Life is not fair. I know it, you know it, and the sea gulls by the sea know it. It is not fair that my sister and brother-in-law moved to Florida, far away from us. It's not fair that we can no longer have our semi-annual sibs weekends. And it’s totally not just that she lets us come from the cold north to visit every year. We have certainly done nothing to deserve the bountiful hospitality she lavishes on us, but we do not complain. We soldier on.
This year’s trip was lovely, thank you. My brother and sister-in-law came, too. We drove down the Keys, walked and bird watched and talked and talked and talked. And ate. Because that’s what we do best together: talk and eat. I will not bore you with a list of menus and restaurants, but you might like to hear about the wonderful desserts never denied ourselves.
On the first day of our visit, we went to a spiffy hotel restaurant with a fixed price menu. The fountain spouted serene white noise in the background, and the linen was still with starch. The food was good. It was very, very good, and although after the appetizer and entree, I was full up, I could not (or, anyway, did not) resist selecting a dessert of chocolate bread pudding in vanilla cream sauce. I generally don’t go for flavored desserts that are classically served plain. I like plain cheesecake, plain apple pie and plain bread pudding. However, this chocolate bread pudding was the only chocolate dessert on the menu, so what’s a girl to do?
It was FANTASTIC! Now bread pudding is not a light dessert, and normally I like to think I’d have eaten half and taken half home for later, but, hey, this was vacation. The fact that as retirees, a good deal of our life is vacation is neither here nor there. This was vacation, and I ate every speck of bread pudding and all but licked the plate after. I waddled back to the car quite happy and somnolent.
We ate at home the next night, and I think we actually (gasp!) skipped dessert. The next morning we drove down to the Keys, staying half-way down the chain. We had dinner at a little local fish market. This time I left a little room in my tummy for chocolate almond ice cream pie in a chocolate cookie crumb crust. I ate it all.
The following day we saw all there is to see on Key West and returned to Marathon in time to have dessert at Sweet Savannah’s. They serve homemade ice cream and cup cakes. (Just for the record, I did NOT have homemade ice cream on top of a cupcake like some other people I could mention.) They make pistachio ice cream! It is so hard to find pistachio ice cream, and it is my absolute favorite! Oh, man, it was really, really good.
The week ensued in daily order. My sister made pear pie (yum!). We had fresh blueberries with whipped cream (refreshing -- plus there’s the self-righteousness of having fruit). There was that sadly mediocre chocolate, chocolate truffle cake and the (plain) cheesecake.
Our last day was that one perfect beach day. The sun was out, the jelly fish were under control and the breeze was light. The guys walked down the beach to the concession stand. Steve returned with a Nutty Buddy, not the fanciest dessert of the week, but let’s face it, everyone likes a Nutty Buddy. He sat on his beach chair savoring each lick, cap pulled low over his eyes to shield from the glare, holding the cone up for philosophical meditation.
In one swoop, a gull dove in from behind his head, grabbed the cone and flew off. Twenty gulls chased him, calling him names and bullying him for a shard, but he was off and away. Last day of vacation -- Steve stared at his empty fist.