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December 18, 2011

December to Remember - The Food

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We had the opportunity to dine at several restaurants during our trip, and try some new restaurants and new dishes.

Of course we started with an established favorite, breakfast at Pizzafari at Animal Kingdom on Thursday morning. I had my favorite breakfast bargain - the oatmeal with apples, brown sugar, and raisins, for just $2.79. They weren't quite as generous with the apples as they were the first time I had this, but it was still good and pretty filling.

December to Remember - The Food

Lee had the Spinach and Goat Cheese Frittata, for $6.99. It came with breakfast potatoes, but was not quite as much food as he wanted, so he went back and got a side order of bacon. (There's a lot more food on the Bounty Platter - eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage, french toast, and biscuit, and it's only $8.29 for all of that.)

December to Remember - The Food

We had lunch that day at Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney - that's another bargain (each sandwich is only $5.99), but the lines are so long...I didn't take any photos, though. I had the All-American, which is turkey and cheddar with cranberry sauce, and Lee had The Original, with roast beef and cheddar. I also had a bowl of the broccoli cheese soup ($2.99), which was really good. I remembered to bring my AAA card, so we got 15% off with that. I wish we had an Earl of Sandwich in San Diego - though it would be really crowded here, too.

On Thursday night we ate at The Wave at the Contemporary, with DebK. We didn't have a reservation, but were seated within 10 minutes after our 6:45 arrival.

Deb and I both had the soup of the day, which was a yellow split pea soup with bacon. It was ok - it had an odd spice in it that we couldn't identify, but that neither of us cared for.

December to Remember - The Food

Lee had the Fall Harvest Salad with apples, candied walnuts, Midnight Moon cheese, and an ice wine vinaigrette. This looked really good and he liked it, but we thought it was a very small serving for $6.99.

December to Remember - The Food

My entree was the Oven-roasted Chicken - with potato waffles and black-eyed peas and rice for $18.99. The chicken was very good. I wasn't sure what to expect from potato waffles, but the taste and texture was pretty much like regular waffles.

December to Remember - The Food

Deb had the "Lacquered" Pork Tenderloin. It was served on a bed of smoked and pulled pork with boniato bread pudding and corn succotash for $22.99.

December to Remember - The Food

Lee went back and forth between the Flat Iron Steak and the Grilled Beef Tenderloin, but decided on the tenderloin. It was served with planet carrots, mashed potatoes, and a poblano chile ring for $29.99. The chile ring wasn't what any of us expected from the description - it was more a deep-fried entire chile than a ring.

December to Remember - The Food

We had good service and it was a very nice relaxed, laid-back dinner.

For lunch on Friday, eight of us from AllEars had lunch (celebrating a birthday!) at the Brown Derby. We had a wonderful time with a good server and one of the managers who made it a special celebration for our birthday girl. Most people had the Cobb Salad for lunch. I actually had two appetizers - first was the fried prawn, served on a bed of polenta and wilted greens. It was very good.

December to Remember - The Food

I also had the Bibb Lettuce Salad, which was a very healthy serving, unlike the one Lee had the night before. It had cherry tomatoes and parmesan cheese with some cracked peppercorns - I enjoyed it, but it's not for someone who doesn't like pepper.

December to Remember - The Food

Lee and a couple of others had the Udon Noodle Bowl with with Wok-fried Coconut Tofu, Soy Beans, Sugar Snap Peas, Bok Choy, and Shiitake Mushrooms in a Red Curry Broth. They said it was very good, though the noodles were doing a good job of eluding the chopsticks. :-)

December to Remember - The Food

On Saturday evening Lee and I had dinner at Sanaa at Kidani Village. We'd had lunch there before, but not dinner. We arrived early enough that it was still daylight outside and we could see a few animals out on the savanna, but soon it got dark. I don't know - maybe if we'd had a window table we still could have seen something, but from where we were we could no longer see outside.

We both tried one of the Wine Flights. I had the East London flight, which included one white blend and two red blends. The white blend was really good - it had viognier, riesling, and sauvignon blanc. Very refreshing and a little sweet. The middle red (Bordeaux blend) was my least favorite - it wasn't bad, I just didn't like it as much. I had actually expected that I wouldn't care for the third wine, the Pepper Pot, but it was very good.

