Discussion in 'Disney Dining Reviews' started by jabead, Mar 17, 2013.
That one is a puzzler, Barb. Maybe they opened the same year?
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I am here and all caught up! We just got back on Saturday and I started my own DR and am reading lots of reports to try and block out the Post Disney Depression I grew up near Chicago and went to U of I in Champaign, where is Lexington???
Sushi is a good guess...but one I had not even thought of.
And I too have not heard of any plans for a refurb at Kona. Although it could probably use one, so I'd be ok with that...as long as it is open in December!
Hmm...I have no idea on that one.
Thanks for reading, bluechic!
My DH and oldest DD are grads of U of I, so I'm quite familiar with the Champaign-Urbana area. Lexington is right off of Interstate 55 (and Route 66), about 11 miles or so north of Bloomington-Normal or about an hour's drive northwest of Champaign.
For those of you who have read my previous dining reports, you know that when I'm at Disney World I love to have breakfast at TS restaurants. I mean, what can be better than starting your day with a big breakfast filled with the three "c's"... carbs, calories, and coffee (from a cup not made of paper or plastic)??? Unfortunately the rest of my family would answer this question with one word..."SLEEP" !!! Consequently I was allowed to schedule only one TS breakfast during our week at Disney World. So with being limited to just one, I of course chose my favorite, Kona Cafe.
But before our Kona review, let me begin this installment a bit earlier that morning, prior to our breakfast. The previous day's rainstorm had brought with it a change in the weather. The Orlando weather had been very warm prior to this and had originally been forecasted to be warm during this week as well. Knowing that the weather forecasters are never wrong , we had packed for warm weather. I, myself, had brought only two pairs of jeans and one of those I had worn during our 18 hour drive. So just as we were all in our room getting ready and whining about the day's predicted high temperature of only 69 (instead of in the 80's), I received this text from our neighbor back home.
"Sooo... How's Florida?"
So as luck would have it, we had missed the biggest snowstorm of the year!!! Needless to say, our complaining about the cooler than expected Orlando weather abruptly came to an end. And so with our sweaters/sweatshirts on, we very happily drove our (snow-free) van on the (snow-free) road over to the Polynesian resort for our breakfast at...
Once seated, our waitress soon approached the table to take our drink orders and I immediately had one of those "deja vu" moments. She looked very familiar and yet I was fairly certain that it was not at Kona Cafe that I had seen her before. But my thoughts were quickly diverted by other things, like Kona coffee...
100% Kona Coffee French Press Pot
(shared by DD and me)
Our Rating - 4/5
And then to meet my other two breakfast requirements of carbs and calories...
Macadamia-Pineapple Pancakes with macadamia nut butter, pineapple sauce and your choice of ham, bacon or sausage
Ahhh... Macadamia-Pineapple Pancakes. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
If only I were a more clever woman, I would write my own beautiful love sonnet for these wonderful pancakes.
But I'm not, so will just have to make do with this simple haiku...
A taste of heaven:
Delicious nut-filled pancakes
Topped with pineapple.
One common complaint regarding these pancakes is that it is almost humanly impossible to finish them. I have only known of one person who has somehow accomplished this feat. (Here is the LINK to the Kona breakfast update which Paula sent for the Live Thread.)
Now I'm not sure if Paula was force-fed by her DH or whether she is in fact a superhuman, but either away my attempt to match her accomplishment fell short...
But before you pat me on the back for almost cleaning my plate, I must confess that my DH had more than a few bites of my pancakes. Speaking of which, have you noticed a pattern in my DH's eating on this trip? You may recall that, in an attempt to not gain any weight on this trip, he and my DD made a deal to share one entree during all of our meals. That plan may have been successful if he hadn't also then eaten a good portion of my meal as well. Let's see, there was my salmon at Artist Point, my Colony salad at Liberty Tree, and now my Kona pancakes. Just sayin'.
So what did my DH and DD choose for their shared entree?...
Ham and Cheese Omelet (with red peppers added), served with home-fried potatoes and toast
Their Rating - 3/5
They wanted me to be sure to note that the addition of the peppers made the difference between a rating of 2 and 3.
Kind of a boring choice though, if you ask me. Especially when Kona has much more unique offerings like my beloved pancakes or my DS's choice...
Tonga Toast - banana stuffed sourdough bread, rolled in cinnamon sugar and served with Strawberry Compote and your choice of ham, bacon, or sausage
His Rating - 4/5
Other than rating it a 4, DS didn't say too much about his Tonga Toast. However, this is what he ordered the last time he was here for breakfast, so the fact that he ordered it again seems to indicate that he is a fan.
Now to answer the question, "What does Kona Cafe and California Grill have in common?"
