I realized it’s been a while since we’ve done a “Weekend Eats” post, and it’s not because we haven’t been to the World, it’s just my usual slack posting schedule… so here, Dear Dedicated Readers, is a combo edition of several relatively recent visits to WDW, and a very recent trek to another off-property-property…

Brisket, Turkey "Ribs" and the amazing Maple Bacon Cupcake at the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Brisket, Turkey “Ribs” and the amazing Maple Bacon Cupcake at the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Even though I’d made a couple of trips to the Flower & Garden Festival (which you can review in the posts “A First Taste of Spring: Epcot Flower & Garden Festival Opening Day 2014” and “Second Helpings at the 2014 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival“), Bonnie hadn’t been yet by mid-April, so we made a day trip so that she could exercise her camera-muscles on the festival foliage, and of course sample some of the savory offerings…

And beverages had to be sampled as well...

And beverages had to be sampled as well…

There was an interesting “visitor” at Epcot on that day…

World Showcase food truck in, of all places, the World Showcase...

World Showcase food truck in, of all places, the World Showcase…

the Epcot-centric food truck that normally resides at Downtown Disney made a test appearance at the entrance to World Showcase. I was told by a management-type that it was a test run for that weekend to see how guests responded – if it did well we might actually see the truck (or trucks) show up again during the Food & Wine Festival (which sounds kinda crazy, but if they parked one or two closer to the entrance of the park it might just work).

Eggplant "Scallop" from Urban Farm EATS booth

Eggplant “Scallop” from Urban Farm EATS booth

We wandered, ate some good stuff, and after an all-to-brief visit, we made our way back home, but it wouldn’t be long before we were back…

The ever-youthful Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits

The ever-youthful Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits

the next weekend, to be specific, as Miss Bonnie graciously indulged my desire to see one of my childhood faves, Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits (and shockingly, after five concerts, Bonnie still doesn’t know the words to “Henry the Eighth”).

Three Cheese Manicotti from Primavera Kitchen

Three Cheese Manicotti from Primavera Kitchen

And during the weekend we did have some more of the goodies served at the kitchens of the Flower & Garden Festival.

Shrimp and Grits from Florida Fresh booth

Shrimp and Grits from Florida Fresh booth

The manicotti from Italy was a dish I hadn’t sampled yet this year – cheese-filled as advertised – good but not life-changing. The shrimp & grits was a favorite from Florida Fresh last year, and Bonnie deemed it just as good this go round.

Mmmm... margaritas....

Mmmm… margaritas….

Oh yeah, there was a visit to La Cava…

 

Epcot Flower & Garden Festival 2014 Walt Disney World Orlando Kouzinna Cat Cora

Kouzzina on Disney’s Boardwalk

Saturday morning of that weekend we had a “good-bye” breakfast at Cat Cora’s Kouzzina.

Turkey-Sweet Potato Hash - with Two Eggs and Arugula Salad

Turkey-Sweet Potato Hash with Two Eggs and Arugula Salad

The restaurant is scheduled to close the end of September after a five-year run in the former Spoodles location on the Boardwalk. I’ve always enjoyed the place, and had a really great experience and meal there during Food & Wine a few years ago, which you can see a bit of in the post “Who’s that strange man trying to fondle an Iron Chef?” (and no, I never followed up with a full post on that night…). I’ll be sad to see it go, and so to say farewell we decided to have at least one more meal there.

Classic Golden Waffle with Whipped Mascarpone Cheese, Honey, Chopped Pecans and Bacon

Classic Golden Waffle with Whipped Mascarpone Cheese, Honey, Chopped Pecans and Bacon

As we were seated and our server arrived with the menus I though she looked quite familiar – turned out it was the ever effervescent spikey-hair-blonde Holly who seems to always be on hand at the River Roost in Port Orleans when YeHaa Bob Jackson is on stage! She was a bit more subdued at a more sober breakfast service (although there were a couple of “eye-openers” on our table…) than during the raucous YeHaa Bob shows…

Mama Ginny and Papa Harry, who had never been there before, joined Bonnie and I for breakfast and liked it so much that they returned just a couple of weeks later.

Stacked Kouzzina Breakfast: Two Poached Eggs, Kalamata Olive Toast, Artichoke Spread, and Sweet Potato Hash with Bacon

Stacked Kouzzina Breakfast: Two Poached Eggs, Kalamata Olive Toast, Artichoke Spread, and Sweet Potato Hash with Bacon

The Stacked Kouzzina Breakfast, which Bonnie & Harry both had, was the real winner here – it’s a nice combo of somewhat unusual flavors for a breakfast meal and they both were happy members of the Clean Plate Club at the end of the meal.

Afterwards we made another trip to Epcot for some more Flower & Garden food and fun…

Lamb Brewat Roll with Prunces and Sesame from Taste of Marrakesh

Lamb Brewat Roll with Prunes and Sesame from Taste of Marrakesh

I really liked the lamb roll from Morocco – a crispy egg-roll-like-thing filled to the brim with shredded meat!

Quesadilla de Hongos con Queso from Jardin de Fiestas

Quesadilla de Hongos con Queso from Jardin de Fiestas

We also tried the mushroom and cheese quesadilla from Mexico with less than spectacular results… it was fairly bland, and we both agreed it wasn’t very “Mexican” to our tastes…

"Second verse, same as the first..."

“Second verse, same as the first…”

And yes, there were some more songs to enjoy that evening…

Home of the Don't-Call-It-A-Cronut

Home of the Don’t-Call-It-A-Cronut

On Sunday we found ourselves once again around the World Showcase and I finally tried the Croissant Doughnut from the Refreshment Port…

Outside the Cronut

Outside the Croissant Doughnut

this hybrid between a croissant and (you guessed it) a doughnut is better known as a Cronut, but that moniker has been trademarked, so hence the “Croissant Doughnut”.

Inside the Cronut

Inside the Croissant Doughnut

There are flaky layers inside the cinnamon-sugar coated outside, and yes, it’s pretty dang tasty, but at $4.49 I think it won’t be an everyday treat…

Lemon Scones, Pork & Apple Sausage Roll and Salad with Strawberries, Almonds and Stilton from the Buttercup Cottage

Lemon Scones, Pork & Apple Sausage Roll and Salad with Strawberries, Almonds and Stilton from the Buttercup Cottage

We ended our eating at Epcot for this weekend by having a trifecta of dishes from the Buttercup Cottage in the UK. We enjoyed all the items, and I liked the sausage roll a bit more the second time than I had when I first tried it.

The next weekend we found ourselves back in the World for Expedition Everest weekend – we weren’t participating in the race, but several friends were in WDW for the event, so we came to just hang out a bit… and eat some more…

The backside of Ankole Cattle

The backside of Ankole Cattle

We were staying at our favorite resort, Kidani Village, and made a quick trip over to Animal Kingdom late on Friday afternoon.

As it was close to closing time for the park by the time we got there, many of the quick-service eating locations were closing down, so we stepped into Yak and Yeti and quickly were granted a table.

We ordered a couple of adult beverages while we perused the menu and eventually settled on just having a couple of appetizers.

Seared Ahi Tuna (top) and Thai Chili Chicken Wings

Seared Ahi Tuna (top) and Thai Chili Chicken Wings

Neither were particularly memorable – they looked better than they tasted. The food wasn’t bad, just sorta there – we’ve certainly had better-tasting items there before. The marinated cucumbers alongside the wings were probably the best thing on the table (other than the beverages…). Our server was great though!

It still irks me a bit that they don’t take Tables in Wonderland – they do give a 10% annual passholder discount, but it’s only on entrees… gee, thanks…

Not quite sated, we headed to the bar at Sanaa when we made it back to Kidani.

Indian Style Bread Service

Indian Style Bread Service – Jalapeno-lime Pickle, Coriander Chutney & Tamarind Chutney with Garlic Ginger Naan, Spiced Naan and Onion Kulcha

You can order appetizers from the restaurant while at the bar (and I have seen them serve from the full menu in the bar as well in the past, even though they say they aren’t supposed to do so), so Bonnie had a glass of wine while I tried an IPA as we looked over the bar menu.

We settled on one of our absolutely favorite things, the bread service. You get to choose three of five great Indian breads, and three accompaniments for $9.99 (or you can have all nine of the saucy sides for two more bucks). Unless you’re carb-phobic, this is a great choice to start a meal for two or more, or like we did here share between two for a nice, filling later night snack. The naans are our number one, and are freshly made to order, they are pretty hard to beat with any of the accompanying sauces.

And yes, they do take Tables in Wonderland at the bar there!

We wound up going all over the place on Saturday to find sustenance…

DVC construction at the Poly

DVC construction at the Poly

After a quick trip to the Wide World of Sports to check out the race expo, we went over to the Polynesian Resort to see about the goings on there.

The addition of a Disney Vacation Club area to the resort had been announced quite a while back (and very obvious construction has been taking place for several weeks), but there had been many other rumors going around about some other changes to the resort, and as it happened, many of those changes had been officially announced the day before we got there (most notably to the adult-beverage-indulgers among us, the addition of a east coast version of Trader Sam’s!). We did our best to get info from several cast members there as to the exact location of where the new bar will be, but all, including a couple of managers, claimed ignorance as to where in the resort Trader Sam’s will eventually reside.

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Looking to fill our grumbling bellies, we made our way to the temporary location of the resort’s quick-service eatery, Captain Cook’s. The normal location for the restaurant (lower lobby level facing the pool) has been shuttered for a while undergoing a refurb – with the announcement of the upcoming changes (and the recent closing of the Wyland Gallery) we now wonder if Cook’s will actually return to it’s former location or wind up somewhere else in the resort. It’s old site sure seems like it would be prime territory for a new bar…

Capt' Cook's current lunch/dinner menu

Capt. Cook’s current lunch/dinner menu

We’ve enjoyed several items from Capt. Cook’s before (notably the Pork Nachos and Pork Sandwich). This day we tried a new item, the Thai Coconut Meatballs.

Thai Coconut Meatball on Rice

Thai Coconut Meatball on Rice

We also ordered a side of the chips – a seasoned combo of potato chips, tortilla chips and fried wonton skins. This isn’t on the menu, but if you ask they’ll gladly serve you up a nice plate of them.

Capt. Cook's Chips and Thai Coconut Meatball on Rice

Capt. Cook’s Chips and Thai Coconut Meatball on Rice

The meatballs themselves were fine, but I found the sauce to be way too sweet. Bonnie liked them a bit better, but after she added a bit of soy sauce we both found them more palatable. Also a few steamed/stir-fried veggies on the plate would have been nice. The chips were the hit of the table – I’d go back just for some more of those!

While in the neighborhood we met up with our friend Corndog Laura and took a quick monorail trip over to check out the DVC rooms at the Grand Floridian (they are pretty gorgeous!). From there we went back to Kidani, and as Laura hadn’t done it before, we took the cultural tour of Sanaa.

Bread service sampler at Sanaa cultural tour

Bread service sampler at Sanaa cultural tour

We were taken around the restaurant by a lovely young woman from South Africa and she gave us background on the details of the dining area. It’s a very interesting tour, and at the end they feed you! We (once again) got a sampling of the bread service, this time on the house!

In case you’re not aware, they give this tour for free every day at 4 PM. You don’t have to sign up, just arrive at the restaurants podium a few minutes before four. You don’t even have to be a guest staying at the resort, just show up!

Likewise they do a restaurant tour (also at 4 PM) over at Jambo House. Just make your way to the entrance of Boma and you’ll get a tour there (along usually with a sample of one of their great soups and a Zebra Dome or other dessert). From there they take you to Jiko for a tour of that dining establishment, and they usually wind that up with a sample of their signature Taste of Africa appetizer (which is also a bread and dips sampler). Definitely worth a trip over there (if you’re not already staying there), and a rare freebie at Disney!

As if we’d not had enough to eat for the day, we wound up heading over to the Coronado Springs Resort to check out the options at the Pepper Market. Laura went for the roasted chicken, while Bonnie & I shared a huge serving of nachos.

Market Nachos at the Pepper Market

Market Nachos at the Pepper Market

The big plate of chips was topped with chicken and beef (you can choose either or both), salsa, gooey-cheese-like-product and sour cream (jalapenos were one the side in deference to Miss Bonnie’s still mild palate). If you want a big plate of messy, bad-for-you goodness, that’s more than plenty for two people to split, this is a diet-busting deal for ten bucks. If only the beers alongside were a better deal…

On our Sunday getaway day, we went over to the Magic Kingdom to check out the final bits of construction on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (and hope for a soft-opening ride, but that wish was to go ungranted…).

We did however get shown a pretty amazing Hidden Steamboat Willie in the exit queue of the Little Mermaid ride…

Can you see it?

Can you see it?

it’s almost impossible to see from a picture, and you’d likely never notice it without it being pointed out to you, but when you see it, it’s down-right spectacular! We’ll be glad to show it to you sometime in the park!

For our final feasting of this weekend in the parks, we wandered into Pinocchio’s Village Haus.

Caprese Flatbread

Caprese Flatbread

Bonnie snagged us a seat overlooking Small World while I got us a Caprese Flatbread to share. Tomatoes, mozzarella and a Balsamic drizzle atop a flatbread crust, this was a very passable lunch (along with a side of fries to sate Miss Bonnie’s spud-addiction). It’s worth a try if you’re looking for something just a bit different in the Magic Kingdom.

Friar's Nook Menu

Friar’s Nook Menu

While there I took a peek at the Friar’s Nook menu and noted that the Blue Cheese & Balsamic version of Mac & Cheese (that we had quite liked on a prior visit) had been replaced with a Pot Roast one… we’ll try next visit…

So to continue (and conclude) this extended edition of Weekend Eats, we head off property proper to visit the east coast of Florida.

We’d long been talking about wanting to visit Disney’s Vero Beach resort, and when the Iowa O’Briens had planned a trip there and asked us to come along, we jumped at the opportunity.

Early morning on the Treasure Coast - view from our room at Disney's Vero Beach Resort

Early morning on the Treasure Coast – view from our room at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort

The resort is fairly small, but nice and full of Disney-touches. Like most of the DVC resorts, you’re not hit over the head with characters and such (in fact, the only walk-around characters appear at one lone character breakfast on Saturdays), but there are enough details, Hidden Mickeys and the like to keep even the most rabid Disney-phile happy. And without the lure of the hectic parks nearby, this is a perfect place for a relaxing stay with a Disney touch.

