Saturday, June 7, 2008

Sun, Sand & Sucky Service

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A trip to Florida isn't complete unless I had a chance to get some sun on a beach! Today was a lazy day where we drove out to Clearwater Beach. It's obvious that the beaches in Chicago don't even compare. Clearwater was beautiful and I loved every drop of sun I soaked in.But before hitting the sand, we stumbled on a quaint Thai Restaurant called Bualuang Thai. At first, we thought the restaurant was closed because it was empty with no staff in sight. But we walked in and we were pleasantly surprised when a beautiful hostess/server dressed in a fancy Thai costume greeted us.

We started our lunch with curried crab rangoon and a starter plate that included a bowl of chicken rice soup and an eggroll.
The soup that accompanied the starter plate was wonderful and refreshing. It was a simple, clear, homemade chicken broth with bits of chicken breast and rice.
The crab rangoon was especially good and interesting. Inside of the usual cream cheese and crab filling I'm used to, their version had a gream curry flavor - a nice change from the usual!
My sister in law ordered Seafood Lard Nar, thick wide rice noodles topped with stir fried vegetables and seafood.
My husband ordered Shrimp Pad Prik King, large shrimp in a coconut chile sauce with veggies over rice.

I ordered their Double Happiness, large shrimp and chicken breast in a peanut butter & coconut milk sauce with bell peppers, onions and mushrooms over rice.
To cleanse our palate from the spiciness, we indulged in coconut ice cream served with lychee fruit and banana "coins", which are slices of banana wrapped in eggroll wrappers and lightly fried.

After a lazy day on the beach, we cleaned up and hit the Universal City Walk for dinner. Sadly, it wasn't a great experience. But here are some smiles we did manage to share before the night went downhill...
We had a late dinner at Margaritaville inside City Walk. We sat down at our table at roughly 10:30pm and after 15 minutes, we ordered 4 dishes and an appetizer, along with drinks. Our appetizer came out about 30 minutes later.... and our entrees followed after another 30 minutes. We didn't get refills on our drinks until we got our check - that took another 15-20 minutes after we finished our meal (which probably took us 15 - 20 minutes to finish). When we paid our check, we waited roughly 15-20 minutes to sign our credit card slip. This was due to the credit card machine going down and all receipts had to be written by hand. When we got our credit card back, it was damaged when it was swiped - to the point where it could not be used at an ATM machine. The magnetic stip could still be read, but we couldn't use it for ATM. Needless to say, this is what broke the camel's back and the hubby had to approach management about the service we received and the damage done to our credit card. To rectify the situation, the manager comped our meal and offered us a free dinner and drinks the next time we visit. Despite their generous offer, I don't believe we will ever return... and even though the food was comped, it really wasn't any good.

Fortunately, the live entertainment during all our waiting was good and helped keep our spirits upbeat:
As a result of the slow and poor service at dinner, we missed our chance to sign up at "Rising Star," a karaoke stage show, where folks can volunteer to sing their chosen song on stage with a live band. So after a long night of crappy food and service, we headed home and called it a night. Thank goodness we have a few more days in Orlando to make up for this bad experience. (I knew there was a reason why I avoided tourist traps!!)

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