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You call these enchiladas?

You call these enchiladas?

After we came home, I looked up reviews for Poblanos Mexican Grill. One of them said "you're an idiot if you eat here." Well, an idiot if you eat there more than once. I liked the pretty tile work all over the restaurant. I liked the waiter who looked a little like Peter Frampton. If we'd been served food, I might have liked it, but I don't believe what we had qualifies.

Vegetarian burrito with mushroom gravy

Vegetarian burrito with mushroom gravy

He had a vegetarian style burrito. He found it edible. The sauce was this bizarre, salty, mushroom gravy that would be more at home on a trailer-park Thanksgiving table than in a Mexican restaurant. The tortilla was stuffed with a variety of vegetables, but oddly, neither beans nor rice were present, not even as a side.

I had the Enchiladas Suprema, which was one each of their enchilada offerings. One was filled with plain melted cheddar, the second with canned refried beans, the third with barely seasoned taco meat, and the fourth with dry chicken. There was no enchilada sauce, just a dollop of sour cream and a tiny bit of canned tomatoes on the top, so the entire dish was dry and there was nothing to hide how unappetizing the enchiladas were.

I have no idea why we dared order dessert. My rationalization was that we had a weird sopapilla at another local restaurant, and I wanted to see if it was a Florida thing. Well, this sopapilla was certainly not the same as the other place. Nor was it anything I would identify as a sopapilla. There was a fried tortilla with wedges of ice cream on top. There was plain cinnamon (no sugar) dumped on some bits of the tortilla. The whole thing was drizzled with what tasted like Hershey's syrup and--get this--squeeze butter. Go have some ice cream with butter and tell me if you like it. I'll wait.

Wasn't very good, was it?

So yes, Poblanos: you're an idiot if you eat here.

 

mamicarmens

Don't be fooled by the mild-mannered exterior.

\We found pupusas!

This little shop is on 15th street in Bradenton, just south of SR70. We got hooked on Salvadoran food at La Guanacita back in Beaverton.  As a test dish, Bill decided to order the same thing he used to: pupusas queso con loroco.

pupusasquesoconloroco

Pupusas, queso con loroco

They were a bit bigger, and he liked both the pupusa and the curtido better.  A wonderful, filling meal.

chuletascontajedas

Chuletas con Tajedas

I had Chuletas con Tajedas, "chuletas" being pork chops (they're under there!) and "tajedas" being fried green banana slices. The pork chops were smothered in a layer of tajedas--which taste a bit like french fries--cabbage, tomatoes, and a light mustard sauce. While the chops were neither tender nor moist, I don't think they were meant to be. The flavor was fantastic, and getting a bite with everything was an eye-roller. So. Good.

Service was excellent, and the interior was charming and comfy. I look forward to working my way through the menu.

Aquatica Portlandicus Obnoxiiosi

Aquatica Portlandicus Obnoxiiosi

There's a reason Molly Brown was unsinkable. Got myself out to the pool today, and had a blast doing laps and watching the anoles on the fence.  I found my back uncomfortably arched during my breast stroke because my ass is, well, extremely buoyant. I haven't done any actual swimming in decades. Once I got going, I enjoyed it. And I certainly have no fear of drowning. Ever.

Besides the swimsuit, my Florida wardrobe is laid in. It is full of skirts, shorts, and bright colors. I haven't felt pretty in my clothes for a while, and I'm enjoying the girly turn.  The Spousal Unit even shopped today, getting some shorts and a gorgeous Guayabera that looks so good on him.

Thing I learned today: when you are on the freeway, and must slow down because the monsoon has reduced visibility, you engage your emergency flashers. It's apparently a tropics thing, as the Spousal Unit had seen it before.

Before we moved here, we kept hearing from the locals how frustrating the elderly drivers were. I am actually finding the mature, experienced drivers a damn sight safer than the young, uptight jerks that dominate the roads in Portland. Yes, people occasionally drift over to your lane without signaling. But they don't swoop over and cut you off.

Something we've done twice already is stop to help a turtle cross the street.

Florida Soft Shell Turtle, hitchin' a ride.

Florida Soft Shell Turtle, hitchin' a ride.

Today this fella was crossing just a few yards from the condo. We set him down in the grass, and another couple stopped to see if help was needed, and ask about turtles in general. They were always afraid to pick them up because they didn't know which ones would bite. The Soft Shell sat docilely in the grass while Bill petted it and explained that this one wasn't all that bitey, and how they could recognize the snapping variety. After a few minutes, the turtle made his way to the pond and splashed on in.

