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florida highlights + introducing the in between

rainbow

Whether from adventuring briefly in an entirely new place, meeting lovely strangers, engaging in work that I find highly fulfilling or simply being enveloped ever-so-briefly in warmth and sunshine, I returned earlier this week from a work trip to Florida feeling revitalized, inspired, calmer and with increased hope for life in general. When I am somewhere new, connecting with people who I previously didn’t even know existed, wandering on streets with unfamiliar names, I am reminded that the world is vast and wonderful and full of good things. Because, however unfortunately, I sometimes forget.

(I also was successful in the professional tasks I was sent to accomplish, in case anyone is concerned. All of the inner peace and such were just fringe benefits.)

sunset

As it happens, I returned to comparable weather, which is highly confusing but pretty great, too. Yet despite the springtime in the air, we haven’t quite arrived, and there are potential drops in temperature and vacant farmers market stalls and sandals that need replacing and cold nights still to endure. I call this time the in between. It isn’t winter, but it isn’t spring either. Though today’s temperatures rival summertime (seventy! five! degrees!), even early spring produce is weeks away for my city. And every time I look at the weather forecast, I am nervous about what I might see: in a heartbeat, it could be winter again. You never know. (I remember building an enormous Easter bunny out of snow in a park near my house during an Easter egg hunt in which all of the brightly colored eggs were buried in the snow. And so I hold my hope carefully. One does not easily forget that kind of thing.)

And so, this week, I will bring you recipes for the in between. Each day, Monday through Friday, I’ll offer a favorite recipe of mine, something that sustains me through these funny times. You won’t find ramps or rhubarb in this little collection, but hopefully it will help you feel calmer and more patient as you wait for them to appear.

(Taking advantage of this less-cohesive-than-normal post, let me throw in a brief public service announcement: Did you know that new posts from Delightful Crumb can be delivered right to your inbox? Well, they can! Subscribe by email or RSS if you’d like to be the first to see what’s new in my little orange kitchen.)

Finally, before I go, in following are a few more photos from my time in Florida, with links to the places where I found particularly delicious things to eat…

marco welcomenaples pier

On the bridge to Marco Island (top) and the Naples Pier (directly above).

joey's_1joey's_2

Dining in the company of strangers at Joey’s Pizza & Pasta House (above). I’m not sure when I last paid this much attention, undistracted, to my food and surroundings. It was wonderful.

morning scone

Oatmeal raisin scone and iced coffee at Tony’s Off Third. The wine shop is quite nice also.

dolce salato_1dolce salato_2

At Dolce & Salato, it was further confirmed that bruschetta is an excellent vegetarian option when dining out. I also had an amazing minestrone, drizzled with olive oil and paired with squares of rosemary-flecked bread, and this espresso.

gelato

This may well have been my best culinary find of the weekend. I probably sampled half of the gelato selection at Adelheidi’s Organic Sweets before making my choice, which was the intoxicating pairing of a scoop of chocolate lavender with one of cardamom. The German family that owns the shop is really lovely. They use organic and natural ingredients, all of the gelato is homemade and there are other other treats, too, which I desperately wished I had room to sample.

barefoot on the beach

See you on Monday with the first Delightful Crumb recipe for the in between!

(Photos taken with iPhone 4S.)

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