Turkey Lake Park is a Peaceful Place

Turkey Lake Park is a Peaceful Place

I did enjoy my second outing to Turkey Lake Park. I returned from that relaxing two day visit last Tuesday.

By the way, there is no “Turkey Lake Park”, strictly speaking. The official name is Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake, but since I find that a bit cumbersome, the more concise descriptor works for me!

I’m preparing a thorough write-up of my visit, but posting that will have to wait for another day. For now, I’m content just to post a pic and go on the record as saying that I truly love this tranquil setting.

This photo is taken from close to where campers must park and points in the direction of the camping area; as you can see, it’s quite a hike to the actual site where one pitches his or her tent! A very nice spot, nevertheless!

The upside of this arrangement is that it does make your camp site a bit more peaceful and natural-looking; the downside is that it’s a looooooong way to haul your gear!

Another detail that may be of interest: that gentle slope from right to left in the photo leads right to the shore of said Turkey Lake, though that’s just out of the picture.

I will be following up with a more thorough account of this recent trip with more pix before long. In the meantime, let me implore you to put aside some of that stuff on your to-do list for a while and get outdoors!

 

Bulldog Ben Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

A Visit to the Hunters Creek Applebee’s

A Visit to the Hunters Creek Applebee’s

Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar
13500 John Young Parkway
Orlando, Florida 32837

Call 407 206-5039

I’ve dined at the Applebee’s location in the Hunters Creek area of Orlando many times. If you’re from metro Orlando or visit much, you probably know that’s very close to the tourist area and only a mile from the Osceola county line. But this one is mostly patronized by locals, many of whom work in the tourism industry.

I’ve eaten at seven Applebee’s locations all total and this one is not very different from the others. I like the crew here, the bartenders especially and go there fairly often. I still have not tried the dining room, opting to sit at the bar. Sean and Ariana and a couple of other crew members have always taken good care of me. They have a decent beer selection and the “always happy hour” thing is awesome. That’s 2 for 1 ALL DAY, but on domestic drafts only. Beer lovers, you gotta love that!

There are seven or eight TV screens in the bar so there’s always something good on. This location has become my go-to spot for sports viewing, especially for games I can’t get at home. However, they don’t carry the pay-per-view events, such as UFC fights or those PPV championship boxing matches.

I like just about everything I’ve tried here and can recommend several appetizers. The Spinach and Artichoke Dip is always good, as are the Mozzarella Sticks; but my fave is the Sriracha Shrimp. Just the right amount of heat, you can’t beat this one!

I usually dine solo so I haven’t had a chance to go the “2 Entrees for $20” route, but it looks like a good value. What I had on my last visit was the Bourbon Street Steak and it was damn near perfect. And their garlic mashed potatoes are to die for!

The one draw back here is that their usual good service is not so good when the place fills up. I don’t like it, but it’s a common thing at chain restaurants. Management in chains are very, very focused on payroll costs and you can’t really staff for the hour and a half of each day when the place “blows up” as you’d have too many crew members for the other 80% of the shift. I get it, but I don’t like it. I hasten to add that it’s no worse here than most places I’ve visited.

This Applebee’s is quite family friendly. If fact, you’ll find many families with school-age kids seated in the bar area on just about every night. If you still have small ones in your posse, you can be seated wherever you like, bar included. (Not AT the bar, but in the bar area!)

Quick summary: moderate prices, great place to watch sports, good service, decent beer selection and very tasty menu offerings.

One more thing: there is a designated entrance to pick up take out orders on the north side of the building. Your order will be waiting in the bar area.

A little info to help you find it: this A-bee’s is an out building in a very large shopping complex and there’s lot of parking. It’s not all that easy to see from John Young, especially if you’re northbound. It’s across JYP from the Gator’s Dockside which is much easier to spot, so look on the west side of the road. The complex is just a wee bit south of where the 417 exit for John Young cuts through.

 

Bulldog thinks the menu is one of the best things about Applebee’s.  View it here:

 

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

The Road Construction Project That Wouldn’t Die!

The Road Construction Project That Wouldn’t Die!

One of the things you get used to pretty quickly around metro Orlando is that we have road construction going on constantly. The project to improve I-4 is the mac-daddy one happening now. I’m not going to whine about that one, not at all. You can actually see the progress when cruising along I-4.

The one that I’d nominate for Worst Road Project in Metro O’do would be the job to widen/improve the intersection of John Young Pkwy and Sand Lake Rd. (Yeah, there should be an award called “WRPiMO”, shouldn’t there?)

It’s a major snafu. It makes it nearly impossible to get in or out of a major shopping complex used by locals and visitors alike; and it’s been going on for way.too.long.

