O is for Opi

At the beginning of November my dad flew in for a visit.  As a special treat we let Ben stay up late to go to the airport with me to pick him up. Ben was beside himself as he waited for Opi to come down that escalator.  He made sure to hold up the sign the entire time we waited.  Are you wondering about that cute little pumpkin he has for a sidekick?  That’s Fluff.  Yes, Fluff.  Ben picked him out at the pumpkin patch, named him Fluff and they were best buddies until, well, you know.  Fluff slept with Ben (the rule was he had to stay on the nightstand), Fluff rode everywhere in the car with us…he even went grocery shopping a time or two.

We got our man…that’s Opi!


The next morning Opi, Ben, Jude and I were off to visit the Central Florida Zoo.  

A ride on the Little Florida Coast Line Train is always one of the highlights of any zoo visit.  

Another highlight…a ride on the Animal Carousel!

We made our way around the zoo visiting some of our favorite animals like the monkeys, cheetahs, elephant, alligator and snakes.  We also had a brief encounter with this strange little creature.  I can’t remember his name, but the zoo worker had him out so that people could pet him.  Jude thought he was pretty cool.  Ben on the other hand wasn’t at all interested in getting close to this little creature much less pet him.  Of course Opi wasn’t scared either, but I was right there with Ben.  It took a lot of courage for me to pet this guy!!


That evening our babysitter came over to watch the boys while we took Dad out for a special treat (well, really he treated us, but we picked the restaurant)!  Thanks, Dad!!  =)

The restaurant:  Hollerbach’s Willow Tree CafeThe food:  German.  The entertainment:  Two guys singing German songs in German.  The experience:  German Gemuetlichkeit. Gemuetlichkeit is a sense of well-being and happiness that comes from enjoying the company of friends and family while savoring good food and drink.


I’m pretty sure this was one of the most fun dining experiences I’ve had.  The atmosphere in this place is amazing.  It was crowded.  This place is always crowded.  And loud.  Oh yes, we sang and we even did the chicken dance.  And for those of you that know my side of the family, the chicken dance is a big deal.  It is a family tradition…learning how to do the chicken dance was a rite of passage growing up. 

We started with the sausage sampler.  (As you can see we dug right in before I thought to take a picture.  The pictures really don’t do it justice…this food is sooooooo good!)

Next up, schnitzel.  We all had different types of schnitzel and they were all equally good.  I had the Schnitzel Champignon Art, Sauerkraut and Kase Spatzel.  Is your mouth watering yet?


If all that wasn’t enough (and it was…we took a lot to go) we had dessert.  In our defense we were sitting right next to the dessert display.  We’d been staring at it all night.  Just writing this post makes me hungry…anyone up for some German food?


The next morning we traveled to New Symrna Beach for the day.

While most of the country was freezing we were enjoying a gorgeous (yet very windy) day at the beach.

Jude dipped his little toes into the ocean for the first time.  He loved it!

Ben played in the sand with his trucks and worked on a sandcastle with Jake.  (Anytime they’d make a little progress on the sandcastle Ben would bulldoze it down…hence, no picture of a sandcastle.)

We ended a perfectly perfect day with lunch by the boardwalk.  Thanks for a fun visit, Opi!  We love you!



Filed under Beach, Ben, Family, Food, Jude, Orlando

4 responses to “O is for Opi

  1. Matt and Yvonne

    Sounds like you guys had a lot of fun!

    German food sounds really good. If you guys can make it out here one of these days, we’ll have to take you to Suppenkuche, and take Ben and Jude to the Exploratorium.

    Maybe you guys could make it out here for Fleet Week 2011, and Ben and Jude could watch the Blue Angels airplanes fly over the city?

    • Jake and Joanna

      Matt and Yvonne,
      I just finished checking out the websites above. The menu at the German restaurant looks fantastic and I know the boys would have a great time at the Exploratorium…what a cool looking place!
      Would love to try and make a trip out there sometime…Ben would go crazy over Fleet Week. Are you kidding…ships and planes! He would be in heaven!!
      Already told your Mom and Amanda we’d visit Washington in September. What about Fleet Week next year?

  2. waltandannie

    Great post, Jo. So fun your dad could come visit. Oh, and the German food looks SUPER authentic. Exactly like the kind of stuff we eat here! (Schnitzel with Champinion and Rahm Sauce is one of our favorites, too). Fun that you had a nice, gemütlich time. 🙂

  3. What a fun visit! That’s so great that you could spend some time with your dad. That beach looks fantastic right about now. It was 6 degrees here this morning. SIX. That is just not right.
    The German restaurant sounds like fun! We have really got to come and visit you guys. We would have so much fun!
    (sigh) Why do we live so far away from each other!?

    p.s. Ben with his sign. And his pumpkin. (Are you serious about Fluff? That is THE funniest thing ever!) Too precious. I love that kid.

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