Sept 3, 2012





A lazy shopping day


Today we slept in and only got up around 9am. It was Labour Day, so we knew the parks would be crowded, so we decided to make it a shopping day instead. We had breakfast in the room, then sat out on the veranda for a little while, to enjoy the view and beautiful day. At around 11am we finally got out the door to be greeted by a lizard who was not scared at all, sitting above our door. We got into the car, took the top down and off we went. Our first stop was the Orlando Premium Outlets on Vineland.

We stopped by the Vera Bradley Outlet, but I did not find anything I really wanted, then we headed to the Dooney and Burke Outlet and yes, there was a handbag I really wanted. And not even was it at Outlet prices, it was reduced even more. You cannot pass up a great D&B for just mere 67$! Once we had the bag we strolled over to the Disney Character Warehouse. I donít remember WHAT we bought, but I am sure we did buy a few bits and bobs, as I never leave a Disney Store empty handed. We strolled through a few more of the shops before we trotted back to our car, put all the purchases into the boot and were on our way again.

While driving towards the motorway we talked about lunch. We had had a sandwich out of the fridge, but it did not hold us over for too long, so lunch was on our minds. And since we were in the car anyway we decided to go to Steak and Shake, a chain we had come across the year before and which we had really liked. So once we had found it we parked our car and headed inside. Even though it was lunch time the restaurant was only half full and we were quickly seated in a booth to the side of the restaurant. Tom ordered a CookiesíníCream Milkshake, Chunky cookie pieces make this hand-dipped milk shake irresistible, topped with whipped cream and a cherry, while I stuck with a Diet Coke. We then ordered our lunch and it was brought out soon after. Tom had ordered the Grilled PortobelloíníSwiss Steakburger, a Double Steakburger with fresh Portobello mushrooms, seasoned on the fiery hot grill and topped with melted Swiss cheese, caramelized onions and garlic mayo and served with fries. I had a more simpler craving. I had ordered the Frisco Melt, Two Steakburgers with American and Swiss cheeses, on buttery, grilled sourdough with their sweet ín tangy Frisco sauce, served with fries. Both were wonderful and really hit the spot.

Once we had finished our lunch and settled the bill we got back into our car and we drove to the Prime1 Outlets. It was hot and we had to park at the far end of the parking lot and the treck across the parking lot was long and hot. We cut through a few stores to get to the Disney Outlet, where again we did buy a few things, but I cannot remember exactly what it was. Once we had done our shopping and had a good look at some of the other stores we trecked back to our car and stopped one more time at a Walmart to look for some jeans. Once we had found what we had been looking for we headed for the register, paid and off we went back to Old Key West.

You could tell that many people would not stay past Labour day as the parking lot at our villa was practically empty. We hauled all our new purchases upstairs, rested for a while and then had to get going again as we had a dinner reservation at the California Grill. So about half an hour early we got back into our car and drove over to the Contemporary Resort. We had the car valet parked and walked up to the second floor to sign in and ask if Ron was working that day. It turned out that he was not, but we were going to enjoy our evening anyway. We were then quickly led to the elevator and taken up to the restaurant.

We had an early reservation, but they were already running behind, so we walked outside onto the platform to enjoy the view, then returned to the restaurant and a few minutes later our pager went off. We were happy to see that we were led to the wine room again.

Our server came over and introduced himself and to take our order for drinks. When he came back with our Diet Cokes he also brought a basket full of California Grillís Sourdough bread and some butter sprinkled with seasalt. And since we both had had a snack before heading over to the restaurant, we were not very hungry at all. So we decided on just having two appetizers both instead of an appetizer and main course. We both ordered a salad to start with. Tom had chosen the Crispy Rock Shrimp Salad, mixed green leaves, Florida citrus, red onions, soy reduction, and wasabi cream, while I had gone for the Baby Beet Salad, salt roasted beets, mixed greens, spiced Walnut dressing and Belle Fig Chevre.

Tom enjoyed his salad, while mine was still very nice, but some of the beets had a bit of a bitter aftertaste. And we both had ordered a flatbread as our second starter, which we were going to share. Tom had ordered the Hardwood Smoked Salmon flatbread, chive cream cheese, capers, black topiko and a soft cooked egg. My choice had been the Heirloom Tomato BLT, marinated tomatoes, Applewood Bacon, chiffonade Romain and Lemon Mayonnaise. Well, both were totally different, but yet both were incredibly delicious. We ate every last bite of both. I was not really sure I wanted some dessert, but after I had had a look at the menu, there was something that really stood out and I wanted to try.

So I ordered the Key Lime Cheesecake, toasted meringue, rum-roasted pineapple, sweet young coconut and Criello Chocolate sauce while Tom stuck with just an Espresso. It was different from what I expected it to be, but it was really good. And once we had finished our dinner and paid our bill, we went down to the fourth floor and strolled through the shops. We were pretty unsure on what we wanted to do, but since we were both already a bit tired we decided to make one more stop and then get on our way back to Old Key West for an early night. So we had our car brought over from the parking lot, got in, put the top down and got on our way over to the Wilderness Lodge. We parked in the self parking area and walked up to the Lodge. First we had a good look around, strolled through the store and went outside to enjoy the view, before we made one last stop at Roaring Forks, to pick up some goodies. I wanted to try the Smores Cupcake and the Carrot Cake Cupcake and since they offered both that was what we picked up. Once we had paid for them we headed back to the car and drove back to Old Key West. If I remember correctly, we watched a little TV and sampled the Smores Cupcake before we finally went to bed.