As we spent most of our time either at the beach, the pool or just exploring the resort, (and since we’d also brought along some foodstuffs to have in our room) we actually spent relatively little time at the on-site dining establishments.

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That being said, we did visit the Green Cabin Room bar a couple of times, and really enjoyed our time spent there. Located on the second floor of the resort facing the ocean, the interior is dark and cool and chock-full of details and memorabilia of the ships that had sunk offshore of the Treasure Coast (so called because of the abundance of riches that is on the sea bed from the many shipwrecks).

Green Cabin Room Afternoon/Evening Menu

Green Cabin Room Afternoon/Evening Menu

Overlooking the Atlantic is a small outside deck with just four prime tables and a long bar by the window with hightop chairs. On our first visit we sat at the latter, the few tables all being filled.

Chicken Wings and Kettle Chips with Blue Cheese and Herb Dipping Sauce

Chicken Wings and Kettle Chips with Blue Cheese and Herb Dipping Sauce

We ordered the chips with blue cheese and dip along with an order of wings. The chips were good, but the cheese, while nice and strong flavored, was a bit skimpy. The fluffy fresh-herb dip was just right when you could find a nice bit of the blue cheese to pair with one of the crispy chips. The breaded wings were just average and came with a choice of three sauces (Thai Chili, Buffalo or Barbeque) – we asked for both the Thai and Buffalo and they gladly brought us ramekins of each for dipping. Despite the less-than-stellar eats, the beer was cold (and the wine expensive), the service was top-notch and it was a beautiful day with a great view of the ocean… life was good that day at the Green Room Cabin…

Artisan Cheese and Cured Meats Platter with Herb Flatbread

Artisan Cheese and Cured Meats Platter with Herb Flatbread

The next day we met the O’Brien Brood inside the bar for some more consumables. This time we chose the cheese and meat platter. Served on a long cutting board (which could have served well as a paddle in case one of or party decided to get a bit out of line) this was a nice selection of cheeses (a couple nicely stinky) and cured meats with warm flatbread and cool grapes on the side. Cheese plates are now offered at pretty much all the restaurants and resort bars in Property proper, but this one was a bit different, and a bit more hearty, with the inclusion of the meats. Bonnie and I scarfed it down with much glee and enthusiasm.

The drink menu here is the standard one used at all the bars on WDW property, with just the beers and wines varying slightly. The food menu is a bit more varied and complete compared to the ones at most of the bars on Lake Buena Vista property, there is even a separate bill of fare for lunch. All the food here comes from one floor down out of the kitchen of Shutters (the more casual of the two sit-down restaurants at Vero, the other being the more upscale Sonya’s).

We’re looking forward to getting back to the Vero Beach resort – we vowed to return sooner rather than later for another chill-out weekend – and maybe we’ll actually try the two sit-down restaurants the next time!

There you have it Dear Dedicated Readers, another (much longer than I expected) edition of Weekend Eats – hope you enjoyed the vicarious vittles!

If you enjoyed this post, please be sure to “like” and “share”!

We’re back to the World, and of course, the kitchen! See you soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Margarita of the Month: April, 2014 – Tommy’s Margarita

While flipping around the TV dial recently, I came across a show on the new Esquire network entitled “Best Bars in America”, so of course there was no way I couldn’t check it out…

One of their stops was for a legendary margarita at Tommy’s Mexican restaurant in San Francisco. There they had a simple, straight-forward drink that relies simply on good tequila to produce a superior drinking experience… and you can have the same at home… so let’s make a drink!

Tommy's Margarita

Tommy’s Margarita

Tommy’s Margarita

Nothing too fancy here...

Nothing too fancy here…

4 oz  100% Agave Tequila (I used silver here, but give it a try with a more aged one if you so desire)

1 1/2 oz  Fresh Lime Juice

3/4 oz  Agave Nectar

3/4 oz  Water

If you wish a salted rim (and I do), prepare your glass now.

Put all the ingredients listed above into a shaker with plenty of ice and shake until good and cold.

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Add fresh ice to your glass and strain the drink atop same… have a sip… enjoy…

Sometimes the simplest things are the best… use a good tequila and fresh lime and you’ll be very happy with this one.

Tommy's Margarita

Tommy’s Margarita

This makes two strong, delicious drinks – take your time and savor…

Back to the bar, see you soon!

 

Hello again, Dear Dedicated Readers, several days ago we took our first delayed look at the events of the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in the post “WDW Odds and Ends: 2014 Marathon Weekend Spell-Check Edition“, so now it’s (finally) time to take a little look at some of the dining (and drinking) events from the same weekend…

Pork Belly Nigri

Pork Belly Nigri

Despite being in the World for a long weekend, we did relatively little dining out, but what we did do was memorable, so let’s dig in!

Quite a while before the weekend we’d been asked to join several friends in trying out the newly renovated California Grill high atop the Contemporary Resort and of course we jumped at the chance…

Passion Fruit Margarita

Passion Fruit Margarita

Dinner was the night after the 10k, and some of us were still a bit creaky after the race that morning, but a few adult beverages would serve to ease those with a few pains…

Bonnie and I started with one (okay, maybe two…) of the delicious Passion Fruit Margaritas off the cocktail menu while our companions made wine their libation of choice.

BBQ Pork and Apple Flatbread

BBQ Pork and Apple Flatbread

As we perused the menu and enjoyed the great company, we also took in our gorgeous surroundings and the fantastic view (there have been plenty of great pics online of the refurbed restaurant, and my photography isn’t going to surpass what’s already been published, so take a look at some nice pics over at the Disney Food Blog).

Bonnie & I decided to share one of the flatbreads and a not-so-everyday-sushi item as our appetizer course.

A closer look at the BBQ Pork and Apple Flatbread...

A closer look at the BBQ Pork and Apple Flatbread…

The BBQ Pork and Apple Flatbread had pieces of coffee-brined pork, and was topped with apple butter, queso fresco, BBQ sauce and julienned pieces of sweet apples for crunch. Nope, it didn’t suck… but as good as it was, our other app choice was, well, flipping amazing

Pork Belly Nigri

Pork Belly Nigri

The Pork Belly Nigri was a roll of bacon and yuzu seasoned rice with a nice piece of cured pork belly sitting on top and all drizzled with a lightly spicy teriyaki sauce… damn…

Duck in all its Glory

Duck in all its Glory

Other apps around the table included Duck in all its Glory (duck served in several ways: House-made Sausage, Rillettes, Prosciutto, Duck Liver Pâté) and Yuzu-marinated Sashimi…

Yuzu-marinated Sashimi

Yuzu-marinated Sashimi

a beautiful plate of Yellowfin Tuna, Salmon, Hamachi, Snapper with Wasabi Oil.

Oak-fired Filet of Beef

Oak-fired Filet of Beef

Entrees included Oak-fired Filet of Beef (served with tomato risotto, marinated baby tomatoes, petite basil and tomato butter)…

Georges Bank Scallops

Georges Bank Scallops

Georges Bank Scallops (with French curry spice, squash ravioli and citrus butter)…

Spicy Kazan Roll

Spicy Kazan Roll

while Bonnie and I shared one of huge and delicious sushi rolls: the Spicy Kazan Roll with crab, shrimp, scallops, tuna and fireball sauce. The sushi here isn’t cheap, but it’s pretty darn good!

