Saturday, May 21, 2011

Disney Trip - May 2011

Along with a new blog comes a brand new trip review. We’ve just returned from the “Most Magical Place On Earth” back to the “Most Overcast and Drizzly Place On Earth”, at least outside of the UK…



Day 1 

Gasparilla Grill

We had quite a few repeat locales from earlier posts, (I apologize for the repetition) but things change quickly in the parks (often for no apparent reason). So as familiar as you may be, you never quite know what to expect.

Gasparilla has switched up their veg option a bit. They still have a tabouli pita wrap, but be sure to order it sans the new (yogurt-based) rhaita . According to the menu it’s supposed to come with whole chick peas, but mine sported a thick slathering of hummus, which I’m cool with. It also came with a side of their sweet cucumber salad. The best part, as you can see in the pic, was that the wrap was augmented with a few slabs of tempeh Fakin’ Bacon. This isn’t the norm (I think Chef TJ brought in the bacon special for me) but you should definitely ask for yourself because the smokiness boosted the wrap to a whole other level.

For dessert they gave a few good-sized scoops of Tofutti. I also picked up a package of Divvies Caramel Corn for the road since this is one of the only places that allow you to purchase it as a snack with the dining plan.



Babycakes Bakery

Within the first three hours of stepping foot in WDW I made the obligatory pilgrimage to Babycakes vegan bakery in the Marketplace. If you’re having a hard time locating it on a map, it’s listed under Pollo Campero. Unfortunately, this wonderful cruelty-free bakery shares real estate with a profoundly un-vegan-friendly chicken restaurant. That said, I guess it’s still better than the McDonalds that used to reside there.


I went to Babycakes twice during the trip to stock up on goodies. On the first visit I tried the Red Velvet Cupcake, loved it, (beware that the frosting is temperature sensitive and will turn pretty runny out in the hot Florida sun. However, if re-refrigerated it sets up nicely once again), a Brownie Bite, a Double Fudge Cookie which reminded me exactly of the chocolate “snowball” cookies we used to make at Christmas time growing up; they were super fudgy and soft. I also snagged a Coconut Doughnut, a Chocolate Crunch Doughnut, and a Wonder Bun. I loved the doughnuts. They reminded me not so much of the standard greasy Dunkin Donuts style confection (probably because they’re baked as well as being gluten-free), but more like a decadent coffee cake. The coconut was my favorite, and my only regret is that I didn’t bring a dozen home for my freezer. The Wonder Bun is akin to a miniature cinnamon bun. Full of cinnamon and studded with raisins, this is a very satisfying little treat. I photographed and then sampled a few bites of each.


Wrapping each in waxed paper and stuffing them into a ziplock baggie, they kept well for days in our room’s refrigerator.

Also at the Marketplace, I spied these great vegan mints at Mickey’s Pantry. I get all giddy every time I see the word “vegan” on a label, and bought a pack of the Green Tea flavor, pretty much out of principle.




Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show

Like always, our first dinner of the trip was at the Luau. It’s a nice way to begin a vacation. Nothing new to report here on the food front. Still a delicious salad with mango dressing and a heaping plate of grilled tofu with couscous and grilled veggies. Chef Eugene is a sweet man, and has been there for years. He’s always happy to do whatever he can, and this meal is pretty much perfect as is.



As full as I was from all my afternoon treats, I passed on dessert, but the server told me “we’re proud of our fruit” and brought me a small plate of cantaloupe, honeydew, strawberries, grapes and pineapple. I also got a couple packs of Divvies chocolate chip cookies to take back to the room.                




Day 2
  
Sunshine Seasons

Though their menus have changed recently, this counter service still stands as a pretty good vegan option. For lunch I opted for the Tofu Noodle Bowl with little cubes of fried tofu, veggies, and well, noodles. As you may be able to make out by the picture, the portion size here is fairly small. And I do wish they would marinate the tofu ahead. It falls a tad on the bland side, though I liked it well enough to get it twice during the trip.



