Archive for the Hotel and Venue Reviews Category

The Deck at Perico Island

Posted in Hotel and Venue Reviews, Trop Rock Artists, Trop Rock Happenings, Trop Rock Interviews | 4 Comments »

The Deck at Perico Island

DSCF4655We had the privilege of sitting down with Trop Rock fans Gary Lindblom and Cathy Pizzo on Saturday. They have transformed their home into a “One of a Kind” house concert venue. It provides a tremendous intimate setting. Basically, the setup is poolside, yet the entire stage and seating is covered. This provides relief from the sun during the hot Florida summers. During the cooler months the stage is to be moved into the open air closer to the pool. In the case of a rain storm like the one that came on Sunday, everything happens acoustically inside.

This a whole new approach to the house concert scene. Their events will be held on Sunday afternoons, in the form a “Jam Session”.

DSCF4657On Sunday, they had the first of these Jam Sessions. Dani Hoy was the featured artist. Allen “Frankendread” Holland not only provided smooth music and vocals, he also provided an amazing lineup of food. Local artists joined the featured artist for an absolutely amazing session.

It appears that Frankendread’s music and cuisine will be an integral part of this. Let’s get back to that food thing. Brace yourself. You’re about to get hungry as I tell you about the menu. There was succulent pork loin with a curry mustard crust and, bacon wrapped peaches with basil, black pepper and a balsamic vinegar drizzle, prosciutto and mozzarella wrappers, marinated mozzarella with sundried tomato topping, a cream cheese sweet jalapeno jam spread, a non-alcoholic ginger punch with agave, plantains, and a special island rum punch that was more of a slap than a punch. It was perfect for the occasion.

DSCF4660Did we mention that Gary and Cathy’s house is the former house of Mitch Miller (Sing-A-Long With Mitch)? Mitchell William “Mitch” Miller was prominent in the American music industry. He was involved in almost all aspects of the industry, working as a musician, singer, conductor, record producer, A&R man and record company executive. This is an amazing house and setup. No wonder the music seems to be the perfect complement to this incredible spot.

For those of you unfamiliar with the area, Perico Island is located on beautiful Anna Maria Island.

DSCF4667During our Saturday visit with Gary, my wife Mary disappeared with Cathy and Allen. We found them playing some classics with Allen on the acoustic guitar and Cathy on the drums and Mary on the camera. We got some behind the scenes footage of Allen teaching Cathy to play a full drum set. On a previous visit, we found out Cathy had learned to play two songs on the steel pan. Gary and I made our way upstairs to the Music Room. We were able to catch the tail end of the Allen & Cathy show. It Seems as though Frankendread has a passion for teaching the music as well.

Be sure to check them out on Facebook.

We will also have their scheduled events in our Trop Rock Calendar.

Perico Island.

It is as nice as it sounds.


Photos from Music on the Bay 2013

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Photo Gallery from the 2nd Annual Music on the Bay at Whiskey Joe’s in Tampa, FL – March 2013

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Papa’s Pilar: A Rum for Ernest Hemingway

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Papa’s Pilar: A Rum for Ernest Hemingway

HE WAS ONE of the literary titans of the 20th century, and one of the greatest adventurers the world has ever known. And whether it was in Havana or Paris, Ernest Hemingway always found time to enjoy rum.

Now, a new rum seeks to honour the memory of “Papa,” as he was known, and that spirit of adventure.

Rum Journal: Papa’s Pilar: A Rum for Ernest HemingwayPapa’s Pilar, which will have a soft launch in Tampa next week and then begin expanding to markets in South Florida (including Key West) April 5, is the product of a partnership with the Hemingway Estate. Its name is a combination of Papa and Pilar, the name of the fishing boat Hemingway used across Florida, Cuba and Bimini.

The Hemingway Estate will be donating 100 percent of their royalty profits to organization that “embody the likes of adventure, literacy and conservation causes dear to Hemingway and his heirs.”

The rums, which include light and dark varieties, are blends of high-end rums of different ages from around the region.

“I like to say we sourced our rum as Hemingway sourced his adventures,” Lindsey Kops, brand manager for Papa’s Pilar, tells Rum Journal.

The rum uses the solera method, with a combination of three barrel stages; first, in American oak bourbon barrels, then in port wine casks, and finished in Spanish sherry casks.

It debuts with two varieties a 3-year-old “Blonde Rum,” and a 24-year-old “Solera Blended” rum. Both are finished in Spanish sherry casks.

