Posted by: Barbara Evanhoe | November 19, 2010

Gainesville

Yesterday we took a short road trip to Gainesville to visit one of my daughters who is a grad student at the University of Florida, working as a teaching assistant while pursuing a Masters degree in Creative Writing.

It was a treat to see someone we actually knew here in Florida, and to have a tour guide who was familiar with the area to chauffeur us around.

First item on the agenda, after spending some time visiting and catching up on family news, was lunch at a nearby Cuban restaurant. We wanted to feast on Cuban sandwiches and fried plantain, and my daughter knew just the place.

First course was fried plantain, while we waited for our sandwiches.

Fried Plantain

The plantain had the consistency of a large sweet potato fry, and after biting through a thin, soft, outer crust, you were treated to a delightful, sweet, pineapple-banana flavor. The three of us shared one order of plantain so we could save room for our sandwiches.

We ordered a Cuban and a Roast Pork to share. The Cuban sandwich was quite good…ham and turkey, Swiss cheese, mayonnaise and dill pickles layered on a French bread roll, which was “pressed” on the grill to heat it up, melt the cheese, and give the bread a nice soft/firm crust. Very tasty! The Roast Pork was your basic “meat on bread”, grilled like the Cuban, but the meat was sweet and spicy, and anything but “basic” in the flavor department, and we can now understand why this eatery is a regular stop for Becca and many others in the Gainesville community.

After lunch, and a short tour of the Gainesville downtown area, which is a wonderful combination of  “old Florida” and contemporary styles, we stopped at Volta, a popular gathering place for FU graduate students, for coffee.

Later in the evening, my daughter would be reading excerpts from several of her stories, as part of a University of Florida Masters Program series.

Here is a poster promoting the event…note that the cat depicted on the poster is none other than an uncanny likeness of my daughter’s cat, Detective Skittles.

Reading Series Poster

After procuring our coffees, we drove over to Newnan’s Lake, hoping to see some live gators taking in the afternoon sun. We stopped at several points along the lake, but never saw so much as a gator’s eye peeking out above the water.

It was a beautiful Florida afternoon, though, and we enjoyed soaking in some of the sun ourselves. The water’s edge was lined with huge old cypress trees decorated with Spanish Moss, and the area in between the trees was dotted with “cypress knees”. We’d seen them before but never knew what they were called, until Becca clued us in.

After leaving the lake, we drove through the quaint Bed and Breakfast District, and some of the old neighborhoods to view the stately homes as we made our way back to her house.

After an enjoyable dinner of pizza and salad with my daughter, her boyfriend, and one of my daughter’s colleagues, we headed back to camp.

It was a lovely day in Gainesville and we are looking forward to a return trip, to pick up where we left off.

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