As you may remember from the post “Another Dream come true… the Disney Dream that is…” we recently got to take another sojourn on the gorgeous Disney Dream to celebrate Miss Bonnie’s birthday. Along with Meme and Bapa, her Parental Units, we were able to board the same big ol’ boat we spent our post-wedding celebration on and this time we got to spend her Big Day on Castaway Cay!

Having the good fortune to sail on the Dream and the Fantasy several times in the past few years, one of our plans (or my plan at least) for this trip was to try as many different menu items as possible. The menus at the main restaurants on board both ships haven’t changed dramatically since we first went on these ships, so I wanted to venture out from some of the items we’ve had on prior sailings – of course there would be a few items we just couldn’t pass on, but I wanted to make a concerted effort to try some different dishes.

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With that being said, I of course went to my old favorite standby for the boarding day buffet: a big pile of mussels!

Shellfish

Mussels & Shrimp…

I really have a “thing” for the chilled mussels and had been thinking about them for days before we got on the Dream, so when we hit Cabanas after we boarded the ship I started off my culinary cruise with a huge plate of the bivalves – so much for trying new things…

Crab

Claws!

Someone in our party (can you say Mama Meme?) has a similar affection for the crab claws… we’ll see more of those in the future…

Veggies

There were a few veggies…

We did sample a few other non-shellfish items off the buffet…

Our just desserts...

Our just desserts…

and yes, there was a big plate of desserts to start off our trip!

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Dinner the first night was at Enchanted Garden.

North Atlantic Lobster Ravioli

North Atlantic Lobster Ravioli

There were a few old favorites among the appetizers/salads/soups…

Ahi Tuna and Avocado Tower

Ahi Tuna and Avocado Tower

with the tuna & avocado always being a fave…

Applewood Smoked Bacon Wild Mushroom Tart

Applewood Smoked Bacon Wild Mushroom Tart

Romaine Wedge Salad

Romaine Wedge Salad

Heirloom Tomato Soup

Heirloom Tomato Soup

Cream of Green Asparagus Soup

Cream of Green Asparagus Soup

I really enjoyed the tomato soup, while Bonnie & Meme both loved the asparagus soup.

Caramelized Sea Scallops

Caramelized Sea Scallops

The scallops and sea bass are also old favorites – we usually think the sea bass is one of the best items served anywhere on board.

Pan-seared Sea Bass

Pan-seared Sea Bass

Even though the sea bass wasn’t a new item for us to try, it was a bit different from prior times. In the past it was served more Asian-style with a sweet chili sauce, this time it sat atop a fava bean and pea risotto and was napped with a dill-chive Riesling sauce… mmmm… Miss Bonnie loves both Riesling (and had a glass of same to accompany the dish) and sea bass, so this version was a big hit with her!

Part of the Enchanted Garden menu

Part of the Enchanted Garden menu

Harrisa Lamb Salad

Harrisa Lamb Salad

I picked a couple of new-to-me dishes for the first evening: Harrisa Lamb Salad from the “Lighter Note Offerings” section of the menu…

Glazed Portobello Mushrooms

Glazed Portobello Mushrooms

and from the “Vegetarian” section the Glazed Portobello Mushrooms. I liked the cold lamb atop couscous quite a bit, and the meaty mushrooms and lentils was also a very satisfyingly plate.

Sweet Temptations - A trio of Esterhazy Cake, Strawberry Cheesecake, and Chocolate Silk Mousse

Sweet Temptations – A trio of Esterhazy Cake, Strawberry Cheesecake, and Chocolate Silk Mousse

Even though we were all pretty well stuffed from dinner and the afternoon buffet, desserts still made their way to our table…

Apple Cinnamon Crunch Sundae

Apple Cinnamon Crunch Sundae

Our Most Excellent server Christian pretty much insisted that we try the date pudding…

Warm Sticky Date Pudding

Warm Sticky Date Pudding

and I have to admit that even though I had no desire to stuff another bite of anything into my mouth at that time, the Warm Sticky Date Pudding was incredibly delicious – the best dessert we’d have on the entire cruise (in my most humble dessert opinion)

The Infamous Mickey Bar

The Infamous Mickey Bar

And it wouldn’t be a Disney Cruise without Mickey Bars…

Early morning trivia on the Funnel-Vision screen

Early morning trivia on the Funnel-Vision screen

The first morning on board Bonnie & I had coffee on the deserted pool deck while Disney trivia questions were presented to us…

Good morning...

Good morning!

Meme and Bapa soon joined us and we all watched as one of the crew members made his way through the Aqua Duck on an early AM inspection trek.

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First drops thru the Aqua Duck...

First drops thru the Aqua Duck…

After our morning entertainment, we again headed to Cabanas (this will be a theme for the trip as you’ll see) for the breakfast buffet.

Just a small part iof the breakfast buffet at Cabanas

Just a small part of the breakfast buffet at Cabanas

There’s always the usual suspects: scrambled eggs, bacon, Mickey waffles and the like, but there’s also things many would think to be a bit different as a breakfast item…

Fish for breakfast???

Fish for breakfast??? Don’t carp about it…

in addition to the not-so-unusual lox and bagels is a whole selection of  cured fish…

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the pastrami-style salmon being one of my breakfast staples while on ship (even though most of the others I’m not too fond of).

Pancakes, the ever-popular Mickey Waffles and the I'm-sure-They-Are-Horrible-For-You-But-Oh-Are-They-Dang-Tasty Mexican Hot Pockets

Pancakes, the ever-popular Mickey Waffles and the I’m-So-Sure-They-Are-Horrible-For-You-But-Oh-Are-They-Dang-Tasty Mexican Hot Pockets

The meaty/cheesy wraps called Mexican Hot Pockets are another go-to item for me in the morning – you could imagine having these at any time of day, but they seem even extra-bad-for-you (and delicious) at breakfast!

And lunch at Cabanas...

And lunch at Cabanas…

Lunchtime found us, well, back at Cabanas. And other than lunch on Castaway day, every breakfast and lunch would be spent there. There is a huge variety of items offered, and they do change things up at least a little bit from day-to-day, so you have plenty to choose from at each feeding.

