**Rockin the expandable tutu!! -- F&W in 1.5 hours & a DISmeet! [updated 9.29.14]

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Reviews' started by emmebear, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. emmebear

    emmebear nurse & mommy.

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    [​IMG]
    emme & i rockin our matching [expandable] tutus.



    INTRO:



    hello! :wave2:

    my name is patty and my daughter's name is emme (age 3). we love heading down to disney whenever we can & absolutely love our time together. life has been really hectic so being able to get away at disney is truly special. although our trips are short (mostly weekend trips), we (more so, just me) still manage to stuff our faces silly with disney food.


    we have returned from our quick trip (10/17-10/20) down to disney & i wanted to share my food experiences and also throw in some various trip photos as well. we attended MNSSHP (14 straight hours at MK...new record!), had a lovely meal at the refurbished california grill and survived the brutal heat & crowd on saturday at epcot for food & wine fest!


    i think i will make this thread my fall/winter food updates as there will be a few more trips before the year is over. there is a special trip in december planned but if all goes well, i'm hoping to sneak in a trip in november.


    the heat was too tremendous and i did not bring my DSLR camera to the parks with me. all these pics are taken from my iphone. once the weather cools down, i will bring back my DSLR but right now, it's retired (for now).


    hope you enjoy & read along. happy eating!! :cloud9:




    HIGHLIGHTS:

    yuzu marinated sashimi @ california grill
    duck in all its glory @ california grill
    lobster mac & cheese @ hollywood & vine <---YES H&V!
    berbere style beef with onions, jalapeños, tomato, okra and pap @ food & wine
    chili cheese fries @ pecos bills <---that's right, chili cheese fries!
    everything about MNSSHP!
    sorbet from LArtisan des Glaces <---leftovers from emme but wow!




    NOT SO HIGH MOMENTS:

    server @ california grill
    crowd at food & wine fest :sad:
    the rapini in the garlic shrimp dish from australia.
    my scallop from argentina falling to the ground before i was able to devour it :sad2:
    warm wine & beer



    here is one of my favorite photos from this trip:


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    donald es numero uno!




    up next, dinner @ CALIFORNIA GRILL.


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    hamachi anyone??
     
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  3. marshallsmommy

    marshallsmommy Mouseketeer

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    Can't wait to read your report! I saw on the live thread you two went to Cali Grill I was wondering how Emme did? Besides the no heart shape to the pizza ( what a trooper she was if expecting a heart!) did they accommodate a 3 year old? I want to eat there in Dec with our son (2.75 at the time :-) ) but my husband doesn't think we should bring him to a signature dinner. He sits well if occupied and never gets embarrassing. The other sig I am pushing is yachtsmen ever been here with her?
     
  4. emmebear

    emmebear nurse & mommy.

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    Hello! Thanks for reading along!

    Emme did great at Cali grill. Despite being a signature, there are a ton of kids and families dining.

    I wouldn't say they are super accommodating (I don't remember Emme getting crayons and paper) but I always have emme's kindle fire,
    Some toys and coloring book (her go to pack) with me whenever we go out "just in case".

    The only other signature we've been at is flying fish and it is SUPER loud inside and a bit more fun. The meal at Cali grill took about 1.5 hours...it is leisurely places even though my server tried to rush me. Also, there's an awesome platform to watch wishes. I will include all that in my next update.

    I think your son will so great...just have things to keep him busy so you can enjoy your meal. :)
     
  5. rachel09985

    rachel09985 DIS Veteran

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    Love the title! Can't wait to read about it!
     
  6. wiigirl

    wiigirl DIS Veteran

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    Following along! :)
     
  7. emmebear

    emmebear nurse & mommy.

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    expandable is great!! :rotfl:

    we wore our tutus in almost 90 degree weather. that's dedication!! :cheer2:




    welcome! thank you for joining in!! :wizard:
     
  8. JulieODC

    JulieODC DIS Veteran

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    Joining in too - love your title!!

    Curious about how you like the Kindle Fire for Emme? I'm considering buying one for our upcoming trip for us and our 2yo DD to use on the plane, longer meals, etc.
     
  9. emmebear

    emmebear nurse & mommy.

