I remember plucking Calamansi with my sisters from the tree outside my bedroom. The little round citrus had a sharp, tart bite like a lemon and we’d squeeze it over Noodle dishes. Other times my Mom would harvest the thin Malungay branches from our tree in the yard and have us peel the leaves off for a soup .

I’ve always known that when I become a homeowner, I want a tub in the bathroom… and the ability to grow edible plants. This dream kept playing through my mind as Friend Dena and I stepped amidst all the large potted trees at Jene’s Tropical for their annual Fruit Tasting event.

We had arrived on the promise of ‘free tasting of many exotic fruits’– the event did not disappoint. Friend Dena and I toothpicked our way through the tables sporting chopped Mangoes, Jackfruit, Papaya and all their brothers and sisters. I’ll admit my fruit ignorance; I can’t recognize a Guava from a Mulberry. As such even though they were labeled I had no idea what were some of the fruit I tasted but I’ll assume Kent, Bailey’s Marvel, and Glenn are Mango variations among others. Inside the main building I watched as the ladies cut up little Eggrolls and plated them. Once I heard them speak Tagalog I was thrilled because that meant the dish on the plates were really Turon– a Philippine dish consisting typically of Bananas wrapped in Eggroll wrappers and deep fried. It was a taste of home.

The actual tasting wasn’t time consuming so we wandered the grounds and admired all the potted plants for sale– especially its fruit trees and herbs. My mental list for a homeownership yard now includes a Mango Tree, Basil and Cilantro.

Craft Kafe dishes
[Left] Apple Yogurt Pie [Right] Cortada… all from Craft Kafe in St. Petersburg, FL.
Perhaps nibbling all the fruit made us feel healthy so we continued this kick by stepping into the nearby Craft Kafe where (my heart rejoices) EVERY DISH is gluten free. Obviously my Cortado and Salad fell into this category, but so did the BBQ Duck Sandwich as well as the slice of Apple Yogurt Pie. They even offered homemade Pizza and Gelato. Besides the fresh-tasting noms, we also admired the very inviting and artsy space where Salad leaves grew vertically on one side of the walls, Kyoto Drips were displayed on one side, and there was a great view of the kitchen. Oh my oh my if this place was any closer to my home I’d soon become poor.

All the deliciousness that had entered my stomach today so inspired me that upon going home, I decided to try my hand at creating gluten free / sugar free (nut and dairy free of course) Oatmeal Cookies.

While it’s still too early to say whether they’ve turned out delicious or not, I’m glad to know my quest to rid myself of eczema by eating healthier (like it says here) doesn’t have to taste bad. In fact– there’s something about natural flavors that’s much tastier than I-can’t-pronounce-any-of-these-ingredients filled dishes. And all these motivations today came from merely agreeing to visit a Fruit Tasting event.


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