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

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

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

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

And beverages had to be sampled as well...

And beverages had to be sampled as well…

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

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

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

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

Eggplant "Scallop" from Urban Farm EATS booth

Eggplant “Scallop” from Urban Farm EATS booth

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

The ever-youthful Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits

The ever-youthful Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits

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

Three Cheese Manicotti from Primavera Kitchen

Three Cheese Manicotti from Primavera Kitchen

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

Shrimp and Grits from Florida Fresh booth

Shrimp and Grits from Florida Fresh booth

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

Mmmm... margaritas....

Mmmm… margaritas….

Oh yeah, there was a visit to La Cava…

 

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

Kouzzina on Disney’s Boardwalk

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

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

Turkey-Sweet Potato Hash with Two Eggs and Arugula Salad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lamb Brewat Roll with Prunces and Sesame from Taste of Marrakesh

Lamb Brewat Roll with Prunes and Sesame from Taste of Marrakesh

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

Quesadilla de Hongos con Queso from Jardin de Fiestas

Quesadilla de Hongos con Queso from Jardin de Fiestas

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

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

“Second verse, same as the first…”

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

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

Home of the Don’t-Call-It-A-Cronut

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

Outside the Cronut

Outside the Croissant Doughnut

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

Inside the Cronut

Inside the Croissant Doughnut

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

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

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

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

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

The backside of Ankole Cattle

The backside of Ankole Cattle

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

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

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

Seared Ahi Tuna (top) and Thai Chili Chicken Wings

Seared Ahi Tuna (top) and Thai Chili Chicken Wings

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

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

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

Indian Style Bread Service

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

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

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

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

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

DVC construction at the Poly

DVC construction at the Poly

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

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

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

Capt' Cook's current lunch/dinner menu

Capt. Cook’s current lunch/dinner menu

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

Thai Coconut Meatball on Rice

Thai Coconut Meatball on Rice

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

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

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

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

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

Bread service sampler at Sanaa cultural tour

Bread service sampler at Sanaa cultural tour

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

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

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

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

Market Nachos at the Pepper Market

Market Nachos at the Pepper Market

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

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

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

Can you see it?

Can you see it?

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

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

Caprese Flatbread

Caprese Flatbread

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

Friar's Nook Menu

Friar’s Nook Menu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Green Cabin Room Afternoon/Evening Menu

Green Cabin Room Afternoon/Evening Menu

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

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

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

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

Artisan Cheese and Cured Meats Platter with Herb Flatbread

Artisan Cheese and Cured Meats Platter with Herb Flatbread

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Pork Belly Nigri

Pork Belly Nigri

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

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

Passion Fruit Margarita

Passion Fruit Margarita

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

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

BBQ Pork and Apple Flatbread

BBQ Pork and Apple Flatbread

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

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

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

A closer look at the BBQ Pork and Apple Flatbread…

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

Pork Belly Nigri

Pork Belly Nigri

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

Duck in all its Glory

Duck in all its Glory

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

Yuzu-marinated Sashimi

Yuzu-marinated Sashimi

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

Oak-fired Filet of Beef

Oak-fired Filet of Beef

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

Georges Bank Scallops

Georges Bank Scallops

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

Spicy Kazan Roll

Spicy Kazan Roll

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

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

Wishes!

Wishes! as seen from our table

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

Lemon Meringue Cheesecake

Lemon Meringue Cheesecake

Sundae Sampler - perhaps the most adorable dessert ever!

Sundae Sampler – perhaps the most adorable dessert ever!

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

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

The backside of the Spice Road Table

The backside of the Spice Road Table

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

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

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

Outdoor seating area at Spice Road Table

Outdoor seating area at Spice Road Table

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

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Bar area inside Spice Road Table

