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Old 10-20-2012, 09:54 PM   #976
vdub322
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Thank you for all this wonderful information!!! DH and I have gone 90% veg in the last year, since our last trip. We are so excited about trying some of these great options on our next trip!
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Old 10-23-2012, 10:21 PM   #977
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The Wave at the Contemporary

Arrived today for an almost two-week trip, and I brought the netbook so I can update while I am here.

Tonight, we tried The Wave at the Contemporary. Server was very knowledgeable about vegan options--she said the vegetable curry was vegan as is, and they could do the edamame stew or make me a custom tofu dish with vegetables and rice.

I opted for the curry and had them add tofu, and started with the Autumn salad (hold the bleu cheese).



The salad was very tasty, but the portion was tiny. The curry had a huge portion, and was very flavorful. However, I could tell they made it fresh, and I think it actually would have benefited from being slow-cooked. It tasted good, but lacked any sort of "wow" factor. I did like that everything came out with a little "allergy" stick in it, which means they took care in preparing it vegan.

All in all, on my 1 to 10 scale (1 being steamed vegetables, 10 being Chef TJ), I give my meal at The Wave a solid 6. It was good, but not the best thing I've ever had.

However, I really appreciated that their menu options were vegan without any hassle or even the need to talk to the chef.

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Old 10-24-2012, 08:35 PM   #978
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Can anyone advise me on vegan and gluten free dining at Ohana? We have never been, and I'd love to try it for dinner, but our reservation would be later at night and I don't want to keep us out late if it is going to be disappointing.
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Old 10-24-2012, 11:38 PM   #979
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Tusker House at Animal Kingdom

Today we ate lunch at Tusker House at Animal Kingdom. This felt like the find of the trip last year, because I hadn't heard it really discussed much and was pleasantly surprised to find many vegan options. While Boma disappointed last year, but rocked in 2010, Tusker House picked up a lot of the slack in the vegan buffet department.

This year I am happy to report that the food was still very good, with a dozen or so vegan options (including all-you-can-eat samosa and a great tofu dish). The chef was very nice and assured me that the samosas *are* vegan, but did mention that the tofu and most other fried things were fried in communal fryers.

They didn't mention that last year, but even though I've been a vegan for a decade, I can accept that (the same way I accept that some things i've been served were probably cooked on a grill that had meat on it at some point, etc).

However, my big gripe with Tusker House is that now that it's a character meal, the place was packed. Even with a dining reservation, we had to wait 20 minutes, and there were ten times the kids that were there last year to see Donald, Mickey, Goofy, etc. They also do that annoying thing where they try to get you to take a photo with Donald when you enter to sell to you later, but that was easier to skip here than it is at say 1900 Park Fare.

So on a vegan scale of 1 to 10, I still give Tusker House a solid 8 and recommend it if you want to gorge yourself on vegan food with no fuss, except for asking the chef to give you a quick walk around the spread and tell you what is safe.
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Old 10-24-2012, 11:44 PM   #980
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Terra Booth at EPCOT's Food & Wine Festival

After seeing The Pointer Sisters at Eat to the Beat, we had a quick snack tonight at the Terra Booth at EPCOT's Food & Wine Festival.

We got the Chili Colorado with House made Chips & Cashew Cheese, which has Gardein beefless tips in it. It is a relatively small "taster" portion, but you can use a snack credit for it.

The chili tasted good, but it wasn't very chili-like (in the traditional sense). The cashew cheese was a sauce drizzled over it, and the chips were kettle-style potato chips (for some reason I'd assumed they would be corn chips).

It was tasty and I'm glad Epcot is doing this. There wasn't much of a line though, which makes me wonder how it's doing. They also really weren't promoting the vegan aspect on the booth signage, which probably is a net positive in attracting omnivore customers, although it's a shame that a lot of vegans probably don't know it exists.

I'm going to go back and try the curry and the cake, but I give the chili a 7. I definitely could see eating a few portions of this as a satisfying meal.
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Old 10-24-2012, 11:50 PM   #981
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Via Napoli at Epcot

For a late dinner tonight, we ate at Via Napoli at Epcot.

Some people scoff at the price for pizza here, but I *love* the super authentic old country-style of their crust. In fact, it's rare that I'm excited to eat a pizza that doesn't have soy cheese or Daiya, but I was really looking forward to eating here again after a great meal during last year's trip.

We got the house-style salad to start, which had a nice mix of olives, mushrooms, and red peppers. Then I got the Funghi pizza, which had two kinds of mushrooms, but hold the cheese.

