Great buns at Morimoto Asia

To celebrate the purchase of our Florida home, we decided to try Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs. The menu had something for everyone, including my two little monsters.

We started off with appetizers and I decided on Kanikama Rangoon and Chicken Bao. Kanikama Rangoon are skinny straws of deep fried crabmeat and Chicken Bao are pillowy sandwiches of chicken. I loved the Bao, but wasn’t crazy about the Rangoon, so I passed them off to TK. The teriyaki chicken in the bao buns was tasty and the buns were so cushy, and I love soft bread, so they were enjoyable and have opened my eyes to any bao bun dishes in the future. Bring them on!

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Since the bao buns were like mini sandwiches, I thought I’d go with something kind of light for my entree and ordered the Shrimp Tempura Roll. It had spicy mayo, asparagus and obviously shrimp tempura. I always like sushi when the rice is on the outside or they use the special seaweed. Anything with regular seaweed is a definite NOPE.

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The decor in Morimoto’s is pretty awesome. There was fringe hanging from the ceiling that looked like jellyfish and the booths are cozy, yet chic. Next time, I would consider drinks and a nosh in the lounge area … that may or may not include bao buns.

Morimoto Asia, 1600 East Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL, 407-939-6686

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Coming home to Homecomin’

This fall, I moved to Florida from Long Island, New York and with the move, I’ve discovered new eateries. One new favorite is Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ in Disney Springs. We LOVE Disney Springs (obviously) and go almost every weekend. On special occasions, like finding an apartment to rent, having Mom along for the ride as we moved to Florida and actually being in Florida, we have dined out at Homecomin’ and enjoyed what Florida has to offer gastronomically, since Chef Art Smith is a Floridian at heart. That means moonshine, fried chicken, biscuits and deviled eggs; all southern and all delicious. The decor is even very farmhouse elegant and it’s just my style.

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We love deviled eggs, so we began our meals with the Church Lady Deviled Eggs and the pickled onions that garnish the top are delicious additions that you’ve never had at any picnic or family barbecue. They even arrive in a little ceramic egg crate. On one occasion, we also added the Thigh High Chicken Biscuits which are lovely little fried chicken sliders and on another we ordered the Bunch of Puppies. The hush puppies weren’t our favorite, but the other two were.

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The menu has an array of southern delights, so it is very hard to choose just one meal. My tip is to make sure whoever you are dining with does not order what you do so that you can try a forkful of something else. I’ve tried the Art’s Famous Fried Chicken and realized that it is famous for a reason. The flavor in the skin and the meat is astounding. It is really amazing how that flavor spreads all the way to the bone. The mashed potatoes and gravy were great and so was the cheddar biscuit that accompanied the dish.

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Luckily I follow my own advice and my husband ordered the Fried Chicken Sandwich that had that same delicious fried chicken and a handful of house-made potato chips on the side.

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At Homecomin’, the menu includes cocktails mixed with flavors of Ole Smoky Moonshine from Tennessee. We didn’t order a cocktail during any of our visits, but we tasted the array of flavors at the tasting room when we vacationed in Gatlinburg, Tenn. in 2015 and many were good and didn’t immediately light my esophagus on fire.

Homecomin’ is a fantastic location if you want to get an idea of southern Florida cooking, but can’t venture too far from Walt Disney World or Orlando. You can make a reservation on the My Disney Experience app, on disneyworld.com or by calling the dining reservation line at Walt Disney World (407-WDW-DINE), but make it early because this place fills up. Did I mention the fried chicken?

Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’, Disney Springs, Lake Buena Vista, FL, 407-560-0100

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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A New Disney Favorite at Boatwright’s

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After a full day at Legoland in Florida, we returned to Walt Disney World property to arrive for our dinner reservation at Boatwright’s at Port Orleans Riverside. My parents have eaten at this restaurant and RAVE about it. By rave, I mean that my mother said that the Shrimp and Grits is the “best thing” she has ever eaten. Well, challenge accepted, Mom.

I don’t know what came over me, but I ordered the Amelia’s Salad to start my meal. Now, I am not the biggest salad fan and this salad had items in it that I was not a fan of. It was a spinach (like) salad with bleu cheese crumbles (don’t like), sliced apples (like), pumpkin seeds (like) and a house vinaigrette (like). The mix together wasn’t my favorite, but I know some of my girl friends would like it.

Then, the pièce de résistance arrived! The melding of the flavors from the smoky Tasso ham, the creamy cheese, the sweet shrimp and the blend of herbs and vegetables made the Shrimp and Grits simply delicious. I’ve had grits before, but they were never as flavorful as these. I would go back every time just for this dish.

