Florida homes, houses, realtors, Stuart, Sewall's Point, Martin County, Real Estate
Bob and Maryellen Castellano's Blog

Have You Been to Duffy's Lately?

My husband and I went to Duffy's last night for dinner.  They had given him a free appetizer for his birthday and we decided to take advantage of the offer. As soon as we looked at the menu, we noticed some real changes. There were still 2-for-1 happy hour drinks all day and our classic favorites like cheeseburger sliders, fish tacos and salads. But there were also some great additions that made us realize they'd really stepped up their game.

We started with the regular sized sesame crusted ahi tuna, served with sesame noodles and cucmber salad.  We were not just happy but impressed!  We have always considered Duffy's a sports bars with great burgers and fries and even like their fish tacos, but we never looked at seafood as a specialtiy.  This dish rivaled that served at any seafood restaurant.  The ahi was crusted with a mix of light and dark sesame seeds.  Seared perfectly just on the outside and raw on the inside, the sesame seeds gave it a delightful crunch.  The noodles were served cold and were tasty in a sesame peanut sauce.  The cuccumbers were thinly sliced, crisp and tart in a vinegar dressing.  Had I ordered this in the large size, it would have made a perfect meal.  The regular size was just right to split as an appetizer.

For dinner, I ordered my go to bar food: cheeseburger sliders with fries.  The fries were crunchy.  Cheeseburgers were served with my choice of cheese (cheddar), pickles, tomatoes and lettuce. I never rave about cheeseburgers, so these fit the bill and were very satisfying.  My husband ordered the Churasco steak, a skirt steak with chimichurri, black beans, rice and plantains. He was happy with its preparation and ate every bit.

Our only complaints were minor.  The service was a bit slow (perhaps the kitchen was a bit overwhelmed as we stopped by during the UF game) My wine was fine but the vodka on the rocks was a lot of ice with a little vodka in an on the rocks glass--but at least it's 2-for-one.  Overall, it was a good value for some good food and I will definitely go back for that seared ahi.  It's a nice, local sports bar with friendly atmostphere, a varied menu and some nice culinary surprises.

 

#Stuart #RestaurantReview #Florida #houses #paradise #MartinCounty

Duffy's Sports Grill on Urbanspoon

Independence Day on the Treasure Coast

 

It’s been so busy lately (always a good thing) that I haven’t been able to blog as much lately.  But Independence Day is worth writing about, three weeks later.  We decided to go to the St. Lucie Mets Game.  There is always fireworks for Independence Day, and what could be more American than baseball (and hot dogs—we had those at the game too!)

We got a rocky start as the game was delayed for about 90 minutes waiting for a storm to pass.  Fortunately, it did pass, the tarp was removed from the field and things got started.  Jenn Austin sang the National Anthem.  I am not exaggerating when I tell you that this young woman has an incredible voice—far surpassing many stars who have attempted this.  In fact, her performance was so beautiful that I am writing about it three weeks later—just so you can see it too.  Click here to see and hear it for yourself.

Bob and I are both big baseball fans, so of course, we enjoyed the game.  James Taylor, local candidate, threw out the first pitch.  The game was scoreless through the 5th inning when Maikis de la Cruz hit a home run for the Mets.  The Hammerheads tied it up in the 7th, but the Mets came back, beating the Hammerheads 2-1.

 

After the game came the fireworks.  Once again, they were incredible and accompanied by music.  Each group of fireworks was so spectacular that you felt like you had reached the grand finale.  After about a half an hour it was the grand finale and then time to go home, very happy after an evening of baseball, peanuts and crackerjacks, and fireworks.  I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate our independence.

Fireworks after the gamegame

Memories of Independence Day, 2013

Over the course of this year, the server that held our blog crashed and we lost our entire website and blog.  We have rebuilt our webstie and dare I say, it's better than it ever was; however, there was no way to just recover our blog without reposting everything. I saved this blog post from last year's Independence Day.  I hope you enjoy this memory as much as I do, and that it will inspire you to get out and celebrate our independence in this great county.

One of the great things about living in Stuart is that fun and entertainment is always close by.  In spite of the fireworks and festivities planned for downtown Stuart, we decided that the perfect all-American activity for the day would be a baseball game.  The St. Lucie Mets play just a stone’s throw away at Tradition field.  Checking the team’s schedule, we found that they had a home game scheduled against the Jupiter Hammerheads, and much to my wife’s delight, fireworks following the game.

It was a beautiful evening.  Temperatures were in the 80s with a pleasant breeze.  The game was good, with the Mets beating the Hammerheads by a score of 3-2.

