Preparing to shoot a few segments of Big Jon in 5 for BEER2WHISKEY in our upstairs studio at Barley's Taproom in downtown Greenville. That's owner Josh Beebe preparing for his closeup.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Check Please: Montezuma's Revenge in Delray Beach

I normally wouldn't blog about things biological; but because a recent bout of food poisoning has consumed me for two days, it's all I have.

I'm not a doctor, and probably not qualified to diagnose my condition as food poisoning. It certainly could have been a virus or bug of some sort; however, the timing is suspicious. I'll let you decide.

Winding down a multi-day South Florida visit, I went to lunch on Sunday with some friends. I received a call around noon that they were bound for a little Mexican joint in Delray Beach. I had eaten there a couple years ago. It now operates under a different name, but the decor and menu are the same. We aren't sure if just the name changed, there is new ownership, or just what the heck is going on. We weren't curious enough to ask.

Following the battle cry of beach dwellers and visitors the world over -- It's five o'clock somewhere!!! -- we launched our lunch with a beer or two. For the meal, I ordered chicken enchiladas with some sort of mystery green sauce. To that I added some special jalapeno sauce. It was exceptional, if still not particularly "hot." Because South Florida is populated by whining, complaining, pains in the ass, Mexican restaurants tend to keep their food mild to the point of blandness. If you ask for something to be "el scorcho," they simply slice up a jalapeno and throw it on top. Having clocked a few years in the Southwest, that doesn't get the job done for me.

After lunch we adjourned poolside at the home of one of my friends. There I had another beer, or actually about half of one. Usually I have to down a margarita or two with Mexican food for indigestion to set in; but even without the tequila lubricant, I had raging heart burn. Having dinner plans at another friend's house, I excused myself, headed back to where I was staying and cleaned up for dinner. The indigestion grew in intensity.

At dinner, I had a glass of white wine -- I was attempting to be sociable, don't you see. But I couldn't even look at the BBQ ribs that anchored the evening's menu. My discomfort continued to build.

By 8 PM I was sitting at the patio bar with some friends where I was staying. As they quaffed beers, I nursed some water -- I had given up all pretense of being sociable -- and began calculating the estimated time it would take me to sprint to the nearest bathroom. My estimations proved remarkably accurate when 30 minutes later I was at a full run. What occurred next is too disgusting to share with you here, but it was not pretty.

I staggered back to my seat by the bar, where just looking at my glass of water made my stomach roll. I hung in with the group until about 10 PM, when I headed for bed. Sleep was impossible. Although my system had thoroughly discharged all there was to lose, the indigestion persisted. The only way I could hold it to a minimum was by lying on my back. I can't sleep that way because when I do, I snore. I literally wake myself up every 10 minutes. Every half hour or so I would attempt to roll on my side to gauge the results. Until about 5 AM, the results were not good and I'd roll on to my back again. Finally the discomfort subsided sufficiently that I could roll on my side and I grabbed an hour or so of sleep.

My flight back to Atlanta was around noon. I went with my hosts to breakfast in downtown Delray. As they loaded up on French toast, eggs and assorted pork products, I nibbled on a couple of pieces of toast. It seemed like a good idea to put a little something in my stomach. I began questioning this strategy about the time I arrived at my gate at Palm Beach Airport.

My stomach more than a bit twitchy, I boarded the plane. Usually I book an exit-row aisle seat, but this ticket was booked late and to get an exit-row seat, I had to sit by the window. This seemed like a dark joke of fate. I dug around in the seat-back pocket in front of me and located the barf bag. It looked woefully inadequate to contain the volume or withstand the velocity of my previous night's explosion. I thought an extra-strength Hefty Bag would have been a better choice. I began my estimated-time-to-the-bathroom calculations anew. I concluded that by the time I needed to make a move, it would be too late.

No amount of tapping my foot or shifting my weight in my seat calmed my growing discomfort. It wasn't until the flight attendants arrived with the beverage cart and I was able to get a little Sprite into my system, that things calmed down. The balance of the flight and my 2.5-hour slog from Atlanta airport to Greenville was uneventful.

So now I am in day three of this nonsense; though, I think I have turned the corner. I had coffee this morning and I am about to give some cereal a try.

The silver lining is, I probably lost whatever weight I picked up on this vacation. I guess that's one way to do it.

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