Quick Bites – Two Good Meals…

February 1, 2010

A couple of weekends ago was Marathon Weekend at Disney – and it was, in a word, COLD!

I know, I know… those of you up north will think nothing of our record temps here in central Florida… but freezing temperatures and sleet do not make for a fun half-marathon…

Sometime in the future I’ll do a full trip report on the weekend, but for now, lets’ briefly go over a couple of the more pleasant parts of the weekend, and not surprisingly, they involve food…

Since I was staying at the Wilderness Lodge, and I’d never eaten there, a meal at Artist Point seemed to be a logical choice for my pre-half meal…

Considering I needed to be getting up about 3 AM, the semi-early bird time of 5:35 was selected for dinner time… joining me were my good friends Aileen and Ryan Wilson (Ryan is the Editor, Chief Cook and Bottle-Washer of the Main Street Gazette – http://www.mainstgazette.com). Miss Bonnie was invited, but was only able to join us at dessert-time (even though none of us actually had dessert…). Mistress Sandra likely would have been there, but she was otherwise occupied by a certain Mr. Bourdain that evening…

After a cocktail (big surprise) at the adjoining Territory Lounge bar, we were seated and began to peruse the menu… we put in our orders and awaited our starters…

I had the Venison Pot Stickers with tamarind Ponzu – the dumplings were more like an open-topped dim sum than the enclosed pot stickers I expected, but nonetheless the flavor was great – the slightly strong, mildly gamey venison matched well with the sweet sauce. Ryan’s choice of the Smoky Portobello Soup (which he graciously shared) was a flavorful winner, and Aileen’s Spinach Salad was nice, but was certainly considered among the diners as the least exciting among our choices.

Venison Pot Stickers
Smoky Portobello Soup

Spinach Salad

For main courses Ryan chose the Grilled Beef Tenderloin with roasted fingerlink potatoes, sauteed baby spinach, blue cheese fritter and port wine reduction, while Aileen and I both went for the Butter-poached Wild Boar Tenderloin with wild mushroom goat cheese bread pudding, fava beans and huckleberry au jus.

Grilled Beef Tenderloin

Ryan was pleased with his beef, and Aileen and I both enjoyed our boar, but we all agreed that the real star of the meal was our main side to the boar, the savory bread pudding was fantastic! Hopefully we can get hold of the recipe… I have experimented with a savory bread pudding inspired by this, but still working on it before I share…

Butter-poached Wild Boar Tenderloin

We also shared a side of truffle fries… no, they weren’t exactly horrible… mmmmm…

Truffle Fries

We were full, and with the early AM wakeup for the half marathon the next day (3 AM or so) we all passed on dessert, even though we were sorely tempted by the signature item there, the Artist Point Cobbler of seasonal berries and housemade black raspberry ice cream.

Service that night was a bit slow – not sure if it was due to our server or the kitchen – normally I prefer a nice, leisurely meal, especially with good company and conversation, but this night we all wanted to get to bed fairly early…

All in all we enjoyed our visit to Artist Point, and I look forward to dining there again.

The next night, while trying to recover from the frigid 13.1 miles of that morning, Mistress Sandra and I dined at the fairly new eatery on the Boardwalk from Iron Chef Cat Cora, Kouzzina.

When it was first announced that we were getting a new restaurant on property by Cat Cora, I was very excited. Sadly instead of a totally new dining location, or perhaps replacing a less-than-stellar establishment, we were loosing Spoodles, a well-liked eatery, by it being replaced by Kouzzina.

I had eaten breakfast there on the second day the restaurant was open, and had really enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to trying dinner.

As we made our way from the blustery Boardwalk, we had a fairly short wait for our ADR, but boy howdy, they are sure missing out by not having a bar…

As we were seated, the hostess mentioned that they served Iron Chef (we were constantly reminded throughout the evening that Cat was an “Iron Chef”) Cat Cora’s own “Coranation” Wines… our server soon arrived and presented us with our menus and asked us for or Adult Beverage choices. Mistress Sandra decided to try the “Cat Flight” of the Coranation Wines… our server said she had to check, as she was pretty sure they were out of one of the choices in the flight. When she returned, she apologized that they were actually out of two of the three selections in the flight… so the Mistress then chose the specialty drink “Cat’s Ouzo-tini” (a martini featuring Ouzo…) while I selected the Alfa Lager Athens Greek beer.

