Third Times a Charm

On my third visit to Lazy Loggerhead Cafe I finally discovered why locals and tourists return to this beachside eatery in Jupiter’s Carlin Park. The rather non-descript cafe came highly recommended. My first visit, Sunday breakfast in January, left little impression or inspiration. There was nothing wrong with the food but also nothing memorable. The small space was inundated with those waiting for tables and the noise and clatter overpowered our attempted conversation.

Although the cafe is only a short distance from a popular public beach don’t expect water views. Foliage atop the dunes blocks the view but provides year-round greenery.

My sister Judy and I returned to Lazy Loggerhead for lunch in July. My reuben sandwich was tasty and generous – indeed, I took home enough for two late evening snacks. Again, nothing outstanding in my opinion. Judy ordered the caesar salad plus a Blog - Lazy Loggerhead Grilled Shrimp Salad side order of black beans and rice and loved both choices. The crisp romaine and croutons came topped with shaved parmesan; the beans and rice artfully topped with a lime cream and raspberry coulis, was accompanied by a mango fruit salsa. My fork found its way for samples of both dishes. A chat with our waitress brought the recommendation of the grilled shrimp caesar for a future lunch.

Blog - Lazy Loggerhead Black Bean Soup Yesterday we made our third visit to Lazy Loggerhead. Knowing the size of the portions we decided to split an Island grilled shrimp caesar tossed with the fruit salsa. Judy once again ordered black beans and rice while I opted for the black bean soup. The eight large shrimp (tails removed) proved to be plenty for us to share with almost more salad then the two of us could finish. I can only call the soup divine.

The gentleman at the next table raved about his blackened dolphin caesar while others praised the grilled dolphin sandwich. We noted that this time of year almost all the diners seem to be locals known to the staff. Two businessmen receive praise from their waitress for finishing their 1/2-pound hamburgers. I now know why they return. I’m glad we stuck with the Lazy Loggerhead until we found our piece de resistance. Third time was definitely a charm.

When You Go: Lazy Loggerhead Cafe is located just south of Indiantown Road on A1A in Carlin Park, Jupiter, Florida, 561-747-1134. The cafe is open daily for breakfast and lunch. A take-out window offers a limited menu to enjoy on the beach or at one of the park’s picnic shelters.

Carlin Park offers a range of activities and facilities including 3,000 feet of guarded beach frontage, restrooms, outside showers, free parking, baseball fields, sand court volleyball, tennis courts, exercise course, children’s playground, bocce courts, picnic shelters and group pavilions. Seabreeze amphitheatre in the park hosts musical and theatrical events including the annual summertime Shakespeare by the Sea production.

Bird 1 – Denver Bound Passengers 0

The bags got packed, the condo cleaned, the rental car returned without mishap, flight check-in completed, security cleared, lunch enjoyed, time for boarding – no action. We begin to wonder and get antsy. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is an update on Frontier flight #387 to Denver. On the inbound flight the plane had a bird strike in the #2 engine.” A half hour later we note the flight crew deplaning. Not a reassuring sign we’ll be going anywhere.

We soon learn the flight has been cancelled for today and will be rescheduled for tomorrow morning. The lack of an organized plan and leadership is soon evident. Fortunately this isn’t a big deal for us, we don’t HAVE to be home today no matter how much we were looking forward to our own beds.

It takes a couple of hours for the airline to deal with those who feel they absolutely must get to Denver NOW. Those of us from out of state will be put up in a hotel. After much confusion about hotel shuttles and assignments we arrive at a Holiday Inn Express. They have a bit of confusion with check-in procedure but finally we have a room. Phone calls home, a walk to the local grocery and liquor store, and a delivered pizza and Greek salad ease the disappointment

Eating for Comfort and Friendship

The day started with breakfast  at John G’s on the Beach – my sister’s favorite breakfast place in the world. Polish omelet for her, stuffed croissant of me. We fill to go boxes with half of everything, except the fruit cup, before we start eating. Monday morning in July is a great time for John G’s without having to wait in their famed lines.

Sailfish Marina Sailfish Marina on Singer Island was our dinner destination with friend Janet. It took us forever to make our menu selections because we have so many favorites. Judy and I start with salads. She selects appetizer portion of Caribbean jerk seared scallops, I choose coconut shrimp. We order the penne gorgonzola for the table to share. Janet decides on the beer battered fish and chips with sweet potato fires and sautéed fresh veggies.

Our server was astute in bringing extra plates, spoons, napkins, new glasses of ice tea, boxing and identifying our four boxes of leftovers. We all shared a slice of mango pie for dessert. Mango Dessert - Sailfish Marina

No trip to Sailfish is complete without a walk through the shop. The 50% off Fourth of July sale offered additional temptation. The setting and landscaping at Sailfish always attracts – one of our favorite Palm Beach County locations.

