A few minutes ago I saved a document I'd gotten attached to an email. Typically by this time of year I've learned it's a NEW year and I'm pretty good at typing in the correct info. Unfortunately, it's the 15th of January and I've actually been in the office for about a day and a half this year so it really hasn't sunk in that it's 2012. Not that I was goofing off, mind you. The first week was preparing for the annual shindig. Then, this past week we were off to Orlando for a meeting. Since I was going to be in the area, I decided it was a good thing to see some clients. It was not a good thing to be out of the office but, sometimes that's the way these things work.
Jeff lives in Tampa so he's about an hour and a half away from Orlando. Not a bad drive at all. Even to see a Purdue fan. LOL. That's our running verbal sparring. I went to IU, he went to Purdue. Big-time rivals. We got in really late on Tuesday so by the time we woke up on Wednesday it was time to drive to Tampa. Connie'd done the research and found a couple of Triple D places. We've never been anyplace Guy Fieri's loved that we haven't just raved over. Well, except for the Triple X in Lafayette. But, Connie wasn't with me when I ate there so that doesn't count. Do you like the logic there??? Jeff had been to the Taco Bus so he loved the idea of meeting there. Well, let me tell you, that was some fantastic food. We all got the lunch special. Two tacos, rice and beans for $7.99. Best refried beans I've ever had. EVER. And the tacos? Amazing. We liked them in this order: pulled pork (hint of orange from a 5000 year old Mayan recipe according to the menu,) fish, beef, vegetarian with peppers and corn. Here are a few photos of our visit there:
One our way back from Tampa, we just couldn't resist stopping at Ybor City. It used to be quite the cigar manufacturing center. Now, it's a tourist attraction. Cute shops, lots of restaurants. And, what we really like, a museum on the area's history. We were lucky enough to snag a tour from Wally. He's one of two grand master cigar rollers in the US. His wife is the other. He's got a PhD in history - primarily of the cigar industry in the area. Just an amazing man.
One of the coolest things about the museum was it's building - an old bakery with HUGE ovens!
On the way home we managed to get a photo of something we'd seen on the way to Tampa - Air Stream Henge.
Tuesday night we shouldn't have been hungry but we were. Off to a place called Antonio's with my brother John and sister-in-law, Linda. I know, you usually hear brother John and sister-in-law Pam. This is John the elder who's legally a step-brother. But, he's my brother in my heart so that's what counts. Connie ordered the sausage and escarole risotto. I got the eggplant involtini. Neither of us thought to take photos. We were both too busy catching up to even think about blogging. What did we think? If I told you that we went back the next night to get carry out my guess is you'd know we loved the food. Antonio's is in Orlando on 17-92. It's got a restaurant upstairs and a deli/wine shop with some tables for dining downstairs. EVERYTHING we had was wonderful. The next evening we had lasagna, eggplant parmesan, rosemary chicken and mixed veggies. All of them were fantastic. And, Linda had enough leftovers to take care of Friday evening's dinner.
Thursday was our play day. Connie wanted to go see Harry Potter at Universal. I'm not a huge Harry Potter fan but I love my hubby so off we went. I'd go back in a heartbeat if it wasn't so daggone expensive. Best ride I've ever been on. The rest of the park was fun but it included a lot of rollercoasters. Connie loved them. I sat to the side and read a book while he rode them. I'm not a fan of theme park restaurants either but may just have to change my tune after lunch in the Three Broomsticks. I had fish and chips and Connie had ribs and chicken. All of it was really good. Not gourmet by any means but very good.
Friday we were off to the Villages to see Doug and Kathy. We chatted over lunch. Split pea soup and tuna salad sandwich. Some of the best split pea soup I've ever had. From there, we drove to our hotel. Here's a photo of the view from our room.
Beautiful! We all met in the bar for a cocktail or two before dinner. Here's my favorite photo from that - my colleague Missy's hubby Thom and me:
Dinner was on property at their casual dining restaurant. I had the ribeye and Connie the grouper. But, as usual we split and shared. Everyone was happpy with their dinner but we were all happiest to just be able to spend some time with our friends!!
Saturday I spent the day in a very intense board meeting. Some really good things that'll take a lot of work. I can't go into any of it because it relates to my day job and the rules don't allow me to chat about that unless there are a zillion disclaimers etc. Let's just say we were all very happy with the outcome. Those who didn't have to fly out met for dinner at a place called Ocean Prime. Another restaurant I'd highly recommend. I ordered appetizers for the group. We split truffled deviled eggs, crabcakes, ahi tuna with avocado and calamari. Each bite was just incredible. I think my favorite was the tuna. Connie's was the calamari. He just couldn't keep his fork out of that! Then, my friend Joyce ordered a caesar salad and I got some of that. Wonderful. Dinner was crab crusted tilapia and scallops in a jalapeno cream. Another fantastic dinner! My favorite photo of the trip has to be this one of my colleague Tom and his granddaughter:
Lucky me to have a fabulous husband, wonderful friends and clients and such amazing colleagues