Bye Bye Bog…

August 25, 2014

As we approach the opening day of the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival we’ve learned that one of the favorite displays, the Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog, will not be at the Festival this year…

Did someone say Cranberry Bog???

Did someone say Cranberry Bog???

Last week I (along with several other bloggers) got an email from our Ocean Spray rep saying (in part) that “…after much discussion, Ocean Spray has decided to put the Cranberry Bog exhibit on hold for this year’s festival.

This will be bad news to many as since it’s debut in 2011, the bog was very popular with festival guests, and on the opening weekend of the event the past couple of years Ocean Spray has hosted an event that actually allowed media guests (clad in incredibly attractive waders) to tromp around in the cranberry bog itself while sampling cranberry-inspired snacks and cocktails.

Inside the Bog having our photo taken by a real-live cranberry farmer (photo courtesy Papa Harry)

Miss Bonnie and Yours Truly inside the Bog having our photo taken by a real-live cranberry farmer (photo courtesy Papa Harry)

I had heard (but not verified) thru the Interwebs that the contract between Ocean Spray and Disney had expired, and from the phrasing in the email it sounds like the Craisins® folks are the ones that pulled the plug (though not knowing what any negotiations between the parties may have taken place, it’s really hard to say who might really be to “blame” for the contract not being extended or a new one put in place…).

What makes this even more interesting is that Disney (thru the official Disney Parks Blog) noted earlier this year in a post by Pam Brandon that “the remarkable Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog” would be part of the 2014 Food & Wine Festival… curiouser and curiouser…

"Give me all your Crasins and no one will get hurt..."

“Give me all your Crasins and no one will get hurt…”

The email from Ocean Spray went on to say: “We hope you stay tuned for future events and enjoy the Craisins® Dried Cranberries that will continue to be featured in dishes and kiosks throughout the park.”

The booklet from the festival preview dinner in July listed “Ocean Spray® Craisins® Brand Dried Cranberries” as a Corporate Sponsor of the event, but there was no specific mention of the cranberry bog (that I could find at least).

I guess we’ll have to see how much Craisins® continue to be promoted throughout the parks in the coming months… hopefully we’ll see a return of the bog in years to come!

Flying Cranberries!

Cranberries will not be flying in the bog this year…

And we’ll see in just a few weeks what, if anything, fills the physical gap left by the bog in Epcot during the Food and Wine Festival.

Cheers to you Cranberry Bog... we hope to see you back soon!  (Photo courtesy Papa Harry)

Cheers to you Cranberry Bog… we hope to see you back soon!
(Photo courtesy Papa Harry)

And while we’re on the subject of cool things that will be missing from Disney this fall…


it was also announced this past week that due to the ongoing construction in Downtown Disney in preparation for the conversion into Disney Springs, the uber-popular Festival of the Masters event was cancelled for this year.

Nearly four decades old, this art festival (and in recent years a mini-food-and-wine-festival in itself) drew huge crowds to Downtown Disney each year. You can see some pics from one year in one of my “WDW Odds & Ends” posts that highlighted the Festival of the Masters.

With the nightmare that parking has become there since the construction began (and it wasn’t great before…) this, sadly, kinda makes sense for this year… it just worries me a bit that the Disneyland version of the Food & Wine Festival was nixed a few years back (specifically it was cancelled for 2011 and 2012) due to the mass construction in the California Adventure park where it primarily took place, and it has yet to return (or even be mentioned as returning by Disney to the best of my knowledge)… as popular as the Festival of the Masters has been I really do expect (and hope) it returns next year (or at worst the year after), but…

Okay, bad news is over… good news is that the Epcot Food & Wine Festival opens in just about than a month! We’ll see you there!


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Just announced were two new week-night events for the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival:


The Late Night Live is on Tuesday & Thursday only…

Premiumand the Premium Package is available to resort guests on Monday thru Thursday…

If either (or both) of these sound attractive to you, you can book starting Thursday, July 31 at 7 AM by calling 407-WDW-FEST (407-939-3378).

Do these events sound good to you? Will you book them? Let us know!


Cheesy, chewy, incredibly addictive…

Pão De Queijo

Pão De Queijo

these are one of the items that I’m sure will be a big hit at the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival!

Earlier this year while down in Miami, I picked up the Spring copy of Edible South Florida. With the (then) upcoming World Cup in mind, that issue featured an article about Brazilian foods, and one of the recipes for a cheesy bread/puff looked to be worth trying (especially considering Miss Bonnie’s fondness for anything fromage… or I guess in this case more appropriately queijo). So I squirreled this away under the mental to-try-later-file…

Coincidentally just a few weeks later some details about the upcoming Epcot Food & Wine Festival (the Best Time of the Year!) were starting to be given out, including some of the booths and food items we’d see this fall. Lo and behold, at the returning Brazil booth we’re going to see the same cheese puff I’d just seen the recipe for: Pão De Queijo! It was then a no-brainer to try out the recipe… and when I did the Heavens opened and the Angels sang! Yes, it’s just that good!

