Wining and Dining in Style!

Hey All,

This has once again been a marathon weekend for me! I’ve been going round the clock with social events ever since Wednesday evening through today (Sunday) and I even have a boating event on the Gulf with friends tomorrow (President’s Day). I’m doing all these events while making sure I take care of the two doggies for my neighbors who are away in the Middle East (see previous post).

I’ve already shared my pre-Valentine and Valentine Day evening events with you in previous blogs.

Today I’ll share a wonderful evening of wining and dining at an upscale condominium owned by a couple of old friends of mine, Randy and Nancy. The development that they have their vacation home in is so upscale that I am not even allowed to park my nice 2 1/2 year Ford F 150 truck past the gate after 8 PM. The development actually has a special place to park trucks outside the main entrance gate. Normally you have to be specially escorted into the development.

I which I had time while I was there to snap a bunch of photos of the lush landscaping and great amenities within the condominium development and also to take a bunch of photos of Randy and Nancy’s well-appointed interior home and thecfantastic gulf views they have off their 3 balconies and to also include photos of their high end art work, but it would have been a bit ackward to do this during this visit..After all, I was a guest in their beautiful home and not there to be taking too many photos.

I have known this couple since the early 80’s. Randy and I served in the military together and I have kept in touch with him and his wife all these years. Randy and Nancy currently live in Washington DC and after Randy retired from the service as a full Colonel he got a high level job as a Department of the Army civilian (equal in rank to a General). He is the Director if Operations for the Army Medical Department and is always briefing the Secretary of the Army and the Surgeon General on medical matters of great importance.

Several years ago, Randy and Nancy bought this beautiful condo with fantastic views of the Gulf in this very high end condo development in Saint Petersburg. Their place is impeccably decor’d with custom made furnishings and high end artwork. Randy has always been a true perfectionist in everything he does. You could say that what Randy touches or works on “turns into gold”!

Needless to say, this couple’s dinner invite was no exception! For the culinary experts out there… you will be impressed! I am posting a note from Randy that he posted on his facebook page i the very next day after dinner. It will describe the meal that he and Nancy prepared for me and his other two guests. It was like being in a 5 star+ restaurant….the very best of everthing!

“Hosted dinner in St Pete this evening with good Friends Gary Drabczuk, Rion Gabel, and Kay Whitman. Cocktails and awesome Bacon-wrapped Cheese-stuffed Jalapeño Poppers (a la Kaye and Rion); Cantaloupe, Prosciutto, Shaved Parmesan and Pine Nut Salad paired w Chandon Brut Sparkling; Seared Salmon Filet with Spring Sauce paired w a Gevrey-Chambertin Red Burgundy or a Raeburn Russian River Valley Chardonnay; Tiramisu.”

I will admit…most of the stuff mentioned above by Randy is “Greek” to me as I am a simple eater. I generally prepare something quick to eat in 5 minutes, pop it in the microwave and then eat it on the run. So needless to say…this meal was a real treat for me!

So as they say….seeing is believing!

Elegant table setting above.

Fancy Salad (see Randy’s description above)

Main dish in photo above. Note: The vegetable was something called “fennel” I think.? Supposedly a
bulb of some sort that has a liquorous flavor, but not too strong as it’s seasoned with some other stuff.

Dessert is shown above with description in Randy’s note.

All in all a relaxing evening and a chance to catch up.

Randy still remains so busy with work and hasn’t really slowed down (even though they do travel extensively internatinally). As a result, they presently do not spend much time in their ” to die for” condo. I think when Randy finally decides to retire, their plan is to sell their home in Washington DC, move to Atlanta to be closer to one of their daughters and to then finally spend about 6 months down here in their condo and the other half of the year in Atlanta, when not traveling world-wide. In the meantime they pay approximately $900 per month in condo fees, never mind other expenses like property taxes, utilities, etc; but only make it to their condo for a few days at a time, maybe 2 to 3 times per year. They don’t have a desire to sub-let their condo when they are not there, as they are very particular with their high end belongings and impeccable home interior features. Oh well…whatever works best for them is okay. They are happy and seem to be content.

Looking forward to blogging about all my other social activities from this past weekend sometime during the week as my time and creativity permits.

Have a great week!

Gary

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