We Smelled It ... It Had To Be Eaten! Christmas Eve Food Porn posts #1170 & #1171!!

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Reviews' started by oybolshoi, Sep 17, 2008.

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  1. BriarRosie

    BriarRosie <font color=blue>Creator of Tag Fairy Haiku:<br>Cl

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    There are quite a few of us celebrating that milestone in 2009. ;)
    But I'm still younger than you and Bendy. :teeth:
     
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  3. oybolshoi

    oybolshoi <marquee><font color=green>You say vacation addict

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    Hey woman! I've been wondering where you were hiding yourself! Glad to see you're still hanging around and don't worry, it looks like you've missed a lot but you really haven't. :hug:

    Hey Denise! How was your cruise? I think you should come during F&W and then you can celebrate the number 40 with the rest of us!

    Not me ... to be honest I was recovering from an overdose of shock and joy and wonder on election night and I'm still trying to get rid of this cold that seems to have become a sinus infection and I've been dealing with a muscle pull in my right leg .. and quite frankly I'm just a mess right now. I feel like I'm fighting with my own body and it's really getting on my nerves. :mad:

    The good news is that being couch bound this weekend means that I should be able to update with the next review. :thumbsup2

    Yeah, what they said! :rotfl2:

    You're only as old as you think you are ... and today I think I'm 83. :lmao:
     
  4. Circusgirl

    Circusgirl Queen of the Moisture Festival. Allora!

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    Hope you feel better soon Brenda! I hope you can enjoy snuggling in and writing some more wonderful things for us to read.
     
  5. Tink rules

    Tink rules <font color=teal>The kids in my family sometimes t

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    Bendy...

    Me thinks the hangover has finally kicked in... :rolleyes1
     
  6. PNO4TE

    PNO4TE <font color=blue>DIS Musician<br><font color=red>P

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    :rotfl2:

    But, truly, Brenda... I hope your body settles back into its normal self very soon! :hug:
     
  7. oybolshoi

    oybolshoi <marquee><font color=green>You say vacation addict

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    Thanks so much ... I'd like to feel better soon, too. And I'm sure Jay agrees because if nothing else he's getting tired of me limping around the house barely able to bend over to pick anything up or stand long enough to wash the dishes. :rolleyes: :sad1:

    I'm almost finished with the CA Grill update - just pausing for a bit to have some creamy tomato soup, grilled cheese, and smoked porter in front of the nice fire that Jay's got going in our living room. Ahhhhh, heat ... it's warm and toasty. :cloud9:

    Check back with me in about an hour and an update you should see! :goodvibes
     
  8. Tink rules

    Tink rules <font color=teal>The kids in my family sometimes t

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    & you have one good lookin nurse there to take care of you!!! :cool2:
     
  9. oybolshoi

    oybolshoi <marquee><font color=green>You say vacation addict

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    Thursday, October 9th - Dinner at CA Grill: Stormy Weather and an Utter Lack of Foie Gras.

    After our late morning / early afternoon food and drink fest at Epcot, Jay and I decided that we needed a quick nap before cleaning up for dinner. Keeping in mind that the fireworks-smitten crowds like to dine at CA Grill later in the evening so as to nab a window table for pretty pyrotechnic displays, I made an ADR for 6PM. This meant that we needed to leave no later than 5PM to allow ourselves enough time to get from our resort to the Magic Kingdom where we would catch the monorail to the Contemporary.

    Ya'll smell so nice and flowery!
    [​IMG]

    On this particular evening we also had to deal with some weather anxiety - there were storms popping all over the place and we (ok, mostly me) were concerned that we'd get caught in the middle of one before arriving at the Contemporary.

    Here's what the skies looked like right before we left for the bus stop:

    In Stinktown the funnel would have dropped by now ...
    [​IMG]

    Honestly, I have the hardest time gauging the weather in Florida. In St. Louis this storm would have broken with big rain, hail, rumbly thunder, jagged lightning, and whippy winds. The good news is that none of that happened while we were on our way to California Grill ensuring that we didn't show up looking like drowned sewer rats; the bad news is that ... ummm, well I guess for us it wasn't really bad news, but it definitely sucked for those poor folks who were attending Mickey's Halloween party that night.

