Monthly Archives: January 2013

Come Sail Away – Captiva Cruises

Captiva cruise Cabbage Key

TEDDY’s RATING: 

One of the best ways to get to know some of the islands off the coast of Ft. Myers, Florida, is to board one of Captiva Cruises, north of Sanibel Island.

Captiva Cruises has been operating their tours since 1986. They have several great excursions to choose from. Their cruises include the following: dolphin watch and wildlife adventure, a sunset serenade, beach and shelling, sailing cruises and half day cruises to several of the out-islands including Useppa Island, Boca Grande, Cayo Costa, and the one we took to Cabbage Key.

Captiva cruises          Captiva cruise-Restaurant

We boarded our boat for the one hour ride out to Cabbage Key. Captain Yogi Schmidt was our tour guide. He filled us in on a lot of history about the area including a detailed story of the damage Sanibel Island suffered during Hurricane Charlie in 2004.

Cabbage Key is an isolated island in Pine Island Sound. It’s considered a true “old Florida island hideaway.” There’s a main house on the island which is an inn and restaurant. It was built in 1938 by playwright and novelist Mary Roberts Rinehart. There are also several small cottages on the property available to rent.

Cabbage Key cottage          Captiva cruises-water tower

It is rumored that Jimmy Buffet was inspired to write his song “Cheeseburger in Paradise” while on Cabbage Key. Although Captain Yogi said he’s heard that same rumor on various islands, even as far east as the Bahamas. Jimmy Buffet is not confirming or denying where he got the idea for the song.

Captiva cruises-tower view          Captiva cruises

But one thing is for certain, the restaurant at Cabbage Key is one that’s decorated like no other. The walls are covered with thousands and thousands of one dollar bills. The tradition of taping an autographed dollar to the ceiling or walls of the restaurant started with the fisherman who used to come into the area after their trips to sea. If they had a good catch that year, they’d sign their name on their money and tape it up inside the restaurant so that they could use it when they had a bad year.

Captiva cruises-money on ceiling          Captiva cruises-outside restaurant

Other than having lunch at the restaurant, there’s not much else to do on Cabbage Key. There is a short nature trail that meanders through the island. And you can climb the water tower to get a great view of the area.

Captiva cruises-Cabbage Key trail          Captiva cruises-Cabbage Key house

If you’re looking for a truly relaxing day on the water and a chance to explore the out-islands off Florida’s southern west coast, take a tour with Captiva Cruises.

Dates of Visit:  October 2012

http://www.captivacruises.com/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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Categories: Florida, Play | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sea Star Cafe

Sea Star Cafe

TEDDY’s RATING: 

Sometimes it’s nice to not have to get into the car and drive somewhere to have dinner while on vacation. So, on my last trip to Sanibel Island, my first dinner was at the hotel next door to Song of the Sea, where we were staying. The restaurant-Sea Star Café at Song of the Sea’s sister resort, the Sanibel Inn.

Sea Star Cafe interiorWe got there a bit early, so there was nobody in the restaurant. But it was Happy Hour and Sea Star Café is known for their Happy Hour. They have $5.00 appetizers and two for one drinks. Well, apparently the wait staff, who were extremely friendly and attentive, didn’t really know what drinks were two for one. Jason, our waiter, said everything was. So, we ordered two Fuzzy Navels and two Pina Coladas. Come to find out, those drinks were not two for one. But they were well made and very Boscoe Sticksgood.

We tried the Boscoe sticks for an appetizer, bread sticks with dipping sauce. Pretty good. For entrees we had the Penne a la Vodka and the Hawaiian Chicken. Both were tasty, not fabulous. And the portions were large.

I have to say that the service is very good, the atmosphere nice, but I wouldn’t rush back there for the food. Had it not been for the great staff, Sea Star Café might have only gotten two paws from Teddy. And if you look at the sign above or visit their website, you’ll see that they call themselves a “waterfront bar.” Well, they’re not really right on the water. Sanibel Inn is on the beach, but the restaurant is not on the water.

Hawaiian Chicken          Penne A la Vodka

Sea Star Café serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu includes pancakes, omelets, French toast, soups, salads, sandwiches, pasta, chicken, beef and seafood options. There’s live music every Friday night as well.

