WDW Multi-allergy & autism dining reviews: February 2014

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by clanmcculloch, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

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    It'll probably take me a while to get these all written up but I figure it's time to get started. I'll try to include notes about things that are relevant to my 16yo DD who has Asperger Syndrome as well as about all of our multitude of allergies.

    Each restaurant's review will start the same (copy/paste) because I've gotten into the habit lately of putting links to specific restaurant reviews in responses to people's questions and this way the list of allergies will be there even when only linking to one post in the thread.

    We were at WDW February 21, 2014 through March 2, 2014. We at WAY too much but boy did we eat well.

    We’re a fun group to dine with. Three of the four of us has lists of allergies plus DD16 is autistic so dining is always a challenge. I’ll try to explain my thoughts from both an autism perspective (DD16 is very high functioning) as well as an allergy perspective. Our allergies are as follows.
    Me: gluten, milk, sesame, hazelnut, pork, peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern)
    DD16: gluten, milk, eggs, citrus (citric acid is ok), yeast, msg, peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern), star anise
    DD13: gluten, milk, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, sesame, hops, peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern), blueberry, cranberry, raw carrots, raw peaches, raw fruit skins besides grapes, citrus (citric acid is ok), lima beans, soy products other than Tofutti and Follow Your Heart (soy’s not the problem but we haven’t identified what ingredient in Silk and other soy products cause Oral Allergy Syndrome)

    I'll update this first post indicating which post number contains the review for which restaurant, kind of like a table of contents. During our trip we ate at the following restaurants.

    Be Our Guest - supper - post #19
    Boma - supper - post #2
    Boma - breakfast (twice) - post #12
    California Grill - supper (adults only) - post #10
    Flame Tree BBQ - lunch - post #3
    Grand Floridian Cafe - lunch - post #7
    Jiko - supper - post #5
    The Mara - supper (several times) - post #20
    Tusker House - lunch
     
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  3. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

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    We’re a fun group to dine with. Three of the four of us has lists of allergies plus DD16 is autistic so dining is always a challenge. I’ll try to explain my thoughts from both an autism perspective (DD16 is very high functioning) as well as an allergy perspective. Our allergies are as follows.
    Me: gluten, milk, sesame, hazelnut, pork, peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern)
    DD16: gluten, milk, eggs, citrus (citric acid is ok), yeast, msg, peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern), star anise
    DD13: gluten, milk, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, sesame, hops, peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern), blueberry, cranberry, raw carrots, raw peaches, raw fruit skins besides grapes, citrus (citric acid is ok), lima beans, soy products other than Tofutti and Follow Your Heart (soy’s not the problem but we haven’t identified what ingredient in Silk and other soy products cause Oral Allergy Syndrome)

    We ate at Boma on our arrival night. We were originally supposed to eat at Sanaa for a late lunch but thanks to flight delays we missed our Sanaa ADR. We were staying at AKL so the CM at check-in called to see if they could get us in for supper since it was around 5:00 but they were booked solid because of the Princess Half Marathon. Boma was able to take us immediately. They didn’t know we were coming but I had spoken to somebody by phone about an ADR we had later that week plus with their great reputation I figured we’d be ok.

    Check-in went really quickly. They have a small waiting area which I would imagine would be uncomfortable if they were to get even a little backed up but there was only one other family in the area when we were there so it felt more cozy than small even with the 3 story ceiling. Our buzzer went off only a couple minutes after we checked in. We were escorted to our seats on the far side of the restaurant.

    The restaurant seems to be broken up into sections. There’s a large open area that runs the length of the restaurant taking up about half the restaurant by the buffet. The other half seems to be broken up somewhat into 3 smaller sections. They’re still very open but it just “feels” a little cozier and calmer in the smaller sections and you’re far less likely to get bumped accidentally or to have to worry about people passing by all the time in the smaller sections. The ceilings also lower in the smaller sections than in the big open half which I’m sure adds to the feeling of it being cozier. We seated DD16 on the booth side of the table for extra measure.

    While I would have expected it to be really loud, it didn’t “seem” all that loud. There were drummers who came out a couple times during the meal but even that just seemed to kind of blend in and didn’t become overwhelming at all. I suppose if DD16 was on the edge then that would have pushed her all the way but she wasn’t there yet and therefore seemed to enjoy watching them walk through the open half of the restaurant with their drums.

    Our server came out to get our drink orders. They had chocolate Silk. YAY!!! DD16 used to drink a lot of this before the switch to Kikkoman so this was a treat. The server had no problem bringing it in single serve cartons instead of pouring it into a glass like they typically do. It’s a trust thing for DD16 because we’re pretty sure she got the wrong chocolate milk at a restaurant several years ago and let me tell you, that wasn’t a pleasant night so she now always wants the carton. The Jungle Juice was safe for me but not the girls (orange juice) so I got that and DD13 got apple juice. They did also have pineapple juice that she could drink but she wasn’t in the mood.

    It wasn’t long before the chef came out to talk with us. We decided to just walk through the line together to see what kinds of ingredients they have to work with and go from there. There were quite a few options for us, some not even needing any modifications and other needing to be custom made to be safe. I’ll just show you what we ended up getting and let the pictures with descriptions speak for themselves.

    The chef brought out individual bowls of foods at first, even for foods we were sharing.

    Clockwise from top left: cabbage salad, some kind of curried rice with raisins, jasmine rice with some kind of seasoning that I can’t recall
    [​IMG]

    Left to right: jasmine rice with some kind of seasoning that I can’t recall, African stew, some kind of curried rice with raisins
    [​IMG]

    I’m not a huge cooked cabbage fan (I usually hate it) but I thought this was tasty. I was the only one who tried it though I think it was safe for all of us (I may be wrong because nobody else wanted to try it). No modifications needed to be made to the regular dish as far as I know but due to cross contamination risk the chef brought it out from the kitchen.
    I quite enjoyed the curried rice as did DD16 but DD13 only ate a bit and ended up taking my bowl of jasmine rice while I ate her curried rice. I believe what was brought was the exact same stuff found on the buffet but because of cross contamination risk the chef brought it out to us.
    The jasmine rice was perfectly cooked and the added seasoning was a nice touch. The rices were both safe for all of us. There isn’t actually any rice like this on the buffet but the chef mentioned that he always has some in the kitchen in response to the girl expressing their love of rice.
    The stew was unfortunately something I couldn’t eat because it has pork. DD13 wasn’t a fan but she doesn’t eat much stew at home either. DD16 ate most of her own bowl. I gather it was quite tasty. They were brought the normal stew found on the buffet but from the kitchen to avoid cross contamination.

