How Do You Plan?

We often see people asking about calling ahead to restaurants before their ADR (advance dining reservation). We want to know how you let restaurants know about your diet so they can accommodate you. Personally we just mark ‘allergies’ when booking our ADR’s and have never called ahead. When marking allergies we also tell the host about our diet so she makes sure that we will talk to a chef upon being seated.

 

Feel free to comment about any experiences you have had from no warning to calling ahead.

Cheers,
Melissa & Corey

Liberty Inn, American Adventure

When you’re from the United States, it’s pretty easy to skip dining in the America Pavilion in World Showcase. Every time I have been to Epcot we have avoided eating at Liberty Inn since it was full of burgers and hot dogs, which you can get at any of the other parks, so it has never appealed to my family (pre-vegan). However last trip something new appeared on the menu and it was even vegan!

Liberty Inn Menu Board

Liberty Inn Menu Board

We were pleasantly surprised to see they had Vegetarian Chick’n Breast on their menu in May 2014. It seemed rather out of place though among the hot dogs and burgers. The Chick’n Breast comes with guacamole, corn salsa, lettuce and tomato. The sauce that is pictured on the chick’n isn’t vegan so make sure to omit that.

Since this is a quick service option there is seating all over. The dining hall was very loud, there is a large seating area outside so I suggest eating there if it’s not unbearably hot or raining. We ordered our plate and they forgot the guacamole, we assume many people don’t get this odd dish for this restaurant. We also ordered a side of french fries because we assumed this wouldn’t be very filling, we also eat a lot.

Chick'n Breast plate

Vegetarian Chick’n Breast Plate

The Chick’n Breast had a bit of a grilled flavor to it but was pretty unseasoned and generally bland. The corn salsa was actually the best part of this plate and it wasn’t even that great. The guacamole was clearly a quick bagged option and was severely lacking in flavor and texture. We weren’t really sure what to expect with this meal, but now know that we won’t be eating it again unless they make some changes to it. All we could think was why isn’t this on a sandwich? Everything else they serve is so why leave this item without a bun? Corn salsa and guacamole don’t scream American Adventure to us, but a BBQ Chick’n Breast sandwich would, so maybe opt for BBQ sauce over guacamole if you go. For a quick service in World Showcase I would suggest walking over a few more countries and getting some falafel.

Cheers,
Melissa & Corey

 

Would we go back?
Not anytime soon, there are other quick service options we like more in Epcot. If they were to make it a sandwich with some more flavor I would consider going back. For now we’ll stick to the Frozen Red Stag Lemonades at Fife and Drum Tavern outside in American Adventure.

Price
$

Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2014

If you didn’t already know, the end of summer/beginning of fall is the best time to visit Disney World. Mainly because the crowd levels are low but also because of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. From September 19 – November 10 Epcot’s World Showcase represents even more countries with food and drink booths all around. At each of these booths the food offered is snack size and most items range from $3-$6. Most items are eligible for the Disney Dining Plan snack credits. When you’re not eating, there are plenty of additional things to do that are not typically offered in Epcot.

In the festival center there are cooking demos and different workshops you can do. My parents did a class about margaritas while they were with us in 2013. My mom seemed to have a good time and they were able to have small samples of the various drinks they learned to make. There is also the Eat To The Beat Concert Series which brings in bands like Sugar Ray, Air Supply and Boyz II Men. For the time that the bands are there they play 3 shows a day. We enjoyed Sugar Ray several times while we were there. For more information about this check out the Disney Food Blog for a full schedule of bands this year.

In 2012 Disney introduced a new booth called Terra which featured all vegan cuisine. You read that right, an all vegan booth in Disney World! We were lucky enough to try it last year and boy did it deliver. The original menu offered two dishes with Gardein and a dessert. All of the alcohol from Terra was also vegan.

Image from Disney Food Blog

Image from Disney Food Blog

We tried both the Chili Colorado and the Chocolate Cake. The Chili Colorado was absolutely delicious, we ate it so fast that we didn’t get a photo. The cake was just okay, it was a little dry,I would have rather had some Babycakes NYC. The coconut mousse was really good with it though.

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

This year they have updated the menu for Terra:

• Blackened Chick’n Breast, Farr, Spicy Gumbo Sauce featuring Gardein Chick’n Breast
• “Crab’less Crabcake” Pepper Slaw and Cajun Remoulade featuring Gardein
• Chocolate-blood orange cupcake with tofu icing
• Paperboy Red (wine)

Image from Disney Food Blog

Crab’less Crabcake – Image from Disney Food Blog

 

Returning to the festival this year is also the Scotland booth which offered a Vegetarian Haggis last year. Without the mashed potatoes this dish was vegan, you just get extra rutabaga. We had some on our trip in 2013 and we were indifferent on it. I think they offer it because more people probably wouldn’t want to try real haggis, so it’s kind of cool that they made it vegan. This item will be returning for 2014.