For those of you who have dined at Kona Cafe, you know that Kona can be a very loud restaurant. So of course, DH couldn't resist the urge to make a snide remark regarding the noise. And despite the fact that I gave him a pretty good kick underneath the table , DS proceeded to tell his father about the app that he now had on his phone. So what was the noise level of Kona Cafe during their peak breakfast hours? Almost 80 dB. Not as bad as Tony's the night before, but high enough to prove my DH's point and give him a reason to gloat. And not just to us, but also to our waitress. When he told her about the iPhone app and the measurement that we had taken, she laughed and said that she was used to the noise because she usually worked at (the currently closed for renovations) California Grill. It was then that the "penny finally dropped" and a quick glance at her name tag confirmed...it was Dawn, our absolutely wonderful server that my DH and I had when we dined at California Grill during our 25th Anniversary trip.
So my answer to the question which I posed..."They both have the good fortune to employ Dawn, one of our best servers ever!"
And so I had the good fortune of having a little "taste" of my favorite California Grill along with my much-loved Kona pancakes that morning...and I didn't have to shovel any snow to get there. Life is good!!!
Next up: Eating around the World
Great Kona update Barb
So funny that DH decided to split entrees with DD to eat less and then ended up tucking into your meals!
Did you know that for the holidays last year, Kona were offering pumpkin pancakes? ..... Mmm, think that makes it a December must do!
Still haven't tried Kona, but it always looks yummy. I want to try that Tonga toast!
and omg, you ate around the world? Were you more successful than us? We only missed a few, but man, we will never try that again. anyway, I am so excited to hear how you did!
Barb those pineapple macadamia nut pancakes are my ALL TIME FAVORITE breakfast at WDW!!! You know I'm a huge fan! If I could only choose 1 TS for breakfast, Kona would definitely be it!
They need to offer a side portion or a short stack since they are nearly impossible to finish.
I suppose it is a good thing that your DS had that iphone app since you were able to stitch together the connection with your Cali Grill server.
Great update Barb!
I agree with the general consensus that the pineapple macadamia nut pancakes are heavenly but oh-so-rich and next to impossible to finish. I remember reading another dining report where the author (sorry, I can't remember who) mentioned ordering these pancakes and asking for them to be prepared and served the same way as the Big Kahuna. She said taking the nuts out of the batter made them less rich and there was still plenty of them in the butter.
I love them too, but I'm a wimp and can only ever manage to finish one at the most before I'm done so I may try this idea out.
Kona is definitely a must do in December for me but I doubt I will be able to order anything other than the Pineapple-Macadamia pancakes.
You definitely need to try Kona for breakfast sometime!
And successful? Well, I'll let you be the judge.
I agree, a short stack would be perfect.
Hmm...the first time I had these they were the regular pancakes with macadamia nut butter and pineapple topping, that are part of the Big Kahuna breakfast. While they were good, I came away wondering what all the fuss was about these. Then I learned here on the DIS about the difference and the next time I visited Kona I had the real deal. IMO, having the nuts in the pancakes takes them to a whole new level of deliciousness. Richer and more filling, yes, but for me it's the difference between good pancakes and OUTSTANDING PANCAKES!!!
Now I must apologize once again for neglecting my Dining Report. I have 8 reporters (one more coming in today) sending in updates for the live thread right now, so all my DIS time has been spent there. So to those of you who are still reading along, thank you for sticking with me and for your patience. I'm almost done with my next two-part installment, so please stay tuned.
The clock is ticking, Barb. If you don't update soon, I will find another review to read
Well, I can't have that! So I'm dedicating this installment to Joh.
My original plan for this day was to return to Magic Kingdom after our breakfast at Kona. However, since we were able to see/do everything on our combined list in one morning the previous day, we decided on a new plan of attack. Sadly I had to cancel our lunch ADR at The Plaza though (hadn't been there since 2006 and really wanted to try it again) since Plan B involved going to Epcot to check out the Flower & Garden Festival booths. So after our breakfast, my DH drove the car back to Wilderness Lodge while the rest of us walked to the Transportation & Ticket Center to catch the monorail to Epcot. Once there, we headed to World Showcase but couldn't walk by Club Cool without stopping in. I told my kids about all the pics I've seen of Club Cool newbies getting "Beverly'd". So my DD offered to stage a "Beverly'd" pic for me to post on the live thread. Now I figured that she would just pretend to take a sip of that nasty drink but she took her role-playing quite seriously and took a big gulp.
So the following picture, though missing the element of surprise, is otherwise authentic.
Moving on to World Showcase and the...
We began our eating on the left side (Mexico side) at this booth...
We chose the...
Shrimp and Stone Ground Grits with Andouille Sausage, Zellwood Corn, Tomatoes and Cilantro
Our Rating - 5/5
DD and I loved this, it had just the right amount of heat for us. Delicious! DS tends to shy away from foods that combine several ingredients like this, so he had only one tiny bite...not enough to give an opinion.