    A chef had told me by phone that they have this crispy flat bread that’s actually safe for all of us. It’s very rare to find breads that DD16 can eat because of her particular list of allergies so this was a huge deal. The chef brought us out a large tray of the papadums for all of us to share. I quite enjoyed it but the kids found there was a bit too much of a kick to it. DD16 tried eating a few pieces but it just became too much for her. I didn’t find it spicy at all but I do recognize that there was some spice (I like really spicy and they don’t). Papadum is something they always have so if it’s not offered, just ask.
    [​IMG]

    I saw when going through the buffet that they had a variety of vinaigrette based dressings so I decided to give one a try. I asked for a small salad but got this large one. I sure wish I could recall what kind it was because it was delicious. You could see big dollops of dressing getting mixed together on the buffet to the chef gladly brought it from the kitchen.
    [​IMG]

    All of the dressings had citrus in them so they weren’t safe for the girls. DD16 doesn’t like salad anyway so no big deal. DD13 really likes plain salad with bacon so that’s what the chef brought her. She also wanted drumsticks. Check out the huge platter he brought just for her.
    [​IMG]

    DD16 really loves root vegetables and I tend to enjoy them myself so the chef whipped this up for us to share. It was cooked just right and seasoned nicely though IMO sparingly.
    [​IMG]

    The salmon on the buffet had lemon so the kids couldn’t eat it but I could. I remember that I couldn’t eat it as-is off the buffet but I don’t recall why. The chef served me a perfectly cooked piece with some yummy tapenade/pepper/tomato topping. I was expecting bolder flavours but it was still good.
    [​IMG]

    It’s occurring to me that there are other foods that we ate that I don’t seem to have pictures of. There was a carving station with beef and pork. The kids really enjoyed the pork which I just got for them off the buffet as the CM doing the carving was clearly the only one touching it and was being very obviously careful to use different cutting implements for the two meats. I quite enjoyed the beef. I was nervous about possibly having star anise in the seasoning but the chef assured me that there wasn’t any. I know I also went and got some fruit off the buffet for us. There was nothing at all on the fruit station that we couldn’t eat so it seemed easier and faster to me to just grab it from the buffet. These things we were able to start eating without having to wait on the chef. Since it was past our normal meal start time by the time we had finished talking to the chef, this was important as DD16 does NOT cope well when she’s hungry.

    By this time DD16 was getting really burned out. It had been a really long day and we hadn’t eaten properly earlier because of traveling so she was done. She was visibly bloated but I don’t think it was from anything from this meal. She was already feeling a bit bloated and not all that hungry before we were seated so I really don’t believe it had anything to do with the meal as the rest of us were fine if not tired. She went up to the room before dessert.

    Dessert really wasn’t anything special but it was plated nicely. The chocolate chip cookies are the Enjoy Life crunchy ones and the darker cookies are the Enjoy Life double chocolate brownie. They always go over well and in fact we eat them at home so this was perfectly fine.
    [​IMG]

    Overall, this was a really good meal and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back. If busy I’d probably be willing to wait for a table in the half with the smaller sections because of DD16 or at least make sure we’ve got a table that’s half booth.
     
  4. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

    Joined:
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    We’re a fun group to dine with. Three of the four of us has lists of allergies plus DD16 is autistic so dining is always a challenge. I’ll try to explain my thoughts from both an autism perspective (DD16 is very high functioning) as well as an allergy perspective. Our allergies are as follows.
    Me: gluten, milk, sesame, hazelnut, pork, peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern)
    DD16: gluten, milk, eggs, citrus (citric acid is ok), yeast, msg, peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern), star anise
    DD13: gluten, milk, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, sesame, hops, peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern), blueberry, cranberry, raw carrots, raw peaches, raw fruit skins besides grapes, citrus (citric acid is ok), lima beans, soy products other than Tofutti and Follow Your Heart (soy’s not the problem but we haven’t identified what ingredient in Silk and other soy products cause Oral Allergy Syndrome)

    On our first Animal Kingdom day, my plan was to eat at Flame Tree BBQ because we’ve had good experience here before but I decided to stop in at the allergy kiosk to see if we had any other options. Well, DD13 and I did but really DD16 didn’t have any other options since none of the breads or pizza crusts around WDW are safe for her because they all have yeast so unless I wanted to give her the option of only eating bunless burgers, FTBBQ would continue to be our go-to QS location at AK.

    In the past, we’ve all gotten the chicken and ribs when we’ve gone to FTBBQ but I’ve since had to give up pork so I figured I’d see what other options I would have. We walked up to the person directing people through the queue and she sent us to the far right cash register as it has the widest queue (DD13 was in a wheelchair). It was around 11:15 so the queues were really empty. The CM working the cash immediately gave us an allergy ticket without anything on it and called for a manager and had us wait at the window where they hand the food. We seemed to wait at least 5 minutes for somebody to come out. The person who did come up to us asked us what we were waiting for and when we said we needed to speak to somebody about allergies he told us to hold on another minute and magically somebody came out quickly. I guess we had been forgotten but at least somebody finally saw us off to the side and took care of us. DD16 was already a bit over hungry so she was getting really antsy. Crowds still were really low but they were starting to build a bit so this was making it more difficult for her to make any decisions so I ended up having to order her food for her.

    The manager who came out had his handy-dandy allergy binder. I was able to confirm that the ribs were still safe for the girls so they were really happy. They serve them sauceless which is how they like them. I didn’t think to ask about sauces since they didn’t want sauce anyway. They both got fries with their ribs. I think there was something about the beans and coleslaw that they couldn’t eat but they preferred fries anyway so they were happy.

    I really wasn’t in the mood for a rotisserie chicken so I started going through my options with the manager. I wasn’t very hungry so I asked about the kids’ chicken sandwich. The chicken is just plain chicken breast without a marinade and I think some very simple seasonings so perfect. I wasn’t able to get fries as one of my sides so I chose carrot and a cookie. The manager was fine with giving me a pack of Enjoy Life cookies as an alternative to the regular kids’ chocolate chip cookie.

    We ordered DH’s meal at the same time so that it would all come out together. Once the manager had all of our orders he sent me back to the cashier to pay. The cashier knew we had been waiting a while so even though I walked to the back of the line (it was now around 5 people deep plus more being held back in the snaking queue before being sent to the cashiers since it was now around 11:30 and the lines were quickly building) he called me over and rang me up next. DH in the meantime took the girls to a table to get them out of the way before coming back to help me carry the food when it eventually came out. DD16 really needed to get away from the crowd that was growing by the minute. They found a nice covered area that only had a handful of tables available so that made for a much quieter and calmer place for her to wait and decompress while waiting for the food.

    The manager made sure that the allergy food was on a separate tray than DH’s regular food which I appreciated (some don’t seem to “get” that this is a bad idea). Oddly enough, there was an extra kids’ chicken sandwich on regular bread on the non-allergy tray so I asked about it. A different manager took a look at our ticket and apologized for the meal being put there wrongly and just took it off. The rest of our meals were all correct.

    Sorry, but I forgot to take pictures until we were already part way through our meals so these may not look all that appetizing the but they were pretty good.

