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Old 05-19-2010, 10:17 PM   #1
Golf4food
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Cool Penguins with a chance of... SQUIRREL!!! Photo Dining Review - Final Update 8-18

If you followed our pre-dining report "Penguins... with a Chance of Meatballs" or our first dining review from last year "Turf's Up, Too Much Food for Happy Feet" you already know enough about who we are to not take up more space with boring details like the fact that I'm 30 or that DW is 25, or that we love penguins, long walks on the beach, have two solid grey cats, miss the TV series Firefly (RIP), and we are both addicted to our iPhones. And if you don't already know those things then you can just click the above links and learn them already. We'll wait. I'll even play some cheesy elevator music for everyone else while you are gone.



Back? Good. That means we can get started!

Now then, since you've read the PDR then you know where we ate. Or do you? <Dramatic music cue here>

I'm sorry to say that we did not follow that original plan exactly. That's right... we deviated.

So the list below will not be exact - but I won't change it until we get to the actual meal, so until then you'll just have to guess as to what got changed and what didn't. Muahahahahaha.


Day 1:
Arrival Day
Dinner: Yachtsman Steakhouse - Part 1 - Part 2

Day 2:
Breakfast: POFQ Biegnets and Such
Lunch: Le Chefs de France - Premiere Partie - Parte Deux
Snacks: Sunshine Seasons & Kringla Bakery og Cafe
Dinner: Kona Cafe

Day 3:
Breakfast: Grand Floridian Cafe
Lunch: Liberty Tree Tavern
Dinner: Contempo Cafe

Day 4:
Breakfast: Riverside Mill
Lunch: Toy Story Pizza Planet
Snack: Writer's Stop & Beverly Sunset
Dinner: Boatwrights

Day 5:
Breakfast: Kona Cafe
Lunch: Earl of Sandwich


Final Thoughts


And in case anyone is wondering, my camera equipment used for the food pictures:

Pentax K-7 dSLR
Pentax 35mm f/2.8 Macro Ltd lens for most food shots
Pentax 18-55 WR lens for a few of the food shots
Pentax 50-200 WR lens for a very small number of shots that might get used in the review, but I think I mostly only used it for shows and Wishes from the Poly...


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Old 05-19-2010, 10:18 PM   #2
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Yachtsman Steakhouse - Part 1

Our first evening began as planned. After checking in to lovely and beautiful Port Orleans Riverside and our room in Magnolia Terrace we cleaned up and made our way to the Yachts Club, taking advantage of the free valet parking with our shiny new Tables in Wonderland card. We arrived 30-45 minutes ahead of our 6:40 ADR time, wandered around the lobby so I could take some photos, and then made our way down the hallway to the Yachstman Steakhouse.



And since so many are interested in current menus, I tried to take menu photos everywhere we ate just in case. Here's the menu posted out front of the Yachtsman:









There were not many people waiting and the restaurant was not crowded so we were given our pager and told it would just be a few minutes until we were seated. Long enough for me to take a few photos of the meat counter and restaurant.
















But enough with the restaurant, you want to see food...
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Old 05-19-2010, 10:19 PM   #3
Golf4food
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Yachtsman Steakhouse - Part 2

We decided to not order appetizers at the Yachtsman, opting instead to make sure we'd have room for dessert, but we did receive a basket of complimentary bread (mine told me I had nice eyes, haha... because they are complimentary... it's funny... ha... ha... hooooo...):



Also included was a large square of yummy soft butter sprinkled with a pink Hawaiian salt with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a small tub of fresh, hot garlic spread:



There are two types of rolls in the basket: a sourdough and an onion pull-apart.

Both breads were hot and tasted great. The spreads tasted wonderful on both of the breads, which is nice since you don't get that very often - many times the spreads will go with only one of the breads. The butter was nice and soft and easy to spread.

Agreed. Yummy breads. I preferred the sourdough of the two, but the garlic pull-apart was also very good. The garlic spread was a bit strong for my taste, but the butter was great.


Next up came the entrees:

I had the Filet Mignon with Red Wine Sauce and Mashed Potatos and we split a side of the Truffle Mac & Cheese:





I thought the steak was O.K. I've had lots of steaks that were better at WDW and frankly was expecting a great steak from a signature steakhouse, so it was a little disappointing. It was still good. I tried Golf4food's steak and thought it was a lot better and should have ordered that... But the mashed potatoes were really, really awesome. I might have lost the battle of the entrees but my side dish kicked the other side dishes butts. They were hearty and had really great flavor. The truffle mac & cheese tasted kind of weird. I'm not sure if this was the truffles (I've never had them before) but they were almost kind of pungent and not in a good way.