White flower at Sailfish 

Janet's Lillies

Beauty and the Beast

Lakeside Village Flowers

Not a lot celebration for our Fourth of July 2009. A mid-afternoon meal at Grumpy Grouper in Lantana was a great indulgence of onion straws, buffalo shrimp, fried clams, and strip steak. We were indeed hungry when we started. Hunger satisfied to go boxes left with us. To work off a bit of the meal we took an evening walk. Pictures snapped along the way show the contrast between pretty flowering shrubbery and  what I’ve labeled simply as Ugly Duck  that populates the pond behind the condo.

Ugly Duck From our screened-in porch we watch Palm Springs’ fireworks show shot from a park just a few blocks away. It feels like they’re bursting right in our laps. We couldn’t  ask for a more convenient and comfortable location. Unauthorized fireworks continue to echo through the night for a couple more hours.

Palm Beach Sunset

July 3 Sunset - 72

On our first full day in Florida we were treated to a great sunset. We stopped at the Lake Worth Beach ice cream shop and set on a bench to gaze at an amazing placid Atlantic. I’ve seen bigger white caps on lakes in the last month. Families were packing up from their beach visit, even the kids looked tired as they crossed the sand towards the parking lot. Driving back to the condo the sky was a different color is every direction from lemony yellow to Viking purple. 

Nick’s Summer Stimulus Package

Nick's Tomato Pie Sign

The Friday Palm Beach Post overflowed with restaurant ads, most of them announcing special pricing – sunset dinners, week night specials, free desserts, etc. One that caught our attention was the summer stimulus special at Nick’s Tomatoe Pie on Indiantown Road in Jupiter.

We’ve stopped at Nick’s once before with positive results so decided to stimulate our appetites. We’d skipped lunch plus it was our last evening in Florida; we were ready to sit back and exhale. Cold drinks were served along with a loaf of bread accompanied with roasted garlic cloves in olive oil. The bread is in a white paper sack, no knife for cutting, the tear off a chunk method is used here. A bowl of the Joe “Mow the Lawn”  green salad served family style soon arrives.

Nick's Tomato Pie Judy and I often share entrees. On this evening we choose shrimp parmigiana served with penne pasta and marinara sauce and rigatoni with prosciutto and peas in a vodka sauce. I don’t think I’ve ever seen shrimp parmigiana on a menu before. There were jumbo shrimp lightly breaded and sautéed in olive oil – absolutely delicious. We also loved the vodka sauce, tearing off additional pieces of bread to soak up every last drop.

For future reference I confirmed with our waitress that next time we could order the shrimp parmigiana with the rigatoni and vodka sauce. I consider that a plan.

Full of bread and pasta we skipped dessert. On our last visit I ordered cannoli to go – well worth the calories.

The dining room wears lots of red, white and green and Sinatra posters with matching music. Booth and table seating with white paper table covering – the easiest way to clean up all those bread crumbs.

Service was efficient but indifferent. I very much dislike a service person slapping something down on the table as if it’s a huge bother and they have better things to do. Our waitress was guilty of little or no eye contact and a minimum of communications. We’re use to friendlier Western hospitality.

Nick’s shrimp parmigiana and the  summer stimulus gives plenty of reason to return.

When You Go: Nick’s Tomatoe Pie, 1697 W. Indiantown Rd. (at Maplewood Dr.), Jupiter, Florida, 561-744-8935.

Nick's Tomatoe Pie - Jupiter, Florida
Nick’s Tomatoe Pie – Jupiter, Florida

I’ve Never Seen Anything Like It

Angel Trumpet

An afternoon walk through the Mounts Botanical Garden in West Palm Beach elicits a constant comment of, "I’ve never seen anything like this before." Featuring more than 2,000 tropical and subtropical plants from six continents the gardens hold many mysteries for two ladies from the Rocky Mountains.

Scents of OleanderDriving down Military Trail, it’s easy to miss the entrance to the garden. The 14-acre botanical oasis is nearly hidden among strip malls, parking lots and the local driver’s license office. Once inside the gate that busy world is left behind as the sweet smell of oleander catches our attention.

The garden has a feature I haven’t come across before, the Oncell System allows you to phone a designated number from your cell phone for a brief introduction to the garden. As you proceed, if you see an area of interest with a numbered post, you may redial the phone number and then the post number for information on that garden section. A new take on self-guided/guided tours.

Red Pineapple - 72Palms sway overhead as we wander through rose, herb, palm and tropical foliage gardens. We search for small labels identifying angel trumpet, ponytail palm, and rainbow eucalyptus. Some plants are unusual variations of the familiar; a huge prickly pear variety demonstrates what happens when a cactus grows in a humid climate with lots of rain. Orchids trail from the crook of a tree and complex delicate blossoms adorn the tips of ugly twisted, thorny stems. We assign descriptive names to unique unidentified foliage – wilted cabbage, Jurassic Park platter, and torpedo palm.

Two White Flowers - 72Red Thorny Stem Flower - 72 Orchids - 72

We were the last two to leave the garden at closing, I’m sure we’ll be back in a different season and will once again utter, "I’ve never seen anything like it."

