The "I Can't Come Up with a Catchy Title" Disney Food Review - Updated 12/7!

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Reviews' started by cbg1027, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. cbg1027

    cbg1027 Florida Girl

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    I had originally planned to visit the Marketplace location since I saw photos of all the indoor seating, but we were on the West Side anyways to pick up our tickets and the weather was pleasant enough that we didn't mind sitting outside.

    Thanks for joining in!
     
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  3. belle8306

    belle8306 DIS Veteran

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    I am enjoying your reviews! Great pictures!:thumbsup2
     
  4. cbg1027

    cbg1027 Florida Girl

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    Thanks to everyone who has joined in! :goodvibes
    I was about to post my next review but I have some videos to go with it and haven't uploaded them yet....and it's taking soooo long. It will have to wait until tomorrow.
     
  5. cbg1027

    cbg1027 Florida Girl

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    OK, have the videos uploaded now so I can continue with the review! I know you were all eagerly waiting on baited breath. ;)

    We headed over to the festival center to watch the sold out demo with Andrew Zimmern. He's a chef, but he's best known for his TV show Bizarre Foods, which airs on the Travel Channel. He visits different locations around the globe and explores the culture by sampling unusual and exotic foods. So ever since I booked our space, I, and everyone else I'm sure, were wondering..."What on earth is he going to cook? Crispy fried ants? Chocolate covered worms?" :rotfl:

    There was probably only space for 100 people at the demo, so everyone got a pretty good view of the cooking area. Here's the view from our table:
    [​IMG]

    On our tables were copies of the recipe Andrew would be making: Sweet and Sour Bangkok Style Quail with Red Chiles. Alright, no insects!

    There were also little cups and pitchers of water. Shortly after everyone was seated they brought us out thimbles of wine.

    After a short introduction from Pam, a lady who seems to have been the Festival MC, we met a guy from Meeker Vineyards. I don't remember his first name, but he was a Meeker. The wine pairing with Andrew's dish was Meeker FroZin. It's a dessert Zinfandel but they use a special process for making it. I'll let Mr. Meeker tell you more:
    Video

    Pretty darn cute, owns a vineyard....are you single?
    [​IMG]

    I'm not usually one who enjoys a really sweet wine. But this FroZin was pretty good. I like wine, but I'm not someone who sits down and says "Ohh I taste notes of melon and pear with a hint of spice." All I know is that I like it or I don't. My Gram tasted it and said it reminded her of Manischewitz wine, which is a kosher wine Jews drink on holidays. It's like straight grape juice with the faintest hint of alcohol. After she said that, I did agree with her somewhat. But the FroZin was a much more delectable version to me.

    After our mini-wine lesson, Mr. Zimmern came out and got right to the cooking. He was great to watch and now I wish he had a cooking show. He's very entertaining and explains things clearly and throws in a lot of great tips. There were some instances where Pam would chime in and I was really wishing she'd just shut up and drink her wine because Zimmern doesn't need any guidance or coaxing. I understand from other reviews that some of the chefs were quite dry at their demos, but Andrew Zimmern was not.

    While Andrew was cooking, they had a camera man giving the audience close ups of the food. They had a few TV's around the area so everyone could see the detail from above, which was a really nice touch. Otherwise it would have been next to impossible to really see the food that was being cooked.

    [​IMG]

    Here's a video I got of some of the demo....I would have recorded the whole thing but my arm got tired and I wanted to see out of my own eyes and not from behind a camera!

    Halfway through the demo they brought out the food! :banana:
    [​IMG]

    This was my first time tasting Quail. Like they say about most things....tastes like chicken. It's more...gamey and dark meaty though. I don't know if I'd go to the trouble of seeking it out to cook myself, but I would definitely have it again if it showed up on the menu at California Grill or something.

