I'll be honest: I got my driver's license so that, when the time came, I'd have official documentation to get me into bars. At 18 years old, I was often confused for 12. Unless a miraculous growth spurt happened in the next three years, I'd knew I'd be doing the ever-fun, "Ha ha yup, I'm really [X] years old. I know, ha ha, I'll appreciate it some day!" routine every time I went for a pint. So my senior year of high school, I voluntarily wasted a free period every week to drive around with one other student and a Hasidic Jewish man with a lovely singing voice and a disturbingly hands-off approach to instruction. We tooled around the cobblestone streets of Brooklyn Heights in his beat-up Honda, handling nothing more challenging than a few delivery men and a slobbering collie let off its leash.
Since then a few things have changed. In college I did grow 3 1/2 inches, landing me at a towering 5-3 1/2. But I still look about 6 years younger than I actually am, and I also summarily forgot how to drive. This became an issue this past summer when I made a long, U-shaped road trip from New York City to San Francisco. We could have gone the direct route, shooting more or less straight across Kansas, Colorado, and Utah. My boyfriend, as driver, suggested this route. To say that the trip I envisioned would be "going out of our way" is like saying that tea is "sweet" in the South—an understatement you can't fully understand until you've lived it. But I pressed and begged (Grits! Julips! BBQ!) until he relented.
There were a million food moments over the course of that trip that more than justified my cockeyed plan. Mountainous, tender biscuits at Tupelo Honey in Asheville, North Carolina. Fried chicken at JCT Kitchen in Atlanta. Everything at Franklin BBQ in Austin. One of the simpler moments was a quick breakfast in Mobile, Alabama. A fat slice of key lime bread and a cup of hot coffee before we turned west and pushed on into the bayou.
That bread was buttery and dense with a contrasting sweet-tart glaze. The sour note from the key limes gave the bread a whisper of the tropics and refreshed us in the damp August heat. I tried to recreate that bread at home, adding some poppy seeds for textural contrast and crunch. I think the result is a fair approximation—moist, sweet, and laced with citrus. The glaze makes it easy to eat plain but also appropriate to serve at brunch.
Yup, seems like it's time to put on my Road Trip play list, cut a slice, and call it a day.