When you cruise around this accursed intersection, you might not see any work being done. When you see that happening–or NOT happening, I should say–it can be very vexing, to say the least. Orange County needs to light a fire under this contractor.

When you do see work, it’s just one or two crews, and never more than two or three front end loaders. I’ve never seen a project inching towards completion like this one. And I’m over it. Completely over it.

I’m not daft enough to think that my rant today on this obscure blog will change anything. But I do feel better for getting it out of my system. Until the next time I have to go that way, that is!

Wherever you’re heading today, I hope it’s all sunshine and green lights! Little-to-no traffic, happy police with no quotas to fill and NO effin road construction!

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

WKMG: Jamie Seh getting sports show – Orlando Sentinel

Bulldog writes: This is a very good development for Central Florida TV viewers, especially folks like me who are loyal to Channel 6. Jamie has been doing very solid work as the weekend sports anchor for WKMG for over five years and she’s definitely ready for prime time!

Ping, aka David Pingalore, was good at his craft but his shtick could get so annoying. So this is good news both because I think it’s a good move and because I had gotten really tired of Ping after ten frickin’ years! Details here on the new 30 minute show:

 

WKMG sports director Jamie Seh will headline a year-round sports show at 11:30 p.m. Saturdays.

Source: WKMG: Jamie Seh getting sports show – Orlando Sentinel

Orlando’s Fashion Square, one of America’s struggling malls – Orlando Sentinel

Ben writes: You may have read my posting from May 6th about how the Florida Mall on the south end of Orlando is still doing fine. Orlando Fashion Square Mall is the one whose downward spiral I have noticed most closely. I loved that place. This piece in the Sentinel is right up-to-the-minute and is worth a read by anyone who’s been here in Central Florida for a while and remembers some of our landmarks that have been around for many, many years.

Orlando’s Fashion Square is one of America’s many struggling malls, looking to reinvent itself

Source: Orlando’s Fashion Square, one of America’s struggling malls – Orlando Sentinel

Our Florida Mall in Orlando Thrives While Most Are Dying

Our Florida Mall in Orlando Thrives While Most Are Dying

Tonight I did something I haven’t done in quite a while; I cruised one of our local malls. I know that malls are really struggling in most American cities and at least three of them here in the Greater Orlando area have gone belly up or are just barely clinging to life. The Orlando Fashion Square Mall was a fave of mine. Our family watched it go up in the ’60s. So sad that the mall’s owners declared bankruptcy a short while ago…

I did notice a few months ago that The Altamonte Mall is doing pretty well and is very busy on weekends. That was good to see. Altamonte Springs is a cool town about 20 minutes north of Orlando, for those of you who aren’t too familiar with Central Florida.

So tonight I thought I’d check out the Florida Mall as I was in that part of town. And it was absolutely thronged. It just blew UP! Of course, it is a Saturday night.

That was a good thing to see.

Not only was business good, but the mall is undergoing a major renovation. I’ll have to check back in a year or so and see how that went.

In the meantime, it’s good to see that some of our malls here in Central Florida are doing just fine.

A quick attempt to fill in a bit of the history of malls around here: The Florida Mall, like the newer Millenia Mall, is very, very close to the heart of our tourist stuff in O’do. I doubt there’s a better location anywhere in the country. No, that’s not an overstatement.

So I suppose it’s not too smart to draw any conclusions about national trends. I don’t see things improving much for investors who’re heavily into a typical mall, but here we’re not doing too badly.

The photo is of the entrance to the Spencer’s Gifts at our thriving Florida Mall. Glad they’re still around, too. I don’t spend money in places like Spencer’s these days, but it’s good that they haven’t gone away.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile in Orlando

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

Steak ‘n Shake in the Hunter’s Creek Area

Steak ‘n Shake in the Hunter’s Creek Area

Had breakfast this morning at the Steak ‘n Shake location way down So. OBT in the Hunter’s Creek part of South Orlando. Enjoyed every bite. And the fine service. Janet is more than just a good server; her skill, experience and customer manner put her way above most who put on the apron and pour the coffee.

If you’re in the Hunter’s Creek part of the world some morning, stop in. Of course, you can stop in at any time, they’re open 24 hours! Steak ‘n Shake has some new and very tasty menu offerings. Their prices are lower than just about any eatery of that type and if it’s breakfast time, you’ll most likely have Janet as your server. Lucky you.

 

Steak ‘n Shake ~ 13133 So. Orange Blossom Trail ~ Orlando, Florida ~ Dial 407 240-8740

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile