Suburban Florida And Chain Restaurants

Many of south Florida’s exclusive and gated communities lie at the doorstep of the Florida Everglades, literally building homes right to the very edge of the wetlands. The Everglades is one of the world’s largest (1,500,000 acres) subtropical wetlands. It is an endless expanse of swamps, marshes, and mangroves and is home to multitudes of wading birds, alligators and other critters.

People who are interested in eco vacations, can take tours given by the Seminole Indians of this area in a swamp buggy or air boat to learn more about this natural and interesting environment. Tip of the day…do this in the winter dry season. The same tour can be brutal during the summer. The hot and steamy summer is the rainy season and brings huge clouds of mosquitoes and other bugs that will surround you. That is when I refer to the area as “bug land”.

We travel to this suburban area, not for the flora and fauna, but to visit two of our children and grandchildren. It is Girl Scout Cookie time in south Florida and our granddaughter needed us to buy lots of cookies. How could you say “no” to our sweetie. Packing our car and driving south became our priority.

Little Miss K

We stay at the Weston Courtyard Marriott, a businessman’s hotel located just off the I-75 expressway and a short distance from two of our children. (I know, if you read my first post about this trip, we shouldn’t be staying at a hotel just off the Interstate). Each year when we arrive at the front desk of the Courtyard, Jose Diaz greets us by name with a big smile. This is not a boutique hotel, but Jose and the rest of the staff are friendly, the rooms are clean and the beds are comfortable. The hotel doesn’t have all the amenities that we like to have when traveling but it is convenient for visiting our family.

I think almost every chain restaurant in the country can be found in the surrounding area where our children live. My husband and I joke that in this area of the country, homes must not have kitchens because there are such long lines at every restaurant. The wait can be an hour or two for a table.  We have had good food at restaurants such as P. F. Chang’s for Chinese, Bonefish Grill for fresh seafood, and Las Vegas for Cuban food. If we want pizza, we head to our favorite… Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza.

A medianoche sandwich and tres leches cake at Las Vegas Cuban Cuisine .

Medianoche Sandwich

Tres Leche Cake

Seared tuna, “Bang Bang” shrimp and pan seared Wagyu beef dumplings at Bonefish Grill.

Seared Tuna

Bang Bang Shrimp

Pan Seared Wagyu Beef Dumplings

Roasted cauliflower pizza and salad with gorgonzola at Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza.

Roasted Cauliflower Pizza

Salad With Gorgonzola

If you are visiting south Florida, and find yourself in the suburbs, know that you can eat and sleep well.

About Karen

I travel the back roads of New England and beyond, sharing great food and interesting places.
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62 Responses to Suburban Florida And Chain Restaurants

  1. Monique says:

    Your little one is adorable..We visit Florida regularly and eat in:) Every night..We cook at home and enjoy the sunset on the beach. :)
    People love to eat out..
    And they eat out early there I have found..
    I love the quiet beaches of Florida..the blue skies,the kind people.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Monique, Thank you for your nice comment. We think our little one is a cutie. Florida has so many wonderful beaches…wish we had the blue skies instead of showers.

  2. Phew – I will stop worrying about you starving to death on your trip ;) Looks like you are having such a good time – and as for Little Miss K – too gorgeous for words!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tanya, We are definitely eating well and it is starting to show up in my waistband. We think our little one is gorgeous too…thank you for your kind compliment.

  3. Sue says:

    You could make a photo album just of those beautiful Food shots. Gorgeous…..and I imagine very tasty too!

    There are quite a few nice “chain” hotels now….so many are building new hotels with upgraded amenities. I love the new Hyatts-every bit as nice as a boutique, at not so high a price. I think you’re right about no one cooking anymore. I never thought I’d see the day so many eat out…..

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sue, The new Hyatts are great…we stayed at two on our last road trip. I guess I’m really amazed that people don’t cook much since I cook most of all our meals. Going out is a special event for us.