As always one of the best things about the California Grill is the spectacular view, and during Wishes the lights are dimmed and the music is piped into the restaurant!

Wishes!

Wishes! as seen from our table

While the wife and I were stuffed to the gills, some of our party still had room for dessert…

Lemon Meringue Cheesecake

Lemon Meringue Cheesecake

Sundae Sampler - perhaps the most adorable dessert ever!

Sundae Sampler – perhaps the most adorable dessert ever!

The food and service on our visit to the California Grill was great, and the refurbished space was gorgeous. Yes, it’s among the more expensive locations on property, so it will remain a “special-event” type of place for most diners, but we’re already looking forward to going again… mmm… pork belly sushi…

Thanks to Alice, Elizabeth, Karen and Marty for some great company on that night! Yes, lucky me, I was the only guy along with five lovely ladies!

The backside of the Spice Road Table

The backside of the Spice Road Table

The next day Bonnie and I made our way to Epcot (big shock, huh?) and met up with Papa Harry and Mama Ginny. Word had been going around that the highly anticipated Spice Road Table in Morocco was scheduled to make it’s official opening that day so we wanted to check it out.

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Much of the 10k route was through Epcot, and it was the day before during that race that some of us got our first look at the Spice Road with the final construction walls down.

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So on this Saturday we made our way to World Showcase in the morning and as the rope dropped to allow guests in we, along with several others, hightailed it to the restaurant. As we got near there was a fair amount of activity in the outside seating area which we were facing, so it seemed they were getting ready to receive diners.

Outdoor seating area at Spice Road Table

Outdoor seating area at Spice Road Table

The cast members at the restaurant welcomed us and ushered in the first guests with much applause.

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Bar area inside Spice Road Table

Bar area inside Spice Road Table

We were led in past the gorgeous bar and seated outside by one of the hostesses. She left us with the menus and soon our server (who was great BTW) arrived.

Spice Road Table Menu

Spice Road Table Menu Cover

He gave us a complete rundown of the restaurant and the ideas behind the menu – the food items are made from authentic recipes from the ancient Spice Road (see the back page of the menu below for some details on this).

Back of the Spice Road Table Menu

Back of the Spice Road Table Menu

He noted that some of the items may not be to our (or even his) particular tastes, but were authentic to the original recipes and not altered to make them more appealing to American palates (and I’m paraphrasing here – I actually wish I’d taped his discourse as it was quite interesting and informative). He left us to peruse the menu and when he returned we selected our beverages to start…

Spice Road Table Beverage Menu

Spice Road Table Beverage Menu

Bacj

Spice Road Table Wine Menu

Bonnie ordered the White Wine Flight…

White Wine Flight

White Wine Flight

she thought all were fine, but other than the Ksara Blanc de Blanc (which she graciously allowed me to sample and I quite liked) were nothing special. The flights come in glasses with the Spice Road logo on them and a description of each wine is provided.

Estrella Damm Beer

Estrella Damm Beer

I had a Spanish beer while Papa Harry ordered a glass of wine.

drinkj

Tangier’s Breeze

Mama Ginny had one of the signature cocktails – the Tangier’s Breeze. When asked how it tasted, she replied “Like something I want to drink for the rest of the day”! I think she liked it…

Spice Road Table Wine Menu

Spice Road Table Small Plates Menu

Menu

Chef’s Special and Dessert Menu

We ordered our food and enjoyed the beautiful weather, setting and company while we waited for our meal to arrive.

Hummus and Olives

Hummus and Imported Olives with Cornichons (little pickles) and Za’atar Flatbread

Mama Ginny wasn’t famished, so she selected the Hummus while the rest of us opted for the samplers.

Mogador Sampler

Mogador Sampler

I ordered the Mogador (seafood) Sampler with Mussels Tagine, Salted Cod Croquettes & Fried Calamari.

Tingis Sampler

Tingis Sampler

Bonnie & Harry both chose the meaty Tingis Sampler composed of Moroccan Lamb Sausage, a Harissa Chicken Roll and a Lamb Slider.

Mama Ginny was a bit underwhelmed with the hummus selections – I tried them and even though the plain version wasn’t anything special, I personally liked the tomato version, and the olives and pickles were nice. This would be a good item for a table to share as an “appetiser” to some other small plates.

Mussels Tagine

Mussels Tagine

I’d really been looking forward to trying the Mussels Tagine as I’m a Mussel-Fan, but these didn’t really do it for me…

According to the menu these are prepared with cilantro, garlic, lemon confit and tomato sauce… I’m more used to a steamed or perhaps grilled presentation of these bivalves served in the shell, but these were sans shell and had a more mealy texture like you’d find in a tinned, smoked version. They weren’t bad mind you, but I wasn’t excited by them and doubt I’d order them again.

Salted Cod Croquettes

Salted Cod Croquettes

I was pleasantly surprised by the Salted Cod Croquettes however – I was expecting a stronger flavor from the salt cod, but these fritters were mild and nicely flavored.

Fried Calamari

Fried Calamari

The best of the sampler was without a doubt the Fried Calamari. Our waiter said this was by far his favorite item on the entire menu, and these crispy, tender (for calamari) rings and tentacles were delicious! I’ve downed plenty of fried squid in my day, and these were among the best I’ve ever had – I’d return here just for more of these!

Moroccan Lamb Sausage

Moroccan Lamb Sausage

The Tingis Sampler was pretty much all a hit. The dense Lamb Sausage came served atop a salad of chopped tomato, red onion and cilantro and was quite good.

Harissa Chicken Roll

Harissa Chicken Roll

The Harissa Chicken Roll (with a side of spicy ketchup) is the same item as usually seen at the Morocco booth during the Food & Wine Festival. Like an egg roll filled with slightly spicy chicken mixture and studded with corn kernels this is a really nice item.

Lamb Slider

Lamb Slider

The real winner of the sampler for Miss Bonnie (and I couldn’t argue with her on it’s virtues) was the mini lamb burger (yes, I have an aversion to the term “slider”… keep waiting for that rant Dedicated Readers…). Served on a seeded brioche bun and topped with a tzatziki sauce, this juicy lamb patty was really good… I’d love a full-size version of this!

Despite this being a “small plates” kinda-place, we were all sated after our choices and couldn’t find the room for dessert – our servers favorite was the Chocolate Pyramid, which we saw at a neighboring table, and sometime we’ll return to try it out…

Now for a couple of notes about this place…

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You do get served on real plates and with real silverware, the napkins aren’t cloth, but they are very heavy and have the logo nicely printed on them.

When asked if we wanted water, we were brought bottled sparkling water (which of course we were charged for), so be sure to specify you want a glass of ice water unless you want otherwise.

At this time they do not take Tables in Wonderland, but our server indicated “they were looking into it”…

Also for the time being the bar was only for drinks being served at the tables, but our server noted that they hoped to have the bar open for walk-up guests in the fututre.

Inside seating area

Inside seating area

The restaurant is gorgeous… simply gorgeous…

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but the seating areas are fairly small – total capacity looks to be under 100. And I’m sure the outside seats will be in high demand for Illuminations.

There’s been a lot of “compare and contrast” online about this and the Tangerine Cafe, but they are really two different animals and two different experiences. Yes, per “volume of food” this is more expensive, but it’s also a sit-down, even if the servings are “small plates”… I’d give it a try before downplaying it as many seem to have done… we’re looking forward to going back and trying some items we didn’t have on our first visit!

