Canadian Bookender: Day 3

Canadian Bookender: Day 3

Sat. Nov. 23, 2019:
Cape Breton trail to Port Hawksbury, Nova Scotia:

The previous night I had planned out that for breakfast we would go to Robin’s Donuts next door. In the light of morning I lost interest in the plan: it was in a gas station and it just seemed like an even crappier Coffee Time- no thank you. Plus, I still had my iced coffee. The heated seats in the car were a godsend for my low back.

The Cabot Trail was absolutely beautiful, the trees were covered in a light dusting of snow with the sun shining through. We stopped in at a convenience store to grab snacks to tide us over until lunch: mini Charleston chews, Tostitos and honey dijon Miss Vickies chips. It made for a good breakfast. We were driving to Ingonish Beach. They lie when they call it a beach, it’s really more of a pile of round smooth stones by the water. From the beach we could see the Keltic Lodge (where Brent’s grandma had honeymooned), our next stop. Once up near the lodge we confirmed: it was closed for the season and that was why we couldn’t get a reservation. We listened to Quirks & Quarks as we drove.

The plan was to go for a short hike to Mary Ann Falls. The road signs led us to a trailhead and a closed-for-the-season road. There was a sign saying it was 8km to the waterfall. We got back in the car and instead followed the GPS directions. On the way we got out at Lakies Head overlook, which had been the next destination. It was really neat: piles of red boulders and the ocean down below. Problem was the nice views were such that the sun was directly in my eyes and in my camera. Not helping matters was all the blowing snow. My hands froze and my lens was all spotted. The GPS took us to a close spot to it albeit on the road and there was no trailhead. On to the next stop! The weather was so erratic. One minute it was snowing, the next it was clear and sunny. At one point we had gone up in elevation enough that it was full on winter, the road was icy and covered in snow. So much for going on the Skyline Trail. The scenic lookouts were also a bust. Eventually we got down in elevation and were able to see some scenic views. It was so windy and cold that at first, we were going to skip the overlook but Brent did a u-turn because that was theone, he had written down in his notes. We could see the ocean off in the distance between the valley of two hills. I froze but it was worth it. At the next overlook it was just as cold but at least there was less snow. The ocean was so frothy and angry, crashing against the giant red rocks.

Once we were off the trail, we stopped at NSLC and I got another Bulwark cider. The guy at the register told me they had a Christmas one and I laughed saying I’d already tried it. We also stopped in at the Farmer’s daughter because we had seen road signs for it the day before. We grabbed some cowboy cookies and Brent got a donair bun. We had looped around and realized that we must have driven right by Charlene’s Bayside restaurant the previous day without even realizing it. It was one of the few places I had researched that was actually open. They were seen on You Gotta Eat Here! and known for their seafood chowder and a dessert called “bucket of mud.” I got a bowl of chowder and tried to order a lobster roll but apparently, it’s not the season so I got clam strips and fries instead. Can’t go wrong with either. The chowder was so damn good, some of the best I have ever had. It had so many chunks and was so buttery. It was topped with the meat from a lobster claw. The clam strips were so cheap I had assumed it would be a smallish plate. Man was I wrong. It was a mountain of food. And so damn good, I ate a bit too much. But somehow, I still had room for a bucket of mud. All we knew was that it would be served in a bucket. Digging in, we got spoonfuls of chocolate fudge cake, chocolate pudding, whipped cream and pecans. For all of its heaviness it was still inexplicably light.

As per usual, I fell asleep in the car. How could I not after such a hearty meal? We were staying in a roadside motel and I couldn’t find the thermostat. I ended up wrapping my scarf around my neck and crawling under the covers fully clothed. I turned a dial on a wall that had clearly once been connected to a heater but it was unclear if it still was. Being under the covers just made me sleepier. I played a little bit of Mario Odyssey and alternated it with reading Trick Mirror while Brent watched football. The cowboy cookie was delicious but there was no way I was eating dinner after such a large (and late) lunch. Eventually football ended, so I watched Friends and read during commercials.

