Tipsy Ducks in Love – January 8, 2017

Joy of Tea – China Pavilion at Epcot

Bourbon Whisky, coffee, black tea, cream and chocolate syrup $8.95.

This sounded like all kinds of disgusting to me, so I’ll let Luke tell the story of this drink (which I didn’t even make him share).

This drink is like drops of heaven providing resuscitation to your yearning tastebuds. It’s so divine, the woman behind me in line literally stole the first one the folks at the stand made for me. I wanted to be upset at Tammy from St. Louis (that’s the backstory I gave the thief of this cunning stunt), but dang was she right to risk a life of crime for this ambrosia-like concoction. I would drink this in a boat, I would drink this in a moat. I do like Tipsy Ducks in Love. I do like it something above. They free pour the bourbon, the creamy and chocolate combination compliment each other perfectly and this is the best thing China has given the world since cute bears who’re too lazy to hump to save their species. I bet if pandas had a few tipsy ducks in love they’re fornicate  like rabbits in the year of the cock.

I didn’t get a second one of these because I have an affinity for making poor choices. Never don’t get Tipsy Ducks in Love at Epcot. That’s a fool move worthy of Mr. T’s pity.

I want one right now. I’d pay $8.95US for it (+4.95 shipping + 6.5% state sales tax).

I bet Tammy from St. Louis is sucking one of these back now while she gives a shit about the Cardinals. God… Tammy is the worst. She’s the antithesis of Tipsy Ducks in Love.

Cove Bar – January 30, 2017

One place we both wanted to check out on this trip to Disneyland was the Cove Bar, located in Disney’s California Adventure on the pier beside Ariel’s Grotto Restaurant.

We’ve heard it can get quite busy at times, especially in the evenings, but we barely had a wait at all. Mind you, it was a Monday night in January, but still.

We were led to a 4-seat table with an amazing view of the pier!

The menus were really nice here:

There’s not a huge food menu here, but there are a few options.

As much as I love nachos, the only option there had lobster on it – which is something I don’t eat and Luke is allergic to, so we decided to split the Spinach and Artichoke Dip instead. Spinach and Artichoke Dip – a creamy blend of roasted artichoke hearts, sauteed spinach and onions with parmesan, jack and cream cheese served with fresh house-made tortilla chips, $11

The homemade chips were really good, and so was the dip! It wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, but it hit the spot and held us over until our supper later that evening.

Obviously, the main focus of the Cove Bar are the drinks! We knew about the “hidden menu” and we were trying to pull it up on my phone when the waiter came over. He laughed when he realized what we were trying to look at (my phone was just not cooperating at that moment!), reached into his pocket and pulled out a little laminated version of the secret menu.

Of course, I had to order the Fun Wheel ($12) from the secret menu! This thing is so much fun to look at, it was made to be Instagrammed!

This fun layered drink is (according to the Google search I just did) – pineapple juice (the yellow layer of course), passion fruit vodka (that thin layer of pink) and then blue curacao mixed with traditional long island iced tea ingredients (vodka, rum, gin). Then it’s topped off with a bit of soda water and finally some foam (I believe it was lemon or lime or some combination of the two). The name also comes from Mickey’s Fun Wheel due to all the fun colours!

Here’s our view of the Fun Wheel from our table. It’s so pretty all lit up at night!

Luke ordered the Black Pearl from the secret menu – vodka, gin, rum, sweet and sour, chambord and sprite.  It also had it’s ingredients layered to make it look really pretty, $10.

Luke’s drink was sweet without being too sweet, and strong without being too strong. It was good!

We had a final Fastpass to get to, so we only had the one drink each before settling up our bill. The total came to $33.78, since my annual pass gave us 15% off the spinach dip.

Whispering Canyon Cafe – January 11, 2017

On our last full day at disney, we had decided to make a lunch reservation for Whispering Canyon Cafe, located at the Wilderness Lodge. The menu appealed to the picky eater in me, and it gave us an excuse to check out another one of Disney’s resorts!

Our reservation was at 1:15, so we decided to leave Magic Kingdom around noon – it was starting to get pretty busy in there. We walked out and caught the boat to Wilderness Lodge – I love the boats at Disney, they are such a nice, relaxing way to travel around!

