My time in Palm Beach County has come to an end with the second week being nearly as exciting as the first.
Monday I met with my photographer friend Paul Polisena and his lovely wife Valli for a special one-on-one pool instruction. It was a superb Florida morning to be in the pool. After lunch with them, I stopped and visited my friend Richie before driving by The Boy’s Farmer’s Market. The Boy’s Farmer’s Market is known for offering the highest quality produces and meats. They’re also known for being very busy, so get there early before the crowds. Everything from the bakery cheeses and prepared foods are excellent. (http://boysfarmersmarket.com)
Tuesday I was able to spend more time with Bill. Though we originally planned to walk around the Dreher Park Zoo, we were short on time and instead walked with his son at Green Cay. We had an amazing array of birds to choose from, including all 8 species of heron, and my first alligator sighting of the year! Green Cay Nature Center covers 100 acres of constructed wetlands and features 1.5 miles of elevated boardwalk featuring interpretive signs about the habitat, making it a perfect setting for painters to set up easels.
There’s a more established wetlands nearby called Wakotahatchee Wetlands which features ¼ mile of elevated boardwalk. The name Wakotahatchee is Seminole indian for “created waters”. Both wetlands are examples of using nature as a natural filteration system while supporting the local ecosystem. All that and both are wonderful places to get exercise and sun. See photos from previous visits here: http://emiling.com/photos/wakodahatchee-wetlands/
It was an easy drive to Bedner’s after Green Cay. My other favorite, family run farmer’s market, Bedner’s, is hands on farmers dedicated to offering the community high quality produce. And has succeeded since 1960. The store front is conveniently located right outside the Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge. So after you get hungry bird/alligator watching you can purchase produce for the week as you leave. http://www.bedners.com
I had stopped by Bedner’s for some boiled peanuts. I had passed on them at the South Florida fair and didn’t want to leave without having some. I ended up finding them at the Race Trac filling station. Boiled peanuts are sold at the fair, gas stations, farmers markets and on the side of the road from the back of pick up trucks. I won’t find them in Michigan, that’s for certain. Funny story: My first experience with boiled peanuts was in Yesteryear Village at the South Florida fair. I asked the man for one and he gave me a sample. I popped the entire peanut in my mouth and decided to order some. He failed to tell me to shell it first, and I was still eating it thinking it was alright. GOOD GRIEF! Somebody saw me and was thoughtful enough to tell me how to eat them and, they’re better shelled. LOL
The Breakfast Shack in Boynton claims to make “… the absolute best breakfast you will ever eat”. That sounded like a fun challenge, so Wednesday morning I joined my friend Mike to test them out. It is such a joy to share conversation over a good stack of pancakes! It was a good breakfast.
As if that wasn’t enough, I went on to join my dear friend Irina for a trip to both Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus in Boca for afternoon tea and girl talk followed by dinner Café Frankie’s in Boynton Beach with Howard. Howard has been kind enough to open his home to me while I’ve been in Florida, so I wanted to take him somewhere special to me. It’s easily my favorite classic Italian restaurant and never lets me down. Frankie’s is a must for quality and quantity of delicious Italian fare. I fell asleep cherishing each and every one of today’s meals and conversations. (http://www.cafefrankies.com/)
By Thursday I needed to rest. I knew what long days I had ahead of me. It was a good idea because Friday morning I hit the ground running. First to the YMCA pool for one last deep water class. Then I was off to the salon before meeting Jodi, my recruiter, at Las Fajitas. It was delightful to finally meet Jodi in person. Thank you Jodi for taking time out of your day to join me for lunch.
I have been eating at this small, family run Mexican restaurant for 13 years. They keep the menu simple, authentic and the ingredients fresh. And, yes, I love it when I walk into a restaurant and they remember me. It’s another very busy venue, so get there early if you want a table. If you arrive late, it’s worth the wait. (www.lasfajitas.com)
From there I worked my way north visiting friends for one last time … William, Irina, John, Maria and Mike. Irina and Maria, I’m sorry you weren’t at home when I came by. Lenny, all I can say is we tried. Mike took me to Jacob’s for a last dinner where I ate tongue for the first time in my life! It doesn’t take like chicken. LOL The service was friendly and attentive.
At that moment I could never have guessed who was waiting for me Saturday morning at the class in Miami. Lo and behold my lab partner Nick from college 4 years ago was sitting at one of the tables! This was such a pleasant shock. It felt like being back in school together without missing a beat and laughing.
Florida = world class friends + world class food. Thank you to each of you for creating new memories to keep me warm in the upcoming months.