    My chicken breast sandwich kids meal on an Udi’s bun with carrots and Enjoy Life cookies – the chicken was kind of dry but with plenty of mustard I really enjoyed it. I generally find chicken breast dry so that’s not really a condemnation of this particular sandwich. I’d order it again. It was a basic chicken breast with lettuce and tomato.
    [​IMG]

    The kids really enjoyed their ribs. Ribs are one of their favourite foods so they were very happy. It’s a pretty good size slab of ribs with a nice portion of fries so neither of them was able to quite finish their meals.
    [​IMG]

    FTBBQ will definitely continue to be our go-to QS spot at AK unless we want chicken tenders in which case we’ll head over to Dinoland where they serve those. I’d try to get there right at 11:00 when they open though so that we’re already seated with our food when the crowds start coming in. Typically as long as we’ve ordered by the time places start getting busier that’s enough but I think I’ve learned from this that we have to be already away from the ordering area before that time.
     
  5. sleepingbean

    sleepingbean DIS Veteran

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    I'm glad you all found good options. The photos look yummy at Boma! I always like Boma, but I never get overly excited about it. It's just fine.
    The dessert looks disappointing, really. I never understand why it can't be dressed up a bit (some toffuti or rice dream with that? maybe a chocolate or marshmallow or something?)
    But if you're happy, I'm happy!
     
  6. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

    Joined:
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    We’re a fun group to dine with. Three of the four of us has lists of allergies plus DD16 is autistic so dining is always a challenge. I’ll try to explain my thoughts from both an autism perspective (DD16 is very high functioning) as well as an allergy perspective. Our allergies are as follows.
    Me: gluten, milk, sesame, hazelnut, pork, peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern)
    DD16: gluten, milk, eggs, citrus (citric acid is ok), yeast, msg, peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern), star anise
    DD13: gluten, milk, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, sesame, hops, peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern), blueberry, cranberry, raw carrots, raw peaches, raw fruit skins besides grapes, citrus (citric acid is ok), lima beans, soy products other than Tofutti and Follow Your Heart (soy’s not the problem but we haven’t identified what ingredient in Silk and other soy products cause Oral Allergy Syndrome)

    I was a bit nervous about this dinner since DD16 is usually pretty burned out by dinner time and we had spent the morning in a park, plus we usually eat an early dinner so 5:30 being their earliest ADR was pushing it. TS dinners often don’t go well because of all of this but Jiko only does dinner and I really wanted to try it as their reputation is so good plus we were staying at AKL so I booked it early in our trip, our first full day in fact. This was definitely a good idea. We had left the park early so that DD16 would have had a chance to emotionally collect herself before dinner.

    Because we had an opening ADR we didn’t have long to wait to be seated. Even though the entrance is right next to the entrance to Boma which can be loud, when you enter Jiko you wait in a quiet area by the bar. We only had to wait maybe 2 minutes tops before our buzzer went off and during that wait I think there was maybe one other party so it was nice and quiet. The whole restaurant is rather dimly lit and despite the high ceilings which to me usually cause an echo, it was very quiet. The atmosphere definitely felt much more high end than the typical restaurants we go to but we also don’t usually eat at signature restaurants. The atmosphere definitely had us speaking quieter and seemed to be calming for all of us.

    I had spoken with a few chefs at AKL before our trip so I knew that at least one of the restaurants had a bread plate with dips that were safe for us so I asked the chef about that. Three of the dips were sesame free but only one was citrus fruit free. The girls really weren’t all that interested in trying it but I was so I ordered it. The chef brought it out on 3 separate plates. One plate had my 3 dips and he brought small dishes of the one safe one for each of the girls to try. I really wish I could recall which was which but I can’t. It was served with the same pappadam that we received at Boma. The chef brought us out a second basket when we polished off the first (I really liked the stuff and even with the spice the girls did too). You know, looking at this picture they look kind of gross but really they were quite tasty. The brown one was sweet but more of a hearty fruit sweet than a sugary sweet (maybe date based?). Both of the green ones had a little bit of a kick but definitely different flavours. I’m pretty sure it was the dark one that the girls were given. DD16 at all of hers but DD13 only ate maybe half as it became a bit too spicy for her but again, she really didn’t like much spice. I thought this was a delicious appetizer.
    [​IMG]

    DD16 really was struggling this evening with general coping. I made sure she had a snack mid-afternoon but it was still tough. She couldn’t think of what to order. The chef was remarkably patient with her. She really liked the idea of the stuff that came with the scallops but didn’t want scallops. I wanted the lamb dish but I also love scallops. She said that the braised lamb sounded good but didn’t want lamb chops. We discussed this with the chef and he said that we’d both be able to eat both dishes so she and I agreed that I’d eat the scallops while she ate the rest of that dish and she could have most of my braised lamb. Sounds easy enough, right? Unfortunately the chef came back out and said that the lamb had been braised in something she could have (I think there was star anise in the braising liquid) so she couldn’t have it. She almost completely shut down. Chef to the rescue!! He crouched down beside her so that he was eye level with her and went over what it was about the scallops that she wanted and he came up with a dish for her that was basically the rice, quinoa and selection of vegetables that he let her choose along with the coconut curry sauce on the side in case she didn’t like the sauce. This thrilled her, thank goodness. The chef was later impressed with her observations about the ratio of quinoa to rice being heavy on the quinoa since it’s got such a strong and distinctive flavour but she did eat the majority of it quite happily.
    [​IMG]

    DD13 really wasn’t feeling very hungry and in fact before we sat down had said that her belly was hurting a bit so I didn’t expect her to eat much or really even want to order much, but she did find something that sounded good. She loves her pig products so she chose to try the pork loin and the chef let her choose her own selection of vegetables just as he did for DD16 along with white rice which is something both girls could eat every meal if I’d let them. She said the pork was a bit dry but otherwise was really good. She polished off all the vegetables and rice but only maybe 1/3 of the pork. DH tried it and agreed it was dry, but I think it normally comes with a sauce which she couldn’t eat. Considering the fact that we didn’t expect her to eat much at all, her eating so much definitely meant it was a good meal.
    [​IMG]

    Like I had said before, I really wanted the lamb. I love lamb. As much as I would have liked to try the scallops (I was a bit torn between the two), I was kind of glad that DD13 didn’t want any of mine because the lamb two ways was DELICIOUS and perfectly cooked (the chef asked how I like it and I said rare to which he responded he doesn’t go beyond medium rare which ended up perfect). I think the chef actually said he didn’t even have to make modifications to it in order for it to be safe (obviously leaving off the ciabatta) for me which I found amazing.
    [​IMG]

    Then came time for dessert. I had spoken with the pastry chef from AKL by phone a couple weeks earlier and she was asking all sorts of questions about the girls’ likes and dislikes as well as safe vs unsafe products, brands, and ingredients. She knew we were celebrating DD16’s birthday so she asked if I wanted a cake. I told her that we’ve done cakes before and it always bothers me how much ends up going to waste so I’d prefer individual desserts. I expected maybe cupcakes or panna cotta (I know they have safe coconut panna cotta at AKL). I sure didn’t expect this. The chef and our server came out with 3 plates of this though only one said happy birthday. I had to get a picture of it cut open showing the inside as well. That’s a homemade caramel sauce drizzled on the plate. Around the outside is a sheet of molded chocolate. Inside is a bunch of layers of chocolate cake with really rich icing between each layer and more of the icing on top. DD16’s had a candle and we all sang to her. She doesn’t usually want her birthday acknowledged but since she turned 16 on the 16th and this is a “big” birthday, she did want to celebrate this trip. The cake was delicious. None of us could completely finish ours because they were quite big and very sweet so we got a to-go container and polished off the rest the next day (staying at AKL meant just walking it to our room so no big deal to bring it with us).
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Our server also brought her a card signed by all the staff.
    [​IMG]

    Short summary would be that the food was delicious, the chef and our server were both wonderful, the pastry chef was a genius, and the atmosphere was very calm, quiet and soothing. If this restaurant was in a park we’d be guaranteed to go back. If we stay at AKL again we’ll be guaranteed to go back. If we stay elsewhere then I’ll have to really think about it because it’s already hard enough on DD16 to handle TS dinners so traveling to get to dinner can be tough but it just might be worth a cab ride.
     
