Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Posts from the ‘Cuisine’ category

Solar Installation Naples, Florida

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

March 26, 2017

The whole reason for this great trip was to have state of the art solar installed on the Airstream. After many hours of research and considering doing it myself, I found the best man for the job was Lew Farber in Naples. Lew splits his time between Oregon and Naples. I am so happy I didn’t try to do this job!! Lew did a fabulous job and is a really nice guy. It took 8 days for Lew to get it done, so we toured Naples for a week, which made Martha very happy. 

We stayed at the best Best Western there could be. The staff was great, the grounds were very cool, nice pool and a good location. I have never seen so many fancy, expensive cars in my life. Rolls, Bentleys, Ferraris, Teslas, Porsches, Jaguars and Maseratis. Mercedes, BMWs and Lexus were a dime a dozen. The car of the year in Florida though is the Mustang. I have never seen so many Mustangs. Of course this is a very rich city with incredible houses, and there are stories of success everywhere. 

We rode bikes through neighborhoods with landscaping so beautiful. We took the tour tram to get the big picture. We drove to beaches and restaurants, the winner being Capt. Marco’s for fresh fish, fried plantains and black beans. The chocolate soufflé was the winning desert at an Italian restaurant. Then there was the gourmet hotdog place. We had to leave town while we could move! 

There are so many new developments surrounding this area, it is mind-boggling. All the congressmen want the Federal government to help them with water to save the Everglades! Typical! There are just too many people in Florida. I could say that about Charlottesville too. The amount of development and people with all the water consumed and put back into the system makes me wonder how it can be done. Then the landscaping, and every house has sprinkler systems. Fruit and vegetable farms are abundant, along with cattle. They have to irrigate a lot too. The Everglades are at the end of the water line.

Robert is Here Fruit Stand

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

March 25, 2017

On our way out of the Everglades, we got to stop again at Robert’s Fruit Stand, 19200 SW 344th St, Homestead, FL 33034. We picked up a few more things, including a wonderful milkshake. They have so many kinds, it’s hard to choose. Waiting in line, I asked what looked like a veteran in front of me. A very nice gentleman, he said he had been here hundreds of times and tried most of the flavors, but settled on orange/mango and he puts a little honey on it. I did the same and it was great. For my own edification, I would like to try all the others. I talked again with Robert and a nice lady took our picture. This guy is so nice, you feel instantly like you are friends. He knows fruits and vegetables like no one else. They ship fruit and vegetables all over at https://www.robertishere.com. The stand is listed on the National Culinary Heritage Register. Do not miss it!

The history is cool: from Emma Court and the Miami Herald, June 27, 2014:

It’s hard to imagine a time Robert wasn’t here. But back in 1959, Moehling’s father was a struggling farmer with a harvest of cucumbers the broker couldn’t sell and no money to buy boxes for the latest harvest.

He sent Robert — then, a first-grader — to sell the surplus cucumbers by the side of the road, propped on a makeshift table. Robert didn’t sell a single one. The next time, Robert put up a big sign, script painted on some spare hurricane shutters, “telling the world I was here,” Robert explains. The cucumbers sold out.

The stand is still in the same place and has the same name. No longer a piece of plywood and some crates, the stand has expanded in size and selection — scaly fuchsia dragonfruit alongside plump beefsteak tomatoes. Moehling, who has worked at the stand since he was 6 — the schoolbus dropped him there after school — can still be found behind the counter. He met his wife, Tracey, there; his four children, as well as two daughters-in-law, all work at the stand. They built the Splash Pad, a sprinkler for children, in the back because Moehling — who works more than a hundred hours a week — wanted to spend more time with his grandchildren.

Moehling himself grew up at a young age: he hired his first employee at the age of 9; at 14, he bought 10 acres of land complete with a house, a car and a lawnmower. By the time he got his driver’s license, Moehling was helping broker produce sales for other farmers.

“I didn’t have a normal childhood like a lot of people might grow up doing. Laying around watching cartoons on weekends is something I’ve never done,” Moehling said. “Even today I can’t watch television — usually I fall asleep.”

Robert is Here has both longtime and first-time customers. Rod Richards of Cutler Bay, who ordered a strawberry milkshake for his young son, said he’d passed by many times and always meant to stop. Having finally checked it off his to-do list, he said he’d be back.

Linnell Truchon, a Philadelphia native who works at a summer camp down the road from the stand, comes by frequently for smoothies. She enjoys the flavored honeys and tropical fruits.

“I’m from up North so I don’t know what these things are,” she said. “They’re really cool.”

Though the stand’s immense popularity is not a recent development — Moehling says he couldn’t handle the number of visitors in 1964 and that it has been “growing equally insane every day” — he is still awed by the number of customers who come in.

“It’s just amazing. I grow fruit and sell fruit and have a family. That’s all I do. I don’t operate on people, don’t change people’s lives for good, don’t fight for you in the courtroom,” he said. “It’s so much responsibility — getting all this for doing just my life.”

Now pushing 62, Moehling says he’ll probably be working at the stand until the day he dies.

