My parents and I worked out a deal. I would come to Naples (Florida, that is) for a weekend on a special mission to sort out the various computer-based technical difficulties that plague them in exchange for, you guessed it, food. Good plan — especially given the winter we’ve been having up North and my day-job as a tech teacher. And I so love food…
So I plopped down in front of dad’s iMac this weekend and spent hours cleaning up bookmarks, setting up the back-up hard drive, and answering questions about all matter of things Apple. Oh, and I finally got their South Africa pictures into a Shutterfly album. It was easy. I think I got the better end of the deal, because I ate my way through town. And I’m not a particularly dainty eater.
On Friday, we visited the uber-ritzy Norman Love Chocolates… and splurged on a few to take home… (Oh dear Lord, the caramels were incredible!):
Later that evening we headed down to 5th Avenue to have early bar snacks and drinks at the hip and yummy Cafe Lurcat. There I sort of held court with my parents awesome friends, who are some of the blogs biggest fans (thanks for the love, guys!), while sipping Cosmos and munching on Lurcat’s famous apple, Manchego and chive salad (there I go with Manchego again). The menu promises sophisticated comfort food. We’ve eaten there many times, and from the pot-roast served in an individual copper pot to the warm donuts for dessert, it never disappoints.
Saturday, I was sprung from my computer duties for a while when the sun finally came out (however briefly) and we had lunch overlooking the beach… oh so dreamy. Yes, I had the caeser salad with blackened mahi, but have you seen the view?
And dinner was at the best restaurant in Naples, Bleu Provence (of course) This place is a little slice of the south of France in Florida… and a must if you are ever in this corner of the world. Jacques Cariot and his sons run the front of the house, while his wife Lysielle rules the kitchen. Excellent food, and elegant without being pretentious. My parents are regulars, and their server dotes on us when we are there. On her recommendation, I feasted on mussels, the fresh pompano special, and their famous tarte tatin… and a lovely Rose wine.
As I packed up to leave this morning, we decided we should swing by the combination bakery and wine shop that our family has loved for over 15 years – Tony’s Off Third. Hey, I had an hour – why not get one more meal in? (In case you are thinking – as you should be – this chick has consumed an alarming quantity of food in 48 hours, and she’s still hungry? Yes I was.) Usually we bike down, which helps balance out the calorie consumption, but sadly we were short on time, as I had to catch a flight. I’ll bike next time. I have always been a huge fan of Tony’s scones. They serve two varieties: Oatmeal-Raisin and Mixed Berry. You grab them from the case, and eat outside in the warm breeze with a nice cup of coffee…
Today, I was in an oatmeal mood. Perfect.
Over the years, I have baked many a scone, and my recipe has evolved from mixed berry to cherry chocolate almond… with a hint of orange. I don’t roll my scone dough out, but instead mound the dough in a slightly oversized portion as they do at Tony’s, and sprinkle them generously with sugar. They are pretty amazing, and might I suggest you serve them on the (6th?) snow day of the year…(she said hopefully)
I’m back in DC now… waiting for the next snowstorm to hit. Mom and dad, surely you must have more technical difficulties for me to attend to… What are we going to eat next time?
Chocolate Cherry Almond Scones
(Adapted from the Dorset Scones in Shelia Lukins All Around the World Cookbook)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- a dash of nutmeg
- the grated skin of one orange.
Mix to combine, and add:
- 1 stick of butter, cut into small pieces
Stir this mixture until it resembles course meal, then add:
- 3/4 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
When this mixture begins to come together, add:
- 1/3 cup dried cherries
- 1/3 cup chocolate chunks
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
Stir to just combine. Be sure not to overmix the batter.
Drop heaping tablespoons onto an cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle a generous teaspoon of sugar on the top of each scone.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Serve warm.