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Posts Tagged ‘Disney’

I had the chance to eat at La Hacienda de San Angel, Disney’s new restaurant at Epcot a few weeks ago. The restaurant was brand new, having been open only a few days when we dined there. Everything was new and beautiful including these paintings located just inside the doors.

I value to decor of a restaurant and how well it matches the theme. This place was nicely done and gave me the feel that I was dining in Mexico. It helps that outside the restaurant is Epcot’s Mexico.

I made note that the menus were decorative.

The drink menu and such.

Funny story. We walked by the outside of the restaurant earlier in the day and asked if they had a vegetarian menu. The nice representative said yes and that they had just come up with it that morning because they had not included vegetarian choices on their menu to start off. I suppose they had already gotten a lot of negative feedback about that. She presented us with this typed on paper version of their vegetarian menu.

Here is little Duffy.

We ordered from the vegetarian menu of course. We had the Cheese Empanadas, which were delicious. They were also beautifully presented.

If you noticed on the menu, the Cheese Empanadas was supposed to come with black beans and rice. Here is a shot of the beans. Also, just a little note, the cheese that topped these items was lovely. You’ll notice that I do not have a shot of the rice because were were not given any. When I asked about this the manager came to the table and told me that because they had just planned the vegetarian menu, the rice that they had was cooked in chicken stock. We asked for the rice anyway because we are not too prudish.

We shared the main course above so that we  could each get desserts. Here is my Chocolate con Churros. The churros has a lovely caramel-like sauce. The hot chocolate was sweet and complemented the churros well.

My LW’s dessert: Tamal de Dulce. I heard it was good.

Overall, everything we ordered was delicious and presented nicely. The whole new restaurant forgot to have a vegetarian menu thing is okay because they were clearly trying to fix that. I would like for them to have noted that the rice was cooked with chicken stock prior to me having to ask why it wasn’t brought along with the meal but oh well. I will attest that too the waiter who seemed pretty young. The atmosphere was definitely fun and I would dine at this restaurant again. I give it four forks. Enjoy!

Quality Eats:

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Though it was a couple off weeks ago now, I am posting about our trip to Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival. We spent one day there walking around and eating random food. Something that was new this year was this little notation, the green V, on the sign that an item is vegetarian (see the first photo). In the second, third, and fourth photos you can see Ashley walking back from the booth with her random dish, Ashley’s favorite, the Heirloom Tomatoes at the American booth, and a photo of the tomatoes in the jar waiting to be sliced(Ashley made me take that). After we had eaten all that we could we headed over for our free photo with the characters. Because we ate so many different things I thought I would try and gallery view of the food instead of inserting every single photo. Hopefully it works out.

We had a great time and I hope that we can find time to get back and eat more though with my new schedule, I’m not sure how that will work out.

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I recently had the chance to dine at California Grill in Disney’s Contemporary Resort for the first time.  The restaurant sits atop the Contemporary Resort on the 15th floor.  The walls are all windows where you have views of the Magic Kingdom and Cinderella’s Castle.  We arrived for a late reservation and were seated at least 20 minutes early and very quickly.  This was not, however, because they were lacking business. 

Our table for two was very close to the window facing the direction of the fireworks show, which we were able to see during dessert.  The table was set nicely with a cloth and wine glasses.  We were brought bread right away and provided with ample information when asking questions about the menu

The sushi was fantastic!  I had the Crab and Beef “Oscar” Roll, which is lump crab (not Krab) and seared rare beef.  There were little peppers on top that were very spicy but delicious. 

My wife ordered the cheese plate for an appetizer and was pleased with all of the cheeses. 

For dinner, I ordered the Filet of Beef which was delicious.  It came with a side of potatoes and Broccolini. 

The vegetarian option was Sweet Potato Ricotta Tortellini.   A lot of time vegetarian options lack the wow-factor but at a restaurant like California Grill the dish was lovely. 

The desserts were decorated with little chocolate “Happy anniversary” signs which was a nice touch.  The server also noted the special occasion but in a tasteful, subtle way. 

The Sweet Celebration:

Chocolate Cake, my favorite, done perfectly. 

Throughout dinner the service was right on point.  Our server was attentive but not overly present during the meal and we received each course in the appropriate timing. The only thing to note was our dessert came at the same time as the fireworks, which was initially fun, but we had to wait for the show to be over to eat (because the lights go down) the desserts which had start melting.  It would have been nice to have to option to hold dessert until after the show was over.  After the meal we were encouraged to take a look around and got to see the kitchens and outdoor viewing deck. 

