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Old 01-02-2010, 11:16 PM   #16
Dis_Yoda
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Mmm I haven't been to Bern's in years but you make me want to go so soon!
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Old 01-11-2010, 11:25 PM   #17
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Bern's Part 3 - The Kitchen and Wine Cellar Tour

After our delicious dinner, we opted to take the kitchen and wine cellar tour. The servers always offer the dining party the option of doing this once your meal is over.

I was thinking the 'tour' would involve us standing behind a partition while we witnessed the action with a dialogue from an employee.

Boy, did I have the wrong idea! You actually get in and really tour the kitchen. You are right up there rubbing elbows with the workers. Our server dropped us off at the entrance and another employee came to guide us through. The kicthen at Bern's is HUGE. I would guess 3500 sq ft. There are so many different stations with sooo many chefs and workers running around. The grill alone is 30 feet long!

One area we got a really close up look at was the meat carving station. The steaks are cut to order. In order to get to the best part of the meat, there is a lot of waste. I don't recall exactly what our guide said....but it was something like only 30% of the meat that comes through the kitchen actually makes it to the table.

There was a cheese aging room we passed by. (Oh, the trouble I would be in if they let me in there! )

They grow their own sprouts for the salads right in the kitchen, near the salad station.

The onion ring station was insane - I have never seen so many onions in one small place! They said they go through something like 400 lbs of onions in a single night.

The wine cellar is right off the kitchen. You first enter this galley where the open bottles that are available by the glass are stored. There are workers whose job is basically to pour glasses of wine all night, and maybe retrieve a new bottle when one runs out.

Once you walk through the small galley, you go down a ramp and enter the actual cellar. It is huge - ceilings were probably 20 feet hight and the wine racks go all the way up! It's very dimly lit and kept at a constant temperature all the time (65 I think it was?). The wine cellar workers have to wear jackets, and the contrast in the amount of light between the cellar and kitchen is very wide - these guys must go blind by retirement! There are all these bin numbers, and row numbers, and bottle numbers....it's crazy! As I mentioned, the wine list has over 6,800 selections. So I would assume most of those are kept stocked with multiple bottles.....which makes for many thousands and thousands of bottles!

Then there is the "rare and old" room - these rows are caged off and padlocked and only a few of the workers can access these selections (Anyone for a '82 Mouton-Rothschild? ). The bottles are all encased in plastic bags in order to catch any falling labels. The most expensive bottle was some sort of Bordeaux, for $10,000. Yes, those four zeroes are the correct amount.

And dont forget, Bern's offer a substantial collection of liquors and cordials. There was a bottle of scotch I could have easily picked up and walked away with (and have promptly been tackled down) that was from 1889!

The tour was a nice break from eating between dinner and dessert. I think we all really needed it, and it was very neat to see where our food was being made.

Coming up next: The Dessert Room!

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Old 01-15-2010, 02:12 AM   #18
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Bern's Part 4 - The Dessert Room

Bern's is a two story building, and the downstairs is for dinner, and the upstairs is where you go for dessert. It's called the Harry Waugh Dessert Room - but it would more aptly be called the Dessert Maze! All the tables are inside these little semi-private rooms of their own, with the walls made out of old wine barrels! It's very dimly lit, and the place smells of coffee and cognac.

We were shown through the maze to our table. I don't think I would have been able to find my way back out on my own!

We had a new server for the dessert room. She gave us menus and we all started to peruse them. Some of us knew what we wanted in terms of drinks. I had been planning to do Champagne with Caitlin and maybe order a bottle, but I have a very low alcohol tolerance and it was 10:30 by that time, and I was tired. So I decided to skip the booze.

Mark had 2 glasses of Chianti as his dessert. He prefers to drink his calories.

The other 5 of us ordered a special drink - a Cappuccino Bern.
As described on their menu: 'This long-time specialty features a marriage of our very-finely-ground, freshly-roasted coffee marinated in Kahlúa and flavored liqueurs for an average of ten weeks. Your cappuccino is topped with a float of vanilla cream and finely-ground coffee.'

Caitlin said the alcohol content was very low, so I decided I could handle one of them. The Cappuccino Bern was very very tasty and a wonderful dessert beverage. If you're wanting a regular Cappuccino, it's not the thing to order though - the flavor is very different and there's not as much milk or foam.

The 5 of us who order dessert all had something different, but I'll just focus on mine.

The Grand Marnier Souffle.

This was a petite souffle, served with a scoop of Bern's house-made milk chocolate ice cream, and vanilla Grand Marnier creme anglaise. It was seriously one of the top 3 desserts I've ever had in my entire life. The souffle with the creme anglaise was just perfect. The ice cream was good, but I didn't think it matched well with the souffle. I ate it, of course, since it was yummy, but I would have been very happy with just the souffle and creme anglaise.

The souffle has this wonderful, bright, cheery orange flavor. It was light, airy and had just the right amount of sweetness to it. The creme anglaise was perfect as well - slightly creamy, smooth, with specks of vanilla bean and fantastic vanilla-orange flavor.

Caitlin tasted my souffle and thought it was much better than her Strawberry Shortcake. We both agreed it was the hit of the evening - even better than the steaks, and that is not an easy feat to accomplish!

