Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Bienvenido a Miami! RagnarFLK Part II

Bone chilling temperatures came to Maine just as I was getting ready to head south to Florida. The timing could not have been better! I had been looking forward to this trip for so long, it seemed like Mother Nature was giving me the perfect send off to make sure I REALLY enjoyed the Florida sunshine!

I opted for a late night flight and would not arrive into Ft Lauderdale until 12:30am. I figured I'd just sleep on the flight (not really) or get some work done or read. I found a Starbucks in the airport and with my own little bit of Rocket Fuel, I was really ready to FLY!

I arrived in Ft Lauderdale to this!

My darling team mate John holding up my before/after magnet that would grace the van during the race!
I was so excited to finally meet John, he was one of those people I just connected with immediately and knew that we would get along famously!

Of course, me being me...we had go get slightly inappropriate in the airport in the middle of the night!

It was a quick drive to our hotel in Miami and I was ready for sleep!

Woke up the next morning to this view from my window

So naturally I dragged my room mate Carly, kicking and screaming  out into the sunshine for a cup of coffee and a quick walk just to see what the temps were like.

It was a gorgeous Miami morning and our quick walk turned into a leisurely 4 mile walk along the water. The day was starting to warm up and Coach has given me a run to complete so it was time to lace up and get moving!

I spent the next 8+ miles checking out the area of Route 1 and then Bricknell Key and then Miami River walk area. It was getting hotter but I was just so happy to be out RUNNING in this amazing sunshine! It had been years since I was in Miami and it was refreshing to see it with THESE eyes and on foot!

sweaty miles-taking a break at the Mardarin Oriental  

I had a couple hours to kill before I had to get ready for dinner and filming with The Today Show for our team dinner so I chatted with one of the local guys who was working on the film, Billy. Billy was heading out to take care of some film business and so kindly offered to take me down to South Beach. All I wanted to do was chill by a pool or by the beach!

After I walked around South Beach a bit and then settled into some calm reverie at the Ritz Carlton

So as you can see, life was NOT sucking sitting on a cushy lounge chair on South Beach-enjoying first class service and yummy iced tea!

I got to swim in the brilliant turquoise water and dig my toes into the white sand beach. I'm not quite sure why I even came home...

Billy was nice enough to come and pick me up later in the day, just in time to jump in the shower and get ready for our team dinner!

We were going to be filmed by the folks from The Today Show for a New Year New You piece they were doing--and they would be with us for part of the Ragnar Relay as well.

Dinner was being hosted by a place called Randazzo's Little Italy in Coral Gables. After a long 24 hours with not a lot of healthy fare, I was hungry and excited for a nice Italian dinner with my team mates!

After some filming business, we "wrapped" for the day. The owner came over and said a few hello's and shared with us how he started his restaurant-he was a former boxer and liked to eat. Then he disappeared  not to be seen again that night. It's really funny how awful the whole dinner experience was...and I almost feel bad for the people at Randazzo's (but not really).

Within a minute of sitting down--now mind you it's the 12 team mates, several spouses, and an entire film & production crew trying to get settled--we were asked by the tall blonde with a demanding Eastern European flair what we wanted for dinner. "You get 2 pasta and 2 salad. What do you want?"

Now first, we had to set up and arrange all of our own seating from small four-top tables (there must have been 35 of us) and we were not even given a menu so we had no idea what they ever offered. We were all kind of shocked and laughing like "what the heck is going on" and tried to figure out what we were doing. We have some team members who are very particular on what they eat, we have some that are gluten intolerant, etc. so getting a menu together for a group based on "2 pasta and 2 salad" was going to be an experience. We then discovered that the restaurant had been generous enough to offer our dinner gratis but apparently it was based on the "2 pasta 2 salad" deal and if we wanted anything other than that, we would be paying for our own dinner--and that was just fine with us!

