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Old 11-13-2008, 08:02 PM   #1
TPCShauna
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Cogito Ergo Nom: A DxDP Review - Dec. 7-14, 2008 - Continuing after all this time...


I think, therefore I nom.

What is a nom, you ask? It is the supposed noise made when gnawing on something; most often used in conjunction with photos of cute puppies and kitties gnawing on things. See photo evidence below for visual examples.

Generic photo of nom action (courtesy of LOLCats)


Source of our usage of the term “nom” (our darling puppy, Gracie)


Ever since we brought Gracie home, we have used nom to describe her happy chewing of her various bones, toys, etc. We now use the term in reference to each other so it was sort of a foregone conclusion that it would somehow be linked to our trip. The title of our dining review seemed like the perfect place so here we are, just thinking and nomming.

Won’t you nom along with us?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Oh, my poor, poor little dining review. It's been over two years since I've even thought of this poor thing and it's so sad! Sadly, those two years have seen a lot of sickness, heartache and unpleasantness, but I'm hoping things will be looking up soon, especially since DH and I have now moved to within an hour of WDW and have Premium APs and a TIW card!

Since we live an hour away instead of 3,000 miles, we are able to pop in much more regularly, and can now plan the F&W Fest stay we've been wanting for the past several years. Before I start planning dining for October, DH has asked that I pretty please finish this dining review so we have a record. He says I do so much better when writing for others than myself so I told him I would. Many of the dishes are still being offered, even if prices have gone up a bit. I kept copious notes of every little food item so I'm able to review accurately and will even go so far as to look up items on current menus to mention if they are still on offer AND list current pricing. Of course, this will help me along the way as I am trying to decide where to dine and how to handle dining for the upcoming trip. More of those agonizing decisions to come.

So, read along if you like, keeping in mind the fact that my photos and reviews will be two years old. I'd love to have any and everyone along for the ride.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Here’s some links for those of you who want to skip the amuse bouche and get right to the entrée. :

Introductions
Our DxDP Itinerary
Firsts!
2005 Review - Jiko
2005 Review - O'hana Dinner
2005 Review - Le Cellier
We're Back!!!
Pizzafari
Narcoosee's
Return from Neverland
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Old 11-13-2008, 08:06 PM   #2
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I think "Under the Sea" would be a nice place to live
I definitely think that the colored mini marshmallows make the best peep poop
 
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Introductions

I guess if I expect all y’all to accompany us on our nom adventure, I should share a bit about the key players. It’s a pretty short list.

Me (Shauna): I am a bit of a Disney fan. Well, since we're being honest and among friends, I'm more of an insane Disney fan. I’m 31 in RL and an eternal 8 in Disney years. Hobbies include scrapbooking, reading and planning Disney trips (for us and others.) I also love to cook, read recipes, tweak them and make them.

I’m a pretty good cook, if I do say so myself, and have a decent palate for food and wine. I like to try different things and regularly cook foods from most cuisines. I enjoy a lot of spice (read: heat) in my food, but I don’t like savoury food to taste sweet (so no cinnamon on my potatoes). My fave spice is good old black pepper. My only real hang-up is meat texture. I am extremely picky about the texture of meat and can’t eat anything that looks like a “part” so you will see no whole lobsters or fish or even a complete chicken breast on my plate nor will I eat anything with skin or bones. I completely lose my appetite when presented with these items so I make sure to avoid them. I have also been told that I order food like Sally of “When Harry Met Sally” fame since I don’t like my food to touch. (See above note about being 8 in Disney years.) I will never turn my nose up at a cocktail, though.

DH (Roger): He likes Disney but he doesn’t care for the planning process to get there. He especially doesn’t care for choosing restaurants 180 or even 90 days out so that’s a bit of a battle. Even though he resists the planning, he has a great time once we get to the parks, although he does have a tendency to want to stray from the plan, both touring and ADR.

DH is 34 in both human and Disney years. We’ve been together for 10 of those in which time I’ve managed to expand his culinary palate. This means he will now actually consume four types of vegetables (green beans, peas, broccoli and asparagus), raw baby spinach (but no other greens including lettuce), and will try most things at least once before pushing them away. He grew up in Chicago and really enjoys his meat and potatoes but won’t eat any seafood other than shrimp and fried calamari. His mom was a pretty rotten cook that hid things in casseroles so he is wary of mixed dishes and he isn’t too fond of sauce being poured over his food. He also enjoys spicy food but rarely drinks anything other than soda, milk and water.