Bar area inside Spice Road Table

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

Spice Road Table Menu

Spice Road Table Menu Cover

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

Back of the Spice Road Table Menu

Back of the Spice Road Table Menu

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

Spice Road Table Beverage Menu

Spice Road Table Beverage Menu

Bacj

Spice Road Table Wine Menu

Bonnie ordered the White Wine Flight…

White Wine Flight

White Wine Flight

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

Estrella Damm Beer

Estrella Damm Beer

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

drinkj

Tangier’s Breeze

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

Spice Road Table Wine Menu

Spice Road Table Small Plates Menu

Menu

Chef’s Special and Dessert Menu

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

Hummus and Olives

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

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

Mogador Sampler

Mogador Sampler

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

Tingis Sampler

Tingis Sampler

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

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

Mussels Tagine

Mussels Tagine

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

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

Salted Cod Croquettes

Salted Cod Croquettes

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

Fried Calamari

Fried Calamari

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

Moroccan Lamb Sausage

Moroccan Lamb Sausage

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

Harissa Chicken Roll

Harissa Chicken Roll

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

Lamb Slider

Lamb Slider

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

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

Now for a couple of notes about this place…

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

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

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

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

Inside seating area

Inside seating area

The restaurant is gorgeous… simply gorgeous…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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with an assortment of sweets and beverages.

Juice Bar Menu

Juice Bar Menu

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

Dawa Bar

Dawa Bar

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

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

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

The back side of beer!

The back side of beer!

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

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

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

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

As usual, Miss Bonnie and I were in the World for Marathon Weekend in January. We had originally planned on not actually doing any of the races this year after finishing the Goofy Challenge (a half-marathon on Saturday and a full on Sunday, for a total of 39.3 miles) in 2013, and with what occurred after that race (and one of these days I’ll get around to fully recounting that story…) anything this year would just be anti-climatic…

Bib from new 10k race

Bib from new 10k race

Well, leave it to the good folks at runDisney to announce a new race (the Walt Disney World 10K) and also a new challenge (the official Dopey Challenge: four races over four days totaling 48.6 miles!). We weren’t exactly excited about the training time and expense that the Dopey would require, especially with all we’d have going on right before that in our lives (and if you’re not sure what that was, you can check out the post “It was like a Dream….“), but with a 10k being basically a “walk in the park” after Goofy, and it being a new medal we didn’t have, we signed up for the 10k as soon as it opened for registration (and good thing as it sold out in a nanosecond).

As always, we had a wonderful long weekend seeing many friends, eating some good food (that post to come later), and yes, earning a new medal…

New Minnie medal in the middle

New Minnie medal in the middle

Other than the usual fun and frivolity around the parks, there were some very odd odds and ends around the races… so let’s take a look shall we?

Sign

One side of the Bus Route Sign after the 10k

If you’re staying on Disney property, they provide bus transportation to and from all of the races. After the end of each days race there is a line of buses going to each of the resorts, and large signs directing you to where the bus for your particular resort is (or will be) parked awaiting your tired and sweaty self. On this day the signed provided a bit of, well, odd information…

A closer look at the sign above... notice anything?

A closer look at the sign above… notice anything?

An even closer look for you...

An even closer look for you…

apparently you can’t go to the Art of Animation resort, you have to go to either Art or Animation… didn’t know they were separate…

And around the corner...

And around the corner…

The other side of the same sign also provided a bit of amusement…

And here's your close-up...

And here’s your close-up…

apparently there are no longer any “Springs” at Coronado Springs… all you have now are “Spings”… I think I’d ask for a discount if I was staying there…

And it wasn’t just the signs… let’s take a closer look at the runners bib for the 10k…

Let's look at that bib again...

Let’s look at that bib again…

This race was extra-special - it was the Inaguaral one!

This race was extra-special – it was apparently the Inaugurual one!

As this was the first time the 10k was held, it was the Inaugural running of this race, or that’s what you would have thought – the bib declared it the “Inaugurual” 10k!

So now I’m thinking there might be a job opening at runDisney for a proof-reader… brushing up my resume…

Okay, I just really don’t know what to say about all that… I’ll leave it up to you… comments???

So, let’s wrap-up on a fun note – along the race courses there are usually lots of bands, well-wishers, and of course, characters… and sometimes you’ll see some characters you rarely (if ever) see around the parks.

Just don't look up my name in the Urban Dictionary...

Just don’t look up my name in the Urban Dictionary…

Bonnie and I went out to cheer the racers Saturday and Sunday (the 10k was on Friday), and towards the end of the marathon course just outside of Mousegears in Epcot we came across Launchpad McQuack from Ducktails!

