A month since FNCE and still making my way through a mini mountain of samples from all of the amazing exhibitors. Though the variety and level of creativity was incredible, there were a few distinct recurring trends: simple ingredient bars, nut and seed butters, plant-protein products (mostly pea protein), creative uses of grains and legumes and all probiotic everything. I wish I could shoutout to all the amazing products I tried, but in no particular order or endorsements, here are 5 of my favorite finds you gotta check out:
Welcome to the pilot episode of my foodumentaries: spotlight on my recent trip to Florida. Lucky for me, mom had a full itinerary for us, complete with day trips, surfing, SUP (stand up paddleboard) yoga, cute coffee shops, and of course, all the food. Every place we hit seemed to be a winner and ultimately sparked my inspiration for the first of hopefully many more (and perhaps more exotic) foodumentaries to come. Enjoy!
The morning after I got into Orlando, we had a quick breakfast at home and hit the road for West Palm Beach (about 2.5 hrs away). When we left, it was about 90˚ outside and sunny… 5 seconds later, it was pouring (I’ve learned not to try to understand east coast weather). We stopped at a little place tucked away in a shopping center on the way there called Christopher’s Kitchen. Not much from the outside, but this spot is a hidden gem. Delicious, entirely plant-based menu complete with smoothies, salads, wraps, bowls and an unreal selection of both raw and baked goodies!
Ok back on the road. Wait. Dessert to go? Ok fine.
What’s better on vacation than rolling out of bed to a free hotel breakfast buffet (obviously still in the pjs)? Forget the packaged blueberry muffins, party at the oatmeal bar:
And with that, we were off on our next adventure: Sebastian Inlet, a local surf spot home to Kelly Slater and Lisa Anderson. Waves weren’t great that day, but it was sunny and beautiful, and the water was about as warm as my morning cup of coffee. First time surfing in the Atlantic!
It was definitely a no shirt, no shoes kinda day, so lunch was a pitstop at Publix (East Coast supermarket) and a picnic outside on the road back home. As usual, our eyes were bigger than our stomachs, but made for some good snackin’ the rest of the trip. Here’s our smorgasboard spread:
By the time we made it back, executive decision was that it was a take-out kinda night. Swung by a little local spot called Market on South and picked up our dinner.
This place had a tiny menu but a GIANT dessert case (all about that ratio). They sourced their desserts from a local vegan bakery called Valhalla. Was tempted to go with one of each, but we went with the lemon bar and coconut cream pie.
And with that, entering a happy food coma. Peace out day 2.
Day 3 (Last Full Day):
Got up bright and early, and headed over to meet a friend of mom’s for a SUP (stand up paddleboard) fitness/yoga class. It was basically a party in the water, complete with a water proof boom box, an overly enthusiastic instructor and plenty of epic wipeouts.
After the class, we hit a local farmer’s market (one of my favorite things to do in new cities)! Good thing too because it gave me a chance to air dry my lake-soaked clothes. Luckily it was scorching hot, plus I got my weekend farmer’s market fix, sifting through fresh produce, scoping out local vendors, and sniffing potted flowers and herbs.
Sidenote: Beets are one of my favorite things to buy at farmer’s markets because you can use the leaves, the stems and the roots in tasty and creative ways!
After our field trip, our bellies led us right down the street to Ethos, a restaurant, bar, cafe and yet another local superstar.
(Another side note: I am not vegan — I am vegetarian, but there just happened to be some awesome vegan restaurants around, which makes it easy to choose from anything on the menu)!
BRUNCHTIME. One of the infinite reasons I love brunches is because it’s usually with a group, so you get to sample some of everything (also because breakfast is always a good idea).
also at the table…
(note: pre-disposed genetic sriracha affinity acquired from my mother)
Did I mention that this trip was a pit stop [somewhat] on my way to my dietetic internship orientation? This meant a healthy dose of nutrition studying interspersed throughout the trip. The upside of this was plenty of excuses for trips to local coffee shops. This spot called Foxtail was my favorite by far:
Great vibes, friendly atmosphere and amazing coffee. Makes memorizing lab values and nutrition-related diagnoses somewhat more enjoyable.
Picked up dinner on the way home, so I could shower, pack up, and relax before a 6am flight the next morning. Stopped at a neighborhood Indian restaurant called Mynt. For such a tiny place, they sure had a huge menu (including a few items I had never heard of before).
Always appreciate all the veggie options at any Indian place, and we ended up piecing together a delicious last supper (we’re all about the smorgasbords).
The trip was short but sweet (and salty and spicy). And now I can tell you firsthand that Florida’s food scene is good for more than oranges.
Florida – it’s been real. Special thanks to mom for being an expert tour guide and fellow explorer. Now it’s wheels up to Boston for orientation, then back home to LA!
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for future foodumentaries of adventures to come!