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Old 11-01-2012, 09:50 PM   #61
nanienamou
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This morning, it was time to check out of AOA and head to the Dolphin for the second part of our trip. Before leaving, we wanted to try out the breakfast at Landscape of Flavors. This might have been a bad idea. We had yet to be impressed with a food court breakfast in WDW...

The place, at 9 in the morning, was completely packed, noisy, and hectic. Now, I'm not a morning person and I need a little quiet in the morning, so I was not feeling the love at that moment, especially since I had to go wait in long lines for our food.

What interested me here was the World Flavor Breakfast platter with scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, bacon, Portugese sausage and mini naan bread.

This is what we got...


Are you serious? I could already tell that this would be bad. And it was! First of all, nothing was hot. The eggs were edible, they were the best part but there was less than an egg on the plate. Bacon was your typical nasty Disney bacon and there was only one flimsy little strip, the two rock-looking thingies were hard potatoes with the skin still on, no flavor at all. The naan was hard and dry. The Portugese sausage - again only one small link, was well-seasoned, but DH actually bit in a bone that was in the meat! Yuck! Bone in a sausage!

In the food court's defense, we looked at the other platters/breakfast plates going by and they were looking much more appealing than ours. However, sadly, this experience enforced our idea that food court breakfasts in WDW are just not worth it.

Luckily, we had our first round of Food and Wine coming up to forget this horrible breakfast!
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:04 PM   #62
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Aw. I was also disappointed with that breakfast platter in August, and it sounds like it definitely hasn't improved. Oh well - I hope F&W made up for it.
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:10 PM   #63
nanienamou
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I remember reading your review, too, I should have known better and chosen something else. I still have in mind DH's face when he saw this plate, like he was saying "are you serious"!
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:30 PM   #64
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I have been mostly underwhelmed with Disney breakfast food as well. But we were pleasantly surprised to find several decent breakfasts at Roaring Fork on our last trip. Overall, though, I don't think breakfast is something Disney does very well. Even on our cruise it was just OK. Loving your reviews though !!
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Old 11-02-2012, 10:45 AM   #65
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This is awesome so far!! Thanks for sharing everything with us, and huge congrats on the weight loss! I am going to get myself a tiara for our upcoming trip, LOVE IT! Where else could I (a 44yo woman) do something like that besides WDW?? lol
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Old 11-02-2012, 04:33 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by jecskc View Post
I have been mostly underwhelmed with Disney breakfast food as well. But we were pleasantly surprised to find several decent breakfasts at Roaring Fork on our last trip. Overall, though, I don't think breakfast is something Disney does very well. Even on our cruise it was just OK. Loving your reviews though !!
We need to get over to WL to try Roaring Fork. With DVC, it is in our plans. I must say that we really liked some table-service breakfast later in the trip. And we had a breakfast stop at Sunshine Seasons because I needed the blueberry croissant bread pudding. So yummy!

Quote:
This is awesome so far!! Thanks for sharing everything with us, and huge congrats on the weight loss! I am going to get myself a tiara for our upcoming trip, LOVE IT! Where else could I (a 44yo woman) do something like that besides WDW?? lol
It was really fun wearing the tiara. I got so many great comments and it was not that expensive, 30 $ at the DtD Arribas Bros. I got one with the combs at the ends because it stayed in place much more.
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Old 11-02-2012, 04:50 PM   #67
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That is the most pathetic looking breakfast I ever saw! When AoA first opened I planned on going there one morning and one afternoon to have breakfast and lunch...that was until the reviews starting coming in, they were all saying the same thing, the place was a zoo and the food wasnt worth going there.

While I love the concept it just doesnt work if the food stinks!

Knowing how insane the food courts are at the values I expected AoA to be a lot worse and I guess I was right
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Old 11-02-2012, 06:25 PM   #68
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Since our room was not ready when we got to the hotel, we stored our luggage at the Dolphin's bell service and we were off for our first round of Food and Wine.

First stop: Ireland, where DH had the item he has been dreaming about for the last year: Warm chocolate lava cake with Baileys ganache.



No chocolate lava center for this round, as it was a tad overcooked, but it still remains a top pick for DH. I don't really care for these types of dessert, so I did not try it. The portion is small, but it is rich and sweet so a little goes a long way.

We then took a stroll to the Festival Center in Future World to browse the merchandise and try Ghirardelli's offering: Gourmet drinking chocolate, that we paired with a flute of Rosa Regale



They describe the chocolate as a liquid candy bar and I would agree. What really surprised me was that it is served lukewarm, not hot, at melting temperature. It was rich but not too sweet with a nice smooth texture. But where it blew my mind, it was when I had a little sip of Rosa with it. Unbelievably good! Rosa pairs really well with sweets (chocolate in particular), but it not overly syrupy like other dessert wines and has bubbles, too. It's light and refreshing, with a slight berry aroma.