  7. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

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    I was actually kind of disappointed in the Boma dessert but I figured we didn't have an ADR for that night so they didn't know we were coming and really we were exhausted (long day traveling) and stuffed (there was SO much food up until that point) so something nicer probably would have been wasted on us that night. In the past chefs generally have dressed it up a bit but surprisingly not many did this trip. The pastry chef at AKL outdid herself but otherwise the desserts overall really were the plainest we've had in all of our trips.
     
  8. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

    Joined:
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    We’re a fun group to dine with. Three of the four of us has lists of allergies plus DD16 is autistic so dining is always a challenge. I’ll try to explain my thoughts from both an autism perspective (DD16 is very high functioning) as well as an allergy perspective. Our allergies are as follows.
    Me: gluten, milk, sesame, hazelnut, pork, peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern)
    DD16: gluten, milk, eggs, citrus (citric acid is ok), yeast, msg, peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern), star anise
    DD13: gluten, milk, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, sesame, hops, peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern), blueberry, cranberry, raw carrots, raw peaches, raw fruit skins besides grapes, citrus (citric acid is ok), lima beans, soy products other than Tofutti and Follow Your Heart (soy’s not the problem but we haven’t identified what ingredient in Silk and other soy products cause Oral Allergy Syndrome)

    I had been wanted to eat here for a couple of years now but DD13 was in the past a very fussy eater and I just didn’t see anything on the menu that would have been easily modifiable to something she would eat so I had skipped it until now. Her pallet has expanded so this seemed like as good a time as any to give it a try. I book the ADR for lunch on a day where we would be at MK for RD so we could tour and then leave for lunch before heading back to our resort for the day. The monorail was down for maintenance through the day but there’s always to the boat which we all love so no big deal. The fact that we had a wheelchair also wasn’t a big deal because it folds. They were running big boats so if we needed to we could have even wheeled it on but it wasn’t necessary since it folded up and was easily carried.

    It’s just so pleasant walking through the Grand Floridian grounds. One of these days we need to stay here. Even though it was overcast and rain looked imminent, we still took our time soaking up the pleasant atmosphere and just meandered through the grounds to get to the restaurant.

    When we walked into the building and up to the podium, the atrium area was empty. We were seated immediately. I was surprised since it was what I thought would be prime meal time (12:35 ADR, I think we got there around 12:20) but no, it was wonderfully quiet. The atmosphere is bright and cheery and just relaxing like being at a beach resort even though you could see the overcast skies through the window.

    Our server came over very quickly to take our drink orders. DD16 wanted her usual chocolate Silk soy milk and DD13 wanted her usual water. Like other servers, this one was perfectly happy to bring her milk in the cartons per DD16’s request (insistence) even though they typically pour it in glasses. I asked about the lemonade with wildberry foam but she wasn’t sure about it so we waited for the chef before I ordered my drink.

    It was only a few minutes before the chef came out. The lemonade was safe for me so of course I ordered it. The girls weren’t happy that I got it since they can’t drink it but they get plenty of treats so tough luck (am I a mean mom or what?).
    [​IMG]

    Choosing meals wasn’t the easiest. DD16 loves extra rare tuna but not salad so while she wanted the tuna niciose she really didn’t. Chef to the rescue! He was able to give her the rare seared tuna with white rice (have I mentioned how much she loves white rice) and the house made chips which she was thrilled to find out ARE safe as many aren’t due to being cooked in fryers with unsafe items; these are cooked in a dedicated fryer. He also gave her some olives since she said she likes olives and they typically come with the salad. She was very happy with the meal though I ended up eating the olives since she prefers the cheap-o plain black olives and not good ones (I enjoyed them).
    [​IMG]

    DD13 really didn’t have a clue about what she wanted. I knew I had read that they have the allergy chicken tenders so I tried suggesting those but no, she didn’t want them. After the chef and I both offering suggestions based on things on the menu she finally seemed excited about the idea of pasta if the chef could put bacon on it. Yes, she could live on pork products. The regular pasta dish has a cream sauce but he did have a marinara he offered her instead. She asked if he could just toss it in oil with the bacon so that’s what he did. I asked him to bring a small dish of the marinara on the side since at home she’ll typically eat her spaghetti plain then go back for seconds with a big of sauce but she didn’t end up doing anything more than dipping a piece of pasta into the sauce. She said it tasted fine but just wasn’t in the mood for sauce. She really enjoyed her pasta with bacon though and polished off the majority of this huge dish.
    [​IMG]

    I’m a sucker for a reuben when I can get one. They had Udi’s bread and the corned beef, cabbage, and thousand island dressing were all safe, so that’s exactly what I got, sans cheese of course. They didn’t have any kind of soy cheese. The chef used Earth Balance on the bread for grilling. It came out really nice. The bread was perfectly crispy and buttery and the proportions were excellent though the dressing could have been better spread (I’m kind of anal retentive about sandwiches in that when I make them, every single solitary bite will be identical so I really shouldn’t expect the same from others since I know my degree of obsessiveness isn’t normal). I really enjoyed it and it was really nice having the home made chips. They were really tasty with the perfect amount of crisp.
    [​IMG]

    We were too full to even ask about dessert so I don’t know if they had any options for us or not.

    During our meal the restaurant never filled up and the whole time it remained just as serene and pleasant. If we stay at GF or even next time we stay at Poly we’ll definitely book an ADR here. It was all around a really nice experience. I think it’s a perfect lunch on a day where I want to force us to leave MK (ex. if we try a morning EMH). This lunch did re-enforce that we really want to try a stay at GF some day.
     
  9. dismichael

    dismichael DIS Veteran

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    I am allergic to wheat/gluten, tree nuts, and garlic. Unfortunately, I had a bad experience at Boma that ended up with us leaving the restaurant. The chef at the buffet refused to make something separate considering cross-contamination WAS a problem, and they had a hummus w/ pine nuts on the menu (deathly allergic!). His words to us were "if you don't like it here, go somewhere else." Granted there is probably some culture differences playing into effect, but we ended up leaving. I'm sure he isn't there anymore since it was a few years ago now, but be careful nonetheless.