If Via Napoli had Daiya or Follow Your Heart as a vegan option, I'd easily give it a 9 or a 10, but as it stands, if you love pizza and want a different experience than your local pizzeria, Via Napoli is a Disney dining "must-do." I give it a 7!
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Old 10-25-2012, 02:20 PM   #982
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Thank you for the recent vegan dining reviews! Keep them coming! We will be visiting MK and Epcot this winter, and I always stress about where to eat. We had a great meal at Teppan Edo (? The place where they cook your food on the grill at your table?) last year but I have no idea where else to go or what to eat at MK.

Any experience with Kona or breakfast at Ohana? I can't get a good dinner time reservation at Ohana, so maybe breakfast or just going to Kona is better? Would love to hear about any dining at the Poly! Thanks!
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Old 10-25-2012, 02:38 PM   #983
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Nancy Drew --- my son is a big Stitch fan so we have eaten at Ohana for breakfast a few times. I have had Chef Stephen, Chef Julie, and Chef Alejandro for breakfast and all 3 made me the same delicious thing every time I went. Vegan Mickey waffles with a tofu stir fry (tofu with potatoes and veggies) and fruit. It is one of my favorite meals anytime we go! And the atmosphere is so relaxed compared to other character meals I love that it is all you can eat and they bring the food to you. At Kona I have had no problems for breakfast or dinner as well. :-)
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Old 10-25-2012, 05:45 PM   #984
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Thank you! I love hearing about good experiences! If you had to choose between breakfast at Ohana or dinner at Kona, which would you choose? Character meals are nice, but we might not really have time for it since we are only going for a weekend.
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Old 10-25-2012, 06:03 PM   #985
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Personally for food alone I would pick Ohana all the way as a vegan. Kona was good but all I was offered was vegan waffles with fruit. I like having a variety of food to try.
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Old 10-25-2012, 08:45 PM   #986
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Have you done dinner at both? Sorry for all of the questions!!!! Can you tell I obsess a little?
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:58 PM   #987
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Sunshine Seasons at EPCOT

Today we ate lunch at Sunshine Seasons at EPCOT. We got the vegan stir fry, which had Gardein breaded chick'n with an orange sauce and noodles.



I think Sunshine Seasons is one of the best places to use a Quick Service credit for a great vegan meal as is, and the Gardein chik'n is a nice upgrade from the previous tofu and broth selection.

My only gripe is that they have an amazing dessert selection but there's nothing vegan. I was able to get an espresso with my dessert credit, but it took a bit of convincing the cashier to do it.

I'd say it's a 7, which is pretty good for a Quick Service meal--and if you feel like I'm giving a lot of high ratings thus far, it's probably because we're starting with places we've dined at before and already knew they were good.
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Old 10-25-2012, 11:26 PM   #988
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1900 Park Fare with Chef TJ at the Grand Floridian

We were originally going to eat at 1900 Park Fare with Chef TJ at the Grand Floridian next Tuesday. However, I stopped by today to make sure Chef TJ would be working then, and I found out he was leaving on vacation *this Sunday.* I frantically made a dining reservation for this evening, because we were sad at the thought of not experiencing his cooking this trip. We showed up early and were seated right away--we even successfully skipped getting a photo in front of the painted castle at the beginning!

Chef TJ had a few other allergy tables to deal with, but he came out smiling and we mentioned how much we loved our meal last year and how we rushed to get in tonight once we learned he was leaving on vacation soon.

He walked us through the buffet and told us to get something to hold us over if need be, but he'd take care of us. As I'm sure many of you know, he is such a nice guy and very funny!

One thing to note: the 1900 Park Fare buffet has improved for vegans as it is. There is now a build your own pasta station, a few salads, vegetables, vegan bread, and a few other options. If you ever eat here and Chef TJ has the night off, chances are you will do alright--in fact, we may come back later in our trip to sample some of it. Hopefully TJ will keep doing his custom meals though, because I rarely have seen other chefs on Disney property take such pride and joy in trying to impress you.



The first dish was a selection of house made chips with a fresh guacamole containing sweet onions and lightly drizzled with sriracha. We ate this very quickly.



Up next was grilled romaine with a delicious balsamic glaze, some red pepper sauce, purple potatoes, and caramel corn--yes popcorn--sprinkled on top of it. This was incredible--he did something similar for us last year, and I asked my wife, "why haven't we been grilling romaine this entire past year?"

