Fridge and freezer woes, stubborn Talenti jars and restaurants stepping up--by simply opening their doors.
I know it may be hard to believe, but even an almost famous couple with a very famous cat can still be without power three days after a hurricane. And by the condition of the tree hammocked in electric lines outside our door, it may be some time before we’re restored. Our little half-block slice of College Park is notoriously last to get power back after a storm—or indeed with no storm at all—whilst all around us is lit with OUC labors or the grind of generators. Lucky Orlandoans, you really don’t have to turn every light in your house ON for us to know you’re back in the modern world. We who are back in the swamp peering through the bullrushes get it.
I feel in touch with my 19th century Russian ancestors: waking up with the sweaty dawn; toasting bialys on the barbecue; working in the orchard of our back yard chopping down almost-ripe bananas and weeping; going to sleep at sunset to the glow of precariously balanced solar path lights and watching in horror as our phone battery meters shift from green to red. Isn’t that how it was in pre-revolutionary Crimea? I believe it was.
Yesterday we tossed the contents of the fridge, tomorrow might be the freezer’s turn. Monday’s attempt at simple pleasures involved a flash opening of said freezer to retrieve a pint of Talenti sorbet, which in a cruel irony was practically impossible to open. I’ve experienced this phenomenon recently and got so furious that I wasted precious battery time Googling an answer. It seems there are several Reddit forums on unopenable Talenti jars (“It took two people, a screwdriver and thirty minutes to finally get it open.”); the ultimate answer seems to be a butter knife and copious swearing. The result—a still delicious but unsatisfying soup.
Restaurants started opening yesterday, saving us from another day of questionable cold chili. Outside of my professional relationships with local chefs, I like and admire many of them, and it was and continues to be nice to get good food and a hug at several locations. Se7en Bites labored with short staff and customers with shorter tempers and still made a great breakfast. New places post that they’ve reopened every hour on Facebook: The Waterfront, Urbain 40, Plant Street Market, Swine & Sons, P is for Pie all announced hours Wednesday. Pig Floyd's opened even after losing $8,000 worth of food, others have limited menus or are just serving at the bar while offering AC and power plugs. Local breweries like Ten 10 and Crooked Can were supplying water from their sophisticated filtration systems even before the storm hit.
It’s obvious that for many people this is their first Orlando hurricane. It won’t be the last, but we recover in a great food community and with heads held high. Which can be quite dangerous in the dark.
[Editor's note, 9/14: Joseph reports that the power at his house was finally restored Wednesday evening!]