Sushi

Sushi

Bonnie was looking forward to the sushi, but the offering is fairly mundane – not bad, but certainly nothing to get too worked up about. My first sailing a few years ago on the Wonder featured a much more extensive selection of sushi at the lunch buffet where you could pick and choose from many options, but every cruise we’ve been on since has offered just a one-size-fits-all plate… I’m certainly not expecting uni or toro, but I’d like just a bit more variety.

Big 'ol pile of crab claws

Big ‘ol pile of crab claws

But yes, there’s crab claws… Meme is happy…

Jerk Pork with Rice & Beans

Jerk Pork with Rice & Beans

And there were a few interesting dishes that were quite tasty…

Alsatian Stuffed Chicken Breast (with some Fried Shrimp lurking in the background...)

Alsatian Stuffed Chicken Breast (with some Fried Shrimp lurking in the background…)

And of course more sweets…

Just desserts...

More just desserts…

Royal Palace menu, page one

Royal Palace menu, page one

Royal Palace was the dining venue for our second night.

Royal Palace menu, page two

Royal Palace menu, page two

Iced Lobster and Jumbo Shrimp

Iced Lobster and Jumbo Shrimp

A couple of standard, but good apps were ordered…

Breaded and Deep Fried Brie

Breaded and Deep Fried Brie

and I selected an item from the vegetarian entree section as my appetizer…

Porcini Mushroom Ravioli

Porcini Mushroom Ravioli

the Porcini Mushroom Ravioli were ‘shroom-stuffed pasta pillows in a veggie broth and were among the best things I ate all cruise. Mama Meme had it for her main and agreed with me on their absolute yumminess.  This was another “new-to-me” item, but will be on my “order-again” list if it’s available on our next cruise.

Roasted Steak

Chateaubriand-Roasted Filet Steak

Papa Bapa went for the meat & potatoes main…

Ahi Tuna Nicoise

Ahi Tuna Nicoise

while I again went for something I’d never had off of the Lighter Note section of the menu: the Ahi Tuna Nicoise  with seared tuna, green beans, potatoes, hard-boiled egg and onions all with a vinaigrette dressing. This cold dish was a great lighter option (but still plenty of food) and really tasty – this would also serve as a nice app/salad split between two people.

Tahitian Vanilla Crème Brûlée and Strawberry Shortcake Sundae

Tahitian Vanilla Crème Brûlée and Strawberry Shortcake Sundae

And yes, even though we were all stuffed once again, there just had to be dessert… I think it’s a law…

Peanut Butter Mousse

Peanut Butter Mousse

The Peanut Butter Mousse here is another old favorite, and to me one of the better desserts.

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One thing a lot of people don’t seem to know is that there is food all over the ship for a good part of the day, and not just at the fast-food eateries on the pool deck.

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Vista Cafe, the small coffee bar in the main atrium area usually has several goodies available, and we made use of this to get some (free!) snacks to take into the movie theater for our after dinner flick (and if you haven’t seen Saving Mr. Banks yet, stop here and go watch it!).

Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies

Mocha Filled Chocolate Eclairs

Mocha Filled Chocolate Eclairs

Just ask the crew member for what you’d like, get it on a plate and take your eats with you!

Carrot Cake and Citrus Cream Cheese

Carrot Cake and Citrus Cream Cheese

Oatmeal Cookies on a Stick

Oatmeal Cookies on a Stick

Cookies on a Stick – sheer genius!

The Cove Cafe in the adults area is another place you can get eats – sweets much of the time – but I have seen sandwiches there during the day as well – and even though you do have to pay for beverages in these places, the food is on the house!

There’s also late-nite snacks available for the grown-ups in the adult entertainment area – mostly of the fried bar-food style (not that there’s anything wrong with that!).

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This night was also Pirate Night. If you’re on longer voyages there will be a special menu at your sit-down restaurant on that night, but on a 3-nighter, it’s the standard menu…

Turkey legs, ham, taco fillings...

Turkey legs, ham, taco fillings…

However, after the show on deck and fireworks (yes, there are fireworks at sea!), there is a special late-night buffet.

and desserts, oh my...

and desserts, oh my…

Turkey legs are the highlight for many, but there is also taco fixings, wraps, sweets and a crepe bar among other things.

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To me the coolest part of the buffet is the decor, especially the incredible carved melons!

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And we all know how much a pirate loves melons…

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After a late night snack (and yes, Meme did have more desserts) we all settled down for a not-so-long springtime sleep anticipating Bonnie’s Birthday-Bash-on-the-Beach.

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After another breakfast at Cabanas, we headed ashore on Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.

One of the first places you pass on the way along the path is the Conched Out Bar – and even though it was a day for celebration, we held off on the adult beverages until later in the day.

Cocked Out Bar drink menu

Conched Out Bar drink menu

There are some good Hidden Mickeys at this location… look for them next time you’re there.

"I'm not bad..."

“I’m not bad…”

And speaking of hidden, a certain Ms Rabbit keeps an eye out at the adult beach…

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The BBQ at the adults-only area, Serenity Bay, is always one of our favorite things on the cruise.

Adult BBQ

BBQ at Serenity Bay

You can find the usual dogs & burgers along with ribs, mahi mahi, chicken and thin rib eyes…

Ribs

Ribs!

They also have a nice Greek-style salad with tomatoes, cukes, feta, etc. that goes really well with couscous that’s also on the menu there.

Fish & Meat...

Fish & Meat… let’s eat!

On our way back to the ship we made a stop at one of Bonnie’s favorite spots: the Heads Up bar.

Heads Up Bar

Heads Up Bar

With a great view, and some dang good beverages, this is a really nice way to end your day on Castaway.

Enjoy a beverage and the view...

Enjoy a beverage and the view…

And speaking of beverages, most of the specialty drinks on the island are really pretty good, with the Konk Kooler being a favorite. And at $5.75, they’re actually a pretty good deal! They could get away with gouging you a bit more, but I think most of the beverage prices on Castaway and aboard ship are really pretty reasonable (but they do need a much better beer selection on the island!).

While still on the subject of booze (which I guess is one of my favorite subjects), you do know you can carry it onto the ship don’t you? Disney allows each adult a carry-on bag which you can fill with bottles of wine, beer and/or the hard stuff! You can’t take bottles with you to dinner (not without a corking fee, that is), but if you want to enjoy an adult bev or twelve in your stateroom you can, and it really helps save to some cash!