    As far as the soy allergy, my sister has the same issue with SILK and certain products but isn't allergic to soy itself (she can eat soy sauce). We have read numerous forums with people that have the same problem. Apparently its something with the way the SILK is processed, or something along those lines. You should be safe in the hands of Disney though, they are great!
     
  10. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

    Joined:
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    You're the first person I've spoken with who knows somebody with that same problem with certain soy products. Interesting. I wonder what it is that they do in the processing that's the problem? I've had people suggest it's carrageenan but she can eat other things with that and have no problem at all. Since Silk is non-GMO I know that's not the problem either. It's weird. I sure wish we could figure out what it is that causes the reaction.

    Scary about your Boma experience. The chef really can make all the difference in the world. I hope you reported him since his attitude was not only against Disney policy but extremely dangerous.
     
  11. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

    Joined:
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    This meal was date night so much easier than usual as we only had one person with allergies and didn’t have to worry about any kind of autism issues. Phew. As a reminder, my allergies are gluten, milk, sesame, hazelnut, pork, peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern).

    We rarely go to signature restaurants at WDW and I’ve read what seem to be mixed thoughts on how formal California Grill is so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew that we would have to check in downstairs and then go up to the restaurant by elevator but I guess I hadn’t mentioned that to DH because he seemed to think it odd. That we were escorted up in the elevator seemed more formal somehow but then I was surprised when the person escorting us up just pointed out of the elevator and said that when our hand-held buzzer goes off we see one of the people he pointed to and then he left. I wasn’t sure where to go to wait until then. So, I asked one of the people the previous CM had pointed to. I didn’t realize that while waiting you can just wander around the restaurant. We walked towards the window to look around and I felt like we were left to guess as to whether or not the tables closest to the bar were considered bar area or not. I felt like we were intruding on other guests by going over to the window but I think they were bar area. In general, I don’t feel as though the check-in was handled very well. Thank goodness it was only maybe 5 minutes until our buzzer went off.

    We were shown to our table and DH wasn’t very happy because one of the seats had its back to the window meaning whomever sits there can’t enjoy the view during dinner. Things like that aren’t nearly as important to me as they are to him so I took that seat. I turned around to look from time to time if he happened to notice something “happen” such as fireworks in the distance and that was enough for me. I’m pretty easy going when it comes to views.

    Noticing the allergies on our reservation, our server handed me an allergy menu along with the regular menu which I thought was nice. The biggest problem I have with allergy menus though is that they don’t show things that can be modified to be safe, only things that are already free of that allergen straight from the menu. So, I looked over that menu as well as the regular one.

    Being date night, we decided to start with drinks. DH is a wine drinker but while I like the occasional glass, I felt like something different. DH asked the server to help him choose a wine by the glass since he wasn’t familiar with the wines. He ended up with one that he though was ok but wasn’t overly partial to. The server in the end didn’t charge him for it because she felt he didn’t enjoy it enough and it was her recommendation (I pointed out that it was missing from the bill and this is what she told me). I decided to give the Cucumber Fizz a try. It sounded like something I might enjoy plus I like that they use my brand of vodka (it’s actually potato based as opposed to distilled grain based). I was surprised that it had as strong of a cucumber flavour as it had. It was tasty.
    [​IMG]

    Originally I wanted to try some sushi as an appetizer since I’ve read reviews of how nice their sushi is including some of the nice stuff they’ve come up with for people with allergies. Unfortunately, the chef said that they use a lot of sesame in the sushi area (not just seeds in the sushi itself but also oil in some of the dishes) so he couldn’t guarantee the safety of anything from there. Oh well. So we skipped appetizers since DH really wasn’t in the mood for one anyway.

    The chef did bring me out a basket of rolls with olive oil for dipping. I think they were GNI rolls but they were heated in a way that made them much better than ones I’ve had in the past. They would have been better with margarine or maybe some cracked pepper or chili flakes in the oil but they were still nice with just the oil. DH got a regular basket of bread that had I think focaccia and a regular looking dinner roll. He said the focaccia was much better than the roll.

    The chef went over my entrée options with me. He said he could do basically any of the proteins on the menu and then once I choose that we’d discuss sides. That sounded good to me. Since I didn’t get to have scallops earlier in the week at Jiko I decided to try the scallops here though I do like a good bison steak so I was torn. The sides that come with the scallops were not safe for me so we discussed my other options. I was hoping to try the celery root pure but it had dairy and was already pre-mixed. I was shocked when he said the tomato risotto that comes with the filet of beef would be safe since it seems like every risotto always has dairy in it so I immediately jumped on the opportunity to try it as an alternative to the grits which obviously weren’t safe as they have pork belly in them. Being a mushroom fan, I asked if I could get mushrooms (I saw them listed on a couple different dishes) as an alternative to the okra (not safe for reasons I can’t recall) and he was happy to do so. The scallops ended up being cooked absolutely perfectly and both the risotto and mushrooms were heavenly. The picture isn’t the greatest but in person the meal looked pretty.
    [​IMG]

    DH really isn’t an adventurous diner so he ended up going with the filet of beef. He seems to be having trouble with rice lately so he asked if he could get potatoes instead, something the chef was happy to do. I thought I had a picture but I can’t seem to find it. Anyway, he’s very particular about how his steak is cooked and the chef got it absolutely perfect and DH said it was a beautiful cut of meat. The chef did forget about the risotto vs potatoes so he brought out potatoes after and they were nicely cooked and seasoned.

    We decided to stretch out our lovely kid-free meal and ordered coffee and dessert. The coffee was a decent coffee but then again I’m by no means particular about my coffee. As long as it’s black, has caffeine, and no kind of added flavour or anything else in it then I’ll drink it even if it would peel paint off walls so maybe I’m not the person to ask about coffee.

    Unfortunately for me, the only dessert that was available to me was sorbet. It was fine, but it was just sorbet.
    [​IMG]

    DH wasn’t sure what to get since he didn’t want chocolate, didn’t want ice cream or really anything too rich or creamy. He discussed the options with our server and ended up choosing the Seasonal Tasting. The tea was definitely not to his liking (even with letting the sugar sit in it for a long time he still wouldn’t drink it). He did enjoy the orange crème brule and thought the citrus almond crescent was ok (he usually likes these kinds of cookies and couldn’t pinpoint what it was about it that just ok but he said it was just ok). The cupcake he wasn’t overly fond of but like with the cookie he couldn’t pinpoint what it was that he didn’t enjoy. I suspect it’s just that citrus isn’t among his favourite flavours since he never chooses citrus desserts at home so it was a weird thing for him to choose there. Oh, this is in no way allergy safe if you’re reading this for allergy purposes.
    [​IMG]

    As far as atmosphere goes, I was quite surprised at how loud the restaurant was. After having eaten at Jiko a few nights earlier, I had expected a more subdued atmosphere. It was bright and loud and the tables felt very close together. For a date night, this is not exactly the kind of atmosphere Iconsidered ideal. If I was going to bring my kids to a signature restaurant, this would be the one since it felt much more every-day restaurant than signature or date night type restaurant. The menu seemed signature, but the atmosphere IMO wasn’t. If we ever stay at CR then I’ll likely book at ADR here because I did enjoy the food and it would be very convenient but if not staying at CR then I’d probably choose somewhere else if I was looking for a signature meal.
     
