Dining in Paris…..

No, we don’t book into the famous restaurants in Paris. Not that those aren’t superb. One of the great things about Paris is of course the food and during a short trip such as this, we won’t be able to try all the places that we will find attractive. I also didn’t have a blog the last time we went to Paris and since we are supposed to have internet at the hotel I will be able to do a daily post. Of course the time difference will cause tomorrow to be slightly off. The dish I cannot leave Paris without is steak au poivre, but I usually wait and have that for my last meal. That doesn’t mean I won’t have it twice depending on where we are dining. I will expect to do seafood as well and yes, lunch will be leisurely with 2-3 courses and wine, then dinner with 3-4 courses. The whole point of these trips is to relax and enjoy and a prolonged meal is part of that enjoyment. There are two restaurants in particular in the area that we are staying that we like although since we are in a slightly different part of the area, I’m not sure how close we will be to either one. We walk to dinner and for lunch we stop in at whatever is at hand as we are also walking around.

Breakfast is the traditional croissants (or for me it might be fresh bread) and coffee, although occasionally instead of sitting down, we’ll grab a “chocolate bread” (pain du chocolat) and coffee from a street vendor. Anyway, I’m going to sign off now and the next post will be from Paris. The house sitter is set and the newspaper is stopped and I only have two meetings to attend this morning.

New Farmer’s Market On The Way……..

The Verde Community Farm & Market will open March 2015 near HARB.

The Verde Community Farm & Market will open March 2015 near HARB.

 I had the pleasure of being placed next to a delightful gentleman at Homestead’s first Eco Fair that was held Saturday in Losner Park downtown. I need to digress for just a moment because of the connectivity of Verde Community Farm Market and the Chapman Partnership. Chapman is an organization that I have great admiration for. They are a private organization that does remarkable work with the homeless through partnership with a number of different municipal, county, state, and federal programs. They have established a model that many like minded organizations have come to see, but that is a separate post.

Among their other efforts, there has been a plan to expand a farmer’s market in conjunction with a CSA and a farm-to-table café. Mr. Bill Squire was the gentleman set up in the tent next to me and he had some of their beautiful produce as well as the promotion for what they will be doing. It not only has all of the things that people who enjoy Farmer’s Markets are looking for – Certified Organic items, CSA option, commercial kitchen and special event venue – it is in an old emergency services station close to the Homestead Air Reserve Base with plenty of parking. Best of all, it is staffed predominantly with individuals from the homeless shelter as they learn skills they can build from. The entire operation will be open next month and I’ll do a follow-up post once they are in full swing. In the meantime, you can check them out at: http://www.verdefarmandmarket.com

Keeping Up With The Times……

 Okay, let me explain that my objections to jury duty have absolutely nothing to do with not wanting to sit on a jury. I am fine with fulfilling this duty, just as I faithfully vote. It’s part and parcel of our system. The problem is that the courthouses are deep in Miami and the traffic is terrible. Even trying to use the Metro is a hassle because Miami has the worst Metro I’ve ever encountered for a city of it’s size. If there was a courthouse near the South Dade Government Center, that would at least cut back on the almost 3 hours of commuting that I had yesterday.

Anyway, with that said, of the six times that I have been pulled in for jury duty, there was an interesting addition to the initial instructions that are issued to the very large jury pool before groups are selected (or not) to go to the various courtrooms. The new and fairly lengthy part of the instructions has to do with electronic devices and social media. It isn’t something that I had thought about, but the instructions do make sense. Each judge will determine the degree to which cell phones, tablets, computers, etc., must be silenced/turned off. Photographs and recordings are prohibited. If selected for a jury, jurors may not research or access information about the case electronically. The social media part was a prohibition against emailing, tweeting, blogging, using Facebook or any other form of post to identify the specific case or comment on it. There has always been the prohibition against discussing the case while it is in progress and it’s logical that must now extend to the electronic communications that are so prevalent. It would never occur to me to do a post about a case, but I do see how it can be a potential problem. I wasn’t selected for the jury by the way, although it was an all day process to get through all the steps.

Super Bowl As It Was Meant To Be…..

No, I don’t mean the outcome for my sad Seahawks fans. After all, only two teams can go to the Super Bowl and that means the fans of the thirty other teams are disappointed at some level. If you have multiple teams you enjoy either because you have lived in different places or perhaps players/coaches you admire move to a different team, then you increase your chances to have some emotional investment in the game. Otherwise, what fans want is a good game, played hard, with a fairly balanced score and enough excitement to say, “Did you see that?!” In theory, all Super Bowls should be that way since the playoff system is supposed to allow the two final teams that make it through to be fairly evenly matched. There have, however, been a number of blowouts through the years and in those cases, unless your team happens to be the one winning, you tend to focus on the commercials and maybe the halftime show.

