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View Full Version : 2010: A Year of Wine and Disney Trip Report- Victoria and Albert's Part 2 6-7!!


anthonut
03-21-2010, 11:02 PM
Ok, let's get this show on the road :)

Luckily my first nights plans worked out perfectly. My plane landed on time, ME dropped me off at POR as the first stop and I had a room exactly where I requested. A great omen for a start to the vacation, even if it was still somewhat rainy.

After dropping off my carryon luggage I made my way to the Magic Kingdom to see if I could pick up my ticket a day early, upgrade to an AP and get a Tables in Wonderland card. Once again no trouble at all and was fully equipped in under 5 minutes at Guest Relations. In fact I still had an hour before my ADR so decided to check out the MK for a bit, maybe pick up a Fastpass for after dinner. Well, the torrential downpours during the day an continuing to that point allowed me to ride BTMRR and Splash with no wait. And no worries about getting soaked on Splash as the weather was doing a better job than the ride :)

The brief sojourn into MK was just the thing to get my appetite going for 'Ohana, so a quick trip via monorail took me to my first ever visit to the Polynesian resort. It didn't take me long to find this:

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4006/4452250530_a186f9d6e6.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4452250530/)

I checked in and waited for my table in the Tambu lounge. I was so looking forward to trying a Lapu Lapu, however, my hopes were dashed when they ran out of hollowed out pineapples just before I ordered. I mean this is a tropical island I am at how do you run out of those? Don't they grow them on property? ;) Disappointment aside (and i will achieve victory later in the week) I asked the bartender to make something somewhat tart with a slight sweetness. I'm not sure exactly what it was. Something along the lines of Pomegranate Lemonade Fusion something or other. My receipt says Lynchburg Lemonade, but I know it didn't have JD in it. In any case it was perfect and hit the spot.

While I was waiting to pay for the drink my table became ready and I felt bad for the man waiting to seat me standing off in the distance waiting for me to settle the bill. One word of warning, there can be a wait for a bill to be settled if using a TIW card, especially it seems in the lounges as a manager is required to put the discount into the register.

We started with a walk around the restaurant passing a display of a faux bread pudding, I guess as a warning to not overeat on the main courses :) Finally I was at my table where I could see the castle in the distance. I'm sure I could have drawn out my time at 'Ohana and watched the fireworks from there as it would have been a nice view, but decided that I would make my way to MK and watch from there. On the other side of the table I had a nice view of the fire pit.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2729/4452252792_e595684b28.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4452252792/)

On our way past the false dessert, we also picked up some Welcome Bread.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2734/4451478979_1e72a787e4.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4451478979/)

This bread was very tasty, light and not overpowering in the flavor of either pineapple or coconut, but enough to make their presence known. I did find the bread a tad yeasty in flavor though no more so than some white bread loaves I have made at home. Guess I was just surprised to find that in a restaurant loaf.

After the bread came the Mixed Greens salad with honey-lime dressing.
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4061/4452253362_221084e4a1.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4452253362/)

Really liked the mix of sweet and sour of the dressing, it went well with the drink. :) There was enough dressing to add flavor but still keep the greens crisp.

Following shortly after was the appetizer plate. As a solo diner, they put the wings, pot stickers, veggies and noodles on a single plate.
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4045/4451480047_755ea598a2.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4451480047/)

The wings were good. I liked the sauce and they were meaty, though I prefer my wings a little more crispy. I ate one :) The pot stickers had a nice, moist filling and were flavorful. The seam was a little crusty and dry but overall a good appy. The noodles were just ok, they were a little dry and not that flavorful. And finally there were the veggies. Quite frankly these were one of my favorites parts of the meal. If I wasn't keeping room for dessert I would have asked for more of the veggies.

Next came the "meat" of the meal ;)

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4060/4452254200_e5b07894f7.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4452254200/)

Peel and eat shrimp, marinated steak, mesquite grilled chicken, and bbq pork loin. These were accompanied by 3 dipping sauces, which you can sort of see in the salad photo, sweet and sour, spicy mustard and peanut sauce. I am a shrimp fan and these were delicious and needed no sauce in my opinion. The Steak was good, not overly chewy and went well with the spicy mustard. The pork was my least favorite. It wasn't terrible, but just not as good as the other choices. And actually my favorite of the meats was surprisingly the chicken. Not sure when they substituted chicken for the turkey, but this was juicy, flavorful and downright tasty and really went well with the peanut sauce.

Full and bursting I still was cognizant enough to leave a little more room for the grand finale, the 'Ohana bread pudding.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2753/4452310548_f5bd890e4c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4452310548/)

What a wonderful mix of cold and warm desserty goodness and this time not one bit, faux, false or fake. I will admit as good as it was, I was unable to finish the generous portion offered.

'Ohana was a fantastic first meal of my vacation and I look forward to visiting again, hopefully in the near future.

As this particular meal concluded I was renergized to close down the Magic Kingdom with a couple more rides on Splash, BTMRR and Space Mountain while enjoying the lightest crowd I could imagine for viewing Wishes and Spectro.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4042/4451485125_5b52a35248.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4451485125/)

That is all for tonight. Must get some sleep before returning back to work tomorrow. Coming soon Les Chefs de France.

franandaj
03-21-2010, 11:26 PM
That looks really good, did they bring the meat separately on skewers for you or did they just bring you a plate? I really want to try Ohana, it sounds a little like a brazillian BBQ only asian style.

anthonut
03-22-2010, 12:22 AM
That looks really good, did they bring the meat separately on skewers for you or did they just bring you a plate? I really want to try Ohana, it sounds a little like a brazillian BBQ only asian style.