    Luckily we made it to the Contemporary with no trouble and checked in right on time. We requested a window table just like everyone else, but also told the CM that we'd be perfectly happy seated in the Wine Room. It's so much more quiet in there than in the main dining room with its open kitchen that we sometimes feel like we're in a completely different restaurant. The wine room has two walls of windows that look out over Bay Lake towards downtown Orlando, one wall that's primarily made up of glass doors leading into the main dining room, and a fourth wall that has several racks filled with tasty bottles of wine.

    So many bottles, so little time!
    [​IMG]

    There are about ten four-topper tables in the wine room, which helps keep the noise level to a minimum; there is also a dedicated group of servers who just work the wine room which is nice because the service tends to be a bit more personal and attentive ... most of the time.

    Our first priority upon being seated was to order a bottle of pellegrino and a couple of glasses of wine. I had a glass of Bonterra Vineyards Viognier. I had asked our waiter for something similar to a pinot grigio and that's what he suggested - it was good but still a little too heavy, too much like a chardonnay, for my taste. Jason ordered a La Crema Winery Pinot Noir which he thought was quite good.

    It was about this time that I think I got us into trouble with our server. He reappeared to take our order and happened to ask if we had any questions. My response, was, "Yeah, I have a question: Where's the foie gras?"

    I can't say that we were surprised by the missing foie gras appetizer; the DIS-foodie grapeline had alerted me to a potential dearth of foie gras at WDW in October but no one could verify if this was a short-term removal or a permanent state of sad culinary affairs. Our server had a deer-in-the-headlights look for just a moment and then he composed himself and replied, "We just removed that from our menu at the end of September."

    "Why?"

    He looked slightly annoyed by my follow up question but then he decided to level with me, probably in the hopes that I would stop bothering him about items he couldn't provide me with in the first place. "Well, I don't know this for sure, but I got the distinct impression that it was a political decision made by our executive dining management. None of our signature restaurants, not even Victoria and Albert's, are offering it any longer."

    Jay and I rolled our eyes at each other and then my mouth opened and I heard myself saying, "Well, that's just stupid. I can't believe that your executive chefs, especially someone like Scott Hunnel over at Victoria and Albert's, would allow themselves to be dictated to in that fashion."

    He shrugged; after all what else could he say? And then he suggested that we try the Little Bunny Foo Foo appetizer that had been created to replace their Over-Stuffed Duck Liver appetizer.

    Now, I'm not going to hold you guys hostage while I spend pages ranting about our inability to order foie gras at WDW any longer, but I am going to say this: I respect everyone's right to eat or not eat whatever they choose as long as it doesn't impinge on my right to do the same. To single out the foie gras industry for animal cruelty while overlooking the mistreatment and indignity suffered by animals in the industrialized food industry as a whole is hypocritical in the extreme. Disney's restuarant menus were already suffering from a noticeable homogenization trend before this most recent incident and I think this move serves as notice that it's just going to continue. Jay and I were extremely disappointed and while we're in the minority, I'm sure we weren't the only patrons to feel this way.

    My rant is now over (I'm still waiting to hear back from WDW ... I'm sure they think I'm a duck-liver-eating freak of the first order for even writing to them about this) so let us enjoy some pictures of the circling storms from our wine room vantage point. Cass, these pics are for you my friend! :goodvibes

    Ominous ...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Well, if there was one thing our waiter learned to his delighted amazement it was that when Jay and I can't order the one appetizer we really want we'll order three instead in an effort to stem the rising tide of hungry disappointment. :laughing:

    First up, we decided to have an order of nigiri sushi. Nigiri is my all-time favorite form of sushi - it's just pressed rice and fish. Most people liven it up with pickled ginger, wasabi, or soy sauce, but I'm boring and I eat it plain. When it's made right it's wonderfully light and flavorful and I could stuff myself silly with nigiri all night long.