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In the attached building is also the gift shop, a section of which is currently devoted to food items.

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Spices, coffees, teas, wines and more are available for purchase.

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Next door to the gift shop is the Art of Henna…

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and at the end of the building opposite the restaurant is a take-out window…

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with an assortment of sweets and beverages.

Juice Bar Menu

Juice Bar Menu

Here ended our visit to Morocco, but we weren’t quite done with Africa…

Dawa Bar

Dawa Bar

as we made our way to the village of Harambe in Disney’s Animal Kingdom…

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for a visit to the recently re-located Dawa Bar for a few African Margaritas.

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With the on-going construction in Harambe due to the new theater being built for the Festival of the Lion King show, the Dawa Bar was moved from it’s original location to the new one a few yards away to the right of the entrance area/podium for the Tusker House restaurant.

The back side of beer!

The back side of beer!

The new bar is certainly larger and more open than the previous incarnation – you can even walk all around the back of it if you are so inclined.

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There is more seating right at the bar, but there is precious little other seating right now, and we’ll have to see if the former plethora of tables returns after the construction walls come down and the area opens up again.

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After a couple of rounds we made our way out of the park, and thus ended our culinary and cocktail highlights of Marathon weekend.

Hope you enjoyed the look back at some eats & drinks… there is more from the World to share with you soon!  But for now its back to the kitchen!

Animal Kingdom Odds & Ends

September 22, 2013

We looked at some odds & ends from the Magic Kingdom a few days ago, so to continue on with a look at our recent visit to WDW, let’s now take a quick look at some odds & ends from Miss Bonnie’s favorite park, Animal Kingdom.

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We checked out the fairly new meet-and-greet for Mickey and Minnie, and while in line you get to see several cute pictures of the rodent couple while on their adventures around the world…

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the room where you get to see M & M and have your photo taken with the renowned couple is chock-full of details…

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including a Mickey-shaped butterfly net.

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We also stopped by the fairly new allergy-free/healthy-eating kiosk (officially known as the Gardens Kiosk)…

Gardens Kiosk on Discovery Island

Gardens Kiosk on Discovery Island

Here guests can get info about dining locations in the park for those with special dietary needs and also purchase some gluten-free snacks (some packaged and several freshly baked items from babycakes in Downtown Disney) and beverages (including gluten-free beer) along with fresh fruit. I chatted a while with the cast members there, and they said that the response to the kiosk had been quite good and this was a test and similar kiosks could eventually be rolled out in the other parks.

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The official Disney website has this to say about the Gardens Kiosk: “Happen upon this oasis of vitality to find healthy offerings as well as other helpful information regarding Guests with specific food allergies. Discover a snack suitable to your dietary restrictions while you learn about other nutritious options available throughout the park!”

What it doesn’t mention is that, yes dear Dedicated Readers, you can get a beer here at nine in the morning… good thing to know…

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And speaking of beverages, we also made a visit to my favorite spot in the village of Harambe: the Dawa Bar.

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Due to the continued construction of the new theater for the Festival of the Lion King show, the bar was reported to be moved the day after we were there, but the cast member working behind the bar that day said she didn’t know exactly when or where it would be relocated to. Below you can see the construction wall right behind the bar with the walls of the new theater peaking above the construction wall.

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While in Africa, we took a ride on the Kilimanjaro Safaris with the hopes of seeing a couple of the newest additions to the animal population of the savannah.

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We were rewarded with some great views of two baby giraffes who had just recently made their first forays onto the savannah. There is one youngster of each species (Masai and Reticulated), and they are about as cute as any six-foot-tall animal can be!

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So there you have it, a few odds & ends from Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Epcot is up next so we’ll see you soon!

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?

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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.

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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.

Interior of the new Main Street Bakery

Interior of the new Main Street Bakery

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…

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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?).

If only they really had Mickey Bars as big as your head!

If only they really had Mickey Bars bigger than your head!

Okay, so now let’s actually get to some Weekend Eats, starting at Downtown Disney for lunch and some beverages…

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The newly rebuilt volcano is now on display atop the Rainforest Cafe…

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and just a few days prior to our visit they opened a new outside bar, the Lava Lounge.

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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.

Lava Lounge bar

Lava Lounge bar

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…

Lava Lounge Food Menu

Lava Lounge Food Menu

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:

Lava Lounge Food Menu

Lava Lounge Food Menu

Lava Lounge Food Menu

Lava Lounge Food Menu

Lava Lounge Food Menu

Lava Lounge Food Menu

And on the opposite side is the specialty drink menu:

Lava Lounge Bar Menu

Lava Lounge Bar Menu

Lava Lounge Bar Menu

Lava Lounge Bar Menu

Lava Lounge Bar Menu

Lava Lounge Bar Menu

We ordered drinks while we made our food selections (and yes, you can get the specialty drinks sans the souvenir glass for less).

Cheetah Rita

Cheetah Rita

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…

Polynesian Pot Stickers

Polynesian Pot Stickers

The pork pot stickers were good, but like the margarita, nothing exceptional.

Krakatoa Flatbread

Krakatoa Flatbread

I liked the flatbread better, especially with the inclusion of the slightly bitter broccolini (aka broccoli rabe).

Seaside Ceviche

Seaside Ceviche

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…)

Seaside Ceviche

Seaside Ceviche

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.”

Jungle Chop Salad

Jungle Chop Salad

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).

Volcano Cake

Volcano Cake

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”.

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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…

Kabuki Cafe

Kabuki Cafe

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…

Updated Kabuki Cafe Menu

Updated Kabuki Cafe Menu

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.

California Roll from Kabuki Cafe

California Roll from Kabuki Cafe

Temari Sushl from Kabuki Cafe

Temari Sushi from Kabuki Cafe

Combo Sushi from Kabuki Cafe

Combo Sushi from Kabuki Cafe

The California Roll was the usual “safe” sushi, but had a bit of surprising roe inside…

Temari Sushi

Temari Sushi

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?

L’Artisan des Glaces in the French Pavilion in Epcot

L’Artisan des Glaces in the French Pavilion in Epcot

For dessert we went to the new L’Artisan des Glaces ice cream and sorbet shop in France.

Inside of L’Artisan des Glaces

Inside of L’Artisan des Glaces

In the location of the formerly crowded bakery, L’Artisan des Glaces is now a much more open space and offers up 16 flavors.

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And even an “adult” option…

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We tried a couple of flavors to see how they were…

Caramel flu de sel on top, Profiterole on the bottom

Caramel fleur de sel on top, Profiterole on the bottom

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…

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Sunday found us in Miss Bonnie’s favorite park, Animal Kingdom, to explore the wilderness (more on that in a future post…).

Anandapur Ice Cream Truck

Anandapur Ice Cream Truck

In Asia, the Anandapur Ice Cream Truck has come back out from behind construction walls.

Anandapur Ice Cream Truck Menu

Anandapur Ice Cream Truck Menu

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.

Restaurantosaurus "Main Dish" section of the menu

Restaurantosaurus “Main Dish” section of the menu

Bonnie and I decided to split a couple of items – the mac & cheese hot dog and the old favorite veggie sub.

