Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mardi Gras - Feb 16, 2010

These photos (taken by our friend Scott) are from the Parade of Orange Beach , Alabama.

The traditional colors of Mardi Gras are purple (symbolic of justice), green (symbolic of faith) and gold (symbolic of power). The original selection of these colors originates from 1872 when the Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff of Russia visited New Orleans.

French Explorer Sieur D'Iberville brought Mardi Gras to America n 1699. It became a celebration before Lent and so were its ties to Christianity forged.

In medieval times in Europe, landed gentle folk would ride through the countryside and reward the peasant workers with cakes (thought to be the origin of the King Cake) and gold coins.

The first Mardi Gras parade was in 1837 (173 years of evolution!).

The King Cake, a round traditional cake of Mardi Gras, is made from danish pastry dough topped with icing in traditional colours of purple, green and gold. This tradition dates back to the twelfth century in France and came to America around 1870.

Monday, February 15, 2010

President's Day

Gilbert Stuart and Rembrandt Peale's Portrait of George Washington (Born Feb 22, 1732), the First President of the USA (President 1789 - 1797).
Surrender of Lord Cornwallis after the American Revolutionary War. (John Trumbull 1817)
Today is President's Day

President's day is the third monday of February and dates back to 1880 as the first US holiday celebrating an individual. Washing ton was the first commander of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War (1775 - 1783).

These beautiful images of the original oil on canvas are both in the public domain.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today is Valentine's Day and the weather is sunny and about 60 F in the sunshine (stay out of the wind). Ricky (our old cat) is doing better and that makes us very happy. I decided to try a recipe from our favourite cookbook The Coastal Living Cookbook to celebrate the day. The recipe is for Key Lime Pie or Floridian Pie and it looks just perfect!

Richard is getting ready to head to the Beach to surf fish. He got his Florida License yesterday and the bright sun tends to bring out the fish. Would be nice to have a Pompano to go with this tonight!

I changed the ingredients to make it a little lighter but that was a mistake...The recipe needs whole evaporated milk (Eagle Brand is the best). The followup pie I made with the whole milk was much more set and a little less tangy. A small slice is all you want though! Very rich pie!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Enough with the Cold Weather Already!

Shells from tonight's stroll!

Home, sweet rolling, home away from home...

The winter beach at Perdido Key...

Okay, I think I just heard 48 inches of snow in a week in the Washington DC area....what is going on with that? Here at the Beach we had cool weather today down to 27 F overnight and only up to about 50 F during the warmest hour of the day which is about 3 pm oddly enough. Never mind, we walked the dogs, we walked on the beach, we did not complain about it and I stayed in sandals today soooo! :-)

This was, as they say in the south, a Gumbo day, cloudy, cool, etc. So we had Gumbo for dinner and, guess what, our spoiled little dogs had T Bone steaks grilled to perfection by Richard.

Sanelli 389018 Lobster Shear

Richard got the lobster shears (rightmost tool on the picture - 5 of them) online order, they are very nice! Italian made Stainless Stainless steel , they made short work of these claws...did not use the old cracker tools we had at all!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Weekend Seafood Dish!

Dinner after the Mardi Gras Boat Parade was Coconut Lime Crusted Fresh Red Snapper fillets, wild rice and salad. The fish was from Jo Patti's Seafood and Richard prepared and grilled it using a recipe of his with lemon and lime zest, lime juice, coconut milk and coconut! It was great!

Weekend on Perdido Key!

Many Mardi Gras celebrations have started here in the South including the Flotilla that passed by the marina here at our RV resort this Saturday. There were several boats all decorated and it was lots of fun watching them and hoping to catch some beads as they passed by!
Scott was the official "watcher" signalling to the rest of us when the boats were was windy and cool down on the docks.

A pelican was floating around and didn't realize that soon the decorated boats would come by disturbing his peace!

Richard was on the end of the dock looking down the river...ready with his boat hook to catch some treasures...others had placed their fish nets at the ready!