Yes, they came around with the various meats on skewers. They placed them on the plate directly from the skewer. The other elements were brought to the table on their own dishes from which you served yourself what you wanted. They came by a few times to make sure I didn't want anything else and were very attentive. Definitely worth trying.

darthtatty
03-22-2010, 07:19 AM
welcome back.x:)

great review of O'hanas, i loved it there.
sounds like you had a lovely meal. :thumbsup2

anthonut
03-23-2010, 09:00 PM
welcome back.x:)

great review of O'hanas, i loved it there.
sounds like you had a lovely meal. :thumbsup2

Thanks it is good to be back...in some ways :)

Definitely will have 'Ohana on my list for a future visit.

Thanks for reading along!

anthonut
03-23-2010, 09:53 PM
Before I get started on my review of Les Chefs de France, in the name of thoroughness, here is a pic of my breakfast:

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4042/4455888364_75b543e4ce_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4455888364/)

Not a terrible way to start the day, though I wouldn't have minded some pineapple in the mix. On a plus, there were no shriveled grapes. I always find they are the first to falter in a packaged fruit cup.

Ok, on to the main point of this post, which is lunch at Les Chefs de France:

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4071/4455907666_cbdcf7f2cf_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4455907666/)

The restaurant was a bit crowded at the checkin area as I had a 12pm ADR and that is when the restaurant opened. It wasn't too long after 12 that I was seated, though it seemed that the crowd around the entrance was fraying a few customer nerves.

I was sat in a sort of corner table that stared at the bathroom entrance, and really was the only time I felt that I was given a less than desirable location because I was a party of one. However, it wasn't a terrible seat, and the food made up for it.

They brought out a small baguette in a cute little paper bag along with some butter. I also decided to enjoy a glass of wine with lunch, because, hey I was in France. The wine is Vouvray Savion, a Chenin Blanc from the Loire region.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4046/4455130407_64dee17c81_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4455130407/)

The wine was excellent for lunch on a warm day. Not too full bodied to be heavy but not abundantly sweet. The bread was warm with a nice crisp crust. I could have eaten the entire mini-baguette, but decided to save room for the prix fixe 3 course lunch.

I started with the French Onion Soup:

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4027/4455910302_6832d0e15e_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4455910302/)

The soup was excellent. Great flavor, covered in a great gooey cheese. I did have to let it cool off for a bit or the cheese would have permanently adhered to the roof of my mouth. The soup was full of big slices of onion and floating pontoons of bread. There also seemed to be a few nuts in the soup, not many but I seemed to find some when attacking some of the bread. Couldn't quite tell what it was.

For the entree, I chose the Quiche Lorraine:

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4037/4455910568_cdd5e73f80_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4455910568/)

The quiche was accompanied by mixed greens with splash of balsamic vinaigrette. The quiche itself was very savory. I'm not sure but it almost seemed that at the bottom of the quiche was a bit of sausage. The ham was more suspended in the light eggy center, but something else was adding the fully savory flavor. I should have asked the server, Valentine, as she was very good and even suggested the wine.

And finally came desert, Creme Brulee:

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4059/4455131465_3058878e9d_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4455131465/)

I love me some creme brulee and this didn't disappoint. It wasn't the greatest I've had, but it was of a good size, the sugar was appropriately caramelized (i.e. not burnt), and had the proper mix of cool and warm. The custard was nice and sweet and not overly eggy.

The various courses were nicely paced and I found the restaurant a nice respite from the crowds. I was a little disappointed that Remy had not made it around the restaurant to my table, but not so much so that I was going to draw out the meal and wait. If I were to want to see Remy on a future visit I would get a ADR for around 12:30 instead of directly at noon.

Coming up, a mini post from Sunshine Seasons.

wdwfanatic316
03-23-2010, 10:53 PM
Great reviews so far! :goodvibes We ate at Ohana on our last trip and loved it! I dream about that bread pudding!

Can't wait for more reviews :surfweb:

franandaj
03-24-2010, 02:14 AM
The onion soup looks awesome, same with the creme brulee, I'm a soso on quiche person, but it still looked good! Looking forward to the rest!

Disney owl
03-25-2010, 05:25 PM
great start

TigerKat
03-25-2010, 06:51 PM
Enjoying your reviews, great job!!!:thumbsup2

anthonut
03-25-2010, 09:16 PM
Great reviews so far! :goodvibes We ate at Ohana on our last trip and loved it! I dream about that bread pudding!

Can't wait for more reviews :surfweb:

Thanks wdwfanatic! There was so much good food at Ohana that it took all my will power to hold some space for the bread pudding but I'm glad I did :)

The onion soup looks awesome, same with the creme brulee, I'm a soso on quiche person, but it still looked good! Looking forward to the rest!