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He even took time to pose with another non-human!

So there you have it dear Dedicated Readers, some more Odds and Ends… and a few very odd ones it was!

Back to the kitchen, see you soon!

Hello there Dear Dedicated Readers – once again it’s time to take a look at some edibles from a recent weekend at Walt Disney World, and this was the long weekend Miss Bonnie and I spent at the World for Marathon Weekend.

Despite it being a long weekend, we actually dined out around the World relatively little – since we were participating in a couple, yes, a couple, of races that weekend, we actually did a lot of cooking in our room at Kidani so we could better control what we had to eat (and hit the hay early for some extra rest) on the night before the races. That being said, we did have a few interesting things to eat while we were there, so let’s put on the digital feedbag, shall we?

One of the posters on the wall in the seating area of Boulangerie Patisserie

One of the posters on the wall in the seating area of Boulangerie Patisserie

We arrived on Thursday, the same day that Boulangerie Patisserie, the quick service location in the France pavilion in Epcot, reopened after a refurbishment. Finding ourselves at Epcot late that night, and needing sustenance, we gave it a try…

Soupe de Potiron - pumkin soup $4.25Bisque de Homard - lobster bisque

Soupe de Potiron (Pumpkin Soup, top), Bisque de Homard (Lobster Bisque)

Much of the menu is the same as the former location, but a few more savory items have been added. We tried the two soups: the Lobster Bisque was very good (probably not the best version of that soup I’ve ever had, but very serviceable) and the Pumpkin Soup was thick and full of gourdy goodness – I’d make a trip back here just to have the Pumpkin Soup again.

Quiche Lorraine (top), and well, Quiche Lorraine

Quiche Lorraine (top), and well, Quiche Lorraine

There are also a couple of traditional quiches now offered: Quiche Lorraine (with ham and gruyere cheese) and Florentine (with spinach and goat cheese). The Grand Plan was to try one of each, but as it was near closing when we got there (we did close the joint down, they locked us inside while we finished our meal), they only had the Quiche Lorraine left, so we got two of those. The egg-pies were good and filling, and paired with the two tasty soups made a nice meal – and at about $20 for two, not too bad a deal. We’re both looking forward to trying the French bakery again – maybe we can try that other quiche the next time…

Beverage Menu at Boulangerie Patisserie

Beverage Menu at Boulangerie Patisserie

There is also a separate dedicated beverage window serving coffees, wines, soft drinks and the like so you don’t have to go through the full line if all you want is too whet your whistle…

A cup of Plastic Cheese from Casey's in honor of our good friend AJ...

A cup of Plastic Cheese from Casey’s in honor of our good friend AJ

Other than a trip to Casey’s Corner in the Magic Kingdom, most of the rest of our calories Friday and Saturday were consumed in house at Kidani, so we now move to the post-race feasting of Sunday…

Splitsville pre-opening concept art

Splitsville pre-opening concept art

Bonnie & I, along with BFF Laura & Lil’ Sis Lindsay, made our way to Downtown Disney West Side to try out the recently opened Splitsville.

Loaded Fries at Splitsville

Loaded Fries at Splitsville

This high-end, retro-designed bowling alley also features pool tables, dancing at night and a big menu of food items and beverages. This is the largest, and first two-story venue of the small chain, and initial reviews had been good (I’d also always heard good things about the food at the Tampa location). Having burned about a gazillion calories in the prior day-and-a-half-or-so, Bonnie and I started out with the Loaded Fries (Bonnie will rarely turn her nose up at any culinary use of the humble spud…). The menu listed (and our server echoed) and ingredients: french fries smothered with nacho cheese, bacon, ranch, scallions and love… we weren’t exactly so sure about how the love was added, but we gave them a try anyway… despite the addition of love, these really weren’t anything too special, not bad at all, but nothing to get overly excited about… we did still clean our plate…

Splitsville's Sliders

Splitsville’s Sliders

Lindsay opted for the Sliders and a side of fries. The burgers were made with a special selection of ground meats and topped with an onion ring, on the side was “Special Slider Sauce” (maybe like the “love” that went into the Loaded Fries?). She shared these all around and I thought them quite good, especially the meat. The fries were the same typical crinkle-cut fries as in our loaded ones, but came with a good chive dip that Lindsay raved about.