  12. sleepingbean

    sleepingbean DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2006
    Messages:
    961
    So glad you got to try it! I loved our meal at the GF for dinner. (Cafe) It was loud and casual, but the food was quite good! I think I liked it better than the rest of the group. Glad you enjoyed!
     
  13. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Messages:
    5,634
    We’re a fun group to dine with. Three of the four of us has lists of allergies plus DD16 is autistic so dining is always a challenge. I’ll try to explain my thoughts from both an autism perspective (DD16 is very high functioning) as well as an allergy perspective. Our allergies are as follows.
    Me: gluten, milk, sesame, hazelnut, pork, peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern)
    DD16: gluten, milk, eggs, citrus (citric acid is ok), yeast, msg, peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern), star anise
    DD13: gluten, milk, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, sesame, hops, peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern), blueberry, cranberry, raw carrots, raw peaches, raw fruit skins besides grapes, citrus (citric acid is ok), lima beans, soy products other than Tofutti and Follow Your Heart (soy’s not the problem but we haven’t identified what ingredient in Silk and other soy products cause Oral Allergy Syndrome)

    We originally had an ADR for breakfast here later in our trip on our second resort days but due to an issue with our room a housekeeping manager who needed us out of our room on our first resort day offered to pay for breakfast for us so I booked a last minute ADR for breakfast, though we did end up keeping our other ADR as well so I’ll be combining the two meals in a single review.

    DD16 was so happy that they had Silk and ended up asking for both very vanilla and chocolate the first time and I think just chocolate the second. DD13 really doesn’t seem to want to drink much other than water these days but I do think she ended up getting an apple juice to go with one of the the meals. DH and I both got some coffee (aka elixir of life) which is brought out in a handy thermal carafe so we could fill up our cups freely and I chose to get some of the Jamba Juice one meal which had been confirmed as safe at our dinner a few nights earlier. Drinks were really easy and our servers were once again happy to just bring the Silk out in the mini cartons even though the standard is for them to pour the milk into a glass.

    For our first breakfast, the chef quickly escorted us through the buffet though I really didn’t look as closely as I would have liked because it was busy and I wanted to get out of the way (it wasn’t the chef making me feel that way in any way; it was all in my own head) but I did get the gist of what was available. The chef offered to get everything we wanted from the kitchen for us but I saw a couple things that weren’t by anything risky so I chose to get a few things for myself while he prepared our food. For our second breakfast I told the chef that I didn’t need to walk through the buffet with him but he did end up mentioning a few things that I hadn’t been aware were safe so I got even more variety the second time around (the second chef was more forthcoming with suggestions as opposed to the first chef just asking what we wanted but they were still both very helpful).

    The things I chose to get for myself off the buffet were the asparagus that I had heard is amazing (it is) and fresh fruit along with some roast turkey for me and ham for the kids. The turkey was flavourful and tender and the kids said the ham was really good.

    fruit & asparagus
    [​IMG]

    DD13 could live on bacon if we let her so the chef brought a big plate of bacon for the girls and a plate with several slices of turkey bacon for me. I put the turkey bacon on the plate with my sliced turkey to save space since the table was getting really full but I got the turkey myself from the buffet while the chef brought out the turkey bacon (just explaining the picture).
    [​IMG]

    And of course the chef brought out la piece de la resistance…. Mickey Waffles with real maple syrup.
    [​IMG]

    DD13 asked the chef at the first breakfast for a bit of scrambled egg so of course the chef brought out a plate full, along with a couple slices of Udi’s bread and Kinnikinnick cinnamon sugar donuts.
    [​IMG]

    I saw the omelet station so I asked if I could get one of those instead of just scrambled eggs which he said of course he could (both chefs made one for me). I told both chefs the same thing: I wanted everything except green peppers and yes that does include jalapeños. I forgot to take pictures until they were partially eaten but here’s what the chefs brought. Despite using the same ingredients, they tasted very different I guess due to different proportions of ingredients but both were really yummy. I just wish they had some kind of soy cheese (nowhere at AKL has any kind of soy cheese). They were delicious without it so no big deal.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Here you can see the the remainder of DD16’s ham, what’s left of the mound of bacon, and a container of Babycakes mini cupcakes from near the end of the first meal.
    [​IMG]

    I don’t seem to have a picture of it, but the second chef told me that the quinoa was safe for all of us. I was the only one interested in any kind of hot cereal so only I tried it, doctored up with brown sugar and raisins, and it was nice. It’s been a while since I made any kind of hot cereal so this was a treat. The texture was good and the flavour was milder than I would have expected for quinoa which is IMO a good thing for a hot breakfast cereal.

    The first chef hadn’t mentioned anything about potatoes but the second one did. Boy were these good. I’m glad he suggested them because both DD16 and I loved them. You can see them above with the second omelet as well as in this picture with the turkey bacon and waffles from the second chef (the fruit I did myself again).
    [​IMG]

    Look at this pile of bacon from chef #2. He brought out a second one like it when he saw the first one gone. He later even brought out this other kind of bacon that they I guess reserve for special dishes as he said it’s really expensive stuff. DD13 didn’t taste the difference but DH sure did. The girls couldn’t even come close to finishing the second plate so he told our server to bring us a to-go container so we could bring it back to our room. It made a great sandwich for DD13 the next day (I got some Udi’s bread from Mara and she likes cold bacon so it was perfect). That’s Kinnikinnick donuts along with a Kinnikinnick chocolate chip muffin to the right.
    [​IMG]

    Yes, that’s DD16 eating her bacon with a fork at our second breakfast. Silly girl. Lots of Silk chocolate milk and the server this time brought out extra packs of Babycakes cupcakes for us to bring back to our room after breakfast.
    [​IMG]

    The first breakfast was definitely louder than the second. I can’t recall where we sat for the first breakfast but the second one, though it was in the bigger typically louder section, it was along the “line” between the sections so one half was booth where we could put DD16 so she wouldn’t get bumped. It was a last breakfast seating so the place got quieter and quieter as we ate. Even though the first time was louder, It was never overwhelming and it didn’t feel crowded in or rushed or stressful at all. We had 2 very good experiences and would definitely eat here again if we ever stay at AKL again and I have no hesitation in recommending it.
     