There is a slim chance that we will be running into DH’s brother and new wife while at the World but we currently have no meals planned with them.
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Old 11-13-2008, 08:07 PM   #3
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I think "Under the Sea" would be a nice place to live
I definitely think that the colored mini marshmallows make the best peep poop
 
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Our DxDP Itinerary

We decided to book the DxDP because neither of us particularly cares for Disney CS so we end up spending a lot OOP on the regular plan and end up with a bunch of leftover CS credits. I typically don’t eat fast food at home either so it’s hard for me to find Disney CS that I will eat. The DxDP also makes good sense for us since we will be spending 8 full days on-site but only 7 nights so we were able to stretch our credits to accommodate the whole trip.

We don’t eat breakfast at home so we’re just planning to stock the room with granola bars, yogurt, bananas and milk for quick morning energy. We have two late breakfasts and 4 early lunches planned so that will help with the morning hungries. We typically eat dinner really late at home so will be doing a lot of that while at Disney as well. Since we’re doing some Signature Dining, we’re hoping the late ADRs will help with the kid noise issue as well.

Our final reason for choosing the DxDP is that we are celebrating our 10th anniversary on this trip and we wanted to enjoy ourselves. Having 95% of our food budget pre-paid is conducive to the carefree vacation we are attempting to have.

So, without further ado, here is our current list of planned meals in order of consumption. (I say current because you never know if I will change things between now and Dec. 2, when we leave.)

AK CS (thinking Pizzafari) - Lunch
Narcoosee’s - Dinner
50’s Prime Time Diner - Lunch
MK CS (Columbia Harbour House for me, ??? for DH) - Dinner
The Wave - Lunch
California Grill - Dinner
Coral Reef - Lunch
San Angel Inn – Dinner
1900 Park Faire – Brunch (very late breakfast)
Jiko – Dinner
Yak & Yeti – Lunch
Hollywood Brown Derby – Dinner
Le Cellier – Lunch
Raglan Road – Dinner
Donald’s Safari Breakfast at Tusker House – Brunch (very late breakfast)
Boma – Dinner

I’m ready NOW!!
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Old 11-14-2008, 11:13 AM   #5
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I think "Under the Sea" would be a nice place to live
I definitely think that the colored mini marshmallows make the best peep poop
 
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Originally Posted by MickeyNicki View Post
Cannot wait to hear all about it! You have some awesome choices picked, some of my favs!

Where are you staying?
Welcome aboard! I really enjoyed your reviews. I've thought about trying to do a live report but I know I'll be too tired.

We're pretty excited about the list, too! Lots of firsts for us.

We'll be at the WL. Another first!
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Old 11-14-2008, 01:01 PM   #6
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I think "Under the Sea" would be a nice place to live
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Firsts!

So, obviously, I've started this dining report early. I'm just so super-excited about our upcoming trip and our plans that I wanted to get this going sooner than later.

As I mentioned above in my response, most of our ADRs are firsts for us this go-around. In fact, we are only duplicating 5 locations - Coral Reef, Le Cellier, 1900 Park Faire (for Mary Poppins), Columbia Harbour House and our fave, Jiko.

DH and I decided that we really wanted to try as many new places as possible since we have all those credits to use. I'm especially excited about Narcoosee's, Raglan Road and (even though the food is inconsistent) San Angel Inn as I've always wanted to eat there.

I took pics of a lot of our food on our last two trips but still missed some shots. I've already warned DH that no bites can be taken this go-round until photos have been captured so I'm planning a full pictorial journey. I'm a scrapbooker so I intend to make a digital album of Disney Dining pics when we get back so I have duel excuses for taking tons of pics.

I'm also planning to carry a small notebook with me at all times to capture details for each meal so that I can provide the most thorough reviews possible. DH has promised that he won't pretend not to know me when I'm busy writing down details about our meals. He's also agreed to share his opinions of dishes so that I can attempt a tag team review. We typically try to order different things and split them so we will each have feedback on most dishes. This won't apply to seafood though as DH doesn't eat it.

Finally, since we still have 19 sleeps before we leave and 24 until WDW, I'll be sharing some of my pics here from our last WDW trip in Dec. 2005 and our last Disneyland trip in Oct. 2006, to whet everyone's appetite a bit.

Nom nom, everyone!
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Old 11-14-2008, 01:29 PM   #7
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Geez, you throw Latin around like it's not a dead language!

I do appreciate the definition of "nom". Maybe it's related to the "Num Yummy" guy in those Campbell's soup Office Guy commercials.

I think there are some items at Raglan Road I personally wouldn't get, but there were also a few items that sounded really appealing...so it's a culinary crap shoot. I also feel this way about California Grill now, believe it or not. I'm basing that opinion based on experiences I read in Brenda's report, and the experience I had about a week after her. Depending on the items ordered, they range from ho-hum to excellent.