“This is not a retirement job,” he said.
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/homestead/article1973051.html#storylink=cpy

Mount Desert Island Marathon

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

45℉ at 6:00 and high of 67

Sunday, October 16, 2016

We took a bike ride in Acadia National Park for an hour and 15 minutes, came back and showered and went just two miles to Southwest Harbor to catch our friends at the finish line of the marathon. Isaac was shooting for 3:20 and we were late, but we did not find him. Martha checked the desk and he crossed the half at 1 hour 45, so he was right on schedule. We were getting worried as we waited, but at 4:03 he came across. He was tired and said it was tough. We walked to pick up his race bag, then went back to look for Diego and Andrea. It was Andrea’s first marathon, though she has done half marathons. She came smiling across the finish at 4:20. She said, “There was no pain!” So happy to have finished and to still be fresh, she was dancing and smiling! Everyone else crossing was cramped up, limping and looking quite tired. Diego came across at 4:54. He said he walked some and enjoyed the scenery, but the hills and wind got him a bit.  Although the first half of the marathon was without cars, the last seven miles there was normal traffic, and the running lane was narrow. There are only 1500 runners and most of those are half marathons or 10K, so they can’t stop all the traffic on a very busy island for so long. We wondered why they didn’t run through the park more. 

There were a lot of people around the finish line, cheering runners along. It was cool to hear the announcer call our friends names saying they came all the way from Mexico City. After a little rest and some drinks, our guys recovered well. There were a number of bands that played, and I thought they were all good. Walking down the street, we went into “Quietside Cafe” for lunch. Lobster rolls, crab rolls, fish sandwiches, clam chowder and blueberry pies were enjoyed by all. This is a happening place where the owner, Francis, talked to every customer, especially locals she knew well, hugging everyone. The food was excellent and so was the hand dipped ice cream. 

I was surprised at these marathoners as we then walked the streets of Southwest Harbor and into the neighborhoods, then the 2 miles back to the truck. They had walked all day yesterday in Bar Harbor, ran a marathon and now we were still walking! But they all gave a big sigh of relief when they sat down in the truck and drove back over to Bar Harbor.

Bar Harbor

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

33℉ at 6:00, but colder on top of Cadillac Mountain, high of 68

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Martha, Diego and drove up Cadillac Mountain to watch the sun rise. Everyone else was there, as it is the “thing” to do here. We parked in a bus parking spot, because there was nowhere else to go. People lined the crest of the rocky mountain top and down the other side, everyone jockeying for a clear picture. I don’t know what the temperature was at the top, but it was cold. Our hands were the coldest, trying to take pictures without gloves on. It was all worth it though, as it is a beautiful view of a beautiful place. A big cruise ship was approaching the harbor as the sun rose. They would all be shopping and eating later.

Fortunately our bus parking spot was toward the front of the line and we were able to slowly start down the mountain. We woke Andrea up, and Isaac was ready for breakfast. Walking to the opposite side of Bar Harbor to the recommended breakfast place, “Two Cats”. The restaurant next door had a line waiting to get in. Two Cats had a line, but it was much shorter. The lady asked if we would like to sit on the plastic-enclosed porch, and Andrea said yes. There was a big heater, so it was a good spot. I ordered strawberry and banana pancakes and they were the best pancakes I have ever had in a restaurant. Freshly squeezed orange juice was great, and they had good coffee. Everyone enjoyed the meal.

We spent the rest of the morning cruising Bar Harbor’s many shops. I am not a shopper, but I did enjoy the Patagonia store. A very nice guy worked the counter as I admired a sea kayak hanging on the wall. It weighs #25 and folds up so you can easily store it, being made of the same opaque plastic used to make boxes and shipping boxes. They also had an inflatable paddle board I liked. Of course their clothes are great quality. Andrea bought a nice fleece vest. 

We spent a lot of time in a very nice outdoor store across the street and a couple of blocks up the street. We all went our separate ways and met for lunch at Paddy’s Irish Pub for lunch. Lobster rolls, fish sandwich, salads and soups were all great. The only thing about Bar Harbor is the crowds. Our group from Mexico City thought nothing of it, and you do get used to it after a while. Lines of people waited to get into restaurants, and they of course want to turn the tables over, while we wanted to sit and talk.

At low tide, we walked across a sandbar to Bar Island. We had seen this at high tide, wondering what it would look like. Pretty amazing to walk across the harbor while that cruise ship is still floating. Shuttle boats looked like they had to choose their routes to the ship. It is a nice view hiking to the top of the little island. Walking back to Paddy’s, our runners didn’t want a heavy meal before tomorrow’s race. Blueberry pie with ice cream seemed to do the trick. Martha and I kept eating like them, but we were not going to burn the calories off like them!

 

 

Driving to Southwest Harbor, Maine

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Driving south from St. Andrews, we crossed the border at Saint Steven. A thorough, but nice border guard asked us all the usual questions, like how long have you been in Canada, what were you doing, so you have fruits or vegetables, firewood, liquor. Then he looked at our firewood in the back seat, determining it was in a bag and decontaminated, so it was OK. Then he went into the trailer, looking in the bedroom, refrigerator and some cabinets. He was a good guy, just doing a good job and sent us on our way. Those of you who know of our crossing at Niagara Falls will understand, but I was quite happy to be past the border. 

