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Old 03-15-2010, 02:10 PM   #16
v_gan
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Before I go on, I want to mention that I followed in the steps of ehartman4 and Plasticletters by calling the Special Dietary Request Line (407-824-5967) and leaving a message with all my information. Within the hour, I recieved an e-mail containing a message along with three different documents. One was a Guest Allergy-Dietary Request Form, which I was asked to fill out and send back.

The other was a Food Allergy/Dietary Reference sheet which contained allergy information about most of the regularly used items in the park (breads, condiments, baking mixes, snacks, etc.) It also had a section on where to find specialty items like Tofutti ice cream, Divvies cookies, and a section about what items are available to guests with allergies or special dietary needs (Earth Balance margarine, Follow Your Heart cheese, Ener-G foods, etc.)

The last document was basically a letter to those with special dietary needs about how to go about talking to the chefs and how to make reservations and whatnot, along with suggested counter service restaurants for each park.

After I sent in my Dietary Request Form, I recieved another e-mail stating that they had notified the locations I had mentioned and that they would be expecting me, and also a reminder to talk to a chef upon arriving.

Like ehartman4 and Plasticletters, I don't know how well this worked, as it was never mentioned when we arrived for our ADRs. But I guess it's worth a try whenever you go. It could have been the reason we had such good service, but I don't really know.

Now onto 'Ohana!
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Old 03-17-2010, 08:38 PM   #17
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DAY 2 - 'Ohana with Chef TJ

After lunch, me and my sister did a little shopping, stopped for a few minutes during Block Party Bash, and then headed to the car so that I could take some medicine for my horrible sickness. When we made it back into the park, we rode Star Tours again and then met Sulley and all the guys from Up!. Then it was time to try to cram ourselves into the Fantasmic theater.

Just another slap in the face on this trip: The only reason I like going to Fantasmic is so I can see Megara. So, of course, she went to the other side of the boat when it sailed in front of us and I didn't get to see her

But anyway.. After that, we rode Tower of Terror with our two remaining Fastpasses for the day, rushed with our last-minute shopping, and then we had to high-tail it out of there to make our 'Ohana reservations. We were three minutes late, but that's a lot better than I was thinking it was going to be the whole way there.



Once we arrived, I made sure to ask if Chef TJ was working that night, since we were going to find somewhere else to eat if he wasn't there. But he was! I breathed a sigh of relief, and sat down to wait for our table.

I would have been much more excited had I not been so sick and tired and miserable. But I was still really looking forward to everything after months of looking at and reading about everyone else's Chef TJ experiences.

We were seated within about 10-15 minutes, near the front left-hand side of the main window. Our server's name was Roy, and he noticed our ticket and let us know that as soon as he found Chef TJ, he would bring him over to talk to us. In the meantime, he took our drink orders. My sister had water, and I had the Pomegranate Lemonade:



Ugh, this was so good. I probably went through 3 or 4 glasses.

After about five or ten minutes, our server came back with Chef TJ. He asked about our "allergies", and I told him that we didn't actually have any and that we were both vegan, but that the lady on the phone wouldn't note that on our reservations, like I had had done on our previous trip. He said that was fine, and asked if we ate honey. I said no, and he said that was great and told us that we were going to have a 7 (or was it 8?) course vegan meal, and I told him I was really excited

Within five minutes, our first course arrived:


Baba ganoush and red pepper hummus with pita chips. Ohhh, that hummus was good! I had never had baba ganoush before this, so it was really new to me. I liked it, it was just different. I really liked getting a little bit of each onto a chip. That made everything a thousand times more awesome than it already was. But the hummus was definitely my favorite.

Ten minutes later, our salad arrived:


Chef TJ explained to us what all was in the salad - I remember salad greens, red onion, carrots, some kind of nuts, and pears. It was all wrapped in this amazing seaweed wrap and tossed in some kind of sweet and tangy vinegarette.

He mentioned that we could either pick it up like a wrap and eat it, or put it on a plate. I tried picking it up at first, but everything just started falling out. So I layed it all on a plate.