We finally left Bern's around midnight. It was quite the affair, and we all enjoyed it immensely. Caitlin wants to know when we can go back! It wasn't cheap, that's for sure. After tips, I spent about $100 on my meal. But it was decidedly worth it!

If you're in the Tampa area, and want to eat like royalty on a very special night, I would highly recommend an evening at Bern's.

Coming up next - On to Disney, and reviews with pictures!!!!
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:45 PM   #19
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I saw Bern's featured on the Food Network (actually, it might have been the Travel Channel....) It looks devine!
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Old 01-15-2010, 02:41 PM   #20
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mmmmm, I'm in!
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Old 01-16-2010, 03:33 AM   #21
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I saw Bern's featured on the Food Network (actually, it might have been the Travel Channel....) It looks devine!
It was! Do you recall the name of the program? I'd like to see if it's on You Tube or something.

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Old 01-16-2010, 07:28 AM   #22
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looking forward to reading more
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Old 01-18-2010, 03:13 AM   #23
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On to Disney! Boozin' it up at La Cava del Tequila

After our night at Bern's, we got up the next morning and drove 90 minutes to Disney. We checked in at AS Sports and got to Epcot around 1pm, just in time for a light lunch!

I had really been wanting to try La Cava del Tequila (or "The Ditch"), and they had a few appetizers, so we decided to see if we could get a seat and eat and drink there.

We made a beeline for the Mexico Pavilion, and to my surprise, when we got there, The Ditch was only half full! We were able to snag a two top table. There was a small menu on the table with all the drink selections and appetizers.

I don't remember our server's name, but he was just ok. Not bad, but didn't do anything special.

I knew I wanted one of their specialty margaritas, so I ordered a Pepino - El Mayor Blanco Tequila, Triple Sec liquor, caramelized pineapple juice, cucumber and agave nectar syrup, served on the rocks with a cactus-lemongrass salt rim.


This was hands down one of the best margaritas I've ever had. It was light, refreshing, slightly sweet but not too sugary, and had the perfect amount of tequila for my tastes. I could detect the tequila enough to know it was in there, no doubt about that, but not so much that it was overwhelming to me. It had some mint leaves and little pieces of cucumber in it. I especially loved the cactus-lemongrass salt on the rim. That stuff was very tasty! A wonderful drink for a hot day. It was December yes, but it was about 80 degrees out that day, so a cool refreshing beverage was very welcomed!

Mark went for a more direct approach and ordered a shot of Patron Anejo, along with a Dos Equis Amber Cerveza beer.


I didn't try either one of these things since I don't like beer and don't do shots. Mark certainly liked them though. He ordered a 2nd shot a little later. The shots are served with a lime wedge in a bed of coarse salt, and a shot of...I don't know what the red stuff is. I tasted that and it was kind of like a very mild liquid salsa. My Grandma said that's how they're served in Mexico, and that the red stuff is chaser, so I guess The Ditch is being authentic!

We also got an order of Tostadas de Tinga - Roasted tomato and chipotle pulled chicken tostadas, with avocado, black refried beans, Valentina sauce, topped with queso fresco and sour cream


These were excellent, and I could have eaten many more, but not with the hefty price tag of 9 bucks! I expect the liquor to be outrageous, but I thought 9 bucks for those 3 little tostadas was steep, even by Disney standards. Nonetheless, these were tasty and delicious! Kind of a glorified nacho, but so much more interesting. There was a hint of spice, but I certainly wouldn't call them spicy. Just wonderful!

After our Tostadas, we order the Guacamole with fried flour chicharron.


The chicharron were kind of like Funyuns without the onion flavor. Not much to them, they were more of vehicle for the guacamole so you're not just eating it with a spoon. I wish I had asked for tortilla chips instead, but wanted to try the chicharron. The Guacamole was some of the best I've ever had. It was very freshly made, and it tasted like it. There were chunks of avocade, onion, tomato, and jalepenos in it. It was quite a spicy quac, but I loved it! Filling, tasty, and perfect accompaniment for my Pepino margarita.

On my 1-10 Disney scale, I'd rate The Ditch an enthusiastic 8.5! A great respite from the World Showcase, and somewhere I hope to return to soon!

Coming up next: Restaurant Marrakesh
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Old 01-18-2010, 02:49 PM   #24
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Count me in! Can't wait to get back to The Ditch next month!
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Old 01-18-2010, 03:27 PM   #25
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Count me in! Can't wait to get back to The Ditch next month!
I know! I'm excited to not be on the dining plan next trip so hopefully I get to try some more wonderful goodies at the Ditch other than just the drinks.
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Old 01-19-2010, 04:52 AM   #26
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looking forward to reading more
Thanks for joining in. There certainly will be much, much more!

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Count me in! Can't wait to get back to The Ditch next month!
Welcome to my DR!
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Old 01-19-2010, 08:19 AM   #27
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Great review of the Ditch ... it brings back such good memories.
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Old 01-19-2010, 11:02 AM   #28
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I don't remember the name of the program

It was something about America's best Steakhouses. And I'm pretty sure it was on the Travel Channel.
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Old 01-19-2010, 01:05 PM   #29
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Can't wait to read more!
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Old 01-19-2010, 01:41 PM   #30
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i'm jumping in!
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