  4. I really don’t love eating at chains…not sure why but I don’t like it. The food at the Las Vegas Cuban Cuisine does look better than what we can expect in Canada in our chains. What a nice trip, Karen. You just missed a crazy storm on the eastern seaboard — damn groundhog lied!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Eva, Thank you for your nice comment. I agree with you, I don’t care for a lot of chain restaurants but some are good thank goodness. Hope that we miss the winter storms as we head back up the coast.

  5. Mad Dog says:

    You’ve had some fantastic food on the road trip – that’s a particularly impressive midnight sandwich and the cauliflower pizza looks to die for (and I’ve never heard of one before). It all makes me yearn for a new Carl Hiaasen book – I hope he hurries up and writes one!

    Brilliant picture of your Girl Scout too ;-)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mad Dog, I haven’t read a Carl Hiaasen book in a long time…clever author. The cauliflower pizza was the best I have ever had. Thanks…we think our little Girl Scout is a cutie.

  6. ceciliag says:

    Goodness me, I hope you went for a jog around the block after all that food, i must admit – i eat out so seldom that those shots made my mouth water!! c

    • Karen says:

      Hi Celi, Thank goodness we didn’t eat all of those dishes at once. They were over a course of several days but they definitely put some pounds on.

  7. Lea Ann says:

    I’ve been to the Everglades in the middle of Summer. H-O-T. Had to chuckle about the “no kitchens” and the hour wait. Ya wonder. Your granddaughter is beautiful! I’ve never been to Bonefish, but have saved a copy cat recipe for that Bang Bang shrimp. Want to make it one of these days.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lea Ann, The Everglades in the middle of summer…it is a wonder that you didn’t completely melt away. If it was up to me I wouldn’t wait an hour for any meal. The Bang Bang shrimp is terrific. Thank you for the compliment about our granddaughter, we think she is a real cutie.

  8. Larry says:

    Looks like you’ve found some good food – I especially like the Cuban sandwich.

  9. Well, I did it again. Read your post while hungry. Not good. ; )

  10. And of course your grand-daughter is too cute to resist. Offer to buy crates of cookies…it is the only way you will be able to leave without remorse. OK, I lie. You will still have a little remorse.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bliss, You are right…we always hate to say goodbye to our grandchildren. And isn’t she the cutest thing, who could say no to buying cookies from her.

  11. Sissi says:

    Karen, I have just completely changed my opinion about chain restaurants! All the dishes look terrific and not what I would imagine served in a chain. Although now that I think of it, the best coffee in my city is in a Swiss chain café similar to Starbuck’s… (Coffee is awful in most places here and in most Swiss cities I have been to; we often go out from certain restaurants just after the meal to have a drinkable coffee somewhere else ;-) ).

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sissi, Thank you for your nice comment. Chain restaurants can be good with some tasty foods and then there are some that you wonder how they stay in business. We were lucky. It is strange about coffee, so much of it is really terrible.

  12. That sandwich is ridiculously huge. I want two!

  13. What a cutie! If I didn’t already have a pantry full of GS cookies, I’d hop a plane for more!

  14. Who couldn’t resist buying cookies from such a sweetie !

  15. ChgoJohn says:

    With those beautiful blue eyes and cute smile, your granddaughter will probably break all kinds of cookie sales records! Who could say no? Glad to see you’re having such a good time. May it continue for you!

  16. musingmar says:

    Thank you for inviting me along on your trip; I’ve been enjoying the vicarious travel! Sometimes I think I may be the only Canadian who has not been to Florida … one of these days I’ll get there, and when I go I’ll keep your recommendations in mind.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marlene, I’m glad you are enjoying traveling along with us. I do see so many Canadian license plates on the road in Florida. You will make the trip someday and I think you would enjoy some of the places we have been. I hope so.

  17. Charles says:

    Eat well – I’ll say… I’m already in love with that tres leche cake! :D

  18. OOh! Roasted Cauliflower Pizza! That’s something I’d like to try. And your little granddaughter is adorable…I’d buy all her cookies, too! It’s so nice to learn just a little bit more about your family. Grandchildren are a great way for us to connect! They are just so dear and special…I’m happy you have some special time with your family! Debra

    • Karen says:

      Hi Debra, Thank you so much for your comment. It has been nice spending time with our children and grandchildren. The roasted cauliflower pizza was delicious.

