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Old 01-16-2009, 02:35 PM   #61
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2/2 Breakfast at the Mara (AK)

You won't believe it, we really mixed it up this morning! At least I did. Instead of the kid's meal I got a cinnamon roll! I am really sorry, I did not get a picture of it But I can show you last year's picture:



The cinnamon roll was my favourite in 2007 and it tasted equally good in 2008! It is not huge, but it was enough for me. I had a lot of cinnamon in it and was fresh.

Carola once again had the kid's meal...
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Old 01-16-2009, 02:41 PM   #62
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2/2 Lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern (MK)

This was one meal I was really looking forward to. In 2007 we really were trying to make a point to eat “American” food. I had asked for recommendations here on the DIS and the LTT was recommended very much. I did not really care for the turkey dinner (not my type of food) and Carola did not care too much for the characters. But lunch sounded very good. Still we did not get around to eat there in 2007. It did not make sense to waste a TS dining credit here, and we were on the Dining Plan then. Due to the changes in 2008 (no appetizer and tip) we figured out it did not make sense for us. And I really liked to have more freedom in choosing my meals. I had intended to really keep track of our spending and do a review afterwards whether the plan would have saved us some money, but I lost track in collecting all receipts somehow. I hope to do it this year.

So after having missed out in 2007, I was certain to include it in my next trip, whenever this would be.

Our ADR was for 1 pm, but we were very hungry already before noon, so we went there very early, I think at about 12:30 pm or even earlier (our receipt is from 1:18 pm) and they were able to seat us after a very short wait.

I liked the interior of the restaurant, it looked very colonial. But it was very hectic and loud!! We eat most of our table service meals at the resort restaurants and Boma certainly isn't a quiet place either, I found that the restaurants in the parks are even a bit more noisy and hectic.

Ever since reading the menu on Allears I was set on getting the Colony Salad (Washington apples, sweet pecans and applewood smoked cheddar and grilled chicken tossed with field greens in honey shallot vinaigrette). I love pecans (once again: very American for me!) and smoked cheese. I was not at all disappointed, this salad was just my thing!! The dressing had a sweet taste to it. This is something that to me is very American: the combination of savoury and sweet. I love it, but in German food it is very uncommon.



It was a very generous portion and very filling.

Carola is the one who loves braised meat, so when I explained to here what the pot roast (braised beef in a cabernet wine and mushroom sauce served with mashed potatoes and garden vegetables) was (I had seen so many pictures here on the DIS that I had a very good idea what it was), she was sold. She loved her food and was struggling to finish it, but would not leave any leftovers:



I tried some and pretty much hated it: I just don't like the taste of braised meat!!

We were too full again for any dessert.

It was a really nice quick lunch. We expected it to be a hectic place: after all we were inside the MK! The food was really very good for what it was, we liked it much better than the Prime Time Cafe. We will go back on our next trip for lunch on our very last day. ME will probably pick us up around 4:30 pm. So the plan is to pack in the morning, check out at the Poly and then have some fun at the MK before heading home. Lunch at LTT fits into this plan extremely well and I think I can see that this might become a tradition for me.
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Old 01-16-2009, 04:00 PM   #63
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2/2 Dinner at California Grill (CR)

In 2007 was our first meal at California Grill and I was looking forward to it so much. But then on the evening itself I was not feeling that well. We still had a fantastic meal there which we really enjoyed and Carola has been talking about the cheese plate ever since. But I really wanted to get the chance to experience the restaurant fully without feeling a bit off. Therefore, we wanted a return trip.

In 2007 we went on an evening with the Pirate and Princess Party. We first experienced Wishes at 7 pm in the MK and then saw the Pirate and Princess fireworks from CG. We thought that was a great way of doing it, so we got the 8:30pm ADR. Unfortunately sometime before our trip Wishes was cancelled that evening.

We arrived a bit early for our ADR and were told that they were running a bit late (30 min). This was fine with us, we had intended to get a drink at the bar anyway. Once we arrived at the restaurant we were surprised that the bar area was actually pretty empty and we got a nice place at the counter.

