palm tree

Think  of a January Florida escape and what comes to mind? Swaying palms and white sand underfoot, right?  Well, yes but also temperatures in the 60s. A friend invited me to Captiva and while the climate wasn’t exactly tropical, it was heaven compared to the polar vortex gripping New York.

The friend comes complete with adorable dog who enlivened the scene wherever we  went: the beach; the Sanibel Sunday market with an array of yummy local foods and gorgeous flowers; a watering hole where tout Captiva gathers for a drink as the sun sets. The pup drops her ball, someone picks it up and bingo– a new BF.

Early one morning we took a boat to Useppa Island, a private getaway with no cars and the Collier Inn where we ate lunch.

Collier Inn, Useppa Island

Collier Inn, Useppa Island

The island also has a step-back-in-time, old-world croquet pitch and a small museum about the island’s history which involves both magnates and native Americans (guess who came first?)

An event featuring jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli and his quartet was a sold-out wow. Thirty-two years ago, when John was still wet behind the ears, he played solo at a New Year’s Eve gathering hosted by my husband. With luck, this is a link to John Pizzarelli playing I Got Rhythm.

Fish is the number one item for Captiva meals. The grouper we bought was undoubtedly swimming only hours before our purchase. Herewith:


Captivating Baked Grouper

1 lb  grouper (plus or minus– this recipe is very forgiving)

1 lemon

2-3 Tbls olive oil

1 T capers (or more if you, like me, are a caper fan)

1-2 shallots

1+ Tbls butter

1/4 c white wine


Preheat oven to 350. Mince shallot(s) and sauté in olive oil for 5-7 minutes. Put fish in oven-proof baking dish. Pour shallot/oil combo over fish. Dot fish with butter. Thinly slice about half the lemon and put slices on top of fish; squeeze rest of the lemon on fish. Pour wine over all and put fish in oven. Check it after about fifteen minutes–if flaky, it’s done. If not, give it another five minutes or so.

Serve with the rest of the bottle of wine you cooked with, pairing if you wish with a green vegetable (we had asparagus) and roasted potatoes. Think  (fervently) of warmer weather.

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3 Responses to Captivated

  1. Mary Flannery says:

    Sounds like a perfect trip! I want to go!!!

  2. What a terrific contrast to our wintery NY – weather and all. Thank you for transporting us to such a heavenly get-away!

  3. Jennie Kim says:

    I love the simplicity and dreams of warmer climes.