That’s the best way to describe my recent trip to Florida. Although our hosts reminded us repeatedly that they were sorry it was so “cold,” I was pretty darn happy. I mean, good lord! I went from 29 degrees and frigid to 70 degrees and care free. Oh sweet warmth!
We got in late on a Thursday night. Friday morning we got up and putzed around a bit. I went for a run and then N’s Aunt took us to Wholefoods for lunch and shopping. Oh how I’ve missed Wholefoods. Pig in shit I tell ya! That night, we went to dinner with N’s Aunt, Uncle and four of their friends, in a cute little town called Winter Park. We started with drinks at a wine bar (I got a glass of stout–what is wrong with me?) Then we headed over to Prato around 8pm for dinner.
This place was uber-loud but the food was pretty delicious. I started with the yellowfin tuna crudo that came with fresh chile, olive oil, citrus, and opal basil flower. Very tasty.
I followed it up with a butternut squash salad (the pic didn’t turn out) that I will be attempting to replicate shortly, as it was incredibly delicious. Along with the salad I had the cannellini bean and lacinato kale soup with Parmesan brodo and grilled ciabatta. I have no clue what a brodo is but it was pretty, pretty, pretty good.
Everyone seemed really happy with their food choices and the guys kept ordering bottles of prosecco for the girls and red wine for the guys. I was pretty lit I think. Someone ordered a bunch of desserts to try and the standouts were a chocolate concoction that came in a little jar and an apple torte with ice cream.
The next day involved lots of walking and, in general, hanging out outside with a book. N and I cooked dinner for our hosts: taco bar with grilled buffalo, chicken and swordfish. I made my semi-famous guac and pico de gallo and bakes some tortilla chips in the oven while N played grillmaster. This has become one of our go-to meals because it is so easy and pretty fail-safe.
Sunday involved a bike ride in the sun, an hour playing tennis on clay courts at a country club and a deep tissue massage. Oink, oink! Very fancy, indeed. N’s cousin got inspired and decided to cook dinner for everyone that night. And boy, can this girl cook! When I was 15, I thought it was cool that I made my own pasta noodles or “stir-fried” frozen veggies in an electric wok. Em took a couple of recipes that she’s never made before and ran with them. She took on fish, asparagus, fingerling potatoes and risotto all by herself. The result? A home run.
We nibbled on several kinds of desserts after dinner, including mini-chocolate lava cakes, lemon bars and ice cream. Good thing it was nice enough out to go for a walk after dinner after all that food. Their neighborhood is pretty freakin’ amazing and the Christmas lights did not disappoint. They also have random heards of deer and wild turkeys all over their ‘hood. They say there is a bear as well. But, thankfully, I did not have an encounter with him.
The deer are like squirrels in an urban setting. These ladies are not too worried about it and let us get as close as we wanted (which for me, was not that close. But nevertheless!).
I was not ready to come back home but ready enough I suppose. We are planning to go back again soon. I think the fact that I only worked 2 days last week was pretty helpful. 2 co-workers invited me back in August to their annual Christmas cookie baking day and it was last Friday. How could I miss this madness?
We baked for more than 7 hours. I’m not kidding. I came home with a ridiculous amount of stuff and have been pawning random bags of assorted baked goods off to anyone that crosses my path. I finally got rid of the bark we made, as I was hitting it way too hard over the weekend. There may as well be crack in it. It’s that good.
Now I’m counting down the days until Christmas. The whole fam will be here. Pig in shit, I tell ya! Pig in shit.