So let’s waste no more time – Let’s Cook!

Pão De Queijo





2 Cups  Tapioca Flour (aka manioc starch or tapioca starch, you can find in some supermarkets, and we also found at a very good price at the Asian market)
1 Cup  Milk (I used 1%, but full strength is okay)
1/2 Cup (1 Stick)  Butter
1 Tsp  Salt
1 1/2 Cups  Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 Eggs
Preheat oven to 400°F.

Dairy on dairy action…

Put milk, butter and salt into a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.


Stirrin’ the starch…

Remove from the heat and slowly add the tapioca flour, stirring well until thoroughly mixed.


Cheese raining in…

Add eggs and cheese to the mixture and stir until smooth. You’ll have a fairly thick, sticky dough.


All stirred up…

You can finalize these in one of two ways…


Cute little muffin tin ones…

If you have mini-size muffin tins, drop the batter into those suckers and stick in your preheated oven for about 20 minutes… according to the original recipe this will make about 24 pieces, but we found it to make closer to 36…


or you can blob onto a baking sheet…

If you don’t have little muffin tins, you can drop by spoonfuls (about a tablespoon, give or take) onto a baking sheet (or sheets)…


Ready for the oven, not too pretty now…

and pop into the oven for (you guessed it) about 20 minutes…


But pretty darn pretty now!

until golden brown and delicious!


Oh yes, bite into this!

This will make flatter, kinda biscuit-like delicious cheesy-goodie.

Which is better? Both are pretty dang delicious, but the deeper mini-muffin-tin version might be a bit more gooey-cheesy in the middle… make ’em both ways and see what you like! In either case, the cheese seems to magically migrate into the center of the puff while the exterior is crispy and crunchy… dang, these are just amazing!


A basket of cheesy, Brazilian bodaciousness!

Seriously, these are just amazing (that’s from the Department of Repetition) and addictive… and once you find the tapioca flour they couldn’t be much easier to make! And since there’s no wheat, they’re even gluten-free (if that matters to you…). They even freeze pretty well (if you have any left, that is…) – defrost and reheat in a toaster oven for a bit and you have some in-mouth-happiness ready to happen!


Cheesy yummy insides!

Yes, you must try these! I don’t know how this recipe will compare to what will be served at the Food & Wine Festival this year, but I can’t possible imagine they could be better!

Give them a try – post your comments!

As always, we’re back to the kitchen (and soon to the bar…), see you soon!

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


A couple of weeks ago Miss Bonnie and I made a quick trip over to the World to spend the day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, so I thought I’d share a few things we saw when we were there…

View of the new Harambe Theater as you cross the bridge into Africa

View of the new Harambe Theater as you cross the bridge into Africa

We wanted to check out the new theater in the Africa section of the park that was built to house the Festival of the Lion King show, so we went online a few days before and got some fastpasses for the show. Mama Ginny and Papa Harry also made plans to go at the same time and met us at the park to spend the day.

View along the waterway in the new Harambe Theater area

View along the waterway in the new Harambe Theater area

The new section of Harambe looks great, just like it had been there all along…


Been wondering where to get me a new cassette recorder…

there are plenty of signs and posters advertising the local merchants…


An homage to Michael from the Harmony Barbershop?

encompassing pretty much any need the locals or tourists may have!


Thank goodness I can go to an astrologer after I take my computer class!

They all have a weathered look just like they had been there for much longer than just a few weeks.

This sign is giving me a haddock...

This sign is giving me a haddock…

There are more signs and details in the queue for the Lion King show.

Sign in line

Warning sign in the line for the Lion King show.

The interior of the new building is nothing much to write home (or blog) about – it looks like they used the same metal benches from the old building (oh how I, and my aching back, wish there were backs on them!).


Poster promoting the performance.

The show itself is the same as the prior version – it’s always been very popular, so it really didn’t need fixing (and if there had been any major changes I’m sure the interweb protests would abound!), but some changes/tweaks would be nice for those who have seen the same show many times.


More Macaws than you can shake a stick at (not that you should, mind you…)!

In addition to seeing the new theater, we were also excited to see the new Macaw show that had just debuted. As it was still in soft opening, the show (entitled “Winged Encounters — The Kingdom Takes Flight”) wasn’t listed on the daily times guide, so we had to ask a cast member for the times and exact location. The next show was only a few minutes away, so we headed to Discovery Island.

Feed me!

Feed me!

There was no signage or anything else for the upcoming show, but a large circular perch between Disney Outfitters and the nearby restrooms looked to be the spot. We waited just for a bit and as several cast members gathered around we were obviously in the correct location. Soon one of the cast members welcomed us and encouraged all those nearby to gather around the tall perch and before long many of the large and colorful parrots swooped in and took their places, some coming in just above our heads.