I was a bit surprised that the bar had no bar menu. I asked for it and just was told that they had a full bar. I guess this means that they have very good bartenders who realy know their job. But the problem is that I don't know any cocktails. So I was really at a loss. The only thing that came into my mind was the apple martini that I had had at a restaurant on the gulf coast during our 2007 trip to Florida. Once again, this is something that you normally don't get in German bars, I only knew about it from watching the TV-show Scrubs (you see how educating TV can be ). So I asked for this and yes, that was possible. Carola decided to get the same drink:



These were very good! I think I will be more prepared this time, I have been thinking about which drink to order ever since we booked this trip!! I think I will get a gimlet...

While we were sitting at the bar we started reading the menu and already made a first decision: we wanted a flatbread to start us of.

We got seated after a bit of a wait and just when I went to turn in the beeper, a guest at the other end of the bar asked us in German where we were from!! It turned out that he had moved to Orlando 25 or so years ago and really liked German being spoken at the restaurant. What a fun experience!

We were seated in the Wine Room. This is a separate room from the main dining room which only has a few tables. It is at corner furthest from the Magic Kingdom, so no chance to see the MK from here, but we could see the WL and Epcot in the distance. At first I thought: why are we put in this dark corner... Then I remembered that this is the Wine Room that I had heard many DISers talk about and that I only heard positive things. We really liked it in the end as it was so much quieter and because of our server!

When we were seated, we were told that our server would be “insert some male first name that I have forgotten, so let's just say Peter”. So we waited patiently, for “Peter” who we saw was busy with another table. We were all set to immediately order our flatbread, we were getting really hungry!! Well, after “Peter” finished with the other table he dissappeared. In the meantime Gary (I remember his name!) came to our table and introduced himself. We were not really sure what he was doing and due to our confusion we ignored him a bit, thinking he was just trying to help out his colleague and keep us happy until “Peter” would have time for us. Well, “Peter” kept ignoring us and so we ordered the flatbread with Gary. It turned out that Gary actually was our server and he was the best server ever!!! It was not at all his fault that we did not realize that he was our server, it was the hostess, who had told us the wrong name. We liked him so much that we will make sure to request him as our server when we return in about ten days, even though I find the concept of requesting a server a bit strange.

After the meal he asked where we were from in Germany and I said that I work in Berlin at the moment. He asked whether Sir Simon Rattle was still the chief conductor at the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (he is) as he had him as a guest at the CG one day. I really liked this story as I have a number of friends who think I am stupid for enjoying Disney. They are the ones, where I always get the impression that they don't go to concerts or in the opera or the theater because they truly enjoy it, but because it is a lifestyle they consider appropriate. So if Sir Simon Rattle goes to Disney, I can as well!! And I can still enjoy all these cultural things nevertheless!

Well, I guess you did not come here to read my philosophical essays, but the here about the food, so without further much ado, here is the most exciting bread and butter and oil we were served:



I love the bread at California Grill. Sourdough in Germany is only used in darker breads (we eat a lot of rye or wheat/rye-mixtures), not in pure wheat bread. I love the texture and the slight sour taste. So this is really a treat. And the bread was better than at Artist Point.

The next picture is our flatbread:



Marinated Beef Tenderloin with Parmigiano Reggiano, Balsamic Reduction and Lemon Oil.

This was lovely! It was very crisp, the beef was delicious and the balsamic reduction and the lemon oil gave it an interesting taste. It appeared to be quite big, but we were really hungry and it was gone very quickly without us feeling full or so. It was a great start to the meal and I think we are planning on getting a flatbread again on our next visit!

That's why we decided that we wanted to share an appetizer as well. I love artichokes and when I saw those on the menu, I was really tempted to get them. Carola, thought this sounded good, too. So we got the

Braised Artichokes with Serrano Ham, Black Olive Crostini and Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette.

Sorry, I only have a picture of a half portion, I only remembered to take a picture after we had split the meal. It did not come out split as it did at Artist Point, but we were fine with getting it served on one plate.





We liked this dish, but it was not incredible. I would have loved for there to be more artichokes. The crostini were a bit dry. But the vinaigrette was very good and all in all it was a good dish. Perhaps I would have been happier if we had not shared...

But then I would definitely had problems with my main course. I had already decided when reading dining reviews here on the DIS that I wanted to try the grilled pork tenderloin. I was briefly tempted by a Ahi Tuna, but then settled on pork:



Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Creamy Goat Cheese Polenta, Cremini Mushrooms, Zinfandel Glace and Sage.