For my entree I had the Prime New York Strip with the Potatoes Gratin. The steak was very good - not the best I've ever had but very good. (In fairness, I'm not a big steak person and have only a handful of steaks in my life that were truly magical to me...) It came medium well as ordered but was still very tender and well seasoned. I had the red wine sauce on mine instead of the brandy peppercorn sauce it usually comes with - I don't do peppercorns. The potatoes gratin was a little weird: it is in a loaf, tightly pressed, difficult to cut, but tastes ok. Not great. Good. I also felt the truffle mac was a little odd tasting. Maybe the truffles, maybe the type of cheese. Either way I wouldn't get them again, and I love mac & cheese.





For dessert I had the Trio of Valrhona Chocolate.



Starting on the left: the Peanut and Chocolate was really good, a nice flavor balance; not overly peanutty or too sweet. It was my second favorite of the three. In the middle was the Coffee and Chocolate combination. This was good but the coffee liquor was a little strong. Yummy but my least favorite of the trio. Lastly was the Salted Caramel and Chocolate. WOW! Rich, buttery caramel and chocolate, really amazing. I'm getting three of these next time (our waiter said you can do this!). Easy among the best of all the desserts I've ever had at Disney, not just the chocolate ones.


For my dessert I had the Pistachio Tasting:





The presentation was outstanding - one of the best "looking" desserts I've had at WDW. It contained a layered pistachio cake with chocolate on top that was moist and very tasty. The pistachio ice cream was mild and not overly sweet at all. The tall glass contained a parfait of mouses (Mice? Meeces? Moosi?) containing pistachio, white chocolate, and milk chocolate. All layers were tasty - our server brought out a long tea stirring spoon to help get all the way down into the chocolate bottom since a normal dessert spoon is too big for the narrow glass. Sprinkled on the plate were dark chocolate pieces and a stripe of caramel sauce. All of it was very flavorful and nice - not overly sweet, but not at all unsweet or too nutty. As good as it was, though, I'd still do the salted caramel chocolate dessert (times three) because it was just so darn amazing (I got a few bites! Woo-hoo!).


Our server was Brandon: he was friendly and attentive but not hovering and a good server. The only minus for him was that he took the yummy butter when clearing our empty bread basket before the entrees arrive though we still had bread on our small plates - he asked if we wanted more bread and we declined so he cleared it away to make room and we forgot all about the butter until I wanted to add butter to half of a roll later when the meal came. No biggie. Aside from that very small thing we have zero complaints.

Both of us agree on the score for this meal: Four Penguins




Final thoughts: This was a good meal and we'd be willing to go back and tweak our orders a little, but we hold the signature restaurants to a higher standard and this meal was not overall quite as amazing as we were hoping or expecting. Parts of it were great - like the salted caramel - but the rest was slightly lacking compared to expectations.

Cost:
$91.75 subtotal
$20.64 18% TIW Gratuity
$5.97 Tax
-----------
$118.36 Total

TIW Savings: $22.94
TIW Valet Savings: $10 ($12 free minus the $2 tip for the valet)







But wait! I almost forgot!

Brandon brought us out a special pre-dessert since we were celebrating (noted on our ressie) an accomplishment at work. This was a pair of bite sized desserts: two apricot gellies and two salted fudge squares.





Neither of us are fans of apricot but we ate them and they were ok (probably good if you enjoy apricot...) but the salted chocolate fudge bites were really, really good. Soft and fudgey and the salt was sharp and a perfect counterpoint. And the plate said "Congratulations" spelled out in powdered chocolate, which is always nice.





Up next? Breakfast and our first full day in a park.
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Old 05-19-2010, 10:35 PM   #4
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I'm in
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Old 05-19-2010, 11:46 PM   #5
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Great start, can't wait to hear about your meal at Yachtsman, and the rest!
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Old 05-20-2010, 10:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
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I'm in
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Great start, can't wait to hear about your meal at Yachtsman, and the rest!
Thanks for joining us!
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Old 05-20-2010, 11:36 PM   #7
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Had to hop over from your pre-trip I got lost on my very special mission to find a bird and make him my prisoner.

Anyways I was hoping the potatoes gratin wouldn't be so um square like!
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Old 05-21-2010, 02:59 AM   #8
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i couldn't stop eating the mac and cheese when i ordered it last year. i guess it must be a matter of taste or maybe they changed it?
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Old 05-21-2010, 08:33 AM   #9
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great start, your pictures look so good.
cant wait to read more.xxx
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PixieDustandEeyore View Post
Had to hop over from your pre-trip I got lost on my very special mission to find a bird and make him my prisoner.

Anyways I was hoping the potatoes gratin wouldn't be so um square like!
Yeah, I didn't realize the gratin would be a block. The layer on top hardened a bit while baking and was hard to cut, and that made the knife really just push on everything and smoosh it out rather than actually cut through anything (this with the steak knife!). It was a bit weird.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ocdisney08 View Post
i couldn't stop eating the mac and cheese when i ordered it last year. i guess it must be a matter of taste or maybe they changed it?
I'm sure other people love it. Just not to our taste. Too strong and didn't really blend with our other food items. Kind of like a saxaphone - they are fine on their own but they don't blend with anything and stick out like a sore thumb.