    The sauce was delicious! I LOVE Thai Food so this was a perfect dish for me. They definitely toned down the amount of chiles in the samples brought out to the audience. It was barely spicy, and Andrew put quite a lot of chiles in the dish he was making on stage. I would have liked more spice, but we have the recipe so I can adjust it to suit my tastes one day. It had carrots, peas, shallots, lemongrass, cinnamon, turmeric, several kinds of chiles, ketchup (yup, ketchup!), vinegar and garlic. Most of the ingredients were pureed and then the carrots and peas were added in. Mmm wish I would have some of that for lunch right now!

    Andrew said this dish could be used with almost any type of protein - chicken, fish, shellfish, pork, tofu....the only thing he said it didn't work well with is beef.

    I will definitely be trying my hand at making this myself....one day. :rotfl:

    I'd rate the demo an 8. For $8, it's well worth the money, but the fact that in the past these things were free brings the score down. On a slightly hypocritical note, I wouldn't mind paying a bit more to be served a lunch -sized portion of the featured dish and a full glass of the wine. Zimmern himself gets a 9.5. I just adore watching whatever he does - cooking at Epcot or eating still beating frog hearts in Japan. Ok so I prefer the cooking at Epcot. :rotfl:

    One more shot of the food and wine :lovestruc
    [​IMG]
     
  6. cbg1027

    cbg1027 Florida Girl

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    We had an 8:20pm ADR for dinner at Kouzzina on Halloween. The Boardwalk was quite the happening place that evening!

    [​IMG]

    I love this location. Great place to be if you have to wait to be seated. Which we did. We were a bit early and checked in at 8:10. They gave us a beeper and we sat outside and people watched until we got buzzed at 8:40, 20 minutes past our ADR time, which was the longest we waited for almost anything, rides included. Not to bad eh?

    Once we were seated we waited....and waited...and after 10 minutes or so, a server finally showed up and got our drink orders. At least we think that's what he asked for. It was so LOUD in there. My grandmother didn't really hear a word the server said all night and I had a lot of trouble as well.

    The restaurant is really pretty and I love the open kitchen....but with wood floors there is nothing to absorb any of the noise. It might be ok at 5pm when they first start seating, but at almost 9 with a full house.....you couldn't hear yourself think, much less a server speaking to you.

    View of the kitchen from our table:
    [​IMG]

    One of the chefs came out and spoke to us about what Gram could eat. Being a Greek restaurant, we figured she would have a lot of options and she did for the most part. But what we both found really disappointing was that the Feta cheese Kouzzina uses is made from cow's milk. Real feta should be made from sheep's milk (which has no lactose), and at this kind of establishment we expected the real thing.

    The chef who spoke with us was really nice. Gram asked about the Lamb Burger, and the chef told us that it had the cow's milk feta already mixed in with the meat. But they could make her a pattie from the lamb meatballs that are served with the appetizer sampler.

    I should mention that after our server took our drink orders we did not see him again for quite sometime. It was actually the chef who took our food order. :confused3 Our server finally delivered our drinks and bread sometime shortly before the first course arrived.

    The Bread and Butter with Black Sea Salt:
    [​IMG]

    The bread was a very good multigrain variety served somewhat warm. Good butter but my Gram hogged most of the salt!

    We had barely started on the bread when the Crisp Calamari with Lemon, coated in Arborio Rice Flour with Garlic Yogurt and Spicy Yogurt Dipping Sauces arrived.

    I first have to mention that I HATED the way this was served. See the cone thing on the left in this photo?
    [​IMG]

    That's what the Calamari is served in. Here's a shot of the actual food:
    [​IMG]

    I hated the serving dish because you can't really see the food....and that's the first impression. The food is hiding away. I'm 5'8 and I could barely see in to the cone, so I imagine anyone shorter wouldn't get a view of the food until it's on a fork or plate. Also, when the calamari cone first came out, we had no dipping sauces. Our server dropped off the food and ran away before I even noticed they were missing. It was a good 15 minutes before we could track him down again, and by then the calamari was getting cold. We didn't get any sauces because I guess they thought we were both lactose intolerant, although I thought I made that clear at the beginning of the meal when we were discussing Gram's options that I am not. It was also on the special request form that Gram was the only one with special dietary concerns.