Strangely as the night went on, we heard the hostess mention to several parties about the Coranation Wines as they were seated… you’d think she would have been notified if they were out of an item they would normally be pushing on customers…

Anyway… the Ouzo-tini wasn’t a hit with the Mistress (even though she claims to like the anise-flavored Ouzo) – I tasted it, and well… I’d have to really want a drink to order that…

For an appetizer we shared the Vongole – a mixture of Manila Clams, Calabrese Sausage, Wine Broth, and Garlic Croutons… this was fantastic… the hit of the night (and the rest of the meal was pretty darn good…). Mistress Sandra stated that she would just be happy with nothing else than the broth infused croutons… and I couldn’t argue with her… my only complaint would be that the portion size for this might be a bit small for the price, but I tell you, if they served lunch (which they don’t), I’d gladly go there and order the Vongole and a beer (or three) for lunch…

So, I didn’t take a picture of the Vongole before we decimated it… so shoot me… instead here’s another random Muppet movie poster picture:

Not the Vongole... though there is pork involved in both

I did find the recipe for this dish online, and once we’re able to test the recipe in the Eating (and Drinking) around the World kitchens, we’ll share…

On to the main courses… Sandra chose the Fisherman’s Stew (a tasty blend of Scallops, seasonal Fish, Shellfish, Fennel, Grilled Bread, and Ouzo Butter) while I selected the Slow-cooked Lamb Shank (served with Oven-baked Gigantes Beans and Pepper Sauce).

Fisherman's Stew

Both were very good sized portions, and both were delicious… the lamb was literally fork-tender, and the large beans were a great compliment.

Slow-cooked Lamb Shank

Our server was pleasant and knowledgeable about the menu, though she did disappear for a while mid-meal (while I could have desperately used another brewed beverage… I needed that race recovery drink I’ll remind you…). When she did make her way back to the table she did at least acknowledge her absence and apologized (there was some excuse about the kitchen, but I don’t recall the exact reason…).

We were both full, so there were no desserts in the offing…

So, let’s see… two really good meals in what was a really good weekend (despite the weather…)… now some notes in case you don’t know…

Artist Point is one of the Disney “Signature restaurants”, therefore it ain’t cheap… with most entrees running in the mid-$30s to the lower $40s. But the quality of the food certainly warrants the cost. It’s obviously not an “every-night” (or even an every-trip-to-Disney) kind of place, but for a special dinner it’s well worth the expense (at least based on my one trip… so for you, dear readers, all three of you, will sometime take another one for the team and eat here again…).

Kouzzina (or as the complete name is presented: “Kouzzina by Cat Cora”) is a bit more reasonable, with most entrees in the mid-$20’s. Portions were nice, and the service was fine…
I’ve heard several complaints about the restaurant being overly noisy, but the night we were there it was fine… not a real quiet place for the most romantic meal ever maybe, but it wasn’t uncomfortably loud during our dinner…

So, a very good Marathon weekend, with some very good food, some even better friends, and another Donald medal…

Time to get back to the kitchen… see you soon…

2 Responses to “Quick Bites – Two Good Meals…”

  1. Monique Richison Says:

    You know, I, too, was surprised at the closing of “Spoodles”. A dear friend of mine who used to be concierge at the penthouses at the Boardwalk Hotel (trust me, tons of good stories about sports stars and celebrities) said “Spoodles” was always booked. I ate there, with my friend, a couple of times for breakfast and was, unfortunately, not impressed. Hopefully the new Kouzzina will work out and NOT take clientele away from “Flying Fish” next door. Which, might I mention, is a phenomenal restaurant. I’ve eaten there more than a dozen times (thankfully by friend gets comps quite frequently to try all the restaurants on property and he’s allowed to bring a guest…which, thankfully, is me) and have not had a bad meal yet. Impeccable service, white glove clean, food served HOT HOT, extensive wine list, imaginative decor…love it. Hope you get to go and write about it here on this blog.

    “Artists Point” is another story…been three times. Trust me, Andy, service is ALWAYS, how shall we say, leisurely. Thankfully the food makes up for the loss in points on the lack of timely service. I like the fact they feature, duh, wines from the great northwest. Even though a rather large restaurant, I feel it is still quite intimate and cozy. Thanks for your point of view…you’re making me want to go again…of course only with my friend and a full meal/beverage/tip comp. Do I ask for too much?

    Like

    • fishyrocketboy Says:

      Thanks for the great comment M.!

      I’ve only been to Flying Fish once, and enjoyed it – it’s for sure on the “return to” list…

      Andy

      Like


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