Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Pine State of mind

I started off my Memorial Day weekend 'summering' in Maine here in my very own backyard.

Thanks to an invite from the mother of a former student, I was tipped off to the inaugural Moxie festival at the A La Carte Catering on First Avenue North in Jacksonville Beach.

Although I teach middle school at the beach, it is usually a rare treat for me to cross the 'ditch' (More formally, the Intracoastal Waterway or San Pablo River to partake in some New England cuisine and camaraderie.

Upon my arrival, I was greeted by Jennifer Lobrano Plouff, the event coordinator/chef/owner. She made me feel at home and like a member of the family as she regaled me with some fun facts about the oldest soft drink in America. She also treated me to a taste of Moxie barbecue riblets and complimentary sips of Moxie.

After I placed my order for lunch and entered their raffle for some Moxie memorabilia, I picked up an application to join the Moxie fan club, er, New England Moxie Congress. For only $10 a year, I get a subscription to their 'Nerve Food News' and stay in the loop on all things Moxie.

Speaking of the New England Moxie Congress, this 'loosely-knit band of Moxie enthusiasts' said that the A La Carte Moxie festival is the first one of the year. Kudos to A La Carte!

As I dined on my lobster roll, chips and Moxie (natch), executive chef/owner Roger Plouff gave an interesting talk on the history of Moxie. It am sure that my fellow patrons were as enlightened by this lecture as I was. For one thing, I learned of how the 'Moxie man' depicted on their cans and bottles was the inspiration for Uncle Sam's famous 'I Want You!' recruitment posters and how there is a tragic Moxie connection at the old Aragon Hotel in downtown Jacksonville (Forsyth and Julia Streets, in case you want to know where...)

It was a fun lunch and learn as I heard one patron speak of taking a regimen of Moxie mixed with milk to gain enough weight to play high school football. We also related how to find Moxie in local stores (e.g. Fresh Market)

Now that I am back home, I am ready to spread the good news about this unique place here in North Florida. A Boston transplant or New England exile would find the best cure for homesickness at A La Carte. This definitely tides me over until I return to Maine to see my big sister and her family up in Bath!

For more information on A La Carte Catering, click here!

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