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Posted by on December 3, 2019 in Travel


Canadian Bookender: Day 2

Canadian Bookender: Day 2

Fri. Nov. 22, 2019:
Moncton, New Brunswick to Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia:

The 5am wakeup was quite brutal and consisted of me muttering 5 more minutes. Apparently, the tidal bore can vary by 20 minutes before and after the stated time, hence the even earlier wakeup. It was so dark outside. I was just standing there in my pyjamas, shivering and fidgeting. I was too tired to talk, still half asleep. Just staring at the wide flat still river. Brent thought he could hear the water but it was just traffic. Then I thought I could hear it but maybe it was a train? We looked up which direction it would come from and no sooner had we started to look to the right, the sound of the train got louder and water started rushing in… from the left. It was cool to see the once-still-and-calm water now being a torrent of rushing water and it all happened so suddenly. It was impossible to get any pictures of video because it was still dark outside.

With all the excitement over, it was time to go back to sleep. I adjusted my alarm clock, giving myself an extra half hour of sleep. Even still, I ended up snoozing it. But then I had to get up, I had an hour until checkout. My initial plan had been to go to Co_Pain Bakery and get breakfast, get coffee from Starbucks and come back to the room and read but I had slept too late. On the way to Co_Pain Brent texted that his meeting was finished early, there went my backup reading plans: sitting in Starbucks. Co_Pain was super busy. The space was small so the lineup of 5 people went right to the door. A guy was on his way out and his hands were “full”, he was holding a cup of coffee and a small brown bag, he looked at the door, looked at me and paused. I opened the door for him and he said thank you. He could have easily opened the door himself. When I ordered an almond croissant, the guy asked me if it was ok that it had chocolate in it, heck yes I thought! I was tempted to buy a loaf of bread, everything in there was so fresh but I knew it would go stale by the time I got it home three days later.

I met up with Brent and Vino and we started walking towards the car rental place. Except Vino went too far, we had walked right by the place where he was having lunch and had to backtrack. Soon we were on the road, driving to our first stop: Springhill, Nova Scotia. Another province for me! And it was so pretty too, I particularly liked the welcome sign complete with the lighthouse sculpture. It made me like Nova Scotia more than New Brunswick, it just seemed prettier. There was a billboard for Joggins Fossil Cliffs, I made a note of it just in case we had time on the way back. But it would be second place to going to Bay of Fundy.

In Springhill we stopped at Paizano’s Pizza, it was the site of the restaurant where Brent’s great-uncle had worked as a cashier. It had since been torn down and replaced with the pizza place but we also needed lunch. We got two slices of pizza and it smelled so good. My stomach was still a little bit iffy though so I only had a few bites of each. Except now my back had started hurting and I was getting cramps. There was a (to me) unbelievable moment in the pizza place. A school-aged kid ordered pizza, paid for it and then said thank you AND have a nice day to the lady. I was floored. It legit jarred me for a moment. It was so genuine and nice.

On the way to the Presbyterian church in town we passed by a war memorial and stopped to see if Brent’s great-uncle’s name was on it. It was. nd it was sadly misspelled, just like in the documents. We had backtracked to the memorial when we couldn’t find the church. There was an HVAC business in a church-looking building. Up next we drove to the coal mine museum which unfortunately was closed for the season. I had really been looking forward to going down into a coal mine, it only seemed cooler once we saw the entrance down into the mine, it looked like small hill with a door in it. That made me want to go down there all the more. We at least got to see a pile of coal and some coal cars.

It was barely noon and we only had one last stop: the church where Brent’ grandpa had started out. That was it for the day. And so, we were back on the road: 4 hours to Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia. The drive was beautiful, lots of rolling hills and for one moment all the trees were covered in snow and then just as quickly we were back to looking at bare trees. It made me feel like I had gone north in Red Dead Redemption 2. Inevitably I fell asleep during the drive. It’s tradition.

We stopped at Timmie’s in Antagonish. I was in desperate need of tea. At first, we couldn’t get to a parking spot because we were blocked by the garbage truck. But a car had pulled in behind us so we couldn’t leave either. I got the donut sticks with Nutella dip and promptly started singing “watch me dip, watch me yay yay.”

Cape Breton had very pretty views of the water, complete with a giant boat and cliffs. We stopped at a Co-op grocery store because they had a NSLC sign (which I quickly gathered was their version of our LCBO). I was pleasantly surprised with the selection: I got three different Nova Scotia ciders, including a No Boats on Sunday mixed berry one. I had just assumed that was an Ontario cidery- my bad. One of the bottles of cider was bigger so we would split it. We stopped at St. Ann’s lookout for some pretty views of the water and the hills. At the second lookout we could see Bras D’Or lake and the sun was setting. It was already getting so dark and it was barely 4:30pm, it was making me sleepy. We stopped at a gas station and I grabbed some iced coffee for the next morning.