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Dinner on our last night was at Animator’s Palate.

"Finding Nemo" Artwork

“Finding Nemo” Artwork

We were (appropriately) seated in an area filled with drawings from “Finding Nemo”.

"Finding Nemo" Artwork

“Finding Nemo” Artwork

"Finding Nemo" Artwork

“Finding Nemo” Artwork

Despite my edict to try new items, we did have to pretty much all order the Black Truffle Pasta Purseittes as an appetizer – cheese-filled pasta with the earthy aroma of truffles doused with a champagne sauce, what’s not to love? If I had to pick a death row meal, this would be on it…

Black Truffle Pasta Purseittes - maybe not the best pic, but my, oh my, what a dish...

Black Truffle Pasta Purseittes – maybe not the best pic, but my, oh my, what a dish…

I did try a salad here for the first time, and quite enjoyed the Arugula and Curly Endive Salad – the almost-meaty figs with the most defiantly-meaty chorizo make this plate of greens more than just the average salad.

Arugula and Curly Endive Salad with Sliced Chortzo, Dried Figs, Herbed Croutons topped with a Cider Dressing

Arugula and Curly Endive Salad with Sliced Chorizo, Dried Figs, Herbed Croutons and topped with a Cider Dressing

Bonnie went for the chicken for the first time here, but was a bit underwhelmed… the meat was a bit dry… the roasted root veggies that surrounded the breast were the best part of this dish.

Lemon-thyme Marinated Organic Chicken Breast

Lemon-thyme Marinated Organic Chicken Breast

Meme went for the standby signature meat dish here, the Beef Tenderloin. It was really tender, and had a nice Asian influence to the flavor.

Disney Dream Disney Cruise Line Animator’s Palate

Ginger-Teriyaki dusted Angus Beef Tenderloin

I did try a new item as a side to share with Bonnie: the Potato, Celeriac and Onion Gratin. With collards on the side, this is listed as a veggie entree, but as a main course I’d say it’s a bit on the small side. It was very tasty, so I’d have it again as a compliment to the meal.

Potato, Celeriac and Onion Gratin

Potato, Celeriac and Onion Gratin

My main was a “sorta” new dish – I had a single bite of it on a prior sailing, and had been wanting a full portion of it ever since!

The A-Freaking-Amazingly-Good Herb Crusted Veal Chop

The A-Freaking-Amazingly-Good Herb Crusted Veal Chop

The crusted veal chop sits on a plate with risotto and a wine sauce, but the tender meat doesn’t need anything else to be among my favorite dishes on the ship (not that I’m going to order it next time without the risotto and sauce mind you…). Unless you really have something against dining on baby bovine, this is a must-have meal!

"Make Your Own Pie"

“Make Your Own Pie”

And again, we couldn’t end the night without something sweet – Meme loved the fun and lemony flavors of the Make Your Own Pie…

White Chocolate Fudge Cheesecake

White Chocolate Fudge Cheesecake

while I couldn’t resist the version of cheesecake.

Happy Birthday Bonnie!

Happy Birthday Bonnie!

It being Bonnie’s birthday, she did get a big serenade from much of the staff, and was brought out a special chocolate dessert (including fruity Hidden Mickeys in the plate).

The “special” dessert isn’t bad at all, but it seems that it’s the same one for any celebration, with the only difference being what’s printed on the piece of chocolate (as you can see in the pic below we got essentially the same dessert on our wedding cruise).

Generic Chocolate Celebration Cake

Generic Chocolate Celebration Cake

Animator’s is by far our favorite dining location of the restaurants in the regular rotation – the decor, the “show”, and the menu are all top notch!

Throughout the meal the artwork, well, changes… and there is a visit or two from a certain aged terrapin… but in case you haven’t experienced it for yourself, I don’t want to spoil it for you…

There was an unusual ending to each of our evening meals: magic! The servers did some close-ups magic tricks at the end of each dinner service, I’m sure for the capable conjurer they are pretty pedestrian prestidigitation, but they baffled and amused us! I don’t know when they began this practice (it was the first time we experienced it), or how long it may last, but it was a fun way to wrap up the meal. Have any of you seen this?

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Sadly that was our last night on the Dream, and the next AM we once again visited Cabanas for a farewell breakfast buffet (they do serve a seated breakfast on departure day, but I’ve always found it to be a bit lackluster).

Thanks to Meme and Bapa for a great birthday trip! We’re now counting down the days to our next scheduled sailing on the Magic for our first anniversary! Why don’t you join us?

As always, back to the kitchen – see you soon!

 

 

 

 

 

dream

Yes, Dear Dedicated Readers, we’re off for another sailing on the Disney Dream…

Why yes, we will...

Why yes, we will…

As you may remember, we (along with 41 of our Nearest & Dearest) took a trip on the Dream just last December (and if you don’t, you can check it out in the post It was like a Dream….).

Someone (maybe Miss Bonnie?) has a certain birthday coming up, and thanks to the generosity of her Parental Units, the four of us will be celebrating that joyous day with a cruise!

Escargots Gratinés Herb-marinated Snails with Finely Chopped Mushrooms, topped with Garlic Butter and Breadstick

Escargots Gratinés

So, of course, we’ve been thinking mostly about what we’ll be eating…

Pan-seared Sea Bass With Saffron and Fennel Risotto with a Sweet Chili Glaze

Pan-seared Sea Bass

There are many favorites from our last few trips on the Dream and the Fantasy that we’re sure to re-visit, but we’re going to make a concerted effort to try as many new/different dishes as possible (and considering you can order as much as you want on a cruise, that’s shouldn’t be too difficult a task…), and of course afterwards we’ll share our eats with you…

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And if my mater-in-law has anything to do with it, there will probably be more Mickey Bars than the law should allow!

You do know

Do you know that you can order these for dessert (even if they aren’t on the menu), and from room service too?

So we’ll be away for a few days, but keep an eye out for a report from our trip on the Dream, as well as a follow-up trip to the Flower & Garden Festival… see you (fairly) soon!

Bon Voyage!

Bon Voyage! To us!

It was like a Dream….

December 27, 2013

A while back (in the last Margarita of the Month post) I mentioned to you that Miss Bonnie and I would be taking an excursion on the Disney Dream…

And yes, we took an (all-too-brief-but-incredibly-fun) three-day cruise along with 41 of our nearest-and-dearest (including her Parental Units, the Offspring, and The Harem, among others).

