Tuesday 26 November 2019

Thanksgiving Gift!

Today, my boss presented us all with a gift of either a turkey or a ham for Thanksgiving!

I got a ham! 

A ginormous one, bigger then the size of my head :)

Here it is, photographed beside the kettle scale. And here is just HALF of it, with a lime beside it for scale.  We started it today. And omg it was good.  
And omg we will be eating ham for a week! Dinner, and lunch included!

Monday 25 November 2019

Hook, line and sinker

We had such a phenomenal day yesterday with our friends Garrett and Katrina out on their boat.

The picked us up at noon and while on the way to the marina we stopped at Sandy's cafĂ© and picked up some Cuban sandwiches for on the boat.  Next stop was Jolly's liquor store in Stock Island and we were set!

We all had a great day, reeling in fish after fish, after fish.  All throwbacks in the main.  Aside from two that the lady anglers in our party caught :)

First up (top left) was a sheepshead fish that I baited.  No I did not make that name up!  See here. It fought such a hard battle that at one point I thought my reel was broken - I could not move it - and Katrina hopped in to check and took over it reeling it in.  So it was a joint catch!

And then!  Near the end of the day (look at that sunset) I landed a beautiful yellow tail snapper which we broke out the measuring tape for.  It was 11 inches! One inch shy of the 12 inch limit for keeping.  Nice note to end on!

Ps.  Hook, line, and sinker.  It's that simple.  That's all you need.
A boat is handy too :)

Key Lime Pie party!

I really wish I blogged this right after the event as it would really capture the joy I felt with life at that exact moment in time!

Last week I hosted a cute little event in work - a key lime pie get together!

It all started when I realized how many birthdays were occurring in November.  Mine is the 12th, the GM of the hotel is the 22nd.  When I was telling this to Jordan, our food and bev manager, he told me that his birthday was the 23rd.  And that it was his 30th!  Well that was that, I decided on the spot I would do something to mark the occasion.

I started pulling together a list of some of the things  we had to celebrate.  It ended up something like this.

And on the day our table looked like THIS!

It was a really lovely get together.  Nice to have all departments take a little break and socialize together, making a change from us just working (to keep our little hotel going and all our guests happy during their stays with us) alongside each other.

The boss made a nice speech - using my list as a prompt and then talking about the good stuff, and the challenges, we have as a business coming up soon and in the new year.  It was a good inspirational talk as all good leaders do!  Nice one Abe :) And then he made special mention, sniffle, to me and the event I had organized.  Some really really nice words, sniffle sniffle, I'm not really the most emotional person but jeepers I nearly cried that day.  I muttered back something along the lines of "well I love all you guys, ...and I just love this job ...and coming in to work every day" (a) most un-Irish of me...I am bad about talking about how I feel and (b) so so so true.  I do love my job.

Sunday 17 November 2019

Ribs Recipe

 Can we take a moment to appreciate. just how nicely my local butcher (which is conveniently called The Local) wraps your meat purchase in beautiful crisp brown paper and string.   Just like old school Ireland! I love it.

We made the barbeque marinade ourselves! A nice little mix of olive oil, soya sauce, barbecue sauce and grain mustard.  And a little siracha pepper for HEAT!  I need my heat :)

How great does the marinade look slathered all over the lovely meat?!

Also, such a novelty to be cooking on the grill on the top shelf of the barbecue compared with straight on to the grill.  The tinfoil is there to catch the drips of fat from the meat/sauce so as to prevent fire/flare ups.

So that was the plan!  But does life always go to plan?! Heck no!

15 minutes after putting the ribs on the grill the propane ran out!!!

So a quick switch up was made, I transferred the meat to our 1970s oven (ugh!). I put the quinoa on to boil, stir fried the veg and ta-dah!

Thanks be to the Universe...it did not turn out too bad at all in the end.

Saturday 16 November 2019

Monkey in Paradise - new blog

I have started a new blog, in conjunction with keeping this Dublinia blog going.  It remains to be seen what (if anything!) will come of the new one!

Click here to read the blog which is named Monkey in Paradise

The name you ask?  Where did it come from? 

This is a photo I posted to my facebook page a few days ago.  I think it is hysterical and am still laughing about it!

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Key Largo 2019

So!  It was my birthday yesterday!  (Yes I'm old, moving swiftly on).  
For maybe the best birthday present I've ever been given, we snuck away for a little weekend break "up North". 

Ha!  By "up North" I mean Key Largo, 2 hours away.

I do love a road trip as I think you know. Heck who doesn't?  (Seriously though, is there someone out there who doesn't like a road trip?? Please leave a comment if this is you!).  Funny though, the weather was not what I expected of a drive through the Florida Keys.  Overcast, cold and WINDY, it got cooler and cooler as we drove towards our destination of the Key Largo Bay Marriott Resort and Hotel.

A little stop off, along the way, at Tonio's for a spot of lunch. It was positively blustery but a perfect little dive place, just like I like 'em!

We arrived and checked in and we were delighted with our room. It was big!  
But cold.  The weather was cold.... 
As demonstrated by me wearing of long trousers in this photo (taken on the way home from dinner)

We had an early enough night (yes, I/we're old. Moving swiftly on).

Happy to report that we woke up to sunshine the next morning!

