Surprise! I was just in South Florida for almost a week. My parents and I just got back to Memphis last night. As a reminder, both of my parents grew up in Miami (I lived there until the summer between fourth and fifth grades), and several of my relatives, including my two surviving grandparents, still live there. So I visit at least once a year - more often if I can swing it. This trip was our annual family pilgrimage to lobster dive in the Keys. My brother flew down too, but sadly Debra and her fam couldn't make it this year. I'm sure Niecy will be ready to catch lobster before we know it, though, so it's all good.
My parents, Kevin, my uncle, and I went to the Keys to visit another of my uncles. He and his wife live in Marathon, around the halfway point of the Keys. We stayed for two days and took a couple of lobstering trips on his boat. If you're not familiar with Florida lobster diving, check out my expository post from a couple of years back!
Traditionally, my dad's family will stop at nothing to limit out on lobster (6 per person per day). Last year they wouldn't give up until dark. But this year, the ocean was choppy and rough both days and the water visibility was the worst I'd ever experienced. You couldn't see your hand in front of your face. My role is usually to hover above the hole and go after any stragglers - I'm not good at staying down to coax the lobster out. So I was useless this year, and only caught one later in shallower water (and it wasn't a keeper). I didn't think much of the murky water at the time because we were all together, but later I realized it was really kind of dangerous. Kevin told me later that at one point swimming along the bottom, he thought "Well, I hope I don't run into Jaws." But this is par for the course for our family. :) Anyway, we didn't limit out, but we were close enough both days. I came home with a dozen lobster. Yay!
One night we went to a restaurant I hadn't been to before, Burdines, on the ocean side. (Not to be confused with the old Florida department store of the same name.) It was probably one of the top ten meals of my life!! I had the Slider Trio - a bacon cheeseburger, a chicken florentine burger, and a shrimp burger. Kevin and I shared a fried key lime pie for dessert. I WILL BE BACK. And between times, I will learn to make a chicken florentine burger.
Shells at my uncle's apartment
On Saturday, we drove back north to Key Largo to see Dale and Gayle. They were my parents' best friends when we lived in Miami, and are still like family to all of us. They took us out on their boat to eat at Sundowners (another place I hadn't been). Then we hung out at their place and swam in the canal behind the house. I paddleboarded for the first time and LOVED it. If I lived in a coastal area, I'd paddleboard all the time! After that we ate key lime pie from Publix, and Gayle taught me how to do "Cups" from the Pitch Perfect movie. It was probably my favorite day of the vacation.