This was soooooo good. I absolutely loved it! Gary recommended it to be served medium and that's how I ordered it. I was brought up that pork must not be eaten raw, but I had read in a dining review that pork is now pasteurized. I have no idea, whether this is right, but then I thought that Disney would not sell food of which they know that it is highly dangerous to eat. The pork was just a bit pink in the middle, therefore not dry at all. The polenta was very creamy and a bit cheesy. The sage was lovely crisp. The only part of the meal that I was a bit disappointed in were the mushrooms. I love all kind of mushrooms and these were just plain mushrooms, nothing special about them... Still they were perfectly good, just not as “wow” as the other parts of the dish.

Carola meanwhile decided to be very "exotic" (this was one of the meals were she totally surprised me with what she ordered) and got pasta:



Okay, the menu made this sound a bit more extravagant (but the receipt says pasta):

Hand Crafted Butternut Squash Ravioli with Oyster Mushrooms, Parmigiano, and Truffle Brown Butter

It was the vegetarian dish and it was fantastic. I got to try a bit of it and it was really hand made. It looks like a small portion, but it was four very large ravioli and Carola was having trouble finishing it, but then she also had that pot roast for lunch. Carola was very pleased with her meal. I think she said she chose it because she felt like eating something familiar. And it tasted like something that you could get at a very good Italian restaurant here in Germany. And we do have good Italian restaurants here, especially in Munich, it's just 120 miles from Munich to the Italian border...

At some point we also ordered some wine (I think after the flatbread when we had figured out that Gary was actually our server). I was sure that I wanted a Californian wine – I am eating at a Californian restaurant! I told Gary a bit what kind of wines I enjoyed and he recommended a very nice Cabernet, it was the Simi Landslide, Alexander Valley. It was not cheap, but I remember that I liked it very much. Carola on the other hand wanted an old world wine and picked the one Chianti they had on the menu: Borgo Pretale Chianti Classico Riserva, Tuscany. She liked it a lot, but for me it was not smooth enough. Still it was a very good wine, no doubt. Once again a Chianti is one of the standards you get here at better restaurants. So Carola's wine really went very well with her choice of main course!

Carola had been talking about the cheese board ever since our last trip to WDW. But when we had finished our main dishes, we were really distracted by the dessert menu. We realized that we were both really drawn by the Banana and Buttersotch “Buzz”



Caramelized Banans and Butterscotch Custard Stack with Caramel Sauce, Cocoa Nib and crunchy Plantain

One of the things that sold us on this dish was the plantain. We loved it in the salad at Backlot Express and it is so exotic to us. But Carola is a banana fan anyway and I love caramel. So we decided that we would share this dessert. No way could we think about eating a whole dessert each! It was heaven! Of course it kind of falls apart when you start eating it, but we tried to combine the different layers and they really added to each other. I loved the banana ice cream that was in it (even though it is not mentioned in the description), it was definitely selfmade. I am really sad that it does not appear on the recent CG menus available, but the good thing about CG is that the menu changes daily, so you never know what other delights might be available. And I think Carola cannot be distracted from the cheese plate again...

After dessert it was time to head outside to see the fireworks from the Pirates and Pricesses Party. These were great, but we saw the fireworks a few days later inside the park and they were sooo much better. In my opinion viewing the fireworks from there is a bit overrated. Of course we had to go out to the viewing platform, but I don't mind that at all. I want to be outside and hear the fireworks explode! We took the last bit of our wine outside with us and if we had been a couple, it would have been quite romantic out there. But that was lost on us...

It was 10:21pm when we paid, so I think the meal took us about 2 hours in total. We thought it was just the right speed to the meal, very relaxed, but never too slow.

As you could have guessed from what I wrote, we will be back at California Grill very soon. This time our reservation is for 5:30 pm and I hope to catch some daylight. It would be lovely to see the sun go down from there! Wishes is at 8pm, so we will see when we finish our meal, whether we stay around for a bit with an after dinner drink or whether we have enough time to leave and get over to the MK to see Wishes from there. I hope we will manage to have a relaxed meal, but still get to the MK. We will see how this works out!
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Old 01-16-2009, 05:04 PM   #64
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Great review and pics!!
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Old 01-18-2009, 02:40 PM   #65
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Great review and pics!!
Thanks, it is always good to know, that people are enjoying what I am writing!!

