Feb 28 2024

Plaza Mexico Sun City

724 Cypress Village Blvd
Sun City Center, FL 33573

Probably will return.

… more pix on Google Maps, Yelp.

Colorful light shades. Although it saturated the small space, with the high back chairs, but the foods are decent.

The freshly made guacamole by the table side, is bit salty but yummy. The chips are fresh. The rest is a blur -:) I only got a few photos.

They’re re-roofing or something, wires are everywhere.

Feb 28 2024

Brick’s Smoked Meats

Love the tiles: the top L was in my home, the top R in Shanghai, both were made by Chee Hsin  

1528 State St.
Sarasota, FL 34236

… more pix on Google Maps, Yelp & TA

Another restaurant with ‘Brick’ in its name – hopefully this owner/manager isn’t going to be nasty as Hales Blackbricks, can take genuine and constructive critics.

Probably won’t return.

Love their decor – high ceiling, industrial. The last booth by the bathroom is angled. I don’t know they did that to shield the bathroom entrance or needed to be. In any case, it looks good. Two big open windows connect their outdoor area. The length of the bar looks out to a garage.

I particularly enjoyed their tiled tables: the patterns are familiar to Chee Hsin’s, which I’ve a book on it, self published on Amazon.

The service is good. The pretty young girl has red and purple nail polish – maybe I should go for the purple, to match my hair.

The food is a little trying. The bacon burnt end is on the sweet side but is tender. The brisket is thick and dry. With the butter knife, cutting became a chore. The ribs is a little softer than the brisket, but have it better many other places.

The young girl, the maitre d’ and a lady in black pants came over, asking how’s everything – they certainly care.

Feb 28 2024

Lucia di Lammermoor @ Sarasota

…at Sarasota Opera

Lucia di Lammermoor by Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti (1797–1848). It was premiered in 1835 in Naples.

Another love story. Another good production. Another great opera.

This tragic drama was loosely built on Sir Walter Scott’s 1819 historical novel The Bride of Lammermoor.

Five scenes with two intermissions plus three pauses, 3:15 long. The set designs are really good.

Feb 27 2024

My carry on luggage

This Samsonite carry on luggage set was purchased in 2003 at Costco. I still use it on all my trips. Heavy? Yes but they’re durable and rather handy: 21 years and counting, in 2024.

I often walked from Frankfurt Hbf to Renate’s home in Bockenheim, in which many paths are pebble stoned, or I chose to.

A few more pix of my long lasting carry on:

Feb 27 2024

Saks Fifth Avenue

120 University Town Center Dr,
Sarasota, FL 34243

… more pic on Google Maps

Will return. I haven’t been to a Saks for a few years. The one I used to go was on 5th Avenue in New York. It never impressed me. Sandwich between Bergdorf Goodman and Macy’s, Saks, I think their Christmas light show is the standout. Walking into this small one – two floors with cloth and cosmetics, I’ve a little wow feeling – maybe it’s the time of the day – afternoon; maybe it’s not crowded; or maybe I shop online for too long and glad in a physical store … The overall feeling is refreshing. Their decor is mute and light. Staff is ready to help.

Feb 23 2024

Tampa Riverwalk 河滨步道

Tampa, Florida

… more pix n videos on Google Maps,

Tampa RiverWalk is a 2.6 miles long open space pedestrian trail along the Hillsborough River. The part we go often is from ArmatureWorks (where we park and dine) to Straz (concerts and shows), which is 0.8 miles, and is a good place to watch sunset. It’s serene and scenic.

Skateboards, bikers, strollers and dogs are part of the crowds on the trail, and taxis, tiki boats, jet skis fill the river.





Feb 23 2024

Beethoven @ Straz

TFO @ Straz

… more pix & videos on Yelp

The second piece is Beethoven’s 5th and last piano concerto: the Emperor. I’ve listened to this piece many times, and tonight it sounds beautiful as I know -:).

We’ve been to a few concerts that were conducted by Michael Francis (1975?-): a likable young man, with humors, a graduate of Cardiff University School of Music.

The pianist is Spanish Javier Perianes (1978-) who’s pretty short, who doesn’t have a list of impressive schools. I enjoyed his playing. When it was done, he returned quickly to give a Chopin encore, without much claps. While he was playing the Chopin, Francis stood at the side of the stage – I thought that’s a nice gesture.

At the beginning of the concert, of course someone would go to the stage and give a speech. Tonight it’s a chubby woman… who probably spent years climbing or paid handsomely to be in that position. She opened up by bragging that TFO Florida Orchestra is world class. But her presence really cheapens the evening. Mostly, she thanks the sponsors. I even saw Rick Steves (1955-), the travel guru’s name on the screen.