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Originally Posted by darthtatty View Post
great start, your pictures look so good.
cant wait to read more.xxx
Thank you!
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Old 05-21-2010, 10:00 AM   #11
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Hello there!!! Loving your review so far!
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Old 05-21-2010, 11:51 AM   #12
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I love how detailed your reviews are and your pictures are great! I can't wait to read more
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Old 05-21-2010, 08:58 PM   #13
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Subbing, love your report so far, those desserts=yummy !!!
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Old 05-21-2010, 10:35 PM   #14
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Hello there!!! Loving your review so far!
Quote:
Originally Posted by butiflfeet View Post
I love how detailed your reviews are and your pictures are great! I can't wait to read more
Quote:
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Subbing, love your report so far, those desserts=yummy !!!
Thanks for joining.

The desserts were certainly a highlight.


Back with another food update tomorrow evening - got a conference this weekend taking up most of our time and I still have to upload the next group of photos to Flickr...
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Old 05-23-2010, 10:27 PM   #15
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Day 2: Breakfast: POFQ Foodcourt Sassagoula Floatworks

Day two - our first park day. We started things off bright and early with a fresh pot of our own Fresh Market Kona blend coffee, fresh ground in our brought-from-home coffee grinder, and using bottled Zephyrhills water. (As Hammond says in Jurrasic Park, "We spared no expense.")



After pouring our nice hot joe into some to-go cups we also brought along it was time to take the short drive from our POR Mansion over to the main lot at POFQ and inside for some breakfast.



And this, my friends, is why we take the few minutes to go over to POFQ at least once for breakfast instead of staying at POR:

The Biegnet Lady (though it sometimes might be a man - doesn't matter):



Added bonus: since there is no TS restaurant at POFQ you can get the 20% TIW discount in the Sassagoula Floatworks - score!

The 20% discount and presence of biegnets is (barely) enough to offset the fact that the food court seating area is full of clowns, clown faces, clown masks, and other terrifying clown paraphernalia hanging from the ceiling. This touches on two of Tazicket's greatest fears: clowns, and anything hanging above you from the ceiling. Thankfully, we discovered one redeeming ceiling dweller (actually there are a pair) - everyone's favorite flightless fowl of the Antarctic (south pole; remember, there are no penguins at the north pole naturally, no matter who Santa imports for help):




So we found ourselves a fairly safe table (70-80% of the tables were occupied) with a view of penguins achieving their dreams of flight that also happened to be next to a TV showing Playhouse Disney where we learned how to swing on a swing in just three simple steps! Woo!



But enough about our fun having, you want to see some vittles.

Of course you have to start with the beignets while they are still piping hot and fresh:



Here's a cross section so the curious can see what they look like on the inside - as you can see a biegnet is 90% hot air (like politicians, only better <rimshot>):



To round out our breakfast we split a King Creole breakfast platter from the hot line consisting of scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, double bacon (subbed one for sausage), and a biscuit (no, Brits, not a cookie, a Southern biscuit - why on earth would you call a cookie a biscuit anyway? ):





Biegnets: Yum! I really love these! They're nice and sweet without being overly greasy and I somehow managed to finish mine without winding up wearing most of the powdered sugar (which you know is a fairly major accomplishment for me if you read our last trip report)!
Eggs: these were really good; they had great flavor and weren't overly runny or too dry. Oddly enough they wound up being my favorite scrambled eggs of the entire trip.
Bacon: was ok. It was a little thin and floppy for my tastes - I like it crispier, but it had good flavor.
Potatoes: were the superstar; great flavor.
Biscuit: was almost a waste of space for me, I really didn't care for it and only ate a bite.
Coffee: was awesome, of course - our coffee made fresh ground always is, ha


Biegnets: fresh, hot, and fluffy, still steaming when we bit into them (or cut the third in half to share as per photo above)
Eggs: very nice for food court eggs, I was pleasantly surprised. Nice consistency and flavor.
Bacon: a little thin and not as crispy as I like, but good flavor and close
Potatoes: great flavor and still has the skins (which is the healthy part!)
Biscuit: not bad, not great. Soft and mostly fluffy but it ain't Grandma's


So, overall we found our meal at Sassagoula SQUIRREL!


.
.
.
.
.
.

Floatworks to be a nice start to our morning. Fresh biegnets are always a great way to start the day.

We give it three and a half penguins, which is about as good as I ever expect any foodcourt to be, so for what they are, they score almost perfect:




Bill:
Biegnets (3): $2.99
King Creole Platter: $6.29
TIW 20% Discount: ($1.86)
Tax: $0.49
-------------------
Total: 7.91


Total TIW Savings so far: $34.80





.
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