Shawnee and I weren’t able to visit our families during the holidays because plane tickets were too expensive.  So we went to visit them a few weeks before Christmas.

My trip to Florida turned into a sports extravaganza.  My dad and I went to a Tampa Bay Bucs game, and the next day, my parents and I went to an Orlando Magic game.  The Bucs game was interesting, because they were so terrible.  The Bucs had only 15 yards of offense in the first half.  Their first play from scrimmage was an interception.  But we made up for it by showing up early to do a little tailgating (with Jimmy John’s) and then walking around the stadium, which I had never been to.

All in all, the Bucs game was a lot of fun and it was good to go to a football game with my Dad for the first time in at least 20 years (wow, that’s a crazy sentence).

Besides going to sporting events, we went to several great restaurants.  We went to Waltz’s Fish Shack in Madiera Beach.  That place is phenominal–they only cook what gets brought in fresh that day.  The menu is a chalkboard and they cross items off the chalkboard when they sell out.  They don’t sell cheeseburgers, they don’t have kids menus, and they don’t want you to ask for anything off the menu.  They are kind of asses about it, but the food is so good that you learn the ropes and put up with it.  We had amberjack spread, crab cakes, beer-steamed shrimp and lightly fried grouper.  Oh yeah, and they serve 16 oz glasses of wine.  That’s right, a pint glass of wine.  My dad and I made sure that we didn’t let my mom finish her glass.

Finally, we went to a Mediterranean restaurant in Orlando called Cedar’s.  It was surprisingly good.  We ate family style, having beef, chicken and lamb skewers, salad, hummus, babaganoush, tibouli, and lots of great bread.  My parents had never had Mediterranean food before and, although they were initially skeptical, they ended up loving the food.   I don’t think they ever knew the difference between hummus and babaganoush, but who is going to worry about the details.

One last thing, people say that we’re spoiled in San Diego with the weather–well, Floridians need to shoulder some of the blame as well.  My dad acted as if he was about to die of exposure when it was in the high 50’s and raining.  The gulf was 73 degrees when I was there, and you would have thought it was Lake Michigan in March.  73 degrees is the hottest temperature of the year for the Pacific in San Diego.  That being said, I did go for a hike on Christmas day in San Diego wearing a T-shirt.


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