The church was right on the corner and had a giant manse next door. It was so dark that we had to take pictures with the flash on. It must have looked so odd. We grabbed dinner from Lick-a-Chick as it was one of the few things, I could find on Google Maps that was open and nothing else had really caught my eye. There were lots of people inside and the place was celebrating its 50th anniversary- both good signs. I ordered a 3-piece meal and Brent ordered a chicken sandwich meal. As we were waiting, I realized we had messed up, we should have gotten one of our orders with wedges instead of both with the default fries. Even more so after I saw that they serve crinkle cut fries, arguably a lesser fry form. While standing around waiting, a man got really excited about some empty mayonnaise buckets, going back to his table twice to discuss with his wife if they should purchase a bucket and if so which one.

The chicken was really good. Brent didn’t want his coleslaw and before he could have a bite, I had pretty much eaten all of it. Good coleslaw with good fried chicken is a winning combination.  Even if the fries were only alright and got cold too fast. Our TV came with a device that was already logged into someone’s Netflix so we watched Jeopardy! while we ate. The Bulwark Christmas cider was good, it earned three hearts in my notebook and I immediately went online to see if I could order it back home. The Malagash heritage cider didn’t stand a chance against the holiday one with cinnamon and nutmeg. I am a sucker for spices. We watched Hot Rod and it was hysterical. We tried to watch Baby Driver but quickly gave up on it. Back to Jeopardy! Then to change it up we watched My Next Guest With David Letterman with Tina Fey. And then back to Jeopardy! I dominated in one episode, the only thing I remember getting right was snake oil based on RDR2. Somewhere in there we had cracked open the third cider, the giant one with a Christmas duck on the label.

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Posted by on December 3, 2019 in Travel


Canadian Bookender: Day 1

Canadian Bookender: Day 1

Thurs. Nov. 21, 2019:
Toronto flight to Moncton, New Brunswick:

Our flight wasn’t until 3:15pm, we didn’t have to clear customs and the taxi ride to the airport was covered?! This was my kind of travel. Even with the delay due to construction traffic we made it to the airport in plenty of time. Brent’s business trip to Moncton, New Brunswick had ballooned to an east coast weekender.

The Wendy’s was right behind us at check-in, everything was lining up. Until we crossed over to the other side, not a single Starbucks in sight. I had to settle for Timmie’s which at least was right by the gate. I had a medium tea and chanced upon the brilliant idea to get an extra tea bag, so I had one green tea and one apple cinnamon tea. Genius. It was unbelievable how long one guy near us was talking on his phone. He just would not stop. Instead he switched over to speaker phone. I was one zone ahead of Brent for boarding. I had to get out of there away from that guy. Except he ended up sitting one row in front of me. At least he had stopped talking.

While waiting to board I quickly got bored with my new book The Cheffe, thankfully I had packed a second book and my iPad. I downloaded Nora Ephron’s Heartburn as a backup. I was not in the mood for fiction, but I did need to read one more food-related book. I cracked open Trick Mirror… and then was unable to put it down until we landed. Having just read the intro I was already in the group-chat recommending it to everyone.

My annoyance (PMS?) only got worse once we were all seated. My seatmate had still not arrived. Some guy who seemed like the last one on the plane put stuff in the overhead… and then left. I was not going to do up my seatbelt until the person was seated, except we were taking off soon. Eventually, timed perfectly to when I did my seatbelt that same guy came back. During drink service he asked if they had cream. The flight attendant looked at him confused, thinking the same thing I was: this guy just wants a cup of cream?! Eew. He laughed and so no, obviously he only wants coffee if they have cream. As if it is that different from milk. She asked me if I wanted cookies, pretzels or both. I almost yelled with excitement BOTH! I love Biscoff cookies but pretzels are good too.

It was a really short cab ride to the hotel. On the way to our room we scoped out the spot where tomorrow we would watch the tidal bore. I had pictured us waking up, shuffling to a window, either in our room or in the hallway, and watching it. But we had an exterior room. In the hotel lobby they had a sign saying it would be at 5:30am the next day but Brent had a website that said 6:30. We later found a different website corroborating the hotel time.