But it was the activities before and after the game that really made this July 4th game special.  We arrived in time to see Port St. Lucie Mayor JoAnn Faiella present Army specialist Haley Nine with a key to the city.  After serving in the Army since she was 17 years old, 21-year-old Haley Nine recently returned to Port St. Lucie after her tour of duty.  Nine threw out the first pitch of the game.  Then she surprised family friend Sondra Millman with a flag flow over Afghanistan on Memorial Day in honor of Millman’s granddaughter, Elizabeth Jacobson, who was killed while serving in Iraq.  The flag was presented by the St. Lucie chapter of the Sons of the Revolution.  Before Jenn Austin sang the Star Spangled Banner so beautifully that any American’s heart would swell with pride, there was a moment of silence for Sgt. Justin Johnson, South Fork High School graduate from Jensen Beach who was killed during a mortar attack on Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. We counted our blessings as we honored our soldiers, living and fallen, thankful to live in freedom in this amazing country.

The Mets played a great game, scoring first with a sacrifice fly by Matt Reynolds and Dustin Lawley scoring.  Charley Thurther’s RBI brought Kevin Plawecki in for a second Mets run.  The Hammerheads tied the score in the third inning with Christian Yelch’s two-run homer.  The Mets came back in the 6th inning with an RBI by Kevin Plawecki, bringing Jason Boyd home for the winning run.

Fireworks followed the game and they were spectacular!  Showers of blue, green, red and white filled the sky for nearly a half an hour, while the sound of pyrotechnic explosions and patriotic music filled the air.

Coming from the north, Independence Day has always been a great day of celebration for me.  This Treasure Coast Fourth of July could hold its own compared to the New England version, with the added benefit of living here in paradise.

#Stuart, #Fireworks,#StLucie, #StLucieMets, #Florida, #houses, #homes, #JensenBeach, #Jupiter, #Sewall'sPoint, #IndependenceDay, #Martin, #Paradise

Best Places to See Stuart's Fireworks

We’re so fortunate in Stuart to have a fabulous fireworks show planned for Independence Day . Fireworks will be set off over the St. Lucie River at 9:00 PM.  I’ve got a few suggestions of places to celebrate and enjoy the show:

Arrive early, bring a chair and get a great view from the Roosevelt Bridge

Catch a late dinner at one of the great restaurants in downtown Stuart like The Riverwalk Café, Mulligans, the Key Lime Café, Duffy’s, or the Osceola Street Café.  Then head over to the Downtown Riverwalk--one of my favorite downtown Stuart features--for a front row seat.

If you’ve got a boat, raft up with the team from Marine Max.  They’ll be on the St. Lucie River, just east of the Roosevelt Bridge from 6:00 PM to 10:30 PM.  For more information and to register, click on http://www.marinemax.com/stores/southeast/stuart/boat-events/fireworks-raft-up.aspx.

Flagler Park in Historic downtown Stuart, at the end of the Star Spangled Celebration. What?  You haven’t heard about the Star Spangled Celebration? This Patriotic, Family-Friendly, FREE Event will feature food trucks, vendors, beer and wine, bounce houses, a giant water slide, pony rides and face painting. Festivities begin at 2 PM with live music on the two different stages beginning at 4 PM. Ben Prestage is returning this year and will be joined by the Sierra Band, Shadow Creek and Emily Brooke on the  "Infiniti Stuart" Riverwalk Stage. The "Audi Stuart" Stage offers a second option with the returning Stuart Community Band, SOLID GOLD, the Andrew Morris Band and the Tom Jackson Band. A spectacular fireworks show starts at  9:00 PM and you’re in the perfect spot to see it .

 

The multitude of options to celebrate Independence Day is yet another reason I love living in Stuart. Is this a great community or what?!?

#Stuart, #Fireworks, #Florida, #Houses, #Homes, #JensenBeach, #Jupiter, #Sewall'sPoint, #IndependenceDay, #Martin, #Paradise

Gourment Thai in Stuart

Thai food is one of my favorite cuisines.  While I am not of Thai descent, I still consider it a comfort food.  The combination of spices, the sweet, sour, salty, hot flavors and the sticky rice all combine to put a smile on my face on the worst of days.  Corner Gourmet is Thai taken up a notch.  Located in the historic 555 Building in Stuart, it is an unassuming little eatery.  Décor is simple.  Even its name conceals the delightful cuisine prepared within. I did however, get a hint from the picture of his lunch my husband posted a week earlier.