Lurkers, take this as a hint: I would love to hear from you!!!
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Old 01-18-2009, 02:42 PM   #66
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2/3 Lunch at Columbia Harbour House (MK)

This morning we had a very early start. We had to be at the MK before 8:30 am. No, we did not have a breakfast reservation – we were going on the Keys to the Kingdom Tour. We arrived just after 8 am and after we checked in for the tour we enjoyed the empty Main Street USA. This is the morning, the picture of Carola and me in the first post is from (by the way, for those who started reading before I changed the description, I am the one with the blond curly hair).

Part of the Keys to the Kingdom Tour (which was fantastic!! ) was lunch at Columbia Harbour House. So we really had no choice on where we wanted to eat for lunch that day, but I had wanted to eat at CHH anyway. Sorry, I have no pictures from this meal and I have no idea what Carola had. But I had the hummus sandwich: Lighthouse Sandwich - hummus with tomato & broccoli slaw. It was very good and the brad was freshly toasted. I love hummus and this was very tasty. We had a very early lunch, in our own separate area upstairs, but there were basically no other people upstairs at all!!

I would love to return here, but I guess we will see where we are and what we feel like eating when we are in the MK.
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Old 01-18-2009, 02:46 PM   #67
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2/3 Dinner at Le Cellier (Epcot)

Ever since our first trip I had read about how wonderful Le Cellier is. On our very first trip in 2004 we had a reservation there, but the only time we could get was 4:30 pm. We really did not feel like eating at that time and since we were there during te Food and Wine Festival, we decided to eat around the world instead. In 2007 we were considering getting a reservation, but felt that eating in a dark cellar was not really what we would enjoy so much and decided against it.

So when we were discussing meals for 2008 Carola and I agreed that we had to get Le Cellier “out of our system”. We just really needed to eat there finally! We were lucky, we got our reservation in early November for early February, so only four months out. Our reservation was for 5:30pm as we wanted to have time to explore around the world before Illuminations. (Well, we ended going to the MK to see Wishes...)

We were seated very shortly after we checked in (I think not more than 5 minutes). We never got an explanation of the restaurant or the bread, but we had a very nice (and very good looking) server.

I wanted to get a Canadian beer and asked for recommendations. Our server explained the different choices and I settled on the Moosehead Pale Ale, which was really great!! Carola had a glas of wine which she liked.

We got the obvious bread:



Here I must mention one thing: Southern Germany is the home of the pretzel – from here it emigrated to the new world. So pretzel bread as a Canadian speciality seemed always a bit strange to me. But I was really curious. Unfortunately I was very disappointed. We still have lots of real bakeries in Germany which make fantastic pretzels. But there are lots of bakery chains taking over. They offer rather bland tasting industrial baked goods. And no chain bakery pretzel I ever had was something to write how about. To me Le Cellier's pretzel bread tasted just like any bland industrial pretzel at home. It wasn't bad, but it was really not great at all in my opinion.

We both had to have steak and each got a filet. While I had the famous mushroom filet:



Carola had the maple glazed filet which was since eliminated from Le Cellier's menu:



We both really liked our steaks, they were very tender.

Overall we had a very nice meal , but after two evenings in a row eating at signature restaurants I could not help feeling a bit let down. Le Cellier is definitely not in the same league as Artist Point and California Grill for me. We had exceptional meals there, while Le Cellier was very good. Also, I found the restaurant very crowded. I knew this before, but it still did have an impact on how I felt there. Also, it was quite noisy. Just as with Liberty Tree Tavern, I think the restaurants in the parks are just that bit more hectic.

We had thought about going back to Le Cellier, it was more Carola's request than mine. But as you will easily guess: No chance to get an ADR in December for January!
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Old 01-18-2009, 03:39 PM   #68
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WOW - I just noticed you're going back in 5 days, I'm jealous!
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Old 01-18-2009, 04:15 PM   #69
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I am really loving your reviews. You remind me of my trip to Europe. Every country we went to I asked for the most "English" "Dutch" "French" food I could get. I wanted to try everything.

Thanks for your reviews!
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Old 01-18-2009, 06:30 PM   #70
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Loving your reviews!! Can't wait to read more!
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Old 01-18-2009, 09:27 PM   #71
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I am really enjoying your reviews and photos, thank you for taking the time to write them and post here. I hope your next WDW vacation is truly magic!

