Bittersweet Days

Foie Gras with toasts and blackberries.

I’m thinking love Love, love, love More sweet than bitter.

Bittersweet by Big Head Todd and the Monsters

So I finished Atlas of the Heart, the new book by Brene Brown about the eighty-seven emotions humans experience and how they effect our lives. I related to a lot of the passages, but was especially moved by Bittersweet.

The bittersweet side of appreciating life’s most precious moments is the unbearable awareness that those moments are passing.

Marc Parent, Believing It All

“Bittersweet is a mixed feeling of happiness and sadness,” as Dr. Brown defines it and I think I find it so poignant precisely because of the innate mix. It’s not positive or negative, but a combo, so that also makes it a confusing emotion.

I thought about this while driving down Old Cutler Road and passed by cars, trucks and vans decked out with balloons and painted up to celebrate Gulliver School’s Graduation. I can remember that feeling at my High School Graduation of happiness that I was finally finished, but sadness that I would never see these girls from my All Girl School, under these circumstances, again. “We may never pass this way again,” by Seals and Croft, was a popular song during my Senior Year at Lourdes and that song really summed up the transience of our experience.

I always got teary-eyed when my kids left one grade for another, but the one that really sticks in my mind was Christopher’s graduation from Kindergarten. I had volunteered a lot in his class, so knew the children and his wonderful teacher- Miss Citerella. I felt that bittersweet feeling on his last day, that my youngest child was moving from the protected cocoon of kindergaten to becoming a full-fledged first grader, with tests and assignments.

The kids in the class had each colored a page in a big book they made that illustrated Louis Armstrong’s song It’s a Wonderful World and, when they all sang it to the Kindergarten parents, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. When Courtney, Christopher’s fiance, asked me a couple years ago what song I wanted to dance with Christopher to at their wedding, it only took a minute to realize It’s a Wonderful World was the perfect choice.


We celebrated Emma’s birthday on Tuesday with dinner out at Terre Del Sapore. I met Emma when she was a shy little four year old; she turned 24 Tuesday. I posted a photo of her at my wedding as a flower girl and from her UM Graduation just last week, with the caption: “You’ve come a long way baby!” Of course, she’s not familiar with the Virginia Slims slogan, but the sentiment is still true.

Zeke picked this particular Italian restaurant because he’d passed by it on Giralda many times and because they had Beef Carpaccio, a family favorite. The place was very casual, with metal chairs, wood tables, exposed ductwork and a wood burning pizza oven. The food, including the Beef Carpaccio, was very good and the prices were reasonable; we all liked our Pasta dishes. I got a Porcini Mushroom Ravioli in cream sauce that was delicious, as was the Delicata Salad with figs, burrata, walnuts and arugula, which we shared.

Unfortunately, the service was just awful. There was one young kid, by himself, waiting tables, and he didn’t seem to care much. We even had to ask for the Birthday dessert of Tiramasu (even though Zeke had already told them), so I don’t know if I can recommend this restaurant. Maybe for takeout?

Monday, we ordered what is my new favorite pizza from Miami’s BestThe Italian. It’s a white pizza (no red sauce) with Fresh Mozzarella, Burrata and topped with prosciutto, arugula and cherry tomatoes with a Balsamic drizzle. We got a Medium for $22. Yum!

The Italian from Miami’s Best.

Thursday I met a friend for lunch at Chana Thai Kitchen, in the TJ Maxx Plaza by the Falls. We both loved our entrees- Red Curry with Tofu ($16) and Chicken with a garlic, pepper sauce (Pad Gra Tiem Prik Tai, also $16) which was a little spicy and delicious. Both came with Jasmine Rice on the side. This is a perfect, healthy option if you’re in that area. They also serve sushi and have lunch specials.

Thursday I took Wyatt to his last tennis lesson of the season at Riviera and then met A.J., Justin and Phoenix for dinner upstairs with Zeke. It was nice to spend some quality family time with them, since Justin has been working a lot and can’t usually get away. I did watch Phoenix Monday so A.J. could attend Wyatt’s Kindergarten Graduation. I’m feeling like, I’ll just blink and my first grandson will be getting his Driver’s License next. It goes by so fast!

I had my Book Club meeting at Guta’s Friday night for Atlas of the Heart. She said she was cooking vegetarian, so I brought some Onion Dip and Wavy Lays potato chips (because vegetarians shouldn’t be punished). Book Club at Guta’s is always a treat, but a bit bittersweet this time, as she has recently put her house on the market and may be moving away. We had so many appetizers- grape leaves, hummus, pita bread, onion dip, veggies and the most delicious bread (Panzanella) Salad with tomatoes and burrata- that we skipped the main course and went straight to dessert. She served Pomegranate Sangria with strawberries to drink and had a flourless chocolate cake and cookies for dessert.

And then to the Keys for Memorial Day weekend.


I watched Desi and Lucy on Amazon Prime. It’s a documentary about their relationship, directed by comedian Amy Poehler. I really enjoyed it, but it was also, in it’s own way, sad. These two people- brilliant and talented- who started an empire (Desilu Studios), created the most beloved sitcom of all time (I Love Lucy) and who loved each other so much- just couldn’t make their marriage work. Ironically, the show about the “happily married” Ricardos didn’t reflect reality and after 20 years of marriage, they divorced. Still, the last person to talk to Desi on his death bed, besides his daughter and nurse, was Lucille Ball. Her message? “I love you, I love you, I love you.” Bittersweet.

I see trees of green, red roses too I see them bloom for me and you And I think to myself, what a wonderful world!

I hear babies cry and I watched them grow They’ll learn much more, than I’ll ever know. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world!

Yes, I think to myself, what a wonderful world!

Sung by Louis Armstrong

Up Next: Cilantro Lime Dressing

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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