Thanks Alison. I am also not a huge quiche fan, though I liked the choice better than a ham and cheese sandwich or mac and cheese. The mac and cheese actually sounds delicious but it seemed a bit heavy for a lunch. I liked the prix fixe choice as it gave me a sampling of various items without ebing too much food. Hope to get a little more posted tonight.

great start

Thanks for following along Disney owl!

Enjoying your reviews, great job!!!:thumbsup2

Thanks TigerKat! Hope you enjoy the rest as well ;)

anthonut
03-25-2010, 09:46 PM
Hello again. It's nice to see a few more people post to say they are following along. Definitely ups the motivation to continue on :)

My original plans for Saturday evening was to have dinner at Cape May Cafe. We really enjoyed the seafood buffet on our Spring Break trip last year and I thought cracking open a few crab legs would be a nice respite from a full day at Epcot. However, a co-worker was also down for Spring Break and was arriving that evening and offered to take me along for a grocery run. Well, stocking the room with water and snacks took precedence over a buffet. :confused3

It also gave us time to plan some other meetups that week.

So after a trip to Publix, I dropped my groceries back at the room and made my way back to Epcot to use up a Soarin' FP and watch Illuminations. After a quick hangglider flight over California I decided to give Sunshine Seasons a shot at my culinary dollars. Perusing the various stations, I settled on the Smoked Ham and Salami Grinder:

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4048/4455944448_8877db553b_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4455944448/)

The sandwich is served on an Asiago Ciabatta and also came with a side of potato salad. While nothing grand about it, this was a really good light dinner. The potato salad had an appropriate amount of vinegar to give some tartness without overwhelming the other flavors. The bread had a crisp crust and enough chewiness to lend some extra "meat" to the sandwich ;) What can I say, I sometimes want a bread you can literally tear into. The meats were lunch meat, but of good quality. The sandwich was finished off with a small amount of some type of dressing. Not sure what kind but paired well with the rest of the ingredients.

Fully fed it was now time for Illuminations. I positioned myself well to exit the park at the conclusion and caught the next bus to Riverside. Not fully finished for the night, I decided to catch this man:

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4035/4455167405_00825ffb96_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4455167405/)

Yeeha Bob!!!! Very fun and I made sure to catch him a couple times during my stay. This was quite convenient because it turns out they sell alcohol at that place ;)

This evening I decided to try the Wild Orchid:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2729/4455167045_fc169fc6c2_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4455167045/)

Not a terrible drink by any means, but nothing special either. I was looking for something a little more tart. But given it was the end of my first full day at the World, I was a happy man.

Coming up soon, lunch at Tusker House.

franandaj
03-25-2010, 10:53 PM
The mac and cheese actually sounds delicious but it seemed a bit heavy for a lunch.


Oh man, I could eat Mac and Cheese every day, and I'm one of those who has to save my leftovers for the second day cause I can't eat the same thing two days in a row! :rotfl2:



I decided to catch this man:


Yeeha Bob!!!!

Where is this?

Also is this the trip where you are eating at Boma & Jiko several meals in a row? I'm so confused between now and June!

oybolshoi
03-26-2010, 08:33 AM
glad you enjoyed your lunch at Chefs - we've always had great success with lunch at this establishment and find it's a nice, tasty break from theme park madness. the quiche is my favorite lunch item on their menu!

Fairy Godnana
03-26-2010, 11:31 AM
Great reviews! I've never eaten at Chef's but i plan to next trip (Oct).
I'd really like a solo trip but the granddaughters would be heart broken --
and thier parents too!! :yay:

anthonut
03-26-2010, 11:44 AM
Oh man, I could eat Mac and Cheese every day, and I'm one of those who has to save my leftovers for the second day cause I can't eat the same thing two days in a row! :rotfl2:

Where is this?

Also is this the trip where you are eating at Boma & Jiko several meals in a row? I'm so confused between now and June!

Oh, there is no doubt that I could eat the Mac and Cheese, just decided I didn't want to rent a scooter to get around the rest of the day ;)

Yehaa Bob plays most Wed-Sat nights from about 8-11:30pm at the River Roost lounge at Port Orleans Riverside. Lot's of fun.

No meals in a row at Jiko or Boma. I think that was another poster asking about eating at the same place. Not that I couldn't do it, I just have so many other places yet to try ;) Actually I will have a Jiko review up after Tusker House and then a Boma review a little while later.

I am a huge fan of Boma and have also scheduled it for one time during my June trip.

glad you enjoyed your lunch at Chefs - we've always had great success with lunch at this establishment and find it's a nice, tasty break from theme park madness. the quiche is my favorite lunch item on their menu!

I definitely agree. The food was good and it was a pleasant respite from park craziness.

