Sorry about my silence, but I was busy in Orlando, and then once I left Orlando I was incapacitated for a day or two: whilst in Bloomington I had my eyes examined and a tooth filled. Thankfully my Bloomington Dentist is totally awesome and very patient with my irrational behavior. Since getting back to Germany, I have been swamped with work.
However, I wanted to touch upon some of the excellent meals that I had whilst Stateside – there are some amazing beacons of hope when it comes to culinary arts over there.
But first a note on Kouzzina – the “Greek” restaurant located at Disney World’s Boardwalk. I ate breakfast there, twice, because it was the best value within walking distance of the Swine Hotel. I had a nice, but expensive, dinner there because it was within walking distance of the Swine Hotel. The meal was nice because of the company – five interesting people, plus me. But a note to the waitress: when you need to explain that your chef, one Cat Cora, is a celebrity chef, then clearly she is not, by definition, a celebrity. (Further more, the restaurant’s formal name appears to be Kouzzina by Cat Cora® — her name is a registered trademark? How pathetic is that?)
But on to the good stuff – my five amazing August 2013 US Meals:
Surprisingly my best meal was in Orlando: Spencer’s for Steaks and Chops – the restaurant attached to the Hilton Orlando, which is a $55 taxi ride away from Disney World. The atmosphere was everything Disney World is not: quiet, dignified, sophisticated, adult, civil, polite, perfect, clean, respectful. I was there with a colleague to whom I owe a lot and we started with the best crab cakes that I have ever eaten in my entire life. Everything else about the meal was outstanding as well: I had a buffalo steak that melted in my mouth. The quality of the food was outstanding – one had the impression that it was cooked just for us – such a stark contrast in feeling to anything experienced at Disney World.
Moonlight BBQ in Owensboro, Kentucky – the second best meal. Owensboro, Kentucky, is famous for its BBQ – specifically mutton BBQ, and I found myself there with The Traveling PhD, her husband (The Coach), and another family. Completely different feel from Spencer’s – here everything is mass produced and served on a buffet. The problem with these buffets, at least for me, is that they are filled with foods that are difficult, if not impossible, to find in Germany. Like the mutton BBQ; which I over indulged in.
In stark contrast to the first two, The Owlery in Bloomington was home to my third best meal of the trip. Where meat clearly drove the two best meals, the Owlery is a vegetarian/vegan friendly restaurant on the Square. Given my lactose intolerance issues, their Philly Cheesesteak sandwich is the closest I’m ever going to get to the real thing – plus all of their deserts are Vegan-safe, so I’m able to eat creamy desserts without any adverse affects.
The fourth best meal was a surprise for me – The Uptown Café in Bloomington, on Kirkwood, just off the Square. I was there with a friend – this friend thinks that the only thing that I drink are martinis—but she’s the only person who I drink martinis with – four later, plus an amazing pork-dish later, I felt great – and I was flirting unnecessarily with the very attractive, heterosexual, waiter. I remember the Uptown as being indecisive – not sure what kind of food it was serving. Today it’s clearly Cajun inspired and whatever I had was good – but it was a special of the day and I have no idea what it was specifically any more.
Finally, a breakfast item sneak into fifth place – one of my favorite meals is biscuits and gravy. It’s puzzling that I love it so much – it’s not a Denver thing, it’s clearly a mid-west and Southern thing. I scarfed it up at the Grant Street Inn, at the Pie Pan, and at the Hilton Garden Inn in Indy. It’s such an easy dish to make, it’s hard to believe anybody could mess it up (although, the Swan Hotel’s restaurant did, but that’s to be expected from a Disney World/Westin hotel). Eating it gives me such inner warmth and coziness.