Vegetarian Haggis without Mashed Potatoes

Vegetarian Haggis without Mashed Potatoes

 

Japan offered a tofu dish that was vegan as is, Youki Tofu topped with Miso Sauce, Edamame and Served with Grilled Vegetables. I tried this on our trip in 2013 and thought it was pretty good. It wasn’t necessarily worth $4.50 for a slice of tofu though. It appears this item will not be returning in 2014 and there will be no vegan item offered.

Yukabi Tofu - Image from Philly Vegans

Youki Tofu – Image from Philly Vegans

 

None of the other booths appear to have vegan items. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check them out though. Greece has a vegetable Moussaka which you might be able to get without cheese. At least check out the booths for drinks from around the world, both virgin and alcoholic.

During the International Food and Wine Festival Epcot turns into a different place. I suggest checking it out during the day if you have kids. I recommend this because a lot of adults come out for this and lots of drinking occurs. That being said, this is a great time for adults! There’s all kinds of new foods and drinks offered and you’ll want to check it all out. It’s definitely one of our favorite times to visit the parks.

Melissa and her Dad

Melissa and her Dad

Cheers,
Melissa & Corey

Captains Grille For A Disappointing Breakfast

Breakfast in Disney World is one of my favorite things, who doesn’t love Mickey Waffles? We’ve generally had good experiences when we have gone to restaurants for breakfast, until this one. I used to think all Disney restaurants were very accommodating with vegan breakfast food.

Captains Grille at the Yacht Club

Captains Grille at the Yacht Club

We decided to try the Captains Grille at the Yacht Club for breakfast during our May 2014 trip, I saw there was a buffet and also a menu so we should be fine. This buffet was nothing like the other breakfast buffets we have been to, Chef Mickey’s being our favorite. The buffet itself was very small and we were told that nothing on the buffet was vegan. Not even the potatoes?! I’m a breakfast potato fan, and most breakfast buffets offer several variations of potatoes to go with my waffles but this one did not.

While the chef was talking to us he seemed really irritated that we were there. I had never felt this from any other chef at Disney World. The chef told us he’d make us some vegan waffles, dairy free potatoes and I asked for some fruit. Potatoes and waffles isn’t a very healthy or filling breakfast. He quickly left and we ordered some french press coffee and asked our waitress if she could get us some soy milk too.

Mickey Waffles and Fruit

Mickey Waffles and Fruit

We received our plate of waffles and fruit and then both received a giant plate of hash browns. At first we were nervous because it looked like there was cheddar cheese in the potatoes but it turned out to be sweet potatoes. The potatoes had no seasoning on them at all, not even salt and pepper. The waffles were good, as always. The best part of our breakfast was honestly the coffee. Eating a few waffles and fruit wasn’t very filling since I opted to not eat the bland potatoes.

Hashbrown Potaotes

Hash Brown Potatoes

We also found out that since the waffles typically come with meat that we were charged for substituting potatoes for it. The chefs attitude and the food we were given definitely turns me away from ever returning there for breakfast. I am always happy when I can have Mickey waffles, but sometimes everything else just makes it a bad time. Not a fun start to our morning in Disney.

 

Would we go back?
No, the chef didn’t seem to want us there and the food reflected his attitude. Being charged for potatoes instead of substituting it for a more expensive meat made me a little upset as well considering we were also charged for the fruit.

Price
$$

 

Cheers,
Melissa & Corey

Board Shorts and Jerked Tofu

I’m sure you’re thinking, what do board shorts and jerked tofu have to do with Disney World, this isn’t Jamaica. Well let me tell you! This is a review of our dinner at Jiko the Cooking Place in the Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House from May 2014. I’m sure you’re still confused, don’t worry, I’ll explain.

Jiko is an upscale restaurant located next to Boma in the Jambo House at Animal Kingdom Lodge. This restaurant is so upscale they have a dress code, which they apparently don’t enforce. Corey and I were excited to eat somewhere that required us to look nice since we have no fancy vegan dining options at home. We were quickly disappointed when I spotted a man and his child, who appeared to have just come in from the pool, being seated. Now I’m not typically a snob about these things, I like being comfy too, but if your restaurant states out front that you have a dress code, you should probably enforce it. That being said, if you go to Jiko please actually follow it, it’s nice to dress up sometimes.

