RE: How about the gulf coast?
lesliebeans, I've not been to Cedar Key in years, 20 years probably, and know its bound to have totally changed by now, but last time I was there it was still unspoiled; totally a town which "time forgot"; no plastic, no neon, no chain operations of any sort, no computers, etc., etc. In other words, it was wonderful. Remember particularly 3 restaurants located in a circle in an area which kind of extended out into the Gulf - right downtown just angling across from this old, old hotel (genuinely old; not new made to look old; wonder if it's still there). Anyway, all three of these restaurants served a "hearts of palm" salad, all similar but one of the three (believe it was the middle one) had the best. Can't remember everything about those salads, but they were all so good and so different from anything I'd ever seen or eaten. As best can remember was a plate of chopped lettuce on or in which were generous helping of hearts of palm and several other items; can't remember what they were. Around edge of plate were all these opened black shell clams or mussels of some sort guess they were (some sort of seafood we didn't have on Central Gulf Coast) and I believe a few shrimp. In the center of the salad sat this scoop of dressing (just like a scoop of ice cream) and the most unique thing was that the dressing did incude ice cream; was made of mayonnaise, ice cream, and don't remember what all else they told us. Anyway, the whole things was so different and delicious (we discovered after recovering from attack of nausea at the thought of eating lettuce and ice cream together) that its the only thing we ate the two days we were there. As said, I'm sure everything there has changed, but I'd hope some current restaurant would still be serving "hearts of palm" salad and that you all might get to try it. Have a good trip and would love to read a post about your trip, particularly about Cedar Key, upon your return.