The rest of us went the sushi route…

Spicy Tuna Roll

Spicy Tuna Roll

BFF Laura took the most traditional approach with a nice Spicy Tuna Roll, while Bonnie and I shared a couple of the over-the-top rolls on the menu…

Super Tuna Roll

Super Tuna Roll

the Super Tuna Roll has ahi tuna, tempura shrimp, cream cheese and is topped with seared ahi, avocado, eel sauce, tempura flakes and a spicy mayo sauce…

Crab Rangoon Roll

Crab Rangoon Roll

while the Crab Rangoon Roll has surimi (the imitation crab common in sushi rolls), cream cheese, water chestnuts, and chives which is rolled and then tempura fried and topped with Thai chili sauce and spicy mayo.

This is not the place to go if you’re looking for uni or toro – the menu doesn’t even list any nigiri sushi (although I’ve heard they will make it if asked)  – it’s all big, ornate rolls, and many feature cream cheese and/or are fried rolls. Most are in the $13-$15 range, and are big and tasty (at least the ones we tried), not exactly “challenging” sushi selections, but pretty darn good!

We wandered around he venue a bit after eating – this looks to be a really fun place and full of energy in most of the spaces – while the outside seating on the second level gives a great view of the area and a bit more laid-back vibe. We all loved it and are looking forward to coming back – BFF Laura was even ready to make a special trip up to the World just to hang out there!

Big Bamboo at Yak & Yeti

Big Bamboo at Yak & Yeti

Our long Marathon Weekend ended on Monday with lunch at Yak & Yeti in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Pork Pot Stickers

Pork Pot Stickers

Lori Loves Tigger treated Lil’ Sis Lindsay, Miss Bonnie and myself to a celebratory meal – a couple in our group started with the Big Bamboo, a fruity alcoholic concoction – then the table shared the Pork Pot Stickers.

Bonnie & I are both suckers for most any Asian-styled dumplings, and pot stickers are a particular favorite. The version here is quite good and we quickly wolfed them down – actually I could have had a couple of orders of this (or maybe three…) and had a happy lunch.

Lo Mein

Lo Mein

Lori had a huge portion of Lo Mein, while Bonnie and Lindsay both had the Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli.

Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli

Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli

I had them add some extra spice to my order of Bourbon (of course!) Chicken…

Bourbon (of course!) Chicken

Bourbon Chicken

and our obliging server even brought me an extra side of chili sauce in case I needed to kick it up some more (which I did). All the portions were generous and we shared and sampled all around. The mains weren’t anything spectacular, but all were pretty tasty and more than adequate. The restaurant and it’s decor is always fun, and our service was good. With the great company, it was a satisfying end to a emotional and eventful Marathon Weekend at the World… more on that Emotional and Eventful stuff when I give you a wrap-up of the Marathon Weekend itself… and there was some other stuff that went on besides the races themselves, but I’ll save that for the next time…

Back to the kitchen – see you soon!

WDW Odds & Ends

January 31, 2013

Along with about 65,000 of our closest friends, Miss Bonnie and I made our way to Walt Disney World a couple of weeks ago to take part in Marathon Weekend.

It had actually been quite a while since we had been there (for us, that is), and in addition to the race-related events we were able to find a few new odds & ends of things from around the World that I thought I’d share with you, my dear Dedicated Readers…

Of course our trips to WDW almost always include a visit (or two, or three, or…) to the World Showcase in Epcot, and this long weekend was no exception.

Above the entrance to the new version of Boulangerie Patisserie

Above the entrance to the new version of Boulangerie Patisserie

The new version of France’s quick-service eatery, Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie, had just opened in the rear of the pavillion with a newly expanded menu (more on the food from the weekend in another post…).

Inside the seating area of Boulangerie Patisserie

Inside the seating area of Boulangerie Patisserie

The indoor seating/dining area has some nice decor for a quick-service location.

Plastic utensil dispensers in Boulangerie Patisserie

Plastic utensil dispensers in Boulangerie Patisserie

Even the utensil dispensers are themed!

The former site of the bakery is closed and will reopen later in the year as an ice cream parlor.

