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Old 08-12-2006, 12:49 PM   #1
spaceacewannabe
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FINALLY updated 8/20 - 8 nights of vegetarian dining on the DDP - with pictures!!

Restaurants: Crystal Palace (2 dinners, 1 breakfast), Le Cellier, Spoodles, Les Chefs de France, Boma dinner, Coral Reef, Columbia Harbor House, Tusker House, Sunshine Seasons

Diners: Mom, Sister (22), and Me (25), all vegetarians---Mom has been for almost 40 years, I've been for 11 years, and my sister has been for about 9 years. We are lacto-ovo vegetarians, by the way, so milk and eggs are okay (although personally I HATE an eggy flavor), but no meat, fish, gelatin, stocks, etc.

We arrived in Orlando by plane at around 11 a.m., stopped at Publix (Tiffany Towncar) to pick up water and some food for the room (which we probably didn't need, but we were there for Hurricane Charley, when food lines were LONG and we were nervous, so we always have supplies!). We got to AKL around 12:30 and were able to get into our room immediately! It was great. We'd thought we might pick up fastpasses at Epcot before going to MK for our Crystal Palace reservation, but that was figuring we'd have time since we wouldn't be able to get into our room. Since we had a chance to settle in, we took it.

We then went straight to MK (around 1:30 or a little later), arriving around 2 p.m. We rode a few things, then went to Crystal Palace just before the parade. We checked in for our 3:30 ADR at around 3 p.m. and were seated immediately. We sat on the right side of the restaurant, at a window with a view of the castle, gardens, and the parade (which, frankly, we're not that interested in, but from this location it was nice to see!). We were pretty hungry, since we'd been up since 3 a.m. and traveled all day. This was one of our favorites last year, and we felt that a buffet made sense for our first day, since we may not feel like waiting to be served.

This was a great choice, once again! Here's some of what we ate:




Clockwise from top center: Corn Fired Spoon Bread, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli with Puri Puri Glaze, Balsamic Roasted Vegetables, Mac & Cheese, Jasmine Rice with Fruit and Vegetable Curry


Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli with Puri Puri, Corn Fired Spoon Bread, Vegetable Pasta, Balsamic Roasted Veg.


Vegetable Pasta, Jasmine Rice with Fruit & Vegetable Curry, Corn Fired Spoon Bread, Garlic Mashed Potatoes


Jasmine Rice with Fruit & Vegetable Curry, Corn Fired Spoon Bread, Garlic Mashed Potatoes


Coconut Flan

Everything was delicious! The Corn Fired Spoon Bread was fresh out when we got there, and it was fantastic! I also think they may have changed it since last year---for the better (or maybe it's because we weren't comparing it to H&V's corn spoon bread this year?). The Fruit & Vegetable Curry was great and a nice vegetarian entree, and the jasmine rice is yummy on its own. We've been talking about the garlic mashed potatoes since last year, and they were wonderful. Broccoli was yummy. I thought the vegetable pasta and balsamic roasted vegetables were only okay. My mom concurs, adding that the vegetables were a little overcooked. She thought the pasta was delicious but on the spicy side, though. I didn't think it was especially flavorful, just spicy (and I like spicy).

The coconut flan was TERRIFIC---unfortunately, I'd eaten so much of the potatoes and corn fired spoon bread that I didn't get to sample the rest of the desserts today. We all agree that the flan is not to be missed (and if you don't like coconut---I don't think you can really taste it). Our server was Jack, and he was great and a lot of fun. We left him an extra tip.

Despite being a buffet, this was a worthwhile use of the dining plan! It was a great way to start our trip, too.

Last edited by spaceacewannabe; 08-20-2006 at 02:59 PM. Reason: Update thread title
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Old 08-12-2006, 12:56 PM   #2
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YUMMM!!!!! That coconut flan looks sooo yummy!!!! I am interested in hearing about your other restaurants!!!!
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Old 08-12-2006, 01:02 PM   #3
spaceacewannabe
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Day 2

We started our day at the MK early open. Before we park hopped to Epcot, we stopped at Columbia Harbor House. We've always meant to eat here, and we always forget! We got there just as it was opening at 11 a.m.

We didn't want to spoil our appetites for our dinner at Le Cellier, so we shared 2 meals (2 counterservice, for those on DDP): One Lighthouse Sandwich, and one half sandwich/cup of soup (with another Lighthouse Sandwich and Vegetarian Chili). We asked if we could substitute French Fries for the chips and it was no problem. We shared the chili & fries, and each had half a sandwich. We asked for a cup of water for my sister, but the water was running yellow, so they gave her a bottle at no charge (so nice of them!).





