Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Dinner at Victoria & Albert's in Walt Disney World

Just last week we had a family vacation at the most magical place on earth - Walt Disney World! 

And just to make things even more wonderful, we spend an evening in Queen Victoria's Room in the Victoria & Albert's restaurant in the Grand Floridian hotel.  In fact, we were halfway through our 4+ hour dining experience exactly one week ago!

The Queen Victoria's Room is a small room set off from the main dining room - there are only 4 tables in it and you get a 10 course meal.  We also selected the suggested wine pairings because if you are going to go, you might as well go big!

Our 2 servers for the evening, Rado and Amy were just fantastic.  This dinner is a foodie paradise.  It's small portions of amazing foods paired with outstanding wines.  I was on cloud 9!!!

For those of you interested, I've got a list of our course below, along with photographs. 

Course 1 was the Amuse-Bouche.

It's a Maine Lobster "Jar" with Siberian Osetra Caviar.  This was my first time with this type of caviar - and I loved it!  It was paired with champagne of course!  Piper Heidsieck Cuvee 1785 NV Brut.

Then they brought us little personal baguettes.  The good news was that my gluten-free sister was fully accomodated - she had her own gluten-free breads brought to her as well!  In fact, let me take a moment to state how FANTASTIC Walt Disney World in general was in accomodating her gluten allergy, all the way down to fast food restaurants.  They are truly the gold standard in restaurants dealing with allergies.  Kudos to them.  I will talk them up to anyone who will listen!

Course 2 was Octopus "A La Plancha" with Black Garlic Aioli.  It was paired with a delicious Spanish wine: Granbazan "Etiqueta Ambar" Albarino, Rias Baixas 2011.  I'm not a big white wine person but I would sit and drink this down all by itself!  I'm also not a big octopus person but I had no troubles eating this.  The red triangle was paprika, the line at the top was balsamic vinegar, mustard down at the bottom - the flavors were just wonderful with the wine.

Course 3 was a big production number!  4 waiters swooped in, each with this little covered dish.  They set one down in front of each of us and....

 Voila!!  It was Applewood smoke inside that wafted around the table!  The dish is Hot "Smoked" Niman Ranch Lamb with Fuji Apple and Curry Dressing.  They paired it with a German Riesling - Reichgraf von Kesselstatt, Piesporter Goldtropfchen Kabinett Riesling, Mosel 2011.  Again, this is why I love going to restaurants like this - this Riesling was outstanding - on the dry end of Rieslings and just amazing with the apple-y lamb.  The curry in the lamb was just right - not too hot, just flavorful.

Course 4 was a Fennel Pollen Crusted Diver Scallop in a Salt Bowl.  It was paired with "Old Vines" Ernesto Wickendon Vineyard Chenin Blanc, Santa Maria Valley 2011.  Again, just fantastic.  We were exclaiming over the fennel with the scallop.

Course 5 was our "breakfast" course as our server Amy called it.  :-)  It was Poached Chicken Egg and Sausage, paired with our first (and outstanding) red of the evening: Hartford Court Land's Edge Vineyards Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 2010.

It's been a while since bread, so they brought us more!  I wish I could tell you what kind of bread it is, but it's now been 5 glasses of wine/champagne and you are all lucky I was still able to work the camera.  I can tell you that the butter for this bread was white truffel butter - they had a huge, like foot-high mold of it that they shaved pieces off of for us.  They then gave us little bits of white truffel to put on the bread as well.

Course 6!  It was Colorado Bison with Caraway Seed Vinaigrette, paired with a fantastic Spanish red, Palacios Remondo Propiedad, Rioja 2008.  Again, it was a flavor that normally I don't enjoy (Caraway) that here I fully and completely enjoyed!  Yay for Chef Scott Hunnel!!!!

Onto Course 7!  Australian Kobe-Style Beef Tenderloin with Tamarind Jus.  It was paired with Chateau Lassegue Bordeaux Blend, Saint-Emilion 2004.  Delicious!!!!

Our last bread course!  Some sort of crusty wonderfulness.  :-)

Once my sister moved her arm OUT OF THE WAY...

I was able to get a photo of the Course 8's Cheese Trolley!

Again, I'm on 7 glasses of wine at this point, so my memory is a bit murky - for cheese they gave us some sort of tripe creme (on the left), something soft and gooey with olive oil (in the middle), and real honeycombs.

The rest of the cheese sampling was a smoked gouda, a parmesan and a bleu - accompanied by almonds, fruit gelee and sugared walnuts.  It was paired with our last wine - a smooth port: Quinta do Crasto Late Bottled Vintage Porto 2007.

Thank goodness coffee made an appearance at this point, even though all we had to do was stumble upstairs to our rooms, it was nice to have.  :-)  And magical!  These contraptions are amazing!

And onto our first dessert course and overall Course 9!  Apple Quark Panna Cotta!  Even the sugar (colored green on the left) tasted like apple!

Last course - second dessert course and overall Course 10 - Peruvian Chocolate Timbale with Roasted White Chocolate Gelato.  I actually wasn't able to finish it - I finally hit my wall!  But it was outstanding!

Then, just to be mean, they brought out Friandises - but they were kind enough to box them up and send them with us.  :-)

Yes, it's expensive, but if you are any kind of foodie into trying unusual pairings of flavors then I earnestly recomend this - it's a splurge but so well worth it!  We talk about it for years afterwards!!! 

Chef Hunnel even came out and said hello to us while we gushed all over him.  :-)  It was a super magical evening during a super magical week at Walt Disney World.  Oh and our reservation was at 5:30pm and we walked out of there at 9:50 that evening!  A leisurely and enjoyable meal!!

Finally, a scan of the souvenir menu they gave each of us.  Thank goodness for that - it's the only reason I have any clue what some of the later courses are!!!

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Limerick for the United States Post Office

The United States Post Office has inspired me to create this limerick in their honor:

 I ordered some eyeliner online
They wrapped it and packed it up fine

The Post Office dropped it
They punched it and popped it

It must be they think I am blind!

True Story!  :-)