So we got a veggie pasta dish, a chicken pasta dish and a vegetarian salad and one "meat salad" (as they called it). We finally had a server, got our orders figured out and wanted to EAT! Ada and I were going to split a chicken picatta dish and we'd have some of the pasta and salad.

The salad came out relatively quick compared to how the rest of the night's meal would progress. The salad was actually fantastic too-both of them!

They were antipasti style salads, the veggie one with tons of veg and artichoke hearts (love 'em!) and the "meat salad" had mozza cheese with salami chunks. Delish! They also served a crusty bread with a fantastic hot pepper & garlic olive oil. I could have had this as a DRINK it was sooo good.

It is a good thing that I liked the salad and the bread so much because it would be a LONG time before we say any other food...or plates.

The veggie salad-yummm

the "meat salad" equally yumm
my very empty plate-we would spend A LOT of time together

with Team Captn Rik

The service was just down right horrible. The waiter who had our section just seemed pissed off whenever we asked for anything. I mean, really...we did not have any plates other than our appetizer plates. We were never asked for drink orders (though we did have water). I'm find with water but an iced tea would have been nice.

It was taking SO long for our dinner orders to come out that one team member John finally spoke up and asked. John explained that we had been waiting a very, very long time and we were so hungry he did not really care WHAT they served at this point! I think we had been waiting close to two hours by now. We did not order any appetizers other than the salad that was offered so no idea what the problem would have been.

Pasta was finally delivered to the table. Now, one of my team mates--Jersey Jen--is gluten intolerant and they had been made aware of this long before our visit. They even said that they had gluten free pasta just for Jen! What a happy surprise when they remembered and brought out the special plate of gluten free pasta topped with....

wait for it

The chicken was covered in flour and sitting on top of the gluten free pasta.
At this point we just had to laugh. So we made jokes about it and Jen continued to eat more salad and eat around the Gluten Covered Chicken Chunks.

Then Katie ordered chicken lemone and asked that it be prepared sans butter or oil. Not only did the waiter give her hard time about it, but it came out swimming in...

wait for it

OIL. You can read about Katie's take on our team dinner on her blog Runs for Cookies.

So really, dinner was just SO BAD it was comical. We ended up making jokes all night and even invented our own word.


Randazzo'd-getting totally frickin screwed on something that could have been really good.

Regardless of the disaster that was dinner, we laughed and enjoyed spending time with our team mates. It was a good night and a great way to be starting to sleep!


Frickin' Fabulous at 40 said...

It was just a disaster, but the food was excellent, when we finally got it!! I really think they had poor Nonna Millie chained to the stove with her arthritic hands just trying to keep up with the demands! I'd love to go back to see if it was just the "free" thing that caused the horrible service or if it's just the restaurant itself!

Jen said...

hahaha... Yeah - it was a shame because I think that the owner meant well and the food was excellent. Just a wacky night overall. oh well. live and learn!!

John Hulsey said...

Lord knows, we made the best of it. We got a great laugh plus a new word, Randazzo'd!

Anonymous said...

Working for a place that handles large parties... I wish other restaurants would admit when they just don't have the capacity or experience to do so! It pains me for the guests to see a meal so terribly botched, especially if you're preparing for a big event like a Ragnar!

You look rockin' in your pics- good luck on your Ragnar!! I can't wait to see the coverage.


"2 pasta, 2 salad"... reminds me of the old... old SNL skit "Cheesburger.. Pepsi"

CautiouslyAudacious said...

So jealous of where you are right now! Eating out is always so hard especially when you want things a certain way, sorry it was such an ordeal! That's why I have made it a habit to travel with snacks! Have fun!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

2 pasta, 2 Salad, I agree with Bob, sounds like a SNL skit!!

I have loved following this journey, so fun

I will be at Rev3 CP in some shape or form, all depends how I feel after IMSW, but yes, dinner sounds awesome, maybe we can get 2 pasta, 2 salad!!

Lealah said...

I just tried to keep in mind that the food was delish! And we got some great time together, I do love the term "Randazzo'd" Cute!