Tuesday, April 6, 2010

St. Augustine.. Who knew?

We are down to three now on our great American Road trip. Just my mom, dad, and I for the next few days. It hasn't been just the three of us since December. We manage to cram everything into the car with just a tiny little compartment for me in the back. We squeezed in and we were off to Florida, or what I would later discover was first called La Florida by Ponce De Leon.

We arrived a few short hours later and found our hotel after a tiny bit of turbulence with the front desk manager. He had a Type A personality that didn't quit. We realized quickly that he had an affinity for arguing with guests. Funny way to serve the customer, but who am I to judge? We finally checked in after our share of arguing and were directed down the beach to a nice place to have a late lunch. I was itching to get on the beach so I persuaded my parents to join me in a walk.

After a few minutes they bailed. They weren't about to do all that walking and went to fetch the car. I continued walking and ran across a sweet innocent little starfish. I picked it up, gave it a kiss, and sent it home back to the ocean. I had saved another starfish. If you aren't familiar, my best friend turned me on to a short story about a man on the beach surrounded by stranded starfish and he was throwing them in. Another man walks up and says, "There are too many, you won't even make a difference." To that, the man threw back another starfish and replied, "I just made a difference to that one." Exactly. I felt I had done my civic duty by saving that sweet little starfish.

Over lunch at The Reef, I retold the story for my parents as I ate a light shrimp wrap dressed in a light dill sauce. My parents tried the blackened grouper with red rice. Delicious paired with a glass of Savignon Blanc or a Bud Light. We ventured out to the town of St. Augustine and discovered a great parking spot.

We piled out of the car, got halfway down the block when my mom and dad realized that they forgot their hats, sunglasses, and map. I went back to find them and couldn't, what happened next can only be described as a hot mess. My parents both started blowing gaskets. My response, "Really, we are on day one of being just the three of us and we are already Hot Messes? All it takes is a glass of wine and a short drive and we are already there?" We all laughed and the crisis was abated.

For dinner we decided to have a picnic in the room and relax. Have you ever done this? It is brilliant! We bought cheese, crackers, meats, tapenade, and wine. We sliced it all in our room and sat on our balcony and enjoyed the sunset and peace of just being us. The next day we visited the Fountain of Youth and my new boyfriend Ponce De Leon. He is only about 4 feet 11, but still pretty cute for a metal statue. He was kind of cold and stand-offish though. I couldn't figure it out. Didn't he know how great I was? Who knows, must have been something I said. I moved on hoping he would find what he was looking for elsewhere. I guess he just wasn't that into me. It was a short lived romance.

We had a great lunch at King Fisher Grill leaving Ponce De Leon behind. We started with raw oysters and we all tried the Tuna Steak Philly, the Halibut Rueben, and the Mahi-Mahi fish tacos. These are definitely three recipes I intend to recreate soon. For dinner after sight-seeing all day we decided on another picnic in our room overlooking the sunset.

That was our trip to St. Augustine and now we are on to Destin, Florida and anxious to meet up with my sister, aunt and uncle, and my beloved Grandpa! Stay tuned as we get our butts back in the kitchen in Destin. More recipes to come soon!

Mental Health Travel Tip: Traveling can really take it out of a person and having some down time is important. My most important tip is to take your down time when you need it. Traveling and eating out can also put more weight on your wallet and your wasteline. My best remedy for both problems is the "Picnic in your Room". Pick out your favorite fruits, meats, cheese, and crackers and set up a picnic in your room. I've used this trick in Egypt, Florida, Colorado, you name it. It saves money, calories, and gives everyone a little much deserved down time.

Here's wishing you all peace and sanity on the road and at home!

~ "Too Hot" Messes on the road

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