Great reviews! I've never eaten at Chef's but i plan to next trip (Oct).
I'd really like a solo trip but the granddaughters would be heart broken --
and thier parents too!! :yay:

Thanks for reading along. This was my first solo trip so I wasn't sure how it would go. I loved the freedom, but at times it would have been nice to share the experiences with others. It was fun enough that I'm already looking forward to my June trip. Actually, there is the quick April trip in less than a month, but given that is chaperoning an entire class of high school seniors, it will be a much different trip :)

Fairy Godnana
03-27-2010, 11:50 AM
OH MY!!!!! :worship:I have enough trouble keeping up with three girls, can't imagine a whole senior class!!!!
Sorry, I meant to say "AWESOME,you're going to have a great time":rotfl:

anthonut
03-27-2010, 05:08 PM
OH MY!!!!! :worship:I have enough trouble keeping up with three girls, can't imagine a whole senior class!!!!
Sorry, I meant to say "AWESOME,you're going to have a great time":rotfl:

It will definitely be an adventure :scared1:

On the plus side, its another Disney trip with a couple of days that will be much less busy than March or June. I get to see the Grad Night fireworks display. And we are staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge. I've always wanted to stay there, so even if it is just one night, it will be fun :)

anthonut
03-27-2010, 09:23 PM
I was surprisingly spry the next morning, even after Illuminations, some piano sing-along and a night cap. It was only my second full day, but I was concerned that my plan to hit rope drop each of the first four mornings would be dashed by late night partying :)

So after a little rope drop fun, a controlled power walk to Expedition Everest, a ride on a safari and a meetup with some dinosaurs it was already time for lunch. A quick trip through Asia to Africa (I think Disney needs to work on its geography ;) ) and I was here, Tusker House:

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4059/4466544804_9e8edbc5c8_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4466544804/)

I scheduled lunch a little early today (11:40) as my dinner at Jiko was at 5:45pm so I wanted to make sure I was fully clear for a food fest that evening. Because of this you will see that I was also somewhat judicious in loading up my plates. I was sat along a low wall in the large dining area to the right of the food stations. Not a bad seat, but I found the server to be very limited in his interactions. I could have swore that they served some type of juice at Tusker House but I was only asked what I wanted to drink with no options listed. I decided to just go with a Diet Coke, but sort of wished afterward that I had asked if they still served the juice.

After settling into my table I made my to the food stations for round 1:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2794/4466544628_5c3627a4a5_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4466544628/)

I remember from two years ago really enjoying some of the breads offered here. To the upper left was a soft bread with whole corn kernals for which I really wish I had asked the name. Next to it was some more typical corn bread. Both were good, but a little dry. The bread station has a number of spreads/dips and I think I should have tried one. The taste of the breads were nice, just that they got a little stuck to the roof of the mouth.

Next is some couscous salad, I believe they call Tunisian couscous salad. Not bad but again nothing special. Finally on my appetizer plate are some green beans. These are slightly marinated and served cold. They remain nice and crispy and probably could have eaten a few more. However, it was time to try the hot side of the offerings:

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4070/4465768593_aa333a326a_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4465768593/)

Going round the plate we have pork loin with hot and sweet mustard as well as top sirloin roast, both from the carving station. Next is a small sampling of curry chicken along with pearl coucous with basil essence. The pearl couscous is slightly enrobing a piece of caramelized plantain. Finally there are potatoes two ways ;) oven roasted potato wedges and mashed potatoes and gravy.

As with the appetizers, nothing really wowed me. Not that anything was downright terrible, just that there is very little memorable. It's never a great thing when the potato wedges are your favorite thing on a plate with a variety of non-standard fare. I typically like the more interesting food items, but here they just didn't do it for me. Thankfully I had Boma coming up later in the week to make up for it ;)

Looking over my photos it seems that somehow I forgot to take a pic of my small dessert plate. I believe I had a few of the small pastries and cakes. I'm almost certain I had a piece of baklava and at least something involving chocolate. Once again, nothing special and all put to shame by Boma a few nights later :)

As you can tell by my tepid review, this was not one of my favorite places this trip. In fact, it was probably my least memorable meal of the trip. I remember enjoying it much more in 2008 but given that was my first trip to Disney trying sit-down restaurants it may just be that other places have excelled beyond what Tusker offers. I think in the future if I'm looking for a sit down experience at Animal Kingdom, I will go back to Yak and Yeti.

Coming soon - Jiko!!!

jeminni
03-27-2010, 09:49 PM
Enjoying your reviews. As a past band chaperone at disney, all I can say is being solo is much more fun. :lmao:


Looking forward to more reviews. :goodvibes

franandaj
03-27-2010, 10:05 PM
As a past band chaperone at disney, all I can say is being solo is much more fun. :lmao:


I'm the manager of an adult community band and we play at Disneyland every year, I can't image chaperoning kids! :scared1: :scared1: :scared1:

anthonut
03-27-2010, 11:00 PM
Enjoying your reviews. As a past band chaperone at disney, all I can say is being solo is much more fun. :lmao:


Looking forward to more reviews. :goodvibes

Thanks for reading along. While I'm not sure what this upcoming trip will hold, rest assured it will be very different from a solo trip ;)

I'm the manager of an adult community band and we play at Disneyland every year, I can't image chaperoning kids! :scared1: :scared1: :scared1:

It will be an adventure for sure. It will also be exhausting. We are bussing down overnight Friday, check in at the hotel when we get there, and then the kids are free to go to a park of their choice. We meet up for dinner at Epcot at one of the event areas so we can also watch Illuminations, then bus over directly to Magic Kingdom for Grad Night. I'm guessing I will hit bed around 5am :) Then they can go to another park of their choosing the next day before bussing back Sunday night overnight. Still not sure if I will actually sleep at all that weekend :)

Fairy Godnana
03-28-2010, 04:02 PM
I'm enjoying your reviews! Do you have TS dining planned for Grad Night?
You'll need your stregnth, don't cha know!:cool1:

anthonut
03-28-2010, 04:56 PM
I'm enjoying your reviews! Do you have TS dining planned for Grad Night?
You'll need your stregnth, don't cha know!:cool1:

Well we are having the Illuminations buffet style dinner at Epcot pre-Grade Night. Since I have no clue what my duties will entail I will not be making any ADRs for this trip :) I may see if I can do a walk up at Boma for breakfast after Grad Night, but who knows how I will be feeling.

