Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Golf mania continues at the PGA National Resort. They are in the midst of completing a huge remodel and breakfast has been relocated to the main restaurant – Ironwood. It is a beautiful space and the buffet is laid out very nice. I must make a note that we think the variety/quality has slipped a little since we were here last year. We are starting to make comparisons with our great stay at the Villas of Grand Cypress. We will have to see who makes the “Best Of” list at the end of our trip.
We are immediately approached by our server, Kevin who is super friendly. I opt for oatmeal with a bagel and Rich has eggs and bacon. We enjoy a relaxing breakfast and catch up on “light” news with the USA Today.
Today we are scheduled to play a morning round on the Palmer Course which is on property. We have already been warned by the staff at the Estates Course that he has been told the courses here are not in good shape right now. There are two women already on the tee boxes (which is an unusualsight at this place) and we quickly pair up with them. One of them is a pretty good golfer and the other one is ok.
The Palmer is indeed very wet and mushy – cart path only. The is Florida golf in the extreme. The greens have just been top dressed and are really sandy. It is difficult to get the speed/break figured out. A bit of a frustrating round.
After our morning round, we decide to have lunch at the resort’s Ibar – one of our favorite venues. We are hoping that our buddy from the past two years – Mike – is tending bar. One glance behind the bar and there he is. Makes us smile to see some of the familiar faces that have been working here for the 3 years that we have been coming. Lunch is a shared bowl of excellent shrimp gazpacho and a cobb salad. Surprisingly enough, Rich wants to go back out for another 18! I am ready to go.
Our afternoon round is brutal. It is hot, muggy and we are stuck behind several foursomes that feel like they are moving at the speed of crippled turtles. Oh well, we have a chance to see our buddies – the Sandhill Cranes. They appear over and over on various fairways and I am always delighted to see and hear them.
We also spot a not so tender friend lurking at the water’s edge. I decide right then and there that if I dump a ball into the water, I am NOT going to go poking around trying to find it!
When we end our marathon 5 1/2 hour round, it is already close to 7pm. Dinner plans for tonight have yet to be decided. We bounce around a few ideas (I would be perfectly happy to go to Coolinary Cafe every night!). We decide to go to one of our old favorites – Leftovers Cafe. The chef/owner from Coolinary Cafe worked there for quite a few years. We almost remember how to get there, but use the iphone for a little extra support. Since it is 8:00 Leftovers is not crowded and we are seated right away at the counter where we can watch the kitchen. Just like Coolinary, the menu is extensive, interesting and the specials change every day. It all looks great!
We go for the Venus Clams starter and the Boniato Encrusted Corvina for our entree. The clams come out first and they are killer. Huge and sweet with a broth that is fragrant and delicious (we need bread!).
The fish arrives and is huge. It is crusted with shredded Bonaito (a type of sweet potatoe) and served on a bed of greens with melon and a shriacha mayo. We also use some of the mango hot sauce from the counter. Wow. We eat every morsel. Oh – the server finally offered bread for the clam broth and we cleaned it up as well! We remember why we love Leftovers Cafe. Wish we had one in Arizona.