Before we dive into my vacation recap, let me invite all of you to visit my new blog project for Share Our Strength: Taste of the Nation! Leeanne and I recently attended a fundraiser dinner at Millwrights for the charity, and my write up is here.
Gah. It’s already been a week since our trip to Florida. Good thing we have another one coming up at Christmas – I love autumn, but the shorter, cooler days have snuck up way too fast this year. Not to mention – every time we go back to Palm Beach Gardens, I seem to find more to love about our former home. And now that The Cooper has joined the vibrant PBG restaurant scene – there’s even more to love!
This was my brother, Lucas’ reaction to the Cooper chorizo and manchego stuffed medjool dates. Seems an appropriate lead in. Also, please note the excellent math pun on his t shirt (it’s a runner thinking about pi)
My BFF and compadre in arms always, aka my sister Helen, and I managed to go to the Cooper twice in the week I was in Florida (she’s since been back by herself, because of course she has).
Photo from our first night
Cheesy, happy menu shot
Cheese plate the second – we ordered cheese plates both trips. This one featured, from left to right: Manchego, Hudson Valley Camembert, and Moliterno al Tartufo.
The first time we visited, we had to leave early to get back to baby Penelope – so we packaged up our food to go, including this excellent salad:
Grilled Peaches & Point Reyes Blue Cheese
This tangy gazpacho:
Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho
And, of course, the aforementioned dates. We DID have time to sip and savor a couple cocktails however:
“Bees Knees” martini: Citadel Gin, honey syrup, lemon juice
Name Dropper “Modified Sour:” Plymouth Gin, St Germain, grapefruit and lemon juices
Our second visit also marked a happy, lively meeting with head bartender and CT native (as if the beard wasn’t a dead give away! ha!) David Bouchard
He really likes chartreuse. Don’t question it. The man is a master
Seen here deep in his craft and also immersed in snarkology. It’s always nice to meet a fellow snarkologist.
The shot above pictures David mixing our agreed upon favorite cocktail:
Cucumber Southside “Classic Sour:” Hendrick’s Gin, simple syrup, citrus, muddled mint, cucumber
The cocktails at The Cooper are quite up to par with the other Max locations in CT – thanks to David’s creativity and a menu which is influenced by a Southern/Carribean vibe – much like the food menu – adding a unique, tangy Floridian twist to the Max flavors we know and love. Quite nice! Can’t wait to go back in December with Caitlin and Hannah.
There was more fun and delicious dining in the form of a brand new dining experience – Rosie’s Bar and Grill in Wilton Manors! I was suitably excited upon being informed that: 1) this is a gay diner 2) valet parking only. Seemed like an excellent start. Plus, my good friend from college, Jana, does NOT recommend bad dining destinations. Ever.
Meeting Baby P for the first time! With a nice photobomb from Julie and her boyfriend, Rob.
Rosie’s boasted many, many strong points: sassy tags on each of the servers’ shirt (our servers read: “there’s a fine line between hotness and hot mess) cool “see and be scene” crowd (that’s their tag line by the way at Rosies’ – it’s definitely a ‘Florida thing’), and enormous, delicious portions
No I did not eat this (enormous banana stuffed french toast)
But yes! I did eat this, and it was so very good (asparagus eggs benedict on a delectable home made biscuit)
The trip to Rosie’s worked out perfectly as it was on the way to one of my Dad’s favorite vacation spots in Key Largo – Ocean Pointe Suites. This glorious timeshare boasts a location with is much more central than Key West which – although fun – is also a good three hours further by car (possibly farther depending on traffic). It also has a lovely pool whose only flaw is a radio which is constantly tuned to Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville channel (shudders), a nice little beach grotto, onsite bar, marina, tennis courts, and apartments complete with kitchenettes.
Kayaking with baby!
Exploring the beach!
We also visited a cool Bird Sanctuary – ok – it would have been a bit cooler if it were not for the 6 million strong mosquito population – but P enjoyed herself nevertheless:
Penelope still enjoyed it!
And there were some more, notable foodie highlights in Key Largo:
Fresh fish and grits at Mrs Mac’s Kitchen with $2 mimosas. Now we’re talking
And the most amazing early birthday cake ever from my Grandmother! Streudel on top, cheesecake in the middle, coffee cake on the bottom. Oh my.
Thankfully, with all the delicious vacation foods, I also had a nice stash of Shakeology to keep me on track:
Seen here in a glamour shot
There were also super healthy foods because my family is good like that too:
Grilled pineapple and chobani with granola.
Penelope spent as much of her vacation as possible in the water – indiscriminate between pool and ocean – she was fearless and oh so into it. Few things are more enjoyable, as a parent, than watching your child really enjoy herself – so swimming with baby was definitely a highlight of the trip!
The theme of “no let’s not leave the water, ever” continued up until our last night, at my Dad’s condo on Singer Island
Swimming with Grandpa. It’s the best
Someone did NOT want to pose for this picture but I got it anyway because I’m sneaky. Plus P is wearing her beautiful Lilly dress from Silkworm!
So there you have it. Our home away from home/second home – Florida. Like many CT residents, we have deep roots in the state, and wonderful family and friends who we look forward to seeing again very soon!