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    welcome!!

    i absolutely LOVE the kindle fire HD for emme. right now, it's on sale at amazon for $139. that's such a steal as i paid $199 for mine last christmas.

    are you an amazon prime member? if not, you should definitely think about membership. you can join amazon mom and pay $39 instead of $79 and also get prime (2 day) shipping on so many items. i sound like an amazon spokesperson now. LOL.

    the benefit of being a prime member is that you get access to a TON of kids shows to stream for free (with wireless). also, it elevates KINDLE FREE TIME. kindle free time is just for your kid so they can't get out of it (password required) & then you know that everything they are exposed to is kid friendly and age specific (you create a profile for your child). everything is categorized by pictures so it's easy for your kid to manuever.

    there's amazing learning apps, great books that can read to you & awesome educational games. it's also really durable with a case (i got the origami ROOcase which is perfect).

    given, there aren't as many apps as say on an ipad but the kindle is 1/3 of the price of my ipad and if emme somehow destroys it, i have squaretrade protecting it. but this thing has been through many disney trips, road trips and an airplane trip to nyc and it still works great. it also has splendid battery life.

    i highly recommend the kindle fire hd. it's awesome and i sometimes use it to stream tv shows through amazon prime while my ipad is charging (seems like it's always charging). :rotfl:

    it's not as pretty, stylish or sleek as my ipad but it's definitely worth the $139. it's better than any "kid tablet" out there. kindle free time is AWESOME and you have piece of mind because you know your kid can only access stories, apps and games specific for their age. :banana:

    side note: kindle free time is $2.99 a month but that's such a small price to pay for what you get for it. also, you can download disney junior shows and nick jr shows for super cheap. emme has doc mcstuffins, max & ruby, sofia the first, yo gabba gabba just incase there's no wireless available and she wants to watch a "show".
     
  10. emmebear

    emmebear nurse & mommy.

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    updated 10/21/13


    CALIFORNIA GRILL: part 1



    emme & i were finally on the road to begin our adventures in disney. i worked from 8-330 & then we were off!


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    my festive scrub top that i wore on this day. seems fitting as we were going to attend MNSSHP.


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    emme decided she wanted to be hide for the picture. ha ha.


    after checking into the marriott residence inn (which i scored for $43 on hotwire!), we relaxed in our living room. as much as i like to stay on property, having a car is a total luxury at disney so i love finding deals on hotels. the residence inn was so PERFECT as we had a full kitchen, living room and a super comfortable bed. it was only 10 minutes from the parks and 1/3 of the price of disney hotels. i love all the extra space...it was so nice!


    [​IMG]
    full kitchen.



    after relaxing, we got ready for our dinner at california grill. my last visit to cali grill was november 2012 & the sea scallops from there is still my favorite food memory in all my trips to disney. those scallops were ridiculous. i was excited to see the new changes & to check out the menu.


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    we hopped into the car & began our drive to the contemporary. one great aspect of TIW is that you get FREE valet parking. this option is wonderful. all you need to do is show valet your TIW receipt and the $15 fee is waived.



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    such an awesome sight to see!

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    we valeted and made our way to the check in podium.


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    emme wanted to wear her mulan dress.


    after checking in, we were given a pager. the pager buzzed about 5 minutes later but i took a look around during that time.


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    and then emme said, "look mommy, it's your favorite drink!" HA HA!

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    we were taken to our table. i was delighted as it was in view of the observation deck. another reason i was excited about dinner was being able to view hallowishes from the observation deck. so very exciting!


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    view from my table


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    observation deck from our window.


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    beautiful lights


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    open kitchen right behind us.



    on my last visit, the napkins had green accents. this time, it was orange.


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    there was mickey confetti strewn along our table for my celebration. i thought that was a nice touch.


    my server's name was "jorge". he said i could call him "jorge" or "george"...whichever i preferred. i hadn't had much time to look at the menu (even though i kind of knew what i wanted to order) and he already had his pen in hand to take my order. i said i needed a few minutes and he said he would be back with our drinks.


    here are a few menu pics:


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    and i just realized that this says "hand formed" & not "heart shaped" pizza. oops. i guess hunger pains were making me see things.


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    the very important cocktail list.


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    some of the wine.


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    emme patiently waiting.



    so far, i am loving the renovated space. the server rushing me was annoying but i took my time and enjoyed this special dinner with my daughter.

    it was pretty noisy inside. there was a table of 12 seated to the table next to us. some of the kids at the table were so ready to go home. i felt kind of bad for the adults as they wanted to enjoy their meals but the kids had another plan. there was a couple seated to the left of us having a romantic meal. if anyone is having apprehension in taking your kids, DON'T. there are lots of kids inside...just bring something to occupy them so they aren't hot messes inside and in turn, you can enjoy your expensive meal!


    up next, CALIFORNIA GRILL: part 2
     
  11. JulieODC

    JulieODC DIS Veteran

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    Thank you for the awesome Kindle Fire review!! I went straight to Amazon and ordered one!!

