The last few months have been busy for us Gals! There are 5 states between us (when you draw a line from WI to FL), a host of children’s extracurricular activities and simply, busy schedules that keep us from traveling the distance to see each other more often. So, this past month was a treat when we were able to gather our families together and spend a week exploring, swimming, relaxing and of course, cooking!
Fair warning: We couldn’t help but share our experiences with you. We missed you! We’ve added some restaurants you should try and some mouth-watering photos of some delicious options when you do. We’ve also thrown in a few simple recipes that were a hit during our time together. You’ll notice that the restaurant reviews in this post far outweigh the recipes. Can you blame us? With all of the delicious food options at our disposal, what were two foodie Gals to do? Without further ado…
Tricia’s family flew in from WI, eager to leave the snow behind and sink their toes into the warm FL sand. We spent the first day exploring swamp lands and mangrove forests and sampling amazing Cuban food at a tiny restaurant along the coast. Thankfully, we had Laura, Tricia’s exchange student from Spain, to help translate our order. If you’ve never had Cuban food, we would highly recommend it. In our excitement and happily full bellies we failed to get the name of the restaurant. Boo!
We dedicated the next day to water. A friendly neighbor in FL let us barrow his kayaks for the week. Here are our “Spicy Guys” delivering the goods. (They rarely get a nod but are so wonderful to support us! I’m sure it helps that they are frequently the taste-testers.)
Coconuts is a delicious restaurant nestled on the water in Fort Lauderdale. The views are fabulous; giant yachts amid large skyscrapers, beautiful pelicans and bright blue skies. Seriously divine! While the kids opted for chicken strips and fries, the adults savored blue crab claws (dubbed Scooby Snacks), the Ahi Tuna Poki (a salad of fresh Ahi Tuna, mango and avocado served with crackers) and an incredible heirloom tomato salad. Check out our official review here. Believe us, you’re going to want to move heaven and earth to give this restaurant a try. In the meantime, you can live vicariously through these photos.
Off we went on our next adventure exploring science centers, getting rained out and then finding this little guy on the side of the road.
Early the next morning Tricia and the Guys tried their hand at deep sea fishing. Although “our catch” looks worthy of bragging rights we have to fully disclaim in the name of honesty that it just isn’t so. Befriending a chef who is also an amazing fisherman helps to get the perfect photo opp.
The outing was followed by a stop at The Atlantic Surf Club restaurant for lunch. This restaurant is located across from the beach on the second floor giving a beautiful view of the blue waters and Ocean Boulevard. We were all impressed with the staff. As a “Spicy Guy”, who will remain anonymous, is very particular about his burgers, we weren’t sure how this restaurant would fit the bill. A quick talk with the waiter about just how well chef follows directions when grilling a burger, assurances from our waiter that it will be perfect and… Verdict: Delicious, perfectly made-to-order burgers! Thus, Atlantic Surf Club receives its shout out on this post. The veggie quinoa burger and lobster melt were delish, too! My particular favorite were the duck fries (fried in duck fat).
Safari time! Who knew that one could enjoy a safari in the middle of Florida?!? It was excellent! You can tell by the number of exclamation marks that venturing over to Lion Country Safari was a highlight of the trip.
See the excitement from these gals?!? What this picture doesn’t show are the annoyed faces of the kids in the backseat having to listen to us sing at the top of our lungs the entire 1.5 hours there (a sister tradition that will not end anytime soon).
An hour long tour self-guided tour through grasslands and enclosures housing lions, rhinos and all sorts of wonderful animals native to Africa was truly amazing. Evidenced by how close we could get to such magnificent creatures! At one point a rhino was so close to our vehicle we had to slowly inch away so that it didn’t scratch the car with its horn.
We fed giraffes, played on the splash pads and whizzed down water slides. The kids rode on small carnival sized rides and peeked into enclosures with smaller animals and birds native to Africa. It was time for lunch. We planned ahead and Lindsey packed the group an amazing turkey salad. This recipe is so simple and perfect for adults or families with small children as you assemble it when it’s time to eat. Kiddos can pick which parts of the salad they want to nibble on and because the ingredients are packed individually, it’s perfect for grabbing in a hunger induced temper tantrum emergency.
Recipe for Simple Turkey Salad:
2 thick slices of turkey (Cubed into 1 inch cubes) – Ask your butcher to slice it for you.
1 head of lettuce, chopped
1 container cherry tomatoes, halved or left whole
1 can green olives, drained and placed in a re-sealable container
Dill pickles, sliced into 1 inch thick slices
Cucumbers, sliced into 1 inch thick slices (seeds removed)
Cheese of choice, sliced into 1 inch cubes (we used a delicious white cheddar)
Salad Dressing: Your choice of dressing or make a simple vinaigrette with 3 parts olive oil, 1 part balsamic vinegar, a little bit of lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix it in a glass Ball container with a tight lid. This way you can shake it up before using it without making a big mess.
Overall, our trip was a fantastic one! Of course, time spent with family eating amazing food and experiencing adventures together… how could that not be fantastic? Thank you so much for letting us share our fun with you.
Until next time… Enjoy!