Let’s see. My last post got us most of the way through Saturday. We arrived in Vero mid-afternoon and checked in at the Driftwood.
Longtime readers may recall that Xy and I took a vacation here back in June of 2007, a week of lovebugs and lovemaking. We suspect our daughter was conceived in Vero. It makes a nice story anyway. That week was our first break from the maddening grind of postdiluvian New Orleans, and boy howdy did we need it.
They say you can’t go home again. It’s probably also true that you can’t take the same vacation twice. This time around we had a three-year old with us, and my in-laws too, so it was an entirely different experience.
Having said that, I do still love the Driftwood. It is truly a unique place with an interesting history. More about that later.
While the others frolicked on the beach, my mother-in-law and I headed to the grocery and stocked up on food for the week. We might have bought a tiny bit too much. The cart was so heavy I could barely push it to checkout, and upon bagging the food filled a second cart. Thanks to Susie for picking up the tab, which was nearly $300. Back at the Driftwood we had a simple spaghetti dinner, and then I made another crucial run — to the liquor store. After some deliberation, I picked up some Dubonnet Rouge, Averna, Courvoisier, and 4 Orange. More about that later.
Come Sunday morning, I got busy slicing. Red, yellow and green bell peppers. Purple onion. Serrano peppers. Garlic. Cilantro. Fresh grouper. And I juiced lots of lemons and limes. Yup, I was making ceviche. Have I written about my ceviche obsession? I don’t believe I have. It started last summer, prompted my an article in the paper. I’m sure there are some good options at local restaurants, but so far the only ceviche I’ve had has been prepared by my own hand. It is somewhat labor intensive, as lots and lots of fine slicing is the key. I consider such food preparation an act of devotion to family and friends, and of course I was eager to share the love with my in-laws.
While I was busy slicing like a madman, Persephone was having her first dip in the pool at Waldo’s. I was able to snap a photo from our balcony.
Soon I had the ceviche “cooking” in the fridge. It’s the citric acid that denatures the fish. But “denaturing” sounds rather unappetizing. I think “cooking” is a better term.
Then it was my turn to frolic in the ocean.
As I mentioned earlier, it was a trip playing in the surf with Persephone. But soon enough we were back in the pool at Waldo’s.
They advertise this place as the “Last of the Great American Hangouts.” Of course we have a lot of awesome hangouts in New Orleans, but I can’t dispute that Waldo’s is a fun place. It’s on the ocean and the National Register of Historic Places. It is a restaurant and a bar and a pool and a hotel. It’s a part of the Driftwood, with rooms above the eatery and kitchen, and it’s named after the guy who created the driftwood, the eccentric Hoosier Waldo Sexton. More about him later.
As for being the “last” of its kind, well, after hanging out by the interstate exit Friday night I was ready to believe that too.
Waldo’s is also a venue for live music. On this particular Sunday afternoon, we were grooving to a duo with a surprisingly full sound, covering mostly 60s psychedelic folk rock.
I wish I’d gotten their name because they were fairly amazing. I think they played three full sets. I could have sat by the pool and listened to them forever.
Meanwhile, Persephone had latched on to a girl just a couple years older than herself and was emulating everything she did. Soon she was diving off the edge of the pool and swimming underwater. The expressions of pure joy on her face were certainly worth the trip. Sorry, I didn’t manage to get a photo.
Eventually, hunger and logic dictated that it was time for dinner. We invited Mike and Susie over to our condo for the ceviche, which I served over avocado halves, with a glass of Twisted pinot grigio. Does a lemony wine go well with a lemony dish, or is that too much lemon?
In retrospect perhaps ceviche wasn’t such a great choice. The idea of eating fish that hasn’t been cooked with heat is not appealing to everyone. I’m just not 100% sure what my in-laws thought of this dish. But I couldn’t resist that fresh grouper, and the end result was frankly delicious if I do say so myself.