Everyone else enjoyed their meals, and obviously that includes Mom. When we returned home, TK said that the General Fulton’s Prime Rib was the best meal he had all week and that’s a pretty lofty statement.

Boatwright’s will now be a staple when we visit Disney World. Well played, Mom.

Boatwright’s at Port Orleans-Riverside in Walt Disney World, Florida

 

A Tropical Treat at Kona Cafe

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On our first night at Walt Disney World in Florida, we dined at Kona Cafe at the Polynesian Village Resort. I love the theming of the resort because it reminds me of my honeymoon in Hawaii and I have a lot of fabulous travel memories from that trip.

We had to wait a few minutes for the hostesses to accommodate us, but we showed up with more people than my reservation listed, so it was appreciated. Our group of 11 was seated at a very long table and we all fit nicely, and we are not a small family by any means.

I started my meal with the Samoan Corn Fritters that I was excited for, but they had a little bit of a soapy taste, so I ended up giving them away to my cousin and aunt who liked them. I did, however, taste one of my uncle’s Sticky Wings and those were delicious. I like saucy wings, so they were sweet and enjoyable with a good amount of meat.

For my entree, I decided on a sushi roll because I read the menu before my trip and got excited about the choices. I ordered the Crab Rangoon Roll because I usually like Crab Rangoon from Chinese restaurants, so I thought this would be an interesting twist on the dish. Everyone’s food came and my dish was still missing, so the manager paid me a visit. He told me that they dropped my roll on the floor and were making me another one. I was glad that they didn’t choose to serve me the dirty one, but that would be the complete opposite of the Disney way. Not one minute later, the waiter showed up with my roll and it was piping hot.

This sushi roll was not like other rolls because it was deep fried. That’s right, deep fried in tempura batterThe crab salad on the inside was creamy, and the tempura shell on the outside had a great amount of crunch. I loved it because I need a little texture to my sushi and I also don’t like when the seaweed is the first item to touch my tongue. I unselfishly let TK try a piece and he said it was not real sushi. Well, it was definitely rolled up and cut into pieces, so that was enough for me to consider it sushi. I immediately regretted sharing it with him.

I washed it all down with a Kona Longboard Lager and it was the perfect beer and reminder of my honeymoon days in Kona. This restaurant is a great escape to the tropics.

Kona Cafe, Polynesian Village Resort, Walt Disney World, Florida

Disney’s Must Eat or Drink List (1-60)

As you may already know, I’ve been to a Walt Disney theme park 14 times in my life; 13 trips to Walt Disney World in Florida and one trip to Disneyland in California. Each time I go, it is a necessity that I eat my favorite foods and try some new items that I just might add to my list of menu items to revisit. Fortunately for you, I keep track of what I love and what others love in order to share these delights with you.

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To keep up, I will break down the information a little bit for you. I mean, you need to know exactly how and where to get them, if you need them.

Each listing will look like this: Food/Drink Item – Location Name, Area of Park (if there is one), Park or Resort, WDW (Walt Disney World) or DL (Disneyland).

Red items have been eaten by me and the other items are still waiting to be eaten, and there are plenty.

 

 

My Must Eat or Drink at Disney List:

  1. Tipsy Duck – Joy of Tea, China, Epcot, WDW
  2. Lobster Roll – Crew’s Cup, Yacht Club, WDW
  3. No Way Jose – Beaches & Cream, Beach Club, WDW
  4. Dole Whip Float – Aloha Isle, Adventureland, Magic Kingdom, WDW
  5. Naan Bread Service – Sanaa, Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village, WDW
  6. Zebra Dome – Boma, Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House, WDW
  7. Profiteroles au Chocolate – Chefs de France, France, Epcot, WDW
  8. Crab Legs – Cape May Cafe, Beach Club, WDW
  9. Minnie’s Bake Shop Cookies – Any Resort Souvenir Shop, WDW
  10. Pulled Buffalo Chicken Sandwich – Trilobites, Dinoland U.S.A., Animal Kingdom, WDW
  11. Nutella Waffle Sandwich – Sleepy Hollow, Liberty Square, Magic Kingdom, WDW
  12. Brioche French Toast – Flo’s V8, Cars Land, California Adventure, DL
  13. Beignets – Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory, Port Orleans-French Quarter, WDW
  14. Jolly Holiday Combo – Jolly Holiday Cafe, Main Street U.S.A., DL
  15. Cheese Fondue – Territory Lounge, Wilderness Lodge, WDW
  16. Peanut Butter Sandwich – Pooh Corner, Critter Country, DL
  17. Pulled Pork Nachos – Tambu Lounge, Polynesian Resort, WDW
  18. Butterfinger Cupcake – Starring Rolls Cafe, Hollywood Studios, WDW
  19. Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake – Liberty Tree Tavern, Liberty Square, Magic Kingdom, WDW
  20. Peanut Butter, Banana and Candied Bacon Pie – Boardwalk Bakery, Boardwalk Resort, WDW
  21. Grapefruit Cake – Hollywood Brown Derby, Hollywood Studios, WDW
  22. Mickey Pretzel – Various theme park pretzel stands, WDW
  23. Strawberry Shortcake – Sunshine Seasons, The Land, Epcot, WDW
  24. School Bread – Norway, Epcot, WDW
  25. Grey Stuff Cupcake – Be Our Guest, Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom, WDW
  26. Berry Cream Puff – Kringla Bakery, Norway, Epcot, WDW
  27. Peanut Butter & Jelly Milkshake – 50’s Prime Time Cafe, Hollywood Studios, WDW
  28. Frozen Hot Chocolate – Hilton Bonnet Creek (a good neighbor hotel that is not on property), WDW
  29. All American Sundae – Plaza Ice Cream, Main Street USA, Magic Kingdom, WDW
  30. Ice Cream Martini – L’Artisan des Glaces, France, Epcot, WDW
  31. Gold Rush – Ghirardelli, Downtown Disney Marketplace, WDW
  32. Viking Mousse – Kringla Bakery, Norway, Epcot, WDW
  33. Cookie Bottom Sundae – Ghirardelli, Downtown Disney Marketplace, WDW
  34. Peanut Butter Heaven – Pooh Corner, Critter Country, DL
  35. Bananas Foster Bread Pudding – Ohana, Polynesian Resort, WDW
  36. Rocky Road Brownie Mousse – Smokehouse (Food & Wine Festival), Epcot, WDW
  37. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake – Contempo Cafe, Contemporary Resort, WDW
  38. Filet Mignon with Macaroni and Cheese – Jiko, Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House, WDW
  39. Sticky Wings – Kona Cafe, Polynesian Resort, WDW
  40. Cronut – Refreshment Port, Future World, Epcot, WDW
  41. Apple Pie – Carnation Cafe, Main Street U.S.A., DL
  42. Brioche Ice Cream Sandwich – L’Artisan des Glaces, France, Epcot, WDW
  43. Monte Cristo Sandwich – Blue Bayou Restaurant, New Orleans Square, DL
  44. Grand Marnier Orange Slush – France, Epcot, WDW
  45. Lobster Nachos – Cove Bar, Paradise Pier, California Adventure, DL
  46. Pommes Frites – Cafe Orleans, New Orleans Square, DL
  47. Cinnamon Roll – Main Street Bakery, Main Street USA, Magic Kingdom, WDW
  48. Pretzel Bites with Cheese Sauce – Troubadour Tavern, Fantasyland, DL
  49. Cinnamon Roll French Toast – Carnation Cafe, Main Street U.S.A., DL
  50. Peanut Butter Brownie Sandwich – Earl of Sandwich, Downtown Disney Marketplace, WDW
  51. Margherita Pizza – Via Napoli, Italy, Epcot, WDW
  52. Shrimp & Grits – Boatwright’s, Port Orleans Resort, WDW
  53. French Onion Soup – Chefs de France, France, Epcot, WDW
  54. Macaroni & Cheese – Yachtsman Steakhouse, Yacht Club, WDW
  55. Almond Crusted Cheesecake – Narcoosee’s, Grand Floridian, WDW
  56. Bread Pudding – Raglan Road, Downtown Disney Pleasure Island, WDW
  57. Bailey’s and Jack Daniel’s Mousse – Coral Reef, Living Seas, Epcot, WDW
  58. Spicy Kazan Roll – California Grill, Contemporary Resort, WDW
  59. Chocolate Melange – Blue Zoo, Dolphin Hotel, WDW
  60. Pumpkin Beignets – Mint Julep Bar, New Orleans Square, DL

So, there are my first 60 items that need to be eaten on your next trip to a Disney theme park. Did I forget one of your favorites? Do you need to know about an item because it sounds so good? Let me know in the comments.

An Italian Feast at Via Napoli

Like I said in my last post, my family is in Walt Disney World enjoying meals at a few places on-site. The decided to try Via Napoli and said it was delicious. Via Napoli is in Italy in the World Showcase at Epcot. I’ve never eaten there, so of course, I am now jealous. Just look at these photos and tell me that you aren’t jealous too …

Via Napoli, 1510 Avenue of the Stars, Orlando, FL, 407-939-3463