Sanibel Postcard: Not The Beach

Submitted a year ago
Created by
Susan B. Apel

Your friends who winter in Florida probably send photos of beach and surf and palm trees. I am looking at, and appreciating, all of that in this 56 degree chill. (Locals are wearing puffy coats and winter woolen hats that no doubt were sent to them from family in Vermont.) Aside from the beach, however, my favorite site on Sanibel is one that reminds me of home. It’s the farmers market, and as everyone—local and tourist alike—will tell you, you better get there early. 

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It’s packed, as if every citizen and visitor on Sanibel has committed a church-like hour of Sunday morning to going to market, arriving on foot or by car or on bicycles. The vibe is shoulder-to-shoulder friendly and the vendors are as knowledgeable and chatty as ones you find at the Lebanon and Norwich farmers markets. But my bags are filling up with different things. Here are some items you won’t find in the Upper Valley.

Yes, the chocolate croissant could have come from Norwich’s Salubre, but underneath is a triangle of guava turnover.

Not that Yankees couldn’t, but they wouldn’t, set up a banquet of four mac and cheeses of the day: classic, with bacon, with lobster, and one other that I missed in my rush to secure a pound of classic before it was gone. Madame Mac (Dawn Bryant, not pictured) will also triple-bag some jerk chicken, pulled pork and collard greens for you to take home. 

It appears to be a family affair at Bushdogs, flipping those golden brown crab cakes and piling the steamed shrimp and shrimp salad in precarious mounds. (featured photo, top, and below) Their food is magic and their vibe is charming.

“The fruit guys!” I think I yelled it out loud when I rediscovered them this morning. Papayas, pineapples, mangos, rambutans, and other unfamiliar tropical treats. They’re selling them whole, but the show, where they slice and dice and cube them before your very eyes, is why you stand in line.

Part II: Speaking of food in exotic locales . . .

Isn’t it doubly-rewarding to find great food, but in a place you might not expect? An acquaintance posted this photo from the cafe of the Whitney Museum in New York City. (Museum food used to be just as awful as it sounds.) Tell me in the comments below if you’ve had a terrific meal in a museum. 

Jesa Damora, who photographed her meal, said “this cauliflower at the (Whitney Museum) Café deserves its own one-person show.”

And finally, I know that judging airplane food may have the world’s lowest bar. $7 gets you a snack box, Amp Up, on Jet Blue. Hummus, olives, crunchy crackers, almonds, dried fruit, and something resembling a chocolate Rice Krispy treat. My seat mate leaned over to take a closer look and said “Hmm . . . Not bad.” I added a chaser of the free Terra sweet potato chips. It may have been the best airplane food I have had in a decade. 

Thanks for reading. My photo usually appears here but I am techno-challenged when I am on the road. Please hit the “subscribe” button to my blog about the arts in the Upper Valley and occasional other interesting things. It’s free.

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