A few GF dining reviews - November 2012

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by valree, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. valree

    valree Mouseketeer

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    Hi everyone!
    I have a few GF dining reviews from my trip in November. I’m sure some of the GF products have changed in the time that it has taken me to do my review, but you can get a general sense of how things went during my trip. I kept forgetting to take pictures so I don’t have very many.

    Kona Cafe
    After checking into my hotel and driving around WDW a little, I drove to the Polynesian for lunch. I was right on time for my 12:45 reservation and only waited about a minute before the hostess showed me to my table. My server, Pat, took my drink order and brought me some GF rolls with butter. She then went to get the chef who walked me through my options. I only had one item on my mind thank s to snorris49’s recommendation. :goodvibes Chef Jonny took my order for the Island Chicken Sandwich and said that the only thing that he needed to do is remove the fried onions. I also asked for French fries instead of chips.

    The sandwich was very good despite the bizarre bread. I don’t know what kind of bread Disney was using at the time, but all I knew was that it had a strange texture and had completely fallen apart by the time I was done with the sandwich. It didn’t taste Udi-ish to me, and the color didn’t seem like Udi’s color either. Could it have been GNI? Also, the bread was too small for the size of chicken that I received. The chicken had a good flavor although it was a little too charred in some places. I’m not a big curry fan, but I loved the curry mayonnaise! It had a nice subtle sweetness to it that added some good flavor to the sandwich. I was using so much of the mayo that I needed a second serving of it. The bacon was a perfect texture (not too limp), and the fries were done just right. For dessert, Pat brought me a coconut macaroon. She said not to worry because it was GF. I didn’t get one of these on my last visit to Kona, but it was a nice touch. The macaroon was a little bigger than a quarter, and it had a very strong coconut flavor. It was a great end to my meal. Kona had good food, quiet atmosphere, and great service.

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    Next up: Cake in the City
     
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  3. valree

    valree Mouseketeer

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    Cake in the City
    Before I had left home for WDW, I wrote down a list of places where I could get GF cupcakes. It’s nice to have a GF dessert that isn’t a crème brulee or a sorbet. So after eating lunch at Kona, I decided to get a cupcake and get my hair done. I consulted my list and headed to Cake in the City, which is in Orlando. It’s definitely not around the corner from WDW, but the salon was on that side of town anyway so it wasn’t that bad for me. The bakery is located in strip mall on Apopka Vineland Road. I met the owner, and we talked briefly about the GF cupcakes. I’m picky about flour so I relieved when she said that she makes the cupcakes using rice flour. I hate bean flours because they taste bitter or metallic to me. Because it was fall, the GF cupcake that day was pumpkin with a cream cheese frosting. If you call ahead, you can special order other flavors. I wanted to come back on Saturday to get more cupcakes, but I didn’t have time. There are chairs in the shop so that you eat the cupcake there while drinking a glass of milk (wish I had time to do that), but I took the cupcake to go in a small clamshell and got a bottle of water so that I could eat it later on. I ate the cupcake while I sat under the dryer at the salon, and it was delicious! Because the frosting was a cream cheese frosting, it wasn’t overly sweet. The cupcake itself was very moist with a nice subtle pumpkin flavor. I will definitely go there on my next trip, but I'll also try out the Yumyum Cupcake Truck that is also on my list.


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    Next Up: Sanaa
     
  4. valree

    valree Mouseketeer

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    Sanaa
    I had a reservation at Sanaa at 7:05 and arrived on time. I waited just about 1 minute before the host showed me to my table. I wish I hadn’t eaten lunch so that I would have been really hungry to eat dinner. I had wanted to try the bread service, but there’s no way I could have eaten it. My server was Rico, who was very friendly and attentive. He confirmed that I was a GF diner and went to get the chef. The chef, Trish, came out to talk to me about my options. I wanted the Butter Chicken and the Short Ribs under the Slow Cooked in Gravy, Simple and Well Seasoned part of the menu. I asked Trish what part of the chicken was used in the Butter Chicken and she said that it was thigh. I asked if I could get breast instead, and she said that was no problem.

    The Butter Chicken was a winner! The chicken pieces were moist, and I would drink the sauce out of a mug if they let me. The short ribs were very tender and fell apart the way perfectly cooked short ribs do. They were a little on the cinnamon-y (?) side (I’m not sure if that was cinnamon or not and I should have asked), which I wasn’t expecting, but it was still good. The sauce for the ribs had a nice thick texture. The chef stopped by to see how I was doing and explained how they used to make the sauce with sriracha, but now they use scotch bonnet peppers. She also told me that the sauce is made from vegetables that are cooked, blended together and then added back to the meat; they don’t thicken it with a roux. So that explained the consistency. It’s a very flavorful sauce. I loved the side of basmati rice as well even though I could have done with a bigger serving. I loved the atmosphere at Sanaa, and I’d go back in a heartbeat. I talked about the Butter Chicken for days, and I can’t wait to have it again on my next trip!