I asked the chef about their grilled veggie wrap (they replaced their grilled veggie sandwich of earlier years), but was told it wouldn’t be very good veganized. Apparently they use hummus on it which has parmesan cheese added to it, and as I recall, it also has a non-vegan pesto. The chef said that that’s where all  the flavor comes from, so I’d be better off not getting it. That said, my mother, who has many allergies and sensitivities, got a version of the sandwich on ciabatta bread (not the norm, but perhaps they will use it for special requests) with just veggies and provolone (she’s not vegan) and kept raving about how good it was. Further confusing the issue is that in their case of packaged sides they sell hummus, which according to the ingredient label, is just standard vegan hummus. Why they couldn’t use this on the sandwich I don’t know and never bothered to ask.

While we’re on the topic though, in that premade side section they sell (all vegan): a veggie wrap, tabouli pinwheels, Silk soymilk (vanilla and chocolate), Silk yogurt, (one of the only places in all the parks and resorts that I’ve seen it, though it seems they only carry peach flavor) tabouli salad, a couscous salad, black bean salad, a tomato and cuke salad, veg sushi, and possibly their pasta salad (it doesn’t list the ingredients for the pasta itself, so it may contain egg). And happily, they now carry Divvies caramel corn, and unlike Main Street Bakery, Sunshine Seasons will let you use a snack option to purchase it. It can also count as a dessert for a counter service option on the dining plan.


Le Chefs De France

For starters, the baguettes served here are, according to Chef Lauren, vegan. They’re served warm, crusty and addicting.

Having eaten here before and having had good luck leaving my menu up to the chef (the only vegetarian options on the menu are very un-vegan), I again asked him to make whatever he’d like. In my experience this works out so much better than trying to suggest a dish that likely won’t turn out as well as you’d envisioned.

What I got was beautiful:




There’s spinach, tomatoes, grilled eggplant, asparagus, a pepper stuffed with ratatouille (appropriate since Remy still makes the rounds table to table), a mushroom, slices of grilled pear, zucchini, and what I can only think to describe as a mild pesto or gremolata. It was all light and fantastic.

For dessert was a trio of their amazing freshly made sorbets. The flavors are always changing, but that day they'd made strawberry, kiwi and pineapple. Smooth, creamy, completely refreshing and a perfect way to end the meal.





Day 3
  
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe

For lunch we hit Cosmic Ray’s in the Magic Kingdom. I had heard that their new Angus Bun was vegan, however, in looking over their ingredients it contains Sodium Stearoyl Lactalate, L-Cystein and Lactic acid. So though there are no conspicuous dairy or egg ingredients, it does indeed contain animal derivatives. Consequently, I went with the standard Tapioca roll.

I don’t know why, but for some reason, though they’re using the same Gardenburger they used the last time I was there, and though I loaded it up with toppings, I just didn’t like this burger. In fact, even though in the past I’d actually grown to enjoy the tapioca rolls, there was only one meal when I could actually eat them and not toss them in the trash. I don’t know whether they aren’t being sufficiently heated or what, but they had an almost chemical taste and tended to become soggy and dissolve far too easily.

On the positive, they made me a big basket of baked fries which were as yummy as ever. I never eat french fries in “real life” so it’s a nice treat to come down and get the slightly healthier yet no less tasty baked version. Be aware that baking the fries does take longer, so expect to wait a bit while they’re prepared.



A good tip we stumbled upon this time is to, if you have an allergy or dietary concern, approach the counter service restaurants a half hour before they open. Their doors will be unlocked, and the staff will be there. Ask to speak to a manager, and they'll happily take care of you before they get inundated with other customers. In fact, they often started our fries early so they'd be done by the time they officially opened. 


1900 Park Fare

As anyone who’s read my, or virtually any other vegan or allergy Disney blog on the internet knows, Chef TJ has now moved to the Grand Floridian where he works in the joint kitchen of both the Grand Floridian Café and 1900 Park Fare. He’s also apparently over Gasparilla Grill, hence the appearance of the Fakin’ Bacon.

Knowing it was a Chef TJ night, I ate light during day. You never know quite what to expect from him, but you can be guaranteed it’ll be filling and amazing. In this case, what I didn’t expect was his absence. When we arrived we were informed that he’d had an emergency and had to leave early. Can you say BUMMED? That said, even in absentia, he still did his best to make the meal special.

Before he left he made a special soup for us, laid out the ingredients for my mom’s meal and instructed for Chef Kent to get me the BBQ Tofu from next door (by which I believe they meant the Grand Floridian Café).

