Bahama Mama (Florida Part 1)

June 19, 2009

Last weekend I visited my mom in sunny Orlando, Florida. I love these trips because I get to soak up the sunshine and spend a few relaxing days with mom. At this point I must thank Jessica for keeping the blog up and running while I was away for 5 whole days! Lady, you’re the best!

Now, on to the food! One of my mom’s favorite local restaurants is Bahama Breeze. It’s a local chain that we don’t have in D.C., so whenever I’m in town I will indulge mom in her craving for franchised food. I am not a big fan of chain restos, but anything for mom, right? I must admit, the vibe at Bahama Breeze is pleasant. The restaurant is modeled after a beach bungalo and the atmosphere is casual, friendly and tropical.
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The menu compliments the tropical theme boasting carribean flavors, fish dishes and fruity cocktails. My only disappointment was that there’s not much on the menu for vegetarians who don’t eat fish so it’s a good thing I do!

Mom and I started with salads topped with pumpkin seeds and a light raspberry vinaigrette. I must say, I think I’m starting to be “over” vinaigrettes these days. Or, maybe I should say, I’m over vinaigrettes that are so acidic they strip the skin off my tongue and burn holes in my esophagus on the way down. No good. For me, this salad had a tad too much kick.
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My mom is a petite woman but she can eat ALOT. Nearly every meal, she surprises me by tucking into a plate that is half the size of her body and yet she manages to finish every last morsel. This time was no exception. She insisted that we order the onion rings and though I was not in the mood, I agreed. I was pleasantly surprised. The onion rings had a crispy coconut crust and were served with tropical, mango, fruity dipping sauces. They were a tad greasy (as expected) but I really enjoyed the flavors and the interesting twist on the traditional onion ring.
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For my entree, I ordered the tower of jumbo lump crab and shrimp atop a bed of mango salsa. Although the waiter proclaimed this dish to be the best on the menu, I was far from impressed. To me (a seafood snob who lived in Charleston for 4 years eating some of the freshest seafood available), this dish was average at best. The jumbo lump crab did not taste fresh and the shrimp looked and tasted as though they had been boiled hours before. It lacked that sweetness that fresh shrimp generally have. The mango salsa was ok and the avacado was devine, but I could have gone without all the red pepper. I mean, red pepper has a strong flavor, so why pair it with crab and shrimp that are so delicate? I don’t get it and obviously I wasn’t a fan. The dish was very pretty, but for me it lacked flavor (except for all the red pepper). If it was truly the best dish on the menu, I wouldn’t want to try anything else.
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Overall, my experience at Bahama Breeze was typical of a chain restaurant. It wasn’t anything special, nor was it disasterous. I probably wouldn’t go back if I had my way, but seeing as it is one of my mom’s faves, I’m sure I’ll be back all too soon.

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Other posts you may enjoy:

  1. Tis the Season (Florida Part 2)
  2. Adventures in Austin, Part I
  3. Honeymoon Part 1: London and Oxford
  4. Honeymoon Part 2: Paris and Versailles
  5. Adventures in Austin, Part II

{ 9 comments }

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Ashley June 19, 2009 at 3:10 pm

That crab and avacado salad looks to die for! All of my favorite ingredients! I’ve been there before and had the Cuban Sandwich which is always a tied and true winner in my book (one of the few things holding me back from all out vegetarianism), but next time I’m down south for work, I’m definitely getting that salad. Nice find, Jen!

brandi June 19, 2009 at 1:41 pm

that place sounds good! especially the onion rings. i love onion rings, but have never had them with coconut.

Kailey June 19, 2009 at 1:33 pm

they used to have Bahama Breeze by me, but it shut down :\ I remember it was so good though! I used to always get their kid cheese pizza :)

Michelle June 19, 2009 at 12:59 pm

WOW!! I just found your blog through CoCo’s and wanted to say that i lOOOOVE your food choices!!! Your food porn is totally up there and I’m all for fab pictures of food!! :) Keep up the fabulous blog!!!

P.s. I’m hosting my own giveaway at Luckytastebuds, so please stop by if you’re interested!!

Jennifer June 19, 2009 at 2:33 pm

Thanks Michelle! I will def stop by!

Jennifer June 19, 2009 at 11:51 am

I can def see why people like this place. You get very generous portions and the dishes are definitely more interesting than the local chain. I’m just not a huge fan.

Alison June 19, 2009 at 10:22 am

I used to love Bahama Breeze. The one by my old house is closed now, but I enjoyed going there. Of course, my favorite dish was far from healthy – a pork dish with rich, creamy mashed sweet potatoes. I also loved their ropa vieja.

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