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Eat This: The Grand Floridian Cafe

Occasionally I find myself having run a good, healthy, calorie burning distance on property and, as such, famished beyond all pretensions of self control and within reach of some very excellent food. It’s a dangerous combination. Such was the case a week or so ago as I stumbled into the Grand Floridian after a long training run.

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The menu at the Grand Floridian Café was calling to me and who was I to deny it?

I grabbed a last minute reservation and was quickly seated at a lovely window side table. My waitress was darling and talked me through the many options – though I’d known going in where my meal would take me. After ordering my Chipotle Bloody Mary – prepared with a chipotle-infused vodka and garnished with a jumbo shrimp (!) and chorizo with a lime-salt rim – I settled into reading the rest of the menu and confirmed what I’d come for. (You can tell we’re getting close and comfortable with each other as I just dangled a preposition….) The Lobster ‘Thermidor’ Burger.

Let me say that again for you. The LOBSTER. THERMIDOR. BURGER. Described on the menu as a 7-oz. artisanal burger patty with lobster-parmesan thermidor sauce on a seared brioche bun and served with the café’s signature seasoned french fries, I knew it had to be mine. (Confession – I got the cucumber salad instead of the fries. It looked like a sad little cup of sliced pickles. Learn from my mistakes. Get the fries.)

So my drink and my burger arrive and holy hell. This photo shoot was quick because momma was hangry.

Confession #2: I don’t usually do random foods with lobster. I’m a bit of a lobster purist. I want it with butter and nothing else and generally think that piling it into other foods is wasteful at best and sacrilege at worst.

But you guys. YOU GUYS. It melted into itself. The roll was buttery and soft with just the right amount of resistance. The burger was cooked a perfect medium rare and the lobster and sauce on top were everything right in the world in the form of a burger topping / condiment. It went down easier than I thought possible and erased my run with happy fullness.

I could have happily rolled out of there and home at that moment but for you I powered on. I asked for a dessert menu.

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Choosing was hard. The waitress came over and we briefly discussed my dilemma. She jokingly suggested the sampler for 2. “YES” I said. “BRILLIANT.” She seemed concerned and promised to bring a to go box with this last course.

The cheerful little row of shot glass sized desserts arrived soon after. “For 2?!”, I laughed. Though truly for the reasonable prices of each item, any of them would have made a light and happy way to end a perfect meal. Still, I’d gotten them all, and I soldiered on.

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The sampler included tastes of 4 popular desserts – the fresh berry tart, the mocha pot de crème, the chocolate timbale, and the wild strawberry cheesecake. The mocha pot, a coffee-flavored custard and whipped cream, was light and delicious. The chocolate timbale, a chocolate gateaux with bittersweet chocolate mousse, was rich and decadent. The wild strawberry cheesecake, whose name spoke for itself, was creamy and wonderful with sweetness cut by the (at least comparatively) tart berry. And last but oh-so-definitely not least, the fresh berry tart, a layer of almond cake topped with seasonal berries and apricot glaze, was hands down my personal favorite. Given the choice of one, that would easily be my dessert order. I am a sucker for almond drenched cake and fresh fruit. Had the sampler been nothing but four slices of this, I’d’ve been in bliss.

I did not need a to go box.

I am so happy to know that a relaxed and decadent spot like this is just around the corner. And while I ordered a heavy lunch, in part because I was post-run famished and in part because I wanted the full experience of the place, you really could have a lovely lunch here without leaving feeling stuffed or having spent a fortune. I will most definitely be back, and soon.

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