Thursday, May 07, 2009

Florida: Part Quatro

So, today I went back to that really cute part of town where we ate at the restaurant Houstons. It is an area of Orlando called Winter Park, and it's where the rich people used to come down for the winter at the turn of the century (the one before this one). The streets are cute and narrow and tree lined and the homes are beautiful Spanish-style mini-mansions.

Park Avenue is the quaint shopping-dining-museum area. It was a little fancy.


The streets are paved in brick and the large oaks are dripping in Spanish moss. This is a Pottery Barn in an old Art Deco movie theater. It's a little bit of a travesty, but at least they didn't tear it down to build the Pottery Barn.


I went there to see the Morse Museum (more Morses... but this museum was put together by the McKeans) which hosts that largest collection of art created and designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, noted for his beautiful stained glass windows and lamps. I WAS IN HEAVEN. The collection held many large and small windows (these windows were not part of the collection), several priceless lamps, and examples of his pottery and jewelry. I was really impressed with the pottery. I have never seen anything like it; beautiful art nouveau motifs and gorgeous metallic glazes. Art nouveau and the arts and crafts movement are two of my very favorite historic periods of art. The highlight of the museum is the chapel that was created for the Chicago World's Fair. It was an exhibit that was built in New York and assembled on site. It contained an alter, a "podium" (I don't know what it's called, a baptistery, several large stained glass windows, and the coolest chandelier I have ever seen in the shape of a double cross. It was the fanciest thing I have ever seen... in a good way. It was inspiring.

I have been so impressed with the two museums I have visited. Both were small scale museums built by private collectors. These are people who have used their wealth to collect the works of artists whom they believe have really contributed to the history of art. These museums represent hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in investment. I am so grateful! So many works of art would be lost to the world without these collectors. I think it is a worthy way to "spend your legacy." Philanthropy is great and important, but I appreciate the art collectors also.

After the museum, I went across the street, got some white chocolate macadamia nut ice cream and enjoyed the park and the fancy shops.


I am grateful to be able to come on this trip. Have I mentioned how hard Todd is working? He leaves the room at 6am and is not finished until 8 or 9pm at night. All day long he is making sure things are running smoothly, and it is all done from this temporary room in the center of the registration area affectionately called the "greenhouse".


There are lots of skylights above this area which let in a lot of natural light... and HEAT! I love Todd. It is fun to be here with him, although I feel guilty going into the room to say hi and he and all of his co-workers are slaving away while I've got my beach bag on my arm! And to add to my guilt, they have been taking me out to dinner with them every night.

This night we went back to Moonfish, a beautiful and delicious seafood restaurant run by the company that owns Vito's (certain people who make the dinner decisions don't like to branch out much... they want to make sure they get an amazing meal, and I guess I don't mind, but when you eat AMAZING food every night it stops being so amazing.) I remembered my camera this time.


Such great details. The faucets in the bathrooms were dolphin heads, and the hooks were whale tails.


Here, like everywhere we have gone, has HUGE menus. Huge in actual size, not variety. But they were pretty!



Highlights of this meal were the coconut shrimp. Usually I am more of a fan of shrimp served cold, but these are A-mazing.


Both nights I have been here I have enjoyed my food (with one exception), but what I have REALLY wanted was the sezhuan sesame encrusted tuna steak, but it cost, like, $40 and I just felt too guilty ordering it on someone else's dime. Todd ordered it this time.


Oh, I love this photo. The tuna is seared and rare. Mmmmm... I love mussels and wanted to go a little lighter so I ordered the Red Thai curry mussels.


When they came out in their bamboo steamer I was so excited. I lifted the lid and it exuded a poop smell. No, you read that right... a poop smell. I wasn't the only one who noticed. Unfortunately, it tasted like poop, too; not a good kind of poop like some cheeses, it was just a bad taste combination. I actually sent it back. I felt like an idiot, and the the server (Bruno) and the manager made a big deal about it, but when food isn't good, it must go back. I helped Todd eat his tuna instead. Now I know, go with your gut... get the tuna.

I have had a really nice time with everyone at Wingate. I feel very self-conscious being the only wife and girl on this trip, but everyone has been so nice... they have even indulged my favorite dinner pastime of "tell me your story."


I still have three days to go! I am having a good time.


Theresa said...

yikes! poop dinner. that's disgusting.

katyvee said...

Kay.. you are definitly having a much more cultured, and tasty trip to Fla-dee-da, than the Rees clan.
The only art we saw was Mickey Mouse statues-- and the priciest meal we had was Planet Hollywood Fajitas. I love the fanciness and enrichment of your stay. I hope I'm more like YOU when I grow up!

Amy Lynn said...

I'm enjoying every minute of your fabulous trip. I love the art museums and parks and fancy tree-lined streets. I love the yummy dinners in fancy places and bathrooms with dolphin faucets. Thank you for posting your vacation has helped me endure the monotony this week! (But please come home. I miss you!)

Svenska said...

That coconut shrimp looks amazing... I want to go to there.

emma jo said...

Oh delicious food and that beautiful neighborhood...I might seriously consider being one of those old people that go there for the winter. We have an older couple up the street that just got back from 'wintering' in FL. I want to go there without kids and follow you to all of the amazing places you have seen. You plan it and I will follow.

Suzie Petunia said...

Did they charge you for the poop dinner? I hope not. Ewww.

Are you happy to be home? Or do you miss life on the road?