The Quest for Grownup Food, aka A Vacation From Nuggetized Foods

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Reviews' started by Schmoodle, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. Schmoodle

    Schmoodle DIS Veteran

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    Hello all! I am recently back from a 5-day adult trip with my best friend. It was weird leaving our kids behind, but we were able to get past the guilt and had a blast doing just what we wanted, and eating grownup food – not a nugget in sight for 5 whole days! We were on the dining plan for the first time. I had a pin code for the room, so we paid OOP for our dining, and I was hoping that wasn’t a mistake, since I’ve been reading on the DIS about all the changes during free dining and things that have been eliminated from the snack list. But I really wanted to give it a try, and having to pay just for me and not for the whole family made it irresistible.

    The DIS dining reviews were a great help in planning our trip, and my DF was very impressed with my depth of knowledge about all the food options and best places to eat. So I thought I should do my part and give back – even though I am not a clever enough writer to attempt a full-on trip report. I am sorry this review is picture free – I love looking at all the pictures on this board, but I felt weird about photographing my food, and my companion would have thought I was crazy. If I can "borrow" some and stick them in or link them, I will. So, let’s get started!

    Day1: Epcot: Sunshine Seasons (Post #2), Kouzzina (Post #5)
    Day 2: DHS: Starring Rolls Café (Post #6), The Writer’s Stop (Post #9), Prime Time Café (Post #12)
    Day 3: Animal Kingdom: Flame Tree BBQ (Page 2, Post #17), Dino-Bites (Page 2, Post #18), Boma (Page 2, Post #19)
    Day 4: Magic Kingdom: Columbia Harbor House (Page 2, Post #20), Aloha Isle (Page 2, Post #23), The Wave (Page 2, Post #24
    Day 5: Epcot: Tangierine Cafe (Page 2, Post #25), Kringla Bakeri og Cafe (Page 2, Post #27)
    Conclusion (Page 2, Post #29)
    Epilogue (Page 2, Post #30)
     
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  3. Schmoodle

    Schmoodle DIS Veteran

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    Friday, Sept 18, Arrival Day:
    Lunch at Sunshine Seasons: We split a combo meal from the Asian section. By the way, the two entrée, two sides meal is not on the menu anymore, only a single entrée, two side combo, so we got cashew chicken, broccoli, and a noodley thing. This food was edible but not great. I ate the broccoli, DF ate the noodles, and we split the entrée and an Asian cake dessert. If you are really hungry, it’s probably not a good candidate for splitting. This was just your run-of-the mill Chinese takeout food, nothing to write home about. The cake was sweet but that was about it, not very flavorful and a little dry. We were glad we split it because we were hungry later and were really looking forward to our dinner ressie at …

    Cost: 1 CS credit, OOP $16.77 + tax
     
  4. 2littlez'sandme

    2littlez'sandme Mouseketeer

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    My BFF and I spent 6 wonderful husbandless and childless days @ Disney this past July. It was the best vacation EV-AH!! Hoping we can do it again in the spring.
    Looking forward to your entries...you and your DF ate at a few places we did. We did alot of character meals and TS because we could -without kids!! So much fun!!
    Please continue...
     
  5. Schmoodle

    Schmoodle DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for joining me littlez! I agree, it was the best trip ever! Not that my trips with my kids aren't wonderful, but this was a whole different experience - getting to do exactly what WE wanted to do, go at our own pace, and eat where WE wanted to eat was amazing. We did NOT do any character meals - because we didn't have to LOL. She doesn't know it yet, but we are definitely going back, but not as soon as you (jealousy). We have our big 5-0 birthdays in three years, and Food and Wine is my birthday wish.
     