Mac & Cheese Hot Dog and Vegetable Subasausus

Mac & Cheese Hot Dog and Vegetable Subosaurus

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!

WDW Odds & Ends

June 16, 2013

Let’s just call this the “Random-Stuff-From-The-Past-Couple-Of-Months” Edition of Odds & Ends….

Rapunzel's Tower in the Magic Kingdom

Rapunzel’s Tower in the Magic Kingdom

nothing that’s too new or news-worthy, but some food, some drink, and some (hopefully) fun stuff from around the parks… so let’s get started!

"Tangled" Themed Restrooms in the Magic Kingdom

“Tangled” Themed Restrooms in the Magic Kingdom

If you’ve felt Nature Calling while you’ve been in the Magic Kingdom recently you may have visited the new “Tangled” inspired facilities in Fantasyland near Small World.

Hummm... what's inside that satchel???

Hummm… what’s inside that satchel???

This is without a doubt the best-themed toilet facilities ever at Disney… even if you don’t need to go, it’s worth the visit for the details…

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Posters for many of the Snuggly Duckling regulars adorn the exterior walls…

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And inside the gents room there are wanted posters…

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and there is a very cool detail from the movie on Flynn Rider’s wanted poster:

"They never get the nose right!"

“They never get the nose right!”

Above the sinks it looks like Rapunzel has left a cast-iron warning…

Be sure to remember to wash those hands boys!

Be sure to remember to wash those hands boys!

In the ladies, Rapunzel has painted the ceiling…

Of course, Miss Bonnie took this pic, not me...

Of course, Miss Bonnie took this pic, not me…

There is also a new seating area nearby…

which has some semi-hidden charging stations for your smart phones (or other idevice)…

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Charge me up!

Charge me up!

and while you wait for the electrons to flow, your little ones (or you) can hunt for Pascal and some of some of his reptilian pals…

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All in all an incredible example of Imagineering, and all (at least for now…) just for a bathroom…

For a few weeks this spring Annual Passholders were allowed to exchange their current cards for the new hard plastic ones that contain an RFID chip. This took place in the Odyssey building in Epcot…

Testing the new card for park entrance

Testing the new card for park entrance

We have a winner!

We have a winner!

During that time there were castmembers on hand to answer questions about the new Magic Bands and the upcoming MyMagic+.

Look at my band...

Look at my band!

Cast with the Mickeyhead-in-a-Circle logo on their shirts have been showing up in the parks and will be the go-to people for questions about MyMagic+.

Most of the MyMagic+ castmembers aren't as fuzzy in real life as this one...

Most of the MyMagic+ castmembers aren’t as fuzzy in real life as this one…

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In addition to getting the new cards and hearing the propaganda about the upcoming wristbands, we were also treated to a small display of artwork and park artifacts.

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Dedicated Readers should know I can’t go on too long without getting to some food… late one night while we were staying at Kidani Village I needed a bit of a nosh, so we stopped by the bar at Sanaa to get some take-away…

Lamb Kefta Sliders

Lamb Kefta Sliders

and came away with a trio of Lamb Kefta Sliders… accompanied by a nice marinated slaw, these little jewels were tasty and just right to quell the late-night munchies.

And on one trip we discovered a couple of food & beverage related tees:

"Food Critic"... guess that's me...

“Food Critic”… guess that’s me… woof!

Please really open this bar!

Please really open this bar! I’ll go!

Over at the Studios there is now a billboard (and some smaller posters) promoting one of my current favorite TV shows, the ABC daytime show “The Chew”.

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Hey Disney, you own this show, bring them to the World to film a few episodes! How about during Food & Wine (or for a Food & Wine preview)?

Oh yeah, here’s another cool shirt (and also a bit food-related…):

We all knew that Lord Vader is really just a big kid at heart...

We all knew that Lord Vader is really just a big kid at heart…

On one trip to Animal Kingdom, Miss Bonnie and I happened across an interesting event.

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Signs promoting tastings and bottle signings by South African winemakers were near the entrance to the park (and also were at other locations around the park, even the cash registers at Flame Tree Barbeque sported the signage).

Brochure from wine tasting at Animal Kingdom

Brochure from wine tasting at Animal Kingdom

Inside the Mombasa Marketplace in Harambe, a couple of small tables were set up at one side of the shop for the vintners to display their featured wines.

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Unlike other wine tasting or “wine walks” we’ve seen at events like the Epcot Food & Wine Festival or the Sundowner Celebration at Animal Kingdom, this was a one-one-one with an actual representative of the featured winery with only a couple of bottles being tasted at one time. On this day the first tasting ran from 11 AM until 1 on the afternoon, with the second going from 1 until 2:30 and the last one wrapping up at 4 PM with a different winery on stage at each session.

The procedure for the tasting was a bit awkward – guests had to go to one of the registers where the castmembers have a list of the wines being offered, you chose which of the wines you’d like and paid separately for each sample glass, then you take to receipt to the winemaker and he then pours your glass… as a couple of the bottles being offered were a bit pricey, the price per glass varied so in a way it made sense, but overall it seemed a bit over-complicated… but at least the first winemaker (and sadly the only one I got to visit with that day) did offer up a sample of the wine that I didn’t chose for me to compare and contrast even without me asking.

Pinotage and Kadette wines from Kanonkop winery

Pinotage and Kadette wines from Kanonkop winery

The glasses used were the same size used at Food & Wine, and most of the samples were about the same price range ($3 or so), but they did go up to $8 for a glass (which was the Kanonkop Pinotage, and yes I did try it – considering this bottle retails in the $40-range I didn’t think this was out of line – and yes, it was pretty dang tasty… and the Kadette was very drinkable…).

It would have been nice to be able to visit with each of the winemakers and sample all the wines at one time, but I would have re-visited the store throughout the day to try the others if we had been able to stay in the park later on that day. The event seemed to be sponsored by a importer/distributor of the wines (a representative of the distributor was at the table and when queried told us retail outlets for the wines), and the scheduling may have been partly their idea, but that’s just a guess on my part.

I asked the castmember at the register about the event, and she said “they do them from time-to-time”, but it had been about a year since the last one… how accurate that is I cannot say, but I hope that the next one isn’t another year away! Despite the unusual set-up, it was nice to be able to talk to the winemaker (at most samplings in the parks you’re just dealing with a castmember who’s reciting info from a script) and sample a couple of vintages I wasn’t familiar with – and this same concept would certainly work in other locations, some of the countries around the World Showcase in Epcot come to mind…

Now that we’ve had a glass of wine, let’s take a few more quick looks at some food starting with the usual good eats at Flame Tree:

Smoked Chicken with beans and slaw, Onion Rings and Smoked Chicken Salad from Flame Tree Barbeque in Animal Kingdom

Smoked Chicken with beans and slaw, Onion Rings and Smoked Chicken Salad from Flame Tree Barbeque in Animal Kingdom

Over in Epcot there are a couple of tasty and unique sandwiches now on the menu at Sunshine Seasons…

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a grilled veggie flatbread sandwich…

Oak-Grilled Vegetable Flatbread Sandwich at Sunshine Seasons in Epcot

Oak-Grilled Vegetable Flatbread Sandwich at Sunshine Seasons in Epcot

and an unusual Vietnamese-style pork sandwich.