December to Remember - The Food

Lee's flight was three red wines, and he enjoyed all of those as well.

The Sanaa menu is always challenging for us because there's so many things we want to try! We started with the bread service. There are four choices of bread and you're supposed to choose three - I don't know why they don't just give you some of ALL of them. We really enjoyed the fresh naan and the papadum, which is kind of like a crisp tortilla cracker, only it's not made with wheat or corn. It had an unusual flavor but it was very good. We also chose three accompaniments - red chile sambal, mango chutney, and red pepper hummus. It would be very easy to fill up just on the bread!

December to Remember - The Food

We ordered the appetizer sampler, which came with potato and pea samosas, lamb kefta, and roasted cauliflower. I really like samosas, and these were good, and not too spicy. The lamb kefta (spicy lamb meatball) was a little bit hot to my taste. The roasted cauliflower was good - Lee let me have almost all of that. :-)

December to Remember - The Food

Ordering entrees was difficult! I decided to do something from the Tandoor oven part of the menu, and had the Tandoori Lamb with five grain pilaf. It was ok - it was pieces of lamb and some of them were a little bit tough.

December to Remember - The Food

Lee ordered from the "Slow Cooked in Gravy" section, where he was allowed to choose two - he had the Spicy Durban Chicken and the Coconut Curry Lamb, with Basmati rice. They were both excellent - both fork tender and nicely seasoned.

December to Remember - The Food

It was really a good dinner, but we passed on dessert - nothing sufficiently indulgently chocolatey for my taste.

Sunday afternoon we returned to the new Katsura Grill in the Japan pavilion to try a couple of the new menu items.

We were very intrigued by the Okonomiyaki: "savory grilled Japanese pancake with vegetable topped with a tangy sauce". I really wasn't sure what to expect. But it was good - it was somewhat remiscent of a potato pancake (though it wasn't potatoes) topped with a layer of cabbage and then the sauce. We both thought the sauce was a little bit overwhelming, and would have preferred less of it. (But you can scrape it off.)

December to Remember - The Food

We also tried the Curry Chicken Cutlet, which was pieces of breaded fried chicken (Chicken Katsu for those of you who have traveled to Hawaii) topped with curry sauce served over steamed rice. The chicken was very moist and flavorful and the dish was really good and very filling. It was not a spicy curry at all - it had some veggies in it and was very mild.

December to Remember - The Food

Our final meal was breakfast at Kouzzina with our friends Ilene and Paul on Monday. We had a terrific server (also named Laura) and it was a very nice meal. They introduced some new items on the breakfast menu not too long ago. Paul had one of the new items - the French Toast Baklava. This is made with grilled fig and anise bread with honey, walnuts, and cinnamon, and it had cinnamon apples on top. He said it was very good but very rich. It was served with choice of bacon or chicken sausage.

December to Remember - The Food

Lee had one of the other new dishes, the Breakfast Skillet, with eggs, Pequillo peppers, Nueske's bacon, onions, and Greek cheese on Sweet potato hash and topped with arugula. He commented on having salad for breakfast, but I think he ate all of it! :-)

December to Remember - The Food

Ilene and I were more conventional, and had the American Breakfast with two eggs (scrambled), potatoes, and choice of bacon or sausage. It was good, but I suppose there was nothing remarkable about it. :-)

December to Remember - The Food

We bought a new Tables in Wonderland card at the beginning of this trip, and as you can see, we got some use out of it! It hasn't paid for itself yet, though. :-) (For those not familiar with it, it costs $75, but gives you 20% off at most table service restaurants at WDW.)


December 12, 2011

December to Remember - Day 4

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Today was the final day of "December to Remember" events - it has gone so fast!

It was another early morning for us - we got up to attend the Team AllEars® Run/Walk/Wog Yer Buns Off run, which started at 7:00. Team Captains Michelle Scribner MacLean and Mike Scopa and several other members of Team AllEars were there, as well as several other AllEars readers who came out to run with us! Most of us went around Crescent Lake and out to the entrance to the Studios and back - there was one overachiever (cough, Lee, cough) who did it twice.