After a while in Future World, we made our way to World Showcase. We took a Friendship across the lagoon to Morocco. I was on a mission: I wanted to sample Japan's offerings. We got the Spicy Hand Roll and the Sake Strawberry Mist.



The hand roll was indeed spicy, both because of the volcano sauce and the chili peppers mixed in the salmon and tuna. It was fresh and the rice was well-prepared and still moist and sticky. I hate when I'm served sushi with dried out rice. The strawberry mist was also very good and served frozen, it was refreshing, had a slight kick but the sake taste was really subtle. A good little cocktail to calm our taste buds after the spicy sushi.

The next booth was Singapore where DH chose the beef Rendang with jasmine rice.



This was a nice dish. The sauce had a spicy side, but the plain rice tempered it. You could actually spot the chili flakes in the dish. The sauce was flavorful and thick, the beef perfectly braised for a curry, not dried out and very tender. The portion was also pretty big.

When we arrived at the Morocco booth, I had a nice surprise: the chicken harissa roll was on the menu! Last year, I missed out on this and it was not on the official brochure or passport this year so I'm glad they offered it and I ordered one. Here it is, once I split it in half.



This was weird for me. It did not have North-African spices but more of a tex-mex feel with corn and black beans. It was not what I expected, however, it was still good but not representative of Morocco, imo. The roll is fried, but it was hot, crispy and well-drained.

Ready for another cocktail, I headed at the back of Tangierine Café for a Tangerine Daiquiri. These are in slush dispensers and offered in many flavors. They add alcohol on top of the slush, so be sure to stir well before drinking! And the CMs here are very generous in their pours, too.



It had a nice orange taste, on the sweet side but a great value. They serve the cocktails in a plastic glass that you could take back home, but I'm not sure it would survive the dishwasher.

Our next stop was New Zealand, for the Lamb meatball with spicy tomato chutney.



Where's the meat?



Aaaah, there it is! As you can see, they were not cheap with the chutney, which was a good thing since it was delicious! Not too spicy, a little bit sweet, but still savory, it paired really nicely with the meatball. The meatball was dense, I did not detect fillers, it was seasoned and well-cooked. It was not gamey, but then again, I'm a lamb fan. The brad bowl was nice too, really light and fluffy, not soggy and still fresh.

The last booth we hit was France for a little carb goodness, where we ordered the Crème brûlée au chocolat au lait.



I couldn't detect much chocolate in this which was nice for me, but a little disappointing for DH. You can see in the pic that the custard was not a chocolate brown, but more a beige. The top was nice and crunchy, the custard had a nice texture and it was nicely chilled. A pleasant ending to our first F&W visit.

Now we needed a nap before our California Grill ADR!
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Old 11-02-2012, 06:38 PM   #69
nanienamou
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Originally Posted by MickeyNicki View Post
That is the most pathetic looking breakfast I ever saw! When AoA first opened I planned on going there one morning and one afternoon to have breakfast and lunch...that was until the reviews starting coming in, they were all saying the same thing, the place was a zoo and the food wasnt worth going there.

While I love the concept it just doesnt work if the food stinks!

Knowing how insane the food courts are at the values I expected AoA to be a lot worse and I guess I was right
Yep, I,m happy to have had a chance to try it once, but I would not make a detour to eat here again. In fact, we pretty much decided that value resorts are not for us. Just too hectic and too many people - the food court was always packed. Two nights were enough.
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Old 11-02-2012, 06:47 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by nanienamou View Post
It was really fun wearing the tiara. I got so many great comments and it was not that expensive, 30 $ at the DtD Arribas Bros. I got one with the combs at the ends because it stayed in place much more.
Ok, I am going to go there the day we arrive!!
BTW, I just read your review from 2011 and it was excellent, such a great job!
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Old 11-03-2012, 12:00 PM   #71
nanienamou
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Ok, I am going to go there the day we arrive!!
BTW, I just read your review from 2011 and it was excellent, such a great job!
Thank you, I love writing these reviews, it helps cope with the post-Disney blues!
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Old 11-03-2012, 01:27 PM   #72
nanienamou
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After a nice rest, we were off to California Grill. We were about an hour early for our 9:30 reservations, but they let us check in and go up. Turns out we were seated almost immediately, so that was really nice.

However, all in all, I'm still not sure how I would describe our dining experience at California Grill. Now, let me explain. Jiko was the best meal of our trip, but the service was just ok, not what I would have expected in a signature restaurant. Overall, we found that service was really lacking at table service restaurants this trip. We had a couple of servers who were excellent, but the others ranged from blah to just ok. Two of our major pet peeves was that our water glasses were not refilled when completely empty and servers seemed to disappear for long periods of time, often not checking back to see if we needed something or if our food was to our liking. That being said, I'm not losing faith in Disney dining, I just hope we hit a bad streak.

Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself... The greeter was really friendly and knowledgeable, and explained and visited the restaurant with us before leading us to our table. Our table was covered with Mickey confetti to celebrate our anniversary, which was a really nice touch.

