Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Florida: Part Deux

So on Saturday, I decided to go to the Orlando Temple... just to see if they do everything right down here. They do.


I am becoming less shy of asking strangers to take photos of me. I just wish I had a stylist to tell me when my sweater is over only one b**b.

I am grateful to have the freedom of a rental call while I am here. Todd chose this one because it smelled good inside.


It's a Pontiac. The first Pontiac I've been in since our neighbors bought a fancy new Pontiac Sunbird in 1980. No I take that back... my college roommate bought a Pontiac Grand Am. It was like sitting on your grandparents comfy couch. Anyway, the car gets me around.

The rest of Todd's co-workers arrived and we HAD to eat at their favorite spot: Vito's. I have been hearing about Vito's since Todd came here last year.


This is a meat place, but a very fancy meat place. Our server, Abdul, brought out the meat platter. It was presented as if it were dessert, but it was raw meat. He used his little flashlight to show us the different cuts and to explain where they come from on the cow. He also detailed the cow's diet, lineage, and hobbies.


Sorry, that's as good as I could get. Vito's is very atmospheric.

When Todd's company dines together, they don't skimp. I am trying to remember to follow the Japanese tradition and take photos of my food, because on this trip, it has been wonderful! At Vito's we started with stone crab:


So yummy. Todd and I shared the T-bone which has a New York strip on one side of the bone and a fillet mignon on the other side. He let me have the fillet. The side and the desserts were OK, but our steak was amazing... and the bill was over $700. Apparently the economy has not hit the dining expenses yet.

Back at our lovely and HUGE hotel...


(It looks like a small city...) Celebration high school was having its Prom. It was interesting.



I looked up church times and got ready and went in search of an LDS chapel. The GPS led me to a liquor store, so I high tailed it back to the temple because there are always chapels near temples right? Not in Orlando. So I thought I'd try the zoo. GPS said no. I tried "Flea World". The GPS just wanted me to go back to the hotel. So I did. Is sitting reverently by the pool considered an appropriate Sabbath activity?

That night we were taken out again by Todd's company, this time to a charming section of Orlando called Winter Park (amazingly cute older houses). The restaurant was Houstons, a BBQ place. The napkins had button holes so you could just button them right on.


I was trying to go a little light, so I had the sashimi tuna salad (with HUGE chunks of perfect mango and avocado).


I shared Todd's amazing ribs, asparagus, and delicious braised red cabbage.



I was off on an adventure and needed some special breakfast fuel.

I drove over to the west side of Florida, past Tampa, down to St. Petersburg to attend the Salvadore Dali museum.


It was well worth it. Here is a huge banner on the outside of the museum showing Salvadore and the museum's main benefactress, Mrs. Morse. Salvadore's in a cape, that crazy guy. His crazy mustache and a lot of his visual symbolism came from the artist, Vasquez. He paid homage, repeatedly, to his favorite artists, scientists, and philosophies in his art.


It was really cool to see so much of his work, from the very early years (one painting done when he was 14!) to his huge 20' masterpieces. I went on a tour and learned a lot about the background to many of his paintings. My very favorite on of the collection was not available in any prints or postcards or anything! But it was nice to go around at my own pace and read every placard if I wanted and I didn't have to worry about anyone but me.

The marina is just outside and it was getting me in the mood to find some ocean! But first I had to ask a stranger a favor.


How could I resist?

St. Petersburg is an interesting little town. There was a cute main street but 80% of the stores are boarded up I couldn't tell if it was on its way up or out, but here was somewhere I wanted to stop:


And here's somewhere I wanted Todd to see:


Here's the GPS telling me I am getting close to water!


The beach road was very retro with cool old hotels and souvenir shops.


You KNOW the Thunderbird was the place to stay in its prime!

I found a nice little parking lot with a changing room and made myself at home on teh beach.


I had such a nice time being perfectly warm and cooled by a breeze. I felt lucky.

Then I had to drive home. On the way was this huge RV sales place that had more Airstreams than I had ever seen before. They had so many they could afford to bury a few to make RV art.


Ahhh... home sweet home, and my husband waiting for me!


More adventures to come...


mo said...

Now I know I should have been there with you! (At least to take pictures so you don't have to rely on non-fashion conscious strangers!) You look like you are having such fun adventures...and the food, oh my goodness, the food!!!! Love the Dali bench! It's too cool.

the wrath of khandrea said...

you are really good at documenting your vacation. minus the picture of the chick-fil-a. that part should've been left out. we should all keep our dirty little secrets to ourselves.

katyvee said...

You're really, really, cool.

Anonymous said...

R.V. art - hah! count on the bizarre southern sense of humor.

Tara Badstubner

Theresa said...

at first I thought the rv art was an AT&T cinglar commercial,.. more bars in more places. :)

I love the bizarre bench photo. Too bad you weren't able to find a nearby church,.. florida,.. what's the world coming to. :)

Amy Lynn said...

What a fabulous vacation! I love having a great place to be and no schedule other than what I dictate to be my schedule. Fancy red meat, beach, sun, quirky tourist places, husband all to myself...is this heaven?

Julie said...

I'm loving your vacation pix. For a small chunk of my life I lived by St. Pete (on an island called Tierra Verde). And Michael was at the Dali Museum last year, and brought me no pix, but a warped clock ornament for the tree. So thoughtful! Looks like a great time - Lucky you!!!

Rynell said...

You've got me thinking that the one time I went to Florida I missed out on some good stuff. Dali exhibit, Orlando temple, beach...awesome.