    So we started to nibble on the calamari while waiting for the sauces. And that's when the overwhelming issue of the night really began - SALT. Way too much of it.

    Gram has Addison's Disease, a type of adrenal and sodium insufficiency. She has to add salt to everything to get enough so her tastes of what constitutes too salty is way off from most people's. Even she thought the calamari was too salty - so that's really saying something.

    When the sauces finally came, I took a taste of the Garlic Yogurt dip. Big mistake. Now, I LOVE garlic and used to be of the belief you can never have too much of it. Apparently, I was very, very wrong. There was a ton a raw garlic in this dip and it really knocked my socks off in a bad way. Imagine sucking on a raw clove of garlic.....that's kind of what this dip was like.

    And the spicy yogurt dip...well it lived up to it's name. I couldn't really taste much of it after the garlic dip.

    I think the calamari could have been good if it wasn't so salty. The texture of the Arborio rice flour makes for a great coating and it wasn't too oily. But it was so salty my tastes buds couldn't really recognize anything else.

    Our entrees arrived next, brought out to us by another server.....ours was no where to be found.

    Gram had the Char-grilled Lamb Burger made with the Lamb Meatball mix as I mentioned earlier. It was served with Sweet Potato Fries.
    [​IMG]

    It looked so sweet and innocent. But then Gram took a bite. It was quite spicy. Now as I've said before, I like spicy food. But Gram does not. So she didn't like this burger. Now usually, I'm of the thinking that a customer simply not liking something is not reason for the restaurant to have to take it off the bill. But when something is spicy, I think the menu should state that. No where on the menu at Kouzzina was there any indication that the Lamb Burger, or the Lamb Meatballs, are spicy.

    The sweet potato fries were pretty good - but too salty.

    I ordered the Avgolemono: egg-lemon soup with chicken and rice. I also got the Sauteed Brussel Sprouts with Capers and Lemon to go with it.
    [​IMG]

    Brussel Sprouts, ready for their close-up:
    [​IMG]

    The soup presentation was interesting. The bring you out the bowl with the chicken and rice in it, and then someone else comes with a pitcher they pour the liquid from. Pretty schnazzy. But instead of focusing on fancy presentation I wish they would train their chefs on the proper use of salt. Again, I think this could have been really good if it wasn't so darn salty! It had good texture, it was hot, lemony, and the rice and chicken were cooked nicely......but all that gets overshadowed by the salt.

    The Brussel Spouts were just OK. They were one of the few items that weren't completely oversalted, but they were a bit hard and undercooked. I liked the sauce...it was lemony and had a hint of balsamic vinegar. They were sprinkled with some shredded cheese that was good, but it wasn't a dish I would bother ordering again.

    Gram complained to the server about the spicy burger as he was clearing our plates and he said that he would take it off the bill. I appreciated that, but it would have been nice of him to be around shortly after she sampled it to offer her something else to eat!

    I really wanted to find something good about Kouzzina so I decided to order dessert. They didn't have anything Gram could eat except that nasty Rice Dream faux ice cream. It tastes like cardboard, so we especially didn't want to pay theme park prices for it.

    I went with the Galaktoboureko - Semolina custard in a baked phyllo dough with Vanilla-Praline Ice Cream. Hmmm.....Apparently I forgot to take a picture of it. Sorry!

    I had sampled this item at a local Greek food festival a week before and LOVED it. It's somewhat like Baklava, but instead of the nut filling you get a delicious custard. The Kouzzina version was a huge piece, and it was quite good. Just not AS good as what I ate at the Greek Food Festival back at home. The little ball of vanilla praline ice cream it was served with was DIVINE! I wish I had just ordered a bowl of that!

    I had noted our birthdays on the ADR, so AFTER I finished my dessert, they made a stink and shouted some things and Greek and presented me with the standard Disney cupcake:
    [​IMG]

    Umm, thank you, but I never understood why they give you those after you've already ordered and eaten dessert. I was able to get a box and took it back to the room with me though.