Having some pre-dining fun



Our server came to greet us after a couple of minutes and took our beverage order. I wanted a nice glass of Malbec and the server asked for my id, which is no big deal, it happens to me all the time at Disney, even though I'm 10 years older than the legal drinking age. I proceeded to show him my Quebec-issued driver's license and he kind of frowned and told me, for my information, that the only piece of id that could be trusted was my passport. Um... excuse me? I'm not going to tour Disney World with my passport and risk loosing it just to have a drink. It stays in the safe at the hotel. Furthermore, this was the first time I heard this from any CM. He then announced that he would make an exception (like he was doing me a favor) and serve me wine. This came off as extremely arrogant to me and tainted the experience a bit.

At least, the wine was good...



We settled for two appetizers to start. First, the Hardwood smoked salmon flatbread with chive cream cheese, capers, black tobiko and a soft cooked egg.



These are flavors that we love, so I knew it would be a winner. The capers with the salmon are absolutely delicious, the crust was well-cooked, the toppings were just in right ratio/quantity. The only minor complaint that I could have was the egg. It was a little undercooked. This did not really bother us a lot, but the white was still a little too runny and on the cold-ish side. I would have preferred it a little more solid on the outside, leaving a perfectly runny and lukewarm yolk.

We also picked the Sonoma goat cheese ravioli, with sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, shiitake mushrooms and basil.



Sadly, we were underwhelmed with this dish even though it is one of the place's signature dishes. I did not taste any pesto, feeling that the seasoning was lacking. When we cut in the ravioli, the filling was actually watery, not creamy at all, as if the ravioli was not correctly sealed when made, and some water had infiltrated it while cooking. We would not get this again.

At this time, we stepped out to watch HalloWishes, which was a real treat, since I had not planned on this when I had made the reservation for 9:30 - fireworks were planned for 9:00. It was fun to watch from a distance, but I would recommend a cardigan, it was windy and a little chilly up there.

We received some nice and tasty sourdough bread however, the butter was really hard and cold... At this point, our glasses of water had been drained for a while (even before the fireworks) and were still not refilled. DH had to request some more water...



We then decided on a sushi course and ordered the Spicy kazan roll with crab, shrimp, scallops, tuna and fireball sauce. It took some time to come out and the server told us twice that the dish was coming. In the meantime, the table next to us were ordering and I overheard their server advising them that they had run out of sushi rice for the night. They seemed very disappointed - I would have been too. I was happy and relieved when this was placed in front of us.



oooooh... this was good! The scallops underneath the tempura crunch are actually hot, making for a great contrast with the sauce and the roll. The rice was perfect, moist, sweet, fresh and the texture of the dish was really interesting, crunchy tempura, fresh and crisp cucumber salad, spicy silky sauce and soft seafood. We would definitely try California Grill again for the sushi alone! It was fantastic!

On to the dessert course... I ordered a glass of Quady Essencia Orange Muscat from California. Here the server redeemed himself a little, he brought out two glasses and shared the wine for us. He was really generous in his pour, too.



The wine was nice and chilled and paired really well with DH's dessert choice, the Valrhona chocolate cake, with blackberry citrus sorbet and blackberry sangria syrup. There was a nice little congratulation chocolate plaque on the plate, too.



I had only a small bite of the cake, and I have to say that it was delicious and perfectly cooked with a molten center even though it was too chocolaty for me. I also had some of the sorbet with my wine, a great pairing, since they both had citrus notes. DH was in chocolate heaven, he said it was the best chocolate cake he ever had. He also really liked the sorbet and the sauce.

And that concludes our meal at California Grill. There were some highs and some lows, I'm not sure the service was worthy of a signature restaurant, but I think we would give it another chance, especially for the sushi.

Last edited by nanienamou; 11-03-2012 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 11-04-2012, 01:27 AM   #73
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Sorry that the CG meal was a mixed bag overall - I can definitely understand where you're coming from. That salmon flatbread looks really interesting - I really enjoy smoked salmon with the traditional accompaniments, so it sounds wonderful to me.
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Old 11-04-2012, 03:24 AM   #74
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Really enjoying your reviews
Glad to see that you enjoyed Jiko so much - it really is a superb restaurant
Your sushi at CG looks delicious!
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Old 11-04-2012, 09:21 AM   #75
nanienamou
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Sorry that the CG meal was a mixed bag overall - I can definitely understand where you're coming from. That salmon flatbread looks really interesting - I really enjoy smoked salmon with the traditional accompaniments, so it sounds wonderful to me.
Yep, it was a weird experience. The flatbreads at Jiko and CG were great discoveries! I'm so glad we tried them.

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Really enjoying your reviews
Glad to see that you enjoyed Jiko so much - it really is a superb restaurant
Your sushi at CG looks delicious!
Thank you for reading! Yes, that sushi was delicious! I sure hope they keep it on the menu after the refurb.
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