Last night started with the scoreless first quarter and that’s okay, too. The teams were fresh, the defenses determined to do their parts and the coaches taking measure of what kind of plays they were facing. The excitement started late in the second quarter and I made the classic error of seeing the play clock with little time left before the half. I dished up the chili and moved behind my husband’s recliner where I said something like, “I don’t think much is going to happen in the next 11 seconds so we can move to the table.” He corrected me as he pointed to the screen and sure enough, there it was – one of those – “Did you see that?” – moments as the Seahawks made their touchdown. Nice way to tighten the game.

In watching New England fall behind, looking as if they might not catch up, then the push to go forward again, and then the crucial minute where the entire game shifted in an incredible catch – this was what the Super Bowl is about. The actual play that sealed the game was equally spectacular unless of course you were rooting for Seattle. The sheer timing of it though was enough to warm the hearts of those who just wanted to see a good game (and naturally thrilled all Pats fans).

 

 

Then There Are Days……

You know how there can be situations and you ask yourself, “How did I get into this?” Not that it’s terrible, just something that you really didn’t see coming? That’s when all those sayings kick in about “hindsight being twenty-twenty”; “don’t cry over spilt milk”, “learning a lesson the hard way”; “it could have been worse”; etc.

In fact, what are all those other sayings? What’s your favorite? Like I said, this is not for one of those times when you seriously messed up, just one where things don’t turn out the way you were expecting and there’s nothing you can do to change it. I have to figure out how much “pouting time” this deserves, too. I’ve already done a rant, so that part’s over with.

 

I Don’t Eat Eggs…..

Let me say that I do not have an allergy to eggs. That’s always the first assumption when I explain that I don’t eat them. I simply don’t like them in any way, shape, form, or fashion. I actually wish that I did and every once in a great while I try again to see if my taste buds have changed and so far, that hasn’t happened. I know all about the good things and that doesn’t make a difference. And I have been at social occasions where the understandable assumption is that everyone eats quiche and it is such a lovely brunch or lunch item. That’s all true and those are definitely situations where I wished that I liked eggs. By the way, not liking them doesn’t mean I can’t cook them. I make a lovely quiche and a good omelet other than the aesthetics of it can come into question. Scrambled eggs of course, although I admit my poaching ability isn’t very good.

Since it is not liking eggs as opposed to an allergy, I’m fine with things that have eggs that are baked in, and I have learned how to substitute more cheese for example in a recipe like the German onion tart (Zweiblekuchen) that is very popular. I reduce the number of eggs to one and double the amount of cheese, and so far, the formula hasn’t failed me and that amount of egg I can manage. This is why whenever we are in setting and someone had done deviled eggs, hubby tends to put those on his plate first because he certainly doesn’t get them at home. He does a great job with frittatas and omelets, but deviled eggs are not something that he does well either.

And yes, like virtually every kid in America, I did eat scrambled eggs when I was little and no, I honestly don’t remember when I decided that I didn’t like them. So, okay, who else out there fits into this same category?

Rodeo Weekend in Homestead…….

 

Calf Roping Is Always A Rodeo Favorite

Calf Roping Is Always A Rodeo Favorite

There is a line in the movie, “Electric Cowboy” where Allie, the reporter character played by Jane Fonda, is trying to build credibility with Sonny, the rodeo star character played by Robert Redford. In hoping to win him over so she can get the headline-making story she is pursuing, she blurts out that of course she’s been to a rodeo. When he asks if she, “Stayed all the way until the rattle snake round-up?”, she blithely answers that she did. Now, while I have in fact been to both a rodeo and to a rattle snake round-up, they are indeed separate events. And Florida is not the place you usually associate with rodeos. Homestead and South Dade however has a thriving horse community and in 1949, the Elks Lodge decided to hold the “Country’s Southernmost Rodeo”. While the organization of it later passed to the Homestead Rodeo Association, except for one or two years, it has been a continuing annual event the last weekend of January. All the details can be found at http://homesteadrodeo.com and in some years there are extra events that fill days before the rodeo. It is a fully sanctioned rodeo and brings competitors from around the country.

A separate, but integral organization to the association is the Homestead Everglades Posse that was established in 1951. The non-profit organization promotes better sportsmanship, horsemanship and the fun  as well as skill of riding. All riders in the Posse, whether youth or adult, are amateurs, riding and training their own horse. The Posse has ridden in the Homestead Rodeo every year since 1952 and they perform synchronized drill patterns on horseback.

