German Food, Cigars and Boat Rides

Good morning friends! Hope everyone has been having a nice, relaxing weekend.

The Chef and I drove down to Cape Coral on Friday. We met up with some family members to have a belated birthday dinner for myself and The Chef’s brother. We were finally going to get to try this German place that his family has been raving about. It didn’t disappoint!

German-Austrian Pavilion is tucked away in the Broadway Palms shopping center. It’s a bit like BayWalk in St. Pete in that it’s practically a ghost town except for a few store fronts. This is the type of place that you wouldn’t know is here unless someone told you about it.

It is the cutest place. I was expecting hole-in-the-wall, but I wasn’t expecting all of these trinkets and fun kitschy European memorabilia hanging from the ceiling and on the walls.

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The atmosphere was really homey and the dim lighting set the mood for a nice, intimate dinner with family, friends or a date.

They had an amazing summer special going on…for $29 you could choose a meal for two and get a bottle of wine. Crazy! I couldn’t get over how good of a deal that was.

The Chef and I each tried one of the two soups. The pancake soup, which was beef broth with shredded crepes. Very good.

And the vegetable soup, which I wasn’t expecting much of, but it was the better one! Peas and carrots swimming in a luscious cream based soup…the flavor was wonderful.

For my entree I had the “Coach Man” schnitzal, which was stuffed with prosciutto and gorgonzola. Mmm…this was out-of-this-world good. The best part? Hearing them pounding out the pork in the kitchen as they’re preparing it ๐Ÿ™‚

I also got to try a bite of The Chef’s sauerbraten (which by the way was 100x better than Cafe Vienna where he first tried it and got “scolded” and told he just didn’t understand the dish…sorry Cafe Vienna) as well his sister’s goulash, which might have been my overall favorite.

And then of course dessert had to be had ๐Ÿ™‚ I was so full by this point, but when apple strudel appeared on the table, looking like this…

I had just had to try a few bites! (Sparklers were courtesy of our birthday celebrations ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Although I also managed to try a little something out of this box when we got home…

Birthday gift ๐Ÿ™‚

They’re going quick…

I haven’t had Godiva in so long…I forgot how much I love their truffles! I must admit I have become a bit of a chocolate snob though.

We pretty much passed out from food coma when we got home.

The next morning The Chef made a scrumptious breakfast…fritatta!

With a side of cinnamon raisin toast from Panera. Pretty good! First time I’ve had actual bread from there that wasn’t on their sandwiches.

We then proceeded to have one of the laziest days ever. We watched the most random assortment of movies too…Matinee, Blue Crush and Frida. We’d never heard of Matinee, but it was really good! We’d seen Blue Crush…definitely not a blockbuster hit or anything, but nothing was on…and then Frida was wonderful. We’d never seen it and while there were many um *spicy* scenes, it was very artistically done and a well done film.

One of our friends came over to join us for dinner.

Meatloaf, green bean salad with homemade balsamic and roasted potatoes.

Then it was out for a night on the town.

We went to Cigar Bar in downtown Ft. Myers, which we forgot was another place that we liked. A bit smokey inside, but if you find the right place to sit, it’s not too bad. Good atmosphere and ย good drinks.

We represented all alcohol: wine, beer and liquor ๐Ÿ™‚

We did end up going to Bacchus as well. And, much to my constant complaints, ended the night at Indigo Room *shudder*.

Today was quite the leisurely Sunday. Woke up to blueberry pancakes with fried apples and sausage.

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And some much needed tea.

Then we stopped by The Chef’s brother’s house and got asked to join them on an impromptu boat ride. Don’t mind if we do!

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We rode over to Tarpon Point, which I’d never been to. We pulled into a cute little shopping plaza and had lunch at Marker 92. The Chef and I were still so full from breakfast, but I knew I needed something before dinner. So I ordered a salad for us to share and a bloody mary. The salad was a bit over dressed with a citrus vinaigrette, but otherwise was very good. If I was hungrier I would have wanted more chicken, which was chargrilled and quite tasty. I also had a bite of The Chef’s brother’s pastrami sandwich, which was delicious. Not only was the meat fantastic, but the pretzel roll was really a nice addition.

