THE BEACH:  Siesta Key, FL Oh, yes, the water sparkles aqua and seafoam on this island on Florida's West Coast.  But it's the dazzling white quartz, never-ever-gets-hot sand that completely captivates me.

THE BOOK: Travels With Alice by Calvin Trillin  Trillin's tales of travel, food and family have delighted me for decades.  Worth re-reading every summer.

THE LOOK:  The atmosphere of the entire Siesta Key Village rates a mention here.  Just love the laid-back vibe, beach stores and kitschy touches like a neon-signed outdoor laundry and friendly giant lobster.

LET'S {not} COOK:  When my parents, who live in nearby Sarasota, come to Siesta Key they head to Turtles for the Grouper sandwiches and views of the Intercoastal Waterway.  Now they'll also be frequenting the colorful new Pita Shack, just opened by their good friends.  And the last time I visited my dad couldn't resist heading to Big Olaf's after we saw a little boy pass by with a towering tie-dyed swirl of Superman Ice Cream.  We gave it a try and guess what that crazy concoction of colors tastes like?  Vanilla.

Top photo via  All other photos by Doreen Creede.

"Use the good china for breakfast."