    When we got our check, the chef we had spoken with earlier in the night came out and apologized for the spicy burger.

    After taking the burger off, and adding in a small Pellegrino to drink and my TIW discount, our bill came to $38.95.

    I was so excited about Kouzzina and had really been looking forward to it. But sadly, it fell below our expectations. The poor service coupled with the salt issue did not really make for a Disney-worthy meal. I was really wishing we had gone next door to Flying Fish instead!!

    Total Rating - A measly 3

    Now before you consider writing off Kouzzina, I have to say a few more words. I've worked in a restaurant. I know how things go and sometimes for whatever reason(s) things just don't come together. So I would be willing to try Kouzzina again. There is a restaurant where I live that was pretty awful the first two times I visited. But thanks to a friend, I ended up going one more time and now I frequent the place.

    But since Kouzzina is at Disney and there are still so many other things I want to try, and old favorites I know are fabulous, I won't be eating here anytime in the near future.
     
  7. Linda67

    Linda67 Has a Masters in Margaritas

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    Great review, I must admit I haven't seen too many good reviews of Kouzzina
    It's a real shame as the setting and location look wonderful
    I don't think this is going to be on my list for my trip in March
    Lovely photo of you and your Gram
     
  8. eventamy

    eventamy DIS Veteran

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    It really is a shame that Kouzzina wasn't better! They replaced my favorite restaurant, Spoodles, to have this place! What a waste if it's not a great restaurant, and from what I've been reading lately, it's not!
    Can't wait to see more!
     
  9. wishspirit

    wishspirit <font color=teal>When you wish upon a star!<br><fo

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    Subbing!

    I recently heard a review of Kouzzina on the DisUnplugged, who pretty much said the same thing, including the noise level. I hope they get that sorted!

    Plus if you like Zimmern, they did an interview with him recently at F&W, click here if you want to listen!
     
  10. cbg1027

    cbg1027 Florida Girl

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    I hadn't seen many either, but I'm of the thinking one needs to form their own opinions. I was also hoping that the longer Kouzzina was open, the better the would get. Next time I might heed the reviews of the DISboards when trying a new restaurant though!

    Thanks about the photo!

    I had always wanted to try Spoodles and never made it there. Everyone has said good things about, so now I think I'm with that crowd, wishing it was still Spoodles!

    I saw the Zimmern interview and have it bookmarked to listen to....haven't gotten to it yet, but thanks!


    Thank you to everyone who is following the reviews! I love doing this. If you like this, I will have another set to begin shortly since I go back on Dec 12!
     
  11. klacey1

    klacey1 DIS Veteran

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    I am not a fan of either Greek food or Cat Cora, so I really had no plans to visit Kouzzina. This review confirmed that I have no desire to visit there. I don't like bland foods, but overly salty?? That's such a basic thing! Not too easy to mess up!
    Like you said, there are so many restaurants at Disney. No need to try one I'm not even remotely interested in!
     
  12. msce2

    msce2 DIS Veteran

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    I love Greek food! We have this great local restaurant. They have a fantastic vegetarian platter (I'm not even a vegetarian) Spanakopita, Tiropita, stuffed grape leaves, roasted red peppers - I digress.....

    I WAS really looking forward to Kouzzina in June but I have opted for Flying Fish instead. I think conceptually the dishes are good they're just not being executed well. I'm not sure whether this is due to untrained or unqualified chefs. :confused3 Although you would think at this point they know there's an issue and wonder why they haven't addressed it.

    I also can't understand why any chef wouldn't have informed his customer that a dish is extra spicy???? Very unprofessional. Your Gram could have made a different choice had he let her know.:sad2:
     
  13. cbg1027

    cbg1027 Florida Girl

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    I love Greek food too and the stuff I get in town has been so much better than Kouzzina.

    I REALLY wish I had gone with Flying Fish instead too, but hey hindsight is 20/20.

