Well here we are– end of July. Only a handful of summer days left until school and routine kick in, so it seems appropriate that I’m writing this from the land-of-no-routine: vacation.
We are in St. George Island, Florida for the week. Chances are high you’ve never heard of it– and that was kind of the goal. We are not “doers” on beach vacations. You can have your parasailing and fishing charters and jet ski rentals, but not us. We live for lazy days with books and beach and cooking locally caught fish at (rental) home, and no makeup. Which is a good thing, because just past Huntsville, I realized that my very carefully organized, freshly cleaned out bag of ALL my toiletries had pulled a Kevin McAllister and was in fact, still hanging on the back of my bathroom door in Indiana. At first the realization cued hysterical laughter, as I had taken extra care this trip to make sure I had what I needed (and then some. I packed my travel water pik!). Then it turned into some real “are you freaking kidding me” mumbles as I scribbled down on the back of a People magazine what I would need to buy. Luckily a quick stop to a CVS and utilizing a majority of the ELF makeup line got me what I needed for the week, with the only real annoyance being my lack of glasses and relying solely on my contacts to get me where I need to go.
Once we arrived things slowed down, as they should. We pack up our stuff and set out for the beach. I even brought my watercolors and attempted to paint what I saw (see top image,…still working on it. Waves are hard.). Hazel has seemingly found every single crab on the beach, dead or alive, and Owen hilariously attempts to boogie board on the gentle bumps that sub as waves in the warm, calm gulf of Mexico. We come in, we eat, we lounge, we go out again either to the pool or the beach.
As far as cooking goes, this month is always great. Stone fruit season is here and I gather them up like some sort of impatient squirrel collecting nuts. So impatient I just cut them up and eat them once they ripen, never getting around to freezing or canning. Some things are just best eaten when they are in season. Sweet corn and cantaloupe are also hitting their stride, and it’s borderline embarrassing how many excuses I can come up with to stick sweet corn into something.
We’re staying in a fishing town, with tons of oysters, grouper, and soft shell crab on every menu. At a local fish shop in search of dinner, the monger suggested trying the Triple Tail, which is a fish found in the gulf only during the summer months, and as recommended it was meaty and sweet, perfect pan fried in some grape seed oil with a squeeze of lemon. There’s no shortage of local places to inhabit either. Last night we went to “Hole in the Wall Seafood & Raw Bar” where a gruff waitress named Barbara repeatedly called Hazel “Baby Girl” and begrudgingly slapped regulars on the back as she called out drink orders. It was a little much on the local Florida flavor, but the grouper sandwich was great.
In a few days we’ll head north, back to higher humidity and looming schedules, with sun kissed (burnt?) skin and salty towels (still lamenting the lack of washer/dryer in the rental…). We’ll climb into our beds (is there ANYTHING better than your bed after a trip?) and count down to the next vacation, hopefully feeling refreshed and ready for the school year.
Currently reading: Just last night I just finished SweetBitter, which highlights a young 22 year old waitress as she navigates a front of house job at a high end New York City restaurant. I loved the writing in the book, and the descriptions of wine and food are spot on. The character was a little frustrating but I guess that was the point. Now I’m cracking open A Gentleman in Moscow and it’s too soon to say what I think (i’m only 1 chapter in), but it came along with rave recommendations so I can’t wait.
Currently Craving: A Triscuit topped with pimento cheese and pecan smoked salmon. And a nap on the beach.