These were delicious! We couldn't believe we hadn't had these before. I'm a huge fan of hummus, and this was just so yummy. It was kind of sweet and savory at the same time...really a nice vegetarian sandwich. The chili was tasty, with lots of beans, which I liked. I was glad to try it, and it was delicious, but I think I'd just get the sandwich in the future (unless I went in the winter, in which case I'd have to think about it).

For dessert, the option was chocolate cake, which I didn't photograph until I'd had a bite:


It was pretty good, and I'm not a chocolate cake fan. Would I order it off the dining plan? Probably not, but it was a nice little extra.
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Old 08-12-2006, 01:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinkerrn
YUMMM!!!!! That coconut flan looks sooo yummy!!!! I am interested in hearing about your other restaurants!!!!
It was! I had 2 pieces when we went back on Wednesday! I can only say that without shame because it was SO GOOD. It's worth a trip to CP for us for the flan alone.
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Old 08-12-2006, 01:18 PM   #5
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Great reviwes...we are thinking of going to Columbia House....now we definatly are!!!
Keep bringing on the reviews...they are great.
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Old 08-12-2006, 01:23 PM   #6
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I'm getting hungry just looking at this!
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Old 08-12-2006, 01:36 PM   #7
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Talking

I need more of this thread!
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Old 08-12-2006, 01:43 PM   #8
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Excellent reviews! We seem to be getting a lot of vegetarian reviews these days...yippee!!

We ate at Crystal Palace for lunch on our last trip and thought that it was very good. We're returning on our next trip to try it out for dinner. I'm also a big fan of the Lighthouse sandwich. All of the components of the sandwich really go well together. I agree that the chili is good, but I have taken to just sticking with the sandwich too!

Can't wait for the next installment.
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Old 08-12-2006, 02:26 PM   #9
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Day 2, Dinner at Le Cellier

So we made our way over to Epcot, riding Soarin' and Living with the Land, checking out a few other things, and headed over to Canada for dinner. We were a might bit early, so we checked at Le Cellier to ask if it would be better for them if we checked in right then or waited a bit. They weren't ready (although the host was very nice! I know some have had issues here), so we said we'd come back in 10 minutes or so. We browsed Canada to get into the proper mindset and returned to Le Cellier around 5:20 for our 5:30 ADR. We were again seated immediately!

Unfortunately I can't remember the name of the check-in host or the host that showed us to our table, but both were very, very friendly.

Our server, Erynn, came to take our drink orders and tell us about the restaurant. We had smoothies and water:



Mango Smoothie with a Splash of Cranberry, Berry Daquiri, Raspberry-Chocolate Shake



Raspberry-Chocolate Shake and Breadsticks

All the smoothies were good here. I had the Berry Daquiri, which my mom and I both considered our favorite. My sister isn't sure which she liked the best. Also of note, the water here does NOT taste like normal Orlando water...it's actually good!

Our favorite of the breadsticks (which are vegetarian, unless you take issue with yeast, per the chef) was the multi-grain. The pretzel bread was fine, but really just a big soft pretzel. We didn't much like the sourdough breadstick, but we're not sourdough fans.

Our options for the appetizers weren't all that plentiful. The cheese plate required 2 people to order it together (kind of annoying), and the other veg. options were the salad and the tomato stack. My mom & sister ordered the tomato stacks, so I decided to be different and try the salad.


Field Greens with Pecan Shallot Vinagrette, Blue Cheese, and Fried Sweet Potatoes



Tomato Stack with shiitake mushrooms, wilted spinach, and balsamic

We shared all three appetizers. My mom and sister each gave me one of their three slices of tomato and we all munched at the salad (although I didn't get as much help from Mom & Sister on this as I'd have liked).

The salad was good. The pecans and fried sweet potatoes gave it a nice crunch. I'm not usually a blue cheese fan, but this was pretty mild and I actually really enjoyed it. The vinagrette was nice and not too heavy.

The tomato stack was FANTASTIC! I think I'd order this next time. For those who don't like ground black pepper, be aware, there is a lot on this. If you've watched Top Chef and recall the "pepper monkey" comment, well, that's me, so I thought this was great. I also loved the spinach and the mushrooms (and I'm not a big mushroom fan). I thought this was a great appetizer. I don't know if we'd all order it next time, because it would be so acidic eating it all yourself, and it is pretty big. But it may be worth the canker sores.

I was a little disappointed that we weren't offered any options beyond what was on the menu for an entree, as when my cousin had been here the chef said he could come up with something else if she liked...however, I think they just do the one option because they do it so well. It was Grilled Tofu and Vegetables - Millet salad and finished with roasted vegetable nage.









This tasted a LOT better than it looks. The larger white piece is grilled tofu, which had a really nice, well, grilled flavor. I don't like things that try to taste like meat, but this captured that off-the-grill flavor without seeming too much like meat. Did that make any sense? It was really good, anyway.

