Tuesday, March 3, 2009

More great food at Margarittaville!

In January we attended our annual trade show in Orlando, FL. After the special gluten free meal we had in Panama City Beach in November, I decided to visit the Margaritaville location in Orlando, while at Universal Studios for a trade show party one night. It was a long trek to the restaurant from the part of the park our organization had rented for the function. But since 98% of the food offered at the 'free' party was off limits to me, we really had no choice but to make the (park employee escorted) hike over there, and hope it was worth the effort.

After a walk that felt like we'd left the county, we finally arrived at Margaritaville to find it larger and even more elaborately 'theme decorated' than the one in PCB. The exploding volcano was really entertaining, supposedly erupting with what else - a Margarita. The Chef knew we were coming and we were seated right away even though they were on a waiting list and we were quite early for our reservation. It's always good to have a connection to someone in power in a restaurant, whether you're gluten free or not.

At this location they already have a gluten free menu which includes a gluten free bun, french fries (dedicated fryer) and even a gluten free brownie dessert! But of course I wanted something special and had mentioned to the Corporate Chef in an e-mail that I really missed being able to have seafood or crab bisque when dining out. It's super easy to make gluten free but of course, most places don't bother. When the Chef came out he mentioned they'd made me some special seafood bisque. OK - planning ahead once again pays off big time...and being a blogger doesn't hurt either!

Both the husband and I ordered a bowl - not a cup - of the bisque. Out comes the server with two massive bowls and we realized we had grossly over ordered. The bisque alone was a meal for me and I still had a burger and fries coming.

The taste, texture and smell of this bisque was completely amazing and I don't care what they say about how difficult this dish is to make. They need to put it on the menu and serve to gluten free patrons and glutenoids alike - period. It was chock full of all things seafood and corn and spices and it was simply wonderful! I asked for a container to take some home and had to use a soda cup with plastic lid. I didn't care. I'd have to risk that it would make it to the hotel safely where I had a fridge with freezer.

I honestly can not remember what my husband ordered but it was good and from the gluten free menu. My burger itself was one of the best I've had and though I was thinking I would not like the bun they served, it was actually quite good. I was a little worried I got a gluten bun by mistake, but I noticed the shape is a little odd and knew it was indeed gluten free.

We so enjoyed our visit to Margaritaville and the food was outstanding - chain restaurant or not. The 'balloon' girl that entertained patrons was told to treat us to balloon hats and wondered how we knew the Chef. The husband wanted to wear the (connected) hats throughout the meal, but since he's much taller then me (even when seated) that was not feasible. We wore them for a photo and then took them off. The balloon hat, like the bisque, made it home to Atlanta safely and though the air eventually left the heart shaped hat, the bisque was excellent for lunch the next week!
Thanks to Margaritaville Orlando for going the extra mile to make their customers happy - even those who can't eat gluten. I think since they have a dedicated fryer already, gluten free chicken fingers can't be far behind.... Remember to ask for what you want in life - even if it's just seafood bisque - you never know when you're going to get it just for the asking.
After dinner - and the long trek to our trade show party - we joined in the street dancing with the Simpson characters. It was certainly a sight to see these large yellow creatures bobbing around with everyone!

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