Chef Kent began by walking me around the buffet, showing me the vegan items. These are the Edamame Salad, Lo Mein Salad, Steamed Broccoli, Plain Rice, the Tomato Florentine soup, Panzanella Salad, Roasted Vegetable Salad, the regular tossed salad and the vinaigrettes.



I loaded up a plate with salad and dug in.



Soon, though, Chef Mike appeared, bearing a rich and unusual salad that Chef TJ had apparently instructed him to make.


Those are leaves of red endive with a salad of avocado, apple, pear, red peppers and cucumbers in a vinaigrette with pita slabs. This was a decadent salad, and the presentation was wonderful. It was much appreciated.
Next came the portabella soup that Chef TJ made, laced with ginger and spicy on the tongue. Very nice. (It tasted better than it looks in the picture.)


The barbecued tofu was served with grilled corn, tomatoes, leeks and mushrooms. I have to say, I did find myself wishing it had more flavor. It was only vaguely in the realm of barbecue. I like bold flavors and this just seemed a bit drab. Of course I still completely appreciate their going out of their way to procure it for me, and if I found a meal like this on a menu in a restaurant around here I'd be ecstatic. It's all a matter of expectation and perspective.


For dessert was a lovely mix of fruit and berry sorbet. A good meal to be sure, but the best was yet to come.




Day 4

Tusker House

This is still, in my opinion, by far the best buffet for a vegan in WDW. Working from one end to the other, the vegan options are: Marrakesh Couscous, Roasted Potatoes, Samosas (though they’re fried with meat, if you ask the chef he or she will happily fry you up a special uncontaminated plate), the Mango Chutney for dipping the samosas, Root Vegetable Stew, Plantains, Tandoori Tofu, Israeli Couscous, Basmati Rice with Toasted Almond Slivers, Tunisian Couscous Salad, Green Beans and Onion, Curried Rice Salad (my favorite!), plus the Tabouli, Hummus, Chutneys and Blatjangs, as well as their dinner rolls and pitas.

Do be aware that the Jollof Rice contains chicken stock.



The orzo on the buffet would be vegan if not for the feta, so Chef Marilyn whipped me up a fresh batch that was incredible. Loaded with kalamata olives and fresh basil, it would’ve made a filling meal in itself. 



We ate here early, 11:00 in the morning, and it filled me so sufficiently that I skipped dinner that night, indulging instead in a pretzel and my one root beer float of the year, this time bought from Main Street Ice Cream, and made with chocolate Tofutti. Sorry for the terrible picture.




Day 5 

I stopped by La Cantina De San Angel, Mexico’s new counter service, to see if they had anything veganizable. Unfortunately, it turns out that their beans all contain chicken stock. The chef was very accommodating and offered to make me a guacamole taco, but I was looking for a protein boost, and so respectfully declined.


Tangierine Café

I resorted three times to a veganized version of the vegetarian platter here for a quick service. I asked the chef, who greeted me each time with a handshake and hug, whether the falafel are fried in the same oil as other meat, to which he replied that the falafel for the veg platter are indeed fried separately. With them I got the tabouli, hummus, olive salad, couscous, pickled turnips and onions and a little lettuce salad. For bread, the pitas are apparently no longer vegan, (likewise the standard Moroccan bread that they serve contains butter), so he gave me two tapioca rolls. I still wasn’t able to eat them, so made a mixed salad out of the contents of my plate, and augmented it with another large pretzel.



At Sunshine Seasons that night I opted again for another Tofu Noodle Bowl, this time also getting a side order of steamed broccoli and a peach Silk yogurt.




Day 6

What used to be El Pirate y El Perico in the Magic Kingdom has recently become Tartuga Tavern, and along with the name, also went their vegetarian tacos. The menu itself doesn’t appear particularly veg-friendly, however, ask to speak to a manager because they can make you what has become one of my favorite quick service meals. The chef who presides over all of the MK quick services had suggested that they could make me vegan nachos. Once there, I explained to the manager what I’d been told, and they were quick to make it for me.