He did however eat most of the other item that we got at this booth. While DD and I were concentrating on the Shrimp & Grits, he devoured this...
Angel Food Cake with macerated Florida Berries
His Rating - 4/5
Now it was in Mexico that we got sidetracked from our plan to visit all the F & G booths. A few years ago (when they got bored with the Kidcot Stations) my kids came up with a new game to play when visiting the countries of World Showcase. This game involved having their picture taken in each country, usually with props involved. So after taking this (mostly) normal picture in front of the Mexican pyramid, they remembered this game that had entertained them during many a trip to World Showcase.
Although we intended to return to Mexico later in the week and take a sombrero picture inside the pyramid, we somehow never got around to doing it. So in it's place I am sharing with you a picture of them from 2006, which may have been the beginning of this tradition.
Since they were now more interested in taking funny pictures than eating, we passed on both the Mexico and China booths.
But we did of course visit the troll in Norway...
And did some "shopping" in China...
Finally, when we got to Germany my DS decided that he was again hungry. Now I was leaning toward getting the Potato Pancakes but I let DS decide what we would try at the...
and he surprised me by choosing the...
German Meatloaf Sandwich with Sweet Mustard and Fried Shallots
His Rating - 4/5, DD & My Rating - 3/5
To me this tasted like a bologna sandwich. Others have said it tastes like SPAM. I've never tasted SPAM but if it tastes like bologna then I am in complete agreement. Whether meatloaf, bologna, or SPAM, DS enjoyed it so I guess it's all good.
And of course, he needed something to wash it down...
But don't worry folks, he's only 17 so the stein was quite empty.
Oh and no visit to Germany is complete without a visit to...
for my favorite caramel treat...
Caramel Rolls with Marshmallow Cream
And no, I didn't buy all of these
...but I did get three
...and a Caramel Apple.
...Oh, and maybe a bag of caramel corn too.
That's it for Part I. Hopefully I'll have Part II up tonight???
I'll have to remember that German meatloaf = bologna.
I feel honoured
I really must get round to posting the video of my DD trying the Beverley, it is hilarious - your DD's reaction looks perfectly authentic to me.
Too cute (although I'm not sure they'll thank you for it).
Spam! Spam! Spam! Spam!
Lovely spam! Wonderful spam!
Spam spa-a-a-a-a-am spam spa-a-a-a-a-am spam.
Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam!
Spam spam spam spam!
Great update Barb. I have to say, you showed remarkable restraint at Karamell Kuche
No pink Grey Goose slushy though, what's up with that?
Great update Barb ...; happy to see the latest section is dedicated to the lovely Joh, especially as she has burst into a Spam song
Such great photos of DD and DS - looks like you had such a fun time together
Love that your kids don't think themselves too cool for the cute pictures.
Pineapple macadamia nut pancakes could be the best Disney breakfast food ever!
Just caught up reading your review, great reporting!
Barb you've NEVER had Spam? That's probably for the best since I can't say that I have fond memories of it from childhood when it was served to us with a fruit platter. My mom must have been punishing us as kids when she served that!
Anyhoo.... you DD played the Beverly'd role perfectly! Great job on taking one for the Disboards! We did that to Michael last summer and he couldn't get over that I had actually planned that from before we even went on our trip! I think he's still bitter!!
Love the photos of the kids clowning with the props around the world! Looks like that is a tradition going back to the "early years"
That German meatloaf looks so good. I even showed it to my husband before reading your review. We were oohing and aahhing until we read... SPAM. Oh dear.
anyway, now DH wants to go to WDW during one of the festivals so I thank you so much for that! Looking forward to part 2!
Ok, I have to tell you all my SPAM story. There is even a small Disney connection. I think of this story and actually giggle any time someone mentions SPAM. Growing up, my Mom loved the stuff. My sister and I could not even stand the smell of it let alone the taste.
Fast forward to DH and I driving home from Disney in 1990 (we weren't married yet and I think this is the trip that we decided to honeymoon at the Grand Floridian). Driving up thru the Carolinas the radio station was constantly promoting a SPAM festival featuring all kinds of "SPAM treats" in an auto parts store parking lot. Well, this cracked me up. I made fun of it and laughed the whole ride. When we finally stopped for the night at some fleabag cheap hotel, we fell into separate beds exhausted and just wanting to sleep. All of a sudden in the dark I hear DH say, "Vicki I really need to tell you something". I remember saying that it could wait til morning. DH said "no, I need to talk to you now". I turned on the light for him to sit up and say: "I like SPAM". I laughed so hard I actually fell off the bed.
Ok, maybe not as funny to all of you that weren't there and hadn't spent hours upon hours driving in the car, but it is a moment I will always remember. Still to this day do not know why he felt it was so important that he had to tell me that. And in all of our now 24 years together he has never eaten SPAM!
Ok, back to your regulary scheduled food porn ...
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