So I thought I’d share with you a (mostly) photo essay of the dishes served at the sit-down dining venues on that beautiful ship… so let’s eat, shall we?

Black Truffle Pasta Purseittes

Black Truffle Pasta Purseittes

Animator’s Palette was the first stop on our dining rotation.

Black Truffle Pasta Purseittes

Black Truffle Pasta Purseittes

The “appetiser-of-choice” that evening was actually one of the best things we had all cruise. Described on the menu as  “Pasta Purses filled with Truffle-scented Cheese and coated with a delicate Champagne Sauce”, one of our party claimed it was the best thing she had ever eaten in her life!

Smoked Salmon Tartare

Smoked Salmon Tartare

Tomato Tarte with Glazed Goats Cheese and Radish Salad

Tomato Tarte with Glazed Goat Cheese and Radish Salad

Sliced Serrano Ham
with Tomato Bread and Spanish Olives

Sliced Serrano Ham
 with Tomato Bread and Spanish Olives

The “Big Money” entree here was the Asian-inspired beef tenderloin…

Ginger-Teriyaki dusted Angus Beef Tenderloin

Ginger-Teriyaki dusted Angus Beef Tenderloin

it was served on wasabi mashed potatoes with bok choy, carrots and a tamarind-barbecue reduction.

Seared Red Snapper with Scallops, Crushed New Potatoes and Salsa Verde

Seared Red Snapper with Scallops, Crushed New Potatoes and Salsa Verde

Of course there were other entrees, and if you (like Miss Bonnie’s Youngest Offspring) wanted just a big-honking plate of meat with fries, all you had to do was ask!

Herb Crusted Veal Chop, Grilled Sirloin, Steak Fries and Veggies (which I'm pretty sure went untouched)

Herb Crusted Veal Chop, Grilled Sirloin, Steak Fries and Veggies (which I’m pretty sure went untouched)

I did take a bite of the veal chop, and wish I’d ordered that! It was incredible!

And let’s not forget sweets…

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Hummm... wonder why this dessert showed up on our table?

Hummm… wonder why this dessert showed up on our table?

And on the subject of sweets, even though they don’t appear on any menu, you can always order a Mickey Bar…

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or twelve…

Cheers!

Cheers!

Our day two dinner venue was Enchanted Garden…

Chickpea-garlic puree (served alongside the bread service)

Chickpea-garlic puree (served alongside the bread service)

North Atlantic Lobster Ravioli with Roasted Garlic and Sweet Basil in a light Tomato Broth

North Atlantic Lobster Ravioli with Roasted Garlic and Sweet Basil in a light Tomato Broth

Apps were great here…

Thyme and Garlic Brioche Filled with Chanterelle, Hedgehog and Black Trumpet Mushrooms and Leek Stew in a light Buttermilk Cream

Thyme and Garlic Brioche filled with Chanterelle, Hedgehog and Black Trumpet Mushrooms and Leek Stew in a light Buttermilk Cream

Ahi Tuna and Avocado Tower with Crispy Noodles and Wasabi Dressing

Ahi Tuna and Avocado Tower with Crispy Noodles and Wasabi Dressing

and Dedicated Readers know I’m a Big Fan of raw-chopped-tuna-with-other-stuff-mixed-in, and the Tuna and Avocado Tower appetizer was a hit with me…

Romaine Wedge Salad

Romaine Wedge Salad

The main course offerings weren’t slouches either…

Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Caramelized Sea Scallops

Caramelized Sea Scallops

Prime Rib

Prime Rib

but the Big Winner Dish was the sea bass…

Pan-seared Sea Bass With Saffron and Fennel Risotto with a Sweet Chili Glaze

Pan-seared Sea Bass with Saffron and Fennel Risotto with a Sweet Chili Glaze

it was perhaps Bonnie’s favorite dish of the entire cruise.

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And yes, there were sweets to end the night here too…

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Even though this was Pirate Night on the ship, as it was only a three day cruise the standard menu was being served as opposed to the special Pirate Night fare offered on four-night (and longer) voyages.

Royal Palace was the location for our final meal on an all-too-short cruise. Our large party took up the central table smack dab in the middle of the beautiful restaurant – the night before the head waiter had promised us the “best seats in the house” and he delivered!

Escargots Gratinés

Escargots Gratinés

A big-ol plate of garlicky snails is one of the popular starters here.

Escargots Gratinés Herb-marinated Snails with Finely Chopped Mushrooms, topped with Garlic Butter and Breadstick

Escargots Gratinés – Herb-marinated Snails with Finely Chopped Mushrooms, topped with Garlic Butter and Breadstick

Pomegranate Glazed Duck Breast

Pomegranate Glazed Duck Breast

Iced Lobster and Jumbo Shrimp

Iced Lobster and Jumbo Shrimp

Entrees included duck…

Duck Three Ways

Duck Three Ways

and lamb…

Double Cut Rack of Lamb with a Dijon Crust

Double Cut Rack of Lamb with a Dijon Crust

Several of our party were excited about the prospects of the lobster mac & cheese…

Lobster Macaroni and Cheese

Lobster Macaroni and Cheese

however this proved to be the only really disappointing dish of the cruise, bland and lacking much flavor.

Peanut Butter Mousse

Peanut Butter Mousse

A delicious Peanut Butter Mousse was a sweet ending to our culinary adventures on the Dream.

Oh yeah… when I mentioned this trip in a prior post, I noted this was to be a Celebratory Cruise – and the reason for the celebration was that Miss Bonnie became Mrs FishyRocketBoy!

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Yes, just before the cruise Bonnie and I were married (in Mickey Ears of course, and officiated by a clown).

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So there will be many more years of cooking, dining and Disney in our future, and even though she’s now a “Mrs”, I’m sure Bonnie will still be known around these parts as “Miss Bonnie”…

So there you have it Dear Dedicated Readers, some more good eats, and a little bit of news… okay, some pretty big news… and thanks to Papa Harry for the wedding pics!

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

Margarita of the Month: November

Eclipse

Eclipse

Nearly a year ago Miss Bonnie and I, along with several people who share a lot of her genetic material, took a sail on the Disney Fantasy.