Guten appetit!
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Old 01-19-2009, 11:51 AM   #72
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Quote:
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WOW - I just noticed you're going back in 5 days, I'm jealous!
Yes, only four more days now! I just need to get rid of that stupid cough that decided to visit me!!

Quote:
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I am really loving your reviews. You remind me of my trip to Europe. Every country we went to I asked for the most "English" "Dutch" "French" food I could get. I wanted to try everything.

Thanks for your reviews!
Thanks for your nice comment. I agree that part of the fun of travelling is eating things that are different from at home! One thing I really love when I am in a foreign country is visiting supermarkets and look at all the food that is so different from at home!

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Loving your reviews!! Can't wait to read more!
Thanks! Next review will be up shortly!

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I am really enjoying your reviews and photos, thank you for taking the time to write them and post here. I hope your next WDW vacation is truly magic!

Guten appetit!
I am glad that you are enjoying them! We have the best intentions to have fun and we have some nice ADRs planned. I hope to continue with the dining reviews immediately after the trip!
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Old 01-19-2009, 11:55 AM   #73
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2/4 Breakfast at Boma (AKL)

Another meal that we did not manage in 2007. I had never wanted to spend prime touring time in a restaurant eating breakfast. But this time we were staying for eight full days, so sacrificing one morning seemed ok. Staying at AKL, we of course had to eat our breakfast at Boma!

We had an ADR for 9:15 am and where immediately shown to our table. The restaurant was actually pretty empty, we would not have needed that ADR.

We both got a glass of their special juice, but I did not like it, too sweet for me. Carola and I both agreed that it tastes like something called “multi-vitamin-juice” here in Germany. It is a juice blend, one brand for example uses apple, orange, mango, pineapple, passion-fruit, peach and banana. Really not my cup of tea at all, but the orange juice I got instead was very good!

Sorry, once again no photos here. The food was very good. We had a very big breakfast. We loved the omelettes, the pancakes, the bacon, the ham. Carola got really into the African oatmeal-type-dishes they offer. I loved the fresh fruit they had. All in all a very nice fresh breakfast with plenty of food!

I must say that I am normally not a great fan of buffets: I hat it when food is kept warm for two long. But the quality at Boma was first class! Everything tasted fresh and there was always plenty of food out!

We were thinking about returning – but the logistics were too complicated since we are staying at the Poly this time. But instead we will have a character breakfast at Tusker Hosue! This is a first for Carola: her first character meal ever.
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Old 01-19-2009, 12:01 PM   #74
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2/4 Dinner at La Cantina (Epcot)

We spent quite a bit of the day at Typhoon Lagoon. I loved it there, Carola however thought it was actually too chilly to really enjoy the water. I guess it really depends on your personality whether February and water parks go well together for you. We did not eat there, we really did not feel hungry after breakfast at Boma.

We ended up in Epcot that evening and Carola really wanted to go to La Cantina again. We had eaten there in 2004 and she really loved it, therefore we returned in 2007. In 2007 I had the only meal at WDW that I really hated at La Cantina (see here for review). So I was really not soo keen on returning. Since Carola had really not been so keen on the water park, it was only fair that dinner should be her choice. She got the combination platter as always:



I decided to revert to my choice of 2004, the nachos with a side order or guacamole.



It was a huge portion and I did not finish it, even with some help from Carola. While it was absolutely fine, it was just not the thing I was craving at the moment.

Also I did not like the presentation of the dishes. I don't like the styrofoam boxes. I have seen recent pictures here where the dishes were on plastic plates and I think that looks much more appetizing!! We will see wether we end up eating there again or wether I get to try the Tangerine Cafe for the first time!!!
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Old 01-19-2009, 12:04 PM   #75
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2/4 Drinks at Victoria Falls (AKL)

After we got home to our hotel, Carola and I decided to end the evening with a nice drink at the hotel bar. Victoria Falls is very beautiful and we really wanted to make sure to have a drink there!





We had another apple martini (I think this was Carola's):



and a pomegranate splash:



For anyone wondering what this is, here is a picture of the standardized bar menu, I guess you could get this drink at any hotel bar in WDW:



Both drinks were very good and refreshing and the bar was not too crowded. It was after 9pm and I think the pre dinner crowd had already sat down for their dinner.
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