Sunday, March 30, 2008

Pinkies Up!

Most of the time, I'm low-maintenance and low-fuss. But every once in awhile I have to spoil myself with something frou frou and girlie. So, a girlfriend of mine and I went down to the Windsor Rose English Tea Room where we could dine on little finger sandwiches and pastries, sip tea from china cups and hold our pinkies up.

The Windsor Rose Tea Room serves all kinds of British fare including cottage pie & hearty stews with puddings and sponge cakes for dessert. If tea cups are a little too dainty for your gentleman's fingers, there are a variety of beers and wines offered including one of my favorites, Boddingtons Pub Ale.

The owner, Sue, is a very attentive and gracious host that charms you with her little accent. If you're ever in the mood for a little escape to England, but only have time for an adventure in your own back yard, then this is the place.
Pinkies Up!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Top 8 Tips for the Antique Boat Show

We ordered up some perfect weather for this weekend's boat show ... sunny with highs in the low 80's. Should be a fabulous time out on the water. Here are some tips to make the most of your weekend at the Antique Boat Show:

1) The Antique Boat Festival is being held in TAVARES this year at Wooten Park. There will be a water taxi operated by Lake County Waterways that you can catch to take you from the shopping, restaurants & lodging in Mount Dora to the boat show in Tavares. I can't think of a better way to experience the boat show then to arrive by boat! The water taxi is located at the end of 4th Avenue next to the Mount Dora Yacht Club.

2) If you decide to drive to the boat festival, Lake Shore Drive will be the most scenic route from Mount Dora. If you're not a local, Lake Shore Drive can be easily missed, so look carefully. If you are driving on 5th Avenue/Old 441, the turn for Lake Shore Drive will be immediately on your left after curving around the lake. If you pass the Dairy Queen, you've missed it. Just take a left at the light and head to Tavares on Old 441.

3) Bring cash. As the boat show is growing and becoming bigger & better ... there is now a small admission charge of $5. Definitely worth it to see this museum on water.

4) This may sound kind of obvious, but don't forget your sunscreen! Sometimes we think, "oh, I won't be outside for that long ... I'll find some shade." Believe me, you're going to be having a fabulous time and will not even realize how much sun you're getting. In case you forgot to pack it, I recommend going to either Noni Home & Bath or Walk In The Woods to get sunscreen. They even have some eco-friendly options.

5) Along that same thought, remember to bring your hat and sunglasses. The glare from the water can be bright and you'll see a lot more detail if you're not squinting. If you forgot your hat, I recommend Whispering Winds on Donnelly Street. They have a collection of hats to choose from and a unique water bottle holder so you can string your H2O around your shoulder for convenience.

6) If you are looking for a quick drink to cool off, Mount Dora has several quaint coffee houses that can quench your thirst with an iced coffee or smoothie. They are: 5th Ave Cafe, One Flight Up, Village Coffee Pot & Mount Dora Coffee House. If you're looking for a bit of a stronger drink, then check out the bar and deck at Pisces Rising where you can order up a cold one and watch the sun set on the lake.

7) If you end up dropping your cell phone in the water ... borrow your friend's phone. Sorry, but I can't help you there. BUT, if you end up getting your shoes wet, Donnelly Euro Footwear is having a trunk show and shoe sale this weekend. Check it out.

8) HAVE FUN! Email us your pictures and comments about the show!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Southern Sass at the Ice House

The Sugar Bean Sisters is a lively show, full of Southern sass and memorable one-liners. The theatre was packed tonight for this story about bachelorette sisters living together in the swamp dealing with 'skeeters, snakes, aliens and murder. A wacky and funny combination!

The thing I love about community theatre is that it feels much more intimate than a big production. Like your own personal show. If you have the opportunity this weekend, I definitely recommend that you catch this comedy at the Ice House Theatre.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Basking In The Sun ...

I had quite a few writing projects to get done this week and was feeling kind of antsy sitting at my desk, facing my cold laptop while looking out the window to the most beautiful temperatures and sunny skies you had ever seen. The birds were teasing me, chirping loudly as if to say, " don't cha wanna be outside???" Not even a cup of tea could cheer me up. So, I packed up my work, a blanket and a picnic and took my work outside to Donnelly Park.