Absolutely, 100%, the best salad I've ever had. I don't know what else to say about it. It was fantastic. Salads are usually pretty "blah" to me, but this.. Perfect.

Another ten minutes, and our sides were brought out:


Peanut noodles. Same as last time, if not slightly better.


Broccoli and sugar snap peas. The broccoli was good, the peas were a little too crisp (undercooked?) for me, but they were fine.

Yet another ten minutes, and this was brought out:


At first it was just bowls filled with peanuts and watercress, along with a wedge of lime. Then Chef TJ pulled out a steaming pitcher filled with a ginger and coriander broth/soup and poured it over the top. Then he placed the skewer of fried tomatoes on top, all while explaining what everything was.

OMG. This soup was HEAVENLY. With me being sick, I couldn't have asked for anything more perfect. It did wonders for my congestion, and it tasted amazing. It was definitely spicy (which I like!), and I probably could have done with less peanuts and more watercress. But the broth itself was just perfect. The tomatoes were nicely seasoned, but they weren't anything out-of-this-world. Just nicely seasoned tomatoes.

This is when our courses began spacing out a little more. It was about 15 minutes until our next course arrived. Fine with me: more time to digest!


This is bok choy with sauteed mushrooms and potatoes, with a pomegranate sauce. Mm, that sauce was good. I loved the mushrooms and potatoes, but wasn't a big fan of the bok choy. Don't get me wrong, it was good. I just had to pick and choose at that point what I could fit inside my stomach. And the mushrooms and potatoes ruled out the bok choy.

It was nearly 20 minutes until our main course arrived. That's right - the biggest course hadn't even arrived yet! Look at all that food!

During this time, the restaurant really started to empty out. It was just us and a few scattered tables of large groups, who had finished eating, but were still socializing.

I was hoping with everything in me that I would be able to consume plenty of the entree, but I was really feeling full at this point. So when Chef TJ brought this out, I was terrified:


LOOK AT HOW MUCH FOOD THAT IS. I decided to suck it up, because this was too beautiful to ignore.

This is tempura vegetables (asparagus and broccoli rabe), fried and marinated tofu, and a ton of hidden vegetables under a tall stack of rice noodles with an amazingly savory sauce. Chef TJ explained that instead of regular tempura batter, made with eggs, he used a Hawaiian beer to make the batter rise. And, let me tell you, that is the best fried batter I have ever consumed. I don't know how to describe it. It was just phenomenal. I didn't even realize we had the vegetables until I was about to pop, but I found room for a few bites:


Look at all the pretty colors! There was onions, peppers, broccoli, purple cabbage.. just all kinds of stuff. It was so good.

Chef TJ told us that it was ok if we didn't finish the entree, as we would be able to take it with us when we left. I thanked him, and he asked our server to bring out two to-go boxes.


You can see the pitcher the soup was brought in on the left.



By this time, I had already forgotten about dessert. And when Chef TJ came back to check on us and mentioned that it might be a while for dessert, my stomach started to protest: "There's no more room! Leave now!"

Needless to say, I ingored it's requests.

And I'm so glad I did.


CHECK. THIS. OUT.


This is a frozen pina colada mix, which Chef TJ explained is what they use at the bar - but it is made with coconut milk and is completely vegan. On top is frozen mint leaves and frozen crumbled chocolate chip Divvies cookies. In the bottom of the glass is chopped banana and kiwi, along with whole raspberries and lychee fruit.

And hidden inside..


IS CHOCOLATE TOFUTTI ICE CREAM!

Ohhhh man! This was the most impressive dessert I have ever seen/eaten in my entire life. It was absolutely beautiful, and there were so many wonderful suprises. There were so many flavors, but they all came together as a fantastic combination and I just loved everything about it.

Chef TJ came back as we were finishing dessert and I told him how completely impressive I thought the dessert was, and he thanked me and started talking about all the little details he enjoyed about the dessert. I told him how I had never had lychee fruit before and he asked how I liked it. We just had a wonderful conversation, and I wish I had been feeling better the whole time.