    DD just turned 2, and isn't the most patient diner -- so I'm thinking this will be so useful on the plane, and when meals drag on. I'm so totally impressed with how well Emme seems to do in restaurants - so jealous!!

    Oh, and we have a Cali Grill ressie during our upcoming trip - mainly for wine and sushi, so I'm glad to hear you mention that kids were just fine.
     
  12. vettegirl

    vettegirl Dole Whip Queen

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    Following along. We were lucky when we ate there a few years to be put back in the wine room, it was super quiet. I know the main area is soooo loud.
     
  13. emmebear

    emmebear nurse & mommy.

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    you are welcome!! it's a really great investment. emme loves hers & it's a great travel companion.

    there were lots of kids...both happy & very unhappy during dinner so i'm sure your little one will do great!

    emme has her moments but for the most part, she's pretty good when we do go out and eat.

    i had the yuzu marinated sashimi as my entree. will be updating soon!




    welcome!! :yay:

    it is loud inside but not as loud as flying fish. that place was pretty loud. i'm just glad i didn't have the screaming kid(s) at my table. :rotfl:

    but the new refurbishment is really lovely!
     
  14. emmebear

    emmebear nurse & mommy.

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    updated 10/24/13


    CALIFORNIA GRILL: part 2



    i ordered an adult beverage. this one was right up my alley.


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    [​IMG]
    Napa Blue Martini


    i really enjoy a delicious martini, especially a dirty martini with olives stuffed with blue cheese. there wasn't much blue cheese stuffed into the olives but the martini was made well & quite stiff. i loved the contemporary skewer too.

    emme had a white milk as her drink of the night.


    up next, bread service.


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    emme really enjoyed the sourdough bread. she had 2 servings of the bread. i loved the salt on the butter with the foccacia. scrumptious!



    for my appetizer, i chose:


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    Duck in all its Glory - House-made Sausage, Rillettes, Prosciutto, Duck Liver Pate, Cranberry Compote $17.00


    i was really excited about this appetizer. the presentation was rustic, simple & gorgeous.


    here are some more photos:


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    accompanying the appetizer was this crispy "toast" to spread on the pate, rillettes & whatever else you wanted to smear on there. the bread was super crispy...almost too crispy as when you bit into it, most of it would crumble in front of your eyes. kind of messy to eat but it was totally worth the mess.


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    i loved this alone & i also added some of the cranberry compote on top of it as well. this was super flavorful, moist & so delectable. two thumbs up.



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    the duck sausage was very tasty!! i loved adding the grainy mustard on top of it as well. the sausage had great texture & flavor. i couldn't believe it was duck. it didn't have a super game-y flavor or smell. the onions were also divine. mmmm mmmm! so far so good.



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    i couldn't believe they made proscruitto out of the duck. it was so thin but packed with flavor. i loved the tiny layer of fat at the edges of the duck. it literally melted in your mouth.



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    it might not be right to say it, but i love foie gras...especially with cranberry. the duck liver pate reminded me of foie gras, just in pate form...i mean, it's made from the same part and all. this pate was so creamy & airy. it was pretty light and paired well on the toast with the cranberry compote.



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    my least favorite item on the platter was the rillette. i'm not much of a fan of rillette & i did give this a try. it didn't deter me from the overall experience of the appetizer as i was enjoying it immensely.



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    sweet pickles was another accompaniment.



    another view of the platter:

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    this appetizer was a total bargain for $17.00. i thought it was super high quality, exceptionally put together, very well thought out and overall, super tasty. it was very fun to eat as you really couldn't go wrong with any combination. all the flavors & textures were so unique. it was like christmas on a wooden plate. i would definitely order this again on my next trip with no hesitation.



    emme was enjoying herself during dinner. california grill is LOUD. it's not as loud as flying fish but it's a pretty lively place. we wer sitting in front of the kitchen so there's lots of noises coming from there, screaming kids, lots of laughter & loud conversation. some people were dressed up, some not so much but everyone seemed to be enjoying their meal (minus a few super cranky kids) but you run into that everywhere.


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    we ordered our entrees and did some people watching together while we were waiting.


    i asked my CM to pair a white wine with my entree. he brings this over:


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    he pours me a sample & then just walks away, leaving the bottle at my table. i liked the chardonnay & waited a good 10 minutes for him to come back. he never came back.

    i was thirsty. my martini was empty. so what's a girl to do?

    i poured my own wine....yes i did.


