Florida was all about four things for me: (1) Food (2) People (3) Shopping and (4) More Food.
Of course, I saw my mother and sister:
My high school mate, Brian:
And another high school mate, Louis:
And those were pretty much all of the people left in Florida. Of course, there was shopping – lots of it, and almost too much to fit in my suitcases. I spent a night at my sister’s apartment in Miami and the view from her balcony was amazing:
A big ass Macy’s! I did some damage there.
But despite the emphasis I placed on shopping, the food was definitely the bigger ticket item. I went to get Cuban/Spanish food, my local ice cream joint, a mojito, the brewpub in our city, and a handful of select chain restaurants. Pizza was also important. After New York, Florida probably has the next best pizza in the US due to the high concentration of New Yorkers there. And for any of you naysayers who think Chicago deep dish is supreme, you can eat me. But I’ll eat my Florida pizza.
Notice the half of a chicken parmesan sub next to my cheesy slice!
Jew food was another important staple. I started my day off right at Bageland with scrambled eggs, home fries, a sesame bagel with cream cheese, and a bottomless cup of coffee. Normal coffee – from the pot with the brown rim!
We went to one of our local delicatessens later in the week where I started off with a knish:
I’ve met Australian Jews who’ve never heard of a knish despite it being a staple of American Jewish cuisine. I was determined to get one before I went back and I feel very accomplished. I also had a deli sandwich with coleslaw and Russian dressing! You can’t get these things in Oz.
My sister and I skipped dinner one night and went to Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlour:
Giant heaps of ice cream crowded our table. I had a “Senior Sampler” with five flavours: Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Snickers, Cotton Candy, and Butter Almond – with 5 toppings: chocolate syrup, butterscotch syrup, melted peanut butter, marshmallow sauce, and pound cake. Look at this! AMAZING!
But our biggest and most fantastic meal was at the Cheesecake Factory. I know, you’re just as surprised as I am… (just kidding!) I usually get a pasta dish from the Cheesecake Factory’s extensive novel of a menu. But something else caught my attention this time:
“MACARONI AND CHEESE BURGER: Charbroiled and Topped with our Creamy Fried Macaroni and Cheese Balls and Cheddar Cheese Sauce. Served with Lettuce, Tomato, Pickles and Onion” (and, of course, French fries).
Let me repeat this in all CAPS for much needed emphasis. THERE IS A BURGER OUT THERE WHICH IS TOPPED WITH A SLAB OF FRIED MACARONI AND CHEESE THAT IS THEN DOUSED IN MORE CHEESE SAUCE AND THEN SERVED WITH FRENCH FRIES
HOLY FUCKING JEBUS.
They even substituted a turkey patty for me because I don’t eat beef. AMAZEBALLS!
And then, as if I hadn’t yet had enough calories that meal, my sister and I got cheesecake. She got the Red Velvet Cheesecake and I got the Caramel White Chocolate Macadamia Cheesecake.
I’m going to need a bigger plane on the way back to Australia.