By the end of our conversation, Chef TJ told us that if we ever came back and had trouble getting reservations, to contact him. And then he gave us his personal business card! I told him that me and my boyfriend were coming back in May, and that we had reservations already. And then said that was great, and that he would try to make us a different dessert next time.

I thanked him a thousand times over and complimented everything he did, mentioning how hard it is to eat out as a vegan and how special he made me feel. He said it was his pleasure, and that he loves doing what he does.

When he finally said goodnight, and we had payed for our meal (quality and quantity far exceed the price here, by the way), I left a large tip and a note that said, "Chef TJ, Thank you again SO much! This was such a fantastic meal, and I can't wait to come back! -(love)- Andrea"

By this time, we were the only ones remaining in the restaurant:



We saw him cleaning up in the kitchen on our way out, and I said thank you one more time and we said goodnight.



The Polynesian is pretty empty at 12:30 AM.
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Old 03-17-2010, 09:25 PM   #18
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My goodness that man is a legend. I HAVE to eat there on my next trip. This just sounds and looks so fantastic. Could any meal you have ever again compare though?
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Old 03-17-2010, 09:32 PM   #19
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SWWWWWWWEEEEEEEEEETT!!!!

What an awesome dessert! It seems that Chef TJ does variations on a theme when it comes to vegans at 'Ohana, but I have not seen that dessert before...amazing! Now I need to try it!
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Old 03-17-2010, 09:48 PM   #20
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Hawaiian beer?
That sounds soooo good!

Andrea I love reading your reviews because you're just so excited in all of them! It's so great, I'm really great you were able to get Chef TJ. Now, you're going back in May, right? I'm actually making my dining reservations in May for our trip in October (so far away! D so I hope you have an awesome trip but I'm wondering if your dining reviews will be here in time for when I'm making my reservations.

Would you mind if I direct messaged you later on in May before I make my reservations to see how you made out and where you ate?

I probably sound like a pain in the butt but your reviews have always been so helpful.
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Old 03-17-2010, 10:17 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aprilisis View Post
I'm SO glad I found your dining review! I had no idea I could get tofutti or vegan cheese anywhere in WDW. I will definitely be asking for that stuff next time I'm there!
I'm not sure if it's available at all the restaurants, but it's worth a try! I was really excited when I found it

Quote:
Originally Posted by lilpnutmama View Post
My goodness that man is a legend. I HAVE to eat there on my next trip. This just sounds and looks so fantastic. Could any meal you have ever again compare though?
He really is! And, yes, you do!

I'm not sure.. haha. Maybe the next meal we have made by him will!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plasticletters View Post
SWWWWWWWEEEEEEEEEETT!!!!

What an awesome dessert! It seems that Chef TJ does variations on a theme when it comes to vegans at 'Ohana, but I have not seen that dessert before...amazing! Now I need to try it!
I know, right?! I wasn't expecting that little suprise in the middle! It was so cool! I almost wish we had gotten the same dessert you guys had - especially the extra cookies. But I'm glad we got something different because it was really fun seeing what else he's capable of. I'm excited to see what we get next time!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vegcentric View Post
Hawaiian beer?
That sounds soooo good!

Andrea I love reading your reviews because you're just so excited in all of them! It's so great, I'm really great you were able to get Chef TJ. Now, you're going back in May, right? I'm actually making my dining reservations in May for our trip in October (so far away! D so I hope you have an awesome trip but I'm wondering if your dining reviews will be here in time for when I'm making my reservations.

Would you mind if I direct messaged you later on in May before I make my reservations to see how you made out and where you ate?

I probably sound like a pain in the butt but your reviews have always been so helpful.
I'm so glad you enjoy the reviews! I love writing them, even if I do take forever!

Yes, me and my boyfriend are going back in May. We'll be back on the 15th unless we end up staying an extra day. So my reviews should start a few days after that. It's completely fine if you want to message me sooner than that! What day can you start making reservations?

