Monthly Archives: December 2012

Frank and Nic’s West End Grille

Frank and Nics


While on my business trip to Baltimore, my colleague and I were looking for a place for lunch.  Frank and Nic’s was on the list of recommended restaurants from our hotel and it was within walking distance.

Frank and Nic’s West End Grille isn’t your regular sports bar.  It may be right next to the Baltimore Oriole’s stadium, but this casual restaurant has more to offer than beer and burgers.  ITurkey Pot Roast Sandwich tried something different: the turkey pot roast sandwich. It was piled high with meat, potatoes and bacon.  Yeah, it’ll kill ya, but it was very yummy.

If that’s not for you, Frank and Nic’s has quite a varied menu.  It includes grilled chicken sandwiches, pulled pork, Philly cheesesteak, short ribs, salmon, crab cakes, steaks, as well as vegetarian options and, of course, several types of burgers.

We didn’t have any alcoholic beverages at lunch, but they have a lot of fun drinks including a white chocolate martini, West End Margarita, Mojito, the Zenith Martini, the Camden Crush and something called The Skurble.

Being located so close to the stadium, I can imagine Frank and Nic’s must get really busy before and after baseball games. So, you may want to try it in the off-season.

Dates of Visit:  October 2012

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Sanibel’s Song of the Sea


A few weeks ago, I wrote about beautiful Sanibel Island and how much I love visiting there. It’s the perfect place for a short romantic getaway, especially if you stay at the charming Song of the Sea.

This small, intimate inn is right on the beach. The 30, newly-renovated guest rooms are decorated in a French country motif. All have kitchenettes, a full refrigerator, microwave, flat screen TV and screened in porches. Our room overlooked the heated outdoor pool.


Where other hotels charge for certain amenities, many are complimentary at Song of the Sea. Parking is on site and free. You have use of their bicycles – ideal for touring around the island. Beach umbrellas and chairs are at your disposal. Breakfast, including fresh-made Belgian waffles, is free. And you’ll find a complimentary bottle of wine in your room upon check-in.


I was very pleased with this hotel. Cheryl, the manager at the front desk when we checked in, was extremely friendly and helpful. She provided us with maps and a coupon book to use on the island. The only thing that I wasn’t crazy about was that the room had tile floors which tended to be a bit dirty. I had to wash my feet before bed each night! But I would stay at Song of the Sea again. It’s very reasonably priced for all that they offer, plus it’s right on the beach. We got a great deal through AAA.


Song of the Sea is one of four properties in the Sanibel Collection. The others are the Sanibel Inn, Sunset Beach Inn and the Seaside Inn.

Dates of Visit:  October 2012

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Great ice cream at Pinocchio’s – and that’s no lie


For over 30 years, Pinocchio’s Original Homemade Italian Ice Cream has been tickling taste buds on Sanibel Island. Pinocchio’s has won “Best of the Islands-Best Ice Cream” every year since 2004. And they’re on National Geographic’s list of Top 10 Best Ice Creams in Gulf Coast America.

There are 130 different flavors made fresh daily in the store, some with very interesting names: Parrots Nest, Wylie’s Cake Batter, Gator Stew, and Pumpkin Gingersnap. If you’re looking for one of those specific flavors, call ahead. Only 37 flavors are in the freezer every day. With the exception of their signature flavors which you can get all the time: World Famous Sanibel Krunch — vanilla ice cream with toasted chocolate enrobed coconut and gourmet mixed nuts; and Dirty Sand Dollar — caramel ice cream with malted milk balls and chocolate flakes.

We did what most visitors do – after taking a bike ride to the Sanibel Lighthouse, we stopped at Pinocchio’s for ice cream. On my first visit (yes, we went twice) I tried the Purple Cow — black raspberry with chocolate chips. The second time, I got the Dirty Sand Dollar. Both were excellent. But be sure that your eyes aren’t bigger than your stomach. Portions at Pinocchio’s are huge. A kiddie portion was the perfect size for me. It equaled a large single scoop at any other ice cream parlor. Also, Pinocchio’s only serves their ice cream in their own gourmet waffle cones or bowls, no sugar cones here. And each order is topped off with an animal cracker.

So, take a break from the beach, the biking, the shelling, the sand, fishing and golf and dig into a scoop or two of Pinocchio’s ice cream. The perfect end to your perfect day (or days) on Sanibel Island.

Dates of Visit:  October 2012

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Steaks and Martinis


I know that some of my readers are vegetarians or vegans. So, if you are, you probably don’t want to read any further. Although, I’m sure the title of this post turned you off already anyway!

I’ve written way too many posts on seafood restaurants, so it’s time for me to get to the meat, steak to be precise. My fellow carnivores, I love Sanibel Steakhouse (now called Chip’s Sanibel Steakhouse.) The first time we went was way back in 2000. The steaks were like “budda” and the martinis were huge. Now, 12 years later, the martinis are regular size, but the filet mignon is still absolutely, melt-in-your-mouth amazing. Perfection even. You don’t even need a steak knife to cut it.

In addition to the scrumptious filet mignon, I also had a lovely Metropolitan Martini, basically raspberry vodka. For a starter, I had fabulous French onion soup and along with my 5 ounce filet, garlic mashed potatoes, veggies and sourdough bread.

Service is wonderful. Our wait staff was very professional and attentive. Overall, a wonderfully satisfying experience.

But just because it’s a steakhouse, doesn’t mean they only have steak. The menu also features chicken, duck, pork and pasta dishes. Seafood lovers can partake of shrimp, scallops, lobster tail and “Sanibel Island’s best crab cakes.”

If you want to indulge yourself at this delectable dining destination — and if you love steak you simply have to — make sure you call ahead. At the Sanibel Steakhouse, you always need a reservation.

Dates of Visit:  January 2000, January 2002, October 2012

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Relive your childhood at Geppi’s Entertainment Museum


I mentioned in a previous post that I recently went on a business trip to Baltimore, Maryland. On the last day, since my colleague and I had a few hours before heading to the airport, we decided to check out Geppi’s Entertainment Museum. It’s located downtown at Camden Station, right next to the Baltimore Orioles baseball stadium.

Now, I’ve read other reviews of Geppi’s and some people have complained about the $10.00 admission charge. (If you find one of their brochures around town or at a hotel, you can get $2.00 off.) Granted, that does seem like a lot for a somewhat small 8 room museum, but if you find at least one item in there that you remember having as a kid, it’s well worth the admission just for the nostalgia factor. I reached euphoria seeing the exact same Chitty Chitty Bang Bang lunchbox I had on my first day of school back in 1970.

As their brochure says, Geppi’s is a “breathtaking trip through 250 years of American pop culture.” (Well, maybe not breathtaking, but certainly awesome!) At any one time, the museum is home to more than 6,000 items: toys, dolls, games, movie posters, memorabilia, collectibles and hundreds of comic books, including some first editions. I’ll let my photos speak for themselves.




So, take a trip back in time to your childhood, when your best friends were G.I. Joe, the Fonz and Charlie’s Angels. They’re all at Geppi’s Entertainment Museum.

Dates of Visit:  October 2012

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