Curry is generally my go-to meal when I eat Thai, but I decided to go in a different direction and ordered the Thai Basil Chicken. When my dish was served, I was immediately delighted by the incredible aroma. The sauce was sweet and spicy, with delicious licorice flavored basil. The tender chicken was surrounded by fresh, still crunchy vegetables.  The jasmine rice was cooked expertly and the balance to the dish, allowing me to savor every drop of sauce.

My husband ordered three-flavor calamari with eggplant with brown rice. Calamari is tricky—it must be cooked for just a few minutes or for a few hours.  Anything in between results in rubber rings.  This calamari was tender.  Eggplant can be mushy when overdone, but this wasn’t.  The brown rice had a bit of a nutty taste.  Never have I enjoyed healthy eating so much!

I’ll let you in on another secret about Corner Gourmet.  All of this deliciousness is created by Chef Apinya.  She and her husband, Brian (who runs Corner Gourmet with her) are the former owners of Seven Orchids. So if you’ve been missing Chef Apinya’s cooking, you now know where to find it.

So, next time you are near downtown Stuart and craving some Thai deliciousness, check out Corner Gourmet.  You’ll be happy that you did.

For more information about Stuart and Martin County , FL, please visit our website www.StuartRealTeam.com.

#Stuart, #RestaurantReview, #CornerGourmet, #ThaiCuisine, #Florida, #houses, #homes, #JensenBeach, #Jupiter, #SewallsPoint, #HobeSound, #Foodies, #Martin , #Paradise

Corner Gourmet on Urbanspoon

Stuart Fine Dining

If you’re looking for the perfect place for a special occasion in Stuart, or you just like fine dining, Chop House 88 is the place for you.  I consider it somewhat of a hidden gem.  It’s location in Plantation Plaza doesn’t prepare you for the experience that awaits you when you pass through its modest portal.

The restaurant has been completely renovated.  To the right of the reception area is a beautiful bar.  To the left is the dining area.  Seating is comfortable and the décor is relaxing, stylish and elegant all at the same time—without that 70’s steakhouse look. Even the restrooms give a sense of comfort and charm.

The experience starts with great service—drink orders were promptly taken and delivered.  There is an ample wine list from which to choose, and our server, Ty, was happy to recommend a nice Cabernet.  He also brought us a basket of crusty sourdough bread, served with butter and a plate of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  For a touch of whimsy, he drew a smiley face in our olive oil with the balsamic vinegar, and it was well-deserved, as this combination with the sourdough bread gave us another thing to smile about.  The oil was earthy and fruity, the balsamic adding the perfect touch of tangy sweetness.  But Ty wasn’t just cheerful, he was also knowledgeable and perfectly attentive.

We each ordered a crock of French onion soup.  Hearty and delicious with that same homemade sourdough bread topped with cheese.  My husband ordered the salmon of the day with a fried egg on top.  The smokiness of the salmon combined perfectly with the egg.  It was served with mashed potatoes and a vegetable.  I ordered the braised short ribs with demi-glace, served with wood-smoked grilled asparagus and feta risotto.  My husband is a great chef, and his short ribs are a joy to behold, but I have to say, this was one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever eaten.  And unlike the haute cuisine of years past, the meals were generous in portion—we each had leftovers for another meal.

Chop House 88 has become my new special occasion restaurant.  I have heard they have an early bird special which I’d like to try for a not-as special occasion and I’m going to give it a try because I really don’t want to wait.

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Chop House 88 on Urbanspoon

For more information about Stuart and Martin County, visit our website at www.StuartRealTeam.com.

#Stuart, #Restaurant Review, #ChopHouse88, #Florida, #houses, #homes, #JensenBeach, #Jupiter, #SewallsPoint, #Cooking, #Foodies, #Martin, #HobeSound , #Paradise

 

Random (Neat) Social Media Tip

I just learned a neat little social media tip I’d like to share.  Between Facebook switching the way I view updates from friend (most recent vs. top) and posts from numerous LinkedIn connections, it’s easy to miss something important that a friend or colleague posted or shared. By linking your Outlook account to LinkedIn and or Facebook, you can see your contacts’ latest posts or activities as you e-mail them.

Here’s how to do it.  In Outlook, click on file and account settings.  This will show you several options.  Click on Social Media.  Now, click the accounts you’d like to connect.  You will need to enter your ID and password.  Click the appropriate places for the options you want and click finished.  Wa-la, like magic, now this information is available in Outlook when you send or receive and e-mail from your contact.  (You may need to adjust the way you view messages by clicking on the social media icon on the bottom left of the message and/or the bottom right arrow to expand or contract the view.)

