Family Fun in Florida (and I’m Not Talking Disney)

Well hello!!  Even though I got back from Florida on Monday night, I actually haven’t had a single moment to put together any kind of blog post about my trip until now!

I should tell you up front that this trip was in many ways the exact opposite of my vegan food-filled trip to Richmond, meaning there isn’t a whole lot to recap in terms of eats.  I was only there for about 45 hours, and they were very family-oriented hours, so food was definitely secondary.

My grandmother and I took a 6 a.m. flight on Saturday morning which got us to Florida around 9 a.m.   The weather was incredible, but I didn’t spend much time outside, as the day was packed full of family time, including visiting with my great-aunt in West Palm Beach and getting together for dinner with cousins of my late grandfather in Boca Raton.  Odds and Ends 001We ate at a really nice Chinese restaurant called Uncle Tai’s in Boca.  I got the Hot and Spicy Tofu, which was pretty good, though very heavy on the ginger and scallions.  I didn’t take a picture because it was so super-dark in the restaurant.

The next morning, I got up early and went for a walk around our hotel area, collecting breakfast from around the nearby shopping plaza as follows:
Odds and Ends 004Coffee with soy milk from Panera, a local grapefruit, and a Naked juice

I found it a little odd that the plaza’s smoothie place didn’t open until noon.  People do like  smoothies for breakfast, do they not?

Anyway, after that it was time to go to a family reunion that was the main purpose of our trip.  This was a truly amazing gathering, where everyone present was descended from a line that begins with my great-great-great grandmother in Hungary.  She had eight children and twenty-two grandchildren.  Four of those grandchildren are still alive (in their nineties!) and all four were present at this reunion.Odds and Ends 006This is a picture of the eight children with their father (my great-great grandmother is the one in the center row all the way to the right):
Odds and Ends 005It was really a treat to learn so much about where my family comes from, look at amazing old photographs, and get to know so many new cousins.

The reunion lasted most of the day, so by the time we got back to the hotel, the sun was beginning to go down.  I took advantage of my one chance to sit by the pool!
Odds and Ends 010After that, I was getting hungry but my grandma wasn’t ready for dinner and wanted to relax, so I struck out for the one place I had found on HappyCow that really piqued my interest, a vegan restaurant called Darbster.Odds and Ends 011Odds and Ends 012I ordered take-out, but kind of wished I could have eaten there.  The place had a really cool vibe and I thought its animal print/safari animal themed decor was very chic and understated.

I had thought I was going to get either their Reuben or their Black and Blue Burger, but I ended up going with the Country Fried Steak special, which one employee highly recommended.
Odds and Ends 013
Barley and oat based “steak”Odds and Ends 014Collard greens and mashed potatoes (possibly…see note below)Odds and Ends 015Veggie Sausage Gravy

The “steak” had a pleasant, chewy texture and a nice, savory flavor.  The collards were tangy and flavorful, not the best I’ve had but not bad at all.  But I did not like the potatoes at all.  I’m actually not sure they were even potatoes because they had a strong taste similar to cooked carrots (something of which I’m not a fan) so I actually think they might have been mashed parsnips?  Either way, I didn’t like them and I didn’t eat them, which was sorta sad.  The real star was the veggie sausage gravy.  I wish there had been more!

Verdict: I’d definitely like to go back to Darbster, eat in the restaurant, and try the Reuben and maybe their palm crab cakes too!

After I finished dinner it was time to pack up and get to bed early in preparation for a 6:30 a.m. flight back to NJ.  Odds and Ends 016And that was basically the trip!  I had about 8 hours to spare between landing in NJ and my flight back to frigid Boston, which was great because I got to spend a little time with my parents.  My dad and I went out to lunch at  a Greek restaurant in Holmdel called It’s Greek to Me, where I ordered the Hummus special, which comes with a Greek salad (hold the feta).Odds and Ends 017It doesn’t get much better than that!

Believe it or not, I have another trip coming up this weekend, but this time it’s to NYC so you know there will be food finds to share 🙂

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5 thoughts on “Family Fun in Florida (and I’m Not Talking Disney)

  1. Aw that sounds like a fun whirlwind of a trip! You were pretty close to where I grew up. My family lived 45 minutes south of Boca in the Ft. Lauderdale area.

  2. That’s the part of Florida I go to when visiting family. My brother lives in Pompano Beach and my Aunt lives in Palm Beach. My late parents used to live in Delray Beach. We usually go to Sublime in Fort Lauderdale when we’re there. You’re so lucky to have been part of a large family reunion. My family never attended reunions, and I don’t really even know my relatives other than cousins — and I only have four of those.

    • Oh wow so you know the area well! This reunion was something really special…I’d never been to one before, and ended up learning about relatives I didn’t even know I had. Very lucky indeed 🙂

  3. Pingback: Simple Food for Stressful Times | A.Cook in the Making

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