The last time we were in Florida, way back in February, we didn’t have time to do all the visiting we hoped to do. We were able make up for that a little bit after we returned from the cruise by getting down to Cape Coral to visit family friends Sheila and Mel Goldstein. To show how convoluted relationships can be in my life, Sheila and Mel are the parents of my brother’s next-door neighbor back in Boulder. There is a pretty strong bond between my brother’s family and a group of his friends and their kids, including these neighbors, and Angie and I have been blessed to be included in many group and family events over the years. Sheila had been a faithful and supportive follower of our travels since August. She and Mel moved (at least part time) to Florida earlier this year, so when I knew we’d be on the Gulf coast again, I dropped Sheila a note to see if we could come down for a visit. Sheila being Sheila, she was totally ok with it, and they welcomed us with open arms last week. We had an evening and morning of lively conversation and great food. First, to comment on the food. My brother had raved about a Peruvian restaurant to which Mel and Sheila had taken them, and it turns out it’s a favorite of Mel and Sheila anyway. I love Peruvian food as it is, so Sheila picked up on my outsized hints, and that’s where we went for dinner. The place is called Aji Limon and it was a low key, welcoming spot. I had the best grouper I’ve had in Florida, where it’s a thing. I had it grilled and it was great, with great spices, though a tad salty. I wasn’t crazy about the green spaghetti,, even though it was basil based, but it was ok. The dish also came with a small portion of potato covered in a spicy cheese sauce. It was flavorful but too spicy for me, but Angie really liked it. Angie had a chicken dish with really tasty black beans and rice, Mel also had the grouper, though in a different preparation, and Sheila had a pot roast. She gave me a bite of it and it was tender and tasty.
Breakfast the next morning may have been as good or better. Sheila made us a delicious breakfast of an omelet accompanied by bagels and cream cheese. They have an excellent bagel joint very close to them and Angie and I debated picking some bagels up on the way out, but decided against it.
As I said, the conversation was also very enjoyable. Sheila is a hoot, and Angie really enjoyed hearing Mel’s perspective on some of the great issues of our time. I grew up close to the Jewish community, so I’m familiar with the wide range of views on Israel and so on, but a lot of it is still new to Angie so she found conversing with Mel to be highly enlightening. We both enjoyed the visit very much.
Although Angie’s parents would be arriving in Palm Harbor on the Wednesday that we were returning from Cape Coral, we figured we had time to get back there without rushing, so we did take a couple of side trips on the way back. We stopped in lovely Siesta Key for lunch, and then took a walk on the Manatee Bay Public beach near Bradenton, which was very busy. The beach did not have the smoothest sans, since it seemed it was composed of a lot of small pieces of shell, but it was a nice interlude. Funnily enough, we pulled into the driveway back at Bill and Doris’ house just ahead of Angie’s parents. It was lively to see them again and to reunite with our dog Rebbe (and Lucie too, of course).
We have a few pictures from this day but connectivity is a bit limited while we are camping. We will get them up when we can.