You’re welcome!

 

Visit us at www.StuartRealTeam.com

#Stuart, #Florida, #houses, #homes, #JensenBeach, #Jupiter, #SewallsPoint, #Techies, #Facebook, #Networking, #LinkedIn, #SocialMedia, #Martin, #HobeSound, #Paradise

All for the Kitties

It’s springtime, so all cat lovers know what time that is:  kitten season!  Every year around this time, Caring Fields Felines (formerly Hobe Sound Animal Protection League) holds its “Kitten Shower” at its Palm City location.  The kitten show is a fun event, featuring food, “tricky tray” raffle items, a tour of the sanctuary and of course, kittens available for adoption. Guests bring donations of kitten supplies or make monetary donations to help support the kittens and approximately 150 cats who live at CFF. This year’s event did not disappoint in any way.  There were wonderful items available in the raffle, ranging from cat-themed to people-pampering.  Sandwiches were donated from the local Subway and home-baked cookies (some cat shaped!) and cupcakes tempted the sweet tooth for dessert. But of course, the stars of the show were the kittens.  Over a dozen adorable kittens were available for adoption and several went home with their new forever families.  And that is the ultimate goal of CFF.

This is the last event CFF will be holding at its Markel Street location before they move to their new 5-acre property on Wedelia Terrace.   My partner, Bob and I support HSAPL through our giveback program. CFF is currently raising money in its capital campaign to pay for the expenses to move to its new location, and we’d like to help them in every way we can.  For every customer referred through CFF to buy or sell a home, Bob and I will donate $250 to CFF at closing. Check them out at http://www.HSAPL.org to learn how you can help them help more cats. For more information on our giveback program, visit our website at www.StuartRealTeam.com.

Rosemarie and Joe Dunn's new home purchase resulted in a $250 donation to Caring Fields Foundation

Rosemarie and Joe Dunn's home purchase resulted in a $250 donation to Caring Fields Felines.

Pictured:  Maryellen Castellano, Addie Dunn (future client), Rosemarie Dunn (Client Extraordinaire), and Pauline Glover (Executive Director of CFF) with one of the very sweet residents Caring Fields

#Stuart, #Florida,# houses, #homes, #JensenBeach, #Jupiter, #Sewall'sPoint, #Martin, #HobeSound, #Paradise, #cats, #kittens, #beach, #BeachLife

Flag Day

Seeing our American flag waving in the breeze, being saluted or displayed during the National Anthem always brings a feeling of pride to me. So each year when Flag Day rolls around, I reflect on this beautiful symbol and its significance to our country.   The first United States flag was adopted by a resolution of the Second Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. Flag Day was established on June 14, 1916 by a proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson.

The thirteen stripes (red and white) of the American flag represent the 13 colonies and the 50 white stars on a blue field represent the 50 states.  There are a few flag rules every American should know.  Never let the American flag touch the ground, out of respect for its symbolism.  Fly it only during daylight, and if at night, only if illuminated. Never fly another flag above the American flag.  Finally, when your flag is old and tattered, do not continue to fly it.  Replace it and burn the old flag, or give it to a member of the Knights of Columbus in your community, and they will safely burn it for you.

 

#Stuart,# Florida, #houses, #homes, #JensenBeach, #Jupiter, #SewallsPoint, #HobeSound, #Martin,  #AmericanPride, FlagDay, #OldGlory, Paradise

Visit us at www.StuartRealTeam.com

Sectrets for Home Sellers and Buyers

Many of you know that Bob and I are Realtors (R), but did you know thatweI can help you buy or sell a house, be it in NJ, Florida, California, or almost anywhere in the world? Through our network, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, we can connect you with a quality realtor. Don't leave your largest investment to chance. Let me help you!

Many buyers are under the misimpression that they can save money by searching for a house on their own.  This is NOT true.  First, let me make it very clear that buyers do not pay any real estate fees when Bob and I  work with them to buy a house.  Not only can we save you time (and isn't your time worth money?) but we are expert negotiators who know this market.  There are about 1400 homes currently available in Martin County alone, yet only about 3 might meet your needs.  Do you really want to search through that haystack for your needle? And when you find it, don't you want an expert to negotiate for you?  We both have a strong background in negotiating, we understand the market and we have a strategy for your negotiation.  So don't try to go it alone.  Let a professional help you.

