The Nine Circles of South Florida Restaurant Hell

Categories: Half Baked
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In the early 14th Century, the Italian writer Dante Alighieri penned an epic poem called The Divine Comedy. In it, he imagined himself on a journey through Hell, Purgatory and finally into Paradise (aka, heaven). Hell, he found, was composed of nine concentric circles, each representing a sin more grievous than the last.  

Never having dined in South Florida restaurants, Dante's understanding of Hell was somewhat limited. But if he had been able to take a meal at any number of our stellar dining establishments, he may have written something like this. . . 

Circle 1: Limbo. Also known as "the bar," Limbo is where those who have sinned by not being important enough to have their reservations honored are condemned to languish for eternity. Or at least until all the important people have been seated.

Circle 2: Lust. This is South Florida--looks are everything. So the hot hostess with the skirt up to her crotch is a graduate of the Paris Hilton School for the Dim, and the waiter who looks like George Clooney has more muscles between his ears than in his gym-toned abdomen.


Circle 3: Gluttony. "Gluttony" is another word for "steakhouse," one of which is required by state law to be located on every block from Key West to West Palm Beach. After all, you haven't really dined until you've eaten your own weight in dead cow.

Circle 4: Avarice. Don't call it "greed," call it "upselling." Would you like fries with that, sir? How about truffle fries? With fresh white truffles? What, a problem with your bill? Yes, sir, the burger was $10. And the fries were $175. Did I forget to mention the price?

Circle 5: Wrath and Sullenness. This circle of Hell is filled almost exclusively with South Florida servers, who are righteously pissed they had to take time out from trying to land their own reality show on Bravo to serve your goddam food.

Circle 6: Heresy. Chefs are the main offenders here, having blasphemed the gospel of Saint Alice of Waters: "Thou shalt not serve any vegetable out of season, nor meat that is unnatural, nor any food with preservatives, nor take the name of our Lord, Michael Pollan, in vain."

Circle 7: Violence. "Fresh burrata cheese stuffed with fresh strawberries cooked in amaretto and vanilla bean, then sprinkled with crispy pancetta and extra virgin olive oil served on a bed of arugula." That's an actual restaurant dish; it should be felony assault.

Circle 8: Fraud. Guess what? Your credit card was just used to buy $1,000 worth of sex toys in Times Square. The nice waiter who served you last night must have swiped it through a card skimmer. Good luck explaining that charge to hubby.

Circle 9: Betrayal. "Yes, sir, all our fish is fresh." (From the freezer.)  "Of course that's genuine Kobe beef." (From Fred Kobe, who raises cattle in Nebraska.) "Absolutely, ma'am, your coffee is decaf." (You'll be getting to sleep around 6 a.m.) Sucker.

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