Le Cellier Review

Le Cellier is a signature dining restaurant located at the Canada Pavilion at EPCOT. After reading about how awesome this place is, I was so happy to get a reservation for a late lunch on a Sunday afternoon. Please note that this review is for a meal we had all the way back in November 2014 so some items we had are not on the current menu right now.

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We arrived about a half an hour early so we decided to check-in and take some pictures outside.

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I thought the grounds are very peaceful and calming and I loved all the colors of the flowers that decorated the area. Compared to the other pavilions in the World Showcase, I found this to be a nice spot to hide from the crowds.

After a few minutes we were shown our table.

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The first thing that was brought to our table was their famous pretzel bread and a couple of other rolls. The pretzel bread was a amazing! It wasn’t overly salted and had a great texture. It was filling but not in the way that weighed you down.

But what could really weigh you down?

Maybe pairing it with the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup!

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I can’t remember if it was Denielle or Sarah who ordered this but it was also really good. I personally never order cheese soup because of the heaviness of it but I thought this had a really good consistency to it. It was thinner than your typical cheddar cheese soup probably due to the beer that is in it. It was a little bitter but creamy and a little salty with the bacon bits on top which makes for fantastic flavor combinations. I’m so glad my friends aren’t stingy so we all got to have a little bit of the soup. The best thing to do is to ask for more pretzel bread and dip it into the soup.

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The other appetizer we had was the seared scallops. The scallops were perfectly cooked. They were tender and perfectly seasoned. I wish we had three so each one of us could have had a whole piece. If I do remember correctly, the scallops were served on top of mashed potatoes but I honestly can’t remember since it was so long ago.

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Denielle and I each had the filet mignon which is probably the most popular dish on the menu and a Le Cellier classic. The filet was served on top of a bed of mushroom risotto. This was simply a home run for Le Cellier. The filet was fork tender and just melts in your mouth. This is definitely a dish to take your time eating so you can savor every bite. What makes this even better is that mushroom risotto is my favorite kind of risotto. Oh yeah, did I mention that they also serve this with some truffle-butter sauce? As if this dish was decadent enough the truffle-butter really adds even more richness to the steak and risotto. This was definitely one of the stand out meals of the trip.

After our waitress cleared our table we had to regretfully decline on dessert because we still had to visit other pavilions.

Out of all the meals we had during our November 2014 trip to Disney World, I would rank this as my second best meal. I would definitely love to come back for the pretzel bread and filet mignon again.

Have you eaten at Le Cellier before? I’d love to know what you think!

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Hollywood Brown Derby

Our next big meal after the Flying Fish Cafe was at Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for lunch. It was actually one of my favorite meals the whole trip.

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Each day’s itinerary pretty much revolved around all of the restaurants I wanted to eat at. I did all my research and made sure I had reservations. That day our lunch reservation was at 1:30PM so we were quite hungry since we’ve been at the park since 8:00AM. I was lucky enough to take part of the first show of the American Idol Experience attraction so this was a nice way to relax during the day. We checked in early and asked if they could seat us before our reservation and they did.

IMG_4585We were given a basket of warm dinner rolls and this really nice whipped butter. The butter was at room temperature and was light and airy. I also thought it was one of the coolest presentation of butter I’ve seen at a restaurant.

IMG_4586To start we ordered the blue crab spring rolls. I liked the mild aioli that came on the side of it. The crab was sweet, but I preferred the crab cakes at Flying Fish Cafe more. I do really like how a claw is served with the spring rolls.

IMG_4592My mom ordered the burger off of the lunch menu. They actually gave us both the lunch and dinner menus telling us we could order anything on either menu. I forgot what they called it but it was huge. It was a wagyu beef patty with bacon and an egg. I personally don’t eat eggs in egg form so I tried a piece of the beef that had no egg on it. It was really good. I ended up eating a quarter of it because it was way too big for my mom to eat.

IMG_4591I had the rack of lamb and I really enjoyed it. My lamb was cooked medium rare and it was very meaty, juicy, and tender. I loved how it wasn’t a piece that was full of fat. It was served on a bed of bleu cheese polenta and some arugula. The blue cheese polenta really has a kick and actually went really well with the spices on the lamb.

IMG_4596To end we had the berry cobbler which was a nice finish. It included strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. It was  served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The crumble on top was buttery, but I would have liked to have more just to soak up all the berry juice.

Overall, I really enjoyed Hollywood Brown Derby. It was a nice relaxing meal without the rudeness of the “family from Hell” in my previous review. The service was good but not fantastic. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the restaurant though. It might be a little hard to see from the picture of the dining room, but the walls are filled with framed caricatures of celebrities which have all been autographed. It’s fun just checking out the ones in your area and guessing who each celebrity is while your wait for your food.

