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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Feasting In Florida

One of the really great things about traveling is the food. Granted, if your luck is off, you may find yourself remembering your vacation more by what the bathroom was like than by the plates you tasted. Our trip to Florida was filled with many culinary delights. Of course there are some things that seem to be the same wherever you go. There will always be a McDonald's (even in Budapest, Hungary!) or Burger King, and there's always Mexican food or Chinese buffets. But sometimes there are smaller regional chains, and there are often dining gems to be found.

One of our first meals was in a burger restaurant called Krystal. I have to admit that when Thayne first spoke about going to Krystal's, I was taken aback. You see, I had never heard of this chain. And we had just driven by a place here in Thornton with a similar name that feeds a different type of appetite. Enough said. Krystal burgers are similar to those from White Castle in the Chicago area, or Cozy Shack in Kansas. Itty-bitty burgers and chicken sandwiches, and little chili-cheese or corn dogs. But since they are small they are called pups.

After our first day at Disney World, we had dinner at an African-themed restaurant called Boma. What deliciousness! Carrot-Ginger Soup. Coconut Curry Chicken Stew. Watermelon Rind Salad. Multiple African entrees and side dishes. And the desserts - all I can say is Passion Fruit Panna Cotta with Apricot Gelee was my mouth's idea of heaven. To say nothing of the Valrhona Chocolates. Another Disney food experience we loved was 'Ohana, which is Hawaiian themed. We started with a delicious salad of greens with papaya and some loaves of pineapple bread. Then we had all sorts of meats cooked over wood fires. This was followed by a bread pudding with ice cream and bananas Foster sauce that was absolutely luscious.

More delicious Orlando dining occurred at Giordano's Pizza. We are talking about a double-decker monster of a pizza that takes about 45 minutes to bake. The sauce was not too sweet and not too salty. I was starving, so I managed to eat two whole slices. Okay, not quite true. I had to skip the outside crust. Before we left home, I chose a restaurant at Downtown Disney for one of our dinners, and I am glad to say that everyone in our group became a fan of The House of Blues. With dishes like Jambalaya, Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf, and Buttermilk Fried Chicken, there was something for everyone. The decor was quirky, with walls covered with original art. My fried chicken was quite a surprise - half a chicken that must have been the size of a young turkey. And so deliciously crunchy outside and moist inside...yum!

We spent one day going to Cocoa Beach. After wandering through Ron Jon's and enjoying my first view of the Atlantic by walking in the waves and collecting shells, we set out to find something to eat. Thayne found a restaurant listed favorably on Yelp in Cape Canaveral. Atlantic Seafood was quite a pleasant surprise. Even though we arrived only ten minutes before their six p.m. closing time for that day, we were greeted cheerfully. When we looked at the menus we were surprised at the low prices. For about forty dollars, two people can eat like kings. We both had huge crab cakes which came with clam chowder, a huge serving of fresh vegetables, monster-sized skewers of grilled white and sweet potatoes, and bread. And they serve a whole lobster with all of those other sides for a mere twenty dollars! If you ever go to Cape Canaveral, do consider eating there. They are mere feet from the water, and buy their fish daily from several different fishermen. We even had a visit from a pelican during our dinner! The rest of his buddies were chilling seaside.

Perhaps you may think it is silly for me to blog about the food from our vacation. But no matter where we are, food is a vital part of our lives. If we are fortunate, we have the opportunity to experience food that we can really savor. At moments like this I feel quite fortunate to be able to enjoy food, and mindful of those who have less than I do. I remember being in a situation where six people made a meal from one potato. Knowing this makes the memories of the food both more sweet and more sad. I hope I will always be mindful of others, and take every opportunity I can to give them something they can savor. Bon appetit!