52 Weeks 52 Tests – Week 4 – Florida, Chicken & Waffles, Key West & Margaritas

OK, 4th week of the year and 4th week of trying new stuff.
After 24 hours of plane waiting, plane flying and plain boring, I landed in Orlando, Florida.

I took the chance of the annual kick-off with my company to take a few extra days in the Sunshine State, ahead of the global corporate mass.

Every new place you go to normally comes with an healthy amount of discoveries and it’s just not possible to list them all, so I’ll just focus on few of them for now.

Dinner time was coming after a whole day in St Petersburg, Florida, wandering in awe in a brilliant Dali + Picasso exhibition, at The Dali

The Dali Museum
Inside the Museum

Dali is my favorite artist, by far. Since taking pictures inside the museum was prohibited, here is a link to the portfolio of the great Salvador on Artsy

We also sampled the local micro-brewery scene,

Arriving at Cycle Brewing

 

all this with Adam, the singer, guitarist and songwriter of the band Part Time Models who was kind enough to be my host for 2 days… Thanks a lot dude 😉

By the way, please check out Adam’s band sound below, I really like it. They will be releasing their LP soon, I really look forward to it.

**** Update from March 11th: Part Time Models has now released their EP “Harlot Drama” and it’s available for download on Bandcamp. If you like rock n’ roll, you should listen.

http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=3686277059/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/

I badly needed a USA grade beef steak and Adam suggested we tried getting our protein fix at Z-Grille, who has excellent meat, a nice setting, veggies choices, and even, Chicken & Waffles.

Wait, whaaaat? Chicken & Waffles ??? Together in the same dish??? You must be FFFing kidding me. WHAT IS THAT?
Like struck by lightning, I knew I could not back down and not try this dish for the #52W52T challenge…
So here it comes, the original Chicken & Waffles!
The Original Chicken & Waffles

 

Interestingly, Chicken & Waffles is a classic dish in the Southern American Soul Food cuisine, a form of cuisine derived from the various influence of Afro-American tastes that blended in the south.

Like most chicken in the USA, it came deep fried, which I am in general not fan of, but this time, the cornflake & sage frying coating made it more interesting. The waffle underneath was a bit soggy, I guess because it was covered by an onion & bacon sauce, and lying on top the grits. Now, grits is another new food for me, a sort of polenta made of corn. This grits is a cheddar one but I did not find it too cheesy and a bit on the bland side. The pink peppercorn ice cream was funky! Very buttery but it added a more refined fragrance to the dish.

All together, this Chicken & Waffles was not incredible, but very filling, American-sized.
I was actually quite happy to help Adam finish his one pound rib eye…

Just a lot of beef
After St Petersburg, I headed straight to Key West, the southernmost point in continental USA, a tourist mecqua, and a very clean, chilled tropical atmosphere.

 

 

 

 

After two half days and a night in Key West, I jumped in my rental Chrysler again and drove straight back up north. to Miami: just for the sake of driving into Miami and grab a drink at South Beach.

 

 

Miscelaneous comments and notes to self about Florida and the USA

– Vasectomy specialists advertise on huge billboards by the highway.

– Mc Donald’s are literally at every gas station, and only terrible fast food choices are available.
– Debt collectors are everywhere on the FM stations and their ads are the closest thing to a total brainwash to exist in the universe.
– You can buy Visa and Mastercard cards from a self-serve shelf, ready for you to top-up. Never saw that before…
SiriusXM satellite radio rocks, saved my long hours of driving…
– Fuel is cheap (20$ for full tank!) but tanks are small.
– People in the USA are huge in all X, Y, and Z axis. They are also so vocally enthusiastic for basic things that it’s almost hard to believe, especially in comparison with Singapore where waiters and store staff barely speak to you at all.

Some hot spots for a nice crawl in St Petersburg, Florida

Kahwa Coffee for your morning fix
The Dali Museum, for an impressive collection of paintings by the great Salvador
Ale and the Witch for an incredible selection of crafts, many of them coming from Florida itself.
Z-Grille for a surf n’ turf restaurant vibe, surrounded by skateboards.
Cycle brewing to taste their Freewheel session IPA.
The Emerald Bar for a cheap beer, and a game of darts listening to rock n’ roll and live music in this old and classic bar of St Pete

Talking about crawl, check the Crawlpal project of my friend Pras: you can

Next: See my trial for Week #5, or have a look from my experiments so far.

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