Better late than never! I would wax poetic about my love for smalltown Florida, but I’m still halfway stuck in a turkey coma. Instead, enjoy some pictures from the McIntosh Fall Festival! McIntosh is one of my favorite places in Florida. Its quiet and charming and I could envision myself living there one day. It reminds me a it of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls except with more Spanish moss and less snow.
So many wreaths, so little time
These appealed to my cat lady tendencies, but I refrained from buying any.
The coolest snow cone cart around
I couldn't resist. Next year I'm bringing my Italian Greyhound dressed as Little Lord Fauntleroy
My friend Julie's dream house. It used to be the McIntosh Hotel when the town had a railroad!
My dream house. If I lived there, everything would be amazing.
A vintage necklace I bought at the festival! I’m still in love with it a month later.
As mentioned before, I have an ongoing love affair with Uppercrust bakery in Gainesville. Every time I head to that part of town, I am drawn to Uppercrust like there’s some kind of creme-filled magnet pulling me towards it. This visit was particularly wonderful because they finally have started baking their amazing chocolate bread again!
A thick slice of chocolate with chocolate bread with peanut butter is better than most things in life. And that’s exactly what I had for a pre-dinner snack on Friday night…just because I could. Chocolate bread and apple cider out of a flamingo mug.
Later that night, my friends and I carved pumpkins! My poor pumpkin ended up looking a little janky due to a mustache malfunction, but in the end it wasn’t too awful.
Although my pumpkin was so pretty I felt a little guilty carving it. I knew that whatever I attempted with my limited art skills would be a disservice to my cute little pumpkin. However, we carved our pumpkins, large and small, and toasted pumpkin seeds while watching Hocus Pocus and Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.
Toasted pumpkin seeds fresh out of the oven
I was already feeling the Halloween spirit before Friday night, but now I am going to doubly enjoy what’s left of October!
The finished pumpkins! Mine is the one with the strange bat-shaped mouth.
(Fellow Gator fans: the FSU pumpkin was later thrown off the balcony to a slimy, messy death by someone as my friends and I were leaving. I felt a bit sad about that, FSU carving aside).
I am pretty steadfast in my love for berries. Raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, etc. I love them all. Over the past two years, I’ve branched out to other fruits, but I usually just buy berries when perusing the produce at Publix. I have come to love plums, apples, peaches, and grapes, too though! But still, pretty standard fruit tastes. I’m pretty much living under a rock when it comes to tropical or recently trendy fruits.
But then I saw this magical speckled fruit called a dinosaur egg pluot at Publix and I had to have it.
A hybrid cross of a plum and an apricot. I’m probably the last person to discover this fruit, but better late than never! It was delicious. It just tasted like a sweeter version of a plum to me but I’m hooked. I’ll be off to Publix for more of them tomorrow!
Today was a lovely Saturday! It was a bit hot, and yet it felt like a perfect fall day even though I spent most of it running errands. I ended up at Fresh Market, Target, Publix, and this adorable French bakery in Gainesville, Uppercrust.
I love Uppercrust. Its one of those places that I often go to just because I haven’t been there a while. They’ve got loads of gourmet pastas, olive oils, various sauces, and of course, wine. Lots and lots of wine. But my favorite part is the bakery aspect, of course! I often buy their rosemary bread and their chocolate bread (though they’ve not been making that lately and I’m desperately in need of a loaf! No, really. I’m not sure how much longer I can go on without a chocolate bread + peanut butter sandwich, and I’m not being at all overly dramatic about this).
Anyway, they sadly were still out of chocolate bread, so instead I decided to get a little pastry for later and moved on to other errands. After an unsuccessful hunt for red lentils, I decided to make this delicious-looking soup that my mother sent me. The recipe can be found here, on the blog How to Be Chic (links straight to recipe).
Its a lentil + tomato soup. Super easy to make, and it was absolutely wonderful! Very filling, and now I’ve got lunch covered for the next few days. My favorite kind of recipe. I added in some garlic and a yellow zucchini I already had, and the flavor complimented the lentils nicely.
Then, after a long day of errands and work, dessert in the form of a raspberry cream rose from Uppercrust and a cup of tea. A lovely end to a busy day!
What’s better than raspberry jam and cream cheese wrapped in flaky pastry dough? Nothing, I tell you.
Tonight I was craving pho like you wouldn’t believe. I haven’t had Vietnamese cuisine in a while, and my stomach was telling me it had been quite long enough, thank you. I found a lovely little place near my apartment: Pho Hanoi, in Gainesville, FL. I didn’t know much about what Gainesville had to offer in terms of Vietnamese food, so I let yelp.com be my guide. My favorite place in Tampa is the Pho Quyen on Hillsborough Ave (anyone in Tampa, check it out!), but unfortunately that’s just too far away now!
Anyway, I got the Pho Ga (pho with chicken instead of beef), and it was wonderful! Here’s a (very green) photo of tonight’s dinner:
I loved that when I picked up my order, the broth was packaged separately from the meat, noodles, sprouts, and basil. Now I can reheat the broth for seconds tomorrow and not worry about my noodles becoming mush in the microwave!
I spent a fantastic day in Tarpon Springs on Friday! I always love going there because its not far from home, but it always feels like a mini vacation. I’ve heard some people refer to downtown Tarpon Springs as “Little Greece” before, and it does feel like that in a way! Some parts of it also feel like they’re in a time warp, stuck in the 1970s (but in the best way possible).
I wanted to write some sparklingly witty commentary to go along with the photos I took but honestly, I’m plum tired at the moment. I still want to post some photos, though, because if I put it off another day they’ll never get posted! I may edit in some oh-so-fascinating anecdotes later but for now, have some pictures:
So. Many. Sponges. They’re everywhere. They aren’t kidding when they say they’re the Sponge Capital of the world.
Sponges may outnumber people in this small town. But I love it.
I wasn’t kidding when I said the 1970s were all around.
The most amazing olive oil and goat’s milk soaps are sold here!