Thursday, March 31, 2011


Last Sunday I spent the day in Fort Lauderdale beach. El Hombre was at Ultra (out in a hot field with portable bathrooms and lots of people? NOT my scene) and my family was in town, so I made my way up to Broward to see them.

There's nothing particularly special - we didn't do anything crazy or wild. Instead I spent the afternoon playing cards with my little cousins, going to the beach and burying said little cousins in the sand. Later on that night, after dinner, we walked out into the yard, which faces the Intercoastal. Some people were sipping drinks, the guys were puffing cigars and the kids were fishing. After much pleading, I finally agreed to help my youngest cousin (she's 7) fish by holding the pole. Every time there was a tug on the line I would hand it over to her and she would gleefully it in.

Then, out of nowhere we spotted these floating red things in the sky. One of the older uncles was teasing the kids that they were UFOs while his wife rushed in to grab binoculars. On closer look, it was some sort of lantern with candles inside. They drifted higher and higher, slowly burning out while everyone theorized where they came from.

Out of nowhere my little cousin piped up, "I heard that when Chinese people die, their family light lanterns like that to honor them." What an interesting thing for a child to know, and what a great allegory for life that alleged ritual is. Whether the lights just went out, or consumed the lanterns they were in I don't know. I don't think they were released to honor someone's death, more than likely they were released by the yacht wedding that was slowly drifting up and down the Intercoastal, but it was an interesting symbol that resonated and calmed some of the inner turmoil I've been experiencing of late.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Boating in South Florida - Monument Island

Now that the weather is finally hot enough to go on the boat without a windbreaker, El Hombre and I have started venturing out onto the high seas again. Boating is a nice alternative to going to the beach here in the Spring and Summer for a few reasons - on the boat you can explore lots of different places instead of being squashed into one space, you can spend the majority of your time with only a few people instead of the perpetual jam of people on the beach, you don't have to listen to every reggaeton song that's ever been recorded and you can still get sun and be in the water.

Anyways, on one of our recent excursions, El Hombre and I decided to head over to Flagler Monument Island. When I lived on the beach I never really paid attention to this small island with an obelisk just off the Venetian Causeway. In fact, I didn't even know what the island was until I went on the Miami City Tour a few years back.

Flagler Monument Island is just what it seems, it's a small, man-made island in the bay that was built to honor Henry Flagler in 1920. The island monument itself is quartered off by fences, but has statues at each corner of the square base. Though covered with the same trees and underbrush which are typical of all the bay islands, Monument Island is a nice place to tie up your boat and stop for a picnic or a short walk (though I recommend sneakers or some other type of covered shoes if you plan to walk through to the monument itself.

There are trash cans all around the island to dispose waste, but I don't think they are collected too often, and you will see some trash on the island. Don't get me wrong, there is not a ton of litter all over the beaches, but it's definitely there. Fortunately organizations like Ecomb do frequent outings with volunteers to go clean up the island, and in fact El Capitan has participated in this recently.

Can you spend a whole day admiring the beauty of Monument Island? Probably not, but it's definitely a recommended spot to stop for a walk and some firm land - just please pick up your trash and take it with you.

Images below:




Sunday, March 20, 2011

Restaurant Recommendation - Boca Raton

One of my biggest gripes about working in Boca (aside from the commute) is that it's hard to find good, affordable places to eat for lunch. Most of the places around my job are mediocre, and for awhile I had resigned myself to Panera being the best option. Don't get me wrong, I love Panera, but there's only so much you can eat of it.

The one of my coworkers introduced me to Carole's Kitchen, and it was love at first bite. Carole's Kitchen is a locally-owned diner, tucked behind Boca Town Center. Most of the people working there are related to Carole, and the diner is almost an homage to the family, with pictures all over the place. The food is nothing crazy, mainly sandwiches, salads and soups. But they are GOOD sandwiches, salads and soups. If you know me, you know I love soup. I'm a soup snob and I can eat soup every day, summer or winter. This place has about 7-10 daily soups, with a few that are daily staples. Each of the ones I have tried have been phenomenal. They are cooked to perfection, and you can have your choice of a brothy soup, or heavier cream soup. My friend Nat's favorite is the tomato bisque - a hearty cream-based tomato soup, rich with flavor, and perfect paired with one of the grilled cheese's on the menu. My favorite? The Italian Wedding Soup, a lighter soup, with meatballs & veggies. It's delicious, not too salty and super savory. I like it so much that I know it's only served on Tuesdays & Thursdays, and when we venture out to eat, those are the days I try to convince everyone to go.

Carole's Kitchen closes early, it's definitely not a late-night place, but it's a great place for lunch, and it doesn't catch a crazy crowd at noon like most places.