Adventures in Dining

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Crazy Gator, July 21, 2007 July 23, 2007

Filed under: Eustis — hpandaw @ 12:28 pm

We decided to take a short road trip to northern Lake County, in search of a used bookstore about which I’d heard: Raintree Books in Eustis.  We successfully located the store, which was quite small and expensive, but we’ve been spoiled by our lovely used bookstore in Charlotte, with $.50 paperbacks and $1.00 hardbacks and a HUGE selection of books.

While we were in Eustis, we wanted to try a restaurant up there.  I’d done a search on Chowhound, which hadn’t revealed any real hidden gems, but I had read a few positive reviews of the Crazy Gator in Eustis, so we decided to give it a try.

Upon entering the store, we were greated by a large statue of a gator.  I guess he is the Crazy Gator.

We’d gotten there early, around 11:10 am, so we were the only ones in the large dining room.  The room itself has a very rustic feel, with wooden beams hanging from the ceiling, wooden chairs, murals painted on the walls, and a strange addition to the decor: an old sewing machine.

Being the only ones in there, we pretty much had our pick of tables, so we chose a booth by the window.  It had a lovely, albeit tinted, view of the lake:

While we were eating, a train rolled slowly down these tracks and stopped about a block or 2 away from the restaurant.

We decided to both order the same thing that we’d been ordering at the past few restaurants, with indifferent success: the fried fish sandwich.  These were quite pricey, at $8.49/sandwich, but when they came out, we realized they were actually a bargain. The sandwiches were HUGE, easily big enough for two meals.  If we’d known then what we know now, one of us would have ordered an appetizer like the fried mushrooms, and the other would have ordered the fish sandwich, and we would have shared.

We kept hoping against hope that we’d find a restaurant here in the Orlando area that was like Tortuga’s Lie in Nags Head, NC, with freshly caught fish, but apparently such a place does not exist.  This fish was pretty good, though, even if not bursting with freshness.  The breading was well-seasoned and wasn’t too oily, while the French fries were also well seasoned.  Thankfully, they weren’t the large, soft steak fries.  These fries were crisp and very good.

When we left, we decided that this fish sandwich was the best we’d had so far in this Orlando area.  We also decided that we’d been eating too many fish sandwiches lately, and should try some place different next time.  Since we are pescatarians, we often find ourselves in a situation where we can order only appetizers, a salad, or a fish sandwich, though usually if we go to restaurants themed around other cultures like Mexican, Indian, Japanese, etc., we can find a wider variety of items.

My favorite part of the day happened after we left the Crazy Gator.  Eustis has a lovely Lake Walk, which we set out to explore.  My husband was able to get a few fantastic, close up shots of some anhingas:

I then pointed out to him a spiny orb weaver:

And a brown Cuban anole who was shedding the skin around his face:

I found a palm branch lying on the ground, and it looked so much like a broom that I picked it up and began to sweep with it.  I then realized that a poor anole was hanging on for dear life to the palm fronds, and I swished him through the air, so we took a few photos of him and set him down.  Sometimes the most interesting things are right at your feet, like anoles, or just above your head, like orb weavers.

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