28 June 2012

surprisingly magical dining

earlier this month, bob & i were down in south florida for a family vacation.
the drive from sfl to clt is not a short one and a stop over is a requirement for such a trip.
somehow, i convinced him that a few days in the happiest place on earth might be fun.

it was fun...
and tasty!

when i was a kid, my family spent some time living in florida.
one of the perks of being a child in that state is that we used to visit disney world
on a pretty regular basis... the school even took us there for field trips!

i don't remember the food as anything stellar.
i can recall a lot of tomorrowland cafeteria-like lunches
consisting of weird pizza, standard hotdogs, and french fries that had clearly been frozen.
it was a different time then though and food was definitely different as well.
plus, i am sure that when feeding a family of five at disney prices,
gourmet meals were not on the top of my parents' list of priorities!

this month's adult trip to the disney theme parks was really quite
a different experience for me and mostly because of the food!

first, did you know that the magic kingdom is a dry principality?!
this isn't a huge deal...
we can go a day without a cocktail,
but some mornings really just beg for a bloody mary
and you have to leave the mk city limits to get one.
we took a lovely monorail ride out of the park to the polynesian resort for lunch.
after a quick glance at the menu, we chose the kona cafe.
i got a bloody mary to go with my bbq pork tacos (a great combo)... 
this was when i realized that we had the potential for a delicious weekend ahead of us!
they were so surprisingly good and bob's noodle bowl was just as yummy!

sweet pork tacos served with
smokey bacon slaw & hawaiian style mac salad
image by sarah c baron

noodle bowl with chicken & fresh veg
image by sarah c baron

later that night, after a nap and a shower,
we went to the restaurant in the dolphin hotel where we were staying.
there are a few celebrity chef places at disney and this one belongs to todd english...
blue zoo is very blue and seemingly underwater themed.
the menu had lots of seafood options.

i had come down with a sore throat, so food wasn't exactly what i was craving.
i went with an appetizer that would go down easily... and man did it!
i ordered the tuna tartar and it was spectacular!
the gorgeous fish was served with
a cool lime crema, freeze dried shriracha sauce and gelatinized miso pearls.
i savored each bite as long as i could and even managed to share a few with bob.
he ordered the filet which was served over creamy polenta
with a side of short ribs... i love meat with a side of meat!
i don't like short ribs, but these were phenomenal!
i probably ate more than my fair share (thanks, bobby).

dessert was a splurge, but who can pass up lemon meringue filled
with lemon custard and lemon ice cream and a glass of sparking pinot noir on the side?
not us!

melt in your mouth tuna tartar...
my favorite raw fish
image by sarah c baron

yup... meat with a side of meat!
filet served with short ribs over polenta
image by sarah c baron

lemony delight
image by sarah c baron

the next day we went to epcot center, which we had been looking forward to.
epcot is not a dry theme park...
this might explain why the world showcase doesn't open until eleven am 
and the whole park closes at nine pm! lushes!

after a morning riding through future world, we decided to head south for lunch.
we picked up a cider and a guinness in england outside the rose & crown pub for our walk.
we got distracted in the beautiful shops of france 
and morocco is lovely this time of year.
by the time we got japan, we were starving! it is a long trip, after all!

lunch at the hibachi style teppan edo is always fun because you get to freak out strangers!
i have a shellfish allergy, so they cooked my meal in the back kitchen,
(every disney restaurant was diligent about food allergy safety!)
but bob's steak and noodles were prepared with a show, right in front of us.
again, i was pleasantly surprised by the tasty, far from ordinary meal.

fun with food & strangers
image by sarah c baron

hibachi style chicken, noodles & veg
image by sarah c baron
after lunch, we slightly satisfied our real wanderlust
by sampling snacks and beverages from almost every country...
although i don't recall much about china!

prosecco in italy,
churros in mexico,
bier in germany,
tabouli in morocco &
molson in canada!

we settled on european for dinner and managed to get a table, sans reservation,
at bistro de paris in france.
although dinner was definitely good, i don't really remember what we ate.
between the view of the lake, fireworks and the bottle of champagne,
there was a whole lot going on!

overall, we had a fantastic time and,
much to my surprise, really enjoyed eating in the disney resorts!
it was, well...

fabulous fireworks at the magic kingdom
image by sarah c baron

26 June 2012

if you like chicken...

well, gang...

i am back!!
and i have plenty of new food photographs
and yummy recommendations for your eating pleasure.

we are taking a step back in time just a few weeks...
before we relocated to charlotte,
we spent a few weeks in a "lovely" & tiny extended stay hotel.
on the weekends, we sent the pup to doggy daycare
for some much needed exercise
and we would go on little day trips to escape the cramped living quarters.

charlottesville is just a short drive from richmond, va.
it is a quick trip out I64 through some of the prettiest scenery...
farms, hills, wineries!!

i can highly recommend a stop at the beautiful keswick vineyards.
they have great wines, a wine club,
fantastic outdoor seating with views of the vineyards, and...
their tasting room opens at nine in the morning!
a glass of their wine on the patio is a wonderful way to begin the day!

keswick vineyards front yard view
image by sarah c baron

because we are members of the connoisseur's club,
we always stop in to the jefferson vineyards when we are in the area.
the tasting room is set on the top of a hill with a yard
filled with adirondack chairs to sit in, sip wine and look out over
thomas jefferson's old stomping grounds...
that man sure knew how to pick a spot!
the wine is tasty and they serve their pours in riedel glasses...
that you get to keep!

an outdoor area overlooking monticello
image by sarah c baron

bob enjoying the morning, wine and view
image by sarah c baron

pinot gris for breakfast
image by sarah c baron

despite all of the delicious wine,
my favorite part of any trip to the monticello trail
is eating lunch at the michie tavern.
it is a touristy little historic village type place.
they serve lunch buffet style with servers in period costumes
that come to your table to refill your plates as you wish.
the menu is limited, but what they do, they do well...
and they do fried chicken!!!
the fried chicken at miche tavern is the stuff of dreams.
it is crispy, juicy and unbelievably tasty!
you will wait in line in the heat or the cold outside
and tall folks will need to duck under low doorways,
but the chicken makes it all worth it!

seriously... go eat this chicken!
image by sarah c baron