December to Remember - Day 4

Ray Sharpton, who has been so supportive on the Facebook page, and with his attendance at most, if not all, of the events, was our official starter.

December to Remember - Day 4

Afterwards we enjoyed some well-earned pastries from the Boardwalk Bakery. :-)

This afternoon was the event Deb Koma and I had planned together - the Around the World CHOCOLATE Challenge. We were very fortunate that the rain showers held off until AFTER our event - whew!

December to Remember - Day 4

For those of you who don't know, the idea for this event grew out of something Deb and I and two other chocoholics did back in 2000, where we attempted (in one short afternoon) to eat something chocolate at every pavilion in World Showcase. You can read the article Deb wrote about it - Chocolate Around the World.

We had a special gift for everyone who was there - chocolate, of course, but the kind that melts in your mouth and not in your hand!

December to Remember - Day 4

Thank you to the ~90 of you who attended - we hope you had a good time. Even if it apparently wasn't quite as much of a "challenge" as we had anticipated. You're all just too smart for us!

December to Remember - Day 4

Tonight was the final December to Remember Grand Finale event. There was an Illuminations Dessert Party. Originally we were supposed to be at area in front of Italy, but it was supposed to rain, so we were moved inside to the upper floor of the American Adventure building! That was actually really a nice place to be! From the windows we could see the Candlelight Processional.

December to Remember - Day 4

There was a very nice dessert buffet provided by our sponsors, Orlando Attractions Magazine and MEI Travel / Mouse Fan Travel.

December to Remember - Day 4

The promised rain arrived, and it had been raining just before everyone entered, but fortunately it had stopped by the time we went out to see Illuminations at Italy. The holiday finale of Illuminations is one of my very favorite things, and I really enjoyed seeing it up close.

December to Remember - Day 4

Afterwards it was time for another surprise - we all walked towards the front of the park where we rode Soarin'! Just our group - no other guests.

And then it was time to say goodbye to all our company....It has truly been a December to Remember, with so many wonderful moments. It just went way too fast!


December 11, 2011

December to Remember - Day 3

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Today's big event was the Open House at one of the Grand Villas at Kidani Village. We arrived about 10:15, but other All Ears team members were already there and hard at work.

December to Remember - Day 3

The villa is two stories - there's a nice living room area at the top of the steps on the second floor.

December to Remember - Day 3

Here's the view out the huge picture window from the second floor balcony.

December to Remember - Day 3

We covered a lot of the horizontal surfaces with All Ears swag!

December to Remember - Day 3

In the dining area there were refreshments - here are some of the sweet treats provided by babycakes nyc (and some Mickey krispie treats, too).

December to Remember - Day 3

Fruit, cheese platters, drinks, and other snacks were provided by our sponsor, Orlando Stroller Rentals.

December to Remember - Day 3

Owner Shannon Tanner had a couple of their strollers on display.

December to Remember - Day 3

I think everyone enjoyed themselves - they could chat with All Ears team members, or take a Kidani Village tour with Jack Spence, or a Hidden Mickeys tour with Steve Barrett.

December to Remember - Day 3

There was quite a market in All Ears trading cards upstairs, as well as pin trading downstairs.

December to Remember - Day 3

Every half hour or so there was a raffle for prizes like t-shirts, hats, or bags.

December to Remember - Day 3

Thank you to all of you who came by and joined us - we hope you had a good time!

(For those interested in seeing more photos of the Villa - Jack Spence took a bunch of photos, and those will be making their way to AllEars soon.)



December 9, 2011

December to Remember - Day 2

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Today (Friday) started really early - we had to be at the entrance to the Studios by 6:30 for the Toy Story Maniac Eat and Play Meet. What a fantastic event! A huge thank you to our sponsor, All Star Vacation Homes. I so wish that we had not had to limit it so much so that more of you could have shared it with us, but the very nature of the event meant that it had to be small.

Sarge from Toy Story met us outside the turnstiles and marched us all up Hollywood Blvd do the Sorcerer's Hat, where we took a group photo (only our two official photographers were allowed photos because the park was not yet open, so I don't have any photos of that).

We went back to the Prop Shop for a buffet breakfast. Just being in the Prop Shop was a treat - there were so many interesting things from all sorts of Disney movies displayed on shelves around the room and overhead.

