My heart wanted a glass of armagnac.
Today I’m wrapping up the Florida vacation photos. We’re starting with Sunday, October 5 at EPCOT. My sister made reservations for Teh Smitten and me at the always nice French bistro. I had steak (with some lovely escalloped potatoes and haricots vert) and Smit had the duck.
We had cocktails before and after dinner and wines with. Do I recall what we drank? No. I have new respect for people who can keep track of what they drink at EPCOT’s wine and food festival. It rained on us a good bit – it was all we could do to hold a drink while wearing these vile Disney ponchos.
Thankfully, it cleared up a bit after dinner and we got to watch the fireworks on the way out. We also discovered that my niece has a thing for world music. EPCOT was blasting this celtic jam with a disco backbeat and the girl was working it over by the German pavilion!
After all the drinking, we drank some more.
The next day, we celebrated my birthday at one of the restaurants at the Japanese pavilion. My sister LOVES her some Japanese steak house action. This resulted in certain humiliations. I heard that people celebrating their birthdays at Disney were provided extra fun things – like special birthday desserts. Well, the fine folks sang me happy birthday and provided a very nice napolean and planted this awesome hat on me.
I really don’t know what I was thinking aside from “more sake please”. I’m not just blushing in this photo – that would be sunburn.
When I was five, the family took a trip to Disneyland where Chip and Dale inflicted much damage to my hair. The Animal Kingdom’s version was much kinder to my niece and Dale flirted with me, which was disturbing.
The time spent at Treasure Island was pretty relaxing, and Teh Smitten and I managed to do a fair bit of exploring around St. Petersburg. One day we went to the Florida Orange Groves Inc & Winery and tried a bunch of their fruit wines. It sounds odd, but I really liked their tomato wine – would have made an interesting bloody mary. We picked up a bottle of their Hurricane Class 5 white sangria and drank it at the beach, and brought home a bottle of the dry blueberry wine. Most of the wines are very sweet – they seem to be marketed to people who don’t really like wine. I’m an equal opportunity drinker, so whatever. Afterwards, we grabbed lunch at Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish restaurant. I’m not a huge fan, but its been there for 50 years or so, had a ton of character and great German potato salad.
The sister and the fam headed back on Saturday, so Teh Smitten and I went to the Dali Museum for a little culture.
Later that day, we went to Ybor City to have dinner at the famed Columbia Restaurant – it boasts that it is the largest Spanish restaurant in all of North America. It was a great experience! Ybor City is pretty, and the restaurant consumes an entire city block. We ate in the lovely bar area. I think there was a wedding reception and two large events going on in that place that night.
We had calamari, scallops, mussels with chorizo, crab and chicken croquetas, perfect Cuban bread, wine, port and Teh Smitten tried a glass of that Japanese whisky – Suntory’s Yamazaki (it was very nice). For dessert, white chocolate bread pudding topped with rum sauce. It was amazing. The service was outstanding. That experience was so much more than I had expected it would be.
They also have a gift shop where they sell their own hand-rolled cigars. Teh Smitten picked up a bourbon soaked cigar to enjoy at some point.
And now I dream of the next vacation. Teh Smitten wants to go to the Cocktail Convention in New Orleans next year. I think that sounds like a very good idea.