  19. Karista says:

    I’m now starving after looking at all that delicious food. And your little gal is just adorable! Who could ever resist buying cookies from that sweet face. :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Karista, Thank you for your very nice compliment. Our little one is so cute…she shouldn’t have a box of cookies left if we had anything to do with it.

  20. A_Boleyn says:

    We rarely get any girl guide cookies in our area but when we do I always buy a box, to give away, and then end up eating the whole thing myself. :)

    Wonderful dishes. The “bang bang shrimp” and the “tres leches cake” are particularly tasty looking.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Boleyn, Thank you for your nice comment. I know what you mean…you have all the best intensions not to eat the cookies. You buy them and say you will give them to others but somehow they always get eaten before we give them away.

  21. spicegirlfla says:

    Karen, you are literally right around the corner from me!! And Anthony’s is my pizza place by far!! Didn’t you just love that cauliflower pizza?!! Its my favorite there! And of course, the salad – with gorgonzola please!! Your granddaughter is adorable!!

    • Karen says:

      Linda, I had no idea we were so close to you. Next trip, we will have to share a pizza at Anthony’s. He is a personal friend of ours. Not only do we love the cauliflower pizza but also the cauliflower pasta that he serves at Runway 84…one of our favorite Italian restaurants. Thank you for the compliment about our granddaughter.

  22. I will keep your recommendations in mind for when I visit Florida. Although I don’t go to the States as much as I used to – the DHS is not a fan of me. I’ve never had cauliflower on pizza before – must give this a try!

    Your granddaughter is adorable! :)

    • Karen says:

      Thank you so much for your nice compliment about our granddaughter, we agree and think she is adorable. You must try a cauliflower pizza and hopefully it will be as good as the one at Anthony’s.

  23. Karen, what a trip! You are feasting on so many interesting foods. What a great road trip to a much warmer climate. The Cuban food in south Florida is my favorite…and the seafood…and the Italian…and the Delis….Be safe.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Teresa, Thank you so much for you nice comment. I’m so glad that you are enjoying our road trip and the food that we are having along the way. Thanks for thinking about our safety, I appreciate it.

  24. wow lots of choices for you. I hope you enjoy your time with the kids

  25. Tandy says:

    your grand daughter is so beautiful! Enjoy your visit Karen :)

  26. Cucina49 says:

    Tres leches cake–a dessert I’d forgotten about, but now need to have again. Lovely photos!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for your nice comment…so many things that we really enjoy get lost somewhere in our food memories and then they are brought back to the forefront. I hope you make and enjoy tres leeches.

  27. Roasted cauliflower pizza! Once again, you’re giving me ideas. You have a granddaughter? No way, you are much too young :)

  28. cabinet stew says:

    I agree – she is a cutie! But seriously you must have been a child bride because I didn’t think you were old enough to have grandkids! ;-)
    Do you think Anthony’s Coal fired pizza inspired “Angela’s coal fired pizza” on route 1 north in saugas, ma? or perhaps they are related?
    I am loving traveling with you but unfortunately I have to postpone any further readings until I done with a HUGE project for school (about 5 more days) – I just indulged this time because I was eating lunch on a quick break. (lucky cause the food photos would have made me insanely hungry!)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Carol, Thank you very much for your nice compliment! I’m glad you are enjoying the trip with us but school comes first. I’m sure your project will turn out great. See you back here when you are done.

  29. Karen – first of all your granddaughter is an absolutely adorable daisy:-) There are definitely some good chain restaurants out there amongst the not so wonderful. Love Bonefish and we also LOVE Carrabbas.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Becki, Thank you for your nice comment. I agree that our granddaughter is a cute daisy but I might be the slightest bit prejudice. Bonefish is a very good restaurant…wish we had one in New Hampshire or Maine.

  30. Carolyn Chan says:

    OMG how cute is your granddaughter ??

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