December to Remember - Day 2

We had a really nice breakfast - fresh fruit and pastries, hash browns, two kinds of "family omelet" skillets, turkey sausage, and bacon.

December to Remember - Day 2

Deb spoke to us briefly, as did Steve and Sarah from All Star Vacation Homes.

December to Remember - Day 2

Then Sarge came back. He posed for pictures with everyone, made some people do push-ups, sit-ups, or jumping jacks, and was really a hoot. "Sir, yes, sir!"

December to Remember - Day 2

At the end he demonstrated some of his best "Green Army Man" poses - this one was my favorite.

December to Remember - Day 2

At about 8:45 we walked over to Toy Story Mania and right onto the ride! Great fun riding it with so many friends.

The park had just opened as we exited the ride - and it was really amazing watching all the people come down the street and descend upon the ride entrance and the fastpass machines. The line stretched waaaay back past Little Mermaid. Wow.

It was a great morning - another moment to remember from this December to Remember.

But it didn't end there! Tonight we were back in the Studios for Sweet Bites and Street Lights. We started with a dessert buffet in the Animation Building, where we were joined by a very dapper Mickey and a very glamorous Minnie!

December to Remember - Day 2

And after the park had been cleared of guests we went back to the Streets of America, where Deb Wills flipped the switch to turn on the Osborne Lights!

December to Remember - Day 2

They are just so beautiful, and we had the streets to ourselves.

December to Remember - Day 2

The lights danced to several songs, but all too soon it was time to say goodbye.

December to Remember - Day 2

Another fabulous event - thank you to our wonderful Mouse Fan Travel sponsors!

December to Remember - Day 2

What a terrific day it was!


December 8, 2011

December to Remember - Day 0

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Lee and I are back at WDW for the All Ears December to Remember events. 15 years - congratulations Deb Wills and Deb Koma and all of my other fellow All Ears team mates! And thank you to YOU, all of our readers - All Ears wouldn't be what it is without you!

I'm not planning to do my usual descriptive blog about this trip, but will share a few photos as I have the time.

The new Katsura Grill opened at Epcot today, in the former Yakitori House restaurant. Lee and I had dinner there. The menu has most (if not all) of the items from Yakitori House - teriyaki chicken bowls, beef curry, and noodles, but also has some new items, like the Okonomiyaki, which is a Japanese pancake, a chicken katsu sandwich, and the Tsukemen Salad, a cold ramen noodle salad. Unfortunately, we didn't try any of those - it was a very chilly evening at Epcot (cold front going through, and very breezy), so we had the Udon Noodles - with tempura shrimp for me and with beef for Lee. Both really good. My only complaint is that the bowls they use do not insulate well at all, and my soup cooled off much faster than I would have liked on a chilly evening.

December to Remember - Day 0
December to Remember - Day 0

Katsura Grill Menu

They didn't make the restaurant any larger, but they moved the ordering counter back and added a queue and another register or two so it's not quite as chaotic and crowded inside. They also lightened the color of the decor inside so it seems larger.

December to Remember - Day 0

I'm sure you'll be reading a much more detailed review from Jack Spence soon - we talked to a manger who saw Lee's AllEars hat and said that he had talked to Jack earlier today. :-)

Something I had NOT heard about at all - there's a new sake bar/drink stand - it's on the same side of Japan as the Katsura Grill, approximately across from the steps leading up to Tokyo Dining. (It used to be a merchandise cart). They offer several kinds of sake, sake cocktails, frozen sake beverages, beer, a seasonal smoothie, green tea, and soft drinks. I don't know the name, though. It was chilly so we didn't try anything, but I want to return to try one of the sake cocktails - or even the Amasake frozen beverage if it warms up enough.

December to Remember - Day 0

We treated ourselves to a Pumpkin Spice Funnel Cake from the stand next to the American Adventure. It was really good!

December to Remember - Day 0

I thought these projected snowflakes were really pretty.

December to Remember - Day 0

From our balcony at the Boardwalk we could see the Illuminations fireworks - this is part of the holiday finale. While I love seeing it up close, I think it looks a little better from a distance.

December to Remember - Day 0



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About December to Remember

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in the December to Remember category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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