First of all, very special, amazing, hearthfelt thanks, because I absolutely WOULD NOT be going to Orlando to cover the Bocuse d'Or without these amazing people, especially Liz Lessner and Walker Evans, who hit everyone up for donations!:
If I forgot you, please please please forgive me, and let me know.
So! I just wanted to give everyone an update on my plans for the Bocuse d'Or. Thanks to the very generous support of lots of super cool local people and business owners, I have just booked my trip to Orlando. I got a great deal at the Peabody Hotel - I booked through Hotwire, and even though I got less-than-stellar travel times, I won't have to get up early, and for $800, I got my flight, a rental car, and 4 nights at the Peabody. To book through the Peabody site, I would have paid $275 per night. Well, I wouldn't have because I wouldn't have spent that much, but with the Hotwire deal, I felt pretty good.
I don't like to fly. For this reason, I prefer to fly with as few stops as possible. So I really wanted to fly Southwest, because they make nonstop flights to Orlando. But once again, my desire to stay in a really comfy hotel with a soft and cushy bed and the thought of a cabana with a TV and wireless right next to the pool won over. it's just like being at home, except there's a pool instead of hardwood and cats! If you know me at all, the very thought of my vast ghost pale white body lounging in a cabana in a swim suit is pretty funny (my nickname as a child was "casper." I was very happy when this changed to "Weezy" around 8th grade); throw in a a cocktail with an umbrella, while sitting within spitting distance of the Magical Realm (I don't know what's copyrighted these days, and I don't have $ for a lawyer), and you have a nexus of irony that just might throw the entire world into chaos. If I come back with a tan, or heaven forbid, go golfing, you'll know it's time to run for cover.
At any rate, I will be in Orlando from Wednesday, September 24th through Sunday, 28th. I will probably arrive too late on Wednesday to eat anywhere interesting, but I'm all in for Orlando restaurant recommendations. Although I have to say, Orlandonians seem to have some sort of fixation on Churrascaria, according to Open Table. Now, while I am far from being a vegetarian, I really don't eat a ton of meat; the thought of going somewhere and getting pounds of meat doesn't really strike my fancy. Unless it's an in-ground pig roast...
I tried using Chowhound, and someone recommended some sort of Mexican restaurant, which we'll call Mexico's, for the sake of the story, and then another "Chowhounder" replied "I used to love Mexico's until Chipotle came to town." Um. I love Chipotle, really, I do - even with their overuse of cilantro - but if I want to eat at Chipotle, there are at least 3 within a comfortable walk and a very short drive from my home. I will not be eating at Chipotle or it's counterpart. I've heard there's some good Cuban in Orlando, so hopefully someone can help me out. There also seem to be a dearth of food blogs in Orlando, so please help me out if you know of some.
I will post more updates as they are available!! Please keep your finger crossed that I will get a press pass. Maybe that will even get me into the "gala" dinner! Hey Amy D, do you do formal wear? For big ladies?