First off, their nacho chips are fried fresh every day, and thankfully they are not fried with any meat. Yay! I got a plate of these super delicious little buggers, along with a side of their refried beans and a side of their black bean salsa which contains beans, zucchini, red onions, tomato, corn, and peppers. (Their normal rice is mixed with a cilantro pesto that contains cheese, but I was informed by a super cool manager on my second trip there that she holds plain rice aside for those who have allergies or are vegan.)

They still have a topping bar where you can load your chips up with lettuce, tomatoes and regular salsa.  If you’re looking for a shot of protein, this meal is filling, satisfying, and seriously substantial.



There is no vegan dessert option here (like most counter services) but they were nice enough to substitute another bottle of water instead.

This is all I ate until dinner because it was set to be another Chef TJ night and I was conserving stomach real estate.


1900 Park Fare

This time, thankfully Chef TJ was actually there, and like always, super warmhearted and generous. Not to mention busy. In fact, he was dealing with six allergies at the same time as I was there.

Course 1 –

Crunchy delicious spring rolls filled with cabbage and carrots, with a sweet and spicy mustard sauce, and fried toast points surrounding a creamy homemade hummus topped with red peppers and capers. How filling and, well, appetizing! I savored every fattening mouthful.

Course 2 –



This was perhaps my favorite salad that Chef TJ has ever made me. The glass was filled with watercress, mixed greens, pistachios, cashews, grilled corn and a sesame dressing. Around the bottom is a grapefruit/orange relish, tomatoes and avocado. It was, as you would probably expect, gingery, spicy, tasting perfectly of sesame oil. Fantastic!

Course 3 –




Perfectly grilled asparagus with dill, a sweet mustard sauce, a balsamic reduction and a little of the special tomato sauce that he had made for my mother. As diverse as the different sauces were, they all played exceptionally well together along with the smokiness of the asparagus. Awesome!

Course 4 –



The sort of entrée one has come to expect from Chef TJ. Fried onions, broccoli raab, whole carrots, red cabbage, mushrooms, potatoes, and perfectly fried tofu “ribs”.  The robust sauce also had that sweet, spicy mustardy thing going on and was so delicious I would’ve devoured the entire plate, if I wasn’t so completely full at that point.

I took the rest back to the room where it because a much-appreciate midnight snack a few days later.

Course 5 –



Another innovative and unexpected dessert, and the first one I’ve ever successfully photographed! Pineapple sorbet over vanilla ice cream (I forget whether it was Tofutti or Rice Dream), vegan mini chocolate chips, raspberries, black berries, and hidden beneath, a layer of banana slices and crushed Divvies chocolate chip cookies. Seriously decadent and refreshing!

Another big thanks to Chef TJ for yet another fantastic and exciting meal!


Day 7 
  
Backlot Express

There aren’t a lot of vegan counter service options in Hollywood Studios. Two restaurants serve a veggie sandwich, and since I’d had good luck there in the past, we went to Backlot Express again. They still have the veggie sandwich, however, they’ve swapped out the vegan olive ciabatta roll for a non-vegan asiago basil roll. They also carry the ubiquitous tapioca rolls, but they don’t work well for this. Instead, they have a multigrain ciabatta that they use for their turkey sandwich, which ironically happens to be vegan (the roll, not the turkey!). Their Grain Burger buns are NOT vegan, so make sure you ask for the right one. Like all of the quick services, they always have a black binder with the ingredients for all of the products they use, so when in doubt, ask them to whip it out.  The pesto that comes on the sandwich is still (labeled!) vegan. Just be sure to order it without the cheese.

They too will bake a round of fries for you, and they still have a tasty black bean salad you can get as a side.

Here too, there are no vegan dessert options, but they substituted the black bean salad for a dessert.



Also, though I didn’t order it, I had time to peruse the little black binder and found that their Southwest Salad, including the cilantro vinaigrette, is vegan if you order it without the chicken.


Hollywood and Vine

Another buffet with a few vegan options preloaded. The breads on the left of the bread counter are vegan-friendly. Their Fruit and Potato Salad are fine. As are their Tossed Greens, Ginger Cucumbers, Roasted Corn Salad, Bok Choy and Daikon Salad with Asian dressing. Green Beans with Tomatoes and Garlic, Vegetable Rice, Bean Cassoulet, Steamed Broccoli and vinaigrette dressings.

