Monday, June 27, 2016

96 Hours in Florida: Day 3

We had booked in to snorkel again at John Pennekamp, but unfortunately by that time, the storm had made its way far enough north that the winds were too strong for safe snorkeling. So, we again had to maneuver our day and make another Plan B. We decided we would still go to the park but we would pick a new activity.
The weather was actually kind of perfect. Even though the current was strong, we were glad that the sun wasn't beating down on us.
Mrs. Mac's Kitchen
Before getting our exercise on, we loaded up on delicious food.
I opted for the belgian waffle with berries and a side of sausage links while M went for the mornwich with veggies. The food was great, as was the service. I especially loved the freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, which was only $2 for a huge glass. Compared to Jersey diners which charge you $5 for a shot glass of juice, this made me ecstatic. Of course, citrus is much more readily available and affordable down here, so I can forgive my beloved NJ diners.
After breakfast, I realized I'd gotten a voicemail saying that snorkeling trips had been canceled but they were still offering other activities, namely kayaking.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Honestly, we were kind of terrible at it. But at the same time, we were awesome. We were able to fight the strong current and make our way through the loop that the staff marked out for us. But, we were also crashing into the mangroves and we got lost at one point. No matter though because it was a lot of fun.
After kayaking, we rinsed off and climbed back into the car to make our way back to Fort Lauderdale.
Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa
For our final night, we booked in at a hotel with a spa so that we could relax before we had to head home. The hotel was really swanky (which was reflected in the price) and really comfy.
We immediately headed down to the pool to begin the relaxation process. We got our complimentary cocktails (two fresh mojitos) and sat around reading for a few hours. I went for A Dance with Dragons while sister re-read Harry Potter for the umpteenth time.
By the time we finished sipping our drinks, our tummies were growling so we decided to grab some lunch in town.
Tacocraft Taqueria & Tequila Bar
I was in the mood for tacos, so we wandered over to Las Olas, parked our car at a meter, and settled in at Tacocraft. The vibes were v. Brooklyn hipster but the food was authentic and delicious.
We started with Mexican street corn, which was charred and then slathered in an herb butter and dusted liberally with chili powder and cotija cheese. It didn't make for the most glamorous eating experience - I ended up with it all over my face and corn in my teeth - but it was so delicious that the mess was worth it.
We opted to share three tacos. There is an option to do a taco platter, which is three tacos off the menu plus rice and refried beans, so we went for it. We got the crispy pork with a pineapple salsa, classic carne asada, and an ahi tuna taco. Everything was amazing. The crispy pork in particular was outstanding. The pineapple salsa was sweet without being sickly and complimented the fattiness of the meat. The pork had crisp bits while maintaining a lovely tenderness on the inside.
The steak was pretty tender and I loved the overwhelming amount of cheese on top. The tuna was really well executed, but it wasn't as appropriate for a taco as I had hoped. No matter though, because it was delicious. The tortillas were also really fresh with a great texture.
After lunch, we headed back to our hotel where we lounged outside, played in the ocean, hung out by the pool, and ended up slightly sunburned. We headed back inside to nurse ourselves with cold water, ice compresses, and aloe before we headed to dinner.

BAO Bar + Asian Kitchen
For dinner, we headed back to Las Olas, this time in a different neighborhood, to meet up with my sister's friends (who are also fellow Cornellians; one is a really great writer).
We met at Bao for some asian-style tapas, which was actually kind of perfect because with a bigger party, we could try more dishes. Excuse the blurry photos; I was doing my best to quickly snap the dishes so that we could dig in ASAP. I didn't want to be that person preventing a hungry crowd from chowing down just so I could play food photog.
We had the Japanese croquettes (crisp with a delicious curry sauce) and Gangnam chicken wings, which were super crunchy with a tart and well-spiced sauce.
We got the pork belly bao (the unanimous favorite of the meal) and the pork dumplings, which were tasty.
We had the ahi poke, which wasn't seasoned in my preferred way - it was a bit too salty and there was too much sesame oil and I prefer a nice balance of sweetness - but the fish was undeniably fresh.
We shared the General Tsao's chicken bites, which were pretty good.
M's friends had California rolls, which I'm not a fan of, but I was impressed with the real crab.
We had garlic bok choy, which hit the spot. We were seriously lacking on veggies through this trip.
The Chinese sticky ribs were really tender, but we all agreed that they were oversauced.
And for dessert, we shared the Thai donuts. The condensed milk sauce was sticky and amazing, as was the ice cream. The donuts themselves were light and crisp; what could be bad about fried dough?
 After dinner, we went back to the hotel to tend to our sunburns some more and fell asleep to a Chopped marathon.

xoxo.

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