 

2 Heritage Way

2 Heritage Way for more details, go to www.StuartRealtTeam.com

To see more, go to www.StuartRealTeam.com

#Stuart, #Florida, #houses,# homes, #Jensen Beach, #Jupiter, # Sewall's Point, #Martin, #Paradise, #Hobe Sound, #beach

 

Spotlight on Sewall's Point

Sewall’s Point, Florida is a beautiful small town in Martin County, with a population of about 2000 people.  A peninsula town located a little over two hours southeast of Disneyworld between the St. Lucie River and the Indian River Lagoon, Sewall’s Point has some of the prettiest waterfront property you’ll ever find, just a stone’s throw to the ocean by boat.

Sewall’s Point has all of the charm of a small town, including an A-rated school system. It was first settled by Captain Henry Sewall and his wife in 1899. The town was chartered in 1957. Sewall’s Point takes pride in its history, and you’ll find historical markers in High Point, Indialucie and Town Park.

There are great restaurants and shopping providing a great place to meet with friends or clients for lunch.  Whether it’s Frances Langford’s Dolphin Bar, Prawnbrokers or Renato’s, you’re sure to enjoy good food along with good company.  Neighbors are very friendly, and you’ll often see people walking running, or jogging on the bridges (some with jog-strollers in tow).  In fact, one of my favorite lunch time activities is walking the bridge over to Hutchinson Island.  With its nice incline, not only does it provide a healthy workout, but a beautiful view as well

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in Sewall’s Point, there is something for everyone, with 58 houses on the market today at prices ranging from the low $300’s to over $7 Million.  New residents can meet new people at the many town events held each year, from the upcoming July 4th Bicycle Parade and Family Party, Halloween festivities, the Winter Holiday Open House, the Spring Eggstravaganza or Movies under the Stars.  The newly created Marathon and Half-Marathon of the Treasure Coast route took runners through Sewall’s Point. The Town Commons Park, located just across from my office at Premier Realty Group, has a playground with lovely water views and a gazebo that residents can reserve for parties.

My view of the Indian River as I walked over the Bridge towards Hutchinson Island one day during my lunch break.

My view of the indian River as I walked towards Hutchinson Island during my lunch break

#WhatAView, #Paradise, #SewallsPoint, #MartinCounty, #Paradise, #WaterfrontProperty

 

 

Hobe Sound Florida Named Top US Beach Town

Are you a beach lover looking for the perfect place to live?  Realty Trac selected Hobe Sound, Florida as the top beach town in the United States for 2014.  Hobe Sound is located in Martin County, about a half hour north of West Palm Beach and about two and a half hours southeast of Disney. The “top beach town” rating was based on four factors:  home values, air quality, weather and crime rates.

While one of the factors making it a top beach town is affordability, Hobe Sound it not limited to “affordable” houses.  Of the 326 homes listed today, there are houses of every type in every price range—from $33,000 manufactured homes to a $2.95 million five-bedroom home in a gated golf community.  Just a bicycle ride down the road is Jupiter Island, home (or former home) to some famous celebrities including Michael Jordon, Tiger Woods, Celine Dion, Alan Jackson and Kid Rock.

"Buying near the beach is one of the best ways to ensure a property will appreciate in value," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "Whether buying for retirement, a vacation home or a primary residence, homes located in quality beach towns benefit from virtually unlimited demand and a finite supply of land to build on."

In addition to the beautiful waterfront properties and Hobe Sound is a quiet town with an A+ crime rating (reported by Realty Trac and based on FBI data). It is part of the A-rated Martin County School system—one of the best, if not the best, in the state.  Even if your kids are past school age, school ratings affect property values and Martin County’s good schools have a positive effect.

Our beaches are beautiful in Martin County and we have the weather to help you enjoy it.  Hobe Sound boasts an average temperature of 76 degrees and 64 percent sunny days.   Air quality in this beach town is almost perfect where 98 percent of our days have good air quality. Is it any wonder we Floridians consider this paradise?

Hobe Sound Beach

 

#LivingInParadise, #TopBeachTowns, #HobeSound

The Land of the Free Because of the Brave

To me, Memorial Day is so much more than just the start of summer. It is a solemn day of reflection and gratitude to the brave men and women who gave their lives to protect our freedom.  Fortunately, I live in a town that recognizes the meaning and importance of this day.  Like every year, there is a parade and memorial ceremony downtown in Memorial Park.  This year’s Grand Marshal parade was World War II veteran Daniel R. Walker, Sr.

Sponsored by the Veterans Council of Martin County, the traditional Memorial Day Services began with a parade lead by veterans and veteran service organizations followed by various groups from the community. A helicopter flyover was another highlight of the parade.