My first plateful:



Second sampler plate:



This is another good place for loading up on protein. The corn salad is full of black beans and edamame, and the bean cassoulet contains a large variety of legumes.

For a special meal, the chef made me ziti with zucchini, squash, onions, red and green peppers, and mushrooms with shredded fresh basil. It was such a nice change of pace at this point to get pasta. And it was good too!



To cap it off, I got a vegan vanilla Toffuti milk shake! Along with their conjoined twin Prime Time Cafe, this is the only place I know of in the parks where they make vegan shakes.


For “dessert” I helped myself to one more small bowl from the buffet:



Day 8
This was the second lunch at the Tangierine Café.



 
I must say, we had something of a blessed trip. The new manager at the Poly took amazingly good care of us all the way through. One day in the Animal Kingdom I won a free pretzel by correctly answering a Disney trivia question posed by the young man running the cart (What are the names of Cinderella’s step sisters?), and while we were eating at Tusker House for the first time, a waiter approached us to let us know that a family in the same room had offered to pay for our meal with their dining plan. They had too many meals left over and were generous enough to take care of our bill.

The beauty of this is that we could then schedule another table service, however, we had no idea where we wanted to book another meal.

As it happened, Chef Marilyn had only minutes before been telling me how she'd recently been moved from Cat Cora’s restaurant on the Boardwalk, Kouzzina, and how vegan-friendly and delicious their food was. It seemed like a fated situation, and with her help, I got reservations for that Friday.


Kouzzina

Luck was truly on our side because this last minute entry turned out to be one of my favorite meals that I’ve had at Disney World.

To begin with, their bread is vegan, light, soft and majorly addictive. It’s studded with sesame seeds and black salt and comes fresh from the oven. Along with the bread, we’re served plates of kalamata olives (the best kalamatas I can remember eating) and two kinds of olive oil in which to dip the bread: kalamata oil and my favorite, kritsa oil from Crete. I never realized olive oils could have such unique flavors on their own.


Kouzzina is a rarity in that with the standard dining plan they allow you two drinks instead of one, so you can have a soda and an after-meal coffee, or a shake and tea, etc. For me, hot tea is the standard at every meal, but they just so happened to have a veganizable mango shake. That’s what I call an appetizer! Thick, sweet and creamy. Essentially what a mango lassi would be if made with vanilla ice cream rather than yogurt.



Chef Miguel did a terrific job taking care of all of our dietary issues. For my entrée, he made me a sampler plate of all their vegan fare:


Going down the right side we have a smoky eggplant dip like babaganoush, skordalia made with potatoes and vinegar, and hummus. To the left of this are sweet and tangy Brussels sprouts with balsamic glaze and capers, a small cup of gigantes beans cooked in tomatoes which reminded me of a familiar soup that I still can’t place. Next over was something of a light and sweet ratatouille with eggplant, potatoes, and peppers. On the far left were three dolmas (rolled grapeleaves), and a fried chickpea patty on a bed of tomato, red onion and olives that was sort of like eating a vegan crabcake: crunchy on the outside and soft inside, all with a stack of pitas to sop everything up.

It’s so nice when you encounter a chef who not only is accepting of veganism, but researches to make the experience better for his ahimsa-prone guests. Chef Miguel told me that he regularly reads vegan Disney blogs. He then told me that he was going to try out a new vegan dessert on me. I will be anyone’s food research subject, and man, did he hit this one on the head!

It was so good it deserves two pictures:



The hot cast iron bowl was filled with a berry crumble. The berries (raspberries, strawberries and black berries) were cooked with sugar and balsamic. The topping was made up of pecans, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and Earth Balance with a big scoop of vanilla Rice Dream on top. I can’t begin to describe how perfect this was. Sweet, tangy, creamy from the melting ice cream, crunchy, caramelized around the edges…

I only hope that Chef Miguel keeps this on the menu for many other vegans to enjoy!


That night I decided to return to the Marketplace to get another round of Babycakes goods to last the remainder of the trip. The new additions were a wonderful, moist banana bread, a chocolate glazed doughnut and a super crispy chocolate chip cookie (hiding in the paper).




Day 9
 
Tusker House – Round 2

As it’s one of the best buffets, it always warrants a second feasting. This time I decided to eat strictly off the buffet (with the exception of some specially fried samosas) and did very well indeed.




