Rosh Hashanah In Pensacola, Or: Maybe Getting Spiritual At The Beach Is The Best, Easiest Idea EverTuesday, September 15, 2015
Well, this was a fabulous idea: going to the beach for Rosh Hashanah. We had the beach, we had great restaurants, there were services at *four* different congregations. Everybody was happy and relaxed and mindful -- and at the right times -- sandy and wet and positively joyous.
And this is how it all got set in in the perfect way: Jackson's Steakhouse on Palafox has this terrific Rosh Hashanah supper they do (*major* thanks to their team who were able to fit us in on the reservations even though we only were able to make arrangements a few days ahead of time), and it was amazing. First of all, it's one of the best-regarded restaurants in the state, they do this fabulous menu for the community, and they took the very best care of us.
In fact, at one point halfway through the meal, Shugie spilled a little water on his shirt, and four (four!) different people came to us right away, each with something to help. White napkins, black differently-textured napkins, paper napkins, and the bartender had a clean towel that was promised to work best.
And while I love going to Commander's and other places wherein courses are served to the table by a team of servers so that each person receives their dish in front of them at exactly the same time, I have never, ever, been to a restaurant at which the course is announced with the dish in the air, and as it is placed, have the table's lead announce "dinner is served." Who does that? Why did it ever stop? It is of a bygone era but gosssshhh it is ever such a fun twist to see it today.
We started with a basket of traditional, and raisin-studded challah, then red and golden delicious apples and orange blossom honey for the table:
Yukon gold and arugula potato latkes with sour cream and green onion raisin preserves:
Getting more creative with latke toppings from now on, because those raisins were fat and juicy and fruity and perfect.
beef brisket, kugel and glazed carrots:
And this plate was exactly as intended: just like your mom's brisket and kugel.
The boys were asked if they wanted to take part in the special meal or ask the chef to prepare something off-menu (even at Arnaud's and Antoine's they ask if we'd like to have something more child-friendly that can be prepared) -- Shug decided on the chicken (that was declared 'mind-blowing') and Shugie had the pasta:
The restaurant overlooks Plaza Ferdinand, where Andrew Jackson accepted the transfer of Florida from Spain to the United States in 1821, so I took the boys over to play after supper as Av talked to the chef and some of the other diners:
We walked down Palafox:
...wished we could go inside the Saenger but were happy with this view of it from underneath the entrance:
As far as the hotel, we decided on the Hampton Inn. The Hilton is right next door but we remembered that its tower is actually built at an angle so that you don't get a straight-on view of the Gulf. We also considered the Margaritaville hotel (which is the boys' favorite in Pensacola Beach) and the Holiday Inn Resort (it has a little lazy river) but we were happy with this choice:
View from our balcony:
Me + beach = yay!
When the boys did tashlich at a bayou in Ft. Walton, someone mentioned that after you throw your breadcrumbs to the fish, if you throw another piece high enough, a seagull will get it. And sure enough. I think they will love that memory forever.
We go to beaches several times a year but this time was special. Really special.