Sunday, July 10, 2011

When non-Disney fans try to write articles...

I've got to thank Webmaster Alex from the DIS for this one, because the link he shared on the boards provided some amusement for me this morning.  Apparently, someone on wrote an article about the World's Best Bar Crawls.  And the last one listed?

Epcot Center.  I don't think anyone called it Epcot Center in about 15 years. Here's the link to the Bar Crawls article, read it for yourselves.

The author tells us we can hit all seven countries in just a few hours.  Apparently, he hasn't seen Norway, China, Morocco, or Canada.  Because we all know Canada is a dry country!   He hasn't told one of the girls in the accompanying photo, because she's wearing a Viking hat.

I'm wondering when the author's last visit to the World was.  I tend to think he would have counted La Cava del Tequila is one of the best places to get drinks.  I know I do.  And he probably would have noticed those Grand Marnier and Grey Goose lemon slushies in France.  Those have been around a couple years.   If he had suggested the readers  buy a souvenir 1/2 yard of beer from Rose and Crown Pub, that would have been a dead giveaway.  I'd like to say that's been gone for at least 3-4 years?  I'm not certain on that one.

I did notice that the article isn't dated, so there is no way of knowing when it was written or posted.  If he did write this a few years ago, he might be forgiven some of the details.  But I won't let him forget 4 out of 11 countries in World Showcase.   That's just sloppy.

At least AJ at the Disney Food Blog does a great job of trying to keep her info up-to-date.  

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

WDW Today Podcast 898 - Victoria and Albert's

On Thursday, Mike Newell of the WDW Today Podcast (at )sent me a chat pop up on Facebook asking me a question about Victoria and Albert's, a fine dining restaurant at Walt Disney World.  Yes, Walt Disney World.  Don't snicker, it's not becoming.   I was trying to tell him that a typical dinner in the main dining room could take roughly 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours.  Maybe closer to 4+ hours if you're doing the Chef's Table or Queen Victoria Room.   Or, if you are me, dining with 5 friends who know how to have a good can be there for 5 hours. (Yikes!)   So he reads that part about my personal 5 hour experience and answers a question that you can be dining there for 5 hours.   Oops.

A few minutes later, Mike asks if I'm willing to talk about my experiences about Victoria and Albert's, since I've done the Chef's Table and the main dining room.  I agree, and the next thing I know, Skype is not cooperating with my headset, and I'm using Skype app on my iPhone.  Whew!   With absolutely no preparation, I chime in the best I can in the time I had.  It figures that I had just recently discarded two personalized menus I came across in a massive clutter disposal. Oh well.  I unfortunately didn't share some important pieces of info, so I planned to post on the show notes page.

And my login on the WDW Today page triggers a meltdown when I try to enter my password.  Crap, I think I broke the site. 

Anyway, some of the points I didn't get to make were:

  • The cast member taking your reservation will ask for the names of each person in your party, and if anyone is celebrating a special occasion.  Ok, Disney Dining will ask that, but in this case, Victoria and Albert's wants it for personalized menus.  I had to spell out the last names of some friends for this reason.
  • While you can mention food allergies and aversions when you make the reservation, someone at the restaurant will call you within a week of your reservation to confirm all that information.  My friend couldn't eat seeds and nuts, and she didn't care to eat mushrooms and olives.  I noted those things, and the servers confirmed when we were seated.
  • In addition to the personalized menus (Happy Birthday! Anniversary! Honeymoon!), each woman is presented with a long-stemmed rose at the end of the meal.  It's in a plastic box, making it easy to carry.
  • Order coffee, even if you don't drink it.  The coffee making apparatus, for lack of a better word, is like a science experiment.  They use a vacuum brewing coffeemaker.  It's very cool.  Blink and you'll miss the moment.
These were just a few things I thought of after we ended the podcast recording.  I mentioned that for the $125 main dining room price, plus $60 wine pairings, you can find some food and wine pairing dinners (special dining events during the Festival) that cost roughly that amount for a similar multi-course dining experience.  What I didn't mention is that you're going to pay somewhere in the $400-500 range for the Food and Wine Festival's event dinner at Victoria and Albert's, which I haven't done.  Others have said it was fabulous, but that price does break my budget.

Instead, what I have done was use the normal dinner at Victoria and Albert's as a substitute for a dinner event elsewhere.   And yes, it was roughly the same price with food and wine at Todd English's bluezoo™ event, but Todd English disappointed.  Not only was there not enough food to soak up the wine, one of the courses came out so over-salted, my friends and I called it the "Dead Sea Pasta".  Other friends dining at the event in another area of the restaurant agreed.   That's a shame because a normal night at Todd's place is really outstanding.   I would tell people to go to the restaurant for a regular meal, and avoid the Food and Wine Festival dining event at all costs.     And it doesn't hurt that Todd English's bluezoo™ also has a chef's tasting menu you can try.

Flying Fish CafĂ© has a Chef's Counter tasting menu with wine pairings that costs roughly in the $140+ range.  And the tastings at both Todd's and Flying Fish don't require a jacket dress code for men.

Just for comparison, I am comparing a meat course at a normal dining room visit at Victoria and Albert's with the special Food and Wine Festival dinner at Todd English's bluezoo.™

Seafood course at Victoria and Albert's:

This was some salmon, crab, asparagus and Bearnaise sauce.  Nice, right?

And here's what Todd served:

It's a pretty good scallop.  A couple dots of orange gelatinous goo, and a cube of pork belly next to the scallop.  The clam on the upper right was overshadowed by the scallop playing Slip n' Slide on the plate. I would have liked a little more than this to counter a full glass of wine.

Here's a meat course at Victoria and Albert's:

That's veal topped with sweetbreads (which are not sweet, nor are they bread.  They are the thymus gland of the cow.  It's not attached, so the squeamish need not eat it.  As you can see, there are little veggies around it, and it's a nice portion.

And at Todd English's festival event wine pairing dinner.

The kobe/wagyu combo.  Thin slice of the good stuff on top of a filet.  Nothing with it.   Of course, it doesn't help that they served this on such a ginormous plate. There was a little slice of cauliflower, sitting on the right side.  And you wouldn't believe it, but it was pickled or something. Had a more interesting flavor, and I would have wanted more than a flat sliver of it.  

And the only decent sized portion of the night?

The over-salted "Dead Sea Pasta".

This would have been really good without the salt lick.