  6. Schmoodle

    Schmoodle DIS Veteran

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    Kouzzina! Oh my goodness, people, you MUST eat here! I knew they’d had their soft opening in August, but didn’t realize we were there on the day after their hard opening. I feel lucky to have gotten a ressie. I think there has been some confusion about this place; I’ve read some negative reviews on this board, and from the way the waiter described the menu, I think some people really don’t know what to expect here. He was careful to explain that the pastitsio was really quite different from lasagna, - tactical mistake perhaps, on the menu they do describe it as similar to lasagna, so people must be surprised by what they get. When I asked about the whole fish, he also explained that it would be a WHOLE fish, and recommended I get the fisherman’s stew if I would be intimidated by head, tail, and bones. I had considered the stew, but I was born and raised on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, and there isn’t a crustacean, shellfish, or fish that intimidates me or that I don’t like, so I went with the fish. That night they were serving yellow-tail snapper. The waiter offered to filet it for me, so if you are intimidated by fileting your own, no worries there! It was perfect, succulent, moist, just the best thing I have eaten in a very long time. I seriously wanted to kiss the chef and burst into tears – yep, that good. It took me right back to the days when you could get beautiful fresh bluefish or rockfish and my mom would pan-roast them in the oven. The braised veggies underneath included carrots, onions, fennel, so good and doused with an excellent fruity and flavorful olive oil, yum! What about DF? She ordered the pork t-bone. She said it was very tasty, and gave me a bite to try, but honestly I don’t even remember what it tasted like, I was so enraptured with my own meal. I don’t remember if I offered her some of my fish, actually, how rude! I probably would have stabbed her hand with my fork if she’d tried to take some. For dessert, she had the baklava and proclaimed it tasty, and I had the Greek yogurt sorbet with berries and mint syrup with a press pot coffee. The sorbet was not great, it had kind of a grainy texture, and although the waiter warned that the mint flavor in the syrup would be very strong, it was hardly noticeable. I wasn’t sorry I ordered this though, because it was light and I really didn’t need anything heavy after that big fish. And the coffee was strong and really hit the spot. When the bill came, the coffee did not appear on it and I questioned our waiter about that. He said the dining plan had picked it up! The dining room was open, airy, tables were not crowded close together, and gorgeous light fixtures. Service was good – he was just attentive enough and didn’t rush us. This was a great way to start the trip, and although we ate some other very good food, this was the standout and will be the first ressie I make for the next trip. It’s probably not a great place for kids, though, unless they are culinary adventurers. I’m not sure mine would have been able to find something they liked, and they are too old for the child’s menu. But if you enjoy Greek food, I highly recommend it.

    Cost: 2 TS credits + tip, OOP $80.63 + tax and tip
     
  7. Schmoodle

    Schmoodle DIS Veteran

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    Saturday, September 19:
    Lunch at Starring Rolls. I had the turkey Panini with an apple, chips, and a brownie for dessert. DF had the ham Panini with an orange, chips, and the butterfinger cupcake. The sandwiches were huge, I’d say almost a half pound of meat on them. They were also very tasty, and the desserts were awesome. This meal is a great value on the dining plan, totally share-able, and we got a snack out of it as well by saving our fruit for later. It’s a good thing I read the DIS because I would not have known they had lunch here otherwise. When we first went in around 11:15, they did not have sandwiches out in the case, and we had to ask. They put the lunches out at 11:30. My only complaint was that we left feeling very stuffed. Nobody held a gun to our heads, but DF said her cupcake was so good she could not stand to leave any behind. She wasn’t able to finish it, but she sure tried! It was so huge, and filled with fudge AND creamy filling underneath mounds of chocolate frosting and butterfinger pieces. My brownie was more modest, but I was only able to eat half of it anyway. It was very fudgy and moist. Feeling like total porkers, we finally waddled away.

    Cost: 2 CS credits, OOP $27.94 + tax

    ETA: Here is a spirited discussion of the famous butterfinger cupcake: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2304162
    There are pictures including one of the turkey sandwich.
     
  8. 2littlez'sandme

    2littlez'sandme Mouseketeer

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    Schmoodle, thanks for your review of Kouzzina. I've always loved Cat Cora and when I heard she was opening a restaurant @ Disney, I thought 'I'll be there!'. We have several Greek restaurants in our area so I'm familiar with the items on the menu. This is one I'd have to do with BFF next time. Like you had mentioned, my kids are not culinary adventurers...in fact, my little one won't eat anything except Oreos and Club crackers!!

    I'd love to have more than just dessert @ Starring Rolls. That butterfinger cupcake sounds delish. I've always seen it in the case, but passed on it. DS is a pizza junkie and HUGE Toy Story fan, so Pizza Planet is an annual event for us @ DHS. I'm hoping to squeeze in the Playhouse Disney breakfast this trip for the little guy...he loves Little Einsteins.

    Looking foward to reading more of your reviews...:woohoo:
     
  9. Schmoodle

    Schmoodle DIS Veteran

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    You ladies will love it! We enjoy Iron Chef, and my DD was very jealous that I ate at Cat's restaurant. Cat is her favorite and she is always hoping she gets picked on IC.
    How do YOU like Pizza Planet? That's one we haven't tried yet, and I was thinking about taking the kids there next time. Would it be good for 11 and 13YOs?
    I've read good things about that Playhouse Disney breakfast, but I guess I'll have to wait for some grandkids before I do that one.
     