The Phineas and Ferb fanaticism continues…

Sign at the Refreshment Port

Sign at the Refreshment Port

and at the Refreshment Port you can still get the Agent P Cookie and wash it down with a new diabolical beverage served in a lab beaker: The Doofenslurper!

Now over to the Magic Kingdom…

New Magic Kingdom entrance area for use with the "Next-Gen" wristbands

New Magic Kingdom entrance area for use with the “Next-Gen” wristbands

a new entrance area is along the right side, replacing the “now-old-fashioned” turnstiles. This is for resort guests who have their park tickets tied to their reservations and are using the new super-duper MyMagic+ wristbands… (see the official Disney Parks Blog word on this on their post “Taking the Disney Guest Experience to the Next Level”). We’ll see more of these later at other parks…

More construction wall fun at the entrance to the Magic Kingdom!

More construction wall fun at the entrance to the Magic Kingdom!

The center section in front of the train station is now sporting construction walls – was told it was for new ticket-selling booths…

Sign in the window of the shuttered Main Street Bakery

Sign in the window of the shuttered Main Street Bakery

And it wouldn’t be a day at the MK if we didn’t come across some new construction, closings or openings…

the Main Street Bakery is now closed for the refurb that will (controversially to some) add a Starbucks location to the park. I’m not all up in arms about this as some other people are (remember that Walt said that the parks would never be finished or stay static, and sponsored food/beverage locations do go back to the opening day in Anaheim…) I’ll reserve final judgement until it’s been open for a while… but for the time being I think it will be a good thing (and hopefully be the beginning of the end of the Nescafe stranglehold on Disney’s coffee-drinking guests).

Tomorrowland Terrace temporary breakfast menu

Tomorrowland Terrace temporary breakfast menu

While the Bakery is down, they are serving breakfast at the woefully underused Tomorrowland Terrace location.

Tomorrowland Terrace temporary breakfast menu. Begnets? Fry me some up please!

Tomorrowland Terrace temporary breakfast menu. Beignets? Fry me some up please!

Tomorrowland Terrace temporary breakfast menu. Iced Green Tea

Tomorrowland Terrace temporary breakfast menu. Flavored Iced Green Tea sounds pretty good – wish they had that in the heat of the day and not just for breakfast!

And construction continues in Fantasyland…

Rapunzel's Tower

Rapunzel’s Tower

over at the former home of the skyway station in Fantasyland (to the left of Small World) is what’s is supposed to be the new restroom location for this section of the park (the current ones near Peter Pan will reportedly go away as that attraction gets one of the expanded/interactive queue lines). Themed after the film “Tangled” it has a large tower and what (from behind the walls) looks to be a fancy-dancy-extra-themed place to relieve yourself!

New "Tangled" themed restroom currently behind construction walls in Fantasyland

New “Tangled” themed restroom currently behind construction walls in Fantasyland

With all the work that looks like it’s going into this area, you’d assume something more than just a place to pee would be here… the assumption is that the tower will be a dedicated meet-and-greet area for Rapunzel, and I’m sure the ladies (and a few gents as well) hope this also brings Flynn Rider back to the parks full time… smoulder and all…

Entrance area to New Fantasyland expansion with construction on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride

Entrance area to New Fantasyland expansion with construction on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride evident in the background

And nearby in the New Fantasyland expansion area, there is more construction (and even a few non-construction things) to view…

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Construction Wall

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Construction Wall

the construction walls around the Mine Train area now feature some cool artwork…

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Construction Wall

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Construction Wall

including the Dwarfs tools and time cards as well as several pieces of concept art showing scenes from the finished attraction.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Concept Art on the Construction Wall

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Concept Art on the Construction Wall

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Concept Art on the Construction Wall

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Concept Art on the Construction Wall

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Concept Art on the Construction Wall

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Concept Art on the Construction Wall

New Fantasyland Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Concept Art Construction Wall Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Concept Art on the Construction Wall

There are even some places with peepholes in the wall and you are actually invited to take a look at what’s going on behind the scenes!

Peephole in the construction wall of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride

Peephole in the Construction Wall of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Ride

Not nearly as much fun to peek as when they don’t want us to look!

