We basically lost a day at Universal Orlando, because back in January when we bought our holiday package for October when we redeemed our purchase, the airline had eliminated our return flight and moved us to an earlier flight, basically eliminating our last day. My Bride was undaunted by bureaucracies, unconcerned help desks and the likes, after our last night dinner, which I will discuss shortly, we took the water taxi to our hotel and packed so that we could leave our luggage with the Bell Captain, until our airport shuttle arrived to start our return trip. We packed early, because we were going to be the first in line to get into the park to ride on “Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure” as that every time we had attempted to go there, I think the line was almost to Detroit. We got down to the water taxi port and they were not open, so we walk from the hotel to the City Walk and all I could think of, was, what if there were alligators lurking in the waterway on the grounds, because we were the only people out that early in the morning, and I was also a rebel and walked in the fresh air without a mask and it was refreshing. My thoughts were that we could get a fast breakfast before the park opened, surprise, the park was locked up at a gate outside of the CityWalk. Eventually the gates were unlocked, we walked through some metal detectors and then we walked to the entrance of the park, and we were the first in line at one turnstile, but I think we had a rookie, as she couldn’t get the thumbprint reader to work, also my Bride’s catch-all purse exploded from all of the stuff, that she could never find in it, and I was instructed to go straight to the admission gate for the ride, as I was passed by runners and joggers, it seemed that everyone at that early hour, only had plans to go to the ride. I finally got to the line, yes, there was already a line, and I had to step aside and wait until my Bride showed up, and she had bought a “fanny-pack” contraption, but got everything to squeeze into it. Somehow, we still ended up getting into the first wave of riders as we followed the maze that was set up. I am glad that I did not wear my hat that morning, as it was the G-forces of the ride blew the head band right off of my Bride somewhere on the grounds of the ride. The ride was awesome, exciting and my Blood Pressure and adrenaline survived the test and we were both alive at the end, even though there were some pretty scary moments, especially with me strapped into a motorcycle, and my Bride had more security in the sidecar. Everyone said that it was the ride to do, we did it, and I must agree, and we will probably not go on another rollercoaster ride, unless it is with potential great-grandchildren in a kiddie park. We had time left to go and have a mediocre breakfast at the hotel, and I found a secluded sofa near a closed bar in one of the lobbies of the hotel and took a short nap, I am such a great world traveler. The next thing I knew, we were home, and that is when I began writing about the trip, as I have never understood the compulsion the tell the world on Social Media that my house will be empty, because we are on holidays.
The night before, we had reservations for dinner, courtesy of the grand customer service attention of the manager at Mythos restaurant in the park. We were going to Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen and it was a structure that one could not miss the first time we took the water taxi from our hotel to the CityWalk. It was a huge imposing structure and in my mind’s eye, I envisioned Gene Wilder coming down the steps surrounded by Oompah Loompas, but that was not a Universal film. We started off by sharing an order of Baked Brie en Croute with Raspberry Marmalade, fresh fruit, toasted almonds and Chocolate Almond Bread and fresh-baked Lavash. The Chocolate Almond Bread was wonderful, so I tried to use the Lavash to allow my Bride to enjoy the bread and it was a great starter. There was an assortment of entrée dishes, pastas and flatbreads or pizzas. My Bride had the Toothsome Nicoise with Citrus-crusted Tuna, Fingerling Potatoes, olives, eggs, asparagus, tomatoes, red onion and a Citrus Vinaigrette. I had the Braised Short Rib with Aged Cheddar Grits, roasted carrots, natural jus and Cocoa Gremolata. The dishes were delicious and yes, in a restaurant espousing Chocolate, we had dessert, a Chocolate Crème Brulee and the last time we had such a dessert was also in Orlando some twenty years ago, so we were very pleased.
Of course, what good is talking about the food with out something liquid to accompany the food with, and I wanted a wine that could work with fish, meat and potentially some chocolate. We had a bottle of King Estate Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2016. King Estate Winery was established in 1991, when Ed King Jr and Ed King III bought a one-thousand plus cattle farm in the Willamette Valley and made it into a vineyard. It was an organic practiced farm since day one, and it is one of the largest single-block organic vineyards to this day. They are best known for their Pinot Gris, but they also do Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Pinot Noir is the second-most planted varietal on the property. The wine has been aged for ten months in French Oak, after initial fermentation in Stainless Steel. It was a perfect wine for the table with a nose a black fruit and offering black cherry in the taste and finish. On our way out we refrained from purchasing from the chocolatier, and I begrudgingly put back on the shelve a beautiful pith helmet, not a Groucho Marx or African Safari style, but more like a Douglas Fairbanks Gunga Din style, but it was close, but packing it, would have be troublesome. We had a wonderful meal and some great memories, even if I did get to tease my Bride a bit, but that is my nature.