Sunday, February 25, 2007

Miami Beach - Joe's Stone Crab

Talk about an upscale restaurant with atmosphere. This restaurant in the heart of Miami Beach opened as a lunch counter restaurant in 1913. Now it's well known for its stone crabs as well as many other items on the menu. My party of four got there on a Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. and was told to expect a 2 1/2 hour wait.

Lucky for us, some inside connections got us to a table within 30 minutes. Waiters and hosts were all dressed in tuxedos, and the service was first class. This is a tablecloth and fine china type of place.

I started with a hearty bowl of Manhattan Clam Chowder to go along with the basket of bread they brought out. This was followed by an order of "Jumbo" stone crabs. Wow! Were they ever big and good - served with butter and a creamy sauce for dipping. We also ordered hash browns, creamy spinach and sauteed mushrooms. We topped off the meal with some very tart Key Lime pie.

Buyer beware - the tab for this dinner of four came to more than $400.

But, the menu is extensive and there were several entrees available for less than $10.

Monday, February 05, 2007


I've never had a burning desire to spend much time in any of the major cities on the East coast, however, a trip a couple of years ago to Boston and a recent trip to Philadelphia have me changing my mind. The area is full of U.S. history.

I only had about an hour to kill on a recent Saturday morning in Philadelphia so I decided I would go downtown and see the Liberty Bell. As I pulled into the area, I noticed that security was very tight. There were 2-3 police officers standing on every corner and a police car parked at every traffic light.

I turned into a parking garage underneath the Independence Hall Visitor Center and ventured toward the Liberty Bell. Much to my chagrin it was cordoned off and closed.

Turns out my short visit to Philadelphia coincided with a visit from Prince Charles. All the sights were closed until after his visit. I was able to see the Liberty Bell through the large glass windows from the street corner, and I took a few minutes to walk over to the courtyard behind Independence Hall. After that I returned to the Visitor Center where I spent 30-45 minutes. The short visit whetted my appetite for a chance to come back and spend more time in the area where our country's forefathers forged our nation.

Note: Most of the attractions around Independence Hall are part of a national park, and there is no charge for admission. The only cost I had was for my parking.