A Tropical Christmas
[Los Angeles, CA / Boynton Beach, FL, Dec 22-24, 2017]
Last year’s holiday trip to Florida did not start as planned. We were supposed to take a red-eye on Dec 21 and make a beeline for Key West and Dry Tortugas National Park before returning to the Palm Beach area on Dec 23, in time to spend the Christmas holidays with family. Unfortunately, our flight was one of over 200 canceled (many others were delayed) because of rain storms and high winds. Virgin America could not get us out until Dec 23, so the entire Key West/Dry Tortugas portion of the trip got canceled to my utter disappointment.
This year, thankfully, things were much smoother. We decided against a red-eye flight (we’re getting too old for that), so our flight departed at the much more manageable hour of 10:10 am (I actually think this is the same flight Virgin ended up putting us on last year).
The weather was the exact opposite of last year’s – it was a nice clear day!
We got to Fort Lauderdale right on time, just after sunset.
The next day (Dec 23) we had nothing planned until the evening. It was so nice to wake up without an alarm! Boris upgraded our rental car to a Mustang convertible the night before, so we took it out for a ride when we got hungry for food. The temperature was a balmy 82F / 28C, ideal weather to go “topless.” 🙂
As we were driving around trying to decide where to go for lunch, we were very lucky to drive by a healthy lunch place called The Chickpea. It was a Mediterranean place featuring healthy lunch bowls and salads. My bowl featured chicken, beets, cabbage, avocado, hummus, cauliflower and an amazing carrot ginger sauce. Healthy options are much harder to find here than in California and we were grateful to see that this void is starting to get filled!
In the evening, we found ourselves in Bal Harbour for dinner with friends. Bal Harbour Village is at the Northern Tip of Miami Beach. Miami Beach itself is a barrier island – in fact, it is the northern-most barrier island of the chain of barrier islands that stretches all the way to Key West. Bal Harbour Village is only 0.6 square miles with just over 2,000 residents (based on the 2010 census) but here, you will find a very high concentration of luxury hotels, resorts and beautiful ocean front properties.
Our restaurant of choice was LeZoo, a French restaurant at the Bal Harbour shops, an upscale shopping area in the village. The food was delicious, especially the shrimp flambe, which half the table ordered!
And just like that, Christmas Eve was finally here! Boris’ sister hosted everyone. We dined on steak and shrimp and opened presents under the real Christmas tree.
With Christmas behind us, the countdown was on to Key West and Dry Tortugas! 2 more days!