We obviously arrived early for our reservation, which gave us a bit of time to look around the resort – so pretty, even with all the construction going on! We still checked in fairly early, and we were seated by about 12:45 (we had built in a decent buffer of time in case we had a long wait for a boat or something – which we didn’t).

We had read about this restaurant, and knew the schtick that went with eating here. Our waitress was an older lady, and the first time she came over to our table she grabbed the shopping bag I had from a new shirt I had bought on Main Street as we were exiting Magic Kingdom, and started rummaging through the bag. She pulled out my shirt and held it up to the table behind us and shouted at two young boys “IS THIS A PIKACHU?!” Apparently the boys were playing Pokemon Go, and the waitress was trying to help them out haha.

After returning my shirt to the bag, she pulled out one of the extra chairs at our table and flopped down to take our drink order (which were boring – Coke and a glass of water for Luke, root beer and a glass of water for me – $3.49 for each pop). The drinks were served in mason jars.

The restaurant wasn’t that busy, but our table was in a weird spot (kind of in the middle of a bunch of other tables?), which made it difficult for our waitress to reach our table. She also had a fairly large group that she was attending to which seemed to take quite a bit of her time, so after she took our orders there wasn’t much interaction with us.

We both ordered the same thing – the Seasonal All-You-Care-To-Enjoy Skillet, $23. Since we both ordered it, this was served family style on a large platter, and contained corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, baked beans, pork ribs, pulled pork, chicken and sausage.

I don’t like baked beans, so those were all for Luke. The chicken was good. I’m not a huge ribs person, but I did eat some of these ones and liked them. The pulled pork was a little dry, but I just kept eating it in the same mouthful as the mashed potatoes (which were awesome, so nice and creamy). I’m not a huge sausage person, so that was also just for Luke, and the corn on the cob was just standard, but good.

 

Since this was all-you-care-to-enjoy, you could ask at any point for more of anything. I asked for more chicken, and Luke requested more ribs at one point. By the time we finished eating we were both stuffed, and definitely did not have room for dessert!

The total for our bill came to $56.43 after tax.

Saana – Supper – January 10, 2017

Since we had started our day off with breakfast at Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House, we figured why not end the day with supper at Kidani Village! We caught the bus from Animal Kingdom Park (where we had spent the entire day), and took the extremely quick bus ride over to the resort.

Let me just take a moment to gush about how much I love Animal Kingdom Lodge. It’s such a beautiful hotel, and I will stay there one day!

We found Saana, and checked in. We were handed a pager and went and sat in the hallway for a few minutes before it went off.

As we were led to our table, the lady leading us noticed our Just Engaged buttons, so she asked how long we had been engaged for. Luke and I looked at each other and responded “since this morning!”. I don’t think she was expecting that answer haha.

Shortly after being seated at our table, our waiter arrived with a present for us – glasses of champagne with a raspberry in it. He told us the hostess had told him we were newly engaged, so they wanted us to celebrate with free champagne 🙂 Yes please!

Notice the table in the picture above with the hidden Mickey. I loved the details of this restaurant, it was so quirky yet pretty! Here’s a close-up on the hidden Mickey’s on the table:

The chairs were mismatched, and really awesome!

Now for the eats and drinks! The menu was really nice to look at:

Since we were celebrating an exciting day, we both decided to order a cocktail, and we both ended up deciding on the same one:  African Starr Mojito – Starr African Rum, Van der Hum tangerine liqueur from South Africa, fresh lime juice, and mint, $10.75. This thing was so tasty, and went down so easily…

Of course, you can’t go to Saana and NOT order the bread service! So that was our appetizer. Indian Style Bread Service – choice of five breads with all nine accompaniments, $15. The breads were traditional naan, garlic-ginger naan, spiced naan, onion kulcha and paneer paratha.

