Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Pauly, where are you?

My early morning foray into the thick Orlando air was at first quite unsuccessful.

I had planned on going to Dexter’s, which was the recommendation of “Michelle” at Marriott’s front desk, but upon calling last night I learned they were not open for breakfast.

Then I did a Google search for “best breakfast Orlando home cooking” and came up with Pauly’s Diner, on Nebraska off N. Mill Avenue just north of downtown. Driving there with the wipers on intermittent because I couldn’t make the AC get rid of the condensation on my windshield, I first passed Nebraska because there was no street sign and then, doubling back, found it on the left-hand corner, but with the feared “CLOSED” sign in the window. A light was on in back, toward the kitchen, and the Internet had said it opened at 5:30 a.m. for breakfast – it was about 6:05. But what did the world wide web know about Pauly’s personal schedule? Maybe Pauly was off surfing. Maybe he took the family to the lake. Maybe Pauly was a woman and was PMS-ing. Maybe Pauly was a transsexual and was having problems adjusting to the latest hormone injections. I really didn’t know, and it’s not that all those thoughts went through my head. But they could have. Because I was kind of mad. And the dreaded alternative was what I passed on the way over: IHOP.

Its name starting with the ubiquitous first-person vowel, which normally typifies everything cool these days, this restaurant typifies all that is wrong with American eating. The one redeeming quality is its waitresses. I think of a Lone Star song about a waitress saving up “two-bit tips” to send her boy to college. Sure enough, my tip - $2 off a bill of $10.24 – was barely over two bits. The waitress here calls me “honey” a lot, and that’s cool, because the only thing that could be worse than an IHOP meal would be an IHOP person. No, she is real and might have had a job previously at Pauly’s, back when Pauly was still a man and didn’t PMS because s/he didn’t have problems going on with hormone injections and she dealt with real people eating real food.

photo: jimrhoda

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