The purple blob in the middle of the photo is the castle:

Overall, California Grill earned four forks! Enjoy!

Elegant Fine Dining:

Just a side note starting this week, I am going back to my once weekly reviews on Tuesdays.  I will not be posting on Fridays unless I get an over abundance of reviews piling up again! 

Thanks for reading and Enjoy!

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Breakfast buffets are a big thing at Disney.  They must make a fortune off of them because they send some characters into a room, fill up a buffet with relatively cheap food and charge people and exorbitant fee to eat there.  We don’t usually go for these types of meals at Disney because we like to take advantage of their nicer restaurants and/or restaurants that serve unusual food.  As we were on the dining plan for our visit we decided to try 1900 Park Fare, which is located in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.

The food was a pretty straight forward selection of breakfast items, eggs, biscuits and gravy, bacon, sausage, and more.  There were Mickey shaped waffles, which were tasty.  The photos below show a sampling of the food but certainly not everything.  There was an omelet station and smoked salmon with capers and hard boiled eggs as well.  The strawberry soup was a bit on the thick side but good.

For most people that eat at 1900 Park Fare, the appeal is the photo and greeting opportunity with the characters that come around to each table.  If you sit at the table an hour you should be visited by each character at least once.  Alice made a stop at the table along with Tigger, Pooh, Mary Poppins, and Mad Hatter.

Overall, the food and service was nothing special.  The atmosphere was load and hectic.  For the amount you pay to eat breakfast here you would expect some element of fine dining, but it’s just not there.   The characters were fun but not worth the money for two adults.  I give 1900 Park Fare two forks. Enjoy!

Quality Eats:

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Bistro De Paris

This is Guest Restaurant Review by my FIL, Ted Titus.  He loves food, wine, and whining about food.   

Three Old Men and Their Restaurant

In 1982 three of the most famous and influential French chefs (Paul Bocuse, born 1926; Roger Verge, born 1930; and Gaston Lenotre, born 1920, died 2009) joined together to open Chefs de France, Bistro de Paris, and a boulangerie patisserie in EPCOT.  These three sites are now run by Jerome Bocuse, son of  Paul.

This is a review of the Bistro de  Paris:


 
First of all, this is not a “to die for” restaurant, do not plan your vacation looking forward to having an experience of French cuisine.  This is the third time since opening that I have eaten there. 
 
We arrived about 7:00pm for our 7:15pm reservation, and were met by a young lady from Lyon France.  She must have had some personality, but that day she was hiding it.  After a 15-minute wait we were escorted up stairs to the restaurant, which is above Chefs de France. 
 
For a “French” restaurant the appetizers were limited to smoked salmon, butternut squash soup, sautéed jumbo shrimp, escargot, duck pate, warm goat cheese, tuna tartar, and an assortment of cheeses.  A safe number of French type choices.  Nothing had a WOW factor, but this is Disney and it’s better to play it safe. We ordered the warm duck pate with pistachios and truffles in a blackcurrant sauce. Before our appetizer arrived we were given a small cup of pea soup.  This was a great way to start the meal.  The soup was just pureed peas and cream with a touch of nutmeg. 

When the pate was served it was presented on two plates each with half the pate.  We share!  The pate was wrapped in pastry with a blackcurrant sauce and some greens. I guess warm is up to your interperation, but I would call our pate medium cool, that said the sauce made you forget any shortcomings of the pate.


 
The entrees were pricey and limited, especially since red meat was not a choice for us.  There was lobster, sea scallops, sea bass, Peking duck, (French?), tenderloin, venison, rack of lamb, and pork tenderloin: again a safe menu. You would expect more selections from a French menu.  We decided on sea bass, gnocchi sautéed with artichoke and sun choke with a champagne beurre blanc sauce. 

Again the entrée was split in half in the kitchen, nice touch.  This was a great choice!  The sea bass was seared and the sauce, while simple, was the highlight of the meal.  I’ll be making this meal at home if I can find sun chokes.
 
Dessert time!!  After drinking a bottle of champagne in the early afternoon then a bottle of wine with dinner we were pretty much done, but what is a French meal without cheese.  We ordered the cheese plate with five cheese selections.  For me they were not the greatest cheeses, a chevere, Roquefort, Camembert, a Swiss type cheese, and one that was just bland.  Cheese needs red wine, so a glass of Bordeaux was ordered.
 
We finished the evening with French press coffee.
 
JUST THE FACTS:
 
Seated promptly
Service was good, with a French attitude
Had to ask for bread
Menu was Amer-French
Wine prices high
A generic wine glass – used for both red and white wine
Food was very good
Total meal price: $103 (shared appetizer and dinner) – too much
Spar Pinot Gris $58
Disney has too many better places for the money
Did nothing for our anniversary
Will not go back

Overall, this restaurant gets 3 forks. 

