Ordinarily, when you're standing at a carving station and you say something like, "Give me some of that meat," it's a pretty straight-forward conversation. But if you're at a swingers club, like Trapeze in western Broward, it seems every word takes on a new, more complicated meaning.
If you saw the cover story by New Times' nightlife columnist (and all-around badass) Tara Nieuwesteeg in this week's print product -- about the inner workings of one of America's most popular swingers clubs -- you got a hint at the decadence inside Trapeze: the drinking, the dancing, the massive amount of sex, and of course, the sweetest part of all, the food.
Not long ago, I was invited by the club to stop by on a Saturday to sample what we were told was a completely world-class gourmet dining experience. And being the intrepid reporter I am, I couldn't resist.
First off, the club is private, for members only. Membership prices differ for single men, women, and couples. There's also a strict no-nudity policy around the food. On most nights, the club is completely divided into two parts: the front, night club area, where people drink (BYOB) and eat and dance on the dancefloor; and the back area, where the orgy takes place.
On this night, there was pop music blasting through the speakers and porn playing on the televisions (except for one TV by one of the three bars, which was playing football). Aside from the nudity warning on the door, and the knowledge that everyone in the room might, potentially, be participating in group sex in a few minutes, the club was like any upscale South Florida nightclub. Club membership ranges in age from early 30s to early 60s.
Not long after arriving, we were led to the dining area, a banquet-style buffet and a long L-shaped table surround with tall chairs. I wasn't sure what to expect going in, but the food was really impressive.
The dinner buffet included pecan-crusted salmon that made a friend close her eyes with delight when she tasted it. There was spinach-stuffed chicken: thick, juicy cutlets split and filled with fresh green spinach. There was wild rice and perfectly cooked orzo pasta. The carving station had succulent herb-roasted lamb chops that seemed to fall of the bone -- well worth any snickers that might occur from statements like "Can I please have some more of your delicious meat?"
This would basically be the best banquet food you've ever had.
For the less hearty (plenty of people had a lot of cardio in their immediate future), the salad bar provided a wide selection of fresh greens, toppings, dressings, breads, and fancifully-sliced cheeses.
Then there was the dessert area. When a friend first stumbled upon the collection of rich cakes and cookies, he joked, "Well, this will be my date for the night." There were triple-layer chocolate cakes, a red velvet cake with white frosting, two different kinds of New York cheesecake, and all sorts of cookies and pastries. There were single-serving tarts and creme brulee, and to top it all off, a chocolate fountain (with fruit and marshmallows for dipping).
But wait, there's more.
After some couples go to the back room and do their thing, they build up another appetite. So they put their clothes back on and head back to the dining area. Around 1 a.m., the dinner buffet turned into a breakfast buffet. The carving station became a gourmet omelet station. Where there were once salmon and chicken there were now roasted potatoes and French toast.
Obviously, this place is not for the faint of heart or the sanctimonious. But the dining area was immaculate, the service was friendly (but not too friendly, if you know what I mean), and every bit of food we tried was delicious. Just watch what you say when you're asking for a piece of meat.