WDW Weekend Eats
June 1, 2012
Once again it’s time to take a look as some eats & drinks from a recent weekend trip to the World… let’s look at the food, beverages and just for fun a few other random and related things from WDW that weekend.
Miss Bonnie and I decided we wanted to hit the last weekend of the Flower & Garden Festival at Epcot and the first weekend of Star Wars Weekends at the Studios (which happened to be the same weekend), so we headed to WDW on that Friday.
We were staying at Saratoga, so while I was waiting for Bonnie to arrive I sauntered over to Downtown Disney to survey the scene there…
Thinking I would need sustenance for the long trek around DTD, I stopped in at the Margarita Bar which sits on the water (roughly across from the Tren-D Store) on the Marketplace side…
on a prior visit to DTD, we had seen this same sign advertising a Grapefruit Margarita, but we didn’t have time to give it a try (shocking I know, too busy for a new margarita, even surprised myself…). Needed to rectify that oversight…
And I was glad I tried it – this is a refreshing and delicious drink that ranks up there with many of the offering at La Cava! Especially great on a hot day, this drink has a nice fruit flavor, without any of the bitterness you might expect from grapefruit juice. I’ve had some really good drinks before at this locale, so don’t hesitate to give one a try there if you’re so inclined next time you’re in Downtown Disney.
So now fortified, I wandered over to the West Side to see what was going on at the under-construction Splitsville. And knowing how much my dear Dedicated Readers love pictures of construction walls, I expected there to be some to show you, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Taking over the old Virgin Megastore building, this dining, drinking and entertainment venue is scheduled to open this fall.
Bowling, billiards and dancing are mixed with an upscale (somewhat retro) environment with a menu that is a step, or three, above what you may find at your local bowling alley.
The other Splitsville locations have a policy of 21 and up only after 8 PM (and a dress code after 7 PM)…
this will be an unusual policy to enforce at Disney, but if it is the same at this location it could signal a welcome (to many at least) return to a more adult-themed entertainment area as Pleasure Island once was… maybe the start of something interesting?
If you want to check out their website to see samples of the menus, etc at other locations, go to splitsvillelanes.com.
There is a location not too far from the Eating (and Drinking) Around the World kitchens, so if we get to check it out before the new location opens, we’ll give you a semi-preview.
After Miss Bonnie arrived, we made our way to Epcot to spend Friday evening around World Showcase.
Prior to eating and drinking (okay, I had a beer with me…) we went to see My-Favorite-Monkee, Mickey Dolenz at the last of the Flower Power Concerts. Mickey was a late replacement for fellow Monkee, and Flower Power regular, Davy Jones who sadly passed away (way too young!) earlier this year.
After a couple of songs, Mickey made a heartfelt tribute to his late band mate and launched into “Daydream Believer” (on which Davy originally sang lead). As one who grew up watching (and loving) the Monkees during their original run (yes, I’m an old man…) this was actually quite emotional for me, and yes, a few salty tears made their way down my cheeks as I sang along…
More hits followed, and the set wound up with the Neil Diamond-penned “I’m a Believer” – Mickey prefaced the song by pointed out to the youngsters in the crowd that he had performed the song long before a guy named Shrek… It was an enjoyable, nostalgic and just a bit sad start to the weekend, and one of the main reasons I wanted to be there on this date…
Now on to the food… and drink…
On a recent trip (see WDW Odds & Ends from May 24) we checked out the newly-opened Tutto Gusto Wine Bar, but didn’t have a chance to sample the goods. On this night we made up for it.
We perused the huge list of wines and other adult beverages and made our order while also thinking about the food…
While we were waiting to be seated, we queried one of the hostesses (a native Italian, of course) as to her favorites on the menu – she suggested three of the meat and cheese choices and we took her recommendations – and she was right on…
The flavorful Finocchiona (a fennel and pepper enhanced salami) was thinly sliced and a perfect, fatty foil to the cheeses. The hostess noted she had never had this in her native country, but since trying it here it was her favorite, and we could see why!
The Asiago and crumbly Parmigiano Reggiano were just amazing (especially the latter) – if you think of the green can when you think of Parmesan, think again… you’ll never buy it again after you have the real thing…
We also ordered some marinated olives and the Polenta with Mushrooms and cheese.
The olives were briny and delicious, and converted Miss Bonnie into an olive-lover!
Fancy-Italian-Grits with sauteed mushrooms and cheese – how bad could it be?
The polenta was actually our least favorite item of the night – but it was still very good! Everything else was just that much better!
And to top it all off – yes, they do take the Tables in Wonderland card!
After catching the tail end of Illuminations we made our way back to the resort to catch a few winks before the early morning start at the Studios on Saturday.
With Star Wars Weekends started we make our way to the merchandise tent to check out the goods…
and even inside Darth’s Mall, we found some food…
Snacks and beverages were available here…
many items being served in a cute R2-D2 container.
The same droid holder was seen throughout the park with different items being offered at various food locations.