 

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I recently dined at Coral Reef Restaurant in Disney’s Epcot.  I will be upfront in saying that it was not my first experience at this restaurant.  I had previously eaten there and was not impressed.  However, we chose to go back and give it a second chance primarily for the location.  One wall of the restaurant is the tank of the Living Seas. 

We had reservations and did not wait long for a table right next to the tank.  We were immediately greeted by our server who took lots of time to go over the menu and specials.  We got smoothies to start, which were good. 

Between the service and the automatic bread with sea salted butter, Coral Reef got off to a great start. 

One negative to note here was the appetizer options.  My wife ordered what appeared to be vegetarian appetizer, Sweet Corn Chowder with Smoked Paprika Oil, and it turned out to have bacon in it.  Otherwise, it tasted good. 

I ordered the Crabcakes with Tropical Fruit Salsa and Tequila Aioli which were light and delicious.  The sweetness from the salsa worked well with the crab and the Tequila Aioli had a nice tangy flavor to it.

The main courses were just as delicious as the appetizers.  The Wild Mushroom Lasagna was excellent.  It must be noted here (as the server noted it to us at the table when taking the order) that the dish should not be called a lasagna as it is not layered.  The filling is actually wrapped in noodles and baked then served over sauce.  Whatever it should be called it was inspiring.

I went with the Grilled Maui-Maui.  It was served on a bed of Jasmine rice and hearts of palm (which made the dish in my opinion).  The texture of the rice and hearts of palm worked nicely with the smoothness of the fish.  The flavor was light and almost buttery. 

As a note of celebration, the served brought us two glasses of Champagne with our desserts.  It was a nice touch.  The desserts were delicious.

All in all, I was quite impressed with Coral Reef.  I enjoyed the food.  The service was fantastic.  They went above and beyond to make our dining experience special.  I give this restaurant four forks! Enjoy!

Quality Eats:

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Kouzzina, which means kitchen in Greek (trust me, I heard the seater say it about 40 times as our table was near the restaurant entrance), had an obvious gay appeal since it is Cat Cora’s restaurant and is headed by Disney Chef, Dee Foundoukis: Disney Press Release.  Trying new foods is one of my favorite things to do and Mediterrainean food is supposed to be healthy so I was looking forward to our dinner at Kouzzina.

The table was set nicely with wine glasses and cloth napkins, the atmosphere was loud and busy, and with an open kitchen and Greek theme. I’m convinced that these choices all work.  What is convenient for Disney is that the intentional atmosphere works well with theme park goers and screaming children.

They did serve bread automatically, which I enjoy, though I didn’t eat much because it was just bread and salted butter.

The appetizers started the dinner off nicely even though the service was perhaps the worst I’ve had a Disney location.  I order the Kouzzina Spreads and my wife ordered the Spiro’s Greek Salad which both turned out to be very authentically Greek.  My spreads were delicious.  I hate olives but ate them with the Harissa yogurt and they weren’t bad.

The salad seemed to have very little lettuce, which is appropriate for a Greek salad, and the ingredients were all quite fresh.

The main courses were less impressive and corresponded perfectly with the downfall in service.  The vegetarian option was just tomato based vegetables over orzo.  It was good but nothing special.

I selected the Kouzinna Trio which included sample portions of Pastitsia, Char-grilled Lamb Burger, and Cinnamon stewed Chicken with Orzo.  Of the three my favorite was the Pastitsia which is basically like Lasagna.  The lamb-burger had a lot of seasoning mixed into the meat that I didn’t care for.  It was a little dry and the taste was too strong for me.  The chicken was in line with my wife’s dish in that it was just chicken over orzo.

Desserts were good.  This is the Loukoumades which were light and tasty doughnuts.

The Chocolate Budino Cake was delicious and the coffee went nicely with it.  The center of the cake was warm and gooey and how can you go wrong with that?

The plating and creativity was nice throughout dinner and the menu offered a good selection staying within the Greek theme.  I was least impressed with the main course and the service.  Unfortunately, these two things are major portions of the dining and I would likely not return to Kouzzina.  Towards the end of dinner we waited far too long to receive a bill and then to receive the cards back.  After getting the card back the waiter had run the wrong amount and we had to wait even longer to get this issue fixed.  I don’t like to linger after I’m done eating and the waiter was in no hurry to help us out.

I give Kouzinna a disappointing two forks.

Enjoy!

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