Seating at Jiko

Seating at Jiko

Jiko drew us in because they have a full vegan menu! One major draw back for most people for Jiko is that if you are using the dining plan you will use two sit down credits. Since it’s two credits we were anticipating an expensive vegan meal. All of the vegan entrees are $29, which seems like a lot until you compare it to the actual Jiko menu with items ranging between $30-$46.

Awful photo of vegan menu

Awful photo of vegan menu

The decor of the restaurant was really neat, not overly African but felt like an upscale restaurant. It was pretty dark where we were sitting, which was a bummer for us taking photos of our food and menu. I will write out the full menu we were given at the bottom of this post. Where we were sat we could see the chefs creating the pappadam and other breads. There is also an option to sit at the bar there and watch them. If you’re traveling alone, that’s a good option!

African Inspired Dips

African Inspired Dips

We decided to order an appetizer because we were really hungry. We went with the Taste of Africa which was a collection of four dips and lentil pappadam. The four dips were Bhuna Masala, Sagh Dahl, Moroccan Chermoula and Kalamata Hummus. The Bhuna Masala was pretty spicy, it helped clear my sinus cold pretty quickly. The pappadam was really good and crispy, we ate it all pretty quickly, which is why there are no photos of it.

Dip Descriptions

Dip Descriptions

For our entrees I went with African “Jerked” Tofu and Corey had Maize-Crusted Seitan. My jerked tofu was super spicy, the coconut curry and vegetables definitely helped to cool down the flavor.

West African "Jerked" Tofu

West African “Jerked” Tofu

The tofu wasn’t very firm, but being someone who is used to all sorts of tofu I didn’t mind. The vegetables in it were seasoned and cooked perfectly. As a whole I really enjoyed this dish. Thank goodness the coconut curry was there otherwise I would not have been able to handle the jerk sauce. There was also red quinoa through out my dish that added a nice texture to my meal.

Maize Crusted Seitan

Maize Crusted Seitan

The Maize-Crusted Seitain came with grains, vegetables and chakalaka. Corey did not seem to like his dish as much as I enjoyed my own. He felt that the seitan was rubbery and not as firm as it should be. There was also a bit of a flour residue on the crust of it. He liked the vegetables more then the seitan which was a bit of a let down for him since he was excited to try some seitan from a restaurant that didn’t appear to be Gardein. He felt that his meal was definitely not worth $30.

As a whole, Jiko was an interesting place to check out. We had both been wanting to go there for quiet some time and finally made it while on our wedding trip. The atmosphere was nice, and it was really great to go to a “fancy” restaurant and enjoy a fine vegan meal. If you are going for a special occasion I would recommend making a stop at Jiko for a romantic dinner, just please, PLEASE, follow the dress code. Also if you are using a dining credit, I would just pay for this restaurant rather than use two credits. We have had more expensive dinners that were just one dining credit then our total meal cost at Jiko.

 

Would we go back?

Yes, just not as a every time we go ADR (advanced dining reservation). It would be nice to go again for an anniversery and when I don’t mind spending a lot on dinner.

Price?
$$$$

Cheers,
Melissa & Corey

 

Legible menu:

Wood-fired Flatbreads
Roxanne’s Seared Seitan    Coriander Chutney, Berbere, Tomatoes and Rocket     13.00
KG’s Peri Peri Tofu     Lime Chakalaka and Picked Sweet Bell Peppers     10.00
Roasted Cauliflower     Bhuna Masala and Roasted Cipollini Onions     10.00

Appetizers
Taste of Africa     African-Inspired Dips with Lentil Pappadam     9.00
Jiko Salad    Summer Greens, Watermelon, Blueberries, Caviar Limes, Smoked Almonds and Lime Date Vingarette  15.00
Braised Greens     Mealie Pap, Chakalaka, White Truffle Oil and Micro Cilanto     17.00

Entrees
West African “Jerked” Tofu     Basmati Rice, Red Quinoa, Vegetable Melange and Coconut Curry Sauce     29.00
Egyptian Kushari     Lentils, Couscous, Chickpeas, Golden Raisins, Almonds, Roasted Vegetables     29.00
Tofu and Vegetable Sambuasas     Mint-Coconut Chutney and Saffron Cashew Rice     29.00
Maize-crusted Seitan     Ancient Grains, Vegetables of the Moment and Chakalaka     29.00

Dessert
Coconut Milk Penna Cotta     with Mixed Berries     9.00
Seasonal Fruit     with Sorbet     8.00
Vanilla Tofutti Ice Cream     with Mixed Berries     8.00