A look thru the Peephole in the Construction Wall of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Ride

A look thru the Peephole in the Construction Wall of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Ride

There were some new items already in the Bonjour Village Gifts – and the egoistical Gaston would likely be pleased with some of the new offerings (though he’s likely to think he should have a gift shop devoted solely to him!).

New Gaston Tee-Shirt

New Gaston Tee-Shirt

He sports a Lefou’s Brew mustache in one new tee-shirt…

Another new Gaston tee-shirt...

Another new Gaston tee-shirt…

and his more-than-impressive biceps are shown off in another.

Gaston's Tavern (I'm sure not for beer) Steins

Gaston’s Tavern (I’m sure not for beer) Steins

And there are nice, heavy Gaston’s Tavern steins now for sale.

Belle and Beast "Relationship Status" Shirt

Belle and Beast “Relationship Status” Shirt

And a couple of cute Facebook-inspired shirts are now available.

And yet another Gaston shirt...

And yet another Gaston shirt…

Our base of operations for the weekend was our favorite resort, Kidani Village at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. And of course one of our favorite things about the resort is viewing the animals on the savannah right outside the room…

Ankole Cattle at Kidani Village

Ankole Cattle at Kidani Village

and one of the most common critters on view here (and on the savannah at the Kilimanjaro Safari at Animal Kingdom) is the Ankole Cattle. Also known as Watusi Cattle, every time I see one of these surely-delicious ruminants one of my favorite songs runs through my mind: Watusi Rodeo by Guadalcanal Diary… but that’s neither here nor there…

New-and-improved (and much prettier) Ankole Cattle

New-and-improved (and much prettier) Ankole Cattle

what was there is a new piebald/mottled/pinto/whatever-you-want-to-call-it color variety of Ankole Cattle.

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Much more attractive than the usually seen form, the three new animals were just introduced to the Kidani savannah the week we were there. I don’t know if this delicious-looking morph will make it’s way to the Kilimanjaro ride or not, but keep your eyes peeled… or just make a visit to Kidani…

Animal Kingdom entrance area

Animal Kingdom entrance area

Like at the Magic Kingdom, the entrance to the Animal Kingdom park has the MyMagic+ area for those with the new wristbands for park admittance.

Castmember at the entrance to Animal Kingdom

Castmember at the entrance to Animal Kingdom

Castmembers were stationed outside the entrance area doing their best to direct guests to the correct areas to enter the park. The gentleman above told me that the new system was working “pretty well”, but that some guests were getting into the “new” line and if they didn’t have the wristband for entrance some were becoming quite irritated at having to then again go and stand in line again to get into the park.

Inside the park we noticed one of the food kiosks along the path between Africa and Asia…

Note the massive lines for veggie cuisine...

Note the massive lines for veggie cuisine…

and how it was now serving 100% vegetarian items.

Menu at "Safari Egg Roll" Kiosk in Animal Kingdom

Menu at “Safari Egg Roll” Kiosk in Animal Kingdom

We also took a ride on the Kilimanjaro Safari as we hadn’t been on it since the new zebra area was opened…

There's something missing between my legs...

There’s something missing between my legs…

the first thing we noticed when sitting down in the ride vehicle was that the net bags to hold your random goodies had been removed from the back of the seats… were too many people leaving things behind in them? Was just our safari vehicle being re-done? Inquiring minds…

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We had several close-up animal viewings on this safari ride, and then eventually got to the new zebra area…

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you get a pretty close encounter with the striped-horsey-looking-critters, but considering how much work looked to being done during the construction I though the zebra space was kinda small… I guess size matters after all…

On this trip we also made our way over to Downtown Disney, made our first visit to Splitsville (more on that in another post), and while there we ambled into D Street and found some nice new shirts….

DSCF2894one features an image of Walt on the front…

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and there are several with famous quotes from Mr. Disney emblazoned upon them.

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And considering the popularity of the Turkey Leg shirts and other Disney-food related apparel, it’s not surprising we get another piece of garb featuring an iconic Disney edible…

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popcorn!

Okay kids, with a food reference we’ll call it a post… hope you enjoyed this look at some Odds & Ends form the World!

Back to the kitchen, see you soon!

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