Monday, February 17, 2014

Fresh Lunch

Gotta tell ya, life is good.  I got up early this morning, brewed some coffee from the beans I roasted yesterday (33% Brazil / 66% Guatemala blend), checked my e-mail and got a few housekeeping chores done.  

I decided to wander out back, grabbed a fishing rod and chunked a rubber shrimp in the creek.  A couple casts later, I had a some tentative strikes, so I set my mind to working the creek over.  The spotted trout were sluggish and tentative when they would hit, and they were quick to spit the lure back out.
I worked the creek over, moving up about 100 yards and slowly working back down the bank, retrieving slow, bumping on the bottom, giving the lure little twitches to get some attention from the trout.  A couple times I'd spot one stalking the lure, but not quite interested enough to hit it.  It was challenging - but that's why they call it "fishing" and not "catching". 

I managed to pull in a couple keepers during the next hour.  Just in time!  As I was bringing them in Gayle asked if I'd like a grilled cheese for lunch.  I told her no, I'd much prefer fried trout for lunch. ;)

A couple minutes with a fillet knife, a quick dredge through some seasoned flour and about 4 minutes a side in the frying pan - it's lunchtime.  

Now I guess it's time to get back to work.  These websites won't write themselves.

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Well, I pulled some of the ladyfish cut bait out of the freezer, threw it on a circle hook and tossed it out in Alligator Creek.  Not much action today, got a couple catfish.  Just as it was getting dark and I was about to give up, I got a strong hit that stripped off about 20 yards of my spool before I knew what happened.  I fought him in, and fortunately Gayle was handy with the net.  We got a nice bluefish, about 2 feet long, probably 3 to 4 pounds.  I wasn't sure if they were good eating or not, I had to look it up.  I read some complaints about them being an "oily" fish, and I found one recipe that recommended lots of lemon juice and white wine.

I did the typical for a gamefish like this - I put him in an ice-water bath to draw the blood into the organs, slashed the gills to bleed him out, and waited about 10 minutes.  Then I filleted it out.  My impression was a nice firm flesh, lighter than tuna, but darker than trout or snook.  Slapped each fillet on a piece of foil, drizzled lemon juice, Old Bay seasoning, some lemon pepper, a few bay leaves and a couple pats of butter.  Folded up the foil into a packet, tossed them into the oven at 350 and waited 20 minutes.

The result was awesome.  If I had to describe it, I'd call it "white salmon".  It actually tasted a lot like a nice salmon, but a bit lighter and the meat was nice and white.  If I manage to catch one of these again, I'd grill 'em on a plank, just like salmon.  Serve with lemon and dill sauce.

Of course, it's hard to beat fish when it's less than an hour from the water to the plate.  That's fresh.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Caught a few of these today.  They fight like mad - really fun.  Not much good eating, but I was told they make good bait.  So I took them home, cleaned and cut into chunks.  I put a good-size chunk on a #1 circle-hook, tossed it in and WHAM.  30 seconds later I've got a monster on the hook.  Bummer - he ran and got wrapped around a dock piling.  I don't have a boat or any way to get out to the piling and it's getting dark.  I worked it as long as I could, but the no-see-ums were killing me.  So I cut the line.  Hopefully he'll throw the hook and get caught another day.  Tomorrow I'll try again with the ladyfish cut bait.  Should be fun.

They 'aint Right.

As seen on Craigslist.  Ok, so not everything in Florida is romantic.


  • Location: CALLAWAY
  • do NOT contact me with unsolicited services or offers

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Mi Mo To

A Mi Mo To by david.finster
A Mi Mo To, a photo by david.finster on Flickr.
Another reason I love Punta Gorda - the freshest sushi I've had is just down the street.  Amimoto Japanese Restaurant has a peaceful decor and we felt like a guest, not a customer.

The miso soup was better than I've had before and the salad dressing was crisp, clean and not too sweet.  Here are some photos we took.  Highly recommended, please check it out.

Amimoto Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Blowing Dogs off Chains

It's Wednesday and we are still hanging out at Beverly Beach, but now we see the flip side of backing up directly to the water.  It's been blowing 30 and 40 MPH with puffs even higher all day.  Our truck and RV are now caked with this mixture of blown sand and salt that has completely covered the windows - we can't see out at all.   The RV is bucking and rocking so hard we actually are wondering if it could flip overnight.  Check out this chart from Weather Underground.