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and began as a memorial day for Civil War Veterans.  It’s interesting to note that this holiday was started in the south, but the day was not limited to remembering Confederate Soldiers who perished during the Civil War, but rather the fallen Union and Confederate soldiers alike.   It is now known as Memorial Day and officially remembers those who have died in defense of our nation. Memorial Day now encompasses all national conflicts of war, including WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf Wars. It is proper to fly the American flag at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day, and at full-staff until sunset, when the flag should be taken down unless it is illuminated.

 

Musings on Mother's Day

Mother’s Day doesn’t go by without my thinking of the gift my Mother gave me by bringing me into this world.  I am her fifth child and some people might have stopped after the first four.  And sadly, she became very ill soon after my birth and passed away just after my second birthday.  So, yes, I am especially grateful to be here.

 

Now that I am an adult with children of my own, I celebrate Mother’s Day from different angles.  I look back on Mother’s Days past.  I remember the handmade cards and gifts, the homemade breakfasts and the sweet little sometimes toothless smiles. I still have those gifts and cards, although the toothless gaps have filled in and those teeth have been straightened to perfect smiles.   I remember taking our youngest to church one year in particular where all of the mothers received a flower.  Our oldest daughter has two boys of her own, so in addition to celebrating Mother’s Day as a grandmother, I have had the wonderful opportunity celebrate her as a young mother.  Our youngest daughter just graduated from college and is coming home for Mother’s day for the first time in 4 years.  She and my husband will spoil me and hopefully I’ll get to steal my grandsons away from their mother for a little Facetime.  I’m a happy mama.


From the bottom of my heart, I wish every mom a happy Mother’s Day.  Whether your children are with you, far away or in heaven, this day is all about celebrating the wonderful gifts we have been given in the form of our children and our motherhood.  Happy Mother’s Day!

Celebration Ideas for Mother's Day in Florida Paradise

Everyone wants to spoil Mom on Mother’s day and there are opportunities aboundin Martin County to do so.  Some restaurants even offer a free meal for mom. Take Mom to Tropical Smoothie where she’ll get a free lunch with the purchase of your lunch.   If you take Mom to Carrabba’s Italian Grill, you’ll receive a $10 coupon card for a future visit. You can treat mom to a Surf and Turf entrée at Duffy’s for only $17.99. First Watch is offering Mom a box of chocolates with the purchase of breakfast. Tijuana Flats will give mom a free meal with the purchase of another meal.  Go online to get a coupon for Stevie B’s, where mom can eat all she wants (including pizza dessert!) with the purchase of a buffet meal.  Mom will love a Teavana Oprah Chai latte with the purchase of the same from Starbucks.

If you want brunch on the water, Shuckers offers brunch on the ocean, or Waterway Café has a champagne brunch for $17.95.  If you haven’t done gotten Mom a gift yet, TJ Maxx opens at 10 AM on Mother’s Day, and there are many Mother’s Day gift ideas right up front.  If you are a bargain hunter, walk to the back of the store where you may find the perfect gift on clearance.

Of course, Mother’s Day doesn’t require that you spend a cent, just that you show mom some attention and love.  The beach is free and it looks like it’s going to be a beautiful partly sunny day in the mid-eighties.  Pack a lunch and you can whisk mom off to paradise. Or just let mom stay home and sleep in while you surprise her with breakfast and a homemade card.  You know mom—whatever you do, she’ll love it.

 

Real Estate Update

It’s May in Florida and it couldn’t be prettier.  Time for a real estate update from Team Castellano

Have you seen “Premier Insiders”  Martin County Real Estate report ?  If you did not receive a copy of the report, click here.  This report gives you information on the current real estate market, where we think this market is going and what that means to you. We hope you will find it helpful.

Have you seen our completely updated website?  We are so excited to share it with you!  Please check it out at www.StuartRealTeam.com and let us know what you think. If you are one of the people who loves to search for listings online, we’ve got some neat listings of our own, plus the ability to search the very same data base that realtors use for searches.  This gives you access to the most up to date and accurate listings available.

Have you heard about our Give Back program? We have been very busy assisting our clients in finding the perfect home, marketing homes and just plain closing on sales.  We have donated $2,000 already in 2014 alone through our giveback program.  Don’t remember how the giveback program works?  Give us a call (or check out the Giving Back tab on our website and we’ll give you all the details.