Chef Mickey

We had excellent luck with all of the chefs we dealt with this year, and Chef Matt was no exception. He took me around the buffet which is certainly one of the least veg-friendly buffets on property. They had some nice green beans with tomatoes and onions in olive oil. Their steamed broccoli, peas and white rice are all clean. The lettuce on the buffet is fine, and they have balsamic and oil and a light Italian dressing which is supposedly vegan.



Though the buffet held little, Chef Matt made sure I had plenty of food. There’s a pasta on the buffet which contains goat cheese, so he made me a special bowl. The pasta includes peas, red peppers, carrots, tomatoes, celery, basil and oil.


As if this wasn’t enough, he made me a special veggie burrito using a corn tortilla wrap. He filled it with carrots, beans, peas, and rice, and included a side bowl of salsa. Satisfying and extremely filling.



For dessert I had more of the (thankfully) ever-present Toffutti and a pretty good orange from the buffet. They also had cantaloupe, honeydew and grapes, but to me, when they all get mixed together they start tasting a bit funny.




Day 10

Tangierine Café

Again, I got the old standby. I did, however, receive some very positive news that day. The chef told me that they’re building a Moroccan tapas bar on the lake. Construction begins in June, and he’s going to be moving there. The best part of the news is that he assured me that there will be various vegan options!




As a little caveat emptor here, I stopped by the popcorn stand in Canada and on a whim asked what their popcorn is cooked in. The girl running the stand seemed a bit perplexed and answered that it was cooked in butter. I didn’t push the question further, and likely she just didn’t know, since it’s been widely stated that all Disney’s popcorn is vegan. (I forewent the popcorn just in case, though my aunt tried it and proclaimed that it was the best popcorn she’d had down there, so perhaps they do in fact cook it in something different.)


Restaurant Marrakesh

I love the atmosphere in the Moroccan pavilion. Likewise, the musicians and belly dancer alone make it worth eating here at least once.

In the past, I’d gotten a small salad for an appetizer since I can’t eat any of their desserts. Some table services will allow this, others won’t. Sometimes the wait staff say they can’t, but the chefs will put it through for them. They did it for us, but don’t expect it as the norm. I think it’s just because we had so many dietary issues that none of us could eat the desserts that they let it slide.

When the chef came to our table I asked what they had for a vegan salad option, hoping for something more interesting than just lettuce, tomato and cukes. He certainly came through. I ended up with a sampler plate of various salads.



There were carrots with garlic, a potato salad, mixed olives, peppers and onions cooked with tomato sauce, and a salad of finely diced tomatoes and cukes. It was all very nice, my favorite being the peppers.

You can’t pass up the hot mint tea while in Morocco:


For my entrée I got the vegetable couscous cooked without butter. It came with potatoes, carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, chick peas, squash (either acorn or butternut, I couldn’t quite tell) and cabbage. I also asked for a side of harissa because I love stirring it into the couscous to spice it up.



That night I checked in with the Sushi Bar at the Polynesian just to ask a few questions. I never order sushi out because I feel like it all must be cross-contaminated with raw fish which icks me out for multiple reasons. The girl was extremely nice and said that if I was interested, they would change their gloves, mats, get clean rice from a container on the other side of the counter and even make it away from their normal station. Full as I was, I didn’t take her up on the offer, but I’m happy that the option is there.


Day 11 –

I’d seen that the Golden Oak Outpost had a vegetable flatbread on the menu, and so stopped by to see whether it was vegan. All of the components are, except, sadly, the bread itself contains L-Cystein. Now it’s of course possible that it’s a synthetic version, but every time I see the name it conjures images of duck feathers and long strings of dark hair protruding from the loaf, so I just can’t bring myself to knowingly consume anything that contains it. If it doesn’t bother you, then it appears that the rest of the flatbread is safe.

Instead I went back to Tortuga Tavern to get another amazing plate of nachos. (Terrible picture, delicious meal!)




Being our last day, and having an extra counter service to use due to my bailing on dinner one night, I stopped in to check Columbia Harbor House to see if they still had their veg chili. I was sad to see it missing from the menu, but upon asking learned that it’s now listed as the Soup of the Day. Apparently during the holiday season they’ll sometimes substitute it out for a butternut squash soup or something along those lines. The chili is still vegan, and the crackers are still not.



