Six or so years ago I took my first trip to Spain to help with evangelism at a church in Zaragoza which is a town in the Northern part of Spain. Today I would list Spanish as one of my favorite food groups but on that first trip it was so foreign to me that it was somewhat hard to stomach, with incarnations of tuna and pork that I was unused to. Upon returning home I was somewhat aghast to find that I was craving Chipotle burritos and Red Robin Hamburgers.
Upon moving to Orlando I find that even with the homogenized food and strip malls of chain restaurants catering to families visiting the ‘attractions’ we do not have a Red Robin. However, there is a Red Robin about 3 1/2 hours to the south in Fort Myers/Cape Coral. That’s it. Just one in Florida (although recently we read about two that are coming about 6 or 8 hours to the north.
Friday for the Easter weekend we found ourselves with enough time, health and money to take a road trip to satisfy my craving for a Blue Ribbon Burger (no lettuce, tomato or pink, swap the onion bun for sesame seed) with a side of tartar in which to dip my bottomless basket of steak fries. Brian had the chicken. An Orlando friend who is semi-native to Fort Myers was home for the holiday weekend and joined us for dinner although I suppose it Red Robin is sort of like Monty Python. If you’ve always had it you will love it, if not, meh. Endlessly refillable Strawberry Lemonades rounded out our caloric and somewhat homesick binge.
We spent Saturday walking off the burgers at Sanibel Island hiking the beach in the surf looking at sunbathers and seashells and made our way home up the middle of the state which is surprisingly interesting with small towns boasting cracker libraries, fruit stands and orange groves.
I enjoyed every bite of that burger although a week later I realize that it helped to surface a homesickness that is more piquant than the burger.