Tag Archives: German

Walt Disney World Dining, Part I

30 Jun

Hubs and I made our way to Walt Disney World this past May with two of our closest friends.  I’m a huge fan of The Mouse and his World, so getting their once a year is on the schedule.  And while we are there, eating all the great food is a priority as well.  We tried a few new things while we are there and a few favorites – thought I’d share the experience with all of you.

Epcot

Germany’s Biergarten – a buffet of meat and pretzels and then some.  You can begin with the salad buffet, which doesn’t just include your basic salad building ingredients, but also pate and pretzel croutons.  Creamy macaroni salads and beet salad, there is a variety for any tastebud.  The main courses include a variety of sausage (all spiced accordingly that I find to be decent for a buffet in this type of atmosphere), schnitzel with brown gravy, salmon with dill and lemon slices, meatballs (these may be one of my faves on the buffet, tender and well seasoned), spaetzle (with or without cheese!) and pork tenderloin with 7 different options of chutney or mustards to choose from as a topping (I selected spicy mustard, cinnamon applesauce and apricot chutney).  The best part of it all – the desserts: apple strudel (all delicious with cinnamon love and a whipped topping), bread pudding, German chocolate cake, German cheesecake and so much more.  Pending on how much you want to stuff in your stomach, the price can be good or pricey (approximately $28 for lunch and around $35 for dinner).  But if you love German food like hubs and I, you may want to give it a go.  The ambiance is similar to a beer garden, with entertainment and German servers.  One thing to not miss, grabbing a pretzel and beer from the vendor outside of the restaurant – always a good bet.

United Kingdom’s Rose & Crown Pub – the menu is full of traditional English fare – from bangers & mash, corned beef sandwich and sheppard’s pie, there are many options to satisfy your taste buds.  Not to mention the full bar available to quench your thirst.  This is a popular establishment, so make reservations early if you can.  Or, do what we did, and grab fish and chips from the vendor outside.  It is all they sell, but it is the most popular item they sell so it is self explanatory.  Crisp and perfectly fried, it is always a great entree that is a go to for me in Epcot.

Magic Kingdom

Tortuga Tavern – right outside of the Pirates of the Carribean ride, there is a quick-service restaurant for burritos and tacos.  The thing I like about this place is the toppings bar – it makes the casual food customizable.  Surprisingly, the tortilla is quite big and stuffed black beans, rice and chicken.  Then you top it with tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, salsa and whatever you would like.  A quick bite that is satisfying, but I’m not going to compare this to other Mexican burritos.  It is overpriced for quality, but I expected this to be ‘park food,’ and I got exactly what I thought I would get.  But, it was a good first try and change from the frozen hamburgers or hot dogs offered at other quick-service restaurants.

Hollywood Studios

Sci-Fi Dine In Theatre – I have to admit, I really like this place because of the atmosphere.  It is set like you are at an outdoor movie theatre, sitting in ‘cars’ while watching ‘B’ rated science fiction, complete with servers on skates.  The food can be hit or miss though.  This time around, hubs and I shared an order of onion rings, perfectly salty and crisp.  Hubs ordered the corned beef sandwich which was a very large portion.  A lot of corned beef with good flavor, served with creamy thousand island dressing on rye bread.  I don’t normally enjoy rye bread, but it was good and I wished that I had ordered his (maybe next time).  I ordered the steak salad – was surprised to see it as a wedge (maybe I didn’t read the description clearly) and to see that my steak was actually cooked to what I ordered.  The steak was served warm and had apparent grill marks (which you may be able to see in the photo), though I’m not quite sure it was ‘grilled’.  It was satisfying, but of course, I’ve had better steak salads.

50’s Prime Time Cafe – though I haven’t eaten at all the restaurants in Hollywood Studios, this is my favorite.  Why?  Fried chicken.  I don’t know why, bu I just love the fried chicken.  So much, I have a hard time ordering anything else on the menu.  It is always crisp and perfectly fried, extremely tender and juicy on the inside just like it should be.  Plus, you get a ton of chicken – a breast, thigh, wing and drumstick.  I enjoy the green beans more than the collard greens, so I always swap them out as an accompaniment to the mashed potatoes and gravy.

