Good Friday to you all! If feeling overwhelmed was an Olympic sport, I would totally get the Gold this week. TGIF (seriously!). Tonight I'm trying a new-to-me pizza crust recipe (Chebe Pizza Crust). SUPES excited about it. A treat is NECESSARY tonight after the week of busy!!
We got home from Disney World, aka my home away from home, on Saturday. Can I go back yet? We're starting to plan our next trip there, which won't be until 2013 probably. The countdown begins.
We had a very nice vacation- stayed at Saratoga Springs Resort for a couple of days and spent 5 days at Pop Century. I much preferred Saratoga over Pop- it was so much quieter, the room was bigger/cleaner, the pool was AWESOME... so many good things to say. Pop, however, is value priced (let's be honest- we only paid $65 per night to stay there... not too shabby for a Disney hotel!), but along with that you lose some of the amenities. All in all, the hotel stay was fine- we weren't in the room much anyway.
Now on to the food!
This was the first time that we had ever dined at WDW being Vegetarian AND Gluten-Free. With planning, it doesn't have to be difficult. Knowing what we know now, we'll do things differently next time. I'll elaborate on that a little more in a bit.
- Raglan Road -
Raglan Road is at Downtown Disney, and is a vibrant (loud) Irish Pub. There was an Irish band playing and Irish Step Dancers tippy tapping away.
Unfortunately, the noise and commotion was more than I could handle. I had to get up and leave the restaurant a couple of times, switch seats with Brenton... quite the ordeal. Anxiety was SKY HIGH in this restaurant, but I would not hesitate to go back again. This is why:
When we checked in, we told the hostess that we had food allergies. This information was passed to the waitress, and she went back and got the chef. I unfortunately don't know his name, but he was CERTAINLY Irish, and MORE THAN WILLING to help us find something that we could eat. Too bad we had to scream at him to tell him what our allergies were because of how loud the band was. He said "well, I'll make you up some gluten free pasta with a soy-free cheese sauce with some veggies, how does that sound?" GREAT!!! He brought out the pasta dishes and I must say, they were HOT, but sooooo good. Brenton helped me finish mine because it was so rich (and he can always eat haha). The food was great, but needless to say I was ready to get out of there.
On the way out, we stopped and picked up some specially made (just for us!) brownie cupcakes from Babycakes.
Gluten free, soy free, nut free.... AND TOTALLY DELICIOUS. We will absolutely be back. These were brownie cupcakes with vanilla icing and MY GOSH were they good. In fact, they were so good that we went back a second time during our trip to get more. YUM YUM YUM.
The next restaurant we ate at was at The Wave, at Disney's Contemporary Resort.
The chef at this restaurant came out to talk to us about our allergies... but he wasn't quite getting it. He wanted to give us noodles. "No, we can't have noodles unless they're gluten-free.." "...oh, we don't have those... but you can have this salad- do you want to try the dressing on the side with the hazelnuts in it? I know you said you can't have nuts, but do you want to try it anyway?" (RAWR. I was NOT pleased with this guy).
So we ordered a salad with a lemon on the side as our dressing. So disappointing that the chef wasn't able to do more for us. Good salad, but we won't be back.
- Kona -
Kona was probably one of my favorite meals of the trip, located at Disney's Polynesian Resort. The chef was FANTASTIC. He came out and said "you can have (x, y, and z), or I can make you (a, b, or c) and we have gluten free rolls and will bring you real butter..." SO I ordered the Kona Salad (SO.GOOD) and Brenton had the chef make him a rice noodle dish with veggies and cheese. BOTH items were so delicious, and the Ener-G rolls were warm...oooohhh so good.
We will TOTALLY be back. Holy Yum.
Another place that we will also return is where we ate lunch the next day- The Grand Floridian Cafe. Located in the Grand Floridian (where we actually returned to and spent a quite a bit of time!), this restaurant was upscale without feeling stuffy. The chef was really good- he made us a special plate of gluten free pasta, veggies, and a cheese sauce. It was MASSIVE. Brenton and I could only eat half of it because it was so big!!!
Tons of veggies (and sun dried tomatoes.... heaven). Very good meal, great service, BEAUTIFUL hotel (I'll post pictures in the next bloggie- running out of time on my lunch hour!).
The 2nd disappointment was at the ESPN Club at Disney's Boardwalk. Don't get me wrong- I LOVE the Boardwalk, and I mostly love ESPN. But the chef had NO idea what he could make for us. Luckily I know enough about what they have in their kitchens (from doing research beforehand). I said "ok, can we have the vegetable sandwich on an Ener-G bun with the cucumber salad?" That was something the chef understood (gawd), so he brought out this:
Cucumber salad- bland but fine. Filling of the sandwich- great. Ener-G roll... cold and hard as a rock. Blah. It was just "ok"... but I don't think we'll be back.
Ahhhhhhh my favorite meal of the trip. La Hacienda de San Angel is a new restaurant that was put in at "Mexico" in Epcot. The chef here was AWESOME. He came out and told us what we could and could not have and let us make our own meal. So we had veggie tacos on corn tortillas with Mexican rice. SO FLAVORFUL, SO GOOD. WE WILL BE BACK AGAIN!! Best meal of the trip- everything was just so fresh.
Tons of veggies- black refried beans, corn tortillas (made in house), cilantro out the wazoo- simple, and AWESOME.
...and then it goes from BEST, to wooooorst. For lunch the next day we at at Les Chefs de France, in "France" at Epcot. We have had WONDERFUL meals here in the past. The chef was less-than-happy to come out to talk to us about our needs. He turned his nose up to our allergies and said "well, I'll just make you a plate of sauteed vegetables". Ok then, that sounds great! The waitress brought out some Ener-G rolls, hot and wonderful. They tied us over until we got our meal. Are you ready for this?
I'm sorry, what? Yes, you are seeing it right- that's a blob of spinach, half of a boiled peeled potato, half of a boiled tomato, and some green beans. No salt, no pepper, no oil, no nothing. And we were charged almost $20 per person for this. No.Way. We will not be back. I am on a message board that is Disney related, and I have read many reviews much like mine. Maybe it's a cultural thing and we were being rude by not being able to order off the menu? I'm not sure. But no thank you, I'll take my $20 back to La Hacienda. Oh, and I did complain to Disney. The cast member I talked to about this yesterday was floored (and so were we to be honest).
And that brings us to the last Disney meal... Jiko at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. What can I say- Jiko is AWESOME. I actually ate half of my salad before I remembered to take a picture HAHA oooops.
It had awesome greens, peaches, fried plantains, honeyed goat cheese, and a blood orange dressing- holy moly. I would LOVE to go back here- they have a vegan menu, a vegetarian menu, and a gluten-free menu. Tons of stuff to try in future trips!!
Next time, we're going to stay in a DVC resort (like Saratoga) that has a kitchen or kitchenette. This way, we'll have a little easier time eating food in the room and not have to eat out so much. We'll also bring more SNACKS! The Table Service (sit down) restaurants were fine, but finding snacks that fit our dietary needs around the parks was DIFFICULT! They have S.A.D. snacks (like chips, pop, baked goods, you know the drill) but not as many fresh fruits, veggies, and other gluten-free items. But I do have to say, those chefs that were good at the different restaurants were REALLY GOOD, and it was awesome that they were knowledgeable about different food allergies and really cared about making a good meal for us. Those that were bad, were BAD, and we just won't go back to those restaurants again.
Ok I'm out of time, lunch hour is over. I'll post some more items about the trip in some upcoming bloggies. Have a great weekend!! xoxo