to get at least 5 to 6 hours of sleep every night I had to give up writing posts for a few days.

I'm back and although I am not in the running to be a winner for the 2011 Blogathon, I will add the blogs I wrote and will continue to write as much as possible the rest of the month.

In addition to maintaining a happy marriage, raising my elementary age children full-time, enjoying quality family time together, I also help my friend with her Educational Materials website (www.thelearningcollection.com), write posts for my three blogs, work as a realtor, and own and rent vacation homes. I also try to read books, other blogs and try to keep abreast of global issues.

To add to all the excitement, we are now in the process of buying a new home which happens to be a short sale. The house has been abandoned for close to two years, so when its finally ours, we are going to have to do a great deal of work to be able to move into it. Something has to give...I only have 24 hours per day and like 50 hours worth of work...

I still have so much I want to do...I have several children's books I've started and haven't finalized. My husband and I have an idea for a children's television show, we've written the treatment but need to pitch it to networks...

I will eventually do everything I want, I just need better time-management skills and a few assistants.

By the way, the answer to the "haiku" is:  The Royal Wedding of William and Kate.