Being that my husband and I are the type to cook and eat at home it is a rare event to eat out. When we do, we generally are disappointed or enjoy the food with sticker shock.
When on vacation, wherever we stay, be it hotel or condo, we like to have a kitchen. This way we can visit local markets and come back to the rental unit and cook. If you’re in a hotel, it is sorta like cooking in a motor-home. Small appliances. It isn’t as good as a full kitchen but better than camping. You have running water.
Unfortunately, with our recent trip to Ormond Beach, Florida, the hotel didn’t have working appliances nor did they have a complete set of utensils. Since we would only be in this location for a few days, we decided to seek out our meals.
First, the hotel provides a magazine on restaurant reviews. We read the articles written about the restaurants in the area, but I had this bright idea that we would just get in the rental car and drive around and see where a crowd gathers. Surely, that would be an indication the food was really good. That, in fact, was to the contrary.
When we decided to follow the restaurant reviews in the magazine, we discovered those articles were fabricated, exaggerated and over rated. As in the case of one article raving over a restaurant specializing in Bar B Que. It was meat cooked in the oven and sauce ladled over it. I’m from the South…that ain’t Bar B Que.
Most people eat for sustenance. We, on the other hand, would probably rather die of starvation if whatever was out there, didn’t meet our palate’s needs. For the most part, many of those locations we tried were nowhere near as tasty as the crowd of people implied. One place we waited 45 minutes to be seated (normal for good restaurants), then it was 15 minutes before a server appeared for our order and 35 minutes to get our food. I never conceived a restaurant could screw up a breakfast.
When vegetables are perfectly cut in the same size, you know they’re frozen or from a can. When dices of meat in an omelet are perfectly squared, that meat was ordered as a pre-cut, vacuum packaged form. I’m all for cutting corners, but then… add a little seasoning or cut your price. Those biscuits??? I think your “Mama” of “Mama’s Famous Biscuits” is telling you she wants to retire when she delivers rubbery baked goods. Take her hint. (what does make a biscuit rubbery…)
It isn’t surprising that restaurants come and go. The percentage of closings are quite high. There is a tremendous amount of hard labor and capital and only the most efficient, streamlined, marketable restaurants stay in business.
The experience of seeking restaurants as a whole was an interesting way to get to know the area we were staying. Now that we have found our spot for a family vacation, hopefully, next summer, the restaurants we considered excellent will be in business so the kids will have options of eating in or out.
This decadent baby is Warm Chocolate Bread Pudding, ladled with a Bourbon Glaze and topped with Haagen Dazs Vanilla Ice Cream and inserted with a paper-thin chocolate cookie. Compliments of Stonewood Grill an upscale restaurant with many locations throughout Florida.
Upon returning home, I went right out to the Farmer’s Market and purchased Amberjack which is currently in season. To preserve the species, Florida Fisheries regulates the weight of and duration that Amberjack can be caught. Wouldn’t it be nice if regulations applied in the International Waters such as preserving Blue Fin Tuna.
My husband is the Big Green Egg Chef. His recipe involves a marinade of soy sauce, garlic salt, coarse ground pepper.
For vegetables, we grilled a mix of red bell peppers, green beans and onion. Place the vegetables along with the Amberjack steaks in a grill cage. Maintain a temperature of 350°F. For the one inch thick steaks, it took about 20 minutes. Had the fish been separated from the vegetables and placed on the grill alone, the time frame would probably have been about 15 minutes.