It reminded me of when I was going to school at UCF and everyone would bring their work out to the reflection pond. Of course, no work ever gets done. Maybe just some cloud watching and a nap.

Self proclaimed junkie ...

Noting takes the edge off of stress like getting stoned ... that is ... with a hot stone massage. I had the opportunity to take advantage of a gift this week and treat myself to a hot stone massage at Sole Spa. I guess you could call me a bit of a spa junkie. If there is ever an opportunity to be pampered then I am there in the middle of it all. I can't think of a better addiction to have. In fact, I think I put a lot of pressure on myself to create stress just so that I have an excuse to get a massage or facial.

Sole Spa provides a wonderful atmosphere for relaxation. Up stairs from Karen's Gifts & the Amish Cupboard, this little place is quietly tucked away with soothing music, the trickling of a zen fountain and the clean scent of scentsational natural soy candles burning. These candles are particularly my favorite because you can dip your finger into the wax and use it has a hand moisturizer. It's a way to multi-task while at the spa. Gotta love it.

The hot stone massage is particularly my favorite because the heat and pressure of the stones combined with traditional deep tissue massage really leave you feeling like jello. Since it's little hard to walk out of the spa when your feeling this way, the girls at Sole treat you to some hot tea, cookies and dark chocolate to awaken your senses before leaving.

Aaaaaah. Spaaaaa.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The 5 Elements of Wine ...

Tuesday night we braved the elements and enjoyed every minute of it. The 5th Avenue cafe hosted an "elemental" wine tasting that put quite an Eastern twist on pairing wine with Asian-inspired food. Every course was matched with one of the 5 elements: Water, Wood, Fire, Metal & Earth.

The evening was not only entertaining, but turned out to be educational as well. We sipped wine while keynote speakers Dr. SaTerra Vishnu (Florida Center for Holistic Medicine) and Gina Cassisi (Phyto Institute) guided us through the nature of the five elements and how they relate eastern medicine, beauty, and of course ... food.

All of the wines featured during the dinner were derived from 100% organically grown grapes. Wine Speaker, Craig Bissell, coached us through each of the wine pairings and enlightened the group with the toils and aspects of organic wine production.

The wine that really charmed me was the True Earth Chardonnay. With hot summer looming just around the corner, I could definitely imagine myself sipping this wine while relaxing on the front porch.

Overall, my favorite course was the Bitter Berry Salad representing the element of fire and paired with a RED wine, a Parducci "True Grit" Petite Sirah. The reason this one was my favorite is because it surprised me. I was a little skeptical about having red wine with my salad. My initial thoughts had me wrinkle up my nose. But Chef Jesse Thomas really pulled it off well. I think everyone was impressed by how well he paired the flavors of the roasted tomatoes & berries, Gorgonzola, and dressing with the wine. Kudos to Jesse!

--Cheers from the Elemental Wine Tasting

Rachelle, Brian, Jim & Beth

Wine Tasting Photo Gallery:

Monday, March 17, 2008

Fire & Water

This past weekend was the Dragon Boat Festival. I couldn't imagine a more perfect day to be a spectator ... 78 degrees, partly cloudy with a cool breeze. I would say it was the kind of day that makes you want to get outside to enjoy it. However, I imagine it was a little bit different for the racing teams as the wind made the water choppy and difficult to navigate. But, like any other sport, it's always more fun to watch when there is a little "danger" in the air.

The turnout was fantastic. I love to see so many people out supporting their community and friends. There were teams from all over Florida, the US and Canada competing and they each had their own cheering squad.

One of our good friends is very involved in Dragon Boating. Here are a few comments from the Coffee Goddess herself, Grace:

"The overall champions were the Toronto Outer Harbor Team. They're a very dedicated group who paddle year round and have competed in last years' World Championships in Sydney, Australia taking several medals. I had the good fortune to train with their coach and knew we were all gonna get slaughtered!

Our team, Wun Fun Cru, won the Measle Cup for the 2nd year in a row for best community team. But better yet, we were able to upset Tampa's TECO who were unbeatable last year (FYI...We're the only team to ever beat them in any race).

