I'm Back!!!
  Re: (...)
Well, back from Florida and checking in, at least. We had a lovely time escaping the course and grandchildren (shshsh, pretend I didn't say that out loud!) Had 3 days of beautiful weather before it turned wet and cold, so I was greatful for that.

Chelsea and I kind of ate our way through the vacation - imagine that! We lucked out one night and got seated at the bar at Morimoto's in Disney Springs, had pho and pad thai. And mentally apologized to all of you for not taking pictures before we ate anything, but I would not have know how to post them anyway and they would never have looked as good as Jean's or Blane's, so we sinned against the first commandment of the forums and just dug in and ate. The dishes were good, but frankly I think the pho we had at some little strip mall place in Fresno was better.

We also ate pizza at Wolfgang Pucks, which really bummed me out cause it wasn't cooked. The sauce was barely warm and the dough underneath the sauces was still raw. And personal complaint here, I have this thing about ingredients being distributed somewhat evenly, so it annoys me that the tablespoon of chiffonaded basil is all on one piece of pizza. Chelsea's carmelized onions all landed on one piece of hers as well. Not a successful lunch. When Chelsea mentioned it to the lady, her response is that sometimes that happens first thing in the morning because the ovens aren't warmed up to temp yet. It was noon - and frankly, I could suggest a solution to that problem.

We also had a dinner at Brown Derby - probably the best meal I have ever eaten in a restaurant. I had carpaccio, a filet with truffled mashed potatoes, Chelsea had crab cakes and a halibut/lobster entrée. We share all of it and enjoyed every bite except for the child that kept throwing a screaming hissy fit in the aisle alongside my chair, twice. I will never understand bringing a family to this type of restaurant after a long and fatiguing day and expecting the children to be able to conduct themselves appropriately. I have nothing against families dining there, the children at the next table behaved beautifully, but I think it is too much to expect that for the length of time that the meal required. (I'll get off the soapbox now)

And finally we ate at Emerils in Universal. Had lunch there and ate shrimp and grits and a shrimp po'boy. Both very tasty.

We found surprisingly good food throughout Disney. I realize how difficult it is to prepare for masses and still maintain quality, but the mouse has his act together, we were both pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food and the "not the ordinary" burger and fry offerings. We ate really well.

And we walked, and walked. From Monday to Sunday we logged in over 70 miles before her fit bit ran out of the charge. My feet hurt, and I am in pretty good shape, but certainly was not prepared for that!

But aside from spending a great week laughing with Chelsea, it was also a great mental break. I didn't realized until I got back, that I kind of am looking forward to jumping back into the season. I guest a vacation does everyone good.
  Re: I'm Back!!! by iBcookin (Well, back from Flor...)
Linda, thanks for checking in! So good to hear from you and loved hearing all about your vacation. It sounds like you had a wonderful time and ate really well, too. If you find the time, you might consider putting restaurant reviews on trip advisor. They don't have to be long and they sure are helpful when they are recent. There is a lot of turnover in restaurants, so I prefer more recent reviews.

"Drink your tea slowly and reverently..."
  Re: Re: I'm Back!!! by Mare749 (Linda, thanks for ch...)
Welcome back and I'm so glad you had a great time.

What you said brings up the quandary we have traveling. After so many uneventful dishes at "places you must stop" we now head for off the beaten path and search for hole in the wall places.

BUT, then we take the chance of missing an experience like yours at The Brown Derby! On the long trip we hit 2 'famous owner' places and not impressed, but asking local cooks and hitting the little dives we batted a l,000. So...the quandary continues.

Now that your batteries are fully recharged, - give 'em hell!!
Retired and having fun writing cookbooks, tasting wine and sharing recipes with all my friends.
  Re: Re: I'm Back!!! by cjs (Welcome back and I'm...)
Linda, welcome home-- your vacation sounded great. Except for the pizza, you seem to have lucked out there, too. I had to laugh when I read the comment by the person at Wolfgang Puck's. Really? They cook in ovens that aren't up to temps? I was surprised by a similar response at a local restaurant a few years ago when I asked why the soup (ordered just after the restaurant opened) was only lukewarm. The kitchen staff probably had just arrived...
  Re: Re: I'm Back!!! by foodfiend (Linda, welcome home-...)
Welcome home, Linda!! It sounds like a fabulous vacation and I love your commentary about the restaurants you visited.

Jean, when we travel, we rely heavily on Yelp, and cross-check with TripAdvisor. We're less concerned with the chef than the review, because outside of Kevin Rathbun Steak in Atlanta, I've rarely seen the chef in the restaurant. That approach has been pretty darn successful for us.

I'm with Vicci...what's with the pizza ovens not being hot enough??
  Re: Re: I'm Back!!! by karyn (Welcome home, Linda!...)
Linda your vacation sounds fantastic! And I'm not surprised about your experience at the park. I once saw an inside look at the kitchens and underground network that supplies the restaurants. It was fascinating. I've heard you can purchase a tour of the whole network behind the scenes. That is one of my bucket list trips. And after hearing about your experiences at some of the big name restaurants, I'm guessing that tour would be money spent well over the big name dining!

Welcome Home! Now you should be ready to hit the ground running!
Keep your mind wide open.
  Re: I'm Back!!! by iBcookin (Well, back from Flor...)
Welcome back Linda! It's good to see you and your trip sounds amazing - other than the pizza. We have a friend who spends more time in Disney World and Disney Land than anyone I know . . . but she never mentions the food.

Hopefully you're all recharged and ready for the golf season!
You only live once . . . but if you do it right once should be enough!
  Re: Re: I'm Back!!! by Harborwitch (Welcome back Linda! ...)
We went with the Deluxe Dining Plan that included three meals a day plus 2 snacks, each. The description suggested the snacks could be redeemed for a bottle of water or pop, but we went to town with the process and got warm pretzels, frozen lemonades, a caramel apple from Werthers in Germany, a bunch of things. Now the meals at Morimotos and Brown Derby counted as two meals rather than one, but so worth it! I would have put that meal at Brown Derby easily at $200+ for what we ate. Because it was just the two of us, we were pretty flexible and sometimes ate lunch late so we hadn't used all of our meal allotments (that is a lot of food for me!). Frankly, we got more than our moneys worth with that plan.

We had the conversation before walking into Wolfgang Pucks, wondering if the big name chef ever just shows up and surprises the franchise. I am thinking he would have had issues with that excuse. I am not the biggest pizza fan in the world so I was kind of looking forward to trying out what put modern pizza on the map, but it hasn't done anything to further my love of the dish.

One of the things that we really wanted to do was the behind the scenes tour. Kind of Disney from a big person's perspective, but all of the slots were filled and they only do it a couple of days a week. So we were kind of bummed.

Just the experience was worth it - I come into a restaurant looking at different things and what struck me at Brown Derby was that the service staff was probably 90% middle aged men - our server had been there 18 years, waited tables 33 years. He was fabulous and made the experience unforgettable. Emeril's staff was also all male, although younger and had the "front waiter/back waiter" setup. Really interesting and so different from around here.
  Re: Re: I'm Back!!! by iBcookin (We went with the Del...)
WOW! Love the meal plan idea. Sounds like it was worth it! Bummer about the behind the scenes tour, though.
Keep your mind wide open.

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