After a light breakfast I headed to the beach.  Seriously cute little beach with the sunbeds lined right up to  literally the shoreline which was very nice - nothing like hearing the waves lapping as you sunbathe.  
I started my Meg Cabot (author signed!) book which was an entertaining little read. The gist of my weekend, it has to be said, was either beach or pool and fantastic it was too.

Lunch was sushi!

On the way back from lunch I stopped off at a yard sale/consignment sale/storage unit sale....where a woman admired my dress ("Is it a Lilly? [Pulitzer]") and gave me a pair of sunglasses for free ("They go with your dress").  How nice was that?!

And then dinner!  Wow.  We ate early so that we would catch the sun setting while eating.  What a view!!!  Great food too.  Would it be weird if I described it as an (all encompassing) experience?  Ooh not forgetting the wine also!  Malbec ;)

After dinner we decided to do something we never do and have some cocktails.  They weren't the fanciest (e.g. craft) cocktails, I guess they were just "resort" type cocktails, but they were pretty good. And as I said, it's something we never do, so just getting them in themselves was fun.

After another light breakfast (coffee and bagel & cream cheese mmm) I headed down to the beach and pool for a last few hours of relaxing before getting on the road home.

For something fun and NEW we stopped off for some bridge fishing on the way home!  I can't lie, it was not the best fishing. We have a lot to learn about what bait, hook, lures etc to use...but sure it was a start! You have to start somewhere eh!

And home!  Where I realized that I had left my bike at work and it was needed for the next day.  So I headed downtown - where I caught the Veteran's Parade and bumped into friends Dawn and Gwen.  It's a small island lol, you can't go anywhere without bumping into someone.

Finally we finished a lovely (perfect even??) weekend with dinner in our favourite place ever Half Shell Raw Bar.  

Already we are talking that a weekend away in the Key Largo Bay resort may turn into a yearly event.  Get's a big thumbs up from me!

Tuesday 5 November 2019

Manic Monday

Following my action packed Sunday,  I continued Monday in the same vein...

...starting with a Bikram Yoga class at noon

Have I told you that my studio includes your mat and towel in the cost for every class?  So handy not having to think about them and carrying on your bike etc.  Big thumbs up!

I was going to go straight from yoga to a whiskey tasting class in General Horseplay, but tbh that was probably a little ambitious of me.  I was (happily, it must be said) exhausted after class, plus I also was a seriously hot sweaty mess.  I went home and jumped straight in the pool and then had the longest loveliest outdoor shower.

I chilled out for the afternoon until approx. 5.30pm when I hopped on my bike and headed to the bookstore for a book signing and reading by Meg Cabot - of her new book No Judgements.  

She was FABULOUS!  Entertaining, charming and informative.  
I bought the book and am looking forward to reading it on the beach, on my mini vacation in Key Largo this weekend!  I do love a signed book :)

I ended another wonderful day in Paradise with dinner in Sister Noodle House on Roosevelt.

I got pork dumplings - which came out like bao buns - and a seaweed salad.  I really, really liked it.  Different to any other food I have eaten since arriving to Key West, and VERY different to anything you can get in Ireland.  Nice change of pace!  We'll be back.

Monday 4 November 2019

Sunday Funday

It's hard to think that I could squeeze any more "stuff" into yesterday. Actually, there is no think about it, I know I could not have done more.

First up!
I went to The Custom House Museum to see their latest exhibition "The Literary History of Key West".  It was excellent.  

I counted over 40 writers featured - and the curator notes there are many more but space did not allow for them.  It is amazing really, for a little small island with, let's face it, a bit of a party reputation, it has massive literary influence, culture and history.  I honestly cannot fathom a place where so many recipients of the Pulitzer prize, Tony Awards,  Nobel prize for Literature and Poet Laureates reside, or have resided. So cool.  
Have I mentioned lately that I love this little island?

From there, I cycled up Duval and Truman, stopping off at the little Tennessee Williams Museum.  

It is small but packs a mighty punch, packed to the gills with information, photos and paraphernalia from his time on the island. I love this exhibit for the personal insight you get. Aside from the obvious, that Tennessee Williams was incredibly talented he also was just a good guy (the care - emotionally and financially - and the bond he shared with his sister Rose who had special needs) and a fun guy (Key West suited him, and he suited Key West!)

Me personally:
I adore Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.  The book of course, but whoa, that film! Not just for Paul Newman (no seriously, I mean it), my God Elizabeth Taylor is just wonderful as Maggie/Cat. The storyline, the writing, the themes.  It is a brilliant piece.

Did you know I live on a street with not one, but two Tennessee Williams connections?
His house where he lived is on this exact street.  Plus right beside it is the house where The Rose Tattoo was filmed - he wrote it here, it was filmed here, and it premiered her in the San Carlos Institute.

How about that for history! 
Have I mentioned lately that I love this little island?

The day continues!

I met Marta in Halo to watch the Boat Race Parade.  These boats are like nothing I have ever seen - like they were conceived and built on the set of a futuristic movie, think Blade Runner or Minority Report.  We had fun!

Also there was Dawn and her gal pals so when Marta left I hung with them.  We strolled down to General Horseplay where we met up with others.  Another fun time!

But wait! 
There is more! At 6pm I went to Half  Shell Raw Bar and had the usual WONDERFUL dinner of garlic steamed clams, buffalo shrimp, fish dip and sesame crackers.  Deeeeeeeeeeevine.

Phew! What a great day.