After conductor takes stage, people are still allowed to come in. The ushers are volunteers. I joked to one, “you should go to New York.” One of my tennis buddies Susan who’s a retired teacher, does the usher circuit, from MSG to baseballs … and gets paid in 3 digits even event.

The dinner at Oak & Ola is wonderful.

Feb 23 2024

Oak and Ola

1910 N Ola Ave
Tampa, FL 33602

… more pix n videos on Google Maps, Yelp & TA

Definitely will return.

We stopped here before the concert. It’s very similar with Ulele @ Armature Works: high ceiling, industrial, exposed brick walls, open kitchen; good service and pretty good food.

Location: by the water
Seatings: indoor and out
Food: very good
Service: very good, well trained

We went at 5 when they just opened. When we left at 7, it was packed. We stayed a bit longer bec it was raining, and our concert didn’t start till 8. We could have another toffee cake – it’s that good. But didn’t bec people are waiting.


– charred sour dough bread – good
– crab salad: wonderful
– meat charcuterie – fine
– special – fish amandine – good
– special mezzaluna pasta – great
– Spanish autopsy – yummy
– warm toffee cake – to die for
– chocolate tart – average

Our server said his name is MJ. A handsome kid, better looking than Michael Jordan … still love you Mike

We shared a bottle of Meleto BTL Chianti. Nice stems. They left the cork on the table – Should they put it on a small plate?
Big spoon for desserts
Ok I’m a dinosaur

They’re on RESY, may charge $25 for no show. No place for handbags.

Feb 14 2024

Amex Centurion @ ATL

This Amex Centurion Lounge at Atlanta ATL Terminal E by Gate 11, has just opened this morning, I think at 6am, when we flew in from Buenos Aires, to change flight home.

… more pix videos on Google Maps, Yelp & TA

As we flew into Atlanta to change flight, we’re treated to their newest Centurion Lounge that just opened that moment.

Opening hours: 6am to 11pm daily.

The place is huge, easily double the space to other centurion lounges. A gentleman in suit showed me around – thank you. They’ve two outdoor terraces, one whisky bar with 34 (?) American whiskeys. Chef Deborah Vantrece curates nice layouts, from fruits to bakery to sausage … my most favorite is the pinkish cheese grit with a hint of spicy – the most delicious grit I’ve had 😘 salty and spicy

The decor is modern. With green-wall at the entrance, to books and luggage to enclosed meeting spaces.

Staff are fresh, friendly and energetic – do keep it up.

The only speck is the lacking of tea spoons – love their utensils by the way. “No worry,” I told the gentleman: the cruise ships use regular spoons for their desserts – is this the trend or what?
The shower has 15 minutes limit.
It’s a sunny day and I got a few sunrise videos and pix, before they put down the shades.

Feb 13 2024

Uber in Rio

We used Uber to get around in Rio de Janeiro. They’re not always cheaper. Once we took the taxi at the half cost of Uber, which was also a long wait. Waiting around for a Uber is the downside of it. But it’s convenient: just open the app and you don’t need to stick out your credit card.

~ The Rise and Fall of Uber 2021.4.08

Bloomberg News reports Uber has a banner quarter, up 30%, while Lyft is down 80%, which has very limited worldwide presence. My last encounter with Lyft was horrible, from both the driver and the company.

The location service is spotty in Rio. Many times, the drivers couldn’t find us. One time at the beach, the driver of a Black Fiat (lic ending I33) drove away from us, that was a terrible experience. We would spend next 30 minutes waiting for another car. It drained my battery as well. If I were to cancel it, Uber charges me a cancelation fee. It doesn’t seem fair.

On our trip to the GIG airport, the driver has a yellow tank in his truck. What is it?

One interesting thing to note: many Uber cars in the airport are mini, without a truck! We put our two carry on in the front passenger seat.

As of now, I still haven’t figure it out how to tell Uber the number of passengers, other than myself.

Above my pay grade topic. Uber 的季度业绩表现出色, 增长了 30%; 而 Lyft 则下降了 80%, 在全球范围内的业务非常有限.
几年前在旧金山Lyft 的司机无缘无故说我的狗在他车里💩了 加收$80. Lyft不调查 (照片的meta data was striped …) 说收的对… 当然我赢了. 这么烂的公司 简直了.

今天Uber 小哥看俺在照相 好心提醒俺 “… 小心 不要被人抢手机…”
这是来后第一个提醒. 俺觉得Rio 挺安全, 虽然最好的酒店都有些惨不忍睹 周围环境本应该高大上 但也就是New York 23 街的感觉.
满大街卖冰/水的小贩们 人手一个收银机. 在这个背后 不知道信用卡公司的努力
相比之下 德国🇩🇪小商店都还是现金…