    Salmon, tuna, and hamachi ... yum!
    [​IMG]

    Wasabi wad, pickley ginger, and soy sauce
    [​IMG]

    The sushi was wonderful and fresh and delicate; we seriously considered a second order but then we remembered that we had more appetizers coming and exercised some culinary restraint ... for a change.

    My second appetizer was a tried and true choice: the Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Pesto, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Basil.

    Goat cheese in a tomato bath ...
    [​IMG]

    You will notice that my ravioli appears somewhat nekkid and vulnerable because I requested it sans 'shrooms; what I noticed was that the pesto sauce seemed a bit thin and a wee bit greasy. The goat cheese ravioli was as good as I remembered it being - soft and creamy and tart - but the sauce left a lot to be desired.

    Jason bravely ordered Little Bunny Foo Foo, also known as the Seared Loin of Rabbit with Carmelized Fennel, Truffled Panisse, and Herb Game Sauce, for his second appetizer.

    Run Rabbit, Run!
    [​IMG]

    In the spirit of trying something new, I did take a taste of this and I didn't care for it - too gamey. Jay, on the other hand, disagreed with me and said that it could have been a lot gamier. He really liked this choice and thought it was very tasty. Panisse, by the way, is a kind of gravy as far as I can tell. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. :thumbsup2

    Before we knew it, dinner was making an appearance. Again, I ordered something that I'd tried before and which has always been one of my favorite dishes at CA Grill: Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Goat Cheese Polenta, Button Mushrooms, and Zinfandel Glaze.

    Lots of pork ... and lots of empty plate, too
    [​IMG]

    Once again I ordered this sans 'shrooms, but it just wasn't as good as the last time we dined here. The pork was cooked well, maybe a bit too well because some pieces were a tad on the chewy side. And the polenta, which is really the reason that I order this dish at all, was gritty and nowhere near as creamy a delight as it was the last time I ordered it. What a letdown; yes indeedy, enough of a letdown for me to have already decided that on our next WDW visit we would skip CA Grill in favor of something else like Jiko or Flying Fish.

    For his entree Jason ordered the Roasted Lamb Tenderloin with Eggplant "two ways", Rosemary Potatoes, Confit Garlic, and Current Tomatoes.

    Jason had a lot of lamb, lot of lamb, lot of lamb ...
    [​IMG]

    Jason said this wasn't baaaaaaaad.

    That's supposed to be funny ... it's him pretending to be a baby sheep. :laughing:

    In all seriousness Jay was very pleased with his choice - he thought it was cooked very well so that the meat was tender and juicy and he really liked the eggplant. For those of you in the reading audience who enjoy lamb he highly recommends this dish!

    When the dessert menu showed up I was really disappointed - nothing sounded very good to me so I defaulted to the cheese plate with a glass of port. Jason ordered a cappuccino and CA Grill's original dessert: Butterscotch Creme Brulee with a Duo of Banana Cakes and Carmelized Bananas.

    Cappuccino and Fonseca 20-Year Port
    [​IMG]

    California Grill makes a tasty cappuccino and I would have ordered one myself if I'd been having dessert for dessert instead of cheese. But I can't complain because I loves me some tawny port with a plate of cheesie goodness. This port was deep amber in color and tasted of spice with a little bit of fruitiness - it was very smooth and very tasty!

    Mmmm, cheese five ways!
    [​IMG]

    The cheese accessories included some crostini, raisins, a mystery item that may be almonds, a fig cake, and honey. From left to right the cheeses we enjoyed were as follows (information taken directly from CA Grill menu):

    St. Marcellin - A soft cow's milk cheese with a runny interior and strong flavor originating from the former Dauphine region of France. As this cheese matures the flavor becomes more pronounced yet still remains mild, slighty acidic, and salty with some nutty flourishes.

    Chaource - A small town in the Champagne region of France, Chaource has produced this unpasteurized cow's milk cheese since the early 14th century. While this cheese is reminiscent of some of the most decadent triple cremes, it is in fact only a double creme (no! really?). When aged, Chaource becomes very creamy - almost liquid - and is similar to Camembert. It smells slightly of mushrooms with a rich, fruity flavor.