I think it's a crapshoot now for almost all the restaurants. If you order the item that doesn't work, your opinion of the place will be drastically different than if you ordered the "right" dish. That's why I feel my own reviews can be too subjective.

Oy, I'm pontificating. Stop me.

I'll be looking forward to your report. I'll probably still be writing portions of mine by then.
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Old 11-14-2008, 02:16 PM   #8
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I think "Under the Sea" would be a nice place to live
I definitely think that the colored mini marshmallows make the best peep poop
 
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Originally Posted by BriarRosie View Post
Geez, you throw Latin around like it's not a dead language!

I do appreciate the definition of "nom". Maybe it's related to the "Num Yummy" guy in those Campbell's soup Office Guy commercials.

I think there are some items at Raglan Road I personally wouldn't get, but there were also a few items that sounded really appealing...so it's a culinary crap shoot. I also feel this way about California Grill now, believe it or not. I'm basing that opinion based on experiences I read in Brenda's report, and the experience I had about a week after her. Depending on the items ordered, they range from ho-hum to excellent.

I think it's a crapshoot now for almost all the restaurants. If you order the item that doesn't work, your opinion of the place will be drastically different than if you ordered the "right" dish. That's why I feel my own reviews can be too subjective.

Oy, I'm pontificating. Stop me.

I'll be looking forward to your report. I'll probably still be writing portions of mine by then.
Thanks for dropping by! I can't take full credit for the Latin as I was planning for the plural title in French - "Nous penseons donc nous mangeons - We think, therefore we eat." When I told DH, he emailed me the little tiger guy above and a title was born. Considering that nom is one of the most common words in our house right now, it just seemed right.

I know what you mean on the consistency thing. I've been following your's and Brenda's reports and noticed the, how shall I say, decline of quality in formerly consistent and wonderfully reviewed locales (CG comes to mind.) I must admit that the phenomenon has been somewhat alarming but I'm trying to go in with an open mind.

That being said, Brenda's reviews of Raglan Road are what helped me decide to go there. I do have my concerns though. And I'm really quite concerned about CG as well since I have amazing California cuisine all over the place here. Even though I live in Podunksville (Sacramento), we have truly incredible, world-reknown chefs working all over Napa Valley. Even more so, San Francisco is a stone's throw away so there is no world cuisine that is inaccessible. We're definitely not hurting for fine cuisine or variety.

I agree with your take on choosing the "right" dish. As such, I think we should all, as a rule, take these dining reviews as subjectively as possible. After all, they ARE purely opinion.

I'm happy you're along for the ride. I look forward to the rest of your reviews as well!
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Old 11-14-2008, 03:35 PM   #9
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I'm certainly ready for this - looking forward to you whetting my appetite, bring it on
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Old 11-15-2008, 04:35 AM   #10
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I think "Under the Sea" would be a nice place to live
I definitely think that the colored mini marshmallows make the best peep poop
 
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I'm certainly ready for this - looking forward to you whetting my appetite, bring it on
Welcome! I hope you enjoy the reviews. I'll try to make them worthy of reading.
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Old 11-15-2008, 05:15 AM   #11
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I definitely think that the colored mini marshmallows make the best peep poop
 
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2005 Review - Jiko

When we started planning, there was one restaurant that we knew we wanted to go to again after our last trip. That restaurant would be Jiko. It was, by far, our best meal of the trip and one that we greatly enjoyed. We really like Moroccan and Ethiopian food and Jiko was even a bit different from that. It was a lovely meal and an overall enjoyable experience.

Our server was quite attentive throughout the whole meal and made excellent recommendations. He helped me select an exceptional South African red wine to accompany my meal and gave us great tips. Service was attentive, yet unobtrusive. He did a great job of sensing when we wanted to chat and when we needed to be left alone.

We took our server's recommendation and started our meal with a shared appetizer of various dips and breads.
(No pic - sorry.)
We both enjoyed the naan bread in this appetizer but the lavosh bread seemed stale. We eat hummus all the time so it didn't seem particularly exotic even though it was good. This was a good sized appetizer to share but not one that we would be likely to order again. It seemed a bit boring compared to some of the other offerings.

DH wasn't feeling adventurous so he ordered the Oak Fired Filet with Mac 'n Cheese.

We both loved the tenderness of this filet as well as the fabulous reduction sauce. I'm not big on mac 'n cheese in general and DH only likes the neon orange kind in the blue box. Nevertheless, he really liked the creaminess of this offering. I thought it was very creamy but not terribly cheesy. I would have enjoyed it more without the sauce being mixed into the whole serving.

