Thursday, August 11, 2011

Utopian Seafood Buffet!

Happy Friday! Happy weekend! Hope you all had an enjoyable week. My friends and I had quite the little adventure in our quest for the Utopian Seafood Buffet. Twist my arm and maybe I’ll tell you about it!
…Okay! I know humans are big on “urban legends”, but did you know us felines have urban legends of our own? Like the one about the biggest ball of yarn in the world that can entangle a curious cat so strongly that the cat can never get out. I don’t like that one. I like the more fun, positive ones. Like the one about the most fabulous seafood buffet in the world. It’s an all you can eat buffet offering every kind of the freshest fish imaginable! Many cats have claimed to know someone who knows someone who has been to it, but no one has been able to produce any photographic proof of its existence…until now.
It all started a couple of weeks ago when I was in the Payless Shoe Store with Mom. They were having one of their big BOGO sales, so she said she just had to go stock up on some summer sandals. I hadn’t been there before, but I figured if they had shoes, surely they would have a lovely assortment of accessories - including hats. Seems I figured wrong - Payless does NOT have hats. Oh, well. I helped Mom shop for shoes – she trusts my judgment since I am such a fashionista. I couldn’t help but overhear two ladies talking about a place on the North Carolina coast that had every kind of fish you could imagine swimming around in large tanks. Wow, I thought, that must be the Utopian Seafood Buffet. Legend has it that you can pick your fish right out of the tank and either eat it right then, or give it to one of the master chefs to have it cooked to perfection. Oooh, I didn’t know which option I would take. My mouth started to water and I closed my eyes and imagined how great a fresh fish would taste. Suddenly, I realized the ladies had left without divulging where exactly this place was. At least I knew that it was located on the coast of NC.
I was now more determined than ever to try to find the Utopian Seafood Buffet. I didn’t want to go on my quest alone – who would believe me if I didn’t have witnesses…not to mention the fact I am unable to drive on my own. It wasn’t too hard to recruit some friends to come along. Convincing my brother to drive a couple of hours to the coast took a little more coaxing. I asked him very nicely, tilted my head just so and purred. It didn’t take long before he was eating out of my hand and agreed to be our chauffer to the coast.
We (Tank Fuzzbutt, Cali, Dot, Malcolm and I) decided to start out bright and early in the morning before any traffic could build up. My friends and I were so excited we were already in the car well before we were scheduled to leave. Tristan, evidently, was not as eager and we sat and waited and waited for him to get in the car and drive!

We had carefully placed our hats in the trunk so they would not get squished. Nothing is worse than a squished hat! We figured we would not be very comfortable wearing our hats while in such tight quarters in the car. It was probably a wise move though I hate going out into society without a hat! Tristan finally emerged from the house and started us on our way to new discoveries!
We had fun in the car singing along with the radio and looking for animals in the fields along the way. We headed in the general direction of the Carolina Coast figuring we could ask people for directions as we closed in on our destination. It took a couple of hours before we needed to start interrogating the locals. We stopped at several convenience stores before we found a person who knew of what we spoke. They kindly gave us the sacred directions to Utopia.
Malcolm was getting hungry so we had to drive through Kentucky Fried Chicken to buy a bucket of chicken. I scolded him and told him he would ruin his appetite if he ate a whole bucket, but he just mumbled something about being hungry again in a little while. I think he called me a not nice name!!
We had to stop several times before we found it. As soon as it rose up in the horizon I knew that it truly did exist – the Utopian Seafood Buffet!!!! It was beautiful!! We all started howling with delight –well, except for Tristan; he just covered his ears – and we leapt out of the car before it had come to a complete stop. We scurried up the stairs and made a bee line for the door.

There was no Maitre D to greet us when we entered – which was good. We didn’t know their policy on feline diners. It was tough to keep the group together as we were all pointing at something wonderful. We were whipped up into such a frenzy we had to stop and figure out where the buffet line started. We sat down and started to talk among ourselves when something behind me caught my eye. I turned to look and it was a tank just filled with tasty looking fish! I shrieked with glee and my friends all turned at once to look. Tank and Dot jumped up to get a better look and Dot took a few swats at some fish but didn’t catch any.

Since the drool was beginning to puddle on the floor, we decided we absolutely had to find the buffet line NOW. We were trying not to be noticed, so we really couldn’t ask people where we should be going to find the buffet.
As we walked around past all the beautiful fish tanks in search of a meal, Malcolm growled that he was glad he had eaten that chicken or he’d be famished by now. We all just rolled our eyes and forged onward.
We had heard that you were allowed to pick your own fish, but how could you do that when they were so far under the water? Then the answer appeared before us like an answer to our hungry prayers:

Aha! We had to put on scuba gear and go pick out our fish under the water. How ingenious! Combining adventure and sport with eating. What a great idea. No wonder no cat will admit this place exists. They want to keep it all for themselves!
Not everyone in our party was up for scuba diving. Tank and I volunteered to don the scuba gear and secure provisions for the whole group. Malcolm looked especially relieved. I don’t think he’s much into athletics.
It took a while, but we found some scuba gear in a closet behind one of the huge fish tanks. Tank and I grabbed some gear and jumped into the water.

What fun it was to swim under the water like that! I almost forgot about the fish. I finally remembered what I was supposed to be doing and got to work gathering dinner. It proved to be a daunting task. It was hard to get near any of the fish – they were much better at swimming than I was. Tank and I swam all around to no avail. We were unable to catch any fish. We were finally exhausted and decided to call it quits. I did not look forward to telling Malcolm there would be no fish for dinner.
As Tank and I climbed out of the tank, a couple of waiters came over to help us. They explained that we were not supposed to swim in the fish tanks – only the caretakers were supposed to do that. They told us that even though cats were not supposed to be roaming around, they were in such awe of our courage and swimming abilities that they would let us stay to eat dinner. Food at last!
They led us to a lovely dining room and showed us to a table. The waiters left us for a few minutes. When they returned they had trays full of food! You should have seen Malcolm’s eyes light up! There was a variety of fish – very fresh and very delicious. There was a plate with fish sticks piled high. That was Malcolm’s favorite.

We ate until we were about to burst! I think even Malcolm was full – didn’t think it was possible!
Tristan finally tracked us down. He figured if he found food, he’d find us. We had a long trip home ahead of us, so Tristan said we needed to get going. We stopped to thank the kind waiters who took such good care of us before we headed to the car. When we got outside we turned and took one last look at this wondrous place…now we know it DOES exist. Tristan pulled out his cell phone and snapped a picture, though I don’t think anyone would believe it anyway.
Poor Tristan had to listen to us burp and moan all the way home. It was a treat to not have to listen to Malcolm continually ask to stop to get something to eat. We agreed that we would not divulge the location of the Utopian Seafood Buffet to anyone – it would be our little secret. We were all exhausted when we finally pulled up into our driveway and we went to our respective homes immediately. My head barely hit the pillow and I was out, content in the knowledge that I had been where few cats had been before.
Have a wonderful weekend and week. Visit your favorite seafood restaurant and pig out. It may not be the Utopian Seafood Buffet, but any seafood is still good!

Love & licks,


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