Sunday, August 20, 2006

Bad Taste Is Timeless

I used to work occasionally at parties with this guy who served genuine Texas barbecue. People raved about it. I tried it, and found it bland, nearly tasteless in fact. I thought the guy was a fraud. Now I've got a book called Roadfood, which recommends genuine barbecue joints all over the country (among many other things, and it's a great book).

We stopped at a genuine barbecue joint in Georgia a few weeks back, and I learned that genuine barbecue is indeed what the Texas guy was serving. I came to a very humiliating realization--I don't like genuine barbecue. Here in Orlando, on Semoral Drive and Curry Ford, there's a little Cuban joint in a strip mall called Martin's BBQ with ribs that I would fight you for. They cost maybe 8 bucks a pound.

Still, I'm truly ashamed not to appreciate such an important part of Americana. I thought I knew better.

If you go to Orlando, after you get ribs, shoot over to the coast to see Anna Maria Island, with beautiful green water that's as warm as your bathtub. Pick up a hotel discount book on a thruway, and be prepared to lay out up to 60 bucks a night for a hotel, or rent a 2-bedroom condo for 75 in nearby Bradenton. Look for Alvarez Mexican Restaurant on the way.

And check out Blue Spring State Park, on the St. John's River. It's mystical, beautiful, and incomparable. And just in case that ain't enough, bring charcoal and you can make your own barbecue (any style you like).
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