Luke and I both eat Indian food fairly often, and we actually live in a predominately Indian neighbourhood, so we are very familiar with Naan bread. All three varieties were good, but they just can’t compare to the Coconut Naan we get at one of our favourite Indian restaurants here in Edmonton. The onion kulcha was new to us though, as was the paneer paratha (which had me confused, since I know Paneer is a type of cheese common in Indian cooking – it’s kind of similar to cottage cheese and is not something I typically like). The bread did not taste like cheese though.

The nine accompaniments were, starting from the top left corner: cucumber raita, roasted red pepper hummus, mango chutney, tomato-date jam, tamarind chutney, the green one at the bottom of the right hand side row was coriander chutney and going up towards the top was garlic pickle, red chili sambal and spicy jalapeno-lime pickle. They ranged from mild to spicy in the exact order I have them listed above.

The cucumber raita was good, although fairly standard. It’s commonly used to cool off heat (it’s a yogurt-based sauce), so I was quite thankful it was an option after I tried that jalapeno-lime pickle! The red pepper hummus also had a great flavour, but again, fairly straight forward and safe. Neither one of us are huge mango fans, but we did try that. It was ok, but definitely not our favourite. The tomato-date jam was a little strange (but I don’t like dates, so I am not the best one to be giving an opinion on that one). Next up were my two favourites – the tamarind chutney and the coriander chutney (the two at the bottom of the picture). Both of these had a bit of heat, but not too spicy.  They were bursting with really rich flavours, and they also worked well mixed together! The last three were the spicest ones, so I will let Luke describe those. He liked the garlic pickle one since it was nice and chunky and you could really get a lot on your piece of bread. It was one of his favourites. Luke said that he thought the red chili sambal reminded him of a homemade salsa, and of the three “spicy” ones that one had heat that lasted the longest. The jalapeno-lime one had the most initial kick, but the heat was not sustained. You could also tell it contained chili oil by the stain it was leaving on the little dish.

For our main entree, we decided to go for the Potje-inspired, where you can select one meat option and one vegetarian option and it’s served with basmati rice for $26. Our server mentioned to us that if we were interested, we could make a second meat selection for $11, and it would probably be enough for both of us to share (instead of $26/each for a total of 4 options, this was $37 for three options). We also paid for an extra bowl of basmati rice so we wouldn’t have to share that ($4).

For our selections, we went for the Chickpea Wat as our vegetarian option. I love Chana Masala (a popular Indian chickpea dish) and I was expecting something similar to that. Chickpea Wat however is more of an Ethiopian dish so it had a slightly different taste than I was expecting. This is not a bad thing, these chickpeas were incredible! They were nice and firm without being hard or crunchy, and the flavour of the sauce was so delicious! It had a bit of a spicy kick, but it was not crazy at all.

Meat selection #1 was the Butter Chicken – a pretty safe and straight forward option, but one of my favourite foods. (I actually had butter chicken today for lunch too haha). This one was good, had lots of flavour but I wouldn’t say it was the best I’d ever had. Still made me happy though!

Our second meat selection was the Braised Beef (or Curry Beef). This had big, huge chunks of super tender beef in a really nice curry sauce. It wasn’t too spicy, just lots of flavour (and a slight little kick).

The rice was standard basmati, and we were glad we had ordered a second bowl so we had lots of rice to go with our curries.

They also served with Indian yogurt, which is used to help cut the heat of the curries. None of our three options were crazy spicy, but I did enjoy having this.

We ate every single last bite of this meal. We even used pieces of the naan to clean out the last of the sauce from each bowl. It was easily one of my favourite meals of the entire trip, and is one I need to return to on our next trip.

The total for our bill came to $82.54 after tax. In my opinion, it was well worth every penny.

 

Artist’s Palette – Breakfast – January 12, 2017

The Artist’s Palette is a cute little quick serve restaurant located at Saratoga Springs Resort. On our last day of our trip, we had to catch the Tragical Express around 11am. We checked out, and had tons of time to kill so we headed to The Artist’s Palette to grab some breakfast.

I try not to eat very much on travel days due to my Crohn’s, I’d rather not be faced with an emergency while the seatbelt sign is on while flying – so I just keep my stomach mainly empty. It’s probably not the best thing, but it works for me, and it’s only for a day.

