WDW Weekend Eats
July 14, 2013
Miss Bonnie and I recently made a brief, not-quite-a-full-weekend, trip to the World, and along the way we stopped by a few new/relatively new venues, and consumed a few new items, so it seems like it’s time for another edition of WDW Weekend Eats!
We’ll also look at a few non-edible, but food related items as we go along (so maybe it’s also a bit of a WDW Odds & Ends post too…), so let’s dig in shall we?
We started our tour by meeting Mama Ginny and Papa Harry at the Magic Kingdom (and they would accompany us for the rest of our culinary adventures during the weekend) on Saturday morning. We made at stop at the recently refurbished Main Street Bakery, now sponsored by Starbucks.
There’s been much online hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth ever since it was announced that the Bakery would be the home of the Magic Kingdom Starbucks, and especially once the menus were revealed and alas the much beloved Cinnamon Roll was no longer going to be available at this location.
Much of the pre-opening ballyhoo seems to have died down, and we all thought the refurb looked good and fit in pretty well along Main Street. The former indoor seating area is gone, replaced by dual serving lines (thankfully replacing the old single line that tended to creep along very slowly). Shockingly Miss Bonnie didn’t need an additional caffeine fix that AM, so we actually didn’t sample and of the goods there on this trip, but I’m sure we’ll make more than one or two stops here in the future months…
At the refreshment cart that’s stationed near the hub we came across a Castmember holding a larger-than-life Mickey Bar sign (or is it a fan?).
Okay, so now let’s actually get to some Weekend Eats, starting at Downtown Disney for lunch and some beverages…
The newly rebuilt volcano is now on display atop the Rainforest Cafe…
and just a few days prior to our visit they opened a new outside bar, the Lava Lounge.
The bar area sits waterside and runs into the existing outside seating area for the restaurant. There are seats at the bar and several tables by the water.
As it started to rain just before we arrived, the bar area was already full, but we were soon seated at the adjoining outside seating section. One of the reasons we wanted to visit was that the Lava Lounge had it’s own new menu of appetizer items and drinks, so we asked to see that menu in addition to the standard Rainforest menu we were given and our server returned with a thick, surprisingly heavy bill of fare…
it turns out the bar menu is filled with liquid, some of which is red, so as you touch it the “lava” inside flows around – very cute!
Her’s a closer look at the menu items:
And on the opposite side is the specialty drink menu:
We ordered drinks while we made our food selections (and yes, you can get the specialty drinks sans the souvenir glass for less).
Harry went with the ceviche, Bonnie and I shared the pot stickers and the flatbread, while Mama Ginny opted for the Jungle Chop Salad off the regular menu. There were several of the margaritas at our table, and they were pretty good, but nothing out of the ordinary.
After we placed our food order, I asked our server if I could hold on to the menu for a bit longer while I took pictures – she hesitated a bit and then said it would be okay, but asked that I give it back as soon as possible. She then noted we could buy one for $20.00 if we so desired… “Some people collect menus…” she said (now who would do something like that?). I imagine that more than one of the lava-filled menus have already made their way into some guests bags and that was her hesitation to leave it with us…
The pork pot stickers were good, but like the margarita, nothing exceptional.
I liked the flatbread better, especially with the inclusion of the slightly bitter broccolini (aka broccoli rabe).
Papa Harry liked his ceviche, and it was an attractive presentation with the colorful tortilla chips scattered around the base of the glass (and yes, serving seafood in a martini glass has become a bit of a cliche…)
The large Jungle Chop Salad is advertised as containing: “Romaine and Iceberg lettuce, black olives, cucumbers,carrots, candied pecans, Blue cheese crumbles, dried cranberries and grilled chicken tossed in a raspberry vinaigrette dressing.”
And Mama Ginny was eagerly devouring and enjoying the salad until she came across an unadvertised ingredient… a not-too-small piece of plastic kitchen film… (and no, I don’t know why I didn’t take a picture of it!).
When this was pointed out to our server, she was appropriately apologetic, as was the manager who soon came to the table (well, we assume she apologized, but her thick accent of some unspecified apparently Eastern European origin made her words unintelligible to our Floridian ears). They offered to make Ginny another salad, but she had already eaten about as much as she was going to, and since it wasn’t like it was some sort of vermin or something she continued to dine even after she found the piece of plastic, so she declined the offer. In the end the salad came off our bill, and they gave us one of the signature Volcano desserts on the house (little of which was left at the end of our meal).
Our server was very personable, but service was a bit on the, well, not-exactly-speedy side… but considering they did get slammed with a lot of patrons all at once in the outdoor seating area due to a downpour, I’ll give them a pass on this… and we had no place to be in any particular hurry and we were enjoying the company, so it was no big deal…
All in all, our visit to the Lava Bar was well, okay… nothing special, nothing horrible (even considering Mama Ginny’s little extra in her salad). The food was fine, and for Rainforest not-horrifically over-priced, but this is certainly not “Destination Dining”…
The view is nice (but will likely get ugly for a while as the next door Cap’n Jack’s restaurant goes away in part of the Disney Springs renovation to Downtown Disney), so if you’re at that end of DTD and want a quick drink or bite while taking a shaded seat waterside the Lava Lounge might fit the bill… but I think it’s main attraction is going to be the location and view, as just a few steps away you can get much better food (and value) at Wolfgang Puck Express, or a usually pretty good margarita at the waterside Margarita Bar… not to mention the many other options that already exist around the Downtown Disney area (and more to come in the next couple of years).
