Today, I celebrated my 14,610th day above ground on the planet Earth. It was magnificent. I spent the day with those closest to my heart - my dear wife and my two daughters - on Siesta Key, FL. We had a delicious breakfast at the Broken Egg and a spectacular day on the beach. Who needs cake? Not me. Just give me a sunny day and those I love and you can call it done. Given the option, I would change absolutely nothing about my 40th birthday. Throughout the day, my thoughts were with my friends Kevin W. and Dave R., for very different reasons. But these are guys that I am proud to call friends and who are going through trying circumstances for very different reasons. A 40th birthday makes you consider carefully the things and people you call dear in your life. To my friends and family, I would like to say a big thank you for all your love and support over the years. I know I am not the easiest person to be around and I appreciate your patience and love.
Moving on to all things food, I was lucky enough to stumble across a genuine Argentinian BBQ party a mere half block away from my rented house in the parking lot of Maximo's Restaurant. As I walked with my family up for our nightly ice cream run (rocky road, birthday cake, and butter pecan), I spotted a Weber Ranch Kettle and the plume of hickory smoke. I immediately noticed that the pitmaster, Daniel Mendoza, was laboring under the burden of not one, but two, broken ankles - and he was still tending the grills - A true hero of BBQ.
The grills were covered in delicious looking beef (undetermined cut) smoking away over charcoal fires. I spoke with Daniel and learned that they would be served with chimichurri and complemented by sides of arroz con pollo, empanadas with beef and egg, beef wellington, and Caribbean chicken and spanokopita. I'm terribly unclear as to the nature of the event, but I can say that the attendees were very happy with their selection of food. If you want to contact Daniel, he can be reached at 941-536-6470 for your catering needs. I only sampled the beef with chimichurri, but it was spectacular. Daniel is apparently working towards becoming a full time caterer. He splits his time between welding and catering.
Returning to my love for Walt's Fish Market, I returned to their store just a couple days ago to pick up some shrimp and mussels for dinner and thought I would share with you just a couple photos of their fine establishment. An unassuming and unpretentious place, Walt's offers lunch and dinner as well as an assortment of fantastically fresh fish and shellfish. This was where I first procured smoked mullet spread (more to come later after further research) and where I go in Sarasota for my seafood needs. If for no other reason, Walt's deserves to be respected for the fact that they park a kick-ass smoker at the front of their parking lot. It's not for sake of ease. They want you to know that they smoke fish and that you are missing out.
Here's a couple pictures from Walt's, just to emphasize the nature of the killer seafood going on here.