Roasted Pork Banh Mi Style Panini at Sunshine Seasons

Roasted Pork Banh Mi Style Panini at Sunshine Seasons

One of the sides offered alongside the sandwiches that day was a cold Asian-style noodle – it was much like the curry-flavored Singapore Noodles we’ve seen during Food & Wine, and was simply yummy – I’d go back there just to get a bowl of these to go if they offered them on their own!

Let’s wrap up this edition of Odds & Ends with a look at a couple of ride vehicles – and not attraction ride vehicles, but ones belonging to park guests…

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Walking through a parking lot one day I came across this RV with a totally-tricked out golf cart in tow…

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that’s one hot Minnie-Mobile!

And speaking of hot…

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there’s this little red number…

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with one of the coolest car tags ever!

Okay boys & girls, it’s time to head back to the kitchen, so let’s call this a post… see you again soon!

Well Dear Dedicated Readers, it’s that time again: time for a look back at a recent weekend of eats around the World (and a bit away from the World as well this time). Miss Bonnie and I, accompanied much of the time by Mama Ginny and Papa Harry, made our second trip to try the booth items we hadn’t hit our first go-round at this year’s Flower & Garden Festival (you can see our first visit in the post “Flower & Garden… and Food & Wine“), as well as some dining away from Epcot… so let’s dig in, shall we?

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I was able to make it to property that Friday a bit before Miss Bonnie, so I went over to Animal Kingdom for a while to check out the new construction going on there (see “WDW Odds & Ends: More Construction Wall Fun!” for the results of that research). Needing a bit of something on my (seemingly-ever-expanding) belly to get me to dinner-time, I bypassed some more healthy options (yes, I did consider the Asian Noodle Salad at the veggie-only kiosk on the path between Asia and Africa)…

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but something drew me to Flame Tree Barbeque (one of the better quick-service eateries on property in my humble opinion), but even there, I was able to keep it to a vegetarian afternoon snack…

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of Fried Onion Rings and a Safari Amber draft beer… got to be a healthy start to the weekend, right???

I took a seat in the lower dining area, which has a great view of Expedition Everest, and leisurely downed the quite good rings. As one guest passed by my table he commented that “I want to hang out with this guy, onion rings and beer, he’s got it all figured out!”.

Now sans a grumbling tummy,  I returned to our resort and after Miss Bonnie arrived we made our way to Epcot and met up with Mama Ginny and Papa Harry.

Mexico Booth Menu

Mexico Booth Menu

We headed over to Mexico in the World Showcase and started our trek for the evening with another of the delicious margaritas there.

Rosirita Margarita

Rosita Margarita

Someone may have had something to eat there… but I was paying to much attention to my drink to notice…

Where that tasty tequila comes from... planter near the Mexico booth...

Where that tasty tequila comes from… planter near the Mexico booth…

Bonnie stopped in Italy to try the veggie lasagna…

Lasagna Primvera at Primavera Litchen

Lasagna Primvera at Primavera Litchen

it was pretty good, but nothing spectacular…

Frushi, Hana Awake Sake, and Chirashi Hanazushi from Hanamai

Frushi, Hana Awake Sake, and Chirashi Hanazushi from Hanamai

We next picked up some items from the Japan Flower & Garden booth to dine on while we sat in the American Garden Theater for one of the evenings concerts.

Flo & Eddie

Flo & Eddie

We watched a very entertaining and hit-filled (even if Bonnie didn’t recognize most of the songs…) set by Flo & Eddie of the Turtles. Before the show began we ate our Japanese vittles as we waited for the band to take the stage.

Chirashi Hanazuchi (Grilled Salmon, cooked Shrimp and Crab Stick over Ginger Rice with Volcano and Dynamite Sauces)

Chirashi Hanazuchi (Grilled Salmon, cooked Shrimp and Crab Stick over Ginger Rice with Volcano and Dynamite Sauces)

The Chirashi Hanazuchi is like a “scattered sushi” and in addition to the cooked seafood (yes kids, sushi doesn’t mean “raw fish”, it means “with rice”…) there was edamame and bits of cooked egg/omelet – the pair of spicy sauces set off the sweeter taste of the shrimp and fake crab and each bite was just a bit different – we loved this and it’s for sure on our “have-again-next-trip” list!

Frushi (Fresh Strawberries, Pineapple and Cantaloupe wrapped in Coconut Rice with Raspberry Sauce, Coconut and Whipped Cream)

Frushi (Fresh Strawberries, Pineapple and Cantaloupe wrapped in Coconut Rice with Raspberry Sauce, Coconut and Whipped Cream)

We also had the Frushi which is perhaps the most fun item of the festival – fresh fruit wrapped up in seasoned rice and presented like a traditional sushi roll. Accented by sweet whipped cream and a berry sauce, this was an unusual and surprising item, and a great way to get some young finicky eaters to maybe try some fresh fruit (or even an adult that may be reluctant to consume the “F” word)… on both of our visits I overheard many guests talking about this item – I think this will wind up being one of the big hits here!

Tarte a la ratatouille et fromage de cheve (Ratatouille of Zuchinni, Eggplant, Bell Peppers, Onions and Tomato on a pastry crust with Goat Cheese)

Tarte a la ratatouille et fromage de cheve (Ratatouille of Zuchinni, Eggplant, Bell Peppers, Onions and Tomato on a pastry crust with Goat Cheese)

From there we wound our way around to France and the L’Orangerie booth to sample the version of Ratatouille there. Served on a pastry crust, this was essentially a Ratatouille pizza, and was rich with veggie-goodness… it got me thinking about making something similar myself soon…

And of course we had to try the Sparkling Muscat as well...

And of course we had to try the Sparkling Muscat as well…

Bonnie and I had been coveting the tomato dish being served at The Cottage in the UK since our first visit (and for some reason we never got around to trying it that time)…

Tomato fixins...

Tomato fixins…

so we made sure to try it this time around.

Waterkist Farms Heirloom Tomatoes with House-made Mozzarella, Minus 8 Vinegar and Basil

Waterkist Farms Heirloom Tomatoes with House-made Mozzarella, Minus 8 Vinegar and Basil

Perhaps we were expecting too much from this, but it left us both a bit underwhelmed… the tomatoes weren’t bad, but also weren’t great, and considering the tomato flavor itself is critical to a dish like this, well… and the mozzarella I thought had a bit of an odd, tougher-than-I-expected texture – I was expecting a more creamy, fresh texture from the cheese, but it turned out a bit more firm and rubbery… this was a great idea to go along with the “garden” theme, but I felt the execution was a bit lacking.

So after that, we headed for one final stop to wind up our evening, and to a place we knew we wouldn’t be disappointed: La Cava del Tequila in the Mexico pavilion.

We ordered drinks all around, and I had the tequila shot selection to start… then I needed a bit of heat to round out the day and ordered a Jalapeno Margarita… “extra hot please”… so what I got was…

Jalapeno/Habanero Margarita (with remnants of shots in the background)

Jalapeno/Habanero Margarita (with remnants of shots in the background)

a Jalapeno Margarita turned up to 11 with the addition of a fresh habanero! A great lip-numbing,  tonsil-tingling end to a great day of eating & drinking around the World! And we were just starting the weekend…

Saturday AM Miss Bonnie and I made our way over to the east coast to do a recon mission… we’ll save the purpose of that trip for another time, but we did find a great place to have lunch in Cocoa Beach!