On that trip we had the opportunity to take a galley tour to see where and how they produce the huge volume of great food served in the various dining rooms on the large vessel.

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It was fascinating to see the massive gleaming kitchens…

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and the large, glass-fronted walk-ins.

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One of the things I found most interesting was that there were laminated pictures taped up of the dishes being served that night so that the chefs could see the proper plating of each.

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In addition there were also actual recipes and pictures of the cocktails that were being served!

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And yes, Dear Dedicated Readers, there was one featuring Eating (and Drinking) Around the World’s favorite spirit, tequila!

And since Miss Bonnie & I, along with more than a handful of our Nearest & Dearest, will be taking another Disney Cruise in just a few short days, I figured it was the appropriate time to share that recipe with you… so let’s make a margarita!

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Eclipse

4 oz  Gold Tequila

1 oz  Triple Sec

1 oz  Lime Juice

1 oz  Orange Juice

1/2 oz  Agave Nectar

Granulated Sugar for the rim of the glass

Lime Zest for garnish

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Moisten the rim of the glasses with a bit of lime and dip into sugar. Set aside.

Add all the liquids to your cocktail shaker, throw in a handful or two of ice and shake until well chilled.

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Then strain into the prepared glass and garnish with a bit of lime peel…

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then drink up!

This makes a couple of smallish drinks, or one Eating (and Drinking) Around the World size cocktail… this is a pretty strong, but darn tasty beverage! Give this one a try for sure and imagine you’re sailing the Caribbean!

Now about that aforementioned trip we’re taking… we’ll be on the Dream his December… and it will be a Celebratory Cruise… I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about that before too long…

But until then, it’s back to the kitchen, and the bar! See you 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!

Margarita of the Month: January

Perfect Proportion Margarita

Perfect Proportion Margarita

This past December, Miss Bonnie and I (along with a few others that share Miss Bonnie’s Genetic Material) took a week-long cruise on the beautiful Disney Fantasy.

The Disney Fantasy as seen from Castaway Cay (photo by Miss Bonnie)

The Disney Fantasy as seen from Castaway Cay (photo by Miss Bonnie)

With that much time on our hands, we partook in more than one Educational Beverage Seminar while on-board…

Photo by Miss Bonnie

Patron? Yes please! (Photo by Miss Bonnie)

one of which was a tequila tasting/margarita making fiesta!

Daniel on the right, Michael in the middle, and Random Cruise Guy on the left...

Daniel on the right, Miss Bonnie’s Eldest Offspring Michael in the middle, and Random Cruise Guy on the left…

So logically a seminar on a Mexican spirit would be hosted by a guy from the British Isles… Daniel the tall, handsome head bartender of the upscale Meridian Bar lead us though a tasting of various types of tequila…

Shots, shots and more shots... (photo by Miss Bonnie)

Shots, shots and more shots… (photo by Miss Bonnie)

and then brought several by-now-only-semi-sober attendees up behind the bar to mix up many types of margaritas.

Shake it baby! Shake it!

Shake it baby! Shake it!

Along the way he shared his recipe for the Perfectly Proportioned Margarita – scalable into any quantity, this is a high-end beverage with not-exactly-inexpensive spirits, although he later gave me some options for a more “everyday” beverage, which we’ll share at a later date…

Why yes, I'd love a margarita...

Why yes, I’d love a margarita!

And yes kids, it makes a Mighty Tasty Drink… so let’s make one, or two… or…

Perfect Proportion Margarita

The goods...

The goods…

4 ounces Good-Quality Silver (Blanco) Tequila (I used Patron)

2 ounces Grand Marnier

2 ounces fresh Lime Juice

1 ounce light Agave Nectar

Add all to a cocktail shaker, throw in a good handful of ice, and shake it baby!

Almost time to drink...

Almost time to drink…

Strain into a salt-rimmed glass (if desired) and garnish with the usual lime wheel… and sip away!

Perfect Proportion Margarita

Perfect Proportion Margarita

It’s hard to argue with Daniel’s recipe for basically the perfect margarita… this makes 2 – 3 nice drinks… well, maybe 1 for me… just use these proportions in whatever quantity you desire!

The exceptionally tall and handsome Daniel with a newly Devoted Fan

The exceptionally tall and handsome Daniel with a newly Devoted Fan

Back to the kitchen – see you soon!

A few days ago I gave you an “Eating-and-Drinking-Around-the-World-Style” look back at some of the goings-on around Walt Disney World in the first half of 2012 (if you neglected to spend your spare time reading around the New Year, you can go back now and peruse WDW Odds & Ends: 2012 Year End Edition, Part One, we’ll wait for you here while you do so…).

So now it’s time to pick back up with our review…

Walk... or fly?... this way...

Walk… or fly?… this way…

After we regained our land legs, Miss Bonnie and I took a July trip to check out the further updates to Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom, and the newly reopened (and multiplied) Dumbo was on our list…

We were mostly interested in checking out the new “queue-less-queue”…

we found the indoor play/waiting area to be quite cute and nicely themed…

Dumbo play/waiting area

Dumbo play/waiting area

but our real goal was to “fly high buddy” and get an elephant’s eye view of the construction ongoing at the New Fantasyland…

but even from upon high, the apparently strategically placed foliage prevented us from getting a clear elephant’s-eye-view of the construction…

The mostly obscured view of the New Fantasyland construction from Dumbo

The mostly obscured view of the New Fantasyland construction from Dumbo

And yes, the construction continued behind the walls…

Construction walls in the Magic Kingdom

Construction walls in the Magic Kingdom

With the Agent P Adventure now officially open over in Epcot…

Agent P World Showcase Adventure Kiosk

Agent P World Showcase Adventure Kiosk

floral versions of Phineas and Ferb greet guests on their way to the World Showcase.

A Phineas and Ferb Topiary on the walkway between Future World and the World Showcase in Epcot

Phineas and Ferb Topiary on the walkway between Future World and the World Showcase in Epcot

And yes…

Miss Bonnie's new Happy Place...

Miss Bonnie’s new Happy Place…

there was another visit to Tutto Gusto – it was on this visit we learned about the upcoming menu change – you can see the details on this revelation in the post “Go for the Gusto!“.

Sign at new exhibit in Mexico Pavilion

Sign at new exhibit inside the Mexico Pavilion

The new exhibit on Life in Ancient Mexico was now up inside the Mexican pavilion.

