We ate too much food in New Orleans. At one point, Claud and I were getting ready to eat and the kids decided to stay at the hotel because they were sick of eating. We took that as an opportunity to eat at a little wine bar. We shared the most amazing artichoke soup and a Brussels sprout salad. I am going to try to make that salad when I get home.
Next, we headed to Florida. It was just a hop skip and a jump over Alabama. Soon we were on the Emerald Coast. The water there was aqua colored with the most beautiful blues and greens depending on the time of day. The sand was pristine, white, and soft. I have never before experienced sand this luxurious. It's almost a shame to lie on a towel. You just want to roll around on it.
I have always loved visiting the beach. When I was young, my mom and I lived at the beach every weekend in the summer. We baked in the sun and played in the waves. My mom used to pour oil all over us. SPF? I don't think we knew what that was. With all of that oil coverage, I was a little slippery fish. The sand stuck to me all over my slick skin. We wanted to be brown. I don't think people knew as much about the harmful effects of the sun's rays back then. I know we didn't.
A beachside sandwich.
Well, nowadays, I don't spend too much time in the sun. I never go into the water in California anymore because the water is too cold for me and I am afraid of the waves. I have become a huge wimp when it comes to cold water and waves. I pour the sun block all over Claud, the kids and me. Even with the protection, we get brown. Jack and I get brown. Daphne and Claud burn with their fair skin. But, the beaches in Panama City, Fla., are a different story. Here, you not only want to spend all day in the sun, you never want to get out of the water. The water is not only a beautiful color; it was as warm as a bath. Jack spent 10 hours in the water one day with only one application of sun block and burned for the first time. Now, his nose is peeling. Oops. I should have known better.
Florida is where I started getting tired of eating shrimp. Shrimp is everywhere along the south. Shrimp and grits, peel and eat shrimp, and popcorn shrimp. Bubba Forrest Gump had the right idea with that shrimp boat business. I decided I was pretty much done with shrimp and crawfish for a while. So, I tried fried green tomatoes. Ever since the movie, I have wondered if those were any good. I thought it would be a light appetizer. Well, I was wrong. The plate arrived with three slices of fried green tomato, smothered in a buttery sauce and, you won't believe it, crawfish on top. It also had sausage in the sauce. I didn't care. I was going to eat the sausage anyway. I cut into the corn meal battered tomato, slathered on some of the rich sauce and took a bite. That was the most delicious appetizer ever. I loved it. Thank goodness I didn't order a meal to eat after it because I couldn't even finish it. Boy was it good. I am a huge fan of the fried green tomato. Then again, nothing could taste bad in that sauce.
After Florida, we drove up to Savannah, Ga., and ate more shrimp. Yes, it was unavoidable. Only this time, we ate crab, oysters, mussels, and shrimp all on one delicious platter. It was heavenly. I was so happy that none of it was fried and all of it was covered in Old Bay seasoning. Savannah is such a beautiful city filled with Spanish moss filled oak trees, monuments and the most beautiful houses I have ever seen. The river runs alongside the city and riverboats float by filled with tourists and jazz music. Artists line the streets selling their sculptures and paintings. Amazing restaurants are everywhere along the streets. Paula Deen's restaurant is right there in the heart of Savannah. I wonder if it will remain successful with all of the controversy?
Time: 15 minutes
1 small loaf of French bread
1 tablespoon pesto
4 slices mozzarella cheese
4 sun dried tomatoes
3 fresh basil leaves
Place all ingredients inside the bread. Place into a panini maker and heat or preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 15 minutes until the cheese melts.
Late in the morning, after we had a chance to walk all over Savannah, we got a call from the front desk that our room had just doubled in price. Long story short, although I booked the room for two nights, they weren't going to budge. We packed up, took off, and headed to South Carolina, which is only a beautiful white bridge away.
It wasn't until we arrived in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina that we realized that Daphne left all of her clothes in a drawer in the hotel back in Florida. It took us two days to notice? Hilton Head Island is a beautiful place but mostly geared towards golfers. We aren't golfers. In Harbor Town, I was able to find a delicious sandwich, which didn't contain any shrimp. Instead, this sandwich was on delicious crusty bread and it was filled with mozzarella, pesto, sun dried tomatoes and fresh basil. Then, it was toasted to perfection. I ended up eating three of these while we were in Hilton Head. I loved them all and devoured each one sitting on a beach at the harbor watching the beautiful yachts and sailboats float by while forgetting all about the lost clothing, Jack's sunburn and being ousted from Savannah.