 

Attention Bunny Lovers

 Anyone who knows Bob and me knows that we support animal rescue and adoption.  If you are a rabbit lover, have we got the event for you.  The Humane Society of the Treasure coast (www.hstc1.org) is organizing Bunfest 2014, “a day all about rabbits and the people who love them.” Join us on Saturday, May 31 from 10 AM to 4 PM at the Martin County Fairgrounds for educational seminars and bunny themed and related activities.

Seminars include “Basic Bunny Care,” “Basic Rabbit Emergency Care,” and “The Organized Bunny Home and Shelter Organization.” There will also be a rabbit spa, bunny playground, Bunny Glamor Shots, Arts & Crafts, Live DJ, Rainbow Bridge Memorial Wall, Giveaways and Raffles.  If you are looking for a bunny to adopt, you are in luck.  Bunnies and other “critters” will be available for adoption.

All this, and the cost is only $2.

For more information click here.

 

The Best Pizza in Martin County

Have you noticed how many of my posts are about food?  It's no coincidence:  there are so many great places to eat here in Martin County. For this reason, I just can't pick one favorite pizza place. Having moved here from New Jersey thirteen years ago, I'm pretty fussy about my pizza.  But try as I might to pick my very favorite, I can only narrow it down to three.

One of my favorites is La Forchetta.  This adorable Italian restaurant is run by two sisters.  Pizza is in their blood, as their parents were the original owners and chefs at La Borgatta in Palm City.  Dad still makes the pizza, and always has a friendly word for everyone when they stop by to pick up a pizza.  And what delicious pizza it is.  Thin crusted, perfectly seasoned sauce and the perfect amount of cheese.  It's almost like being back in New Jersey--or maybe Italy?  In addition to great pizza, their dinners are authentic. Bob's favorite is the calamari sautéed with peppers.  The soup of the day is always homemade and delicious.  Be sure to make a reservation, because the dining room seating is limited and it fills up every weekend.  For reservations or menu, go to http://www.laforchetta.net/.

Another favorite pizza place is Brooklyn Joe's.  It's located between my home and office, so I get there a little more often.  This is authentic, New York, thin-crusted pizza. As you fold it, New York style, and take your first bite, you will feel like you're back in the city.  The crust is perfectly cooked with those wonderful air bubbles.  The cheese has just that little bit of grease that makes it tase so good and the sauce compliments it perfectly.  I must confess that I love the pizza so much, I've never tried anything else on menu.  They even have a neat pizza challenge that Bob vows to take--as soon as he drafts, er, finds the perfect pizza-eating partner.  For more information, go to http://www.brooklynjoespizzeria.com/.

We can't talk about pizza without mentioning our third favorite, Anthony's Coal Fire.  In addition to delicious, thin crusted, well-done pizza, Bob is a huge fan of their chicken wings.  Coal-fire roasted on a bed onions and served with focaccia bread, this is a delicious and healthy alternative to fried chicken wings. They've also got some great lunch specials, from pizza to sandwiches.  The manager Joe and the entire staff is so friendly, stop in and see them or visit their website to see the menu and locations. http://acfp.com.

 

A Neat Place in Stuart: The Olive Pit

One of the things I love about living in Stuart is the small town feel combined with the convenience of living in a city.  While chains and franchises have their benefits, I love the funky little stores and restaurants unique to the area.

A welcome new addition to Stuart is The Olive Pit.  Located in Regency Plaza, The Olive Pit is a chef’s dream, but anyone who has ever turned on The Food Network will appreciate it. This delightful store features a variety of incredible olive oils, balsamic vinegars, spices, bruschetta, pesto, salts, jams and chocolates.  But the real stars of the store are the olive oils and balsamic vinegars.  There are specialty infused and fused olive oils like Tuscan Herb and Milanese Gremololata, as well as extra fresh virgin olive oils crushed in the autumn of 2012.

During a recent visit I couldn’t leave without purchasing some delicious Wild Mushroom and Sage Infused Olive Oil.  My wife’s favorite is the Blood Orange olive oil, which she enjoys in dressings, drizzled over fish or even as a breakfast treat with some crusty bread.  The olive oils and balsamic vinegars are stored and displayed in casks, inviting you to sample the oil.  With so many incredible options, selecting a favorite is difficult, but when you do, the helpful staff will then bottle it up for you in the quantity of your choosing.

You don’t need to be a gourmet chef to love and appreciate The Olive Pit because the staff is not only helpful and friendly, but extremely knowledgeable as well.  Kaelyn offered suggestions of pairings, such as Eureka Lemon Fused Olive Oil (whole lemons cold pressed with olives) with Honey Ginger Balsamic Vinegar, and cooking suggestions like Herbs de Provence Olive Oil with chicken.