Wanna shoot some hoops?

Wanna shoot some hoops?

How do you spell "H-O-R-S-E" in Spanish?

How do you spell “H-O-R-S-E” in Spanish?

And at the Happiest Place in the Happiest Place on Earth (aka La Cava del Tequila) we found a couple of changes to the specialty Margarita list since our last visit.

La Cava del Tequila Specialty Margarita Menu

La Cava del Tequila Specialty Margarita Menu

The Organic Skinny Lime and Coffee Margaritas were new additions.

Specialty Margarita Menu La Cava del Tequila

La Cava del Tequila Specialty Margarita Menu

We sampled both – the Skinny Lime was fine, but nothing special, but the Coffee was a frozen/slushy concoction that was delicious – especially good on a hot day!

We did eat someplace other than Tutto Gusto in July…

Kouzzina Trio (Cinnamon-stewed Chicken, Greek-style Lasagna and Lamb Burger)

Kouzzina Trio (Cinnamon-stewed Chicken, Greek-style Lasagna and Lamb Burger)

We had a really good meal at Cat Cora’s Kouzzina on the Boardwalk – it was Miss Bonnie’s first visit there and afterwards she dubbed it her New Favorite Restaurant!

Landscape of Flavors Food Court at the new Art of Animation Resort

Landscape of Flavors Food Court at the new Art of Animation Resort

We also got our first chance to eat at the new Landscape of Flavors Food Court.

Indian-inspired eats at the Landscape of Flavors Food Court

Indian-inspired eats at the Landscape of Flavors Food Court

We were very impressed with the Indian-style food offerings at the Art of Animation Resort and looked forward to coming back to try some of the other eats there!

You can see details of our dining from July at Tutto Gusto, Kouzzina and the Landscape of Flavors food court in the post WDW Weekend Eats dated August 5, 2012.

New Wine Flights at Tutto Gusto

New Wine Flights at Tutto Gusto

August again found us at Epcot (is anyone shocked?) and one again at Tutto Gusto to check out the new Wine Flights and “Gusto Plates”.

"La Siciliana" Plate - Caponata, Cacciatorini Sausage & Fresh Mozzarella

“La Siciliana” Plate – Caponata, Cacciatorini Sausage & Fresh Mozzarella

We also checked out some merchandise…

An Eating & Drinking Around the World shirt!

An Eating & Drinking Around the World shirt!

tried a sparkling Sake in Japan…

Hana Awake Sake in Japan

Hana Awaka Sake in Japan

and scoped out the construction walls inside the gift shop in France.

Part of the bakery expansion in France

Part of the bakery expansion in France

Also in August we ventured over to the Hilton Bonnet Creek Resort for their second annual Barbeque Weekend.

There we sampled several types of chili in a competition between chefs from the various restaurants at the resort.

Chili Competition at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort

Chili Competition at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort

We also tried a couple of the specialty cocktails being offered up for the weekend….

Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort Barbeque Weekends Specialty Cocktails

Watermelon Crawlita and BBQ Honey Bacon Bloody Mary

This year each of the bars and restaurants were offering different cocktails for the weekend – last year each of the locations were serving the same drinks – this was a nice change!

Cocktail Menu at the lobby bar in Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort for Barbeque Weekends

Cocktail Menu at the lobby bar in Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort for Barbeque Weekends

The restaurants were also featuring special BBQ-inspired dishes, unique to each…

Zeta Lounge and Sushi Bar specialty items for Barbeque Weekends

Zeta Lounge and Sushi Bar specialty items for Barbeque Weekends

We also gave the poolside barbeque grill a try….

Barbeque & Bikinis!

Barbeque & Bikinis!

Poolside Barbeque Grill Menu

Poolside Barbeque Grill Menu

and lunched on a couple of the “Gourmet Dogs”.

Brooklyn Dog & Nacho Dog

Brooklyn Dog & Nacho Dog

Back over in the World, we went to check out some merch at Downtown Disney, and at the Team Mickey store we realized that you can’t really escape the Platypus…

Agent P taking it to the hole...

Agent P taking it to the hole…

and that Mickey is a fan of the Crimson Tide!

Roll Tide, Roll!

Roll Tide, Roll!

September found us making our first stay at the new Art of Animation resort as the Little Mermaid section (the only part of the resort with “regular”/non-suite rooms) opened for business the middle of the month.

We loved the decor and detail in the room…

Beds and headboards in Little Mermaid room

Beds and headboards in Little Mermaid room

Sheet Music for "Under the Sea" on table in Little Mermaid room

Sheet Music for “Under the Sea” on table in Little Mermaid room

we even found a couple of Hidden Mickeys!

"Classic" Hidden Mickey in Little Mermaid Room at Art of Animation Resort

“Classic” Hidden Mickey in Little Mermaid Room at Art of Animation Resort

Hidden Mickey Watch in Little Mermaid Room at Art of Animation Resort

Hidden Mickey Watch in Little Mermaid Room at Art of Animation Resort

And where were these Mickeys?

Pull back the curtain...

Pull back the curtain…

In the shower of course!

Inside of the shower in Little Mermaid room

Inside of the shower in Little Mermaid room

The exterior of the resort was pretty cool as well!

A Not-So-Little Mermaid

A Not-So-Little Mermaid

And a big scary !

And a big scary Ursula!

One evening while there we took the bridge over to the food court at Pop Century and partook of an overly indulgent dessert…

"The King"

“The King”

the King – a huge chocolate cupcake in honor of Elvis (Presley, not Costello). Filled with banana custard, glazed with a peanut butter icing and topped with candied bacon (hell yeah!) and chocolate, this is an homage to Elvis’ favorite grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich.

Stir-fried Veggie Noodles at Captain Cook's

Stir-fried Veggie Noodles at Captain Cook’s

One night we went to the Magic Kingdom to check on the construction progress of the New Fantasyland expansion, and on the way we stopped at the Poly for a quick bite at Captain Cook’s.

Hawaiian Flatbread at Captain Cook's

Hawaiian Flatbread at Captain Cook’s

At the Magic Kingdom, we found some of the construction walls down…

and the new walls that mark the entrance to the New Fantasyland were out in the open.