We walked over to the Tide & Boar for dinner and drinks. It was one of the two places I had found in my searching of where to eat. The other was the Pumphouse brewery but this place had ciders! So yes, I was a little biased in my choice. We ordered the seafood charcuterie board and umami pork bites. The oysters were in season and as delicious as promised. The little neck clams were pretty good, i got one of the shrimp legs stuck in my teeth momentarily in a not-so-graceful eating of the shrimp. The real standout of the board was somehow the pickled veggies. Who new that fiddleheads and brussels sprouts could be good?! The maple smoked salmon was ok but not as good as the light and airy fish mousse. I had a cider from Fredericton that was strawberry and lime flavoured. Soon Vino joined us and we ordered a boar poutine (what the pub is known for according to You Gotta Eat Here). It was round here I started feeling awful. I don’t know what did me in, but by the time I was scooping some poutine on my plate I felt hot and nauseous. I went to the bathroom and my face and chest were all flushed, my eyes were glassy and bloodshot. It was all so sudden. All I could do to feel better was splash water on my face. I was bloated and so uncomfortable. I couldn’t believe how quickly it all happened. I was really struggling to keep it together. But at this point even just the sight or mention of food was enough to make me feel ill.

I felt a little bit better outside in the cold. It was snowing which was a nice distraction. We walked a few blocks up the main street and then one over. We were in search of Brent’s great-grandma’s two listed addresses from archived documents. The first one turned out to be a bust, it was an empty lot with construction materials. The second one was an even bigger with a giant billboard for condos coming soon. On the walk back I was so bloated I considered unbuttoning my pants. There was a Shoppers Drug Mart across the street but it was past a giant parking lot and I could not stand the thought of walking that far only to find out it was closed. Instead I stealthily unbuttoned the top bottom of my pants under my coat as we walked back to the hotel. All I could think about was a hot shower. Even though it was only 10pm back home, I was ready for sleep.

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Posted by on December 1, 2019 in Travel, Uncategorized


I’ve Got That Thing Golfers Get Except for Titles*

I’ve Got That Thing Golfers Get Except for Titles*

*the yips, I figured it out

It’s getting close to the end of the year, except this time around we actively ranked restaurants soon after our meals instead of waiting until the very end. Who can remember a dinner from almost a year ago? No one, except maybe Proust. That being said, it’s hard to edge out our top three contenders thus far (we are only counting Toronto-based fooding, counting our California trip would just be plain unfair). I had high hopes for Grey Gardens, it was from the lady behind Black Hoof and they had a Michelin-starred chef. We walked right by the place the first time, it had grey grating on the window and legit looked like a closed down storefront. We double-backed and even still once the number was confirmed, questioned if we had the right place? It did fit right in with the Kensington vibe (ironically it was the finest and most expensive dining we’ve ever had in Kensington and the total opposite of the usual fare).

So how did it stack up? Pretty damn well. It was one of the better meals we’ve had, everything was well-balanced and in harmony. They get major bonus points for encouraging sharing.  I initially had my eye on the truffle sausage until i saw the fried maitake, which only caught my fancy after I googled it and found out it was a type of mushroom. And it was served with a mustard dipping sauce? Heck yes! I tried to order the cider they had on tap (such a rarity) alas they were all out. Instead I went with my backup: orange wine. I half expected it to be made of oranges but apparently it referred to contact with the skin grapes.

The mushroom was amazing, so lightly breaded and perfectly deep fried. The mustard dipping sauce was perfect. Up next we had scallops. I am generally not a fan, I will eat them but not always enjoy them. I might be wrong, when done right they are so good. They were thinly sliced and so soft, there was a citrus-y zing to them and a tart crunch from something we could not quite identify? When you had a bite of all three it was amazing. That’s what we were starting to realize over our first bites of the arctic char: all the elements of each dish paired together and created a balance. Everything was on the plate for a reason. It reminded me of another time when we had ordered two different mains but we were served the same sides.  The skin on the char was so slightly crispy, it borderline wasn’t even crispy. I usually kind of ignore the stuff underneath i.e.: the stuff listed in the menu after the main item. Not so with the char, every forkful had a piece of fish and an equal amount of the farro. It was so damn good, even now I am thinking about it and craving it. Our last dish was the skate, you can never go wrong with skate. It might be one of my favourite seafood dishes. The skate was delicious, even if the tamarind was faint. It was so delicate and yet meaty? I was not a fan of the mustard greens, the mushrooms were good but I was reaching the point where I couldn’t eat any more.

