Category Archives: Commentary

Throw-back Monday– 1989-The Conch Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge

Twin Rock Lobster Tails broiled to perfection, some Saffron Rice, real butter from Wisconsin. What can be better?

American Press Travel News-March 25th–Bob and Barb “Remembering great places to dine and visit! Today, the Conch Restaurant is gone. Whoever bought it after Allen Stoki passed, changed names and then new owners changed names again!

When Barb and I were pleasantly researching our book in 1988: “The Best Restaurants in The Florida Keys”, of course, we visited the Conch Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge in Islamorada, owner operated by Allen Stocki. We’d been there before and on another date, I also joined Ted Williams there for dinner when I was creating the International Gamefish Release and Enhancement Foundation. I had hoped Ted would become a Board Member-he did!

OK! I Just heard Conch prounounced “konsch” not Konk; I straightened that lure-maker out at the ICAST giant fishing show. He is now “Konk” prepared when he visits to try out his lures in the Keys!
One of the very personal specialties Stocki taught his wait personnel, was to learn by heart the more than 80-ways he could prepare a Keys Lobster. They would tick off “lobster Hawaiian, Parmesan, Lobster cheesy and Florentine, en cruet sauce, and my favorite Lobster prepared at that sorely missed by many; their Lobster Imperial!” This dish required the lobster to be taken out of the shell, sautéed in butter and then covered with Crab Imperial. The dish would be baked and served with Béarnaise Sauce. Stocki’s Chef then garnished this masterpiece with Key lime slices and parsley and served with fresh homemade bread. A dish you just never could forget! This, and more than 60-restaurants in my book, are gone now, but fortunately, many other very fine restaurants have stepped up to the plate, so-to-speak!  We miss that great restaurant in our original book: “The Best Restaurants in the Florida Keys” I still have about 45-books from that first printing. Just email us for your half price signed copy!!!

Another Excerpt from my Book: “Africa On A Pin & A Prayer.”

Africa On a Pin & a Prayer
signed copies available
now! Go bobepstein@aol.com

Excerpt from my book: “Africa on a Pin & a Prayer.”

My god, it’s the middle of the night we are deep in the hinterlands of the Congo suddenly after a plunge off of a log bridge, dark swirling muddy water quickly rose around my neck than over my head. A moment before my mouth was covered I yelled screamed to Gene my traveling companion we’re, dead we’re dead.” In complete darkness, I kicked my way through the water out the open window on the drivers right side of our British Land rover Gene did the same. We made our way to a muddy bank and crawled out and up through slippery vegetation up the embankment that led to the dirt road we had just propelled ourselves off, into one of the most serious predicaments of our travels through Africa. Wet, scared and bedeviled immediately by the cacophony of frog peepers and coughs of jungle cats, we made our way back towards a village that we had passed a few miles back. Racing through my mind was “would we get out of this one”, would I ever see my mother and family again, can we salvage the vehicle which was literally our lifeboat in a sea of seething uncertainty, in a country who was in chaos and basically swimming in state of anarchy.

The Cat’s Meow

American Press travel news–Feb. 19th, Bob and Barb “On The Road Again”—Cats, Felines, Pussy Cats all have two things in common; fangs and claws, even the cutest ones do. Of course, many more common traits as well, but we’ll explore some of them later.
There are big cats, small cats, and every size, furry feline, with every hair and coat type, in between.
The American Veterinary Medical Association says more than half of U.S. households, or nearly 57 percent, owned a pet at the end of 2016 and most of them own one or more cats.. Nearly one in four households nationwide, or 38 percent, owned one or more dogs, which the association says is the highest estimated rate of dog ownership since 1982, when it began measuring ownership.

One of the most common pets in the world, cats are known to be the most independent animal pets. If you are a cat lover, you’d be interested to know how many cat breeds there are in the world. Read on you’ll find out! Imagine the average cat can spend two thirds of the day by sleeping. A cat who is 10 years old only stayed awake for 3.3 years in its lifetime.

We accept these intriguing animals as pets, however some of the Asian countries consider them as food. In fact, cat meat is very popular in most of the Asian countries. The sad fact is China alone among the far-eastern nations, consumes more than 4 million cats in a year. There are animal lovers that try to do something about this, but the government of China still allows it.
Going back in history, the Papal declared that the cats are evil during the Spanish Inquisition and untold numbers of cats were slaughtered in Europe! Sometimes the is such thing as “cats revenge” After Europe murdered so many of their cats, and as the amount of the cats dramatically decreased, the mice and rat population increased in about the same proportion. As a result, the great pestilence (Black Plague) occurred, and millions of people lost their lives during this period. On the brighter side; bet you didn’t know that we sent a cat to space? The first cat that went to space went there in 1963. Her name was Felicette, a French cat. She came back to earth without any problem.

Although we have fed them at our homes for thousands of years, cats still have plenty of wild instincts. Unlike the dog, cats lower their head while they are chasing their prey. Female cats usually use their left paws more, while most of the male cats prefer to use their right paws more.
Many people are allergic to cats (my wife Barb is one of them). After much research, and speaking to specialists in allergies, it appears that cats dried airborne saliva from their fur- cleaning tongue is the culprit. Its breathed in by everyone in contact in their homes, and everywhere cats abide, and causes allergic reactions to one in ten people.

You have probably heard many different vocalizations coming from your cat. But we can easily say that you have not heard all their voices, even though you are living with your cat for years. They have more than a hundred different vocalizations, while this amount is only limited to about ten in dogs. And that’s enough for me!!

Like dogs, cats don’t have sweat glands in their bodies. They sweat through their paws.
Cats purr and meow, and rub their scent glands all over any part of your legs. People think they love them for this. Not so fast! Cats love other cats, that’s it, except for them bonding with you for food and comfort.

Besides sleeping so much of the day and night, cats spend another third of their time by cleaning themselves, or each other.
According to International Progressive Cat Breeders Alliance (IPCBA), there are 73 different cat breeds in the world with many variations in their personalities and temperament. However, there are some cat breeds which are not recognized as a breed yet, so more breeds will come into being as well.
A few things that are quite negative about cats: When left to their own instincts they not only kill rodents, but also birds. Its their nature to pursue anything that moves and tries to escape their claws and fangs. What I don’t like is that they do their business inside, even if its inside a box of cat litter there are odors. Cats also can transmit disease to humans. I do not kiss cats or dogs for this possibility. My doctor daughter-in-law spent time in the hospital herself a victim of Scratch-Fever.
So, remember; of course love them all, they are great companions even with their faults.