I do hope the Disney geniuses decide to keep Aloha Isle open for Grad Night. I plan to keep my strength up with a constant stream of Dole Whip floats. :yay:

SeaSpray
03-28-2010, 05:44 PM
Excellent reviews and pics! Thanks! :thumbsup2

anthonut
03-28-2010, 09:31 PM
Excellent reviews and pics! Thanks! :thumbsup2

Thanks for following along :woohoo:

anthonut
03-28-2010, 10:18 PM
Ok, time for one of my favorite meals of the trip, Jiko - The Cooking Place. I decided to put the full name there as that is where I sat, the Cooking Place show kitchen. I think this is the perfect place to sit if you are eating solo. You could occupy your time watching delicious appetizers being concocted. Or, if you are lucky as I was, have two other solo diners on either side to enjoy in conversation as well as eating the wonderful food. Here is a picture of one of the chefs at work, crafting my appetizer in fact:

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4072/4465756269_9a9273644c_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4465756269/)

One interesting note was that I wasn't given a tour of the restaurant as I have heard from others. My guess is because I asked to sit at the Cooking Place they decided it wasn't necessary.

I knew that this meal was going to be based around whichever entree I chose. By that I mean that I was going to ask for a wine that paired well as well as choose an appetizer that I felt would work well with the entree. I have read and heard so much about the filet with mac and cheese. However, I also knew that I would be getting the filet at LeCellier later in the week. I wanted more variety in my meals for the week so I ended up deciding on the Short Rib and the rest fell into place from there.

To start I had a glass of Warwick Pinotage. The wine was a full bodied red, but with a nice smoothness. Choosing an appetizer was very difficult, especially as I watched a number constructed in front of me. One choice was the Chef's specialty flatbread. On this day it was a Cranberry and Applewood smoked bacon flatbread. It looked really good with thick slices of bacon. I just felt it was too big for me. It did get a thumbs up from the gentleman sitting next to me. :) I decided to stay with the beef theme of the meal and had the Tibs Watt in Pannekoeke - Braised Beef Rolled in “Crepes” with Peppadew-Olive Tapenade:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2748/4466532178_f660b49437_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4466532178/)

You are given three of these tasty morsels, but they were so tempting one was already down the gullet before I remembered the photo :) These were a perfect start to the meal. Enough to get my appetite ready for the main course, but not overly filling. The beef was dominate, as I think it should be, but was tempered nicely by the tapenade which gave it a slight tartness.

The appetizer was then followed by the main course, Barbecue Beef Short Ribs with Potato, Mushroom Pave:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2722/4465756045_6cbb73071a_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4465756045/)

The online menus show this served with Onion Garlic sauce, but I'm not certain that was the case this evening. The short rib was so tender and flavorful I had to make sure I was remembering to breath :) The barbecue sauce was a nice mix of tart and sweet without being overpowering, and I made sure to sop up any stray vestiges of it with the fall off the bone meat. Peeking out behind the short rib you can see some type of leafy vegetablely product. I'm going to say it was wilted spinach and sauteed and wilted is how I like my leafy vegetables. However, I have to think it was there to make people feel good about themselves after stuffing themselves with beefy potatoey goodness. The pave was a great accompaniment. Very thin layers of potato surrounding a layer of mushroom. Very delicious and enjoyed the click of my fork as it plunged through the layers to take a bite.

While appetizer and entree were excellent I made sure to pace myself as to allow room for dessert. I figured I would try to maximize my tasting abilities and chose the Jiko Trio - Flourless Chocolate Cake, Caramel Ice Cream and Chocolate Mousse:

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4072/4465755853_2e3b3a03bc_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4465755853/)

Jiko has a nice selection of teas, so I paired this with some Organic Roobis South Africa. A nice herbal tea that can be an excellent substitute for coffee. It also helped cut the sweetness of the dessert when needed. This was the perfect end for a wonderful meal. The flourless chocolate cake made a slide into third, trailing some caramel with it ;) Very rich and decadent I would eat a bit of this with some of the caramel ice cream. The ice cream is in the center, winking at you with it's chocolate eyelash. The creaminess of the ice cream was perfect with dense chocolate cake. The mousse was also very nice, but the cake and ice cream are what would make me come back for more of this.

So after a somewhat disappointing lunch, this dinner just blew me away. I am continually looking over my June trip plans to see if I might be able to fit in Jiko to the plans. If it doesn't work out, I will definitely be back here for my October trip.

Coming up next - Mama Melrose!

bgdiznee
03-29-2010, 02:06 PM
Enjoying your reviews. I had to laugh when I read about your Lapu Lapu experience (or lack of). On the evening we were at the Poly for our Kona ressie, my son ordered a Lapu Lapu and the bartender said he had gotten the very last pineapple. I didn't look at your dates but this was Mar 11. Same day?

