Archive | March, 2012

What I Did On My Spring Break: Or, A Few Delicious Things I Ate At Disney World

22 Mar

Last week I had the unbelievable good fortune of being sent to Orlando for work. (Coincidentally, my trip just happened to fall during GWU’s spring break week.)

Unfortunately, the conference hotel had sold out long before I had a chance to snag a room. But you know what they say – when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I took it as a sign that it was meant to be that I turned my business travel to a mini-vacation. Without a second thought, I booked a room in a Disney World resort instead. And you had better believe it was SO worth it.

After the conference was over, I spent a couple of extra days exploring Disney World for the first time. I’m a California girl, so Disney Land I understand. But Disney World? It’s a whole ‘nother ball game. I mean, the Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella castle is like Disney Land’s version, but on steroids.

Going to Disney World as an child-less adult has its perks. No strollers to hold you back from easily navigating around crowds waiting in line to meet Winnie the Pooh. (Although I will admit that, I did get my picture taken with at least one character.) No worrying about if/when your kid will suffer a meltdown in one of the countless gift shops over which stuffed Mickey he will get to take home. And, perhaps most importantly, the freedom to choose when and what you feel like eating.

Disney World as an adult is fun, and I dare say, the food can be great. Without further ado, here is a list of the top five fun foods that I enjoyed during my Disney long weekend.

1. Mickey Pretzel

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The ubiquitous snack food can be found at nearly every cart inside the park. I don’t know what they put in these things (extra salt? pure joy?) but oh man they are good.

2. Specialty Apples At the Candy Cauldron

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These apples are a double whammy – pretty AND tasty. Almost too cute too eat… almost.

3. Red Cup Special At JellyRoll’s

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Like I said, being an adult at Disney World is fun. This piano bar features classics (Sweet Caroline) and Disney tunes (Be Our Guest) and BIG (32 ounce) drink specials. Also, check out the River Roost Lounge at the Port Orleans Riverside hotel. The nightly piano improv is pretty entertaining.

4. Fish Tacos at Kona Cafe

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This mid-priced restaurant is located within the Polynesian Resort, which goes to great lengths to make you feel like you are on a tropical island. It’s like you walked into Hawaii – the scent of tropical flowers somehow fills the hotel and there is a VOLCANO WATER SLIDE at the pool. Kona Cafe is renowned for its coffee but the fish tacos weren’t half bad either!

5. Salmon at Artist Point

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After a long day of waiting in line for rides, sometimes you just need to get away. I highly recommend Artist Point restaurant in the gorgeous Wilderness Lodge resort. This hotel is themed like Yellowstone Park in all of its splendor (it has its own geyser – pretty impressive) and the restaurant’s menu features foods from the Pacific Northwest. The salmon was perfectly cooked and served with potatoes and carrots. I also shared the cheese plate (blue cheese, goat cheese, and a gouda cheddar) which was perfectly paired with a selection of breads, honeycomb, and fruit.

I must admit that I have barely scratched the surface of the magical dining opportunities that Disney offers… and I think that is the perfect excuse to go back! Have you been? Make any good-food memories?

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A New Take On “America Eats”

3 Mar

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Last weekend, I had my first “Jose Andres” experience.

It was a cold, dreary Saturday. I was juuuust about to settle in for a few chapters of The Hunger Games (guilty pleasure) when suddenly, I heard brunch calling my name.

And that’s a call that you just can’t refuse, am I wrong? So, with boyfriend in tow, I ventured out into the wind and rain to a restaurant that I have been dying to try for quite a while – America Eats Tavern in Penn Quarter.

This little gem is celebri-chef Andres’ latest offering. It’s in the former location of Cafe Atlantico, and the infamous Minibar is located in the same building, a “restaurant within a restaurant”, if you will. It was opened last year to celebrate the “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” exhibit at the National Archives – which for an agriculture and food geek like me, was just amazing. The exhibit offered an inside look at how the government has impacted our food choices, from the first food guide pyramid (butter was its own food group) to war time food propaganda posters.

Alright, already, back to the food.

Here’s the thing: I am sucker for a good themed restaurant, ESPECIALLY one that offers legitimately delicious food. All of the menu items included the date the recipe was first invented and a little bit of back story. Example: my “Ramos Gin Fiz” was invented by one Henry C. Ramos of New Orleans in 1888 and “was traditionally shaken for 12 minutes by a line of 25 shaker boys”. Good to know. (Side note – TRY IT.)

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My oyster po’ boy (invented by Clovis and Benjamin Martin, again in New Orleans, in 1925) featured what could be the best fried oysters that I have had in D.C. – not greasy at all, just crispy enough, delicate flavors, yum. My boyfriend’s fried chicken with catsup (which, if you are interested, originated from a recipe dating back to 1889 in Gordonsville, Virginia) was similarly well made. Also – America Eats offers a veritable spectrum of catsup flavors. Try the blackberry and the Jack Daniels. (Wink.)

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Check out the brunch menu here: http://www.americaeatstavern.com/images/content_images/AEmenu_brunch_120213.pdf.

The restaurant itself is divided into four floors set up around a winding staircase. The decor includes famous foodie artwork like Norman Rockwells’ “Freedom From Want” and tons of fun food posters from WWI. Our waitress was helpful and attentive, even if the service was a bit slow. Our check was delivered in a Hardy Boy’s book. Fun.

In conclusion: I would heartily recommend a visit to the America Eats Tavern to anyone who enjoys good food with a little history sprinkled in for good measure. I know that I will be back!