Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Special Luncheon on Siesta Key

We have today celebrated the 3-month anniversary of our arrival on Longboat Key on October 15th last. It was just over a year ago that I first gleefully shared with our vagabond friend that we planned to follow his good example by descending the latitudes from further north along the Atlantic Ocean to Longboat Key, a barrier island nearby his abiding haunt on Siesta Key on the Gulf of Mexico.  We took the short drive today to his beachfront digs for a congenial gathering and what turned out to be (as fully expected) a singular luncheon and uplifting chin wag.

Like other barrier islands in this area Siesta Key (at least as a modern destination) is a relatively recent addition to the American history books.

From the 1800s and early 1900s, Siesta Key was known by a variety of names, including “Little Sarasota Key” and “Sarasota Key.” The first attempts to develop the key was by the Siesta Land Company in 1907 consisting of Harry Higel, Captain Louis Roberts, and E.M. Arbogast. The company platted the northern end of the key as "Siesta on the Gulf" as well as dredged bayous and built docks. The only access to Siesta Key was by boat or ferry until the first bridge connecting it to the mainland was completed in 1917. The bridge was later replaced in 1927 along with an addition of a second bridge located on the southern end of the key. The entire key was officially recognized as "Siesta Key" by 1952.

When I casually shared with a local acquaintance here that we planned to rally with a friend for lunch on Siesta Key she immediately expressed her approbation. Siesta Key has a varied reputation, including magnificent beaches (twice named the nation's best), many resources for a fine meal and  a delightful collection of enviable residences. During our last visit there with our friend a month ago he introduced us to the charming architecture along Midnight Pass Road adjoining the Gulf of Mexico. The island is only 8-miles long but it is packed with endless attractions and amenities for both lifetime residents and transient visitors.

As much as we delight in the environment of the barrier islands (a distinction and benefit about which it is all too easy to become complacent), the entrancement today was strictly domestic. The scintillating conversation buoyed us throughout our sojourn.  But what propelled us unmistakably was the culinary talent of our host. Although he is not aligned professionally with this particular artistic facility, cooking is something he has succeeded to elevate to an enviable level.  My introduction to his skill was some thirty years ago when I witnessed his cooperative effort with a Greek visitor (now sadly no longer whinnying among us) of equal culinary ability. The production this afternoon epitomized our host's worldly knowledge of food, the ability to present a variety of concoctions with a refinement and delicacy of flavour, while at the same time capitalizing upon the much under-rated adroitness of simplicity. If the adage that smell is the muster of taste were ever in question, I am ready to advance its plausibility! To this very hour - even as I write - the recollection lingers!

Our social meanderings over lunch (while perched above the white sandy beach and turquoise sea) took us from discussions of children and marriage to vintage automobiles to estate administration and the exigencies of age and evolution. We entertained the allure of certain retail outlets; explored the burdens of real estate ownership; quipped about the destiny of American politics; and conceded by unanimous agreement that we haven't anything about which to complain.

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