Monday, October 27, 2014

The Three Broomsticks and Tiny-Tiny Bacon

"Why do theme parks' meals not taste good?" I kept repeating this thought during the trip.

I dined at two restaurants & cafés that were supposed to be the best of all in the Universal Studios Orlando (from online reviews). I visited the Three Broomsticks Restaurant at Harry Potter's Hogsmead and Lambard's Seafood Grille in the San Francisco Area.

After the Dragon Challenge (a magical roller coaster feeling like riding a broomstick), I needed breakfast with a strong cup of coffee. It was a mistake to ride the coaster on an empty stomach (for me, my hubby was totally fine). I forgot to scream during the ride as I was not feeling well. I could not walk straight afterward and he left me to ride the second track of the roller-coaster (there were two rides from the same line), and he totally enjoyed it (jealous!). While I hate being more pale than my hubby, I was finally able to sit down at the Three Broomsticks Restaurant for breakfast. At the restaurant (in the Harry Potter movies), the usual suspects (Harry, Hermione, and Ron) drink Butter-Beer and enjoy dinning with their friends and professors. I am not familiar with the movies; however, I read Harry Potter in both Japanese and English, so I could accept what they offered for the menus in the atmosphere.

I ordered the Continental Breakfast (watermelon, cantaloupe, honey-dew, pineapple, and other fruit with a croissant and a blueberry scone), while my hubby ordered the American Breakfast (a tiny-tiny bacon and sausage link with a really small portion of eggs and two pinches of potatoes--we thought it was a joke at first). 

I loved the blueberry scone and our picture showed how wonderful the breakfast was; though, the total cost was thirty six dollars!! I understand that the theme park costs more than usual restaurants; with the amount of food and quality do not matching market value at all. 

At the theme park, waiters and waitresses were very nice. They smiled at me and some tried to greet me in Japanese. Their name tags showed where they were from, so we could have nice conversations about their hometowns. The service was very good, but if I go again, I would like to vocalize how unhappy I was with the food. I booked Lambard's Seafood Grille around the San Francisco Area for dinner because the online review suggested a smooth dining experience. I booked ahead of time, and I was really looking forward to tasting their clam chowder... 

I love trying new meals. My aunt used to be a chef, and my mother was a nutritionist. I have really high expectations about food when I chose restaurants. I read reviews and image what the meals will taste like. Unfortunately the seafood restaurant did not satisfy my greedy stomach.

So I quickly learned that the theme park did not provide good food. I went to the City Walk for the next day's dinner. I visited Emeril's Orlando Restaurant (because over 80% of the restaurants there were CLOSED due to renovations). I did not know him as a chef but I knew him as a character from Futurama (Elzar)! 

I had a fantastic early dinner--quiet (no screaming children or adults), fresh baked cornmeal bread (my favorite), and handsome waiters (which are always important). I ordered a simple hamburger and fish sandwich. They were very delicious. Fantastically, the total is about the same as the either of the first two restaurants in Universal Studios.  

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Kennedy Space Center, Orlando Florida

It is always mixed a feeling, fantastic and nervous when I visit a new place. Especially when my budget and vacation time meet (miraculously I still have two day vacations), I must travel. My hubby and I decided to visit Orlando, Florida in the last minute. Airplane tickets from United Airlines were acceptable (and Double Tree Orlando by Hilton had a special discount).

On the first day, after renting a car, we visited the Kennedy Space Center. The most exciting and educational centers there were the real space shuttle (Atlantis), legendary Apollo Projects, the moon stone, and many other excitements. I booked tickets through their website; therefore, I did not have to wait in a long line (even though it was not a popular season to visit). I should have registered online ahead of time because I could have received $10 gift cards. It was my only regret and my hubby said "stop saying that."

The space shuttle Altantis was huge. I could see burn marks on the surface which told how tough it was to re-enter Earth's atmosphere so many times. Jet engine outlets (pictured right) are bigger than my parents' apartment in Japan.

I work for the tool industry and my company has business relationships with aerospace projects. I was so thrilled to think that maybe my company's products make these shuttle parts, or maybe I sold milling tools & equipment to one of NASA's manufacturing lavatories. What I do is a million galaxies away from an artistic-poetic field; however, it gives me different identities. I finally started appreciating my job with a non-poetic, sometimes dusty, rusty, and oily inside sales position.

In the Kennedy Space Center, there were governmental and commercial (private) facilities to showcase space shuttles and satellites. Space shuttles were made in the big white building (pictured above), and the shuttle was transported by a huge vehicle to its launching space. It takes more than 8 hours to get there. The road for the shuttle is very wide (pictured bottom) and I saw some alligators by the water along the road. 

Space Launch Experience was really shaky. I sat head down at a ninety degree angle for about a minute and a half. For actual astronauts, they have to sit in that position for eight hours. Astronauts explained that the launching experience is very close to the actual feeling. My hubby was a little bit disappointed because it was not as extreme as the video presentation (compared it to a massage chair). However, I was afraid to lose my earrings and leave the Earth. The Earth was beautiful from space and I felt zero gravity for about three seconds. Kennedy Space Center definitely opened my mind about space exploration. I feel that space is much closer than I think. If I visit the center again, I would like to try astronaut training activities and have a breakfast with one.  

After the Kennedy Space Center, we visited Cocoa Beach to have dinner. It was fun to watch surfers from Pelican's Bar & Grill. I have never had salad in a bread bowl; however, the garlic bread was really delicious along with popcorn alligator (it tasted like soft chicken) and seafood tacos.