Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Sub-tropical Evening

Anna Maria Island is just north of Longboat Key, about a thirty minute drive at the outside (and that at between only 25 - 45 mph). Basically the road clings to the Gulf of Mexico. The names of the roads are all variations on that theme - Gulf of Mexico Drive, Gulf Drive S, Gulf Drive N, Gulf Drive, N Shore Drive and round to N Bay Blvd and S Bay Blvd as it approaches Tampa Bay on the east side of the Island and redirects southerly. The haul from Longboat Key is through Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach both reminiscent of the best and worst of Key West and Coney Island and as a consequence with as much texture and buoyancy. Though these two old fogeys happily relinquish themselves to the tranquillity of Longboat Key, the temporary elevation of spirit was cheering.

On the recommendation of a long-standing friend we booked a table for an early dinner this evening at the Waterfront Restaurant on Anna Maria Island.

I won't lapse into a boring and flavourless account of what was a scintillating and distinctive meal. Without having to inspect the on-line history of the place, my guess is that it has been around a long time; and more importantly whoever is now running it - and their chef - know what they're doing.

Apart from the very agreeable ride to the restaurant while skirting around the Island and following the Gulf of Mexico, I was instantly smitten by the venue upon arrival. The restaurant is situate adjacent a park on the beach. Everything about the environment is nautical; and the architecture is redolent of its Spanish heritage (a thread which insinuates many parts of this area of Florida). Though we made a reservation for dinner we were unable to secure a seat on the outdoor patio (where occupancy is strictly first come/first serve).  Nonetheless we were seated inside at a comfortable table next to a French door facing onto the patio and overlooking Tampa Bay.

Prior to settling in for dinner I succumbed to my immediate desire upon alighting from the car to capture some photos of the enchanting scenes overlooking the Bay.

I could go on and on at some length about the professionalism of the restaurant staff and the attractiveness of the interior (including the washrooms) but I am not a travel guide.  Suffice it to say - as I reported to our server upon leaving - we'll be back.

On our drive home, as we toured through the sub-tropical enclaves of Anna Maria Island and its neighbours to the immediate south, I commented that this evening was for me a high point of our introduction to the area. I was strangely reminded of my experience over fifty years ago in Kingston, Jamaica, driving a friend's father's Jaguar about town and to and from the beach. We drove this evening with all the windows down and the landau roof open.  The temperature was 82℉, the air was dry, the sky was black.

As smug as it makes me sound, Maggie Muggins had quite the day today! It started this morning with an uncommonly lavish breakfast of sliced green apple, black coffee, salmon filet, Virginia ham, crab cakes and American cheese (I blame the mid-term election results). After settling a credit charge payment and dealing with two on-going business matters, I soothed my soul and expiated my guilt by conducting my usual bicycle ride to Block 5000 on the Gulf of Mexico Drive before returning to swim in the pool and broil in the afternoon blazing sunshine.

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