  10. Schmoodle

    Schmoodle DIS Veteran

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    We did find some room for afternoon refreshment at The Writer’s Stop, though. I had a latte, and DF got a blue smoothie. My coffee was good and strong. I didn’t taste the blue smoothie (ick), but it was very blue! I was eyeing those carrot cake cookies, but no way could I have eaten one. They looked so tempting, and I hope to try one next time. This was a great place to hang out for a while on a hot afternoon, comfy couches and books to browse. See, that’s something I probably never would have taken the time to do if I’d had kids along!

    Cost 2 snack credits, OOP $6.28 + tax
     
  11. mrslane

    mrslane Recovering CM

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    I've eaten there once and loved it! I found the portions to be a great value. I was there w. a BFF and her 3 kids 7,10, 13. They all seemed to like it. They liked the arcade too. Service was fast. Salads are great too. Again, highly recommend it.
     
  12. Schmoodle

    Schmoodle DIS Veteran

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    Thanks MrsLane! Looks like Starring Rolls for lunch and Pizza Planet it is for dinner on our DHS day in January.
     
  13. Schmoodle

    Schmoodle DIS Veteran

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    We had dinner reservations at Prime Time Café, my favorite! (well, before Kouzzina) I know not everybody loves this place, but I enjoy the décor, and I like the fun and games. Our waiter told us that the smoothies and shakes were included as a beverage on the dining plan, so DF ordered a chocolate shake (remember the giant cupcake at lunch?), and I ordered the mega berry smoothie. Did we want them? Not so much, but we ordered them anyway, I guess just because we could. Attribute it to the power of suggestion, gluttony, and the leaving of good sense at home. The milkshake was a lot, and the smoothie was fruity and very sweet to me. I don’t eat any sugar at home, and after already having dessert after lunch, I was starting to feel a little sugar-shocked. I didn’t drink much of it and really wished I’d just had some water. I had the oil-poached salmon with brown rice pilaf, and it was well-cooked, not at all dry. Can you tell I like my seafood? DF ordered the pot roast, which she said was very good. After dinner, we were obliged to have yet another dessert, so I had no sugar added cheesecake with strawberries and whipped cream, and DF had apple cobbler a la mode (because the half gallon of ice cream in the chocolate shake obviously wasn’t enough!). She liked it but couldn’t manage more than a few bites. That did not go over well with our waiter, who scolded her severely for having eyes bigger than her stomach, and promised that Gram would deal with her later. My cheesecake was fine and I was able to finish it and I have a Clean Plate Club Sticker to prove it. Thank goodness we didn’t order Dad’s sundae – the lady next to me had it and it was enormous, but very fun-looking with caramel corn and candy corn sprinkled on top. If I go back with my kids, we’ll get this but split it. Our server scaled back on the silliness; since we were adults only he probably wasn’t sure how much we would want. But he was fun enough and service was adequate. So, although Kouzzina has nudged it out of the lead, after eating here three times and having three good experiences, PTC retains its place on my list of favorites.

    Cost: 2 TS credits + tip, OOP $60.24 + tax and tip
     
  14. 2littlez'sandme

    2littlez'sandme Mouseketeer

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    BFF and I would probably eat at PTC, IF we ever had a lite breakfast. I've eaten there on my honeymoon with DH, I remember the rollie-pollie-ollie feeling after having had one of the chocolate shakes and Dad's dessert sundae. I won't do that again.

    Have a good one...enjoying your reviews.
     
  15. KatMark

    KatMark DIS Veteran

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    Oooh...this sounds right up my DH's alley. I think we'll hav eto put this on the list for next year.
     
  16. Schmoodle

    Schmoodle DIS Veteran

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    I hope you will try it and love it as much as I did KatMark. It's easily the best meal I've had at WDW, at least among the TS restaurants that count as ITS credit. I can't say I've eaten at any of the signature spots though - except CRT - I think that's 2TS credits, isn't it? We weren't really impressed with the food there, but I guess eating in the castle is the main point.
    Anyway, thanks for reading my reviews!
     
  17. Schmoodle

    Schmoodle DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for sticking with my reviews, littlez! I'm glad you are enjoying them.
     