  14. sleepingbean

    sleepingbean DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2006
    Messages:
    961
    I can't remember...have you tried Artist Point? They are the quietest place we've dined - most relaxing vibe, on property. (thinking of CA grill.). Sci Fi was surprisingly quiet, but for different reasons (everyone watching the TV)
     
  15. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
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    We do really enjoy Sci Fi for that quiet relaxing meal in the middle of a busy DHS day but we've never tried Artist Point. I really dislike traveling to other resorts to eat (exceptions being monorail resorts when staying at a monorail resort and Crescent Lake resorts when staying at a Crescent Lake resort) because we use Disney transportation exclusively and it's a PITA. We did take 2 taxis this trip to try a couple restaurants but it's not something we've done before and I'm not sure we'll make a habit of it. It's one of the reasons I like trying new resorts, to experience their dining options. I've read great things about Artist Point though. I think you've told me that the chocolate artist pallet dessert is gluten free but not dairy free, right?

    We loved Jiko for that quiet, intimate feel but of course that one was with the kids. How does it Artist Point compare in feel?
     
  16. sleepingbean

    sleepingbean DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2006
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    961
    They did offer the chocolate to Bean at Artist Point and at Yachtsman. I don't think she got the same sides and or paint (I can't remember, now). But the actual chocolate she was able to eat. Now that I think of it, they served that with cookies (which seems unnecessary) and she didn't have a cookie.
    We have dined at Artist Point several times, and usually in a pretty large group (10 or so people). I have found that the atmosphere is peaceful, serene, and lovely decorations. It is tucked back away from the chaos of the lobby. There is a declining ramp walkway to get there and to get to the restroom, which was a little trouble with a wheelchair and oxygen tank for one of our party members, but we managed.
    The servers were wonderful and my family arranged little surprises to come out for the kids throughout the meal, which was fun. The food was good, though the menu was smaller than some. The choices were good for us, though (and modified easily).
    I love the paintings, the vaulted ceiling, the overall Art Deco vibe and the calm after the storm. It was great for that reason. We usually go there early and have a cocktail in the lounge and sit out by the water for a bit before dinner and we pretty much turn it into our evening.
    We take cabs, too, when we're going from Disney hotel to Disney hotel. But we plan our days to go from a park to the hotel we are dining at, which minimizes that. Not always, but sometimes.

    We haven't stayed at WL, but I would be happy with the dining options there. We have eaten at all their eateries! LOL
    I really enjoyed Whispering Canyon for breakfast! But I'm so glad you guys tried AKL this trip. Yum!
     
  17. stackyallred

    stackyallred DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2008
    Messages:
    699
    Your Boma breakfast reviews has convinced me we need to go there on our upcoming trip! We have had a wonderful experience at dinner but hadn't ventured over there for breakfast. Between DS, my mom and I we have all sort of things to avoid and seeing how well you ate really helped me. Thanks so much!
     
  18. EvangelineG

    EvangelineG Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Messages:
    312
    I'm just coming back to the DIS after a long break (planning a trip in December), and it is so nice to see your allergy reviews. I always find them so helpful, and encouraging. :)
     
  19. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
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    Boy did I drop the ball on my reviews. I need to get more of them written. I'll try to remember to do that. I love knowing that they help people. I really enjoy reading other people's reviews as well.
     
  20. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Messages:
    5,634
    We’re a fun group to dine with. Three of the four of us has lists of allergies plus DD16 is autistic so dining is always a challenge. I’ll try to explain my thoughts from both an autism perspective (DD16 is very high functioning) as well as an allergy perspective. Our allergies are as follows.
    Me: gluten, milk, sesame, hazelnut, pork, peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern)
    DD16: gluten, milk, eggs, citrus (citric acid is ok), yeast, msg, peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern), star anise
    DD13: gluten, milk, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, sesame, hops, peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern), blueberry, cranberry, raw carrots, raw peaches, raw fruit skins besides grapes, citrus (citric acid is ok), lima beans, soy products other than Tofutti and Follow Your Heart (soy’s not the problem but we haven’t identified what ingredient in Silk and other soy products cause Oral Allergy Syndrome)

    I usually try to avoid evening ADRs because DD16 typically burns out part way through the day and by supper time she gets irritable. Unfortunately the only time BOG is a TS restaurant is for supper so in order to give it a try I had to go with a supper ADR. I booked an early time hoping that by eating at or slightly before our normal dinner time (we usually eat early) that she would be able to handle it. She struggled. Our ADR was at 4:35pm and we checked in around 10 minutes early. We had a few minutes to take pictures from the bridge before we were called.

    When seated, we thought the way the napkin was folded as a rose was a nice touch.
    [​IMG]

    We were seated at a table right on the main isle in the ballroom right over by the entrance to the west wing. This made it easy to get to with the wheelchair and it gave us room to park the chair right beside the table. I had expected the ballroom to be brighter than it was. It was big and airy and open feeling but it still seemed dim. Obviously nowhere near as dim as the west wing but not cafeteria bright like I had expected (this is a good thing; I’m not complaining). With the ceilings being so high I expected the room to be really loud but it didn’t seem that way at all. Being over by the wall I’m sure helped not only with the sound but also with not having to worry about people accidentally bumping DD16 (we purposely had her back to the wall to keep people away).

    The chef who worked with us was really nice and really went out of his way to take care of us. They have 2 different kinds of breads; GNI rolls and Food For Life millet bread. DD13 enjoyed the FFL bread since she can’t eat GNI and I enjoyed my rolls as they were served nicely warmed up. We were given Earth Balance margarine with the bread.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    DD13 and I both wanted the scallop and shrimp dish but that's normally served in a big pastry in a creamy sauce so that just wouldn't. The chef basically said to us to choose a protein from the menu and then we'd figure out what to serve with it. What he served us was delicious and the seafood was cooked perfectly. I wanted asparagus and DD13 wanted broccolini but otherwise our food was the same. I like that the fries are served with truffle salt. I asked the chef for extra so he gave me a tiny dish with some in it. DD16 and I both added more to our fries. I’m not sure that we could actually taste a difference between regular salt and truffle salt but psychologically we believed that we could and we enjoyed it which is what really matters.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    DD16 was fighting to cope with autistic her issues so we were having a lot of trouble coming up with anything she would want (when she’s struggling, she can NOT make a decision and gets more and more worked up as she tries). The chef finally was able to coax some things out of her that she would be happy with resulting in a custom dish. What you see here is sautéed mushrooms, sautéed broccolini, and french fries with truffle salt. She really enjoyed it once she started eating. Her mood completely turned around once the food was in front of her thank goodness. We were charged as though she ordered ratatouille since what she got was a vegetarian compilation and the ratatouille is the restaurant’s vegetarian dish.
    [​IMG]

    Before going to WDW I had heard that the french onion soup was vegetarian and gluten free but I couldn’t get any information about whether or not they had soy cheese or could make it with gluten free bread. Since they have the slices of FFL bread I’m not sure why the chef said he couldn’t do anything more than serve it without bread and cheese but that’s what he said so I didn’t bother order it. What’s french onion soup without melted cheese? I was actually surprised at just how many restaurants did not have soy cheese. Oh well. It certainly didn’t hurt to ask even if I was disappointed with the answer.