We also love seating at the Cooking Place at Jiko. IMHO, next to Cali Grill I think Jiko has the next best wine cellar on property.

anthonut
03-29-2010, 08:49 PM
Enjoying your reviews. I had to laugh when I read about your Lapu Lapu experience (or lack of). On the evening we were at the Poly for our Kona ressie, my son ordered a Lapu Lapu and the bartender said he had gotten the very last pineapple. I didn't look at your dates but this was Mar 11. Same day?

We also love seating at the Cooking Place at Jiko. IMHO, next to Cali Grill I think Jiko has the next best wine cellar on property.

Hi bgdiznee, thanks for following along. :)

I was on the search for a Lapu Lapu on March 12th, so your son can be spared my lack of pineapple drinking apparatus wrath ;) These were definitely extremely popular drinks.

I have an ADR at Cali Grill on my June trip and I'm looking forward to a nice glass of wine to go with my meal.

anthonut
04-04-2010, 05:27 PM
Ok, better get back to this report or I will still be working on it in June. And I would actually like to be completed by the time the Grad Nite trip comes around, which is under 3 weeks. Seems almost crazy that I will be back at the World that quickly.

After an amazing dinner at Jiko the day before my DHS day was a little more pedestrian. This was the only rope drop I missed in my first four full days, mostly because the busses were awful that morning (I won't blame it on lagging at waking up :)). So after a quick run on TSM, a few drops on ToT and my first ride of Star Tours in almost 20 years it was time for lunch. I really flip-flopped on this one a few times while planning the trip. I had booked 50's prime time but decided at the last minute to see if I could switch to Mama Melrose. I figured this would be a good trip to try a new place.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2718/4471632823_748cb25716_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4471632823/)

My ADR was for 12 noon which I believe is the first time available for lunch. I was a little early so I waited at the small bar area by the lobby with a few other families until they were ready to start seating.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4035/4471633495_03374b2176_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4471633495/)

They started to rapidly seat us when they were ready and I was placed at a nice two top in the middle of the restaurant. While I perused the menu, I was served some bread and some olive oil and spices/herbs.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4002/4472412630_2b42644aca_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4472412630/)

While I always am up for some butter, I do like having olive oil instead at times for variety. The bread was a simple roll, but warm and flaky. Seeing the oven on the way in made me seriously consider one of the flatbreads, but I stayed with my original plan...pasta.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4017/4472413136_3ac0c7f298_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4472413136/)

This is Penne alla Vodka with Pancetta and Sweet Onion finished with Tomato Basil Sauce, Cream, Vodka, and Pecorino Romano. A very nice, simple pasta meal, perfect for a lighter lunch. When I first received the bowl, I thought to myself, that it was nice to have a smaller portion for lunch. I still had a lot of the day ahead of me and didn't want to be weighed down with a ton of pasta. This bowl was deceiving as it seemed the pasta never ended :)

The pasta was al dente and the sauce was flavorful if not all that complex. I did like the small amount of onion and pancetta added for some variety.

I did not finish the whole thing, but only because I was full, not because I disliked the meal. I know that there are definitely mixed feelings on the board regarding Mama Melrose, but I really enjoyed the meal and would definitely go back.

Imagineer5
04-07-2010, 07:39 AM
Excellent Reviews! And your photos are gorgeous!

May I ask, how'd you shoot the fireworks one you posted (P1)??

It's a life goal of mine to get a GOOD fireworks shot. Not sure why I just can't seem to get it right :confused3

Thanks! And can't wait for more! :goodvibes

rodeo65
04-07-2010, 01:59 PM
I'm completely enjoying your review. I live off the reviews of others while waiting for July to start booking our next trip's ADRs.

englishrose47
04-07-2010, 09:42 PM
Joining in for more great reviews !!

anthonut
04-10-2010, 09:13 PM
Excellent Reviews! And your photos are gorgeous!

May I ask, how'd you shoot the fireworks one you posted (P1)??

It's a life goal of mine to get a GOOD fireworks shot. Not sure why I just can't seem to get it right :confused3

Thanks! And can't wait for more! :goodvibes

Thanks for following along. Hope to get a few more reviews up shortly.

I'm glad you like the photos, it's one of my hobbies. As to how I got the fireworks shot I posted I think its a mixture of a few things. First, I have been taking photos for a number of years so experience definitely helps. Second, at the school I previously worked at I sat in on some photo classes to learn more. It didn't hurt that our photo teacher has some of her work in the permanent collection at MOMA :) so having a great mentor helps. And finally, I am thankful to have access to some great equipment. I have a Canon 7D body and, in the case of the photo posted, was using a 24-70 f2.8 lens so those two combined can take great photos under low light. One hint is that I use full manual exposure and tweaked settings til they were where I wanted them. I also think it helped that during this particular volley of fireworks they were very bright and close to a bright castle so the camera was getting a lot of light.

Hope that helps a little and thanks again for following along :)

anthonut
04-10-2010, 09:18 PM
I'm completely enjoying your review. I live off the reviews of others while waiting for July to start booking our next trip's ADRs.

Thanks for following along. I'm glad you are enjoying the reviews. Hope you get all the ADRs you hope for in July :)

anthonut
04-10-2010, 09:19 PM
Joining in for more great reviews !!

