Follow by Email

Monday, August 1, 2011

Lido Beach-The Perfect Summer Getaway

Lido Beach on the gulf coast of Florida is situated west of Sarasota on Lido Key.  It is about a two and a half hour drive from Orlando and well worth the tank of gas to get to paradise.  The sun, sand, and sea are all picturesque and serve as the backdrop for the perfect summer getaway!

The blue green waters of the Gulf of Mexico are simply breathtaking.  One can see through the clear waters while swimming or snorkeling.  The waters are calm and perfect for those who are non-swimmers to enjoy just as much as the others.  The warm waters are inviting and the perfect temperature to play all day.  The cool undercurrent from the Gulf is quite the surprise and refreshing as well.  This beach is not over populated with people like some of the more famous beaches and allows locals to enjoy the public treasures that Florida offers.  The white-sandy beach is clean and easily accessible from parking and only falls short in the lack of public restrooms.

Lido Beach does not end with just offering a sun-worshiper's paradise, but the main streets and thoroughfares are wrought with great little shops and restaurants to captivate the most avid shopper known as St. Armands Circle.  Restaurants range from Daiquiri Deck with its second story deck (great views and breeze after a day at the beach!)  and raw bar to Colombia Restaurant known for its great Latin foods and Crab & Fin, which by locals is touted as the best seafood restaurant. There are also numerous specialty shops, to wit, one that is near and dear to my heart is Crazy Shirts that is stocked full of shirts with great sayings for dad, grandpa and wine drinkers just to name a few.  You must stop in and read some of these shirts.  They are endearing and make great gifts.

Needless to say, if you are looking for a getaway that provides pristine beaches, great shopping, and even better food look no farther than Lido Beach.  It will not disappoint and will prove to be the perfect summer getaway, even if it is a day trip!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Universal CityWalk Party Pass Rocks!

If you are in Orlando, FL and you are looking to go out and have a good time at a great value, consider the Party Pass offered by Universal CityWalk.  At a value of $11.99, you are given access to seven clubs. Yes, seven clubs! These clubs range from the sounds of the Caribbean at Bob Marley's, which is a local favorite, to the Latin rhythms at the Latin Quarters.  Also, if you are a karaoke fan and always dreamed of having your five minutes of fame, your pass allows entry into CityWalk's Rising Star, which is the equivalent of American Idol. 

Not only does the Party Pass allow you to club hop and experience everything from live bands at the Red Coconut Club to the top 40 at the Groove, but you can get the Party Pass AND a movie at the Universal Cineplex for $15.00!  Get ready to rock and let the good times roll!!  And the best part is that you are spending less than $20.00 for a full night of entertainment.  Rock on!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pointe Orlando Cineplex vs. Universal CityWalk Cineplex: May the Best Cineplex Win

Movies are a huge American past-time.  They shape societal views and provide an escape for people from their problems and worries of real life.  For two hours moviegoers trade in their reality for the fantasy presented on screen.  In order to provide the best experience, movie makers have taken the entire experience of the movies to another level and it is unparalleled, with the invent of HD and IMAX, 3D and true to life imaging and graphics, one can almost become a part of the movie itself.  It is no wonder that Orlando, the mecca for fantasy land, has two very equipped and perfectly located cineplexes--Pointe Orlando and Universal Cineplex located at Universal CityWalk.  These two cineplexes are similar but provide a different experience.

Regal Pointe Orlando Stadium 20 and IMAX locate at 9101 International Drive, Orlando, this cineplex is accessible to the numerous tourists staying in the area.  It provides a lot of show times, has 20 theaters for patrons, and an IMAX.  The surrounding venues include BB Kings, Taverna Opa, Cuba Libre, Hooters, and various other locations on site, not to mention all of the restaurants on I-Drive.  You can have a full night's worth of entertainment in one location. 

However, AMC Lowes Universal Cineplex 20 with IMAX is also a great venue to go to the cinema.  Located at 6000 Universal Blvd., Orlando, Universal Cineplex is located at Universal CityWalk, it too has 20 theaters and IMAX.  Surrounded by the signature clubs and restaurants at CityWalk including Bob Marley's, Latin Quarters, Bubba Gumps, and so many more, Universal Cineplex provides patrons with the opportunity to have an all-in-one night on the town--dinner, dancing and a movie!!

When comparing the two locations, Universal Cineplex is closer to the center of Orlando, but Pointe Orlando is not much farther.  Universal Cineplex at CityWalk offers a better club experience because the nightlife is geared towards dancing and makes a shift to have a vibrant dance nightlife.  CityWalk offers the club hopper pass that allows people to have the entire nightlife experience for less than $20.00.  Most venues surrounding Regal Pointe Orlando, however, do not charge an entry fee.  In fact, most restaurants remain open and allow for dancing and entertainment at each venue with no cover for entry.  BB Kings provides live blues sounds and Taverna Opa has belly-dancers on tables!  The only true club as a surrounding venue at Pointe Orlando is probably Cuba Libre.

