It was 12:30 p.m. last Saturday, and I was starving. I'd just finished an extremely sweaty yoga class and was eagerly speeding off to Sunrise to meet some friends for dim sum.
Toa Toa, the highly acclaimed Chinese-food institution in a strip mall, would surely be worth the half-hour schlep. It had been more than a year since I'd tasted the delicate slippery rice noodles and crispy shrimp of dim sum, and my craving was reaching Robert Downey Jr. levels.
I pulled up to the restaurant, gazing longingly at the full-color menu photos of sticky pork buns and steamed dumplings. But the windows were strangely dark. Then I spotted the ominous sign, written in English and Chinese: "We will close for vacation from July 12 to July 25," it said. "Sorry for any inconvenience!"
Inconvenience? Please. Another foiled patron, who drove up with a
caravan full of friends after I arrived, said it best. "This suuuucks!" he exhaled loudly when he saw the sign, and I couldn't
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Don't get me wrong. I'm sure the hard-working folks at Toa Toa have more than earned a measly two-week vacation. They probably deserve five weeks in the Bahamas. But must their escape come without warning, in the blazing center of July?
I'm fairly new to South Florida, so maybe I missed something in the guidebooks. Are random restaurant vacations our punishment for living here in the offseason? Do we, the dumb schmucks who can't afford to summer in Nantucket, not deserve a full menu of delicacies?
At least Toa Toa closed for only two weeks. Another favorite Asian fusion spot, Safire in Lake Worth, closed today and won't reopen until October 1. A few doors down on Lake Avenue, Nick's Apizza is off from June 13 to September 15. Where the hell are we supposed to eat?
Perhaps these vacations are a tradition, left over from the days when South Florida was made up of sleepy, non-air-conditioned towns that were abandoned every June. Or perhaps it's another sign of the Great Recession. Either way, this is going to be one long, hungry summer.