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Sandals State of Mind

Welcome back to Hot Links, our food column dedicated to showcasing the overlooked culinary wonders of YouTube. This week, we're taking a trip to the tropics! No, you don't need a plane ticket; all you need is a computer screen! This is not a real trip.

A man relaxing in a tropical environment and ready to party with you. Photo via

Welcome back to our food column, Hot Links, in which Dan Meyer explores the neglected culinary stars of YouTube. Each week, Dan presents a selection of videos highlighting specific food themes, from amateur cooking and local restaurant commercials to elderly drinking buddies and kitchen disasters, all of it culled from the infinite supply of odd YouTube wonders. We encourage you to fall into this culinary video K-hole and include your own comments and contributions below.

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We all need to get away sometimes. This week, I decided to take us on a food video journey to warmer climates close to the equator—the places where fresh fruit, fun drinks, and absurd resort proprietors rule the land. As it turns out, people don't film that much when they're on vacation in the tropics, and when they do, it's not always the best footage. Even though we hop around a bit on the themes here this week, mix yourself a rum and Coke with crushed ice, kick off your shoes, and enjoy.

"Dinner on the Beach at Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina"

Love crab napoleon? Me neither. But Craig Pension, the executive chef at Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina, will make it for you in beautiful Fort Myers, Florida. He will also bring some tables out to the beach and set up parasols for a very private setting near the saltwater. Of course, you’ll also receive coconut-fried shrimp, a tossed salad, filet mignon, or grouper Oscar. And don't forget the perfect tropical desert, uh, apple cobbler.

"Crestview—Tropical Palm Restaurant Broken Into"

Uh oh! Trouble in paradise! Crestview, Florida, is home to this very beautiful restaurant, Tropical Palm. Here, the local news channel interviews the proprietor's daughter, Ruby Kervin, about the restaurant's cash register, which has apparently been stolen. The only real issue besides a bunch of money being robbed from some people is the fact that no one from the restaurant seems to know how much was in it at the time of the crime. Poor cash management, yo. They also have no idea who did it. The news channel tactfully interviews Ruby while what sounds like a chainsaw is blaring at full power nearly five feet away from her, but this video's shining moment is the footage of the old people dining inside the establishment. Watching them eat truly reminds me of the tropics.

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"Dinner in Barbados"

Get whisked away to Barbados at this empty table in a basement. YouTube cinematographer Nick Betts sat here while recording this video, staring at someone singing "I Will Always Love You" in the far corner by himself. The music isn't tropical, and the food is nonexistent, but I think this counts as a tropical video because the title says "Barbados."

"Tropical Forest Garden"

YouTube user "naturalhomesteader" is here to tell you about his tropical forest garden. I thought this would be a very funny video, but it's actually kind of interesting, though I think this guy must be a retired math teacher because he's got that ability to deliver information in a way that makes your eyes close agaisnt your will. Luckily, you are kept awake by the soundtrack of the piercing screams of the local insects that surround him.

"Tropical Food Machinery—Pineapple Processing"

This video has a really nice soundtrack and is incredibly mesmerizing to watch. It's like staring at the sun. Luckily, they silenced the sounds of the factory so we can really bask in the corporate soft jazz. If you've ever wondered how pineapple is processed—and I'm sure you have—look no further. There's something quite touching about the bright tropical colors of the raw pineapple contrasted against that cold, stark, stainless-steel factory line. New to factory porn? Well, this is a great start! Just don't get into the meat processing videos, because it will fuck you up. Forever.

"Day at the Beach Dinner Dinner at Morimotos"

Here's a killer video featuring some great music and amateur video work. Pointing at whatever he thinks matters, this cinematographer really takes us on a tour of his vacation. I really appreciate the editing here because it's a visual journey of a lot of people doing absolutely nothing.