Saturday, April 3, 2010

Anybody know what a gaucho is?

What better time than Spring Break than for me to once again to re-enter the Blogosphere as a credible, reliable web journalist?

So, as I type here from Sea Colony in Bethany Beach, DE, it is my hope to get back into the swing of things.

Here goes nothing:

I must say that I am quite jealous of the school systems that still have a Break of at least five school days. It would be splendid to be able to enjoy the warm weather, watch an endless amount of baseball, and take in The Masters on TV, not in-person), but it is not to be.

That being said, Frederick County says goodbye to students on June 11 … other systems head into the third week of June. I suppose I can rub it in then.

Speaking of baseball, your fearless blogger spent a weekend in Tampa, FL taking in Spring Training (not to mention NCAA basketball on big TVs, and a Capitals-Lightning hockey game). I met a college friend for festivities that commenced on Thursday evening - we were seated at our table and eating Buffalo wings in time for the Ohio-Georgetown tip-off. That upset was the beginning of a compelling evening of game viewing, pub fare, and cold beverages.

Friday kicked off in style - at the Waffle House. Our scattered and covered adventure next took us to Kissimmee, FL for a Grapefruit League contest between the Astros and Blue Jays. Not even the poor quality of the baseball or the sleepy state of the crowd could take away from the experience of watching baseball from the sunny bleachers.

Saturday would be a double feature - Orioles / Pirates from Sarasota, followed by Alex Ovechkin's return from suspension for the Washington Capitals. As the official were dropping the puck for that game, Northern Iowa was completing its upset win over Kansas. The arena in-house TV people were wise to show the game on the screens around the concourse.

You are probably wondering about the other dining experiences from the trip ... well, that very topic leads me to this:

Is there anything better than a Brazilian Steakhouse? I mean, seriously ... a dining patron starts and stops the delivery of food with the flip of a red / green disc. Waiters dressed like gauchos
rush to your table offering one of the fourteen or so meets that a grilled in the kitchen. Before the parade of meats, you can choose from many selections at a salad bar that is the size of a Starbucks. While you are eating the meats, traditional side dishes that include plantains, cheese rolls and mashed potatoes are delivered and served family-style.

We hit just such an establishment on the Friday of our Tampa trip, and I had been to one in Baltimore about a month prior to that. While the excursion is not cheap, I capitalized on Baltimore's "Restaurant Week" the first time, and there happened to be a discount in Tampa too.

Did I mention that the whole premise is all-you-can-eat?

Simply stated, "dee-lish."

There are other all-you-can-eat places out there - some are good, and some not so much. I enjoy an occasional AUCE crab experience. You can't go with kids, or with any company that loses interest in the work involved. But if you find the right place that happens to offer this deal and has a good ball game on the TV that faces your table, go for it.

IHOP has an all-you-can-eat pancake deal. I've never had it, so I can't comment except to say that I'd like to have it - like, now!

Olive Garden offers a seasonal "never-ending-pasta-bowl," which is a neat idea. Not for the quantity factor - you can ask for another bowl of pasta and try a different sauce each round. So for the diner that like a variety of flavors, this might be up your alley.

Pizza is fun in an AUCE setting. Pizza Hut has offered for quite some time (at least since I was in college, so 15 years or so) a lunch buffet of salad, breadsticks, pizza and dessert items. For about $7.00, it's decent. One warning - don't go on a day that the school's are off ... the buffet gets over-run by kids, and their use of tongs is imperfect.

You can also get pizza at CiCi's pizza buffet - there's one in Catonsville that Lilly loves because the buffet is just the right height for her, and there is an arcade inside. I think there's a daddy-daughter date night headed there next week during her Break.

And finally (and briefly) ...

Go O's ... thanks, Terps ... poor Wizards ... keep making moves, Purple Birds.

Happy Easter