    I think most of the stuff I ate would have been really good if it was so darn salty! I actually saw at one point when a chef was adding salt to dish......and unless she was cooking the dish for 10 people.....it was a scary sight!

    I know, I couldn't believe they didn't inform us about how spicy the burger was....much less even note it on the menu!

    I don't know what's going on this place, but my friend manages a Steak N Shake and is majoring in Hospitality Administration and I'm pretty convinced she could do better job running Kouzzina than these folks!
     
  14. Nancy for Disney

    Nancy for Disney DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the review of Kouzzina. I have an ADR there three weeks from today. I still think I am going to try it for myself although what has made want to change more than anything is the noise. I am very sorry to hear about that. :upsidedow
     
  15. cbg1027

    cbg1027 Florida Girl

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    This will be my super short and photo-free review!

    I ate at Everything POP with Gram on the morning of November 1st. We got the same Bounty Platter I reviewed earlier, and a kids pancake platter and shared everything.

    The Bounty platter was slightly better this morning because the eggs were hot. Still nothing to write home about though.

    The pancakes were certainly decent and we enjoyed them, but again, nothing special.

    That's it!
     
  16. cbg1027

    cbg1027 Florida Girl

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    I hope there isn't a salt problem when you go, because other than that, I think the food could have been really good! Just hope you don't get the same server as we did!
     
  17. cbg1027

    cbg1027 Florida Girl

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    After breakfast we headed to AK for the day. Originally we were planning to try Flame Tree BBQ for lunch.

    It was still pretty hot out though, so when we walked by Yak and Yeti around 11:00 and I saw the place was empty, the AC spoke to me! I didn't think Gram would be too keen on the idea, but I had her take a look at the menu and she agreed to try it!

    So we walked in at 11:10 and I asked if they could take a walk up. They said no problem and seated us right away! :banana: We really lucked out with the crowd levels on this trip, the longest we ever waited for anything was sitting in the auditorium before Finding Nemo for 30 minutes!

    Yak and Yeti had never been high on my list of places to try. Usually I don't even like doing a TS meal for lunch when I'm at the park because I don't want to make a touring plan based around an ADR.

    We were seated upstairs next to the staircase.
    [​IMG]

    I loved the decor in this restaurant! So exotic, elegant, and rustic at the same time. It was very Thai and Indian looking to me. The 2 floors of seating was pretty neat too.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Our server greeted us really promptly. Her name was Tami and boy was she a little spitfire! That woman never stopped going. She was so full of energy!

    Gram and I had a difficult time selecting what to order. Being an Asian restaurant, we didn't really have to worry about dairy products so everything seemed appealing, even to Gram!

    We finally settled on sharing 3 appetizers and an entree.

    For our first appetizer, Gram really wanted the Pork Pot Stickers with soy lime dipping sauce. You can choose to have them steamed or seared.
    [​IMG]

    Sorry, Gram dug in before I could catch a photo! I'm not a pot sticker person but these were pleasant enough. I ate one and Gram finished them off, so she obviously really liked them.

    I had read about the Wok-Fried Green Beans with sweet Thai chili dipping sauce here on the boards in several reviews and wanted to try those.
    [​IMG]

    These were outrageously good! Green beans are one of my favorite vegetables to begin with, so breading and frying them? I don't think you could go wrong with that. These were crispy and lightly breaded and cooked to a point that the green beans still had a hint of crunch to them. I really liked the dipping sauce as well - it was mostly like a sweet duck sauce, the chiles were in flakes so you only got the spicy if you picked up a flake. Gram wasn't wild over these, but she ate some of them.

    Then we also got the Pork Egg Rolls with chili-plum dipping sauce.
    [​IMG]

    Gram and I both loved these and thought they were some of the best egg rolls we've ever had. They were cooked wonderfully - not too greasy and perfectly crisped. I liked the filling because the vegetables weren't slimy and overcooked like the inside of most egg rolls. They had a nice ratio of meat to veggies, probably 50/50. The chili-plum sauce was good, but I like the egg rolls in the Thai chili sauce that came with the green beans better because you could get that fleck of spice with them.