We had stopped into the DIS Welcome Center near Port Canaveral to pick their brains about a cruise later in the year and as we were leaving we asked about a good place for lunch – Rob and Walter both chimed out “Simply Delicious”.

We’d heard our friends at the DIS Unplugged talk about the Simply Delicious Bakery in Cocoa Beach, so the choice was easy…

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This breakfast and lunch place is in a uniquely decorated old house, with tables crammed everywhere and odd nicknacks all over the place.

What was hard was deciding what to have – sandwiches on house-baked bread, soups, it all sounded so good… and they serve breakfast at lunch, so that even added to the dilemma…

Blackened Mahi Sandwich

Blackened Mahi Sandwich

we both independently chose fish sandwiches and sipped on tea as we waited for our lunch… they bring a tiny little pitcher of simple syrup to sweeten your tea if you don’t want any of the granular sweeteners (which happened to be on the table in a margarita glass!).

Bonnie had a blackened mahi sandwich, while I chose the Mahi Reuben – their take on a traditional Reuben sandwich with the fresh grilled fish standing in for corned beef.

Mahi Reuben

Mahi Reuben

Both sandwiches were fresh, large and well, simply delicious! My “side” Grecian Salad took up half of the not-so-small plate… portions here are not skimpy, and the prices are right, with most items running about $10 or less. Our young server was attentive and well, just darn sweet!

We also drooled over some of the breakfast dishes we saw coming out to other guests, and I briefly contemplated coming back the next day all the way from Disney just to eat there again!

If you’re in the area I’d say this is a don’t miss place – perfect for a pre or post-cruise bite. You can read a breakfast review on Foodies Tales (which also has a link to the DIS podcast review).

We made our way back to the World (as Miss Bonnie shed a little tear as we passed by the Disney cruise ship moored at the Port) and contemplated where we should sup that evening…

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and as we’ve done on more than one occasion, we decided to head over to the Wilderness Lodge resort and have a table full of appetizers-for-dinner at the Territory Lounge.

We once again met up with Mama Ginny and Papa Harry and settled into some comfy chairs at a corner table in the lounge. We (shockingly!) ordered a round of adult beverages whilst we decided on the evenings edibles.

House-made Northwest Chips with a trio of dips: Smokey Blue, Truffle Aioli, and Huckleberry Honey

House-made Northwest Chips with a trio of dips: Smokey Blue, Truffle Aioli, and Huckleberry Honey

We made our choices and shared all around the table… the crispy potato chips came with three sauces, the truffle aioli being the best of the bunch.

Sharp Cheddar-Beer Fondue - pretzel sticks, house-made sourdough, Washington State apples, and dried fruit

Cheddar Cheese and Beer Fondue served with two types of bread, Washington State apples, and dried fruit

We dunked the varied cubes of goodies into the tangy beer and cheddar fondue… the fresh apples and dried fruits going particularly well with the molten fromage.

Wild Mushroom Flatbread with caramelized Balsamic onions, Smokey Bleu cheese, figs, and arugula

Wild Mushroom Flatbread with caramelized Balsamic onions, Smokey Bleu cheese, figs, and arugula

We also had the flatbread topped with mushrooms, sauteed onions, blue cheese, figs and arugula. The meaty/fruity figs and the peppery arugula greens were a nice foil for the ‘shrooms and onions – an unusual combo that worked well.

Bag-O-Doughnuts

Bag-O-Doughnuts

At dessert time we were joined by a Famous-Disney-Food-Blogger and we got an order of the Drunkin Doughnuts (so apropos for our group!).

The cake-like circles and holes come in a paper bag with a cinnamon-sugar mixture – you shake it up and pour them out onto the plate…

Drunken Doughnuts - Maple liquor glaze

Drunken Doughnuts with Maple-Liquor Glaze

and then best of all, you dunk them into the Drunkin part, a ramekin filled with a melange of melted butter, maple syrup and Grand Marnier… hell yes… what could be bad about that combo? Carbs, sugar and booze! That’s the way to end your night, and we called it one then…

Sunday was going to be a short day in the World before we headed out, but we did make our way to Epcot again for some lunch in World Showcase before wrapping up the weekend.

Taste of Marrakesh Menu

Taste of Marrakesh Menu

Miss Bonnie wanted to go for a Lamb Wrap at the Tangerine Cafe in Morocco, so I opted to start my feeding with an item from the Taste of Marrakesh kiosk. We had eaten there on our first visit, but got a bit distracted right after we ordered, so I wanted to give the lamb there another try.

Spiced Lamb Kabob with Vegetable Couscous Salad and Iced Mint Tea

Spiced Lamb Kabob with Vegetable Couscous Salad and Iced Mint Tea

And it was worth trying again – the lamb was full of earthy, herby flavor. The side of couscous seemed to be the same (good) version from the Cafe, and the mint tea was a nice change of pace.

While Bonnie was sated after her wrap, I still needed something to top off my tummy, so we headed towards Germany.

Epcot Germany Stein

Epcot Germany Stein

We stopped in the gift shop and came across a few new steins there, one with scenes from the Germany pavilion all around it…

Epcot Germany Stein

Epcot Germany Stein

and another with characters added to the scene…

Epcot Germany Stein with characters

Epcot Germany Stein with characters

with Goofy, Donald, and of course Mickey, showing off their Oompah skills.

Epcot Germany Stein with characters

Epcot Germany Stein with characters

Each stein comes with the ever-popular “Certificate of Authenticity” and a brief history of the stein in Germany.

Certificate that comes inside the steins

Certificate that comes inside the steins

Both of these steins were about $125 (or thereabouts to the best of my feeble recollection), and were hefty and seems to be of good quality if you were in the market for such an item. But if you wanted something with say, a bit more character, or at least one specific character, you could opt for the Grumpy stein…

Grumpy Stein

Grumpy Stein

I guess Grumpy has been known to lose his head now and then...

I guess Grumpy has been known to lose his head now and then…

but be prepared to drop an extra C note if you want this one!

Grumpy's bottom

Grumpy’s bottom

We decided to save our money for food and made our way to Bauernmarkt: Farmer’s Market for one last bite of the weekend.

We’d tried the savory bread pudding and the potato pancakes here on our first go-round and had enjoyed them both (especially the bread pudding), so I was eager to see what a German meatloaf would be like.

German Meatloaf Sandwich with Sweet Mustard and Fried Shallots along with a Krombacher Hefeweizen

German Meatloaf Sandwich with Sweet Mustard and Fried Shallots along with a Krombacher Hefeweizen

The meatloaf itself was a lighter color than I expected, so I assume it was at least part pork (or maybe veal?). The meat(s) were obviously very finely ground and the texture was smooth and dense.

German Meatloaf Cross-section

German Meatloaf Cross-section

The meatloaf flavor was fairly mild, but the sweet mustard added nicely to it and the crunchy fried bits of shallot gave it some texture. The bread could have been a bit softer for my taste, but overall not a bad dish, if still it wound up being my least favorite from this location.

After that we sadly had to bid farewell to WDW for this trip – it was a fun weekend with some good food and drink, and even better friends!

So there you have it boys and girls, another weekend of eats from around the World – hope you enjoyed another gustatory tour!

As always, it’s back to the kitchen – see you again soon!

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