Right now, we have reservations for 'Ohana, Tusker House, Tony's Town Sqaure, and California Grill. We'll be trying out a few new counter service restaurants, but will probably decide where to eat on the day-of for those.

This next trip will probably be our last Disney trip for a while. Probably until the Fantasyland expansion is done. So we're going to make the most of it!
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Old 03-17-2010, 10:48 PM   #22
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Awesome! Thanks a lot for that...

We're actually going with a group of people this time. I think we'll be able to make our reservations at the very end of May so there will probably be time to read your reviews before that.

California Grill is SO PRETTY. I could have eaten nothing at all and have been happy just looking outside. I wasn't too fond of their cocktails but eh, it was worth it for the view. We'll be pretty much at the mercy of our group wherever they want to go, but my sister is very adamant and protective of my husband and I when it comes to our lifestyle choices (we're lucky) so I know we'll be okay.

My sister wants to definitely go to Jiko and Cali Grill. I have never been to Tony's Town Square before so I'm interested in hearing how your trip goes. I love Lady and the Tramp. One of the best.
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Old 03-17-2010, 10:58 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vegcentric View Post
My sister wants to definitely go to Jiko and Cali Grill. I have never been to Tony's Town Square before so I'm interested in hearing how your trip goes. I love Lady and the Tramp. One of the best.
Ugh, I want to go to Jiko so bad. But I know Jon wouldn't want to go, because it's expensive. Especially not on this next trip, since we're already doing California Grill. Maybe next time

Sounds like you've got some good choices already, though!

Last time we went to Tony's (2007), we just had spaghetti and marinara (which is what I wanted from there). But I saw that they added this to the menu: "Multigrain Pasta Primavera - Seasonal Vegetables in Garlic and Olive Oil topped with Balsamic Glaze and Feta $13.99", so I thought I'd give it another shot. I just hope it's still on the menu in May! It sounds vegan, if ordered without the feta.
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Old 03-18-2010, 06:27 AM   #24
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Chef TJ is fantastic! Your dessert looks amazing.

I'm a vegetarian and I got the pitta chips/houmous and the tempura/tofu tower back in September. It was sooo good! I really hope Chef TJ is there in September when we eat at 'Ohana again.
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Old 03-18-2010, 02:23 PM   #25
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Even though I am not a vegan and believe PETA means People eating Tasty Animals, LOL..J/K.
That salAd wrap and soup(Oh who am I kidding?) that entire meal looks AWESOME!!
I wonder if I brought pics I could just request that entire meal?
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Old 03-18-2010, 03:05 PM   #26
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I love to see the chefs flex their skills- great review and pictures!
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Old 03-22-2010, 11:11 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disney_princess_85 View Post
Chef TJ is fantastic! Your dessert looks amazing.

I'm a vegetarian and I got the pitta chips/houmous and the tempura/tofu tower back in September. It was sooo good! I really hope Chef TJ is there in September when we eat at 'Ohana again.
I hope so, too! This was such an awesome meal, and Chef TJ is such an amazing man.

Quote:
Originally Posted by prttynpnk View Post
I love to see the chefs flex their skills- great review and pictures!
I do, too! I wish all of them enjoyed doing it as much as Chef TJ does.
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Old 03-22-2010, 02:57 PM   #28
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DAY 3 - Crystal Palace

Today was Magic Kingdom Day + the D23 First Anniversary Party. As was the norm on this trip, we were late arriving at the TTC. We had to wait on a few monorails, because they were only putting people in the last three compartments in order for the guests at the resorts to have room. Normally, I would have taken the ferry. But since it was freezing, and I was sick, we stuck it out longer for the monorail. Unfortuntately, we had to sacrifice our comfort and personal space for the warmth. They literally had us packed in like sardines, and we were stopping to pick up more. (What can I say? I love Weird Al. )

After the incredibly unformfortable monorail trip, we made it to the Magic Kingdom. We didn't make it in time for rope drop, and we still had to get a locker and pick up our D23 stuff.



