Thursday, August 10, 2017

Favorite Ft. Lauderdale Foodie Treats

While Fort Lauderdale, FL is large city with lots of amazing food offerings, it's the little things that often have an emotional component that taste the best.  So this is in no way a comprehensive guide to Ft. Lauderdale.  Instead, it's just a glimpse of some of my favorite gastronomical treats from my visit this year.

First up is my daily breakfast.  Of mango.  Fresh from the tree.  

I had a mango tree in my backyard for all of my childhood but I didn't actually taste a mango until I was in college.  For a very specific Florida-kids-will-understand reason.  When mangoes fall to the ground from high up in a tree, they split open.  Immediately upon falling and splitting open, they begin to rot in the hot Florida sun.  And.  They.  Stink!  To the high heavens.  Also, a lot of people are allergic to the sap that comes out of the stems.  So they never had a positive connotation in my mind.  I associated fresh mango with stink stank stunk.  

But at some point I decided that because I grew up loving dried mango, I should actually try one of those fresh mangoes.

And guess who was a convert at the same time she said goodbye to the state of Florida and months of free mangoes in her backyard?!

So now when I am in FL, it's almost a game to find mangoes.  A few years ago when Goddaughter E was learning to ride her bike, we would circle the neighborhood on mango hunts.  That little pink bike had a seat in back for her dolls, but it perfectly fit mangoes and I managed to convince her mango storage was it's true purpose.  

Bestie Florida is so good to me.  Even though she is allergic to the sap and hates mangoes , especially the tree in her front yard that the city won't let her cut down, she saves them for me on the counter so I am in full mango supply during my visit.

This year I took it in a new, more fabulous direction though.  Florida was sprinkling Trader Joes Everything But The Bagel Seasoning on her breakfast avocado and I decided it might be good on mango.

It wasn't good though.  It was AMAZING!  

Stop that.  I see you making a face.  Everyone made that face until I passed them a forkful of this sweet + savory combination.  Converts were made.  It's weird, sure.  But it's so delicious!  

Next up is chicken salad.  I kid.  I mean, I don't kid, because four chicken salads at one meal is completely amazing.  But if you missed it, go read it here.  Seriously though...I love me some chicken salad!

Instead let's talk about a new-to-me hidden gem called The Alchemist.  It's in this odd location sort of tucked behind buildings in an area that once upon a time was a plant nursery.  And now is this charming little artsy world of it's own.  And The Alchemist is all about two things: toast and the world's best iced coffee.  

Gourmet toast sort of cracks me up.  How is this a food fad?  It's toast.  But's toast and we all love toast.  We all feel proud of ourselves when we manage to put together some sort of fancy toast at home.  So's a thing.  And while I'm still kind of mocking it, I'm also totally drinking the Kool Aid.  

I was torn between toast topped with Brie, honey, and almonds or goat cheese, salmon, red onions, and capers.  The barista swore by the salmon toast so that's what I chose and damn was it good!  Like really, really good.  Thankfully, Goddaughter E, who has the flavor palette of a 20-something New Yorker, ordered the Brie toast so I was able to taste how delicious that one is too.  Godson J devoured his Nutella topped with fresh strawberries, too.  We all walked away delighted!

But the real thrill that we are all still talking about was the iced coffee.  They make it to order but the regular once uses brown sugar to sweeten it.  It gives it this super deep, rich flavor.  To me, it tasted like melted coffee ice cream, in the best possible way.  Delightfully indulgent!

I'm not a sweet coffee girl though so while I took a sip of the full sweet, half sweet, and bullet coffees, I ordered my iced coffee unsweetened.  On top of the flavor being the best I've ever had, the details really got all of us.  The coffee comes in a big mason jar with square coffee ice cubes.  

I'd find myself a regular far too quickly at The Alchemist if I lived in South Florida.  What a hidden treasure!

I can't do a food post without noting that these sister friends of mine are all amazing cooks.  Florida is so creative and on top of her meal plans and I was forever in awe!  One of my favorites was a seemingly simple rice bowl.  But it was made extra fabulous with two specific ingredients: shredded mojo pork tenderloin and pickled red onions {recipe coming soon}.  I've since made my own version at home that was really good, but not as good as Florida's.  This was definitely one of my favorite meals!

And last...even though as soon as I hit publish I will for sure think of things I'm our collective favorite for the second year in a row.  A delicacy that we only know about because Goddaughter's little girl ordered it on a whim once upon a bakery opening.  And now...we put aside all nutritional counts for a day when we indulge in the pastry world's most comforting and delicious delicacy.

An apricot croissant from Angelo Elia's Bakery.  

This perfect pillow of buttery, flaky layers is filled with the most delicious apricot preserves that are sweet but not sugary.  It's like a hug from someone you love at a moment you didn't even realize you needed a hug.  Order a cappuccino to really put this treat over the top!  

This is one of my very favorite foods!  A not to be missed moment of any visit to my hometown!

I'm curious to know what your favorite hometown foods are?  Do you go to a fancy five star restaurant or a tucked away bakery or your best friend's kitchen counter?


1 comment:

MCW said...

We have an Alchemist in Baltimore, wonder if they are owned by the same people??? I am with your Godson, Nutella all the way! I have been using the TJ's seasoning on my hard boiled eggs, better then salt!


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