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    Next up: Landscape of Flavors
     
  5. valree

    valree Mouseketeer

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    Landscape of Flavors
    The rest of the group had arrived into town so I decided to take them over to AoA to check out the resort. I only had an apple for breakfast so I was pretty hungry by the time we got to the hotel. After walking around the resort and taking pictures for a little while, I was famished. I took my goddaughter to Landscape of Flavors while my friend took his son to the arcade. It was around 12:30, and the food court was very busy. We walked around to the different stations and looked at the menu options. I decided to have the adult create your own pasta, and my goddaughter had the kids pasta. I walked up to the part of the station where you order your food and said that I had a GF dining request. Then it seems as if time stood still. I moved out of the line so I wouldn’t cause a hold up the line, and went down to the area where you picked up your food. But then I was causing a bottleneck there as people were trying to exit! We were there for a long time before we saw another family talking to a chef about GF meals. We figured that this is the man we needed to see so after he was done with the other family, I went up to him and said that I would also like to order a GF meal. Chef Tony was super friendly and took my order for GF pasta with marinara, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, and olives. After I placed my order, we went back in line to order my goddaughter’s pasta with alfredo sauce. It didn’t take long for Chef Tony to bring us our food, and then we made our way to the cashier.

    The meal was OK. It tasted exactly how I remember Disney food court pasta to taste. The texture of the pasta was fine. I think I remember seeing that Disney is still using Mrs. Leepers brand pasta. I should have added some red pepper flakes to spice it up a bit. It was a good size portion, and I didn’t end up eating it all. Next time, I won’t visit during the busiest part of the afternoon and I’ll try a different menu item. The caprese sandwich and the buffalo turkey sandwich sound pretty good.

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  6. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

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    Just so you know, you do have at least one person following along. I'm enjoying your reviews. I know others are following along too but I also know that it's easy to begin to wonder when nobody responds. Great reviews so far.

    When we stayed at AoA we ordered that create your own pasta several times. LOVED IT!!! I never bothered getting in the specific line for the items I wanted. There was almost never anybody in line at the Tandoori station when we'd get there so I always just walked up to the CMs standing around there to ask for a chef.
     
  7. valree

    valree Mouseketeer

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    Hi there!
    Thanks for following along! I have a few more to go, and I hope to be done by Thursday night. It's not like I do super detailed reviews so I don't know why it takes me such a long time to write them!
     
  8. tavettava

    tavettava DIS Veteran

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    I'm following too.
     
  9. DisneyDreamGirl87

    DisneyDreamGirl87 Mouseketeer

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    I would love more reviews! I am celiac and will be taking a holiday trip in December. Your reviews make it definitely seem that ill be able to have a meal other than a burger on gf bun! Yay!

    Ellie :-)
     
  10. FairyDust

    FairyDust Earning My Ears

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    I'm following your great reviews. I have Celiac too. Love to hear to more....
     
  11. SDSorority

    SDSorority Traumatized by Magic Journeys and Haunted Mansion

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  12. wiigirl

    wiigirl DIS Veteran

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    I am following along...:goodvibes
     
  13. valree

    valree Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for following along, everyone! I'm off to post my pics in the Allergy thread!

    Paradiso 37
    Our group headed to Downtown Disney for our reservation at Paradiso 37. I hadnt been to Downtown Disney in years so I was unprepared for how crowded it gets and how hard it can be to find parking. Had I known how bad the parking situation was, I would have just had the group walk down the street since we were staying at the Holiday Inn Downtown Disney. That might have been faster! Even though our ADR was for 5:20, DTD was still busy because it was a Friday and a holiday weekend.

    Our group of 7 (4 adults and 3 children) got to the restaurant a little after our ADR time. The restaurant wasnt crowded when we got there, but it got a lot busier by the time we were done. Once we were seated, we decided to get some appetizers. The server confirmed that the tortilla chips fried in the same oil as gluten-containing items. Im not usually that sensitive, but because I was on vacation I didnt want to take a chance. I read another review (maybe Tripadvisor?) where someone said that the chef made fresh chips for the reviewer, but this wasnt presented as an option, and I wasnt that desperate for chips anyway. Normally, I am, but this time I kept it together! Everyone else decided to split the Chorizo & Beef Skewers and Mexican Dipping Trio. I ordered the Central American Crazy Corn. The Corn was really good! I dont have any pictures of it, but the menu describes this as Fire roasted corn on the cob, spicy yellow pepper sauce, and imported cheeses. The word cheese should really be CHEESE because there is a ton of it in this dish, but youll never hear me complain that something is too cheesy. You get 3 cobs split in half for a total of 6 mini cobs. I thought the corn was going to be a hit with the kids, but think only 1 other person at the table took some. I think they were too busy with the skewers. The corn was good, and I would order it again. The sauce had a subtle kick, but I wouldnt really call it spicy. Theres a hit of something in there maybe its mayonnaise that I didnt like, but overall, I enjoyed it.

