Fine Dining in Jacksonville, Southern Style.

We keep hearing about the obesity problem in this country.  It’s pervasive and it seems to be getting worse, but most of us don’t notice it very much … until, of course, a 300-pounder slams down next to us in an economy seat on a five-hour jet flight.

Want to know why this is happening? A big part of the answer is the terrible food choices presented to us by the  fast food joints and most of our restaurants. Take, for example, a couple of the menu items offered by the vey nice restaurant in the Hyatt Riverfront in Jacksonville, the hotel where I’ve been staying while attending a semi-annual meeting of the National Association of Railroad Passengers. Of course the restaurant does have healthy options if you really look for them, but the breakfast menu features a number of items that will start your arteries a-clogging just by reading about them. 

For instance, the French toast is not made from the usual slices of bread, but from a sticky bun the size of a grapefruit! It’s cut in thirds horizontally, the slices are dipped into an egg/milk mixture, grilled briefly, and re-stacked into the original shape. Then it’s all covered with maple syrup.  It’s absolute fabulous, but a little goes a very long way.

One of the more popular items appearing on both the lunch and dinner menus is “Chicken and Waffles”.  To fully appreciate this culinary monstrosity, picture a thick breakfast-type waffle, artistically crimped into a kind of bowl shape and into which are placed a boneless chicken thigh and breast, dipped in batter and deep fried. Maple syrup is provided and which most experienced patrons pour over the entire dish. (The photo above was lifted from the internet and the dish shown is but a pale imitation of the cholesterol-packed version served up at the hotel. Obviously, my camera is still refusing to send photos to my laptop.)

I asked my server this morning, a petite young girl recently from the Philippines, which of these two dishes is the more popular among hotel guests. She said that both of those dishes are very popular, especially among hotel guests from the South, but more Chicken and Waffles are sold than the Sticky Bun French Toast. 

The overall favorite, however, is the hotel’s fabulous breakfast buffet. Because, she said, “It’s all you can eat.”