Thanks for following along. Hope to have a few more up shortly. :thumbsup2

Imagineer5
05-04-2010, 08:32 AM
Sorry for the late thank you - but I appreciate your advice for getting those firework's shots!! :goodvibes

Hope more reviews are coming soon!!

Fairy Godnana
05-04-2010, 10:20 PM
HellOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! did the grads make you walk the plank???pirate:
Looking foward to the rest of your reviews!!::surfweb:

Fairy Godnana
05-04-2010, 10:27 PM
I just noticed you're from Nashville, I hope you're not in the flooded area my DIL's family lives there and I know it's hard for you all.WE'RE PRAYING FOR YOU ALL!!

anthonut
05-16-2010, 11:18 PM
I just noticed you're from Nashville, I hope you're not in the flooded area my DIL's family lives there and I know it's hard for you all.WE'RE PRAYING FOR YOU ALL!!


Hi Godnana,

Thanks for the well wishes. First, the grads did great on the trip, but there was definitely nothing relaxing about the trip for me :) I did have lunch at Sanaa and will definitely be looking to return there in the future.

Second, I live in the Bellevue area of Nashville that was particularly hard hit, though thankfully my apartment was fine. Our high school sits at the confluence of the Harpeth and Little Harpeth rivers and all our athletics fields as well as the bottom floor of our Athletic center flooded. They are now in the process of replacing the gym floor. But in the grand scheme of thing, that is a minor loss compared to the homes in the area. We had around 6 faculty members as well as some family members have major flooding. Thankfully we have a strong community and are working to help out where we can.

I hope to get some more reviews up shortly. Obviously things got crazy :)

Thanks again for checking in.

Fairy Godnana
05-18-2010, 10:09 PM
Glad you're back and glad you weren't directly in the flood! I'm looking foward to more reviews from both trips!!

I can't imagine trying to recover from a flood in my home. Several years ago we had a 'small' flood and a friends beauty salon had about three feet of water in it. I was helping her clean the cabinets in the back and a small snake rolled out with the towels that I had in my hand-- needless to say we were through!!! :rotfl:

anthonut
05-20-2010, 10:50 PM
Enough flood craziness, let's get back to some reviews :)

After spending the bulk of the day at DHS I went back to POR to relax a bit and freshen up. I went back to DHS to use up a final Tower of Terror FASTpass I had been hoarding and then took a leisurely walk to the Boardwalk. My colleague who was also at the World and I decided that if he could get free we would try ESPN Club for dinner. I was a bit concerned that you could not make ressies for ESPN given the crowds I was seeing at the parks. We did decide to eat here Monday, though, as it avoided any of the NCAA tournament nights. We only had to wait about 15 minutes before being seated. There are definitely a ton of TVs in the place and I'm sure if there was actually some interesting sports events it would have been great. I don't remember anything of particular interest on that evening, however.

There are no photos of this meal. Felt a little odd whipping out my camera to take pics of food while dining with non-family members :)

We started off sharing the Macho Nachos for Two. I mean what else would be fitting for two dudes at a sports bar. We did get them sans jalapeno's, which was probably a good thing. I think some of the chili on top already had a little kick. Overall, nothing great about the Nachos but still tasty and a good appetizer size for sharing.

It was nice to have the appetizer to gnaw on as it seemed the service was a bit lacking. It took a while to put in our order and our server took a long time to come back and check on how things were. I don't know if they were understaffed that evening but even with the 15 minute wait we saw tables left unbussed for long periods of time before new patrons were seated.

Along with the Nachos I ordered an ESPY (Absolut Mandrin, Peach Schnapps, Orange and Pineapple Juices, and Sprite). I expected it to taste more citrusy than it was. I'd definitely try something else should I find myself back here.

For an entree I had the Triple Play Turkey and Brie Sandwich. I wasn't terribly hungry so this was a good choice. Everything was fresh, and I like both turkey and brie. Sort of tasted a bit like Thanksgiving on a sandwich with the cranberry mayo. I had the cucumber salad instead of fries and that was a nice light alternative. Much like the Nachos, there was nothing particularly outstanding about the sandwich, but also nothing bad. It was good food for the price.

Other than some service issues, it was a nice dinner. It was great to meet up with a friend and share some sports time :) If you don't have reservations for dinner and in the vicinity of ESPN, its not a bad choice, as long as no major sporting event is on at the time. The prices are reasonable and food is decent.

anthonut
05-23-2010, 09:54 PM
After a morning wandering around the Magic Kingdom, including a nice meeting with PUSH, lunch time was rapidly approaching. I had to make a decision of whether to keep my noon ADR at the Wave at the Contemporary or finding something smaller in the park. The major factor I was weighing was that evening's dinner at Victoria and Albert's. My seating at V&A was at 5:45pm and I knew it would be a gastronomic extravaganza. In the end, sparing my belly for dinner won out over trying a new restaurant.

I decided to check out the fare at Cosmic Ray's as I was already in Tomorrowland. Others have seemed to like this CS location, so what the heck.

I ordered the Greek Salad:
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4029/4485594311_1f41993814_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4485594311/)

After slight difficulty locating salad dressing (it's available behind the counter, though the CM taking my order did not know that) I sat down to enjoy my light lunch.

The salad greens were crisp and there was a variety of items such as cucumber, olives, tomato (more like a pico), feta cheese and peppers. Nothing all that exciting, but it was a good meal to hold me over til the greatness coming that evening.