A woman at the table across from us came up and asked us where we got that, and we had to explain that it was made custom for us because we are vegan. She looked quite jealous.

The sauce on the romaine was so good that I went and got bread to mop up what was left on the plate. Chef TJ came back as I was finishing up that way and seemed both impressed and amused that I liked it so much.



After that was a plate full of spring rolls. They were smaller than the kind he made us last year, but there were more of them. Very good!



This was followed by a palette-cleanser of sorbet with cranberries and vegan cheddar.



The main course was a mix of deep fried tofu and vegetables with tempura asparagus and crispy rice noodles on top. I purposefully took the above photo with the drinks in the picture for scale, because the platter was HUGE and spanned the entire length of our table. We were getting full, but powering through eating this wasn't much of a challenge. It was so incredibly good!

When this was brought out, that same woman looked even more envious and the Fairy Godmother character came by our table and almost broke character admiring the dish. I gave her a save and said that Chef TJ is working with magic in the kitchen. She agreed and even called her handler over to admire the dish!



Finally, TJ brought us out two dessert towers. One chocolate and one with sorbet, both stacked with fresh fruit and a pineapple base. The chocolate one even had halved Tofutti Cuties in the tower.

We chatted with TJ for a few minutes and thanked him profusely for the amazing meal. We also wished him a great vacation--he's going on a Disney Cruise. We said that we'd see him next year and shook his hand. I even asked if I could get a photo with him an he happily obliged. He is so incredibly nice!

Anyhow, do I even need to give this a rating? TJ sets the standard. He is a perfect 10 in my book and both last year's meal and this one rank among the best I've *ever* had anywhere (and I've had a lot of meals). It's also amazing to me that we got this meal covered under 1 table service credit each on the dining plan. Where we'e from, an upscale multi-course meal like this would easily cost $100 per person, so yeah, this was an incredible value as part of the dining plan (even more so since we got free dining this trip).

If you're at Disney and are a vegetarian or vegan, need something gluten-free, or just want an amazing meal, dining with Chef TJ should be your top dining must-do!

PS. I feel like we should start a Facebook fan page for Chef TJ or something to show our appreciation. Also, a centralized way to know if he moves restaurants again or when he's away would probably be a great additional resource to have.

Last edited by DaymanX; 10-25-2012 at 11:33 PM.
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:31 PM   #989
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Le Cellier inside EPCOT's Canada Pavillion

Today we started with lunch at Le Cellier inside EPCOT's Canada Pavillion.

I've read for years how hard it was to get a reservation at Le Cellier, and checking just over 24 hours out I was able to find two times available for lunch (when it's only 1 Table Service credit, at least until 2013).

I loved the interior of the restaurant, and my wife enjoyed her non-vegan dish (salmon). However, I was disappointed that the potato gnocchi on the menu couldn't be made vegan and the quinoa cakes from the dinner weren't even offered as an option.

Instead my server talked with the chef who offered to make a vegan Apple Risotto for me.



It tasted good, though a bit sweet, but the portion size was generous. However, to me risotto is a side dish and not a full meal.

While waiting, I was also sad when told that none of the three breads brought to our table were vegan.

Dessert was a nice surprise though. The apple-pumpkin sorbet and pumpkin peanut brittle were vegan. The sorbet was a bit grainy, but tasty.



I'm sad to say that for a vegan, Le Cellier rates a 4. You could get by if you were accompanying someone else who wanted to a fancy meal, but you wouldn't get the wow factor associated with the restaurant's reputation. It wasn't bad by any means, and it certainly was accommodating, but I defintiely expected more.

Last edited by DaymanX; 10-26-2012 at 11:57 PM.
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:35 PM   #990
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Pizza Planet at Disney's Hollywood Studios

We tried to go to Pizza Planet at Disney's Hollywood Studios for a bite this afternoon, but we talked to the manager who told us they no longer have a dairy-free pizza option.

I think she *may* have been wrong, but she said that the Amy's crust had dairy in it and they had some other crust with egg in it. Strangely, she did say that they had soy cheese though that they could add to one of these crusts.

If anyone else has luck or knows what to order there that is vegan, please let me know, but this was a weird and confusing five minute conversation that left me frustrated.

Note: The manager did offer to make me a salad to make me a meatball sub, hold the cheese. Then, when I explained to her what being a vegan meant, she did offer to make me a salad.

Last edited by DaymanX; 10-26-2012 at 11:25 PM.
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