Animal Kingdom

Yak & Yeti – a perfect place to cool down as the AK seems to be the hottest park to me.  We were looking for something not too filling so we opted for something to share.  We settled on a few appetizers including fried rice, egg rolls and the dim sum for two.  Hubs could NOT stop raving about how much he loved it all and I do have to agree.  The fried rice was great, buttery but not enough to linger on your tongue to make it overwhelming.  Egg rolls were crisp on the outside and filled with a pork and veggie filling – I loved that it wasn’t heavy with grease.  The dim sum for two appetizer was really good – lots of options that left hubs and I wanting more.  It included pork pot stickers, Cha Su Bao (barbecued pork buns), Shrimp Siu Mai and Pork Siu Mai.  These were all steamed on a banana leaf and served with a soy lime dipping sauce.  The potstickers were great, as were the shrimp siu mai and pork siu mai – we thought it was mean to provide three of each item because it left us bargaining for the last piece.  Our least favorite was the pork buns, but they were still very good.

This is a quite delayed post due to work and all that jazz, but things are calming down.  I have a few extra’s from the trip as well – to be posted soon!  Thanks for bearing with me and continuing on the nom nom journey!

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Big Bar (Chicago)

12 Apr

I was out of town this past week for work.    I enjoy traveling for work because that means new places to find some good food.  Spending time in downtown Chicago, I found myself staying at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.   The woman I was dining with suggested we grab some small plates and drinks at one of their dining establishments, big bar.

With the not so original name, I had been informed the obvious – that it was a big bar and a place to be ‘seen’ by convention attendees who hold their conferences there (by day, I’m a meeting/event planner).  However, I did not know that it was (from what I was told of course) the longest bar in the United States.  I thought I had been to longer, but I learned that this is the longest bar without interruptions.  So, those parts in bars that bartenders lift up to get through quickly don’t exist.  Just some interesting information – I was more looking towards what small plates I could get my hands on.  And as my colleague had noshed here before, I left it up to her to order.  Two staple menu items (Bavarian pretzel and the colossal shrimp cocktail) and two Big Tastes from their specialty menu (pork sliders and shrimp dip) were ordered and delivered.  My stomach growled as I sipped a martini and prepared for the bites.

We began with a classic pretzel, served with both dijon mustard and a spicy mustard.  It was, sadly, your basic pretzel.  However, the knotted areas were soft and doughy, perfect to nosh on with the mustard.  Normally, I would have never had a spicy mustard mixed with dijon, but since they were served in the same bowl, I thought ‘why not?’ and happily mixed them to my delight.  Without wanting to get too full, I made my way to the large shrimp cocktail.

The glass used to serve the shrimp is also used to serve, you guessed it, big drinks.  But this time, we got a big serving of cocktail sauce.  Though the cocktail sauce was mild with a strong ketchup flavor, the thing I really loved about it was the heaping mountain of horseradish on top.  This allowed me to mix in as much as I wanted to tailor my spicy level.  I’ve got to say, I love St. Elmo’s spicy, but it was nice to tone it down a bit this way.  The shrimp were firm and well cooked, cooled to perfection with a good consistent bite to the skin.  They were also served with breadsticks, but I passed over the crisp from a box carb.

Next up – shrimp dip served with crisp crostini’s.  The warm dip was pretty good – finely chopped shrimp though which I guess does make it easier to scoop up.  Some basic seafood seasoning (think Old Bay) was the majority flavor component.  It was mildly cheesy, and I was more interested in trying something else – which is what I did.  The pulled pork sliders were fantastic.  Subtly smokey, messy with sauce, they had a great flavor component that was soaked up by the bun.  But, the bun never got soggy – it wasn’t your classic “hamburger bun” but had more consistency to it which I enjoyed.  I’d recommend a slider (they had four different kinds) in a heartbeat.

The service was standard, nothing too great.  But since we were doing business, she left us alone to our conversation, drinks and food.  I love snacking and small plate offerings at a bar are my kind of thing.  If you get the chance to experience it, get one of the big drinks.  I heard they parade it through the place and make an spectacle (or example – however you choose to look at it) out of the person who orders it.

big bar (located in the Hyatt Regency Chicago) * 151 E. Wacker Drive * Chicago, IL * 312.565.1234