    Crottin - A goat's milk cheese made in the heart of France in the verdant Loire Valley. When the Crottin is young, it is slightly moist and has a tangy goat's milk flavor. As it ages, this perfect little cheese takes on a harder texture and a stronger, gamier flavor that is equally delicious.

    Casciotto D'Urbina - Shepherds in Urbino, Italy, make this mixed sheep and cow's milk cheese. The origins of this cheese are ancient and noble, having such famous admirers as Pope Clement XIV and Michealangelo. The cheese has a yellowish-straw color and a mild buttery flavor.

    Bleu d'Auvergne - A French blue cheese named for its place of origin in the Auvergne region of south-central France, this is made from cow's milk. It has a strong and pungent taste but to a lesser extent than other blue cheeses; it's less salted, with a creamier and more buttery taste and a more moist texture.

    I enjoyed all of these, except for the Bleu cheese ... no surprises there, right? As for Jay's dessert, take a look:

    The original dessert, or so we've been told ...
    [​IMG]

    The butterscotch creme brulee was like warm butterscotch schnapps and Jay said the chocolate covered banana cakes were really yummy. He was quite happy with his dessert, especially because he didn't have to share with me ... I'm not a big fan of naners.

    We used our Disney Rewards to pay for dinner and also used our DDE card for the 20% discount, but forgot about the automatic 18% gratuity. So the poor waiter had to come back for the balance of the bill - d'oh! I apologized to him because we completely forgot, but I also told him that I thought an automatic 18% gratuity was a disservice to the wait staff and could possibly prevent diners from leaving a larger tip. Jay and I would typically leave 20% to 25% for a tip depending on the level of service but when the receipt showed up with the tip already added in we just let it go.

    One other thing happened that night that we thought was a total riot. As we were on our way out of the hotel to catch a taxi back to the resort (it was pouring rain by this time) we stopped at the restaurant's check-in desk to ask for a copy of the menu.

    As the very nice lady handed me a menu she said, "Don't you want to go back upstairs to watch the fireworks?"

    To which Jay and I shook our heads. "We don't think the fireworks are really all that good from the observation deck."

    She looked stunned for a moment and then cackled like a loon. "Well, I sure don't hear that very often!"

    We're freaks, what can I say? Besides, we were fat with food and standing in the rain to watch fireworks did not sound like a fun way to end the evening.

    Final verdict?

    Actually it's a split decision. Jason thought that CA Grill was as good on this evening as it had been on past visits. I thought it was good, but not nearly as good as previous experiences. Undoubtedly some of it had to do with our food choices as mine were definitely not as good as Jay's were. But I also thought our sevice was a little distant. To be fair, I probably set the tone by asking too many questions about the missing foie gras but I wasn't rude about it and I certainly didn't blame the waiter for someone else's decision.

    The truth is that I think CA Grill has become a little boring and there are other signature restaurants that we both like more, such as Jiko, Citricos, and Flying Fish. I would never tell anyone not to dine here because the food is quite good, but I think that Jay and I need a break from CA Grill so that we can come back and be delighted by it again.

    Thanks for reading! Next up .... breakfast at Boma and a scare that adds more gray to my hair and another furrow to my brow! :laughing:
     
  10. oybolshoi

    oybolshoi <marquee><font color=green>You say vacation addict

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    This space intentionally left blank due to the DIS deciding to double post ... no review is that good. ;)
     
  11. jeminni

    jeminni It's 5 o'clock somewhere

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    Brenda, I love your red dress. You look so good in it. :goodvibes

    Your sushi looks so good. I wish I could have some right now. Poor little bunny foo foo. ( Of course you know now I have that song in my head ;P )

    Thanks for the review :)
     
  12. AussieAngel

    AussieAngel DIS Veteran

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    Hmm, I've always wondered about that Goat Cheese Ravioli thingy. It totally sounds like something I would order, and I probably will in January, but it always looks watery to me! Yours is the first review I've read who actually agrees with me!! :surfweb:

    Thanks for a great CG review! :thumbsup2
     
  13. oybolshoi

    oybolshoi <marquee><font color=green>You say vacation addict

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    Thanks for reading and thanks for the compliment on the dress. I like that one just because it's a little different, ya know?