Palm Cone - 72When You Go: Mounts Botanical Garden is located at 559 North Military Trail (between Belvedere Rd. and Southern Blvd.), West Pam Beach, 561-233-1757. Admission is free, a $5 per person donation is suggested. The Gardens are open Monday through Saturday 8am – 4pm and on Sunday noon – 4pm. Closed on holidays recognized by Palm Beach County.

Mounts Botanical Garden - West Palm Beach, Florida
Mounts Botanical Garden – West Palm Beach, Florida

TurtleFest 2009

Mark you calenders for the 7th Annual TurtleFest on April 25th, 10am-7pm. More than 20,000 visitors are expected in Juno Beach’s Loggerhead Park to celebrate sea turtles and learn about fragile marine live ecosystems. Admission to TurtleFest is free, donations gratefully accepted to further the work of the Loggerhead Marinelife Center. Planned activities include two stages of live music, sea turtle observation and marine life exhibits, presentations and educational activities and marine themed art. A food pavilion and tropical libations will be available.loggerhead-marinelife-center-jonah-and-jasmine

A special children’s activity fee of $5 includes children’s games, arts and crafts, marine themed playground, bounce houses, face painting and interactive games.

The Loggerhead Marinelife Center is an ocean conservation orgainization and sea turtle hospital. Located in Juno Beach, Florida the center adjoins one of the most heavily nested sea turtle beaches in the world.

Comfort Food – and, So Much More

When we’re in southeast Florida and need comfort food or want a comfortable setting at the end of a hard day TooJay’s is never far away. Thankfully! It’s dependable, it’s consistent, it’s good!!toojays-door

Comfort can come in a crock of French onion soup, a caesar salad, Mom’s meatloaf or a traditional turkey dinner. Equally well done are classic deli dishes  – hot pastrami, nova salmon on a bagel, blintzes and matzo ball soup. Oh, I can’t forget their rye bread.

On our latest trip we tried two of TooJay’s Gourmet Specialties. Judy oohed and aahed over the crabmeat stuffed tilapia; baked to perfection and topped with a rich francaise sauce. Served over rice pilaf and fresh veggie of the day – lovely tender asparagus spears. I opted for a chicken and portabella mushroom marsala with roasted potatoes and asparagus. Soup or salad accompany dinner along with a plate of  rye bread – and plenty of butter. We both chose salad with blue cheese dressing, they came fresh and crisp. Servings were generous with half of each entree going into to go boxes. Judy oohed and aahed just as much when she feasted on the leftover tilapia. Our waitress was attentive without being invasive.

toojays-cakes

I’ve saved the best till last. TooJay’s Ultimate Combination – slices of three of their most popular cakes; banana dream, carrot and chocolate layer. As the menu says this is the ultimate dessert. Perfect for sharing, if you’re feeling generous. We order the “Ultimate” to go. For the price of $5.25 I expect thin slices of cake. When I opened the box I was amazed at the big thick pieces. I had a very bites every evening for almost a week. The banana dream truly was a dream, too bad I’ll have to wait until the next Florida trip for another slice.

Deli sandwiches, gourmet dinners and delectable desserts – TooJay’s defines comfort and so much more.

When You Go: You’ll find more than two dozen TooJay’s scattered around mid and south Florida. We like the one in Jupiter’s Bluffs Shopping Center. TooJay’s Original Gourmet Deli serves breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as carry-out and delivery

Schooner’s Restaurant

Favorite Jupiter Lunch

schoonersOur first day in Jupiter usually finds us at Schooner’s Restaurant for a late lunch. The casual, relaxed atmosphere proves to be a necessary respite after several hours at Mother’s assisted living facility. The patio beckons us to sit back and enjoy an icy drink while lunch is prepared.

Schooner’s specializes in fresh seafood and fresh vegetables although meat and poultry are well represented. The regular menu is supplemented with a chalkboard of specials and fresh fish of the day listings. We always look for the Habanero Mango BBQ Shrimp Gorgonzola Salad. A large bowl of fresh greens and salad veggies topped with skewers of grilled shrimp basted in a spicy mango sauce. I’ve happily devoured other dishes from clam chowder and crab cake sandwiches to key lime pie.

schooners-patioService is almost always friendly and attentive. During our last visit on Martin Luther King Day they were obviously slammed but the staff worked together to get everyone served and keep drinks refreshed. Our only complaint over the years has been that they don’t automatically serve a roll, crackers or bread with our favorite salad. We’ve learned to ask for a roll when we order and the request is always met.

Most customers prefer outdoor dining if weather allows. A large covered area feels like a big friendly front porch. Palms sway over the brick patio while umbrellas provide shade. The interior tends to be very dark.

Diners range from local twenty-somethings and families to vacationing seniors; the ambiance, menu and service satisfy a broad range.

We’ll be back the next time we’re in town and hope to see our favorite salad on the menu board.

When You Go: Schooner’s Restaurant, 1001 North Highway A1A, Jupiter, 561-746-7558. Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.

 

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