My annual Florida escape (part two)

I arrived at Tom and Nicole's on Christmas Eve afternoon and was greeted warmly by them and also by two very excited dogs. (They know their grandma loves them.) Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were full of love, good cooking, and fun watching the pups (Six and Scout) open their presents. They have that down pat.

Speaking of good cooking, Tom and Nicole are both excellent cooks and bakers, and made many wonderful dishes, including a tomato gratin and from-scratch cherry pie.

We self-confessed foodies also visited several excellent restaurants in the area while I was there. Several of these I have been to before and always look forward to visiting again. Ethos Greek Bistro is a delightful restaurant with both indoor and outdoor seating. The evening we were there was slightly cool and very comfortable. Billed as "a modern take on healthy Greek cuisine," this is a very popular place, and you can usually count on a little wait time for a table. It's definitely worth it.

Another evening, we went to Candela Tapas Restaurant and Wine Bar. This was my first visit here, but I'm sure it won't be my last. This authentic and charming place has a Spanish ambience and is tucked into a small plaza. If I remember correctly, this was the Pollo Extremadura, below. Delicious.

On New Year's Eve, we went to Casa Frida Mexican Cuisine, one of our favorites. This small restaurant is a delight. The walls are covered with photo and art reproductions of the legendary Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Owner and Sommelier Victor Bocos himself greets customers at the door. And the food....outstanding and authentic Mexican. (I had the Pescado Veracruz.) Back home, we all finished ringing in the New Year by falling asleep. 

Since this was one of my shorter visits and since the kids had to work a good share of my visit, I had asked them not to feel like they had to entertain me the whole time--as they often do with visits to museums, botanical gardens, and art fairs. We did, however, go see Star Wars:  The Force Awakens. And on my last day with them, we went to Rosie's Bar and Grill for brunch. If you're trying to figure out what the following photo is, that's a huge Christmas wreath hung horizontally with a palm tree above it! There were also many ornately decorated rainbow Christmas trees at Rosie's.

Then the kids treated me to one of my favorite drives in Florida--the A1A through old Fort Lauderdale. There is a lot of new construction going on there along the coast. It made me wonder what wonderful old buildings might have been razed to make room for new development.

By Sunday night, I was all packed and the dogs were looking at me suspiciously. Their suspicions were correct, and the next morning, I left for home.


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