The Wave

For our last meal I was eager to try someplace different. Like always, we’d spoken to the chef long before we’d left home, and he’d laid out what he would make for me. When we got there, however, the chef who was on only had vague notes regarding our meal.

I gave him the printout of what the other chef had suggested and he went to it.

Their bread that I can describe best as a cross between multigrain and rye was fantastic, and what’s better is that the chef brought me out a dish of Earth Balance! The first place in all my Disney experience to do this!

Consequently, I ate a LOT of bread, somewhat compensating for their not exactly huge portions.



My entree was good, a portabella stack with squash, zucchini, tomato sauce, and grilled eggplant. I was a bit disappointed in that the first chef had promised polenta, but instead I got fried tofu. Texturally it was nice, but could’ve done with a marinade or more seasoning. On the side was a light orzo and arugula salad with white beans.



For dessert, the pastry chef made me these wonderfully presented little cakes:



They’re baked from the gluten-free, vegan mix they use for cupcakes elsewhere in the hotel. Sadly, I don’t really care for that mix, but the chocolate icing was good enough to make me eat all three stacks. Dig the little chocolate Mickeys! 

Thus ended another all-too-short trip of virtually 24-hour-a-day binging.
Like always, thanks for reading and please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Now, time to hit the treadmill…

7 comments:

  1. Great new blog!! I didnt know that Babycakes opened at DTD?!! She was on "Cupcake Wars" not too long ago.

    We were at Dis in April but never made it over to DTD, so now when we go in Jan I'll have to check it out.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks a bunch, Nourish!

    Yeah, I missed that episode, but I saw an episode of something on one of the cooking channels where she showed how to make the doughnuts.

    When you go, it's easiest to just hop the bus to Pleasure Island. If you go in by T-Rex it's right next door. Sadly, it's hugely unpublicized. It shares a corner in the same building as Pollo Campero and Fresh A-Peel. They need to have a massive neon sign with giant pointing arrows saying "VEGAN BAKERY!!!"

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great reviews! I'll be taking my first trip to Disney as a vegan next year, (never to early to start planning!) and your reviews have been extremely informative.

    Have you ever been to any of the restaurants at Animal Kingdom Lodge, they have a buffet there, Boma, that is very similar to Tusker House, and other restaurants that I've heard are very veg friendly.

    The news about the tapas bar in Morocco is so exciting. I hope it's open by the time I go!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey YVC!
    Thanks! You're right, totally never too early to start planning. I'm glad I could be of help.

    I have been to Boma (see my earlier blogs for pics), but I have to say, after Chef TJ left it seemed to get less vegan-friendly. I remember they even started putting cheese in the hummus. Of course, that was a few years ago, so much may have changed. I haven't been back recently. I love the ambiance at the AK Lodge, though, and I'd like to get back there soon.

    I hope the tapas bar is open by then too. I told the chef that we're hoping to be back this November, and he said that if he's not at the Tangierine Cafe, then that's where he'll be, so he must be pretty optimistic about it opening pretty quickly. Let's hope!

    If you have any other questions or issues as you plan your trip, please let me know, I'd be happy to help!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks! I'm sure I'll have a thousand questions closer to when I can actually start making reservations, but I have decided to add 1900 Park Fare to my plans, which I ate at on a past trip, and thought the food was just okay, but it seems to be a good choice for vegans, especially with Chef TJ there who I've heard so much about. And the lo mein noodle salad is actually the one thing I did really love when I ate there, so I'm glad to hear that is vegan.

    I also am going to add Tusker House to my plans. I was thinking of Boma twice, but Tusker House looks just as fabulous, and is much easier to get to since it's in the park.

    ReplyDelete
  6. And I'm really sorry to hear about the hummus at Boma. I loved their sun-dried tomato one!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey thanks for all of this, I am planning my trip around your suggestions! Leaving tomorrow, I probably should have posted this sooner, since I read it months ago, but I wanted to let you know I have had a hard time getting in touch with chefs ahead of time. I can't even find direct phone numbers for the restaurants and the dining reservations line said they didn't have phone numbers. All they could do was make a note in my reservation that we are vegan. Will let you know how it turns out.

    ReplyDelete