On to the restaurants...

Lunch was Bangkok Tokyo, which, as the name suggests, has a pan-Asian menu. Chinese, Thai, and Japanese. I ordered my standard Chinese test of sweet and sour pork, and Bill ordered his Thai test of massaman curry. I was promptly served sweet and sour chicken, but didn't fuss. The portions were good, and the sauce standard. The white rice was nice and sticky, which I love. The plating was very pretty: I got a carrot bird, he got a carrot goldfish. The massaman was coconut-heavy, lacking the other spices that usually balance that out. The spice was quite nice; he ordered medium and got it. They had some intriguing desserts, so we both had a go. I had Thai donuts, which was a puff of fried pastry with little sweetness, and a dipping sauce of sweetened condensed milk and crushed peanuts. It was very yummy. He ordered the honey banana, which was vanilla ice cream (usually coconut, but they were out), and bananas fried in tiny dough packets. The bananas on their own weren't sweet enough, but taken with a little ice cream, they were just right.

All in all, well, I might go back just for dessert.

Nothing to do with food. I just like this picture of the Spousal Unit.

The Spousal Unit at the Stonewood Grill.

We went to see a second house for the day (it was meh), and had dinner at the Stonewood Grill & Tavern. I was thrilled to find that one of their steak treatments was "Oscar style," as I hadn't had that in many years. I ordered a small filet Oscar style, which means it's topped with asparagus, crab meat, and Bearnaise. It came with veggies and garlic mashed potatoes. Bill had to work a bit, as the place isn't built for vegetarians, but he had a bowtie pasta sans grilled chicken. They went over and above for him, adding extra veggies and some of their bruschetta sauce to the dish, which added tons of flavor. The cream sauce was very light, and didn't interfere with the wonderful mix of vegetables with the pasta. A superior veg dish.

Mini Filet Stonewood Oscar Style.

Mini Filet Stonewood Oscar Style.

My steak was a little dry on the edges, but perfect once you got a bite into it. Nearly fork tender. The asparagus was perfect, the Bearnaise tasty and not overdone, but the crab meat was fishy, and I skipped most of it. The garlic mash was the star, and I had to protect my plate from Bill. Light, fluffy, not too much garlic, with a wonderful herb infusion. The veggies were the only sour note on my plate. The zucchini and yellow squash were badly overdone. I think they meant to have mushy roasted peppers, but crisp would have been so much better. The carrots were pretty good, but none of the other vegetables survived the addition of too much thyme. Thyme is a strong flavor, and it absolutely didn't work here.

Florida Orange Cake

Florida Orange Cake

Dessert was joy in my mouth, and even if the rest of the meal had been mediocre, the Florida Orange Cake would probably lure us back. A rich pound cake with mild orange filling was topped with Dreamsicle frosting. The frosting was overpowering, but so, so good it was hard to stay away from. The whipped cream and the white chocolate chips on the side were superfluous. The trick with this cake was to take a bite, then afterward, a nip of orange. Absolutely fantastic.

And now it's time to get the remote away from The Mad Clicker.

 

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Last night we went to look at our first house. We will be renting for a year or so before we buy.  The space was amazing--open plan, tile floors, high ceilings. Basically everything we ever wanted in Portland, but couldn't find. There were a few small problems, and there are a lot of places to look at yet, so we're probably not renting that one. But it was nice to know that the listing was for real, because it had a "too good to be true" quality to this girl of less-than-affluent background.

Samosas

Sad little samosas.

After the showing, we hit the first mall on the parkway (University  Parkway is more or less one long mall), and went to the first non-chain restaurant we came to. Tandoor Indian Cuisine was a very pretty restaurant. A bit of a surprise, as we couldn't really see in the windows, and from the outside it could well have been a 3-table takeout place.

The papadon were flavorful, and served with a fantastic onion chutney. A bit sweet and very crunchy, with a nice bite.  The vegetable samosas were lackluster. They were serve with a trio of toppings: tamarind sauce, cilantro chutney, and more of the onion chutney.  All of the toppings were very good, which was lucky since the samosas needed them.

Malai Kofta

Chef Boyardee Kofta.

The dumplings in the Vegetable Malai Kofta were yummy, and just the right texture. The sauce was tomato-heavy, and when mixed with the cheese, tasted very reminiscent of Chef Boyardee spaghetti sauce.  At first, this was a little delightful, but it became less tolerable on subsequent bites.  The Saag Paneer was very plain. Some salt perked it up--but I don't expect to add salt in an Indian restaurant. The paneer was unsalted, and the spinach was flat and nearly tasteless.