When we checked in, we had to sign a form to say that we had picked up everything and then we had to sign a release form for photo/video taken by Disney during the event.

Included in our packet: Complimentary 1-day theme park ticket, event credentials, itenerary, and a voucher to recieve our free gift at the event.

After putting everything in our locker, we headed to Space Mountain for Fastpasses. Then we rode Buzz, Pirates, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain. Then we went to check out what the day's Jack Sparrow looked like But he was orange. A good actor, but very, very orange.

After that, we rode Haunted Mansion and then got in line to meet Princess Tiana! I was SO excited! She's one of my new favorite princesses, since she wants to open a restaurant. Just like me! Prince Naveen was very handsome and charming, and Princess Tiana was seriously so beautiful she looked like a cartoon character. Aladdin and Jasmine had apparantly played a prank on them, leaving a note in the gazeebo that said, "Magic Carpets are more fun than Riverboats! - Love, Aladdin and Jasmine". It was pretty funny

After that, and for the first time on this trip, we headed to the Crystal Palace early. We checked in ten minutes early, and recieved our pager.



Last time we didn't get a pager. They just had someone yelling for each party when it was their time. Did they have pagers before, and we just went on a day they weren't using them? Either way, I like the pager system much better









We were seated right on time, only a few seats away from where me and Jon sat last May. Our server took our drink orders


I got the raspberry lemonade, and my sister got orange juice and water.

After that, the chef came out to tell us what we could have. It was all the same as last year, so nothing new.

My sister got all the same stuff I did, so I'm just going to post my plates.


Plate #1: Edamame salad, Cucumber Salad with Ginger, Moroccan Couscous and Parsley salad, plus some lettuce with oil and vinegar.

My cold plate, apparantly. Lots of salads. Everything was a little more flavorful than I remember it being, so I enjoyed it all.


Plate #2: Broccoli with Puri Puri and Key Lime Ponzu (does anyone know what that is?), Curry Vegetables with Rice Noodles, Cinnamon and Lemon Infused Basmati Rice, Ratatouille, and Vegetable Medley with Arugula Oil.

My warm plate! Broccoli was good, curried noodles were AWESOMELY spicy, ratatouille was good, vegetables were a little plain.


Plate #3: More noodles, more coucous, and a pickle spear.

The noodles weren't as spicy as the batch I had before that, so I was disappointed. They still tasted good, they just weren't spicy like I was hoping for. The couscous was awesome. I didn't finish the pickle spear. I just wanted a few bites because I needed something tangy

At the end of our meal, the chef mentioned that there was some kind of brownie he could get for us. I can't remember what he said about it, something about no eggs or gluten or something like that. While I would have loved a brownie, I was a little iffy on the chef's knowledge of the product, so I declined. Maybe we can look into that more on our next trip.

And, just because there's no way to do a Crystal Palace review without mentioning the characters, here's me and my sister with Piglet:


I don't look too sick, do I?



All the characters made it to us within the 1.25 hours we were there, including Eeyore a second time. It was fun, but Jon and I won't be going back on our trip in May. I still like Crystal Palace, but I would much rather try something new instead of going back for the same old, same old.

Coming Up: The Diamond Horseshoe and D23 party
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Old 03-22-2010, 03:40 PM   #29
GirlfromTN
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Can't wait to hear about the d23 party!
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Old 03-22-2010, 03:52 PM   #30
purpleveg
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So, I have been lurking your reviews for a while and just got an account because I figure I need to thank you for posting such awesome reviews!
I just went vegan in January and was worried about my disney birthuation (birthday/graduation ) trip in June. Your reviews assured me that the Disney magic works with vegans too!
I just convinced my mom to let me make ADRs at Ohana, Tusker House and the Prime Time Cafe. So excited!

BTW, we wanted Ohana for the night we got there, but they only have it at 9.00 and I was wondering if you think that if I keep checking that it will show up if someone cancelled or something?

Thanks for all you helpful reviews! I love the pictures (these last Ohana ones sold me)
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