By Phyllis J. Lubin
As I sit on the plane, preparing to take off for home from our wonderful three days in Florida, I have a few more moments for some additional musing. Last week, my readers were left in suspense about the rest of our trip. There was just too much to fit in one column . . . here is the rest of the story:
After dinner on Tuesday, we made our way back to the car to head over to the famous Lincoln Road Mall. It’s not a mall like Green Acres, but rather a series of stores along an outdoor mall that is closed off to cars.
We then met up with a family friend, who pointed out the various sights to see. We even saw a huge menorah and dreidel made out of shells on display right in the middle of the mall. Although many of the stores were a bit pricey (we saw a pair of sunglasses that were selling for $37,000), our good friend brought us to a souvenir shop with affordable T-shirts that were just what we had been seeking! And so ended another perfect day in Florida.
Wednesday morning we prepared for our trip to the Everglades, where we were going to take a ride on an airboat. When we finally made it to Captain Doug’s Airboat Tours, we were set up to go out with Captain Jeremy. It was just us, the captain, and two other tourists from Minnesota enjoying the trip. As I mentioned last time, I am not a fan of fast vehicles, and this boat went fast! With speeds of up to 40 miles an hour at times we sped through the Everglades. Somehow my fears took a back seat and I had fun. We were able to spot a few raccoons, and a couple of pelicans made themselves at home on our boat until the captain increased the speed. Halfway through the trip, the boat slowed down and we were able to take a glimpse of a 10-foot alligator right next to our boat. This trip along the Everglades was certainly worthwhile.
My husband is a firm believer in the Chowhound website. If his “friends” on Chowhound deem a restaurant good, then it is certainly worth a visit. After discussing it with his Chowhound buddies, the consensus was that a visit to Grill Time in nearby Aventura was worthwhile. We made reservations for 6:30 for Wednesday evening, and explained that we were visiting the area from Long Island. When we arrived at the restaurant we were treated practically like royalty by the owners.
We were feted with a variety of salads (which we were told was standard for any visitor), and then were advised to try an assortment of appetizers. Each one was more delectable than the last, and each choice was worthy of an entrée in its own right: baby lamb spare ribs, glazed chicken drumettes, and sweet chili cauliflower were only a few of the samples we tasted. For an entrée the waiter chose two of his favorites as our main course—a wonderfully flavorful Gaza Strip steak along with a special baby chicken steak. Our waiter was absolutely marvelous. He was extremely attentive and had a great sense of humor. His descriptions of the food alone enticed us to try it!
As dessert approached we were truly stuffed, but the waiter suggested that we try a couple of their sumptuous choices, and we were very glad that we did. The hot banana bomba (we tried to make believe that was healthy) and the hot chocolate soufflé both tasted like a touch of heaven.
Our three restaurant choices while in Florida were amazing culinary experiences (and I am an expert: I watch the Food Network with Yussie quite often), and we didn’t want for any food items while away from the kosher food capital of New York—the Five Towns.
Thursday finally arose—our time to say goodbye to our newly acquired temporary home in Florida: the Newport Beachside Hotel and Resort in calm and relaxing Sunny Isles. As I took a quick video of the mellifluous singing birds that serenaded us in the lobby to show the folks at home, I realized that this was truly the ending of our lovely brief excursion to the Sunshine State.
After saying goodbye to the caring staff at the hotel, we made our way back to 41st Street to seek out a bit of sushi for lunch. For the past 25 years I have been staunchly against the idea of eating sushi. I would mock a couple of my daughters and my mom who had a love of raw fish. About two months ago, for some unknown reason I decided to take the plunge and sample a piece of leftover sushi that my eldest daughter had brought home. Since then I have been a devotee of sushi eating! I can’t say that I have tried everything, and I still will only eat it when surrounded by rice (sashimi still is not in my repertoire), but I have become practically addicted to it. Having not eaten any since leaving New York the previous Thursday, I was avidly interested in finding a place to satiate my sushi need.
Looking through the pages of research my husband had done on eateries in Florida, I happened upon Assi’s Restaurant, which was conveniently located on 41st Street, as a perfect final stop on our visit to the Miami area. As I am the only one of this particular twosome that is infatuated with sushi, we needed a place that would offer something delectable for my husband to eat as well, and Assi’s fit the bill. As I feasted on two rolls of plump, deliciously fresh-tasting sushi, my husband enjoyed his chicken breast and mashed potatoes. A sumptuous end to our food tour of the Miami/Sunny Isles area!
As I sit here now on the flight back to New York, with my bags packed and stowed neatly below the seat in front of me and cramped in the overhead area above our seats, I am eagerly waiting to hear what movie we will be viewing on our return trip. I asked the stewardess, and am given the response, “I’m sorry, no movie this evening.” This is going to be a long trip home after a wonderful three nights!
Phyllis Joy Lubin is an attorney with Maidenbaum & Sternberg, LLP, who resides in Cedarhurst with her husband, Leonard. They have six children: Naftali, Shoshana, Rivka, Rochel, Yosef, and Lea and a daughter-in-law, Nina. The author welcomes your questions and comments at MothersMusings@gmail.com.