So, pretty place, but the food wasn't good enough to go back for. We will continue our search for Indian in Sarasota.

On our way home, these guys were across the street from the condo:

sandhillcranes

Mr. and Mrs. Sandhill Crane

Every day here we see white herons, great blue herons, sandhill cranes, and ibis. And probably a few more big birds that I don't know the names of. They are not shy, and you often have to wait for them to saunter across the road in front of you. Gorgeous things.

We have been having a good old tropical rain storm all friggin' day. Sunshine State my ass. At least it's warm. Also, even though it's pouring down rain, there still tends to be sunlight coming from somewhere, so it's not really dark.

Went phone shopping at the Verizon store, only to find that they were out of most of the phones on display. Also, I still hesitate at the monthly price of a smartphone. Ouch.

mipeublalights

Lunch was at Mi Pueblo, which is the prettiest Mexican restaurant I have ever been to. Custom door frames, fantastic tile work, and gorgeous religious iconography. I so want the punched metal lights they had everywhere. Weirdly, the booths were standard ugly and way too low, allowing the child behind my to play poke-and-duck. Taller booths would also have worked as a sound baffle, as the place was so loud I left with a headache.  But other than that, gorgeous. The food was...well, it was food. The Spousal Unit ordered a bean burrito, which was tasty, but uninspired. I ordered the Pollo en Mole. Basically chicken with melted milk chocolate poured over it. That was a pretty sad excuse for mole. But hey, stuff anything in a tortilla and it tastes better. The only picture I remembered to take was of our mostly-devoured sopapilla. It was a puffed pastry dusted with cinnamon and sugar, and you put the honey and whipped cream on yourself. No sauce. It wasn't what I know as a sopapilla, but it was still plenty tasty.

mipueblosopapilla

Sarasota has an adorable downtown. They've worked hard to make it a walking city, with nice sidewalks, small shopfronts lining the streets, and public art. There's also plenty of parking, because the public transport sucks beach balls.

Sarasota Farmer's Market

The Sarasota Farmers Market was good sized, and had a nice variety. When other markets seem to have been taken over by flower vendors, it was nice to see produce, art (well, more or less), and food in the majority. We had some killer Argentinian empanadas, and the chick at the booth wanted the Spousal Unit's bearded dragon shirt, which I made for him. Once I'm unpacked, I'll be taking a couple to her.

We also got some delicious sugar-free fudge, tried yet another mediocre jalapeno jelly (I mean really, people!), and listened to The Cadillac Grainers:

I picked up a CD, but I wish it had been more professionally mixed, so you could really hear Holly Foss's amazing voice.

Right by the market on Main Street is A. Parker's Books, which is the kind of book store you dream about. Row after row of aging tomes, as if someone had stepped in and actually curated Powell's. For me, there's a great art section, and for him, poetry. Because there are some books that still require paper.

Our little morning adventure then took us to the only independent art store in town, Art and Frame. And good enough, because it's a very nice store. I was able to replace the fixative I couldn't ship, and pick up a Montana marker to try.

Oh, and did I mention the garage sales? I found pretty boxes, because I often find pretty boxes. I also found this:

lamp

Those are all glass beads and accents. And it casts pretty shadows.

The Spousal Unit worked for a couple hours, then when I picked him up, we chose a street and started driving. And got lost. We ended up way north of Sarasota somewhere. But it was fun, and we made it home in one piece. It was a good day. I shall end with an anole:

anole

We've been eating out way too much. The food here is pretty damned good. Since Getinmybelly.org is not quite upgraded enough to update, I'm going to summarize our food adventures so far, and transfer it over there later. No pictures, no notes. Gonna fix that, as our goal is to go to a new place every time we venture out.

Rincon Cubano is a bit of a cheat, since we came here in March. We haven't had a lot of Cuban food, but this is far and away the best we've experienced. Layers of fantastic flavors, great service, and a relaxed atmosphere. This is already a comfort food spot for us.

Lucky Pelican doesn't currently have a working website. He had a butternut squash ravioli, which was very rich and a bit sweet. A nice depth of flavor. I found it a bit too rich for an entire meal, but he loved it. I had the lobster bake. The mussels were the best I've ever had, and the lobster was mild and delicious. The clams were very strong and fishy, and I didn't finish them. For dessert, we tried the Havana Banana Brulee. Caramelized banana slices atop a custard and a pastry cup, served with ice cream and caramel sauce. The bananas and custard were fantastic. The caramel sauce on the ice cream was very strong, but perfect when eaten in a bite with the rest of the dessert. Sadly, the pastry cup was thick, dry, and crumbly.