We drove down to Daytona and the surf was pretty impressive down there.  We went out on the city pier, and waves were crashing hard enough to hit us up on the pier which I estimate must be 30 feet high.  I took some video, but the tiny iPhone lens doesn't do justice to these 8 and 10 foot rollers crashing into the beach while the wind is blasting at them sideways, tearing the tops off. 

Here's an example of how much beach erosion we got overnight - this void wasn't here yesterday:

It's about 60 degrees and cold in the RV.  The RV heater isn't working and I forgot to bring our small space heater.  Fortunately I have a solution - I broke out the coffee roaster, set it to a 20 minute cycle and cranked it up.  I let the exhaust heat the room and problem solved - it's warm in the RV.  It's all-electric, so no CO emissions to worry about.

Wind is predicted to die down tomorrow, so we'll go exploring and see what else is going on in this town.  Hope it doesn't rain.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Beverly Beach Camptown RV Resort

What an awesome place!  We got here Monday and had the friendliest check-in ever.  RV check-in are traditionally friendly, but this place is over the top.  The office / general store / coffee shop is clean and well stocked - it's got pretty much anything you need.  The lots are wide and deep with full hook-ups and 50 amp service everywhere.

It's expensive as RV spots go.  $95 a day (in season) for an ocean-front space, but consider that you get to back up directly to the beach.  You have your own private stretch of sand out the back window of the 5th wheel, right on the freaking Atlantic ocean.  Compare that experience to a $200 a night hotel, and I'll take the RV spot any day.  It's my birthday, so I felt like splurging a bit.

When I say "back up to the beach", I'm not kidding.  Check out this view.

We brought our coffee roaster and roasted a bit of beans this morning, then took off to St. Augustine for breakfast.  We found this incredible place south of town called Wildflower Cafe.  More about that later.

Considering that empty home lots on this beach are going for upwards of $500k, getting to spend a few days here with the waves pounding outside the 5th wheel is worth it.  I think we'll come back in the summer when the rates are down and do some surfing.

Wildflower Cafe

Wildflower Cafe on Urbanspoon I woke up early this morning, roasted about 2 pounds of coffee, then decided I was hungry.  I was looking for a good place to have my "after my birthday" breakfast.  I jumped in the truck with gayle and started driving north, with no plan except to follow my nose.

We scored.  BIG TIME.

We found this place right on A1A, called Wildflower Cafe.  Turns out, the owner is a chef.  And it shows.  BIG TIME.

I typically don't order pancakes - they usually suck.  I took a risk and asked if I could order a single.  It was freaking fantastic.  I don't know how to describe a perfect pancake, except to tell you what it wasn't.  It wasn't mushy.  It wasn't mealy.  It was light, but didn't fall apart on the fork.  Just right.  The hostess asked if it was OK if the chef put powered sugar on my pancake.  (Are you kidding?  When someone asks if they can put powered sugar on anything, the answer is YES.)

Better than that, I love poached eggs.  I love crab cakes.  I love english muffins.   This place serves - wait for it - Crab Cake Eggs Benedict.

Not only that, but it's awesome.  These are fresh blue crab cakes, underneath perfectly poached eggs on top of a crunchy english muffin, and the whole works is drenched in hollandaise sauce.

DUDE.  Stop whatever you are doing, right now.  Get on a plane and fly yer butt out here.  Don't stop till you get to the Wildflower Cafe and EAT THESE CRAB CAKES.

Gayle ordered the Broccoli quiche.  I don't know how he kept the broccoli looking so fresh and tasty, while cooking it inside a quiche - but he did.  I tried a bite and it was awesome.  It looked to me like the quiche had a crust.  I asked Gayle and she reported it did have a top crust - made of bacon strips and cheese. 

Are you kidding?  I didn't want to leave - I wanted to just stay there until I got hungry again.  It's that good.

I don't always score when I take off without a plan, but when I do - it's sweet.  This was a great find, completely by accident.

Aki Sushi

Aki Sushi on Urbanspoon Great little hole in the wall sushi place.  Everything was fresh, the salad was really delicious, crisp and cold - the ginger dressing was plentiful and really tasty.

We ordered a combo sushi / sashimi plate and a couple special rolls.  No complaints.  The spicy tuna was very good and the salmon was super.  I was very impressed with the quality of the green tea - it was almost buttery.

If you are near Ocala, be sure to stop in.  It's worth a drive.