The rodeo is a great family outing and brings to mind the “county fair” feel with activities in and around the arena at Harris Field. And no, even though the rodeo will continue into the future, I don’t think there will ever be plans to establish a rattlesnake round-up.

About That Sleeping Thing…..

As a fully acknowledged morning person, even I am puzzled at times. Notwithstanding my usual awakening between 5-5:30 a.m. when I have more multiple projects than normal, I will be awake between 4:00-4:30, but usually only one morning of the week. Last week it was three mornings and I started yesterday at 4:30. This morning was worse with the 3:00 a.m. tossing and turning. I gave up at 3:45 and am truly hoping to fit in a nap this afternoon. Anyway, this leads to the discussion I had with the kids about the coming granddaughter. See, Dustin didn’t sleep as a child. When I say didn’t sleep I mean that went on until age four. We started with waking up every 45 minutes to 2 hours. I had been told and read that despite what I believe to be the myth of some babies sleeping through the night from a few days old, that unless coping with colic, I could expect him to sleep through within 3-4 weeks. The colic situation would stretch that to 3-4 months. When that time frame came and went, the number of suggestions for what I should do were plentiful and varied.

Nothing worked and I mean nothing. Now he did get to where he could manage for three hours at a time, but except for rare occasions, that was it. After about eighteen months of this, we had moved and I had been recommended to this one pediatrician. I explained everything and he agreed to give me a sleeping medicine that he said he doubted would help and to just brace myself for having a child that didn’t sleep. He was right – it was worse than useless and after three tries, it got poured down the drain. I ultimately called to the pediatrician who had treated me when I was a kid and after several questions, she semi-echoed the opinion of there was nothing that I could do, but she did say in her experience, this kind of situation resolved itself around age four. Since that was two years in the future, I was hardly thrilled with the news, but it turned out that she was correct. Go figure. I don’t have the faintest idea if this will be a genetic thing, but I certainly hope for the kids’ sake, that it isn’t.

When To Visit The Mouse……

Hmm, an interesting question came up the other day among grandmothers and we soon-to-be grandmothers about the ideal time for visiting the famous mouse of Disney. Now, in fairness, Dustin didn’t get to go to Disneyland until he was in high school. Prior to that he was a bit busy skiing in the Swiss Alps, seeing the Coliseum, splashing in the beaches of Oahu, and visiting space camp, so it wasn’t as if he didn’t take cool trips.

On the other hand, there was plenty for him to enjoy as a teen just as there are things for adults to have fun with. The truth is that if you can, more than one Disney excursion is probably in order and if that can’t happen, then I think between ages 5 and eleven is probably the correct range. Five to six might be a little young, although most at that age will be able to retain the memories of all the adventure. What to do, now that can be tricky too and part will depend on the time of year. The water park options widen the choices for summer visits and the Animal Kingdom is a slam dunk. The new “Finding Nemo” ride through the Living Seas of Epcot can also be enjoyed at a younger age with no problem. Going to Disney as a teen is fine, but the “Magic” that is Disney does tend to be appreciated more for children. The teens do get the “wow” factors and there are a lot of exciting rides if you are into that. Then again, there is no shortage of “Destination Weddings” at Disney either.

More Waterfront Dining….

 

Made 2 Order Breakfast and Lunch On tTe Water

Made 2 Order Breakfast and Lunch On tTe Water

It’s always fun to find the new places on the water and we have yet to be disappointed from a food perspective. I’m not certain of what Made 2 Order in Tavernier was before it was this version, but I hope they are able to make a go of it. I was there for a working lunch, but did notice a large number of breakfast menu items and was later told that a friend of ours claims they have the best breakfast in the area. They are ocean side at Mile Marker 90.6, Tel: 305.852.3251 (http://www.made2orderonline.com). For some people, this would be Islamorada I suppose since I’m never entirely clear on where the actual lines are drawn. They do close at 3:00 p.m. though, so it isn’t the place to check out for dinner.

Anyway, the point is that the outdoor dining is very pleasant – inside is on the cozier side. The staff was friendly and the three of us dining happened to focus on shrimp and fish. Mine was excellent and apparently everyone else’s was, too. Grilled shrimp can be a little tricky going from just right to a bit rubbery when it isn’t pulled at the right moment. They obviously have the timing down correctly at Made 2 Order. I am not, in general, big on breakfast, but I have to say that their selections do seem to be the type that breakfast/brunch fans would enjoy.