Nevertheless, both of these cineplexes receive a B as a grade because neither cineplex has everything, but they both definitely have something for everyone.  Both locations will provide a night of entertainment, just consider what you want to do before and after the movie and that will likely determine which cineplex you will go to or it may simply depend on the movie.  In either instance, you will be sure to have a good time!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hotel Review--Crowne Plaza Jacksonville Riverfront

If you are looking for a comfortable weekend getaway with a spouse or significant other or if you are in need of overnight business accommodations, the Crowne Plaza Jacksonville Riverfront can meet and surpass your needs.  My first impression was that the building was dated, but just like a pearl on the inside of a shell, I went beyond the surface and discovered beauty.

The Crowne Plaza Jacksonville Riverwalk is located on the river at 1201 Riverplace Blvd., Jacksonville, FL and it is within walking distance of entertainment and restaurants at the Jacksonville Landing.  The location alone makes this hotel a great value.  However, not only is CP Jacksonville Riverfront a great value, but it is a great stay.  The King Sunset Room provided a great night's rest on the memory foam bed and other amenities like the sleeping mask and earplugs that were complimentary. Also, the freshly brewed Starbucks down in the lobby proves to be a great way to get the day started. 

Needless to say, a great way to end the day is with a refreshing pomegranate martini at the Ruth Chris Steakhouse located on the first floor of the building with spectacular views of the river.  After unwinding, you can continue your evening with dinner at Ruth Chris (try the crab cakes!) or at one of the various restaurants at the Jacksonville Landing (Benny's Steak & Seafood). 

The Crowne Plaza Jacksonville Riverwalk is a great place to stay and enjoy all that Jacksonville has to offer.

Great Seafood in Downtown Jacksonville

Downtown Jacksonville, Florida delivers so much in stunning, visual beauty that the food at Benny's Steak & Seafood at the Jacksonville Landing is the icing on the cake.  Top off the perfect sunset on the river with a delicious seafood entree from Benny's.  The ambiance is casual elegance and the food is sure to please.

I must suggest the fried catfish entree hands down.  The red snapper is also a palate pleaser.  The seafood is seasoned to perfection to allow the flavor of the fish to come through.  However, the fish does not taste "fishy," but it is surprisingly fresh.  The great flavors and the generous portions make Benny's Steak & Seafood a hidden gem at a great price.

If you are looking for a place to enjoy an evening out and great food, Benny's Steak & Seafood Restaurant at the Jacksonville Landing is sure to deliver above and beyond your expectations

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Orlando Nightlife and Clubs--Universal City Walk

Orlando is famous as a tourist destination, but did you know that there is actually a great local nightlife as well.  Although Disney is a tourist Mecca, I find that Universal City Walk caters to tourists and locals when it comes to nightlife, clubs, and entertainment.  Universal City Walk has it all--restaurants, clubs, karaoke, and oftentimes outside entertainment for passersby. 

The clubs span all genres from reggae at Bob Marley's to Latin rhythms at the Latin Quarters. Most people will be able to find a club or bar that they can be themselves, have a good time and enjoy themselves.  However, Bob Marley's is a must, whether you like reggae or not.  It is an open air club that actually reminds you of the islands and is quite enjoyable and usually they have a live band performing reggae, soca, and island rhythms to keep you moving all night.  Universal City Walk also has a cinema multiplex for those that are not into clubs and that has the latest movies for patrons viewing pleasure. 

All of this great entertainment is in one location at a great price.  Visitors can come to Universal City Walk for free (after paying parking), however, each club has its own cover charge.  My suggestion is to get the club hopper pass from customer relations that will gain you admission to most of the clubs for less than $15.00.  City Walk is definitely a place you can spend all evening and really have a good time!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

310 Lakeside-Good Food, Beautiful View

There is nothing better than a good meal with a beautiful view.  310 Lakeside located at 310 East Pine Street in downtown Orlando is just that--good food, beautiful view.  The Cobb Salad is a gracious serving and is simply delicious.  If you have an adventurous palate, patrons can enjoy the gator bites as an appetizer and indulge in the happy hour Sangria (one of my favorites!).  This place is great American cuisine at reasonable prices.

Equally impressive is the view.  Located right across from Lake Eola in downtown, the patio dining offers a calm, relaxing atmosphere to enjoy the company of friends or simply to enjoy the view.  The atmosphere is always inviting and the staff is professional, courteous and friendly.  If you are looking for a place to start off your evening, or to end it, 310 Lakeside is the place for you.