We were still hungry for dessert but nothing on the menu caught our eye. Brent pointed out that Little Pebbles Bakery, voted best Japanese dessert, was just around the corner. We ordered a slice of strawberry shortcake, a coconut yuzu tart and a matcha canelle. As soon as we got home, I was barely settled and already had a fork in hand. The yuzu tart was the clear winner. How can you go wrong with that combination? You can’t. It was delicious, the tartness of the yuzu set off by the sweetness of the coconut in a not-too-sweet tart shell. We should have just gotten two of those and left it at that. The strawberry shortcake was OK, I liked the cream but the cake itself was kind of dry. I was surprised to find that the exterior of the canelle was rock hard. I had tried to cut it in half and I struggled. The inside was a soft and spongey cake but it was just a weird little dessert. I ate it first, anticipating it would be the worst of the three based solely on my trying to cut it. Then I took a bite of the cake and the tart to determine who was next.
On the walk back we passed by Eataly again. It was opening day and I had assumed I could casually just go in. My initial plan was to go in the afternoon after yoga. Nope. They didn’t’ open until 5pm. Ok, alright I thought, we’ll go after dinner. Except on the way to dinner we saw a huge line around the block. Surely it would dissipate by the time we came back? Again no. Oh how wrong I was.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I tried to go back on Sunday, surely it would have calmed down? Nope still a line of approx 60 people? Eataly closed down on Monday to rejig after the madness. I have a feeling for my third attempt on Tuesday, it’s gonna happen. It will, you’ll see.

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Posted by on November 18, 2019 in Fooding, Uncategorized


Unixpected Gonads*

Unixpected Gonads*

I went into Alobar expecting the same caliber food as we had experienced at Alo all those years ago. Why would it be any different?

Brent, lover of scallops, ordered the scallop ceviche. I ordered the beef carpaccio. Our server came back almost immediately to let us know that the scallops came with sea urchin. Hence the title. When you got a bite of the beef carpaccio with the arugula and cheese it was delicious. On it’s own it was a bit bland. I did not enjoy the scallops at all, the unexpected gonads ruined them (the world’s most obvious sentence?). For my main I ordered the octopus, again it was heavily reliant on the accouterments. On it’s own it was pretty good, but with a hazelnut it was so so so much better. Brent had the tuna. He tried to convince me that the tomato on the side was good. I fell for it and tried one tiny bite, further adding to my argument that tomatoes are horrible.

So far the drinks had been the best part of dinner. Which is why, even though we had to get up at 2:45am for our flight to Miami the next day, we had a second round. I insisted on having dessert. And it was a good thing I did. Dessert was the best part! We ordered the raspberry mille-feuille and it was everything I dreamed it would be. Except I felt kind of bad, as soon as I dug in with my fork I ruined the beauty. It instantly became a delicious mess of crumbly pastry and raspberry cream, smeared all over the plate as I chased bites.

Alobar was nowhere near as good as Alo and I was really disappointed. The internet had made Alobar out to be this really great place and it kind of fell short of that.

*see? am I not just sooo funny? It was originally supposed to be Unexpected Gonads and that I could take zero credit for, but now I made it funnier because sea urchin= uni

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Posted by on November 18, 2019 in Fooding, Uncategorized


FloriDejaVu: Day 5

Sun. Nov. 10, 2019:
Miami, Florida to Toronto:

It was sort of nice to wake up and just head downstairs and be at the airport. It was way less stressful than usual. The security lady had to pat down my back after the scan and it was mild agony. We barely had any time to linger, we just set our bags down, I was ready to run to a larger duty-free store (near our gate was only a small kiosk), when our flight started boarding. Crap! I got some rum from the kiosk, the sign said it was $7 off, which I assumed meant it was now $21, I was pleasantly surprised when it rang through as $14. It’s too bad there was no sign of Canadian Club or 50% vodka, I had to settle for rum. There were no TVs on our flight, I finished my book and then listened to podcasts, praying that the 20% battery on my iPod would last. It did.