The thinner beige-ish piece is a grilled pita, and that was really yummy.

The grain was millet. The texture was a little like bulgur, if that's more familiar. Vegetables included the two spears of asparagus (my sister and I ended up with three, as my mom will not eat asparagus), some grilled onions (DELICIOUS)...I think the nage had roasted pepper and tomato, but I can't really remember. It was good, though. The sauce was another balsamic, and very good. The whole thing worked together very, very well. It's quite hard to describe, but if you like vegetables and are willing to try tofu (we love tofu), I think you'll like this dish. We were very impressed and thought it was one of the best thought out, most balanced vegetarian dishes we'd seen.

Of course, since it's almost fall, they'll probably change it to a winter dish soon But I'm sure it will be good as well.

For desserts, Mom & Sister had Strawberries and Balsamic Ice Cream and I had Maple Creme Brulee:







The second strawberries and balsamic toppled over as she was bringing it out...she offered to get a new one and we said it was fine, it would've looked that way in a few seconds anyway! I thought it was a nice offer, though.

Anyway, I got to sample the strawberries and they were delicious. It was not a very large portion, if you're wondering. My mom and my sister loved them, and my sister worked hard to get all of the melted ice cream and strawberry juice off of her plate. Erynn, the waitress, told her she could lick the plate and it wouldn't be the first time someone had (my sister didn't take her up on the offer, but I think she probably wanted to).

I really enjoyed my creme brulee. I hesitate to be too effusive with the praise, as this is such a hyped dessert. I went in without expectations, and so nothing to be disappointed in. Still, I thought this was a very good dessert. I was in the mood for creme brulee, though. The creamy part was really tasty, firm but still melt-in-your mouth. I thought the burned sugar had a little too burned of a flavor along the edges, but it was mostly very good. The top does not crack on this one. The cinnamon whipped cream on top was AWESOME...the whole thing (flavor-wise) reminded me a little of fried ice cream, if that helps anyone. I would order this again, but I would also order the strawberries, it would just depend on my mood. My mom and sister would both get the strawberries again.

This was a HUGE deal on the dining plan, even as vegetarians. Our waitress was terrific and we left an extra tip for her.
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Old 08-12-2006, 03:40 PM   #10
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This is a wonderful review, more please!
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Old 08-12-2006, 04:17 PM   #11
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Thanks for the great reviews and pics! Your entrees at Le Cellier and the jasmine rice at CP (I think?) looked good. Looking forward to the rest of your reviews.
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Old 08-12-2006, 05:05 PM   #12
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thanks for the great reviews...I love that sandwich at Columbia Harbour House, too! I am mostly vegetarian (ok, I like fish and i occasionally get the urge for pulled pork since I live in the south!) so i like to see what's out there.

you mentioned the chef at le Cellier -- did you speak to the chef in each place you went to make sure that all the ingredients were truly vegetarian? I ask b/c I will be travelling in November w/someone who does not eat wheat, and she will probably want to know all the ingredients. do they have ingredient lists readily available, or did you ask?

thanks!
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Old 08-12-2006, 05:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llqool
thanks for the great reviews...I love that sandwich at Columbia Harbour House, too! I am mostly vegetarian (ok, I like fish and i occasionally get the urge for pulled pork since I live in the south!) so i like to see what's out there.

you mentioned the chef at le Cellier -- did you speak to the chef in each place you went to make sure that all the ingredients were truly vegetarian? I ask b/c I will be travelling in November w/someone who does not eat wheat, and she will probably want to know all the ingredients. do they have ingredient lists readily available, or did you ask?

thanks!
We didn't talk directly with the chef at LC, actually---the waitress went back to double check everything (she was VERY careful and wanted to make sure we weren't getting anything we didn't want). We only spoke with the chefs at Boma and Spoodles, but I'm sure if you ask, they will come out. They are pretty used to vegetarians and vegans, so the wait staff usually knew. If we had wanted to, I'm sure we could have talked to the chef.

OH...by the way...the entree at Le Cellier was totally vegan, as was the tomato stack, and the salad could have been minus the blue cheese. Not sure about the breadsticks as we didn't care about eggs (although it sounded like the only thing that the chef was concerned about was whether we concerned yeast alive or not). The desserts were obviously NOT vegan, but I would assume the sorbet would be and I've heard great things about it. So if you're fully vegan, I think Le Cellier would be one of the best places to eat.
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Old 08-12-2006, 05:35 PM   #14
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looking forward to more vegetarian reviews!
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Old 08-12-2006, 05:46 PM   #15
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Wow...these are awesome reviews. I hate to say this, but I am so glad we didn't get ADRs to Le Cellier. The entree and aptz. just didn't appeal to me. I am sooo thanksfull for the pictures. It really does help make decisions much easier.
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