While the Florida-based company won’t reveal all of its countries of origin, Kops tells Rum Journal that some rums are sourced from Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Panama and Florida.

Right now the rum is blended in Kentucky, although there are plans to eventually move the process to Florida.

Kops said the company truly wanted to honour Hemingway, not just as a writer, but as an adventurer — for the way he lived.

“He lived this life that was constantly in a state of perpetual motion,” she said. “He was traveling the world, by land, by sea, collecting tales and obviously later telling us about them — the clear persona we pulled out was the ‘never a spectator’ mindset.”

She says Papa’s Pilar is an adventure brand, for those “who have that same sort of restless spirit.”

“His writing was very separate from rum enjoyment, but rum was a huge part of his life,” she says.

* * *

On to the review.

The blonde rum is a light yellow in colour, with an aroma of cane and sweet citrus. The flavour profile includes hints of grapefruit, sherry, and key lime, with a smooth finish.

The 24-year-old dark rum has a dark amber colour, with notes of key lime, lemon squares, caramel and port, with an exceptionally smooth finish with a suggestion of citrus peel.

The verdict? Both rums are simply out of this world. For a pair of new-to-market rums, we were blown away. And just a quarter of the way through 2013, the dark rum is an early contender for Rum of the Year.

And certainly worthy of the Hemingway name.


Original Article

A Weekend at Margaritaville Beach Hotel and Landshark Landing

Posted in Boat Drinks, Hotel and Venue Reviews, Island Enthusiasts, Trop Rock Artists, Trop Rock Happenings | 1 Comment »

A Weekend at Margaritaville Beach Hotel and Landshark Landing

IMG_2399Mary and I recently spent the weekend at the Margaritaville Beach Hotel in Pensacola Beach, FL. If I were to to tell you that we were amazed, that would be an understatement. We purchased the Romance Package (only $99 extra) and we were welcomed in our room with Champagne, Chocolate Covered Strawberries, and two complimentary Margaritaville etched Champagne flutes. IMG_2297After we settled into our room from a long day of traveling, we headed over to (Round 1) Landshark Landing.  We then tried nearly all of the appetizers that were on the menu. We indulged in Buffalo Wings, Chile Con Queso Nachos (Volcano Chile, Queso Cheese Sauce, Tomatoes, Jalapenos, and Green Onions), and 1/2 Pound of Landshark Shrimp. We probably should have stopped at the mountain of Nachos, but what is the fun in that?

While we were there, we visited with the night’s entertainment, The CalypsoNuts. Mary and I shared several Landsharks (two of which were complimentary of the hotel) with Lynley and Robbie, from The CalypsoNuts discussing Trop Rock and Reggae Music. We went back to our room for a bit while the band set up. Upon our return, The CalypsoNuts were in full swing and managing the crowd quite well. We sat and listened to the energetic beat and style for hours. The CalypsoNuts played several classic covers from their albums “Kiwi” and “Orange”.  Among the playlist were several of our favorites: “Ain’t No Sunshine”, “Could You Be Loved”, “Dreadlock Holiday” and “Kingston Town”  There were several Jimmy Buffett songs thrown in the mix as well.IMG_2519

After an energetic evening of The CalypsoNuts, we retired to our Bay View room. The following morning started out just as good as the previous day. Breakfast in bed from Frank and Lola Love Pensacola Cafe (included with the Romance Package), need I say more? Greeted by Room Service at 8:00am, could not have been more welcoming. I had the Bourbon Street Omelet – Blackened shrimp, crawfish, blue crab, chorizo sausage, peppers, onions, Pepper Jack cheese and sriracha hollandaise sauce. While, Mary had Vanilla Custard French Toast – With fresh strawberries and House Dulce De Leche.

We spent the remainder of the day, basking in the sun on their private beach. The beach was complete StandUp Paddle Boards, Kayaks, Chairs, Umbrellas (not our cup of tea), and many others. IMG_2374

Be sure to check the Landshark Landing calendar before booking your trip. There are definitely some amazing Trop Rock acts that you would not won’t to miss. We missed the Southern Drawl Band by one week. The Teddy Bear of Trop Rock, John Friday, has also played there. Local favorites, Steve and Sandra Youngblood, have also been known to make appearances.

We would recommend a stay at the Margaritaville Beach Hotel over any other if you are traveling to Pensacola Beach, FL. This was, without a doubt, an experience like no other. We have stayed at many of the hotels along Florida’s Northern Gulf Coast, but this one made a lasting impression.

Until our next adventure, remember to always Trop On!


Full Photo Gallery from Our Visit can be found HERE