We also beat the infamous Puff and Hydroblades teams whom we chased here in Tavares and Tampa last year. This year is pivotal for Wun Fun Cru as we are poised to take the overall championship in Tampa (provided we don't have to compete with any Canadian teams! HA!) After the "high fives" and "that a girls," they all would like to know the secret of our success. I just smile my humble smile." ~Grace

For more information about Dragon Boat Racing, click here:

Friday, March 7, 2008

Mi Casa es Tu Casa

Some rainy nights you just want some fantastic comfort food to warm you up inside and out. And if you can't make it at home, at least go somewhere that makes you "feel" at home. We've had a consistent string of windy and rainy storms this week and comfort food was exactly what I was in the mood for.

Comfort foods are different for everyone. My palate usually craves red wine and cheese. No style of food does that better than tasty Italian. So, we drove up to Casa Mia and made a mad dash through the torrential down pour from the car to the entrance where our droopy wet moods where instantly lifted as we were greeted with a warm smile and friendly welcome.

Chianti, prosciutto, mozzarella, & tortellini all finished off with a warm cup of cappuccino. The meal was the closest I've had to real Italian since I was in Italy. As it should be, since the restaurant is owned and operated by an Italian family that makes you feel as if they are inviting you in to their home for a special occasion. And that occasion could just simply be ... that it's Friday. Because in Italy, anytime you sit down to eat it is treated like a celebration. And tonight we were celebrating good food and wine on a rainy night.


Monday, March 3, 2008

Pow Wow

"I'm an Indian outlaw ...

half Cherokee and Choctaw ...

my baby she's a Chippewa ...

she's one of a kind" ...

Okay, so maybe I'm NOT an Indian outlaw ...
but it sure is fun singin' Tim McGraw's lyrics while walking through the Thundering Spirit Pow Wow held in Mount Dora this weekend.

I don't have an Indian heritage, but I find history and nature fascinating. With bald eagles, owls, singing, dancing, crafts and food, this Pow Wow had something to offer for everyone.

I tried a little something new ... Indian Fry Bread. Served made-to-order, fresh and hot. This "bread" is golden and crunchy on the outside and soft and doughy in the middle.

I would compare it to a carnival funnel cake ... only its more the shape of donut ... without the hole ... and it's the size of your plate. Sprinkled with cinnamon, my sweet tooth was satisfied.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


After the Painter's Daughter Art Exhibit, a couple of us girls walked over the upstairs lounge at the Goblin Market for some Martinis.

The Goblin Market really does take the cake when it comes to Martinis. You could make a whole 4 course meal out of them. Start off with a fruity Pomegranate or Watermelon Martini. Or perhaps you prefer the flavor of a raspberry Chambord Martini or a peachy Bellini Martini as your appetizer. Next have your top shelf dry martini with big chunky olives for your main course. Finish off with a Key Lime Pie Martini for desert and then an Espresso Martini to cap it off.

Nooooo ... I didn't drink all of those martini's that night. I'm too much of a light weight. One is all I need to walk a squiggly line home. But I love the variety the Goblin Market Martini menu offers. It gives me plenty of reasons and flavors to keep coming back.

Cheers from the Goblin Market


Saturday, March 1, 2008

Art Mecca

Where can you find fashion, art, music,

good food and wine all in one place?

Friday night it was all happening at

The Painter's Daughter.

It was wonderful to see so

many people there supporting

a new business in town.

But, I have to give owner,

Natalie Lovejoy, credit for giving

everyone a GREAT reason

to gather.

What a classy event! Robert Cohen

was there playing a smooth melody

on his keyboard, Eating Light satiated

our appetites with some

healthy, organic light bites

and the art was certainly

inspiring. Jimmy Lovejoy's

sculpture paintings really

draw you into their story where the

wildlife seem to jump out at you from the canvas.

Mount Dora is really becoming

a mecca for art year round.

Just the other day I was

walking by Noni Home &

Bath and noticed some

paintings in the window. They were very simple pictures and

seemed like child's drawings of nature. But then, inside the

store I learned they were painted by elephants! Impressive!

Not only was it art inspired by nature, but it was nature

inspired by art.