Now we’re relaxing back at The Chef’s parents’ house and are waiting on a pork roast to finish cooking ๐Ÿ™‚

On a more somber note, it is a sad day of remembrance today. I grew up close to NYC and have family there so I am familiar with the city and the tragedy that happened 10 years ago really “hit close to home”. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing. I remember standing in the hallway at school in between classes and them announcing it over the loud speakers. I remember being angry and confused and walking away from my friends to reflect by myself. No matter how close or how far away this tragedy was to you, it is still a big part of our history now. Let’s all take a moment today to remember the lives that were lost and the lives that were changed that day.

Conversation Starter: Do you remember where you were and what you were doing 10 years ago on 9/11?

Cape Coral Highlights

Cape Coral is…well…it’s Cape Coral. Residential and filled with shopping plazas it’s really not the most exciting place for twenty-somethings. When The Chef and I visit we struggle to find places to hang out. We usually end up at someone’s house or at a semi-decent bar in Ft. Myers…you really can’t be too picky in this area. But that being said there are a few select places that we do really enjoy.

Spirits of Bacchus

This is the only bar in Ft. Myers that I will step into willingly. They have an extensive cocktail and wine list, which instantly makes this wino happy. The atmosphere is intimate and the decor is classic without being pretencious. The only thing that could be a bit better are the bartenders. Last time I was there I ordered a cote du rhone. He said they might not have, but that he suggested the rose if they were out. Um, champagne?? The Chef and our friends all had confused looks on our face and instead of nicely explaining his reasoning he got a bit snippy. Still don’t understand how a rose and a cote du rhone are similiar.

Azucar

3326 Del Prado, Cape Coral, FL

The Chef and I have yet to explore and find a good cuban place in Tampa Bay…I’m sure there’s one, espicially in/near Ybor City. But until that day comes Azucar has the BEST cuban food. We go there a lot of Sunday mornings after a long night with friends for their super cheap (under $5) breakfast. Why bother looking at the menu? The usual is the Cuban Sunrise, which consists of eggs, hash browns, ham or bacon, toasted cuban bread with a side of guava jelly and cafe con leche. I can’t drink coffee/espresso (heart palpitations), so The Chef gets two, but I usualy sneak a sip or two because it’s so sweet and creamy! They used to make their guava jelly, but for some reason don’t anymore. Still good, but not as foodgasmic as it used to be. Last time we were there I was in the rare mood for a sandwich instead, so I ended up with the media noche. Pretty much a cuban sandwich, but with sweet bread. A-mazing and truly satisfying.

El Taqueria Aztecaย 

1918 Del Prado, Cape Coral, FL

Hands down the best mexican food I have ever put in my mouth, and easily the best I will ever eat short of going to Mexico. After first eating here The Chef and I have searched high and low for anything that compares. Taco Bus is the closest, but this is the type of food you dream of and crave for weeks. I always order the chicken mole burrito. And we always get about 6 tacos pastor. These ain’t no hard shell Taco Bell tacos…this is the real deal. Corn tortillas with meat, cilantro, onion and radish. That and a drizzle of your hot sauce of choice and you’re good to go.

Siam Hut

There are an abundance of thai places in St. Pete, but this place beats out all of them. You think to yourself, it’s just Thai…but once you’ve been here you’ll see how good Thai food can really be. It’s not just an alternative to Chinese take out. The decor in here is also impressive. I normally find thai restaurants oddly tacky with misplaced decorations. But this place is orderly and nicely decorated with intimate lighting. Best thing ever? Kanom Bieng, which are thai crepes stuffed with minced shrimp, fresh shredded coconut, bean sprouts and crushed peanuts. SO good. I’m literally going to bring their menu to our Thai go-to place here in St. Pete and demand they add these to the menu. Our entrees were Bamee Hank, which are egg noodles with bean sprouts, crushed peanuts and either roasted pork or shrimp. We went with roasted pork and it was de-lic-ious. It’s like gourmet lo mein ๐Ÿ™‚

Then of course there’s the absolute best part of Cape Coral…

These faces…

And family/friend dinners…