Dining alongside dinosaurs at T-REX

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Prior to arriving in Orlando, Florida, we made a reservation for T-REX in Disney Springs™ . I knew that my son would love dining alongside huge moving dinosaurs.

On the way of our reservation, we shopped around Disney Springs a little bit and then I went to go check in for our reservation. We had two reservations for six and they were able to combine them so we could all eat together. Since, the reservation was very early, they sat us a few minutes after check in.

The hostess walked us by the large animatronic dinosaurs and themed rooms, and led us to a table in the Ice Age room. The whole room glowed blue and we could see a giant fossilized Tyrannosaurus Rex. It was pretty cool. We couldn’t see it in our room, but apparently there was a meteor shower periodically that made all the dinosaurs start to move around and roar. We had a Triceratops right behind our heads that moved from time to time.

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When it came time to order, I got myself a Funky Buddha Floridian Hefeweizen and the Tuna Tataki. The  beer was light and crisp, and the tuna was fresh and delicate. It was seared ahi tuna with sesame seeds on top of white rice, sauteed spinach and salsa with mushrooms. There was a wasabi sauce drizzled overtop and a soy sauce on the side. I ate around the mushrooms and dipped it all in the soy sauce. It was the perfect meal if you are expecting to eat a Ghirardelli ice cream sundae afterward, which I was.

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After dinner, I made sure to stop in the gift shop because they had children’s sunglasses and my son kept complaining about the sun being in his eyes.

Consider T-REX when you are making dining reservations in Orlando because it is a unique and fun family experience.

T-REX, Disney Springs™, Lake Buena Vista, FL, 407.828.TREX

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Gloria Estefan knows what she is doing at Bongo’s

On the last night at Walt Disney World, we rushed to our reservation at Bongo’s Cuban Cafe in Downtown Disney. The parking was a bit of a nightmare because they were doing construction to turn Downtown Disney into Hyperion Wharf, a new waterside dining, shopping and entertainment center for families.

When I checked in for our reservation, we had to wait a little bit because they said they had a table outside for us, but with the baby and the chill in the air, I figured it was not a good idea to be outdoors. So, Tom and I went to the bar for a couple of drinks. I got a Bongo’s Cuban Original Mojito and it was very good, but strong and I’m no lightweight.

When we were finally called in, we sat at a long table and ordered a few appetizers. We ordered two Bongo’s Combos with Fried Stuffed Potatoes, Pork Tamale, Cuban Mojo Marinated Fried Pork Bites, Traditional Cuban Ham Croquettes and Stuffed Yuca Cups. I enjoyed the Stuffed Potatoes and the Stuffed Yuca Cups the most. I love when my father makes Stuffed Potatoes, so I was ready for them to be delicious.

For my entrée, I got the Lechon Asado with Moro Rice and Tostones because Cubans know pork and it was delicious. I always get fried plantains (tostones) instead of sweet plantains because I’ve always liked the salty better than the sweet. My cousin Georgie got the Paella and it was insane. It came out with an entertaining lobster and a lot of delicious shrimp, chicken, sausage, clams, mussels and other seafood that I can’t remember all that well because I only ate a little bit of it. The moral of this story is that when a menu item says “Market Price” and “for Two” it may be a bit pricey. The paella was $75, but, from what I ate, it was good.

Unfortunately, we did not get anything for dessert, even though I hate Flan, so we finished the meal and headed back to the room. As you may already know, I am always down for Hispanic food, being a Hispanic myself, and Bongo’s is a great place to have some because they even have some great live entertainment.

Bongo’s was a great way to finish up our family vacation and I was very happy to end it with one of my favorite cuisines.

Walt Disney World, YES!

When we finally arrived in Walt Disney World, we checked into our resort, Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village, and then headed over to the Jambo House for lunch.

Turkey Carver Sandwich

Turkey Carver Sandwich

I knew TK and I would get refillable mugs again, but before we arrived, I read how they put a whole new Rapid Fill program together at different price points. We chose the “length of stay” option and decided to share one refillable mug. There was no need to get two of them, especially at that price tag and knowing we would be buying our own beverages in the parks. There is chip in the cups that allows you to refill them for the time you paid for and the machine tells you when your time expires. It is pretty impressive.

For my lunch, I got a Turkey Carver Sandwich and TK got the same. The sandwich was built on a soft roll with freshly carved turkey and  a cranberry mayo spread. The spread added moisture and sweetness to a sandwich and the turkey was thick, so there was definitely substance. The side of couscous was good, but it was cold and I guess that is how it should be served. However, I have had it hot and prefer it that way.

Unfortunately, I was not able to try their blessed array of cupcakes or a Zebra Dome, but that leaves options for the future.

Yum Yum

Yum Yum Truck

Vanilla with Buttercream Cupcake

Recently, my family took a trip to Orlando, FL, and, unfortunately, I was not with them. But, I was updating them on the location of the Yum Yum Truck for a couple of days. On the final day, they found it and bought themselves some cupcakes. Luckily for me, two cupcakes made the trip back to Long Island, and I am glad they did.

One of the cupcakes was their Peanut Butter Choco-rama and it was delicious. Sometimes gourmet cupcakes lose that sweetness we are nostalgic for from the birthday cupcakes we enjoyed in elementary school. Well, this cupcake made me reminisce. The cake tastes just like you remember and the icing is creamy and full of peanut butter. The other cupcake was their Vanilla with Buttercream, and even though I wasn’t completely in love, it was a lot better than the vanilla cupcakes I have had from some gourmet shops.

Next time you are in Orlando and need a break from the delicious desserts of Walt Disney World (even though I don’t know how this could happen) or are in Kissimmee, find out where the Yum Yum Truck is and go buy a cupcake or two. They even have vegan and gluten-free varieties.

Check their website to survey their weekly schedule, follow them on Twitter or like them on Facebook to get your cupcake fix. I know I will be when I get to Florida in 2013 and I already have the kind I want picked out (Hootenanny Harvest Apple).

Yum Yum Truck, Orlando, FL, 407-494-9336

Surf & Turf on Disney’s Turf

Individual Apple Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream

Individual Apple Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream

The Turf Club Bar & Grill is in Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, a Disney Vacation Club property. On our first night in Walt Disney World we had reservations for dinner and really started the vacation off right.

As an appetizer, TK and I shared the Saratoga Sampler for Two, which included Steamed Mussels and Tomato Bisque with Goat Cheese. The bisque had the perfect amount of creaminess and tanginess, and I am not even a fan of tomatoes and I’ve never eaten tomato soup. This may open that door for me in the future. The soup comes with crostinis for dipping as well. The steamed mussels were not fishy at all. This displays how perfectly they were cooked and seasoned. It was perfect for us to share and if we weren’t there with seven family members, it might have even been romantic.

As an entree, I had the Prime Rib with Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes and Swiss Chard and Red Wine Demi-Glace. The meat was very moist and the potatoes were a wonderful side dish. I could have done without the Swiss Chard, but I tried it and ate it just as I did everything else. To complete my meal, I ordered the Individual Apple Pie that is served with vanilla ice cream. It doesn’t look like a pie but it has everything a nice warm apple pie has. The crust is sweet and light and the apples are warm and smothered in cinnamon. It was a perfect ending to a great meal.

Some people think that Walt Disney World doesn’t have world class food, but the Turf Club proves them wrong. It’s not just hamburgers and hot dogs anymore …

Turf Club Bar & Grill, Saratoga Springs Resort, Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, FL