Monday, July 11, 2011

fresh air

Living in a big city is great. But sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to escape it. And that's what we did. My parents flew up from Florida and we piled into a rental car and drove a few hours north to spend a long weekend in the country. As the city skyline became a distant backdrop, I could feel my shoulders relax. Fresh air will do that to you.

We rented a house, something I had never done before. Vacation houses are a bit of an adventure. There's no front desk to call when the cable goes out (which it did), no tiny soaps in the shower. But there was a comfy, overstuffed couch to sink into, a long, rustic dining table, and a pretty little backyard where we sat and drank wine almost every evening.

And the fireflies. Every night, just before dusk, the entire yard would suddenly turn aglow from dozens and dozens of twinkling little bugs. I've seen a stray yellow streak or two fly by our stoop in Brooklyn, but we don't ever get an entire starry performance. Every night we watched them until it got too dark and they disappeared to wherever fireflies go at night. (Like I said, we didn't have cable.)

On our last night in town, after many glasses of wine, Dad and I stumbled around the front yard trying to catch them. My toes squished in the soft, wet ground but I didn't care. It was one of those perfect moments in life that you know you'll always remember, even as it is happening.

There were a lot of moments like that on this trip. Getting caught in a downpour while hiking along a long, muddy trail. Playing cards around the dining table, my mom laughing so hard her shoulders shook. Running my fingers over baskets of fuzzy, sun-warmed peaches at a roadside market. Driving along winding roads, listening to Tom Petty and Dr. John. There was even something nice about riding in the backseat of the rental car, looking at the backs of my parents' heads. It's one of those things in life that can bring you right back to being a kid, having someone else ferry you around while you look out the window and enjoy the ride.

But what about the food, you ask? Right. This is still a food blog, I guess.

Like with other things in the house, the kitchen required a little MacGyvering. I envisioned a weekend spent in front of the grill with frequent breaks for rosé and dips in the pool. But the pool was ice cold and the grill was out of propane. Luckily there was rosé.
And luckily there were plenty of pots and pans in the kitchen. I sauteed a big piece of flank steak on the stovetop then sliced it thinly to serve over one of my favorite salads: arugula, blue cheese, and yellow and red cherry tomatoes. I grilled slices of olive oil-drizzled bread in a pan on the stovetop and rubbed a clove of garlic over them when they were toasted. Our side dish was a bowl of watermelon.

The meal was nothing fancy, nothing blog-worthy, really. But dining on that breezy patio, surrounded by the people I love more than anything, it felt like a million bucks.


Alyssa S said...

There's something about Tom Petty. My dad played it ALWAYS when I was younger and we were driving somewhere. I am completely in love with Tom Petty these days but it always brings me back. Sounds like you had a nice vacation with family.


Casey@Good. Food. Stories. said...

I've always called them lightning bugs, not fireflies - just shows my "down by the crick" upbringing, right? Glad you had a blast away from the big bad city.

Anonymous said...

don't forget bacon that didn't shrink, peaches,
Vinny's pie, Cheese Louise and the Hobo Deli.

Lisa said...

Alyssa: Totally, me too. :)

Casey: I use both actually, think they are interchangeable. But "firefly" sounds more romantic.

Anony: Can't forget Cheese Louise. Great place.

Daniel said...

Nothing beats locally sourced hobo chunks from a roadside farm stand.

wrought iron furniture said...

Living in a city is great indeed but escaping and going to a nice fresh place is greater. Agree?

furniture stores in los angeles said...

It is in the city where you will experience the luxuries such as big houses, cars, pools, great furniture and more. However, it is sometimes good to experience the beauty of nature and breathe fresh air. So if you have time to unwind, then do it. This will give you a rejuvenating experience.

furniture removal said...

Nothing beats the breakfast in the side of the pool.


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