New Fantasyland entrance wall

New Fantasyland entrance wall

Detail on column of New Fantasyland wall

Detail on column of New Fantasyland wall

And a new place to nap...

And a new place to nap…

We once again made our way to Epcot…

DSCF0855

and found a few sultry Princess pics at the Art of Disney Store…

hubba, hubba!

hubba, hubba!

And there was a new Haunted Mansion-inspired figure from  Jim Shore….

So want!

Play that funky music, Ghost-boy!

Play that funky music, Ghost-boy!

Moving out to the World Showcase I kinda got that Special Feeling…

Terra Vegan booth with Craft Beer booth in the background

Terra Vegan booth with Craft Beer booth in the background

as the booths for the 2012 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival had started to go up around the lagoon.

Belgium behind the hedges

Belgium behind the hedges

The official opening of the festival was a couple of weeks later, and there was yet another runDisney race then – the inaugural Tower of Terror 10 Miler.

And once again, those attending the race expo could find plenty of “sustenance”…

Tower of Terror 10K Race Expo cocktails

Tower of Terror 10K Race Expo cocktails

The lines to get into Epcot were predictably long the first weekend…

DSCF0984

but with extra-tasty foods…

Grilled Lamb Chop from Australia Kiosk

Grilled Lamb Chop from Australia Kiosk

and fun in the cranberry bog awaiting…

Having fun Deb?

Having a good time in the bog Deb?

And how about you Ms. Wolfe?

And how about you Ms. Wolfe?

no one was complaining too much… certainly not us!

Karaage Hand Roll and Spicy Hand Roll from Japan Booth

Karaage Hand Roll and Spicy Hand Roll from Japan Booth

We sampled plenty of foods and beverages…

Fruit Wines at the Florida Local Booth

Fruit Wines at the Florida Local Booth

and checked out the new Chase Lounge (see WDW Odds & Ends: 2012 Year End Edition, Part One to find out what this room formerly looked like!)…

Chase Lounge in the Festival Center of the Epcot Food & Wine Festival

Chase Lounge in the Festival Center of the Epcot Food & Wine Festival

and the merchandise offered up in the Festival Center.

Just some of the merchandise at the 2012 Epcot Food & Wine Festival

Just some of the merchandise at the 2012 Epcot Food & Wine Festival

You can see many more details and my thoughts on the first weekend of the festival in the posts Epcot Food & Wine 2012: First Tastes, First Thoughts… Part One and the cleverly named Epcot Food & Wine 2012: First Tastes, First Thoughts… Part Two.

September also marked the 30th Anniversary of Epcot’s opening day…

Panel of men who were involved with the building and opening of Epcot hosted by Jason Surrell

Panel of men who were involved with the building and opening of Epcot hosted by Jason Surrell

and we had the chance to attend the D23 Anniversary Celebration.

Food & Wine Classic Banner

Food & Wine Classic Banner

October saw more fun at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival, and what has become our favorite event of the fall, the Swan/Dolphin Food & Wine Classic.

Just a few of the booths being set up for the Food & Wine Classic

Just a few of the booths being set up for the Food & Wine Classic

The Classic features beverage seminars, tons of food…

Shrimp Cocktail Shooters

Shrimp Cocktail Shooters

Pork Belly!

Pork Belly!

even more to drink…

Beer anyone?

Beer anyone?

and celebrity chefs… some meet-and-greets are by design…

Yours truly with Big-Time chef and restauranteur Michael Mina

Yours truly with Big-Time chef and restauranteur Michael Mina

and some just a bit of serendipity…

That Retro-Rad Chic Emily Ellyn showed up for the festivities and I quickly accosted her - she got rid of me by giving me a gift of cherry tomatoes to go away...

That Retro-Rad Chic Emily Ellyn showed up for the festivities and I quickly accosted her – she got rid of me by giving me a gift of cherry tomatoes to go away…

all in all, the Food & Wine Classic is a blast! You can see more food pics in the post Food & Wine Classic 2012: Food Photo Gallery, and I will strive to finally get a full post/review up on the event soon… just don’t hold your breath…

The same weekend we also got to check out one of the soft openings (aka “Dress Rehearsal” in Disney-speak) of the Enchanted Forest section of the New Fantasyland expansion…

Part of the mural in the load area of the new Little Mermaid ride

Part of the mural in the load area of the new Little Mermaid ride

The Little Mermaid attraction is a cute dark ride with a great queue…

Hello Ariel...

Hello Ariel…

and after that Miss Bonnie, Mamma Ginny and I got to meet the red-headed-gal-with-a-tail.

Lumiere and Belle

Lumiere and Belle

Enchanted Tales with Belle was a wonderful experience – great effects, fantastic animatronics (especially Lumiere) and lots of guest interaction. The queue and cottage are full of details to keep you busy while waiting to meet the literature-loving Princess.

Entrance to the Beast's Castle and the Be Our Guest Restaurant

Entrance to the Beast’s Castle and the Be Our Guest Restaurant

We also go to poke our heads into the (at the time) yet to open Be Our Guest restaurant….

Lunchtime/quick service ordering area at the Be Our Guest restaurant

Lunchtime/quick service ordering area at the Be Our Guest restaurant

the interior of the restaurant is spectacular, and yes Virginia, there is alcohol…

Beers from France and neighboring Belgium...

Beers from France and neighboring Belgium…

at dinner beer and wine will be served – a first for the Magic Kingdom – and following the theme of the restaurant, the alcoholic beverages are all from France (or beer from nearby Belgium)… with one exception…

this sure is a Conundrum...

this sure is a Conundrum…

the white wine list includes the wine blend Conundrum from Caymus… a wine I actually like quite a bit, but why the inclusion of one single bottle from California in a French restaurant?

Enchanted Forest area of New Fantasyland with the Beast's Castle in the background

Enchanted Forest area of New Fantasyland with the Beast’s Castle in the background

The whole area just looks fantastic – can’t wait to see how it all looks when the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train area is finished!

Who's that guy in the red shirt?

Who’s that guy in the red shirt?

Belle’s Village was also looking good…

Hey Gaston! Watch those hands!

Hey Gaston! Watch those hands!

but you have to watch out for handsome egomaniacs trying to steal your girl!

Exterior of Gaston's Tavern

Exterior of Gaston’s Tavern

Gaston’s Tavern was open and serving that day!

