Why, hello there, amigas!
As badly as I’d like to take this chica’s tweetvice (that’d be advice obtained via Twitter) and resume blogging as though I’d never left, I have this moral inkling that a one-and-a-half month hiatus warrants an explanation.
So here goes nada: Over the past month and a half, I could not uphold my blogging duties because I was undergoing extensive plastic surgery as part of my contract to appear on the new season of Extreme Makeover.
Ok, fine. That was an absolute mentira. But I felt the need to resort to a little “creative writing” because the truth is an utterly anti-climatic medley of mundane excuses. They go a little something like this: Took a long holiday vacación to Florida. Returned home to a broken computadora. Jetted off to spend New Year’s in D.C. before fixing la computadora. Waited almost a month for computadora to be returned.
Muy interesante, I know.
Oh, and there was one more thing that contributed to my fall off the blog-wagon.
Hermana was home for an entire month.
(Our interpretation of this old classic.)
Sí, hermana y yo were muy busy embracing sisterhood. By embracing sisterhood, I, of course, mean spending every waking moment together, cuddling on the couch/spooning in my bed, watching trashy television, meticulously managing our Netflix queue and baking.
Mucho, mucho baking of the Betty Crocker variety.
I don’t have a final tally of how many batches of brownies we made during her month en casa. But I will say that, on multiple occasions, we made brownies at night, finished them by the morning, realized we wanted brownies for breakfast and whipped up a desayuno batch.
So therein lies my excuse for my absence: brownies. Embarrassing.
Without further adieu, I’d like to:
- apologize for my unannounced, lengthy hiatus one last time
- profess my love for all (or, uh, any) faithful readers who’ve not yet written me off
- plea that you invite me back into your lives (or Google Readers, same difference…)
- dive headfirst back into this blog game with a recap of recaps.
Now, about that recap. I have over 1,000 foodie pictures on my camera. So, if I were into pulling all-nighters in order to relay everything I’ve been eating over the past month and a half, I’d take that approach. But, lucky for both you and me, I retired my all-nighter jersey when I graduated college. So, this recap of recaps is going to focus on the most memorably delicious part of my little blogcation.
Brace yourself, mis foodies. I am about to introduce you to the happiest place on earth. Donde might this be?
LA CASA DE NANNY Y POPPY!
La familia y yo took a Hannukah vacación to Florida, where my beloved abuelos reside. We visit them pretty frequently because (1) we love them, (2) we love el sol and (3) la casa de Nanny and Poppy pretty much equates to foodie heaven.
Familia amor + sol + comida = the happiest place on earth.
Let us embark upon this casa de Nanny y Poppy eatventure.
First up, desayuno.
Breakfast at la casa de Nanny y Poppy looks a lot like breakfast at home. This is mostly because it’s the only meal we (we being la hermana y yo) prepare for ourselves. You see, Nanny and Poppy are quite the fitnessista/os, and they wake up at the crack of dawn (read: 8 a.m.) to start their day with un poco exercise. Poppy’s been a pool boy (and by that I mean he’s been doing water aerobics), but Nanny’s into speed-demon walking. In any case, they’re done with their exercise and breakfast long before hermana y yo wake from our beauty slumber.
When we rise, we throw together the usual suspects and eat as quickly as possible so we can get out to the pool and get our tan on.
Café. Greek yogurt + berries + syrup. Fresh fruta.
AB & J greek yogurt.
Honey Sunshine + Publix dried cherries (EL MEJOR).
Más café con fresh fruta.
Atop that café is whipped crema because that’s how Nanny y Poppy do café.
And that’s just one more reason why la casa de Nanny y Poppy is the happiest place on earth.
Let’s move along to almuerzo because it’s really the main event.
Shortly after concocting and consuming breakfast, hermana y yo throw on our bathing suits, grab upward of 2382938243747749 clementines for poolside snacking, bronze ourselves and wait for the call.
The call to which I refer is the happiest call on earth: Shirl’s happy hour call. Like clockwork, approximately three hours into our sisterly skin-baking, either my or hermana’s phone rings. It’s Shirl, summoning us to happy hour almuerzo.
In the magical land of Nanny and Poppy, lunch is not a meal, but rather a spread of deliciousness. Deliciousness y vino.
Let’s commence le tour de “lunch.”
Mediterranean delicacies are always abundant.
In the form of giant Sabra tubs.
And marinated Greek olives.
But los abuelos make sure to embrace my latin obsesión, too.
In the form of mexicana 7-layer dip.
Y giant tubs of salsa.
Y, of course, guac.
Other happy hour spreads include spinach, artichoke and parmesan dip and veggie cream cheese (mi amor).
And crab cocktail. Fresh crab + cocktail sauce? ¡Sí, por favor!
Or, for crunchy carbage, chips:
Of the tortilla variety…
…my dearly beloved FSTG multigrains.
There was also a nuevo addition to Shirl’s standard snack pack.
Blue Ginger Multigrain Black Sesame & Sea Salt chips! These might be my new favoritos (lo siento, FSTG). They’ve got a soy crisp/thin Popchip texture going on, but they’re made with brown rice and pack SO MUCH flavor. I haven’t been able to find them in NYC, but when I do, I’m purchasing a life-supply. Rumor has it they’re only available in Costco and BJs. If you’re a member to either, buy them immediately. (And send some my way ;).)
There are also, of course, crudités. For carb-baby-minimizing purposes.
Endives are the best dippers because you can create little boats filled with endless dippage combinations. My go-to endive filler is hummus + salsa + olives.
And, as previously stated, happy hour always includes vino.
Nanny says vino keeps her young because it keeps the blood moving through her veins. If her fountain of youth can be uncorked and consumed on a daily basis, I fully support Shirl’s staple Shiraz sippage.