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Posted by on November 15, 2019 in Travel


FloriDejaVu: Day 4

FloriDejaVu: Day 4

Sat. Nov. 9, 2019:
Key West to Miami, Florida:

I woke up at 8am because I couldn’t sleep any more. By some miracle I was not hungover and had slept quite well for the most part. At the hotel breakfast they had two carafes of coffee, one full sized one and one smaller one. Except neither was marked as decaf. This was a game of Russian roulette I was not willing to play. I filled up my cup halfway from each. Except then there was no milk! They had mini boxes of cereal but no milk! At least there was creamer in the hotel room. It was raining, checkout wasn’t until 11am and our lunch restaurant didn’t open until 10am. We settled in to watch TV, Planet Earth marathon alternating with Friends, and wait out the rain.

The key lime pie was good but nowhere near as good as Kermit’s (first place) or Joe’s Stone Crab (second place). The crumb had gotten soggy in the fridge overnight and it was a bit salty but they did get bonus points for serving it with a lime slice on top. It was a nice touch. I ate the last ⅕ of the sandwich from yesterday, it had totally held up and maybe was even a smidge better (or i was just hungrier this time around?).

We checked out and had one last Key West walk ahead of us. First to the car, which was parked a few blocks away. When we left for snorkeling, we lost our prime parking spot right out front. We passed some high school girls doing a car wash at the gas station on the corner. We passed by again via a different corner after we dropped our stuff in the car and headed out to Duval St. for one last walk. I joked about if I walked in would they give me a shower. At least the rain had stopped and it was much cooler now.

Duval St. is drastically different on a Saturday than on a weekday. Everyone is out and about drinking. There were some people who were impressively hammered for eleven in the morning. One lady sitting on a bar patio shouted at Brent, “go Blue Jays!” (She was there an hour later on our walk back). I joked that we had one last chance at Margaritaville. It was during this conversation that I learned it had nothing to do directly with Key West or Jimmy Buffet, that it was just capitalizing on a song lyric from the two. It was more Hard Rock Cafe or Bubba Gump, rather than the Sloppy Joe’s I thought it was. Having just now learned that Key West was nicknamed margaritaville I decided that on the walk back we would stop in at Fat Tuesday for one last walking margarita. Also, I had not gone to Fat Tuesday while we were in New Orleans so it only made sense.

We had lunch at the Conch Shack, another place from Brent’s 1001 Foods book. They were known for their conch fritters but they had a platter of conch: fritters, ceviche and cracked. Arguably that made the most sense to order. Brent also ordered a cheeseburger, given the last one had been terrible and, in my mind, did not count. Now this, this was a cheeseburger! So flavourful and greasy and basic and oh-so-perfect. I also really like the cracked conch, which was just flattened, salted breaded and fried pieces of fish. But the true winner was the conch fritters, possibly one of my all-time favourite seafood dishes in general. As we ate, we heard faint peeping, there was a momma chicken and her six little chicks nearby and they soon got wise to the fact that we were messy eaters, dropping crumbs all over the floor. We were worried about stepping on them when we finished. Some people walked by and saw them and started taking photos, promptly scaring them off.

We stopped in at Sloppy Joe’s for a bathroom break. The place was packed with tourists. Fat Tuesday was just a wall of slushie machines. I went with the smallest of the four sizes. The signs all said that the strawberry margarita was the fan favourite, so obviously I had to get that one. Even still, the smallest size was quite hefty, 12oz maybe? It was good and refreshing except I kept getting rib freeze. As soon as it settled though, I went right back in. We stopped at Kwest to get another pack of the almost-completely-peanut-butter Reese’s cups. They were so good, even better when they were frozen. I also got a Mexican Sprite, we had a long drive ahead of us with few stops. We walked back along Olivia St. for one last look in the cemetery for the cat I had named Floyd, Flossy for short. Alas, she was gone. We walked by the car wash girls again for the third time. As we waited for the light to change Brent spotted a Polish grocery store across the street. I was compelled to go look. There was no bakery, I had really been hoping for some fresh road snacks. They did have singles of beer, which was unfortunate as we had enough drinks. I wish I had known about it sooner. They had a black currant radler! They didn’t even have the basic sól ziołowa! I did get a good laugh at the wing spice that roughly translated to “wild, south, untamed” style.