Who you lookin' at???

Who you lookin’ at???

During the course of the show (which I’d guess was about 10 minutes or so) we were given lots of info on the macaws – their natural habitats, diet, how some of them are endangered and so forth. We also heard about how they care for the birds there at the park and get them to fly in and out for the show. There are actually two flocks that alternate as they do fly quite a distance from their backstage area to the show location, and there are some different species in the two groups.

The lead cast member mentioned many times during the show how these large birds are not very good pets, and while they do have some specific requirements that don’t make them ideal for many (if not most) people, I think they really did overstate the case for them being horrible household pets (and if you ever are considering taking one of the beautiful birds into your care, please be sure that you are well informed as to their care before getting one!). I hope they temper this aspect of the show a bit as it goes on.

At the end the birds again took flight back to their backstage abode, some flying very low over the excited crowd. We all quite enjoyed our first look at this show, and we’ll be sure to see it again. If you’re going to be in Animal Kingdom anytime soon, I suggest you check it out!

Pardon the glare...

Pardon the glare…

After all the Psittacidine-playtime we certainly needed a relaxing refreshment, so Dedicated Readers won’t be shocked that we headed for the Dawa Bar.

A new sign behind the bar now noted that the specialty drinks served there (including our beloved African Margarita) were now being served in an “African Tumbler”…


One face…

of course for an inflated price…


another face…

upon further investigation, the barkeep told me that the design was by the famed Imagineer behind AK himself, Joe Rohde… and no, you don’t have to get the drinks in the glass if you don’t want it (saving you six bucks, just be sure to tell them when you order)…


and yet another face…

or if you just want the glass, you can also purchase them separately (again, for six bucks).



So after taking our drinks to the quiet of the courtyard behind Tamu Tamu we discussed our day and made plans to return soon…

There you have it, a quick look at some goings-on in Animal Kingdom… as always, we’re back to the kitchen, and soon we’ll be back to the World!

See you soon!

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







The first day of summer was just a couple of days ago, so we all know what that means…



It’s time to start thinking about this years Epcot International Food & Wine Festival! And there’s plenty to think about…

Sushi (and sake!)

Sushi (and sake!)

of course there’s the food…



more food…

Grilled Lamb with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies along with a glass of a red wine blend from Rosemount Estate


even more food…



and yet even more food…

Yeah, beer!

Yay, beer!

and the adult beverages…

Mmmm... whiskey...

Mmmm… whiskey…

and yes more adult beverages…

The she's-so-freaking-adorable Carla Hall autographing a Crasins package (don't ask...)

The she’s-so-freaking-adorable Carla Hall autographing a Craisins package (don’t ask…)

the celebrity chefs…

Chef Duffy!

Chef Duffy!

and the merchandise… and lots, lots more!

Yes, Dedicated Readers know that here at Eating (and Drinking) around the World, we’re pretty much thinking about the Food & Wine Festival all year round, but it’s this time of year that details are starting to emerge about the upcoming Festival, so we really start to think about it!

Not long ago Pam Brandon on the official Disney Parks Blog gave us some info on what’s new for this year, and some of the highlights include Sunday morning brunch events, the Patagonia Marketplace combining the cuisines of Argentina and Chile, a “Back to Basics” series in the Festival Center and a Friday morning celebrity chefs cookbook event.

Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Onions, Avocado and Cilantro

Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Onions, Avocado and Cilantro

Also some notable returning favorites include the Brazil booth (and yes, Pork Belly will be back! Yay, Pork Belly!), the Party for the Senses and the Eat to the Beat concert series.

The Bog!

The Bog!

Also back this year is the somewhat-surprisingly-ever-popular Cranberry Bog! You can see Pam’s complete post at the Disney Parks Blog.

Puerto Rico Returns

Puerto Rico Returns!

And thanks to our good buddy AJ Wolfe over at the Disney Food Blog, we just learned that one of our favorite booths from years past, Puerto Rico, will be making a (hopefully triumphant) return at the 2014 Festival! AJ does a great job in keeping up with the latest details as they come out, so I always bookmark her Food & Wine Festival page (and you should too).

With the Festival officially opening on September 19th (and running a record 53 days!), we’ve got just under three months to wait… so in the interim we’ll keep thinking (and dreaming) about the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and yes, we’ll keep posting about it too… so stay tuned! And tell us what you’re thinking about this years event, what are you looking forward to most?

As always, we’re back to the kitchen, see you soon!

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

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.


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.


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!

















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.


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


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…



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…


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!


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.


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…


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.



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.


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.


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!).


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.


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


And we all know how much a pirate loves melons…


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.


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…


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…



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!


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?


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!







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