Sunshine and Gator Bites

(Photo courtesy of ) When you hear the word "Florida," you might think of large Mouse ears that flash across the sc...

(Photo courtesy of

When you hear the word "Florida," you might think of large Mouse ears that flash across the screen at the start of Disney films, or a bunch of polyester-skinned Goofies, Mickeys and Minnies bopping around theme parks in 90 degree weather. These were the first images to pop in my mind on the plane ride to Orlando a few weeks ago.

But my friends and I didn't stay at Walt Disney World. In the words of Sheryl Crow, we simply wanted to get away from it all and "soak up the sun."

So, we booked our stay at Orange Lake Resort.

Sorry, I have to gush about this place for a moment. Forgive me for sounding like an advertisement. With over three pools, a lazy river, six restaurants, gift shops, golf and tennis courses, an island-themed bar, an arcade, an internet cafe, and, not to mention, a fitness center named "Mussels," Orange Lake really does have something for everyone.

The first night, we decided to eat dinner at the River Island Grilling Company, where I ordered my first ever (ready for this?)...gator bites. Yup. You read it. A steaming plate of hot alligator nuggets breaded in a peppery herbed batter and deep fried until golden brown. I was amazed at the taste! I broke one nugget in half to see what it looked like, and the meat was white--it almost looked like popcorn chicken. Yes, I know you're probably sick of hearing that everything "tastes just like chicken," but this really did have the flavor of poultry with a sweet, honey-like note that induces salivation. It was indeed a delicacy.

The next morning, we went air boating in the Everglades, where a gator on the other side of my camera lens poked only his eyes out of the swampy water and leered at me as if he could smell his deep fried kin on my breath from the night before. Of course, I was the one seated at the edge of the boat. Thank goodness we made it out of there. I really thought karma would come back around to, eh, bite me.

I'm going to search for that picture so you can see the look of vengeance in this reptile's eyes.

I'll be back with more Florida sunshine soon.

Later, Gator (I couldn't resist).



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