  18. Schmoodle

    Schmoodle DIS Veteran

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    Sunday, September 20
    This was the day we discovered Flame Tree BBQ. This is really a great place! There is so much seating, and if you walk all the way down the path, you have a nice water view. The ducks did not bother me at all - I just looked them right in the eye and told them they were not getting any of my food. We shared the ribs platter, and it was plenty, particularly since we were still kind of full from the previous day’s orgy of food. The ribs were not the best I’ve ever had, but they were meaty, not too fatty, and not half bad, and came with a small cup of beans and another of cole slaw. I wished there was more cole slaw, because it was just the way I like it – not too sweet, not too much mayonnaise, just crisp and fresh. We had a piece of key lime pie for dessert, very creamy and limey. By the way, we found that if you told the CMs you were sharing a meal, they were great about giving you the largest size soda, an extra cup, extra plate, throwing an extra side on, etc.

    Cost: 1 CS credit, OOP $16.57 + tax
     
  19. Schmoodle

    Schmoodle DIS Veteran

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    We managed to use a snack credit for a chocolate chip ice cream cookie sandwich at Dino-Bites. DF wanted to order two, but I’d read that they were very big, so I convinced her one would be enough, and it certainly was. It was very yummy too, and a great snack on a hot afternoon. I wasn’t sure it would be allowed as a dining plan snack, as it costs over $4, and the DP symbol does not appear next to it on the menu, but the lady in line in front of me asked that question, and was told it was included.

    Cost: 1 snack credit, OOP $4.29 (I’m pretty sure)

    Back later on today with the famous Boma...
     
  20. Schmoodle

    Schmoodle DIS Veteran

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    Having never visited the Animal Kingdom Lodge, we were very excited about our dinner ressie at Boma. While DF loved this place, I did not. I’m sorry, Boma-lovers, I really wanted to love it too, but I couldn’t. It felt very crowded, long lines at the buffet, and every single dish on the buffet except for the meats was sweet. I do not like sweet savory dishes much. I did find a few things I liked – the fufu was like the filling of a sweet potato pie, and I do love sweet potatoes. The olive hummus was really good. DF loved the bobotie, kind of a shepherd’s pie thing with ground lamb. The carrot and ginger soup was creamy and velvety, but too sweet. I’d like to try making it at home, less sweet and with a stronger ginger flavor, I think it would be really good. There was an excellent couscous salad, and a spinach and corn dish that was really good, kind of the texture of grits. DF loved the zebra domes. I thought they were good, but preferred the mango panna cotta. It was less sweet and with a strong mango flavor. Our server was quick to remove our plates and kept our beverages filled, even though she was pretty busy with some large tables. I’d never seen the lodge before, so it was great fun to explore there after dinner. DF would love to go back. I would probably skip it, and don’t think it’s a place my kids would dig either. But it was fun to try it.

    Cost: 2 TS credits + tip, OOP $61.60 + tax and tip

    ETA: I found the recipes for the bobotie, carrot and ginger soup, and couscous salad on allears.
     
  21. Schmoodle

    Schmoodle DIS Veteran

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    Monday, September 21:
    We had an 8:20 breakfast reservation at Crystal Palace, but who were we kidding? At this point, just the thought of food was nauseating, so we cancelled the night before and made do with some granola bars and fruit in the room. By the time lunch rolled around, we were ready to think about eating again. We settled on Columbia Harbor House. I had the lighthouse sandwich, and they allowed me to substitute an applesauce for the chips. I love their kid's applesauce - it’s packaged so you can save it for later, and is no sugar added. Whenever I can, I get this instead of chips. I ended up saving it for breakfast the next day. The sandwich was healthy in a yummy way, and not too heavy, and I had the apple crisp for dessert, which was yummy in a not-healthy way. I would call it more of an apple dumpling – sweet cinnamon apples wrapped in a tender pastry crust. If I’d been hungrier, I would have wished that I’d ordered what DF did – the fried shrimp platter. The shrimp were great and bigger than I expected – I would call them 16 – 20 count size. We counted tails and she got 11 shrimp. I tasted them and they were hot and good and cooked perfectly. This was another great value meal even if paid out-of-pocket, and very shareable, with a big pile of fries on the side. I know my son will be all over this meal next time we come. She had the chocolate cake for dessert and said it was meh, very forgettable. It was a packaged cake, and she wished she’d had my dessert. I will definitely do lunch here again and bring my kids. We also really enjoyed our upstairs table in a nice air-conditioned room with a view of the lovely haunted mansion.

    Cost: 2 CS credits, OP $26.94 + tax
     

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