Surprised that Lafeu got that many...

Surprised that Lafou got that many…

Not surprisingly, there are also tons of details in this fairly small quick-service establishment.

Roasted Pork Shank at Gaston's Tavern - tender, juicy meat inside, crispy skin outside!

Roasted Pork Shank at Gaston’s Tavern – tender, juicy meat inside, crispy skin outside!

We tried the roasted pork and gave it two-greasy-thumbs-up!

Another view of pig...

Another view of pig…

This is not a big venue, and the entrance/ordering area is cramped and not easy to get in and out of if there are more than just a few people in line… this is likely to be a popular spot with “Lefou’s Brew” (aka Disney’s answer to Butterbeer) being served there and the cute, detailed seating areas, but it’s gonna be crowded… mark my words…

Seven Dwarves Mine Train construction

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train construction

Work continues on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction…

Seven Dwarves Mine Train construction

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train construction

The construction over at the Storybook Circus section of the expansion looked to be pretty much completed by mid-October…

Storybook Circus Entrance

Storybook Circus Entrance

with the mandatory gift shop, Big Top Souvenirs, now open…

Big Top Souvenirs

Big Top Souvenirs

and inside we found snacks…

Some of the "Big Top Treats"

Some of the “Big Top Treats”

and castmembers eager to teach guests how to juggle!

The new meet-and-greet area, Pete’s Silly Sideshow, was also open.

Entrance to Pete's Silly Sideshow

Entrance to Pete’s Silly Sideshow

Inside you can meet a couple of Lovely Ladies…

Signage inside the Sideshow

Sign inside the Sideshow

or a couple of not-so-lovely Gents…

Sign inside the Sideshow

Sign inside the Sideshow

The characters are in sideshow-appropriate garb and eager to meet their fans.

The Great Goofini in the flesh!

The Great Goofini in the flesh!

There is also a covered Fastpass distribution area with some shaded seating…

Storybook Circus Fastpass area

Storybook Circus Fastpass area

and nearby food carts for the famished while waiting….

Food cart in Storybook Circus

Food cart in Storybook Circus

Anyone for a weenie?

Anyone for a weenie?

A week later we had a step-up from hot dogs and pretzels…

Thanks to Mamma Ginny, Papa Harry and (especially) their Offspring Jen, Miss Bonnie and I got to attend the Party for the Senses for the first time.

A nice selection of cheeses and accompaniments

A nice selection of cheeses and accompaniments

Diver Scallop with Pea Puree and Micro Greens

Diver Scallop with Pea Puree and Micro Greens

This over-the-top event features a great variety of exciting food items…

Fry me a Quail Egg please...

Fry me a Quail Egg please…

to go on top of my Duck Confit Burger

to go on top of my Duck Confit Burger

and great wines and beers…

A really nice Riesling from Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen

A really nice Riesling from Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen

and performances from Cirque du Soleil! Just pretend I got a good picture of them…

To top it off I even got to talk Doctor Who with a real Brit! And speaking of the time-traveling Gallifreyan…

Doctor Who Tee-Shirt in the UK pavilion at Epcot

Doctor Who Tee-Shirt in the UK pavilion at Epcot

that same weekend I found the first evidence of Doctor Who merchandise finally showing up in the United Kingdom at Epcot (see The TARDIS has landed… for more).

The first part of November was filled with more Food & Wine Festival goodness….

Dessert Trio at Epcot Food & Wine Festival

Dessert Trio at Epcot Food & Wine Festival

and another runDisney event, the Wine and Dine Half-Marathon, coincided with the last weekend of the Festival.

Wine & Dine Weekend schedule of events outside the race expo

Wine & Dine Weekend schedule of events outside the race expo

And once again…

Get ready for the race!

Get ready for the race!

those attending the race expo could find plenty of sustenance!

I always enjoy how many revelers at the Food & Wine Festival like to come in special attire…

Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

and I think this might be the favorite shirt I saw this year!

The second weekend of the month marked not only the end of the Food & Wine Festival, but the beginning of the holiday season at the World…

Goodbye Food & Wine Festival - hello Christmas...

Goodbye Food & Wine Festival – hello Christmas – the Epcot Christmas Tree goes up…

and the first night of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Hollywood Studios.

DSCF1973

In addition of the spectacular light display…

and a hidden Purple Cat to find…

Found it!

Found it!

there were some special food items…

"Santa Mickey" Cupcakes

“Santa Mickey” Cupcakes

and cocktails to be had!

Holiday Cocktail Menu at High Octane Refreshments in the Studios

Holiday Cocktail Menu at High Octane Refreshments in the Studios

The Merry Margarita - nothing says the Holidays like Blue Curacao and a Glow Cube!

The Merry Margarita – nothing says the Holidays like Blue Curacao and a Glow Cube!

This would actually be the only Holiday Goodness we’d experience in the Parks for this year, but it wouldn’t be the last Disney Fun w would have in 2012.

The next Disney holiday decorations we’d see would be…

Atrium of the Disney Fantasy decorated for the holidays

Atrium of the Disney Fantasy decorated for the holidays (photo by Miss Bonnie)

on board the Disney Fantasy as we set sail for our second Disney Cruise of the year.

Pool area of the Disney Fantasy at night (photo by Miss Bonnie)

Pool area of the Disney Fantasy at night (photo by Miss Bonnie)

The Fantasy was perhaps even most spectacular than the Dream that we had sailed upon earlier in the year.

Tequila Seminar in the Meridian Bar

Tequila Seminar in the Meridian Bar (photo by Miss Bonnie)

From drink demos…

Beef Tenderloin with twp sauces at Palo

Beef Tenderloin with two sauces at Palo

to fine dining…

Arrrgghhh... come with me wench!

Arrrgghhh… come with me wench!

to the frivolity of Pirate Night…

Mistress of the Fantasy

Mistress of the Fantasy

there’s just way too much to cover about a Disney cruise to squeeze into this already-too-long recap… so someday I’ll try and and give you some more details…

Okay, so there you have it – a look back at 2012 from an Eating (and Drinking) Around the World perspective – hope you enjoyed!

Now what will 2013 hold? We’ll see soon as this year’s Marathon Weekend at WDW is just days away…

Back to the kitchen… and the starting line! See you soon!

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