Feb 28 2023

Selby House Cafe by Michael’s

Sarasota, FL 34236

This cafe is in the Selby’s house, inside the Selby Botanical gardens. The house was built by the Selbys in 1921 and became their residence. Upon her death in 1971, she willed it to be a botanical garden, which opened in 1975.

The cafe has indoor and out seatings. Part of outdoor is on a terrace and part is under the huge tree. Dropping from the birds in the normal.

Self service. Decent food, on the expensive side. $60 for a beer, a Chardonnay, a wrap and the Scottish salmon salad with baby kale, roasted Brussel sprouts, toasted walnuts, a few pieces of shredded parmesan, dried cranberries. The lemon champagne vinaigrette is delicious.


Feb 28 2023

Bevardi’s Salute

23 N Lemon Ave
Sarasota, FL 34236

Will return.

This Italian restaurant is huge, with many rooms and corners for events. Mostly outdoor, roofed and open air by the street, with a jazz singer.


Ambiance: calm and quiet. Mostly were couples.

Service: very good and efficient.

Food: very delicious. We’d Trio (tapenade, hummus and olives), mussels (they didn’t provide a seafood fork) and lasagna, which is one of the better one I’ve in a while. The stems are above average – could have been a slightly better?

Their bathroom has a list of things for sale: scrub salt, essential oils and more.

We didn’t try their dessert – have an opera to catch. Street parking is relatively easy to find.

Feb 28 2023

Don Giovanni @ Sarasota

Don Giovanni is the second opera we took at Sarasota, after last week’s Madama Butterfly.

Again, the balcony section is very hot. During the only intermission, I asked one elderly male usher if the opera house knew they need to provide more air conditioning. He said, “I think they’ve problem this morning …”

“Really? I was here last Tuesday and it was HOT.”

He looked pathetic.

I felt sorry for him … I don’t want to give hard time to any staff that provide service to us but I hate to be lied to. If their house is too old to have adequate a/c, just say so. We’re reasonable.

The production is decent. They added some suer-nature element to it and injected little humor – Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro at one point – I thought it’s well done.

The little bar/cafe area is lively before the show.

We’ve lunch at Michael’s inside Selby’s garden, dinner at Salute; also visited the airplantation.

Feb 28 2023


3666 Egerton Cir
Sarasota, FL 34233

This is a private home off S Beneva Road. They made it a small garden of air plants, which we’ve been looking into, to add to our little garden

Air plants are epiphytes, that they don’t need soil, only need air, water and light – especially morning sun. Sounds wonderful, isn’t? They grow on other plants, usually on tree branches.

My beloved orchids are one of them.

The lady of the house Lisa cuddles the plants like her children – the love is unmistakeable. We purchased four Tillandsia Ionantha – blushing bride air plant, one bromeliad finger nail that likes the French nails -:), one young cornstalk Hoya ‘Krimson Queen‘, and a wax plant lemon twist.

空气植物是附生植物,它们不需要土壤, 只需要一些空气、水和光 – 尤其晨曦早晨的阳光. 听起来很棒,是不是? 它们生长在其它植物上,通常在树枝上. 兰花就是其中之一.

Feb 26 2023

Sarasota Opera House

61 N Pineapple Ave.
Sarasota, FL 34236

… more pix on Google Maps

It situated near the Main Street, and cross street is their Selby public library. The house produced four operas in 2023 season.

The three floor opera house was opened in 1926. Architect was Roy A. Benjamin (1887-1963) who moved from Ocala to Jacksonville in 1902. Before, it was named Edwards Theatre for the first mayor of SarasotaArthur Britton Edwards, who envisioned it.

The mediterranean revival style theater has 1,119 seats. Although it had a major renovations in 2007-8, but the air conditioning system doesn’t work well tho.

A few operas we saw:

  1. Carmen
  2. Lucia di Lammermoor
  3. Madama Butterfly
  4. Don Giovanni
  5. Ernani

Near by, St. Pete has its own opera house.