I ordered the scallops served over a fabulous cornmeal cake with a lovely light tomato sauce containing a light spice with chunks of tomatoes and onions poured over the top.

First off, the scallops were huge and perfectly seared. The texture was perfect and the flavor lightly spicy. My favorite part of the dish, however, was the cornmeal cake soaked in the tomato sauce. The sauce was spicy and perfectly flavored the neutrality of the corn cake. Together, they were heaven and the whole dish together was fabulous. DH tried a bit of the scallops and of the corn cake. He was decidedly enh on the scallops but agreed that the combo of fabulous sauce and corn cake was a winner. Overall, I was SO HAPPY that I chose this dish.

DH enjoys creme brulee so it was a foregone conclusion that he would be trying the Pistachio Creme Brulee here.

The top sugar crust was light and crispy and the base was a thick chocolate layer. The custard was light and quite flavorful. While the color was a bit disturbing, it was easily one of the most enjoyable desserts (and the best creme brulee) we consumed all week.

I had some sort of lovely chocolate confection that is no longer on the menu.

The base had a texture similar to that of a thick cake brownie. The whole dessert was placed on a bed of chocolate and caramel sauces and served a la mode with a peanut ice cream. This dessert was unimaginably rich and the two of us didn't even come close to finishing it.

Ratings:
Appetizer - Just OK. Not very different or interesting.
Entree - Both were good, but I think mine was better. DH even liked the flavors of mine better.
Dessert - Both were good and quite rich. Even though I prefer chocolate to creme brulee, DH's dessert was the clear winner in this course.

Overall rating for this meal:
= 5 Noms
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Old 11-15-2008, 12:56 PM   #12
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Hi Shauna! Love the pre-report so far ... you've got a real flair for this kind of thing!

I totally agree with Lori's post - so much of any dining experience is subjective that you have to take it all with a grain of salt. If you asked Jay about CA Grill he'd tell you it was great the night we were there and of course I thought it was just OK - good but not as good as past visits. And I checked the pictures and receipts to make sure we were both there at the same time.

Looking forward to reading more and I hope you have a great trip!!
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Old 11-15-2008, 05:01 PM   #13
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Jiko still ranks up there with me for one of the great restaurants of WDW, moreso now that I experienced one of their coveted monthly wine pairing dinners.

The last time I had the filet with mac n' cheese had to be about 6 or 7 years ago! I'm glad that it's still consistently getting great reviews, let alone the consistency of being one of their "signature dishes". Your scallops looked terrific, too!

I'd wish they'd have some significant chocolate dessert on the menu. I prefer that over anything, but I wouldn't say no to sharing a cheese plate, either!

Great review.
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Old 11-15-2008, 06:47 PM   #14
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I think "Under the Sea" would be a nice place to live
I definitely think that the colored mini marshmallows make the best peep poop
 
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Quote:
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Hi Shauna! Love the pre-report so far ... you've got a real flair for this kind of thing!

I totally agree with Lori's post - so much of any dining experience is subjective that you have to take it all with a grain of salt. If you asked Jay about CA Grill he'd tell you it was great the night we were there and of course I thought it was just OK - good but not as good as past visits. And I checked the pictures and receipts to make sure we were both there at the same time.

Looking forward to reading more and I hope you have a great trip!!
It truly is a compliment when YOU say someone has a flair for reviews. Thanks for that and welcome!!

It's definitely nice to re-visit some of our faves from last time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BriarRosie View Post
Jiko still ranks up there with me for one of the great restaurants of WDW, moreso now that I experienced one of their coveted monthly wine pairing dinners.

The last time I had the filet with mac n' cheese had to be about 6 or 7 years ago! I'm glad that it's still consistently getting great reviews, let alone the consistency of being one of their "signature dishes". Your scallops looked terrific, too!

I'd wish they'd have some significant chocolate dessert on the menu. I prefer that over anything, but I wouldn't say no to sharing a cheese plate, either!

Great review.
Your Jiko dinner review was incredible. I would so love to do something like that. If DH and I end up moving to the Tampa area in the future (it's under discussion), we WILL be scheduling one of those. DH might not like it but I am SO THERE!

And yes, the scallops were lovely and I, too, wish they had something chocolatey. Lemon desserts are NOT my friend!
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Old 11-15-2008, 07:49 PM   #15
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Shauna, you're doing well so far in whetting my appetite. Looking forward to the actual reviews. I so wish I was adventurous enough to try Jiko but I'm so damned fussy, it would surely be wasted on me.
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