    I had the chicken enchiladas for my entree. I dont remember if the chef had to do anything special in order to make these GF. There were 2 or 3 in the order, and they were pretty unremarkable. The enchiladas were filled with shredded chicken and topped with a red sauce, lettuce, and pico de gallo. This is a not a huge portion, and I was glad that I had eaten the corn beforehand. The enchiladas were pretty dry even with the red sauce. The rice and beans were nothing to write home about.

    Our table size seemed fine when we first sat down, but by the time the appetizers and entrees came, we were wishing for more space. We had to keep piling up dishes in order to make room for things. Beware if youre in a group, and you plan on eating appetizers.

    The service was fine. No one was excellent, and no one was terrible. We had a few different people helping our server bring out all of the food, and they were all fine.

    Ive read other reviews about GF dining at Paradiso 37, and the reviewers seemed to really enjoy the restaurant. I wouldnt say that I didnt enjoy my meal, but it was nothing to rave about. Ill have to try it again, and maybe I need to go on a weekday night when its not so busy. A reviewer on allergyfreemouse took pictures of some pretty good-looking chicken tacos!

    Babycakes NYC
    After walking around Downtown Disney, we headed to Babycakes. By this time, Downtown Disney was really crowded so it took us a while to get there. Plus, we had a stops for souvenirs and Italian ice. I had asked Emily, the GM at Babycakes and frequent guest on the WDW Today podcast, about the items containing garbanzo bean flour, and she helped me choose what to get. Emily was great, and very quick to respond to any questions that you might have. She said that most things contain garbanzo bean flour except for the Brownie Bites and Brownie Cupcakes. I decided on a Brownie Cupcake. I paid for it, and ate in the hotel room. What a mistake! If I had eaten it there, I would have known to go back and get 4 more! It was delicious! The brownie was moist, and the frosting was not overly sweet. Now I had to plan time to come back and get more. That never happened, and thankfully I had my emergency French Meadow brownies that I always take with me. I will definitely go back to Babycakes on my next trip!

    Next up: Cosmic Ray's
     
  14. DisneyMom5

    DisneyMom5 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for your reviews!
    I have to agree on the metallic taste...I thought I was the only one who reacted to bean flour that way.
    My son is actually the GF one, but I taste his stuff.
    Can't wait it read more!
     
  15. TourPixie

    TourPixie Earning My Ears

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    Thank you so much for these reviews. I am getting really anxious about my trip next month. I went to DW last year and ate whatever I wanted then found out in July that I had an allergy. Since that time I have made the mistake of eating gluten just once and I was sick for days. I just can not do that on vacation with my kids. I have enjoyed reading your post that I can find some good food despite my special diet
     
  16. valree

    valree Mouseketeer

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    Hi DisneyMom! I'd rather not have dessert than eat something with bean flour, and that is shocking because I'm not usually one to turn down dessert!


    Hi TourPixie! I found that planning things ahead of time was key for me. I read lots of reviews and blogs to see what other people had experienced. It may be easier for you now that Disney is doing the "lists" again. I loved having those in the past. If you're in the mood for chicken tenders, you know where to go. Looking for a burger, you can lead your group in that direction. The other thing that helped me was having my "emergency" supplies. The French Meadow brownies always work for me. The ones that I bought were smaller than the ones that Disney used to sell, but you can put a couple in your bag when you leave in the morning. That way you're not left out while everyone else is stuffing their faces with funnel cake. I also always travel with a bar or an apple. Do you have any ADRs? Maybe some of us can give you some advice on restaurants or menu items.
     
  17. valree

    valree Mouseketeer

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    Cosmic Ray's
    On Magic Kingdom day, I only ate an apple for breakfast because I didn’t want to spend the time at a sit-down restaurant. I wanted to get to the park early! I think that I need to accept the fact that I will never make it to rope drop. I want to do it just once in my life, but something always happens! Little did I know that no one in my group had eaten so when we got to the park, they wanted to sit down and eat at the Main Street Bakery. We had a few snacks with us to nibble on during the day, but by the afternoon, I was starving and ready to eat. I steered the group over to Cosmic Ray’s because I knew they had GF hamburgers. Even though the restaurant was packed, ordering didn’t take as long as it had in the past. I told the cashier that I wanted a GF bacon cheeseburger, and she called over the manager who took my order pretty quickly. We stood for a little while waiting for the food, but I wasn’t surprised because of how busy the restaurant was. After we got our food, we turned in circles for a bit while looking for somewhere to eat. Then I noticed that you had to stand in long line and wait for someone to show you to an available table. I didn’t want to stand in another line so we took a chance on going outside to look for a table in the seating area. It took us a few laps to find a seat, but we eventually did. Four of us sat at one table, and the other 3 sat at a table on the other side of the area.

