And so to Florida for work, lovingly known as the California of the East, specifically Orlando. And hopefully not again for sometime. Orlando is as charmless as your mum’s boyfriend and 8% more joyless than wartime Warsaw. Orlando is what happens when you have excess of land and no imagination. Mile after mile of chain hotels and franchise restaurants all hosting visitors to Disney and Universal Studios and the many other generic attractions which are cheaper and more depressing. The dining is especially depressing. Discounting the ubiquitous Burger King, McDonald’s, Wendys, KFC and Taco Bell, there is a blinding array of venues offering the fast-track to early onset colon cancer: Popeyes, Ihop, TGI Fridays, ChuckECheese, Red Robin, Tilted Kilt, Applebees, Tony Romas, Olive Garden, Denny’s, Senior Frogs, PF Changs, Panda Express, Chilis etc all with ample parking and serving their processed, reclaimed, non-free-range, genetically-modified, high fructose corn syrup loaded, vitamin-free, deep-fried, battered brown or yellow offerings by heart-breakingly impoverished immigrants who presumably pad out their meagre diets with the tasteless pabulum that are legally allowed to claim is food, if not necessarily nourishment. A conspiracy of negligence is being perpetrated on an all-too-compliant American people. If ISIS truly wish to bring the great Satan to its knees then they should focus on opening up more Arby’s. There is an irresistible pressure to franchise success and when a corporation answers to share-holders and not customers this is what happens. I know I sound like a Brooklynite hipster, but I shall be committing suicide later today by going to TGI Fridays in recompense.
Still, my honkingly big steak at Charley’s (http://www.charleyssteakhouse.com/) was delightful. Charley’s is no Ruth’s Chris, but the steak was ginormous and served with an exquisite Williamette Valley Pinor Noir called Etude.
I was able to stop off in Miami, an altogether more tolerable dining landscape, on the return leg and was favoured with a night out in Wynwood and Brickell, supper being at the Wynwood Kitchen and Bar which offered excellent fusion tapas. The Hamachi Cerviche, Vaca Frita and Tuna tartare were highlights though I somehow managed to drop a dollop of piquillo puree on my crotch leaving a kidney-bean coloured stain which only came out with some pretty persistent rubbing with baby wipes. They invited me never to return again and you can’t say fairer than that.