You can check out The Olive Pit at www.the-olive-pit.com, but hey, you live in Stuart, so stop in and enjoy the experience first hand.  And if you don’t live in Stuart—you might find The Olive Pit (combined with our perfect weather) worth a trip.

Beach Baby

One of the advantages of living in Stuart is the proximity to the beach (or the shore, as our northern friends and visitors like to call it).  From Jupiter Beach Park, to Hobe Sound Beach, to Stuart Beach to the many beaches on Hutchinson Island, there are so many wonderful beaches that it’s hard to choose a favorite.

Hobe Sound Beach is lovely, has lifeguards and ample weekend parking at the nearby town hall parking lot. Jupiter Beach is very dog friendly, with a large area where dogs can frolic leash free.  Stuart Beach has great parking and a beachside food stand, is conveniently located on Hutchinson Island new the Elliott Museum and the Florida Oceanographic and has a playground for the kids.  With many miles of sand and surf along Hutchinson Island, there are numerous little beaches just off NE Ocean Boulevard.  (These beaches do not have lifeguards, but if you’re just planning on a day soaking up the sun, you will feel like you have your own private beach.) Of course, parking is free and there is no beach badge required.

While all of these beaches are incredible and I love spending a day at any one of them, my very favorite beach is Bathtub beach.  Located on the south end of MacArthur Boulevard, Bathtub Beach is my favorite.  What makes it unique is the reef just offshore of the beach.  At low tide, this results in a bathtub, perfect for little ones. For those who love waves, those are available as well.  At high tide, you’ve got a reef for snorkeling walking distance from the shore.  Do not walk on the reef, though, this would damage this wonderful ecostructure which attracts beautiful fish to the area. Lifeguards are on duty during regular hours.  The beach is newly reopened and I can’t wait to pay it a visit.

If you’re planning on buying a home in Stuart for seasonal or year round use, you’re sure to love and appreciate Bathtub Beach as well as the many other beaches from Palm Beach to St. Lucie County.   We’re located in the gulf stream, which gives the ocean a pleasant, warm temperature all year.  One you plant your feet  in the sand, you may never want to leave.

 

Tomorow is Taco Tuesday!

If you are a fan of authentic Mexican food, I am going to let you in on a secret.  I have discovered the best Mexican restaurant that you will ever visit.  No, it’s not flashy and pricey like those television start restaurants.  What it is is a gem diamond in the rough, a gem right here in Stuart.

Mi Cabana is located on Dixie Highway in Stuart. It’s a family-run business with mom cooking in the back and her two sons, Adona and Juan waiting tables.  The atmosphere is casual and everyone is friendly.  But the food is what sets Mi Cabana apart.

After greeting you warmly and taking your drink order of a soft drink, beer or wine, Adona or Juan will bring you some homemade salsa and chips. Flavored with cilantro and just the right amount of kick, you’ll know you’re in for a treat after your crunchy, fresh, flavorful bite.  I always order some guacamole to go with the chips.   Do I have to tell you that it’s homemade and delicious?

Next, on to the main course.  There are so many options--from chimichangas to chile rellanos to tamales--it’s hard to choose.  But choose I do and my favorite generally wins out:  the al pastor taco on a soft corn tortilla.  The pork is tender and seasoned perfectly.  The corn tortilla is unbelievable:  freshly prepared, it will make you wonder how they call those other things you’ve eaten tortillas.  While the al pastor is my favorite, these tacos can be prepared with chicken, ground or shredded beef or steak. Incredible as these tacos are, it gets even better because every Tuesday at lunch, these handheld pieces of culinary bliss cost only $1 each.  At about 4 inches in length, they’re a little smaller than a fast food taco, but 3-4 tacos will leave the average eater feeling more than satisfied.   And the taste will make you forget any fast food taco you’ve even eaten.

The restaurant is open from 10 AM to 9 PM Monday to Sunday. Traditional Mexican-style breakfast is available in the morning, as well at eggs, omelets, French toast and pancakes.  For food truck lovers, you can often find the Mi Cabana food truck near Nautical But Nice and Bennet Auto Supply.

So, if you’re in the mood for a delicious yet casual meal, if you’re more interest in eating the best food than being seen at the trendiest place, you’ve got to get over to Mi Cabana.  You’ll thank me.



Bob and Maryellen Castellano
Mobile: 772-486-6309
Mobile: 772-285-3047
eMail: Contact

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