A cool, rainy morning in Pensacola. The perfect opportunity to explore the base. We started the day off with a breakfast of oats, then headed down the coast to Pensacola Naval Air Station – home of the Blue Angels and the National Naval Aviation Museum. The museum is home to over 150 vintage air- and spacecraft, plus a vast collection of U.S. Marines, Navy and Coast Guard memorabilia.
You’re literally surrounded by aircraft, on all sides and above. There are Harriers, Tomahawks and Tomcats; planes recovered from both World Wars and the Korean and Cold Wars; even a MiG and Japanese Zero!
I’ve seen the Angels perform over Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, so I wasn’t too bummed it’s their off-season. To tell you truth, I think it was more interesting to get up close and personal with the four jets hanging in the atrium.
Having worked up a hunger touring the museum [and pretending to be a fighter pilot*], we popped into the Officer’s Club for lunch. Not what I imagined. Then again, I didn’t really know what to envision. Kind of like a fancy sports bar, but with all uniform-clad clientele and military paraphernalia plastered on the walls. So we sat down, and hemmed and hawed at the menu. I would order the crab cakes with chipotle lime aioli and pineapple salsa; highly recommended by our drawling waitress. For his part: the chicken wrap.
Afterward we wandered down a path to the white sandy beach that borders the base.
During my visit we baked bread like it was going out of style. This afternoon was, as you can probably guess, no exception. A brief moment of quiet in the kitchen, he, ever food-savvy and acutely aware of my [and his] love for bread, suggested a go at focaccia. Eventually we settled on a recipe I’d seen Chris Bianco bake on Martha. I’ve been waiting to try this for a while now – waiting for a man with a Kitchen Aid to come into my life? We were both amazed at how simple it was to make, and oohed and aahed at its prettiness. “We could sell this. People would pay $8 for this, easy.”
Not much in the fridge nor particularly hungry after nibbling on focaccia all afternoon, we weren’t up for much cooking – much less wielding knives and banging around pots – so we ended up with leftovers for supper. But the next day… oh, there were avocado-poached egg focaccia breakfast sandwiches and a flurry of crab legs. And not any old crab legs. Dungeness crab legs. Steamed on the stove: perched on the all-purpose cooling rack hovering over a large, deep pan of boiling water, covered with another up-turned pan, legs and claws peeking out at the edges. Sweet and salty crab meat served alongside more focaccia and washed down with juicy strawberries. Oh baby!
This is the kind of lunch I could eat every day and still never get enough. So we had it again a few days later.
*We watched Top Gun a couple days earlier. Another first for yours truly. I hummed [in my head – I hope] “Highway to the Danger Zone” throughout our museum visit.