I passed on the coastal Rt 1 and took the GPS route to Bar Harbor. On many small, bumpy roads I expected to avoid, it would have been better to take the scenic, coastal route. By the time we got to Southwest Harbor and the campground, I was whupped. I relaxed a bit while Martha went for a little walk in Acadia National Park.

Our friends, Diego, Andrea and Isaac arrived from Mexico City, and we met at The Chart House for dinner. The restaurant closes tomorrow and it was packed. Once we were seated, however, all was fine. The food and the company were great. Isaac had his first lobster dinner, but I think the hit of the night was blueberry cobbler desert. How we got everyone in the truck to drive them back to their hotel, I don’t know. We have so much stuff in the back seat of the truck! It was a great evening.

Lobster and a Bike Ride

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

44℉ at 5:00 with a high of 77℉

Friday, October 7, 2016

It’s Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, so everyone is out, and the campground is quickly filling up. The weather forecast is great, except Sunday it is supposed to rain. We needed a few things from the grocery, so we drove to Saint-Louis (not THAT St. Louis!). As we crossed the river into town, a huge Acadian flag greeted us, waving in the light breeze. It is a French flag with a star on it. Martha had read about an outdoor store, so we stopped in. Obviously a busy place, they were well-stocked for fall, winter and hunting season with coats, gloves, boots, ski pants and shirts. Martha found a mid-weight coat she liked. 

There is a south end of the park here, so we asked how to get there. Following the road in front of the store, we arrived at a dock with fishing boats, a little sandwich shop and sheds where boats could store their gear. Martha read a park sign and thats all there was. There were no trails, just the docks. Martha said, “Let’s see if we can buy some lobsters”, so I followed her. Several crusty locals were talking on the dock, and she walked right up to them, her purse slung over her shoulder. They were quite happy to tell us how it all worked, and yes, you just wait for a boat to come in and go ask. A huge tractor trailer was pulling a boat of the water for the season. One gentleman was particularly friendly, talking about how warm it had been, and how it had been a good season for lobsters. Martha asked how you cook them, and they gave their directions. A younger man, looking more worldly came out of a building. His English was excellent. He had been an underwater welder, working in the middle east for a while and living in Vancouver for a long time. He had a girlfriend in the Bahamas, but had move back here to look after his sick father, and was working here as a boat mechanic. 

They pointed out a boat that had somehow slipped by us while we were talking, so we thanked them and went over to talk to the captain. One fellow pulled out his plastic bag to put lobsters in. I ran up to the truck to find something while Martha asked all about lobsters, how to cook them, whether you want girl or boy lobsters and what size is best. Only a little grey-haired lady could get away with asking all these things, but they were very friendly and answered all the questions and talked about other issues as well. A young man working the boat grew up right here next to the docks. Another gentleman lived nearby. When the government started the park, they gave the young man’s grandmother $1000 for her house. The older man said he had 35 acres on the other side of the river and they gave him $400 for it. There was no negotiating. Then the older guy got onto US politics. Everyone here is fascinated with the election. They watch the debates, and they all think Trump is crazy. I don’t talk politics, so I tried to redirect to Canada’s new president. They seem to like him, saying the previous administration did nothing. We bought four “market” lobsters at $6.75/lb. The others bought “canners”, smaller lobsters they said tasted better. We bought females, as they suggested eating the eggs.

As we drove back to the grocery store for some other things we needed, we debated about when and how to cook the lobsters. We settled on cooking them for lunch, so we started a fire, got out the kettle and other things. While Martha tended the fire, I went to the beach to get sea water, one of the suggestions. We decided to cook two and eat them while the other two cooked. Then we would pick the second ones and later make a lobster Newburg. It was a great feast! It was also a big mess, but we were glad to have newspapers and a picnic table to eat on, with trash cans nearby.

After resting our tummies for a while, we rode the bikes upriver for an hour. There are extensive bike paths, which are fine gravel roads – very smooth with no ruts. Signs marked directions for marathon runners, who will race here Sunday. I couldn’t understand the signs, but since Martha has run a few half marathons, she translated for me. Some signs were for half marathoners, some for 10K, and they directed them into different turns and told them how far they had run. It is a beautiful place for a marathon, especially with the leaves in full color. We passed some kids picking apples off a tree with sticks. We commented about how the bears would come by here tonight. I counted 12 bear poops in the trail along our journey. 

Tomorrow we will try kayaking one or two of the rivers. One more kayak would be nice. It was interesting to sit out in camp and watch the campers rolling in – big campers! Kids were having a big time riding their bikes around, while others chased on foot. One trailer across from us had some kind of light show after dark while little kids ran around chasing lights, screaming with joy. Some had set out carved pumpkins and balloons. Thankfully, things quieted down at bedtime. I’m sure they slept well.