Of course we can’t have vino without queso.
Munster, Jarslberg (best swiss ever), Wensleydale cheese with cranberries (my and Nanny’s favorito) and a newbie, White Stilton cheese with spiced fruit. This was increible. It was the same creamy Stilton base as the cranberry queso, but the spiced fruit took it to a new level of cheesy perfection. If you’ve never tried the cranberry Stilton, do so immediately! And if you can find the spiced fruit Stilton (I haven’t been able to!), I promise it will change your vida.
Nanny added another newbie to our happy hour repertoire: fig cake with almonds.
She knows I adore figs and Espana, so she snatched this up when she saw it. Further proof that she is la mejor Nanny del mundo.
It was muy interesante—and I think I would have loved it, except for the fact that it had anise. If there is one flavor I cannot tolerate, it’s licorice. So that sort of rained on what could’ve been a deliciously figgy parade. Ah, well…
And there you have the base of Nanny’s happy hour. I say “base” because what lies above, astonishingly, is not the whole almuerzo sha-bang. On different dias, Nanny improvises and throws in nuevo additions.
Sometimes that meant surprise Edible Arrangements.
(Chocolate-covered manzanas are insane.)
Sometimes that meant an impromptu quesadilla fiesta.
Con mango salsa.
Sometimes that meant balls.
Of the falafel variety.
Other almuerzo additions included fruity ensaladas.
Con pomegranate arils, strawberries and other colorful delights.
Egg white quiches!
Broccoli and cheddar.
Spinach and artichoke.
Spinach, artichoke and parmesan-stuffed shrooms!
And on dias when Nanny was feeling fancy, she busted out baked mussels.
Fun fact: Nanny’s favorite way to eat mussels is con vodka—in a shooter. Since we go a little heavy on the vino during happy hour, she figured we should skip the shooters. It’s all about moderation, people.
Let’s move along to cena.
Dinner always proves to be our most legitimate meal of the day because Nanny just may be the best cook en el mundo (though I’m sure every Jewish granddaughter says that about her Jewish grandmother). We’re often not hungry come dinnertime due to a hefty happy hour, but there is always room to be made for Nanny’s cooking.
First up, her famoso brisket.
I don’t eat beef—but when I did, this was the only beef I ate. Nanny’s brisket sauce is seriously the best thing I’ve ever tasted. It’s sweet and savory, and delicious enough to make Little Sarah The Beef Hater go back for seconds. These days, I spoon out the sauce and put it on top of whatever else is on the table.
Nanny’s a doll and made a separate chicken and gravy dish for me on the night she served brisket. I rarely love chicken. Especially simply-prepared pollo. Nanny’s is the exception. Seriously, the woman is a culinary prodigy.
Alongside those meat dishes, we had some patatas.
Half standard wedges, half sweet patatas porque hermana hates cheetahs and I fantasize about them. Further proof that Nanny is la mejor.
Otra noche she threw together an improvisational spicy sesame seafood stirfry with calamari, shrimp and scallops.
It was TO DIE FOR.
On le side was my personal favorite Nanny dish: peanut jasmine rice.
Spicy, coconut-creamy, profusely peanut-y rice. Es ridiculo.
She also made a simple rice side dish, likely anticipating that I’d make a considerable dent in my dearly beloved jasmine rice.
More on the seafood front: baked salmon with mind-blowing mystery sauce and mind-blowing mystery topping (I know it involved olives, and I believed sun-dried tomatoes).
Oh, we also eat veggies at la casa de Nanny y Poppy.
Delicioso, but comparatively lame considered all of Shirl’s more elaborate creations.
This last meal can’t be accredited to Nanny, but it must be noted porque it was Poppy’s 78th birthday dinner!
We went to an amazing Greek restaurante in South Florida. I forget the name, but it was fantastic.
My foodie familia (yo included) devoured the ridiculously fluffy pita wedges and hummus prior to picture-taking.
We started with ensalada y sopa.
I actually hate restaurant salads. I’ve gotten so used to making my own pimped-out ensaladas that restaurant starter salads never seem appealing. The veggie and bean sopa, however, was spot-on.
Other appetizers included a Mediterranean antipasto plato.
And escargot con eggplant.
I can’t remember what this was, or by whom it was consumed for that matter, but I liked the plate :).
Same goes for this guy. I’ve no idea what’s hiding beneath that pool of cheese and sauce.
I do know that this was Poppy’s birthday dish: lamb.
The man adores his chops.
I went with a white snapper with an olive, caper and tomato sauce, which was heavenly. I’m mildly obsessed with any seafood dish that features capers. Throw olives into the mix, and this chica’s salt tooth is sufficiently satisfied.
Gah, now I want to go back to Florida so I can eat this.
Hermana ordered a delicioso chicken Madeira with feta and sautéed shrooms.
Dessert was flourless chocolate cake.
It was ridiculously rich, in a bueno way, and its texture was sort of a brownie-pudding-cake hybrid. Muy feliz that I discovered my likeness for chocolate prior to this vacation.
Oh, I also discovered the most delicious tea ever. Stash’s Vanilla Nut Creme. I haven’t been able to find it anywhere, but it was A-MAZ-ING. I’m determined to hunt it down.
That’s the last of my Floridian meals, but while we’re on the dessert topic I’d like to share this late-night combo I grew fond of during my stay at la casa de Nanny y Poppy.
Ice cream + kettle corn.
Best. Dessert. Ever. I think I may have found a way to appease both my veteran popcorn addiction and my newfound sweet tooth.
On that note, I’ll conclude this monstruo post. But not before I remind you all, just one last time, how much I’ve missed blogmundo and how ridiculously elated I am to be back!
1.5 months-worth of amor,