Feb 26 2023

Nathaniel Palmer, 1799-1877 

Unknown author, fm Wiki

Nathaniel Brown Palmer (August 8, 1799 – June 21, 1877) was an American seal hunter and ship designer, among a few other things he did well.

He was born and raised in Stonington CT, a descendant of Walter Palmer (1585-1661), one of the town’s founders, who also was the founder of Charlestown (the oldest neighborhood in Boston).

One of his adventures was to explore Antarctic in 1820, in his 47′ long sloop Hero. For vision comparison, my kayak is 12’6″ long.

Palmer Land (wiki) in Antarctica, is named after him.

Capt. Palmer was a major clipper ship designer and China trader, selling seal skin which was favored by the Chinese.

We visited his house in Stonington in 2021.

There is Stonington Island in Antarctic, named after him when he saw the Antarctic Peninsula, the northernmost part of mainland Antarctica on 1820.11.17 on his sloop 单桅帆船 Hero. That area would be known as Palmer Land nowadays (wiki: Graham Land in UK, O’Higgins Land in Chile and Tierra de San Martín in Argentina). Stonington Island (wiki) was used as the site for the East Base of US Antarctic Service Expedition (1939-41).

Feb 25 2023

Straz Center for the Performing Arts

1010 N Macinnes Pl.
Tampa, FL 33602

On the east bank of the Hillsborough River, it was opened in 1987 as Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center and was renamed to Straz in 2009.

Carol Morsani Hall with2,600 seats is the main space, where TFO plays. Sitting at distance, it looks ok but up close, near the stage, the stage scene is pretty ugly – dilapidated; plastic; …

The performing arts complex consists of five distinct theaters, a rehearsal hall, retail shops, on-site restaurants and banquet facilities. The five individual theaters are Carol Morsani Hall (2,600+ seats), Ferguson Hall (1,042 seats), the Jaeb Theater (292 seats), the TECO Energy Foundation Theater (250 seats and the Shimberg Playhouse (130 seats).

In any case, I’m just glad Tampa has a performing art center. We attended a few concerts there:



Feb 25 2023

Floridays Woodfire Grill & Bar

12332 Manatee Ave W
Bradenton, FL 34209

Will return: the mussels.

It’s odd that many water front restrooms / tiki bars / eateries get only 3 stars. So is this one. But I think they’re 4. Nice set up, clean and comfortable bathroom with good food and service.

We came because of the singer – a friend / ex boss. His voice is great, and his selection of songs are mellow and soothing.

The tiki bar itself worths the visit. Professional and efficient. We’ve their house wine and few beers, the fried tomato is delicious and feels healthy. The sunset view is vivid with fish jumping for bugs.

Parking is tight but manageable bec diners come and go.


Feb 23 2023


When travel, airports and it’s lounges are small part of comfort or discomfort.

JFK is big and has not been my favorite. But in 1986 when I first landed there, I felt for it and New York. So it’s a hard to disparaging it. And most of my comparisons are made with JFK.

One late night or early morning, I went to the bathroom after getting off the plane in JFK. The floor was layered with bathroom tissues… I couldn’t forget this scene.


My lounge review so far, are based on Amex; may differ from other cards.

  • TPA Tampa – clean bathrooms

Feb 22 2023

Madama Butterfly @ Sarasota

61 North Pineapple Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34236

The opera house was opened in 1926. The city’s population is 54,842 population (2020 census), which 77.7% are white, 2.1% Asian. The donors. Great Neck, with population of 40,000, its public high school puts out a full production of an opera every year. Comparing to GN, Sarasota’s down town is decidedly livelier and busier.

The production of this 1904 Puccini’s is very decent. The set is bit busy. Not sure getting a little boy is a good idea. I don’t see any up side of having him. The opera runs well into 10:30 and he’s missing his bed time. The singers made curtain call after every act. Gosh, they sure do love to hear applauses.

The singers. Soprano Raquel Gonz??? 

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