    DD16 was the only one who wanted dessert. The only thing that was available to her was the raspberry sorbet. She said it was good though I think it was similar to any other sorbet we’ve had at WDW.
    [​IMG]

    While waiting for our food, DD13 and I strolled into the west wing to take a look. No way would DD16 have handled being in there. It was nice to look around but the thunder and darkness and people passing by the tables to look around would have sent her completely over the line to full blown meltdown.

    Once we finished eating and took care of our bill we got up to leave. The only way out of the restaurant is to go through the library by the Beast. This is the same room where you place your order at lunch, or so I assume since you could see kiosks. There was only one family ahead of us so we didn’t have much of a wait. We probably could have skipped him and just walked out but we figured we were there and DD16 was doing much better so why not? They did have a photopass photographer there which was nice. Beast posed for a few pictures with us and then we left. One thing I do want to note is that I had to actually move one of the posts at the end of the queue so I could fit DD13’s wheelchair through. That surprised me. It’s the kind that is just on a stand and moves very easily so no big deal but it did surprise me.

    Sorry about the not so clear pictures but with the lighting in there and my point&shoot camera they just weren't coming out well.
     
  21. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Messages:
    5,634
    We’re a fun group to dine with. Three of the four of us has lists of allergies plus DD16 is autistic so dining is always a challenge. I’ll try to explain my thoughts from both an autism perspective (DD16 is very high functioning) as well as an allergy perspective. Our allergies are as follows.
    Me: gluten, milk, sesame, hazelnut, pork, peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern)
    DD16: gluten, milk, eggs, citrus (citric acid is ok), yeast, msg, peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern), star anise
    DD13: gluten, milk, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, sesame, hops, peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern), blueberry, cranberry, raw carrots, raw peaches, raw fruit skins besides grapes, citrus (citric acid is ok), lima beans, soy products other than Tofutti and Follow Your Heart (soy’s not the problem but we haven’t identified what ingredient in Silk and other soy products cause Oral Allergy Syndrome)

    Because we were staying at AKL and having so many allergies I had heard from some chefs before heading out to WDW. Mara has a great reputation and the chefs on the phone went over some of the options that they have on hand so I felt really good about being able to get food at Mara. They certainly didn’t disappoint. We ate supper here several times during out stay and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to others.

    I was a bit forgetful when it came to pictures for our meals at Mara. I’ll include the ones I’ve got but there are definitely some nice meals which are pictureless.

    The ordering area of Mara is different than other resort QS locations that we’ve been in. At Mara there’s a line in the center of the food area and you place your order with a CM who is holding a clipboard. Because we always went at really off-hours there was never a line so no big deal but if we had have had to wait in that line just to be sent over to then wait for a chef I probably would have been a little frustrated. We were always directed to a counter just past the smoothie station. Generally it only took a minute for a chef to come out but a couple times we did have to wait a little longer. During busy times I would imagine it would take longer which is where the frustration would come in. Little things like this don’t actually bother me but I wanted to let people know in case it is an issue. DD16 always waited up in the room for us to bring her food to her up there so waiting wasn’t an issue for us.

    The dining area is smaller than I’m used to. Eating at off times made it no big deal since there were only maybe 2 or 3 other occupied tables when we were there but I would imagine that during busy times it might be difficult to find a table. There were also tables outside but with DD13’s bug phobia and my general dislike for eating outside we never used those tables. DD16 never joined us and we just brought her food up to the rooms. The rest of us sometimes ate downstairs and sometimes in our room. They have lids to put over the plates and the CMs working the cash registers have different size bags they’ll give you if you ask.

    Our first time going in was actually a night where we were originally supposed to eat supper at Boma but cancelled since we had already eaten at Boma the night before and wanted something quieter. Well, the chef had prepared something special for me at Boma (I promise I cancelled when we showed up the night before at Boma but I guess the chef hadn’t been informed) so I ordered that. Oops! It was delicious but not typically on the menu so I don’t want to go into details.

    DD13 ate a lot of pizza at Mara. They only had 1 crust left our first night so she was able to get it and the chef said he would order more so she could have pizzas the rest of our trip which he did. They didn’t have any soy cheese and that’s not something they ordered in at all during out stay which disappointed me. DD13 enjoyed her cheeseless pepperoni pizza so that’s what matters. She did learn the hard way that day though that pepperoni straight out of the oven is HOT. She ended up with a blister on her lip from it. After that she was super cautious when first biting into her pizza. Clearly our food came out directly from the oven. She ordered pizza several times, always without cheese since they never had any, but most times she got them to add bacon. They used Udi’s crusts.
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    I wanted pizza too but I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of cheeseless pizza. I figured maybe it would be good if I had some kind of loaded pizza so I asked about the BBQ chicken one. The BBQ sauce wasn’t safe. But, the chef did say he could use the tomato sauce or the sauce from the vegetarian pizza and load it with whatever I wanted. I basically had the vegetarian pizza with chicken added. The first time I got it the chef that night used the vegetarian sauce and gave me the balsamic drizzle. The other chefs used the tomato sauce and I think only one of them added the drizzle. The best one was the first but I loved them all. They were delicious. They honestly didn’t need the cheese and actually they likely wouldn’t have been as good with cheese. They were I guess more like loaded bruschetta than pizza but whatever you want to call them, I devoured them.
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    DD16 wanted chicken tenders with fries every single meal. Not every place at WDW does the chicken tenders and fries the same as some bake them vs fry them and some just cook too long. At Mara every single time they were done perfectly. I know it doesn’t sound like it should be difficult to get something like that right but you’d be surprised how many times they come out different when they’re the same frozen premade food. DD13 and I did get them ourselves at least once and they are good. We love the ones they have at WDW.

    One night the kids thought ribs sounded good so they ordered those instead. I don’t know if they have a BBQ sauce that would have been safe or not but my kids typically don’t want BBQ sauce so they just order them without. It was a pretty good size order so they split it. They said it was really good.
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    Since I can’t eat pork and I wasn’t overly hungry I was having trouble deciding what to eat. It turned out that one of the soups they were serving over at Boma was safe for me so the chef got me a cup of that. It was some kind of vegetarian lentil soup. It was very flavourful and more than enough to eat since I wasn’t overly hungry.
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    The pastry chef at the resort outdid herself too. That first night the chef brought out a huge plate of mini chocolate cupcakes. They were made with the same batter as the cake portion of the cupcakes we got at Jiko so they were quite tasty. It was really nice having special treats.

    Another night, I was thrilled to see what the chef brought out for us. There was a plate of plain Chex Krispy treats and a plate where the ears had been dipped in chocolate. Have I mentioned that the pastry chef at AKL outdid herself?
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    They did have Babycakes mini cupcakes in the fridge so we bought those a few times as well.

    We really didn’t go for a lot of variety and we never made it down there for breakfast but what we did have was amazing. The chefs all took their time to go over our lists and to pull out ingredients and recipe sheets to be sure of every ingredient and they were very patient with all of our questions. I always worry about the QS options at a new resort because we do eat a lot of QS at our resort but Mara definitely was a great place to eat.
     
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