The Mexican Sprite was so much better than regular Sprite, so smooth and tasty. I was headed from margaritaville to sleepyville, I couldn’t stay awake. I put in a request for a Dunkin’ Donuts stop and nodded off. Unfortunately, the two Dunkin’s we passed were both on the opposite side and hard to get to. I tried to eat a Reese cup but it was so incredibly melty that it was a bad idea. I stuck the top of the wrapper into the vent in order to cool it via a/c. We had been so close to making it the whole trip with only filling up the car before returning it. Alas, as we were almost out of the Keys the low-gas indicator light came on. We would have to fill up the car twice. It wasn’t meant to be. At the gas station I got green apple Fanta and a bag of chili lime (purple bag) Doritos. They had Ben & Jerry’s ice cream sandwiches but we were on our way to lunch! I made a note of it for the next time we are in the States.

As we pulled into the Popeye’s parking lot, I saw that they had a chicken sandwich poster in the window. And it did NOT have a sold out sign over top. Things were looking good! We ordered one spicy and one regular. Except than Brent’s credit card wasn’t working and I was down to my last $5USD. We had come so far!! We couldn’t’ fail now!! Thankfully my credit card worked, else we would have had to settle for just one. The drive-thru had gotten so busy that we couldn’t pull out of the parking lot until one car let us pass through. The sandwiches were in little foil bags to keep the heat- except within a few minutes we were chowing down on the regular one. By the time we got to Trader Joe’s 20-minutes later we were finishing off the spicy sandwich. It was very good, I loved the soft buttery bun and the fried chicken was so good. I still could have used more pickles or lettuce or mayonnaise. I lean a little more towards it than Chick-Fil-A because i am a sucker for that crispy skin. The apple Fanta was really hitting the spot.

Trader Joe’s was confusing. There was a line to get into the parking lot and a guy in a vest directing traffic. Brent pulled into the parking lot of the Burger King across the street while I ran in. I grabbed as many jars of Everything But the Bagel spice as I could safely carry. It was actually half of the stock left. The guy looked at my five jars and looked at me curiously. I said we didn’t have it in Canada. He understood, he knew they were $10CAD each on Amazon. In total I paid $11 USD for all five of my jars. I immediately regretted not running back and grabbing the rest that were left on the shelf. But then I thought of Brent sitting in the parking lot and I rushed out. I had already taken longer than I’d wanted because the cashier was so chatty. He ended up shaking hands and exchanging names with the guy in front of me in line.

We topped off the gas tank in the car and I ran inside to grab an iced coffee for the next morning (something i had forgotten to do at the first gas station). I also found a Hershey’s strawberry and waffle chocolate bar and summer splash Starbursts. We were staying at a hotel in the airport which would save us some time the next morning and make the early wakeup a little less brutal. Our room did not have a mini fridge but it did have an ice bucket. We arrived in the room right at the start of halftime in the football game, perfect time for Brent to go get ice while I started on packing. I filled the sink and arranged our drinks while Brent went to get a second bucket of ice. I added the Reese’s cups in there as well. Packing was like a game of Tetris, I really had to cram everything in. The All Day watermelon wine spritzer was surprisingly good, given it was a wine from the band of the same name. It felt a little like a prank but it got the job done. The rose one was better though. I had a funny photo of both of them sitting in the sink on ice. I played a little Mario Odyssey while Brent watched football. We finally cracked into the tostones, they were not good. Far and away the worst we’ve ever had. Thankfully we had the backup Doritos which tasted faintly like Froot Loops thanks to the overpowering lime. The frozen Reese’s cup was so good. I kind of regretted not just grabbing the whole box.

When we checked in we saw that there was an airport Margartaville, I joked that we had one last shot. Now that we were out of hotel drinks, it seemed kismet. I was finally going to Margaritaville! It reminded me of Jack Astors. Our table was a surfboard. I had considered getting the original margarita but then Brent said he was also getting a margarita, so he got that one while I got one with fresh raspberries. Good thing, given the original was way stronger and it would not have ended well. I’d already had two cans of wine. They were not spritzers, it was just straight up wine. Eventually i realized the strength of my margarita had been masked by the raspberry puree. We split an order of the chicken quesadilla, it was alright. The real winner was the chips and guac on the side.

Back in the room I was trying to write in my notebook but I was fighting a bad case of the mega-hiccups. The shower was one of those high-pressure ones, not great on my sunburnt back. I flipped between Love It Or List It and a Thanksgiving cooking show.

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Posted by on November 15, 2019 in 1001 Foods, Travel

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