2018 has been the year of travel for us. We started the year by going to California to visit friends, then it was Vegas for Matt's birthday, because why not? I didn't write a post about that, should I? Leave a comment on this post if you want to see one. And then it was time for a trip to Florida.
I've been to Florida quite a few times as a kid, visiting grandparents when they would skip out on Michigan winters. Also, when he still had PowerQuest Boats, my Dad took me down to check on a new boat mold being made. We stayed on Sanibel Island and I remember sitting on the beach collecting seashells, there were so many shells on that beach! I still have one my Dad found and it sits on my shelf by my books. My Dad also worked in Florida for a time, for a different boat company. I took a couple trips down to visit. One time I brought a friend, we stayed at this amazing hotel that had a huge pool area, complete with a grotto and waterslide. We loved it.
This time, we went to visit my brother, his wife, and their daughters. They moved to Venice in late winter of this year. I had never been to Venice so I was excited to check it out. But really I was just excited to see our family. Oh and let's not forget about the dog, we love Brutus.
We began our trip with food. I randomly picked a place I found on my phone near the airport, The Breakroom Bar and Grill. The exterior threw me a bit, along with the location. If you see it in person, the name makes sense. The shrimp tacos were just what I needed, along with the fried pickles spears and Whiskey Peach Punch cocktail. That night we ventured to the beach. The local fisherman on the pier told us about the 10-foot Lemon Shark they had caught about 20 minutes before we arrived! We missed all the action! One of them happily showed us the video he took on his phone.
The highlight of this trip for me was the day we went sailing. Naturally, my brother had to buy a boat when they moved down there and I'm not mad about that. Just get me on the water. It was just my brother, Matt and myself. We had to dodge the rain but we did manage to find the sun for a couple hours. It was glorious.
I could live off Mexican food, especially chips and gauc (and margaritas). After we got off the boat we went for dinner at a local place called Mi Pueblo. They have a few locations, we went to the one in Venice. And I would definitely go back. I also did something for the first time on this trip, I tried mussels. My five-year-old niece had to talk me into trying a bite. Yes, you read that correctly, my five-year-old niece is a seafood connoisseur. She told me, and I quote, "It's good to try new things". Well, she got me there. After some convincing (from her), I tried it and yes, I really did like it. Thanks to the Dry Dock Waterfront Grill for that experience. By the way, the lobster I had was fantastic.
We made our way to Sarasota quite a few times. The downtown/waterfront area is a great place to hang out. Tip: go during the week when more shops are open. We did stop for food here, because Matt was feeling famished, per usual. Cafe Epicure is the place to be if you're craving Italian. This was also when I discovered that my baby niece, Elodie, has an obsession with dog videos. It's the best thing watching her watch the videos. And then she has to show you what she's watching, too cute!
Also, there is a large shopping area in what's called UTC, The Mall at University Town Center. It has a Super Target, Macy's, Sephora and a TJ Maxx and Home Goods. The Super Target alone is worth the stop, am I right?
We managed to get in a little beach time on our last day, before another storm came in. We ventured to Siesta Key Beach. And yes, the sand is really as soft as people say it is. I took Sofie (the five-year-old seafood lover) by myself. It was fun to get some alone time with her. We spent most of our time in the water, dodging waves, getting facefulls of saltwater. Laughing the whole time.