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Orlando report (2/12) - Disney, Universal and more


Restaurants & Bars Florida Orlando

Orlando report (2/12) - Disney, Universal and more

beetlebug | | Feb 19, 2012 05:20 AM

We just came back from a week at Disney and Universal. The main purpose of the trip was to go to Harry Potter World at Universal. But, C thought that since we were down there, we should go to Disney as well since neither of us had been.

I'm a bit of a grinch so Disney didn't really thrill me. But, I could see the logic. I was pleasantly surprised when DIsney far exceeded my expectations and disappointed that Universal fell far short.

Disney. The food at Disney was delicious. I had done a fair amount of research before hand because I thought that even if I had to park food, it might as well be as good park food as it could be. We stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, and overall, I really liked it. I think it's because it didn't seem as over the top Disney.

We had a car which made things a lot easier. Especially bc we only had 3.5 days at Disney and wanted to maximize everything.

A note about our food choices. I had read that the portions were big and they weren't kidding. The portions were ginormous. And, since we weren't staying somewhere with a fridge, I didn't want any leftovers. I also didn't want to overeat so that I wouldn't get sick on the roller coasters, esp since we were riding them multiple times in a row.

Dinner at the hotels.

California Grill - our first dinner and it was excellent. Service was gracious and efficient and the view was lovely. We shared a sashimi plate drizzled with yuzu and sitting on a bed of seaweed and daikon. I could have had 2 of these plates to myself and called it a day. The fish was fresh, had a great variety (not just tuna and salmon), and was expertly cut. Other sushi appetizers arriving at other tables left me wanting to order another one and I showed unusual restraint. Our main course was the cast iron seared bison with the truffled mac and cheese. Again, delicious and cooked perfectly. The whole dish was incredibly balanced. No dessert since we were hitting the MK park post dinner.

Jiko - Great meal. We sat at the appetizer prep area bar. Basically, it's a bar but instead of a bartender, the chefs making the appetizers were behind the bar. There were two brick ovens behind there too. It was really nice to chat with them while we were waiting and eating. Anyway, we started off with the Crispy Beef "Bobotie" Roll. No idea what to expect and this was an untraditional form. It was an african egg roll. Expertly fried with nicely spiced meat. We also shared a roasted beet salad which was fine but the beets were overly salted. I thought the goat cheese was good with it, but not really necessary. For the main course, we split the pork tenderloin and were very happy with it. Lastly, dessert. It was a coffee cup shaped out of chocolate mousse and other goodies. Very pretty and it hit the spot. The app chef sent out a special dessert (this would have been my choice but C wanted chocolate) the parsnip creme brulee. This was fantastic. The parsnip flavor came through, the texture of the crisp top and the soft interior was so pleasing. The whole dessert was just brilliant.

Sanaa - Again, another excellent meal. It was just too bad that the enjoyment of the meal was ruined by a shrieking child. It was brutal and non stop. The staff were so gracious but they really couldn't do anything but try and get the table out. Unfortunately, the table felt no such urge and proceeded to order dessert and coffee. They had a leisurely meal at the expense of all the other diners. I was especially intrigued by Sanaa because of the combo of african and indian fare and it didn't disappoint. We split an appetizer trio of small cold salads. These weren't lettuce based but were more of the components to go on top of the salad. Roasted beet, watermelon and watermelon rind and chickpeas. For the main course, we ordered two entrees because we couldn't decide between two of the curries. One was a chicken curry, the other was lentil based. With both, we wanted to try the 5 grain pilaf. The curries were really nicely seasoned and had enough spice. There was no dumbing down of the heat level.

Boma - We had the breakfast buffet and it was fine. There were much fewer african offerings then dinner but this was our last meal at Disney. The dinner buffet, when I walked through to look, seemed really promising. But, I couldn't figure out a way to get another dinner in.

Food in the parks.

Magic Kingdom - loved the Dole Whip soft serve ice cream at the Aloha Freeze stand. I think I read somewhere there is also one at the Polynesian resort. Anyway, I liked the pineapple/vanilla swirl and got this twice. C got the orange/pineapple swirl and the second time, he got the orange/vanilla swirl in the pineapple juice. Incredibly refreshing and different.

Animal Kingdom - Yak and Yeti sit down restaurant. Overall, pretty good and really good for park fare. We split two apps and an entree here. Lettuce cups and fried green beans. Both were fine. I wanted to love the fried green beans but the tempura batter was a bit too thick and heavy for me and the sauce was a bit sweet. But C loved it. For the main dish, we split a seafood curry over rice. This I did love. Again, nicely spiced and seasoned.

Hollywood Studios - Brown Derby Cafe. We split a cobb salad because this is where they invented it. A bit overdressed for my taste but the salad was beautifully chopped. We probably also had an app but I just can't remember what it was. For dessert, we split the grapefruit cake, which I loved.

I'm going to have to post later on Universal and our two meals in Orlando.

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