    We always get some kind of sushi when we eat at CA Grill and it's always very good, but this was my favorite. It was so good ... I kind of wish now that I'd canceled the rest of my order and just kept on ordering sushi! :laughing:

    Thanks for reading! I've ordered this before and it's always good but the sauce this time was very thin ... I don't know if that means the kitchen was having an off night or if they've changed the recipe a bit. It's never been a thick pesto sauce, but I don't remember it ever being quite this thin.

    You'd still probably like it though, if you like goat cheese. :thumbsup2
     
  14. sunny04

    sunny04 DIS Veteran

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    Yeah, thanks. I was at that Halloween party...with a cranky party of 11 other members of my family.:headache:
     
  15. whogirl'smom

    whogirl'smom <font color=royalblue>Any leftover grumpiness can

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    Hey, Brenda, sorry that CG didn't really deliver that night. That's always such a disappointment when you think you're going to one of your favorites and it kind of fftts out, ya know? I thought the creme brulee sounded really good, though! Our next trip is so far away I can't even think about the dining yet (May/June 2010!!!).

    I hope you're feeling better tonight after your grilled cheese. We went to Texas Roadhouse and it was a big blahhhh.
     
  16. oybolshoi

    oybolshoi <marquee><font color=green>You say vacation addict

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    That totally stinks; I'm really sorry. :hug:

    When we were on the bus from SSR to the Magic Kingdom there were a ton of people headed to MNSSHP so we were feeling pretty bad for everyone when we saw how badly it started to rain, and rain, and rain.

    Did they give you vouchers for another party or did you all just have to suck it up in the rain?
     
  17. oybolshoi

    oybolshoi <marquee><font color=green>You say vacation addict

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    Hi Jamie! Well I guess it's fair to say that it delivered for Jay and for me it was kind of pfffft. :laughing:

    I'm not really feeling much better but thanks for the kind words. Looks like I'll be back at the doctor on Monday or Tuesday. :headache:
     
  18. ireland_nicole

    ireland_nicole <font color=green>No brainer- the fairy wins it<br

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    I agree w/ your assessment of Cali Grill; I just wasn't feeling the cali love this trip; first of all, we got forgotten at the bar (not that I minded that much, kind of reminded me of DH and I's first date, but still...almost 2 hours after being sent upstairs, just not ok... and then they kept insisting that we had checked in at the wrong time? Hello, checked in downstairs, they said a few minutes, 20 tops... now I'm an idiot and don't know the time? Anyway, the bartender was great! The highlight of our evening. The cheese selection was good, although the portion size a little small, def. too small for DH and I to each have even one small bite of each. And I made the tragic error of ordering (gasp) that awful mushroom "lasagne/ravioli/uncooked pasta nightmare thingy"... I'd almost put the traumatic culinary experience behind me as a momentary lapse, but now I see that the time has come to broaden my horizons- (I have to admit, I was feeling like, I missed V&A's (just too much $$ this trip) and Jiko (husband wanted Cali) for This????
    Anyway, off to the fridge; got the leftovers from the cheeseboard from our dinner party tonight calling my name, and it's my sacred duty to answer the call!!
     
  19. chell

    chell <font color=red>Mushu's <font color=blue>Best <fon

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    Great thread!
     
  20. Tink rules

    Tink rules <font color=teal>The kids in my family sometimes t

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    Think again dear Bendy... :worship: :worship: :worship:

    BTW... are we missing BOTH legs this year???
     
  21. wilma-bride

    wilma-bride <<This space intentionally blank>> Moderator

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    Thanks for another great installment Brenda - sorry you haven't been feeling too well and sorry the CG didn't live up to its previous performance. Hope that you start feeling better soon :hug:
     
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