On the way out we made a quick stop in Mickey’s Pantry and found a display of cleverly-named varietals from “Once Upon A Vine”.
I looks like at least one of these will be featured at the booths during the Epcot Food & Wine Festival this year, so we’ll see how they are then…
From here we made our way to Epcot, with at least part of our trip there to check out the new ice cream parlor in France – but before we made it there we got a nice surprise…
We were heading first to the American Adventure Pavilion to take in one of that’s evenings “Sounds Like Summer” concerts, and as I am want to do I took a swing by the Kabuki Cafe in Japan.
Dedicated Readers may recall that when the building first was unveiled from behind construction walls, the menus on either side promised several savory items such as Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken), Sushi and Wafu Ribs, however just a few days later when the venue actually opened for service the “permanent” menus had changed and all these were missing… (you can go back and read all the details and intrigue in the post “Land of the Rising Construction Walls…“). Since then they have primarily provided flavored shaved ice, ice cream and beverages, but from time-to-time they have offered some savory items (generally during busy times of the year) advertised on small placards at the counter, so I usually will swing by just for fun to see what may be there at the time… usually I find nothing new, but on this day there was something Completely Different…
The Kakigori still took top billing, but now on the “permanent menu” was a selection of sushi! As everyone else went to take a seat, I grabbed one of each (and of course a Kirin) for Bonnie & I to sample.
The California Roll was the usual “safe” sushi, but had a bit of surprising roe inside…
The Temari Sushi is three round, bite size versions of Nigiri-style sushi, topped with shrimp, salmon and tuna.
The combo had two pieces of California Roll and two of the Temari. At $4.98, the price is not bad for Disney, and they also qualify for a snack credit if you’re on the dining plan. I though the quality was pretty good (comparable to other made-ahead/take out sushi) and even though the toppings on the Temari were a bit skimpy, we did enjoy these and are really glad they are now at Kabuki!
I spoke with one of the castmembers there – an older Anglo Management-type – and he told me they had just started serving the sushi the Sunday before and had so far been popular… as I walked away I also overheard him speaking to one of the other castmembers about how well the sushi had been selling… good news I think for us – if it continues to sell, maybe we can get a few more items added to the bill of fare – some spicy tuna roll for me please?
For dessert we went to the new L’Artisan des Glaces ice cream and sorbet shop in France.
In the location of the formerly crowded bakery, L’Artisan des Glaces is now a much more open space and offers up 16 flavors.
And even an “adult” option…
We tried a couple of flavors to see how they were…
unfortunately when you order two different types, one gets slapped on top of the other, so it’s hard to get a good sample of the bottom flavor without the top one infiltrating it… it would be nice if they had a larger side-by-side dish…
Anyway, the ice cream was rich and nicely cool on a warm and humid Florida summer evening – it was good, but nothing transcendent…
Now you may be surprised to read that yours truly didn’t sample the adult version with booze atop the ice cream… no one else in our party seemed to be up for sharing one on this evening, and since they only offer a two-scoop option on the liquor-added version, I didn’t think I could (or should) consume that much ice cream on that night, so a review of that item from L’Artisan des Glaces will have to wait for another time… and yes, it would be nice if they offered a single scoop adult option!
This wrapped up our Saturday eats, so let’s see what Sunday offered up…
Sunday found us in Miss Bonnie’s favorite park, Animal Kingdom, to explore the wilderness (more on that in a future post…).
In Asia, the Anandapur Ice Cream Truck has come back out from behind construction walls.
Looks like all the truck got was a new coat of paint, as there isn’t anything too exciting or new on the menu.
For lunch we chose counter service at Restaurantosaurus, deep in the heart of Dinoland.
Bonnie and I decided to split a couple of items – the mac & cheese hot dog and the old favorite veggie sub.
The grilled vegetable sub was good as always, and the mac & cheese hot dogs was, well a hot dog topped with mac & cheese… the basic dog is pretty good, and the cheesy pasta passable, but it was helped by the addition of a few sauteed onions and mushrooms for the limited “fixins” bar.
Unfortunately Restaurantosaurus no longer offers the option of sweet potato fries… the cashier castmember said lots of people still ask for them, so maybe if enough people keep asking we’ll see them return.
Well, maybe that was a less-than-exciting culinary end to the weekend, but it was what it was… so there you have it Dear Dedicated Readers, another (briefer-than-normal) edition of WDW Weekend Eats… hope you enjoyed dining along with us!
Back to the kitchen, see you soon!