Dates of Visit:  October 2012

http://www.seastarcafeandwaterfrontbar.com/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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The New Fantasyland

Prince Eric's Castle

TEDDY’s RATING: 

I know that this is old news. So many people have already posted about the opening of the new Fantasyland at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. But I wanted to wait a while before heading over to check it out, wait for the crowds to die down a bit.

The Magic Kingdom has been open for 41 years (Wow!) and this is the largest expansion it has ever undergone. Fantasyland will now be twice its original size, now 21 acres. It was built on the site of the original 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction.

The new Fantasyland is opening in stages. This first stage includes the Enchanted Forest and Storybook Circus.

In the Enchanted Forest, you’ll be immersed in the worlds of the Disney films Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid. The centerpiece of the Enchanted Forest is the Beast’s Castle, high atop the mountain. Gaston’s Tavern, Bonjour Village Gifts and the Be Our Guest Restaurant are also in the Beauty and the Beast area.

Beast's Castle          Be Our Guest Restaurant

The Be Our Guest Restaurant has three unique dining rooms, all featuring themes from Beauty and the Beast. This restaurant serves French-inspired cuisine, like salad Nicoise, croque monsieur and French onion soup. It is also the first restaurant in the Magic Kingdom to serve alcohol.

Attractions within the Enchanted Forest are Under the Sea-Journey of the Little Mermaid, where you board giant clamshells and ride through Ariel’s world; Ariel’s Grotto, where you can meet all the characters from The Little Mermaid; and Enchanted Tales with Belle, a doorway into the story of Belle and the Beast.

Ariel's Grotto          Gaston's Tavern

Storybook Circus is now where you can find The Barnstormer roller coaster and the new and improved Dumbo ride. There are actually two Dumbo rides now, one that goes clockwise and the other counter-clockwise.

Mine train artwork

The next stage of the new Fantasyland, opening in 2013, will include Princess Fairytale Hall where you’ll be able to meet all the Disney princesses. And then, in 2014, you can experience the thrills of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, a roller coaster that swings side-to-side while the train is in motion.

Dates of Visit:  December 2012

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/magic-kingdom/new-fantasyland/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

Categories: Disney, Eat, Florida, Play | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Breakfast Club of Tuskawilla

Front sign

TEDDY’s RATING: 

Whenever I can, I like to promote small businesses. There used to be a small Greek restaurant that I frequented that closed earlier this year. A great disappointment. But recently, the location was reopened as a breakfast/lunch restaurant called The Breakfast Club of Tuskawilla. I was anxious to give it a try.

IMG_6451They have a pretty extensive menu which includes waffles, pancakes, crepes, omelets, sandwiches, salads, burgers, and melts. And they have several daily specials for under $5.00 each. I had the chicken pecan salad. It was piled high with chunks of white meat chicken, bacon, tomatoes, pecans, cheese and dressed with a warm honey Dijon dressing. It also includes avocado, but I’m not partial to that, so I asked that it be left out.

There were a couple of little snafus while we were there, (waffle maker broken, misprint on menu, server forgot to bring out silverware) but I chalk it up to the fact that they just recently opened. And I really can’t complain too much because the manager/owner, Raj Dua, a super friendly, understanding guy, a guy who knows how to keep his customers happy, was there to take care of everything. He sat down at our table and talked to us, asking how he couldInside improve his business. He even gave us a voucher for two free breakfasts. Thanks, Raj.

Raj owns four breakfast restaurants in the various suburbs of North Orlando. In addition to The Breakfast Club of Tuskawilla, there’s also one in Casselberry and Maitland. And he owns Country Kitchen in Longwood.

UPDATE: We had intended to give this restaurant three paws, but after a second visit, we had to cut it down to two. The daily special on my second visit was an open faced meatloaf sandwich with mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables. I was aghast to see the plate come out literally enrobed in gravy. Enough gravy for several plates. And the potatoes were not real. They were made from freeze dried flakes. You can taste the difference. I was truly disappointed with this meal and unfortunately, I don’t plan to eat here again.

Dates of Visit:  December 2012

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

Categories: Eat, Florida | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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