I did decide I’d grab some food and just eat it later on the plane if I was hungry, so I picked up one of their pre-packaged Chicken Caesar Wraps, $7.99. This was very straight forward and basic (AKA: perfect for me!), and just contained chicken, lettuce and croutons on a spinach wrap. I really liked that the dressing was something you added yourself, so it didn’t get soggy by the time I got around to eating it.

Luke loves his breakfast food, so he ordered the Country Omelet – $9.29. I actually can’t find this on the menu any longer, but I believe it had onions, sausage and peppers in it? It was also served with breakfast potatoes (which I helped him eat haha).

This meal was nothing special, but it was good, and enough food to hold Luke over. I did end up eating my wrap on the plane.

Amorette’s Patisserie – January 2017

Located in Disney Springs, Amorette’s Patisserie is a high-end pastry shop that makes beautiful desserts. We decided to stop in before making our way over to the Polynesian Resort, and I’m so glad we did!

It’s not a huge store, but there are these long glass display cases showing off the amazingness:

The way they package up your purchases is even nice! It’s a really high quality bag that’s really pretty on the sides, and then they top it with some tissue paper.

I guess they didn’t have any small boxes the day we were there, since one of our treats came in this giant box haha.

Inside that giant box was this little tiny Mickey Mousse – Chocolate chiffon cake, chocolate pudding and white chocolate mousse, $8. We didn’t eat this until the next day, so it was a little beat up from being carried around (which is why the little yellow dots appear to be falling off).

The little details were so great on this – the chocolate ears, the cute little tail..

And then you get to the inside of this. Oh man, this was so good. I’m not sure if the red was fondant – if it is, it’s the best tasting fondant I’ve ever had. Luke and I shared this – it wasn’t huge, but there’s no way I could have ate the entire thing myself.

The other thing we picked up was the Petit Amorette’s Cake – eleven layers of red velvet cake, cherry mousse, chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, raspberry pate de fruit jelly and Italian buttercream, $15. This came boxed up in a nice little box to keep it safe.

This little cake was so beautiful! We bought this on a Saturday, and then carried it around in our backpack for days before finally digging in to it – it made for a great little celebratory snack on Tuesday after we got engaged 🙂

For being such a tiny little cake, it really did have eleven layers! It’s hard to really count all the layers in the picture below, but you can see that there’s a lot! This was so amazing, it remained moist even days later!

Amorette’s is not a cheap option, but it’s a very tasty one that I highly recommend checking out!

Zuri’s Sweets – January 10, 2017

Tucked away in the Africa section of Animal Kingdom is an amazing little store called Zuri’s Sweets Shop. We were walking around, and Luke was talking on the phone with his dad telling him about our engagement so I decided to take a peek and see if anything would catch my eye.

There were so many things that looked and sounded really good, but  I finally decided on this Mickey shaped mine brownie, $3.99. I actually ended up not eating this for a few days, but it was still really good! It was a very minty soft and chewy brownie covered in milk chocolate with a drizzle of mint chocolate.

I decided to buy Luke a treat, and figured he would enjoy this Mickey dark chocolate with chili pepper, $3.99. He told me the dark chocolate was exactly as it should be, not too sweet with just enough bitterness. The chili pepper added the perfect touch of heat. Luke actually ate this really quickly, and really seemed to like it.

Trader Sam’s – January 7, 2017

Trader Sam’s was a place we were both really looking forward to trying out. I actually did minimal research on the place so I wouldn’t know about the special things that happen when certain drinks are ordered – I wanted to be surprised 🙂

We took a bus from Disney Springs to the Polynesian, and arrived around 3:30. I love the lobby there, that hotel is on my must-stay list for one day in the future!

Trader Sam’s didn’t open until 4pm, but we went to check in around 3:40. We were told there were 28 people ahead of us on the list, and then we were handed a pager. I did research enough to know the capacity of the bar is about 40 people, so I knew we wouldn’t have to wait too long!