Carrabba's serves some very nice Italian. He had the Penne Franco, I had the Seafood Cannelloni. His was eye-rollingly good. Mine was fine, though not perfectly fresh (supertaster problem--I know your seafood is going off a day before it does).  For dessert, we had the Sogno Di Cioccolata "Chocolate Dream". It was lighter than we expected, and an excellent chocolate fix.

Tonight we ventured over to Kumo Japanese Steak House and Sushi Lounge, because I saw what I thought were several crunchy rolls on their menu. We shared Haru Maki (sweet Japanese egg roll) for an appetizer. It was indeed a little sweet, and served with a sweet chili sauce. I liked it. For entrees, he had Vegetables Love, which included several types of vegetable rolls. It was a very nice plate of food.  I tried a Tiger Roll and a Green Dragon roll. Sadly, these weren't the crunch rolls I was hoping for. They had deep fried elements, but there was no crunch, and mostly it was standard sushi. There's nothing wrong with that, and it was all high-quality, but it's just not my thing.  The restaurant itself was beautiful, though loud. Service was mixed. We'll probably go back, and I'll try a steak instead of hoping for redneck sushi.

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A last moment in the sun

A last moment in the sun

Just got a little sunburn watching Accushred NW destroy thirteen years of my online life. I took the box of seven hard drives out to the truck myself. They fit in a shoe box. I live so much of my life online. I have friends I've never met in real life, but are as close as family. I met my husband online. All that life, in a shoe box.

The nice tech was re-arranging boxes of shredding when I went out. I waited for minutes on end, wondering what he was up to. He was slowly revealing the machine at the head of the cargo area so I could witness the shred. I was willing to drop and run, but fair enough, he'd worked hard to show me this, so I would watch. Atop the machine sat a box with a plexiglass door. The door was cracked, taped over with black duct tape. Inside was what looked like a pitted metal funnel with a two-inch tube. The tech put my oldest drive in. The thing was such a monster he had to drill (I think it drilled, I wasn't close enough) twice to do the job. He removed my drive from the box so I could witness its utterly mangled state. I nodded, smiled, said: "yeah, nobody's getting anything off that."

When we scheduled the shred, I was thinking of two things: security, and not moving the damned things to Florida. As I saw the drill come down on that drive, I felt the smallest wrench. That was my first computer. I bought it with money left to me when my last grandparent died. I started blogging on that computer, first at Geocities, soon using Blogger.

The first frytopia

The first frytopia

There are the infamous Green Shoes. I think that first design was one of my favorites.

The shredder box had a design flaw: the drill would push the drive into the bottom of the box so forcefully that the tech had to take a mallet and screwdriver to pound and pry it free. After a few drives, he had to bring the shredder closer to me to plug it in to another outlet. Didn't work; he had to get the truck running. That was a lot to ask of a truck battery. When he next had to manhandle the drive free of the box, sending little bits of metal and plastic flying, I kept a piece. Just a small bit of black plastic. Even less than a shoe box.

 

bowiethere were no digital effects used in that shot.
they actually had David Bowie hanging upsidedown

on this rig system with his boot glued to the brick.
then they just flipped him around and were like, ok David, don’t die.

So I've already started planning my Halloween party for my new friends in Florida. Thanks to letterboxing,  I have a built-in audience for all my crazy-ass stuff. This year, it's a Labyrinth theme. I've already re-watched the movie for the billionth time. Boy, is it ever 80s. I'm not sure I can watch it again, though I still adore the ideas, songs, and visuals. I'll just do the rest of my research online. I have an idea for taking those clear plastic bulbs used for making Christmas decorations, and putting scenes in them. I need to experiment with whoopie cushions to create a (non-smelly) Bog of Eternal Stench. A friend introduced me to the magic of hot glue masks, and I'm dying to make some for the masquerade. So many things.

Completely unrelated: ever notice how pretty much all Disney villains look like Anjelica Huston?

Stuff I already shared somewhere else:

Cake toppers for a Superhero Princess party
Barbara Eden looks better at 78 than I did at 28
We can all be Superman
Unnecessarily sexualized, but still beautiful calligraphy on girls
Ball joint doll tights

Stuff just for you:

Baby lizards
Amazing Lizards on Pinterest