I grabbed lunch not long after Ray's opened so it was not crowded at all. I was able to just relax in the large seating area and listen to Sonny Eclipse play some tunes:

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4004/4486245854_9196da7461_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4486245854/)

Sonny adds a lot of fun to the atmosphere, though I did feel a slight flashback to my childhood spending time at Showbiz Pizza Place :)

homeschool101
05-25-2010, 04:20 PM
Sounds like you're going to have a great time! I'd like to know what you think of Kona, as we've never been there before.

anthonut
06-06-2010, 12:14 AM
Ok, back to the show :) I will work to get V & A done before I leave on Wednesday for my summer trip.

So when I left off I had a light lunch of a salad to leave room for this wonderful meal. I left the park around 2:30 so I could go back to the room and change into my evening attire. I'm guessing this will be one of the only times I pack dress shoes, slacks and a sport coat merely for a meal. Any way I took a cab from POR to the Grand Floridian. I arrived a little early so I explored the grounds a bit and just hung in the lobby. The band was playing, which added to the atmosphere for the evening:

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4038/4485598423_6d2fd22022_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4485598423/)

I finally arrived at the doors to the restaurant and was led by the maitre d' to my table for one. I was on the left side of the restaurant as you walk in directly facing the harp player. This was nice as it added some entertainment and allowed me to chat with the harp player throughout the evening.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4022/4485599771_e5f67a9613_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4485599771/)

I found it interesting that he played without shoes. He would sit down, remove his shoes, play a few songs, put his shoes back on and leave.

As I sat down, the server provided the same small stool provided for women's purses, but this time for my gargantuan camera setup :) no pic of that though. Here is the initial table setting of the display plate.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2588/4485598661_f06ba7e5f3_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4485598661/)

Here is the personalized menu closed:

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4043/4485599041_3df447f035_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4485599041/)

And open:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2737/4485598845_9595a85d64_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4485598845/)

Ok, going to continue this in the next post. Hit the post reply instead of preview button :)

anthonut
06-06-2010, 12:32 AM
Ok, sorry for the posting snafu :)

Anyway, I was hemming and hawing whether to get the wine pairing or not. I finally decided lets just go all out and do it. Nothing better than having wine specifically paired with each course. For the initial course, the Amuse-Bouche, I was served a glass of Tattinger Prestige Cuvee NV.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4057/4486250856_f23874a620_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4486250856/)

Finally I present to you the first photo of food - the Amuse-Bouche:


http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2743/4486251000_62299ba875_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4486251000/)

While no official name is given on the menu, I called this a sampling of Salmon :) In the upper left is salmon with celery root puree (I think, can't fully remember the name). This was slightly warm and very creamy. Wonderful flavor of fish. To the right of this was a salmon custard served in an egg shell. This too was warm and just perfect. Not overly eggy in flavor. It was very light in texture and whipped up with a lot of air. In the bottom left is a salmon panna cotta. What a beautiful presentation. Once again very flavorful and downed in a single bite. Finally on the lower right is a small blini with creme freche, a slice of caper and a bit of caviar. This was amazing. I really don't think I can describe how much flavor was in this small bite. Make me 5 of these and I could have called it a meal right then and there. What an awesome start to this meal.

To be continued...

anthonut
06-07-2010, 11:02 PM
After the Amuse-Bouche came the first of the three bread servings:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2699/4486251142_b00aa0b2e1_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4486251142/)

This was a french roll with a perfectly flaky crust and nice body on the inside. I don't remember anything particularly special about the butter served with this other than I loved it :)

Next up was the first appetizer. I chose the Maine Lobster with Watermelon Radish, Kohlrabi and Vanilla Aioli:

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4041/4486251252_2b40cda70b_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4486251252/)

Wow, wow, wow. After the burst of flavors in the Amuse I should have known that it was only the start, but this was incredible. I actually picked up the plate and admired the dish from various angles :) The nice chunk of lobster was great, but I didn't realize that inside the expertly crafted radish container would be a cold lobster salad which is where the Vanilla Aioli came into play. The Kohlrabi was crisp and a little spicy (in the way that a radish can be "spicy"). This married well with the watermelon radish as it was slightly sweeter than a typical radish. It gets its name from its look and not its taste.

This was served with Baileyana Chardonnay "Firepeak Vineyard," Edna Valley 2006:

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4021/4486251386_403cb39332_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4486251386/)

Next up was second appetizer. For this I chose the Diver Scallops with Flordia Corn and Chorizo Sauce:

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4052/4486251680_c6b9b38a84_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonut/4486251680/)

Once again simply amazing. This scallop was popcorn crusted, which was actually popcorn finely ground to provide a crust on the top and bottom of the scallop. It was seated on a small corn cake with a few kernels of corn and finished with both corn and chorizo sauce. I don't think I've ever eaten a better scallop. I sliced it thinly (it cut like butter) to savor as many bites as possible. I think next to the entree this was my favorite course, which is saying something as they were all delicious. This was served with Michel Redde Sancerre "Les Tuilieres", Loire 2007.

Ok, more coming soon. I leave on Wednesday morning for a 5 day trip to the world. Having a very difficult time not booking another ressie at V & A looking over this food. :)