I had lunch at The Modern today with Dean Max, chef of 3030 Ocean in Fort Lauderdale, the general manager of the Marriott resort where the restaurant is located, their publicists and assorted other journalists. Conversation ranged from regulations regarding catching Florida lobster (they have to be hand-caught) and counterfeiting of grouper (sometimes it's Vietnamese basa) to the next great hotel amenity (I suggested affordable minibars that might actually be used by regular people).
GM Jim Mauer explained how hotels used to be luxury experiences for most people, but now most people's homes are nicer than hotel rooms — just think about what a drag it is to be somewhere without your cable TV, DVR/TiVo etc. So hotels have to keep ramping up the amenities. The term "bed wars" was used.
And I actually tried an ingredient that I hadn't had before, which doesn't happen much these days. The amuse bouche was a tiny watermelon salad with what the server called "pine shoots." I'm not sure what they tasted like, because the tiny salad had all sorts of little elements I couldn't quite identify. Maybe I was distracted because I was so enthralled by the notion of a minibar soda that didn't cost $11.