    The burger was a typical Disney park burger served on that weird bread that I talked about in my Kona Café review. The burger wasn’t as hot as I would have liked, but I guess that’s what happens when you wander around before eating your food. The meat was pretty dry, and I was glad that I had my emergency BBQ sauce to slather on the meat. My 8-year-old goddaughter was amused watching me take a Burger King BBQ sauce packet out of my purse, but I told her that the Heinz BBQ that Disney uses isn’t GF. When you’re GF, you learn how to improvise! The fries were good as usual. I gotta give it to Disney – they do a good job with French fries. I’ll most likely eat here again (I somehow always end up here or at Pecos Bill around lunch), but I think I’ll try something different next time.

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  18. KristenFNJ

    KristenFNJ Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for the reviews! It's been a while since we ate at Cosmic Rays, but it was definitely before you had to wait in line to be directed to an empty seat! Yikes, when did that start!!!

    I also didn't know about the Heinz BBQ sauce, just because I don't think it's ever come up (I know I would ask about any sauce before letting my 3 celiacs have it, I guess it's never come up!). I'm surprised again, that of all the BBQ sauces on the market, and tons of amazing ones from mainstream companies, that are gluten free, they'd pick one that's not g/f. Oh well! Good to know!!! Thanks again!
     
  19. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

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    Did you have to wait for them to bake the fries or did they finally get that dedicated allergy frier at Cosmic Ray's? We haven't eaten there in a long time (maybe 1.5 years?) but last time we did, the manager was excited about the fact that he was working on getting another fryer that he could dedicate to allergy food including (maybe only for? do they have other fried allergy food?) fries.
     
  20. valree

    valree Mouseketeer

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    Hmm, that's a good question about the fries, but I honestly don't know the answer! What I do know is that now I'm craving fries!

    Yes, you would think that Disney could find a GF BBQ sauce in little packets!
     
  21. valree

    valree Mouseketeer

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    Epcot
    We started off our Epcot day with breakfast at the hotel’s sit-down restaurant, Palm Breezes. I had a made-to-order omelet at the station and some fresh fruit. I didn’t know that kids eat free so that was a nice treat. Nobody was hungry in Future World, but by the time we got to World Showcase, everyone was armed with the gift card wrist bands and ready to eat around the world. The wrist bands really come in handy! I ate:

    Australia- Shrimp on the Barbie with Pepper Berry Citrus Glaze: This was OK. The shrimp pieces were pretty small, and the flavor was just alright. I could taste the heat, but it wasn’t overwhelming.

    Cheese- Trio of Artisan Cheeses: Beecher’s Flagship Reserve Cheddar, La Bonne Vie Goat Brie and Rogue River Creamery Echo Mountain Blue Cheese: I ordered this plate and gave the bread to my goddaughter, who ate it with her fondue. I enjoyed all of the items, but I especially loved whichever cheese it was that was drizzled with honey. If I ever turned down cheese, you’d know that I was having a bad day.

    Caribbean- Jerk Spiced Chicken Drumstick with Mango Chutney: I enjoyed this one even though I’m not much of a drumstick person. The flavor was nice, and it was served at the right temperature. I remember thinking that the shrimp was not as warm as I would have liked. I’d eat the drumstick again.

    Florida- Florida Shrimp Ceviche: I liked the shrimp in this dish, but I didn’t like the sauce. It was a little too acidic for me. The plantain was pretty boring. I’ve had way better plantains elsewhere.

    I was disappointed that the Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Purée from Argentina were only considered GF if you ate it without the chimichurri. I also wanted the Chicken Chipotle Sausage with Sweet Corn Polenta and “Minus 8″ Onion Jam from the Canada booth, but that was not marked GF this year. I had it in the past with no problem, but I didn’t want to take a chance this time. I just realized now that the filet mignon was on the GF menu, and I have no idea why I didn’t try it. France’s chocolate crème brulee was not on the GF menu either which was another surprise for me. Crème brulee?? I didn’t try the Warm Chocolate Lava Cake with Bailey’s Ganache at the Ireland booth. I remember seeing discussion about it on threads here, but I was too nervous to give it a try.
     

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