    [​IMG]
    $17 wine cost as much as my appetizer.




    it was just enough for one pour. but i was irritated at this point especially when he comes back and said snarkily, "oh, you poured your own wine" to which i said, "you left the bottle and returned 15 minutes later." so he picked up the empty bottle and left. i should have tipped myself at this point. i thought he was pretty rude & it took a lot for me to keep my sassy-ness under control. being the bigger person sometimes does suck...especially when i have to pay for it at the end.

    i've worked in fine dining, i've bartended fine dining experiences, i've been a server & that was just unacceptable in my view. i like to think i'm a pretty easy customer & my kid is well behaved but sometimes disney service is just awful.

    which brings me to my next point. i use TIW wherever it's accepted at disney. you save 20% but also an automatic 18% gratuity is added to my bill. i wish they never ask if you are on a dining plan or TIW before your meal. i've received some pretty crappy service at disney & i'm not sure if it's because the server is having an off night or if its because i am using TIW. on the flip side, i've also had EXCEPTIONAL service as well. but when the service is crappy, it's REALLY crappy. there never seems to be a happy medium.



    but i digress....


    i wasn't going to let him ruin our night so i found my zen moment & went back to my happy place...enjoying emme's company & my glass of wine (that i poured myself...yipee!).

    we took a walk onto the empty observation deck. hallowishes was still 30 minutes away.


    [​IMG]



    up next, our entrees. :cheer2:
     
  15. emmebear

    emmebear nurse & mommy.

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    [​IMG]

    this cracks me up!! :rotfl:

    totally how rachel & interact at disney together.:lmao:
     
  16. RGirl

    RGirl Change Is Good

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    Joining in!! Emme is adorable!

    So sorry about the service situation at CG! Our worst service on our August trip was all at signature restaurants! What in the world is going on???? :confused3

    This has me rolling because my DD would have made the same announcement!!! :rotfl2:
     
  17. emmebear

    emmebear nurse & mommy.

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    Thank you!

    Sometimes I think it's the TIW that curses me with bad service but I have also had exceptional service at flying fish. But at least the food was good.

    I went shopping and we passed the wine and she said the same thing again. I got some interesting stares
     
  18. JessicaKnits

    JessicaKnits DIS Veteran

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    What a bummer about your service at California Grill!

    I also had an awful experience there once. Thankfully the food was good enough that I returned on my second trip and the service was much improved.

    Even though it was three years ago, I am still slightly scarred by it. Our server was Erica, and I ordered Yoshie's Deluxe Sushi platter for my entrée. I ate every. last. morsel. Except for the Octopus nigiri. I have tried octopus before, in many preparations, and it just honestly isn't my thing. After I was scolded by her for not finishing everything, and me explaining that Octopus just isn't for me, she then proceeded to tell me how I would be insulting the chef if I didn't finish it all. I simply replied by saying something to the effect of "I'm sure they would be quite amazed that a tiny woman such as myself even managed to put a dent in it, now please, take the plate away." The whole scenario was very off putting!
     
  19. tinker_princess

    tinker_princess Earning My Ears

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    Subbing in... I must say I am a long time lurker on the boards and have followed a lot of your dinner reports. As a fellow nurse and single mother I must say I am in awe of you and your many trips to DW. Can't wait to see the rest of your trip.
     
  20. emmebear

    emmebear nurse & mommy.

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    that's unfortunate about your server. maybe she was related to mine. :lmao:

    i substituted the salmon on my entree for yellowtail.

    but if i were at dinner with you that night, i would've eaten your octopus...i love it!

    i'm glad your service was improved from your first trip. i had much better service (but slooooow) on my first visit.




    welcome & thank you for reading along! :yay:

    i work hard & play hard (at disney). life gets really hectic for me (school, work, being a mom) that i so look forward to my time with my daughter. it hasn't been the easiest roads as a single mom but i wouldn't trade it for anything.

    plus, i'm only 2 hours away from disney....so it's not too bad of a drive although the drive home is so sad after an awesome weekend.

    thanks again for reading & joining in!
     
  21. Karlzmom

    Karlzmom DIS Veteran

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    I've stopped telling them about TIW for just this reason. I had a great server tell me that they really don't need to know about it before hand, as the bill generates the same way and the TIW needs to be added after. I have to confess that I does seem like we've had better service across the board when they haven't known compared to when they know they have the 18% locked in.
     

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