    As an entree, we shared the Baby Back Ribs with hoisin BBQ sauce, chicken fried rice, and sweet chili slaw.
    [​IMG]

    We both thought these were outstanding. As you can see, they are served with a huge steak knife, but there is absolutely no need for it. These ribs were so fall off the bone tender they just broke apart at the slightest touch. The meat was moist and flavorful, not at all dry. I liked the sauce that they were basted in....it was sweet and smokey and the sesame seeds sprinkled on top added another layer of flavor to the dish.

    The fried rice was just ok....neither one of us really ate much of it because we were getting really full and wanted the room for the ribs!

    The slaw that's served with it was very good. It had some cabbages and red bell pepper with a light dressing. Very good dish for a hot day...cool and crunchy with the slightest hint of spice. Gram didn't like it because she's not in to raw bell peppers, but I thought the slaw was an excellent accompaniment to the ribs.

    Some more decor:
    [​IMG]

    The biggest surprise about Yak and Yeti for me was that Gram actually really liked it! I was surprised she agreed to try it in the first place, but for the both of us, I'm so glad she did!

    Tami was an excellent server. She was very attentive and anticipated our needs well. We never had empty glasses and there was never a dirty dish in our way. She also timed things nicely for us and made sure we were finished with the appetizers before bringing out the entree.

    I would highly recommend Yak and Yeti if you're in AK. I'm trying to make an ADR for lunch there on December 13 for my next trip and they seem to be all booked up!

    If you know what to expect (Americanized Pan-Asian) then you will enjoy it. Just don't go in thinking you're in for an authentic Asian meal.

    This was a wonderful, uplifting meal after the disaster that was Kouzzina.
    Gram and I both rate Yak and Yeti an 8.
     
  18. cbg1027

    cbg1027 Florida Girl

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    After a hot day at AK, we were pretty wiped out. Originally we were planning to check out a food court at another resort, but we decided to just catch the bus back to POP and have dinner there.

    We went straight in to food court after we got off the bus and settled on splitting 2 different flatbreads. We took them back to our room to eat.

    The first one was the Meditteranean:
    [​IMG]

    This was pretty darn delicious for a food court. The crust was thin and crispy and topped with artichoke hearts, feta cheese, kalamata olives, capers, raosted red pepper, and sun dried tomatoes. Gram and I both liked this a lot.

    Our second choice was the Chef's Special of the Day, a Cuban Flatbread:
    [​IMG]

    This was basically an open-faced Cuban sandwich. It was full of shredded pork, sliced ham, pickles, swiss cheese, and a dijon mustard/mayo drizzle. I LOVE Cuban sandwiches so this was right up my alley. Very tasty and I liked the flatbread crust instead of regular Cuban bread. They don't have this all the time, but I'm glad we went on a day they did!

    I thought our dinner at Everything POP was a lot better than our breakfast experiences there. A good choice for an evening when you're tired and don't want to leave the resort. We rated it a 6.5.
     
  19. OurDogCisco

    OurDogCisco DIS Veteran

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    Great reviews so far!!!
     
  20. cbg1027

    cbg1027 Florida Girl

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    We didn't want to eat a big breakfast this day since we were going to head straight to Epcot around 11am for the F&W Festival. So the night before when we got our dinner from Everything POP, we grabbed a couple pf pastries to hold us over til lunchtime.

    We had a Blueberry Muffin and a Pain au Chocolat:
    [​IMG]

    The muffin was decent. It was moist and crumbly and had lots of juicy blueberries, but it was just a muffin.

    The pastry, on the other hand, was excellent! It had a croissant-type bread with a chocolate filling. It was so close to what I used to eat when I living in France. I was very impressed with it!

    Pastry: 8
    Muffin: 5
     
  21. Linda67

    Linda67 Has a Masters in Margaritas

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    thanks for the great reviews
     

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