On a side note, it was totally cool when some diners recognized me as I was leaving the restaurant from the American Idol Experience and complimented my performance. I’m glad someone thought it was memorable. ūüôā

My score:

Food: 4.5 / 5

Service: 3.5 / 5

Atmosphere: 5 / 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Flying Fish Cafe

I had just come back from my trip to Walt Disney World and decided I needed to get back into blogging. Since I spent so much time and money eating, I should really get back into reviewing restaurants and sharing my adventures with you. First up is the Flying Fish Cafe located on the Boardwalk.

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From what I’ve read on other blogs and on TripAdvisor, Flying Fish Cafe was one of the best restaurants on property so I may have over-hyped myself. Let me start by saying that if there was anything I wouldn’t mind forgetting about during the entire trip, it would be the experience I had here. “Why?” you ask? Let me assure it is not because of the food. It was because we were seated by a large obnoxious family that did not have an ounce of class between the 15 of them. It wasn’t as bad when we first got seated, but it got progressively worst at our meal went on. This family had no self-awareness to where they were and did not have a clue that they were disturbing the other guests. Between two women’s cackles, children running back and forth from the table, everyone trying to talk over each other, and a drunk father that was cussing up a storm, I had just about had it with them by the time our main courses came out. I thought I was with the cast of Jersey Shore. There was even a time when the ignoramus of a teenager (let’s call him Dumb) decided it would fun to try to pretend-throw a football to his drunk dad (let’s call him Dumber). And of course, his dad actually egged him on to do it. Said teenager then thought, “No, I shouldn’t.”but because dad said it was okay, the next thing I saw was a football fly across the table. That’s when I really started to get angry. Then of course, Dumber threw it back. That’s when I turned around and asked, “Seriously!?!?” and gave them a dirty look, but I this family was so self-involved that no one noticed. What made it worse was that management did not do anything about it. Just re-living this moment of the trip right now is making my blood boil.

Okay I think I need to get back on track and talk about the food. My opinions may factor in my horrid environment in which I could not fully concentrate on the food because of the aforementioned events.

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To start, we shared the appetizer duo of a crab cake and caesar salad. I really enjoyed the crab cake. I thought it was meaty and not filled with a lot of corn or breading as filler. The caesar salad had a tasty garlic dressing. The dressing was not too heavy and tasted very fresh.

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Mom had the scallops that were cooked perfectly. They were tender and not rubbery at all. They came served on a bed of mushroom and celery risotto. The risotto was great. I liked the chewiness of the grains and the added crunch from the celery added great texture.

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I went with the entr√©e duo of char-crusted New York Strip Steak and the Potato-wrapped red snapper. Above is the steak that I had cooked medium rare, but you can’t tell from the outside. It was tender and flavorful and the char was not overpowering at all.

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On the other side of the plate, the potato-wrapped red snapper rested on top of leeks. I actually really enjoyed the leeks. It kind of reminded me of a warm Napa cabbage salad. The potato wrap held the fish together and added a nice crunch to each bite.

As the meal went on I found myself trying to finish everything quickly so I could get the heck out of the restaurant. Mom took her leftover scallops and risotto to-go (which I had as a midnight snack) and we paid right away. I DID NOT EVEN STAY FOR DESSERT!! CRAZY, I KNOW!

Overall, the food was good, but not amazing for the prices they charge. But hey, it’s Disney World, of course it’s over priced! My entr√©e duo was $47 and the service size was just enough. One thing to note is that Flying Fish Cafe accepts the Disney Dining Plan, but I believe it will cost you two table-service meals to eat here. Also, I believe if you are on the Dining Plan, certain items on the menu are not eligible. Otherwise, you pay out of pocket. Also, gratuity is not included in the price of the Dining Plan so don’t forget to add that in separately.

As I was walking out I had mentioned to the hostess that I enjoyed the food, but my experience was ruined by the family of twats (okay so I didn’t actually say those exact words, but that’s what I really wanted to say).

Score:

Food: 4 / 5

Service: 4 / 5

Atmosphere: 4.5 / 5 (The restaurant itself is gorgeous. I believe there is a loose dress code. This rating does not take into consideration the obnoxious family)

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Taberna Gastromaquia

I traveled to Spain in January with Dawnee and Madrid was our first stop on the trip. We got to our hotel around 7ish on a Saturday evening and got refreshed and got ready to head out for dinner. I did some research on some places I wanted to eat at on TripAdvisor found this place to be really interesting. It received really high ratings and the menu really caught my attention.

