Gallery » USA & CARIBBEAN » Florida 2020
We spent five nights with Ken & Cathy at their lovely home in Florida. Timing was good as we were able to travel there and return in mid-March before many “shelter in place” orders were issued due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic altered our plans quite a bit. Originally, Ken had arranged for us to go to the Panthers hockey game on Saturday; that game was postponed. Then, Ken and his IT team were responsible for implementing a “work from home” strategy for company employees. That resulted in Ken having to work on Friday; originally he was taking that day off. Despite these changes in plans, we still enjoyed a wonderful time together!
We arrived on a Wednesday evening and Ken picked us up at the Fort Lauderdale Airport. Initially, we had a bit of trouble locating one another. Thankfully, Ken spotted us as we didn’t realize he had a new Volvo SUV. We arrived at their home to be greeted not only by Cathy but by their three pups – Alex, Sophie and Jake. Jake is the newest addition to the family – a handsome four-year old Brittany.
After greetings were finished, we all enjoyed a delicious meal thanks to Cathy. She baked a butternut squash tart and it was accompanied by asparagus and a green salad. Yummy! Of course, we all enjoyed some wine with dinner. Afterwards it was time for everyone to get a good night’s rest.
On Thursday, Ken headed into the office while Cathy, Ed and Lindy spent the day out and about doing some shopping. At this point, there were no huge queues at CostCo or any other stores and we didn’t have problems finding anything we were looking to purchase. Ken had to work a bit late so the three of us enjoyed happy hour along with a nice cheese board. When Ken returned home, he opted to go straight to dinner. We enjoyed mussels al Eduardo along with some great bread and nice wines. Afterwards, we all watched TV and relaxed with the pups.
On Friday, Ken began working from home. We relaxed at the house and then made another run to Costco and a local market, Publix. When Ken was done working, we enjoyed Ken & Cathy’s Friday night ritual – Ken’s home-made pizza. Prior to having pizza, we enjoyed one of our favorite appetizers - fried squash blossoms! The blossoms came directly from Cathy's garden. If you've never enjoyed them, you're missing out on a great treat! Ken made a cheese pizza and a pizza featuring cheese, olives and mushrooms. Both were delicious and again accompanied by some nice wines. Afterwards, while relaxing in the den, Cathy brought out our treat from Costco – fudgesicles. Hey, but these were the Healthy Choice ones so it was a low-calorie treat. We each enjoyed a bar (Lindy did share a bit with the pups; who can resist?!).
On Saturday, we spent some time away from home visiting the ChainBridge Distillery in Oakland Park. We were the only guests when we arrived. Bela, the founder and distiller, greeted us warmly. It was when we heard his accent that Ed connected the Distillery name with the Szechenyi Chain Bridge that crosses the Danube River in Budapest. And, yes, Bela and his family are from Budapest. Bela gave us both a tasting and a tour of the distillery. The spirits were excellent! We all enjoyed the vodka, especially the basil vodka. Then, Bela let us try a variety of fruit-flavored brandies. All were very tasty. Lastly, he let us taste a “raw” gin – that is one that wasn’t fully cured. It was really, really delicious. We’ll all be looking forward to that going into full production in the near future.
We returned home mid-afternoon. Since there were no sporting events on television, we opted to watch a movie. It turned out to be really good. It was a thriller featuring Matthew McConaughey called “The Lincoln Lawyer”. It had lots of twists and turns and kept us all engaged till the end.
Afterwards, Ken & Cathy ordered take-out Indian food. We stayed with the pups (having a great time with them), while they went to pick-up dinner. We know virtually nothing about Indian food apart from what Ken & Cathy have taught us. Tonight’s meal was another delicious one featuring Chicken Tikka Masala, Mixed Vegetable Curry, Channa Makana (Channa is chickpeas), Naan and a Basmati rice dish called Biryani. All were great, especially with the Naan bread.
On Sunday, we woke up to a dreary day. It was still warm so Cathy, Lindy & Ed opted to drive to a nearby park and take a walk. Interestingly, it was pretty busy with adults playing baseball and/or soccer. We did an approx. 1.5 mile walk. We decided to quit as the rain began to come down. It was only sprinkles but enough to take some of the fun away.
We returned back to home. Mid-day, Ken & Cathy began dinner preparations. They had invited over Ken’s cousin and his wife, Lenny & Liz. They arrived at 4:00PM and we all enjoyed happy hour together. Afterwards it was time for another feast – stuffed artichokes, pastiera alla Rafaella (a recipe from Ed’s mom) and a green salad. It was a fun evening and it was great to meet Lenny & Liz.
On Monday, it was time for us to return home. We were up early so that we had plenty of time to pet the pups before leaving. We said goodbye to Cathy at the house. Then, Ken drove us to the airport for the return flights home. Interestingly, the Fort Lauderdale Airport was very busy; Dallas/Fort Worth Airport was more of a ghost town.
We’re so glad that we were able to visit Ken & Cathy’s and enjoy quality time together! It was also wonderful to see the pups (and meet Jake) and be able to spoil them a bit (hey, we think they are already a bit spoiled – if you’re going to have them, why not?!). We’re already looking forward to a time when we can be together again!!