We found a seat along the bench in the hallway outside Capt’ Cooks. Luke decided to run to the bathroom, so he completely missed out on the family that sat down beside me and yelled at each other for the next few minutes… They were definitely at the tail end of their vacation, and I’d say they were sick of spending that much time with each other, coupled with a lack of sleep. The kids were fighting with each other, the parents were fighting with each other, the kids and parents were fighting each other. It was really lovely Disney Magic to be a part of (that last sentence was sarcasm in case you couldn’t tell…)

Once 4pm hit, we noticed people walking past us with buzzing pagers, so we knew they had begun letting people in to Trader Sam’s. Around 4:10 we were buzzed, and in we went!

Most of the smaller tables had already been grabbed, so we sat down at a large round table, fully prepared to share. Before long a family came over and asked if they could sit with us, and of course we said yes. There was one couple who were DVC owners, and if I remember correctly they had two of their adult children with them, as well as a teenage grandchild and a few family friends. They were extremely friendly, and we enjoyed chatting with them for the next hour or so.

We had our dinner reservation coming up at ‘Ohana, so we knew we didn’t want to order any food at Trader Sam’s. Let’s be serious here – no one goes to Trader Sam’s for the food, it’s all about the fancy drinks!

I really wanted to try the Nautilus, but it’s huge (recommended for 4 people), and costs $55, so I scaled back and went with the 2 person, $40 Uh-Oa 🙂

This is described on the menu as: Myer’s original dark rum, bacardi superior rum, orange, passion fruit, guava, pineapple and grapefuit juices, falernum, cinnamon and fresh lime juice. It is served in a souvenir glass, and your server will light it on fire at your table. The cinnamon sits in the top of the head of the three little tiki guys, and you can throw it into the flame to make sparks. It’s pretty entertaining! If you want just the drink, the cost is $20, but if you want the glass to take home they will charge you an additional $20 for it. They just mark it on your receipt, and as you’re leaving they will give you a brand new, unused mug securely boxed up.

Luke decided to go for the Dark & Tropical Stormy – Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, fresh lime juice, ginger beer and falernum, $8.50.

This one obviously has a much cheaper price tag, since it is a significantly smaller serving than my Uh-Oh, and it is not served in a souvenir mug. I really loved the broken umbrella to add to the “stormy” name of it. Luke loved this drink, it had a lot of booze and a lot of kick and a really great flavour. He did end up ordering a second one (and says he could have continued drinking them all night if we didn’t have a supper reservation).

Of course with certain drinks, there is a bit of a “show”, and it was so much fun to just be in that little bar enjoying some drinks and taking everything in. I highly recommend making time to go check out Trader Sam’s on every trip!

Tamu Tamu Refreshments – January 2017

If you are like Luke, you just can’t go to Animal Kingdom and NOT get a Dole Whip with Coconut Rum! ($7). We went to Animal Kingdom twice on this trip, so that meant 2 of these!

There’s not a lot to say about this – it’s the same delicious pineapple soft-serve (and I don’t even like pineapple!) with a shot of coconut rum in the bottom. The two flavours mix extremely well, and Luke says this is his favourite of all the Dole Whip options he’s tried.

Karamell-Kuche – January 8, 2017

In the German pavilion at Epcot, you’ll find a store named Karamell-Kuche (German for caramel kitchen), by Werther’s Original.

As soon as you enter, the smell of caramel is amazing. I had to try some of their caramel popcorn ($5.99 for the large bag seen below), it just smelled and looked too amazing to pass on, especially since it’s made with Werther’s Original.

Look at how amazing this looks! And it tasted just as amazing. Seriously, this was some of the best caramel popcorn I’ve ever had. It was crunchy, but still soft at the same time (it’s hard to describe, but the texture was perfect). We also ate this bag over a few days, and it remained delicious and just as awesome as the day we bought it.

I also bought one of their Caramel & Milk Chocolate Squares, $3.99.

I actually didn’t even eat this until we were back in Canada (I bought this on on Sunday, and didn’t eat it until the next Saturday), and it was still really good! The caramel was chewy, but still soft and easy to bite into. Think of those chewy Werther’s candies, but this was ten times better.

I think Karamell-Kuche has easily made it onto our must-do list for every trip! There are so many amazing goodies in there, and I can’t wait to have more of that popcorn!

Travel Adventures, Pets and Everyday Life