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.
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.
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.
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.
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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