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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Restaurants That I Am Glad Are Not Within 100 Miles of My House.

It's been a while since I've posted. My wife has been working in Orlando at a Major Themed Attraction that shall remain nameless, although (hint) it has recently opened a magical new attraction based on a famous book.

No, not the Holy Land Experience.

Hey, c'mon! Quit hogging the Cross Ride!

She's been there for the past two months, so anytime I'm not working I try and get down to see her.

Orlando is a fantastic place, especially in the spring. It's sunny and warm and there are beaches not too far away.

However, healthy eating is not a priority.

I can understand this. Orlando recently passed New York as the USA's #1 tourist destination. When families are on vacation, they don't think about vegetables. (For years as a child, the only time we went to McDonald's was on our annual road trip to Massachusetts to see Granny. Those were happy times.)

But still... It's like Carb Heaven up in here. The roads are nothing but mile after mile of chain restaurants. Friday's, Friendly's, Denny's. Perkin's, Chili's, Shoney's, Ponderosa...

One week before I was eating in high end bistros in New York with my friend the cheese critic. Now I am debating seriously whether to have the $5 Chinese buffet or the $4 gravy tub. I was on vacation, I indulged myself.

And since I have the willpower of a depressed alcoholic at a keg party, I now present a list of restaurants that I am glad are not in New York City. Because I would eat at them all at least once a week and my blood stream would thicken into a a sludge of cholesterol.

1. All You Can Eat Buffets

The first time I came to Orlando about 10 years back, I was amazed at the number of all you can eat buffets. I was also amazed that many were labelled "All you CARE to eat." As in, yes, we know you can cram an enormous amount of food down your distended gullet, and yes, we know you want to get your $6.95 worth of jello and sesame chicken, but, you know, you could just eat until you're full. You know, whatever. Just please don't have a coronary on our property. Waddle on over to Burger King. They have better liability insurance.

Time for fourths! I can still squeeze in a few more shrimp.

There really aren't very many all you can eat places in New York. The rents are too high to let you make money by giving gluttons a bottomless feedbag for $8. 

To be sure, New York has some fancy-pants options, but these are not in the spirit of the suburban buffet table, and they are about three times as expensive. 

No, I am thinking of the endless Chinese food buffet, or the Golden Corral buffet chain. They're as common as alligators down there. If you've seen their ads during a Law & Order marathon on TNT, you know they offer an endless buffet with a chocolate fountain for about $10. 

I've eaten at Golden Corral in Orlando twice. The first time was fine. The second time the endless buffet gave me endless diarrhea in an airport bathroom. But that was before the chocolate fountain! 50-50? I likes them odds!

Closest One to My House: Delran, NJ 88.4 miles away

Chances I'd be tempted to drive out to one: Zero. The $10 dollar buffet is tempered by the $40 in gas a round trip would take.

2. Bob Evans

Stop it, I'm going to cry...
 I don't know a whole lot about the Bob Evans menu. Not that I haven't been there a lot, mainly because I only ever order two things. 


And sausage gravy.

And the biscuits are secondary. They serve primarily as a gravy-delivery device. (And they're good biscuits! Just that gravy...)


Sorry, I went to a happy place for a minute there. Oh gravy... The sausage chunks, the texture, the gooeyness...
Ok. The only problem i have with the gravy is that it comes in two sizes: bowl and cup. I want a sausage gravy fountain. I want hot flowing gravy to fill up a Big Gulp cup. I want a 10,000 calorie gravy milkshake. I want you TO READ MY SUGGESTIONS BOB EVANS EMPLOYEES! I WILL NOT BE IGNORED!!!! YOU THINK THAT RESTRAINING ORDER CAN KEEP ME AWAY?!?!?!

Closest One to My House: Mount Laurel, NJ 91.5 miles away

Chances I'd be tempted to drive out to one: 50%. Seriously, you have to try that gravy.

3. Krispy Kreme

Yes, there is a sad little Krispy Kreme express in Penn Station. It is not the same as the massive suburban ones in the south that have a conveyor belt of delicious, hot donuts being covered in a liquid sugar glaze. You do not chew real hot Krispy Kremes. They dissolve in your mouth.

I do not believe in your "Hot Now" sign, Penn Station Krispy Kreme. You are a false prophet. 

Closest (Real) One to My House: Collingswood, NJ 99 Miles

Chances I'd be tempted to drive out to one: 35% They are good, but I can probably melt a bag of sugar on the stove and drink it down to get the same effect.

4. Chick-Fil-A

 A portion of our proceeds goes to help illiterate cows.
I blame my wife for this. One time we stayed at a hotel in Baltimore that was directly behind a Chick-Fil-A. It emitted some of the foulest odors I have ever experiences. Fortunately, the god-fearin' chain makes all of their stores close on Sundays, so we at least got one day of rest.

When MLW told me that she was now hooked on Chick-Fil-A, I was surprised to say the least. She went there with friends who swore by the place. They were different here, she explained.

And boy, were they! Thick, boneless breasts! Crispy coating! They are a revelation. (And Chick-Fil-A is into revelations. The lemonade cup advertised a leadership conference with noted NFL mediocrity and champion God-botherer Tim Tebow.)

Their fries suck though. I guess perfect fries are an affront to God or something.

Closest One to My House: I think it's in Maryland or somewhere... wait, what? Ok, time to wrap this up.

Chances I'd be tempted to drive out to one: Ok, here's the problem. The food is amazing, but they donate heavily to anti-gay marriage groups. What to do? Every time you go to a Chick-Fil-A, donate an equal amount of money to Freedom To Marry or some other gay rights group. (You could even donate it in the name of Doodles the Chicken, Chick-Fil-A's fired mascot.) And then jog a lap, cause deep fried chicken isn't all that good for you.
More posts about the Orlando experience to come... Time for chicken.

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