From here we made our way over to Ehco Lake…
for an early lunch at Min & Bill’s.
The main attraction here are the stuffed sandwiches: a baguette is stuck down upon a metal device and hollowed out…
and the rest of the sandwich ingredients are stuffed inside.
Miss Bonnie chose the Chicken Caesar Sandwich (chicken with salad greens, Parmesan cheese and Caesar dressing) while I had the Italian Sausage with Peppers and Onions.
The Sausage Sandwich was big and filling – the sausage itself was fine, but the peppers and onions were a bit on the bland side – overall it certainly needed the help of a couple of mustard packets. Not bad, but I’m not going to run back to have it again.
The Chicken Caesar Sandwich however was a “two thumbs up”.
The filling was tasty, and the portion size is good. We both agreed we’d be glad to have this one again… At about nine bucks each, these are both actually a good value considering the size (and they include a side of chips) – if you’re not starving, these could even be split between two people.
After our meal we walked over to Epcot for some final Flower & Garden goodness.
Miss Bonnie graciously allowed me to ogle the comely HGTV celeb Genevieve Gorder for a while before we made our requisite visit to La Cava.
I stood in line a while to order one of my favorites, the Jalapeno Margarita.
I asked the bartender to make my drink extra spicy, so he added a whole jalapeno to the chopped cucumber and mashed them together before adding the rest of the margarita goodies. After I took a quick sip, he asked if it was hot enough.
“Its’ good, but I could take hotter,” was my response.
“I have a habanero…” he said.
“I have a habanero…” he repeated.
“Go for it,” I said and handed the drink back to him.
He smashed a whole (seeded) habanero pepper and added the drink back to the shaker and now infused the insidious fiery fruit into the drink. “You’ll remember me in the morning,” he said as he handed it back to me.
Wow… hot, flavorful, fantastic… it’s not going to be my regular drink, but for fiery sipping and savoring on a hot day, it’s a great choice if you can take the heat.
Miss Bonnie dipped the tip of her pinkie finger in and tried just a couple of drops – she was on fire for hours afterwards… this isn’t a drink for everyone… but if you’re the heat-loving adventurous type, ask if they have a habanero handy the next time you’re at La Cava!
We wandered the World Showcase for a while, and then made our way back to the Studios for the evening.
Bonnie had a Jones for the Darth Vader cupcake that was being offered at several locations throughout the park during Star Wars Weekends. So we made our way to the ABC Commissary to sample one…
adorned with chocolate sprinkles a white chocolate light saber…
this chocolate-cakey-cupcake held a gooey surprise inside…
Chocolate and peanut butter – genius! How come no one thought of combining them before?
So after dessert-as-an-appetiser, we went in search of some real food (or at least as real as quick service in the Studios would be).
After traversing the park several times and with much discussion and compromise, we finally settled on the Studio Catering Co.
Deciding to eschew our usual favorite of the Grilled Vegetable Sandwich, we split the two Pressed Sandwiches: Tuscan Deli and Turkey Club.
Both were actually pretty good – but we gave the Tuscan a bit of an edge over the turkey.
After dining, we made our way to view the Hyperspace Hoopla, with a stop on the way at the Tune in Lounge.
To keep us busy and hydrated while waiting for the show to start, we got a couple of Patron Margaritas to go made by my Favorite Blonde Czech Bartender Alena.
Despite the huge crowd, the show was, as always, a lot of fun.
Afterwards we made our way back to Saratoga Springs to await the culinary fun on Sunday.
The morning started with a bit of exercise to try and work off the cupcake calories (we laced the running shoes up – get your collective minds out of the gutter), and after we packed up the cars, we sauntered over to Downtown Disney to eat at one of our favorite overlooked spots.
Even though it’s a place we’ve passed by countless times, only fairly recently have we discovered the great eats available at Cookes of Dublin in Downtown Disney. And now it’s among our favorite places to eat on WDW Property.
We ordered some Whiskey and Pepper Glazed Wings (which like many menu items, come with chunky fries – aka “Chips”), and needing even more spuds, we added an order of the Skinny Chips with Thyme and Rock Salt along with Cheese and Bacon Dip.
Miss Bonnie secured us a table while I went next door to The Hole in the Wall bar to secure myself an IPA…
The “Skinny Chips” are more the size of a McDonalds-type fry – these had fantastic flavor all on their own, but if you want to add an extra layer, dunk them into one of the available dips or some of the Dalkey Mustard from the condiments area.
The wings here have become one of my favorites anywhere, on or off Property. Big and juicy, they have been cooked perfectly and freshly every time we’ve tried them. The sauce has just enough bite from the black pepper (even if I do add some Tabasco on occasion…) and great flavor from the whiskey.
Now properly sated, we called an end to the weekends eats at WDW. A great start at a new place, a good end at a new/old favorite, and some acceptable quick eats in-between… and a few drinks as well… all-in-all another fun and flavorful weekend at the World!
Back to the kitchen – we’ll see you soon!