The picnic table was taken over by the group of Minnesotans who were visiting our neighbours at site 2 for the day!. The festivities started at about noon!

Friday, February 5, 2010

What To Do on a Cloudy Day at the Beach!

Well, the day started with a visit to Waffle House for breakfast! Lots of coffee, and view of the Florabama in the background as we enjoyed our toast! After that we went to the iconic Joe Patti's seafood market to check out the fresh catch and their little shop. We bought fresh bread and a variety of fish and shrimp for our supper as well as seafood spices that are hard to find elsewhere. On our way home we saw the Mexican Restaurant, Vallartas, that we have been meaning to try for a while and Richard ran in just to get the menu and we ended up going in to have a late lunch. Their Thursday special was really cheap Margarita's which they serve in 12, 25, 45 and 64 oz sizes with the price of the special ranging from $1.50 to $8.50! We tried the 25 oz sizes and could not finish them. I asked the waiter to bring us the other glasses so we could see what a 64 oz Margarita would look like! It was huge! Definitely one to order with 4 straws and share with friends! :-)

The Chicken Enchiladas with Rice and Beans was very filling for $5.50 per person!

The stained glass display was just beautiful including this one of a parrot with a Corona. Richard took the photo of this one because Derek, our son in law, enjoys a Corona on a warm summer day!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sunset at the Marina Here at Playa Del Rio...

Last night we took an evening stroll down to the docks at the park just as the sun was setting. We chatted outside with some of the happy hour crowd. The views up the river into the sun were amazingly beautiful. Intense hues of purple and blues seemed to melt together as the sun let an eerie, quiet, coolness descend upon us. The river was calm as glass. I hoped to see some dolphins feeding as often happens here at high tide. Instead, our lone blue heron was relaxing in the water.

Across the river are the million dollar homes of Ono Island. Some ravaged by Hurricane Ivan with roof lines sagging and windows shattered. In stark contrast some have been restored to their glory but sit largely unoccupied this time of year. Things pick up in March as the spring breakers descend upon the beaches and the condos. Then the peaceful surroundings come alive with people, young people! We are told that summer here is beautiful as well but extremely busy with folks trying to escape the relentless heat and humidity of a southern summer by retreating to the shore. We miss all that when we make our way North...that time is now fast approaching. Hard to believe we have been here since November 4th!

Billy's Seafood Market

After breakfast Richard and I went to Billy's Seafood Market on the Bon Secour river because we had heard it was good. We wondered how it compared to Joe Patti's Seafood in Pensacola but it was a whole lot smaller and rougher around the edges. Richard spoke to a fisherman who shared stories of how fishing in the area has changed over the years, what the fishing and shrimping is like there and how far they have to go for the various catches.
We ended up coming home with some humongous shrimp that we steamed with Old Bay seasoning and enjoyed with a glass of Robert Mondavi Private Collection Sauvignon Blanc.

Breakfast at the Hangout on the Gulf!

Our waitress with the beautiful Gulf view behind her.
Suzy and I smiling for Richard! :-)

The Giant fan in the Restaurant at the Hangout. (Below) The view from the garage door windows at the Hangout. (Above) Yesterday began with breakfast with a friend at the Hangout Restaurant in Gulf Shores. The place is beautiful with it's big windows opening out to the Gulf. We watched a Dolphin or two close in to shore, feeding or playing, not sure which. The funny thing was that the folks walking on the beach seemed oblivious to it's presence! You can see a zeppelin flying by out the garage door windows, advertising the casino in Atmore, Alabama.

Mardi Gras celebrations have begun. There will be a floating parade this weekend down at the marina end of the park. We should get some good pictures of that.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Watching a Squall Line...

As we drove out this morning to get the oil changed in the truck and to do a little more shopping we saw an unusual weather event over the Gulf. Having so much horizon visible as one does when near the sea we were able to see the clear delineation of a squall line moving east over the Gulf. The sun was behind it and once the cloud line moved out it was beautiful and sunny behind it as you can see in the top picture... Just an amazing sight!