Yesterday Lisa and I rode the length of the Cady Way/Cross Seminole trail (~11 miles) from the Fashion Square head to where the most recent phase unceremoniously ends just before Red Bug Rd. It would seem that ending offered little of interest—a Home Depot, a MacDonalds… no coffee shop. However, tucked into the shopping center is Cavallari Gourmet, a fantastic locally-owned gourmet market — a worthy destination.
Our plan was to pick up something fun to cook for dinner.
Their meat counter stocks a fabulous selection of fresh meat and prepared items, like a unique variety of stuffed chicken breasts. When we arrived they were sampling their holiday sausage, a product they only make from November to January. It’s pork sausage with maple, cranberries and blueberries, and WOW it’s amazing! I think they have a little bit left, I didn’t completely clean them out
A big draw for me is the olive bar. They have several varieties of whole olives that I have not found anywhere else in town.
They have a nice selection of sauces, marinades and condiments, plus wine and…
microbrew. But, more importantly…
cold microbrew! You can mix and match your own six-pack. Or if you’re making it a lunch destination…
You can have a cold brew with a deli sandwich. The sandwich menu looks great, but I haven’t tried one yet. I had a delicious cup of pasta frijole yesterday. Nothing like hot soup on a chilly day!
When we arrived there was a small group of cyclists outside finishing up some pastries. There’s a good-size wave rack out front, so they’re clearly prepared to receive cyclists here (and it was full when we arrived).
Some Notes About the Trail
I plan to do a more detailed write up of this trail (and the others) in the future, the following is just a heads-up about a few things.
Where the trail crosses the Howell Branch & Aloma intersection (and changes name to Cross Seminole) the intended path for cyclists is on the south and east sides of the intersection. This is indicated by the crosswalk design—an open space in the middle of the white bars. Be vigilant to look for right-turning traffic when crossing the south side from west to east. I’ve almost been right hooked there several times. There is an above-grade crossing planned for this intersection, it will be a welcome addition.
When the new phase of the Cross Seminole becomes a sidepath, you must be vigilant at all driveways and intersections. When headed eastbound, be sure to look behind you for left-turning traffic. In my relatively few trips up this section, I’ve had several close calls, even after slowing and looking for conflicts. There aren’t many intersections, so it’s not a huge inconvenience to be extra cautious.
Those issues aside, I really do like this trail. It is a direct route down a major transportation corridor and it gives me easy access to a number of destinations.
Out of curiosity, I checked Google maps to see how they would plot a driving route from my house to Cavallari. The fastest route was 13.4 miles and used a toll road (Google clearly doesn’t know about the construction on 50, that route would not be fast). The trail route from my house (I live 3000ft from the trail head) is 11.6 miles. The difference in mileage isn’t really the issue, though, it’s the difference in distance perception. I don’t contemplate car distances in mileage but in lost-time & frustration. By car it is only 13 miles, but it might as well be on the moon. Even though Cavallari has a number of items I have not found anywhere else, I would not drive to that part of the metro area unless I had a bunch of other things to do there to make the trip worthwhile. But 11 miles is nothing to me on a bike and I’d ride up there just for the heck of it. The trail makes that ride incredibly pleasant and far more enjoyable than using the adjacent roads.
Back to the Food
So, aside from stocking up on the holiday breakfast sausage, we did find some good ingredients for dinner: hot Italian chicken parmesan sausage, some eggplants, fresh mozzarella and 2 ciabatta rolls. We also stopped at Publix (using the lakeside Baldwin Park trail extension) for a few staple goods on the way home. As you can see from the photo, I should have brought both panniers. I think that thing was carrying about 40 pounds when all was said and done. Not bad work for the axiom rack on my road bike.
Lisa made eggplant parmesan baked in a sauce made with the sausage, stewed tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers and kalamata olives. It was amazing. I ate way too much. So much for that New Year’s resolution. Well, at least I preempted some of the calories with a 25-mile bike ride.