If you don’t already know, Europeans eat really late at night. Most restaurants don’t open until 9PM which was unfortunate for us because we just got off a flight and were getting pretty hungry. While we were trying to find the restaurant we got caught up in the liveliness of the Gran Via and kind of lost our way for a bit since we were not familiar with the city. Dawnee was trying to convince me that we weren’t going to find it and that we should just try a different place, but I was persistent in making sure we find the restaurant. After a few turns and a quick check of our map, we found it. And it was closed! It was about 8:15PM and the metal gate was blocking the door. If it weren’t for the address, we would have missed this place completely. It doesn’t look like much on the outside and if you don’t read the signs carefully, you might pass it by. I was kind of bummed that it wasn’t open after finding it so we stood outside debating on what we should do. Luckily, a waiter came out and asked us if we had reservations. We didn’t so he told us to come back at 9PM when they open so that they could seat us right away. If we arrive after 9PM it would be too crowded and there would be no chance to get a table. We gladly took his advise and came back 10 minutes before they opened. They sat us right away and introduced us to our waiter who would explain their menu in English.

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So we ended up having one of the coolest waiters ever! I don’t think he gave us his name, but he was so helpful and very knowledgeable about the menu. What I really loved was that he was very excited to share his food with us and he really spent a lot of time to explain how the food was prepared. He literally described every single item on the menu in English because it was entirely in Spanish. His English was excellent and we really enjoyed talking to him.IMG_1944

Since most of the dishes came in smaller portions, Dawnee and I decided to just order several dishes and share them so we could try as much as we could. Our first dish was fried plantains with guacamole. I really loved the freshness of the guacamole and the sweetness of the tomatoes in it. The fried plantain chips were thin and crispy and was able to hold the dip without breaking. We actually went for the half portion, but the service size was pretty decent. We just didn’t want to fill up too soon.
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The next thing we had was probably the best thing we ate the entire trip! It was mussels with tikka masala sauce. I don’t eat mussels, but this was AMAZING!! I always found mussels to be too fishy, but the sauce was so good I didn’t even notice it. I’ve always loved tikka masala sauce, but I’ve always had it with chicken at Indian restaurants.¬†This is the dish that always pops into my head when I think of Spain. Even after our meal, we asked for more bread so we could soak up all of the sauce. It was that good! One of the things I always dreamed of was owning a restaurant or food truck and serve dishes that have left an impression on me from my travels and this dish would be one of the first things I would want on my menu.IMG_1955

The next dish we had was the grilled octopus. A lot of people raved about this dish online and our waiter even told us that they won a tapas competition with this dish. With that said, Dawnee and I thought that this dish was alright. The octopus was sliced thin and the texture reminded me of pepperoni. It was served on top of some bubbling cheese. It was also seasoned with paprika, but didn’t add much heat in terms of spiciness. I think this would have been perfect on top of a pizza and I would have loved it like that.IMG_1957

Our next course was the braised rabbit leg on top of polenta. This too was really good. Rabbit is probably Dawnee’s favorite meat and she orders it whenever she sees it on a menu. Honestly, I don’t really remember what kind of sauce they used. All I remember was that it tasked great. That’s what happens when I wait too long to post this meal to the blog.IMG_1961 IMG_1963Lastly, we still had to ask for dessert. When I asked the waiter if they had a dessert menu he replied excitedly, “I am the dessert menu!” We all laughed and he proceeded to tell us all of the choices. Since I am a chocoholic, the chocolate mouse caught my attention. It was served in a martini glass and was topped with croutons, sea salt, and olive oil. As you may know, I love the salty-sweet combination and I could not pass this up. And yes, it was amazing! The chocolate was creamy yet really light and the croutons added a nice crunch to it. If I would serve my version of this to people, I might just replace the sea salt with crispy bacon.

This was a great first impression of the food in Spain and was pretty much the best meal the entire trip. I highly recommend checking this place out if you make it out to Madrid. I would definitely recommend making reservations because the restaurant is really small. It probably has a capacity of about 40 people and it gets really crowded. This place is great for two people and it is also great for a party of 8. Everyone will definitely have a good time. I cannot compliment our waiter enough for being so helpful and for making our first meal in Spain one to really remember. Looking back, I really feel like we should have tipped him a lot more than we did. I’m sure they don’t expect tips as much as waiters in the US do, but he really earned it. I would not have minded if we ate here for dinner every night while we were in Madrid. It was fantastic.

My Ratings:

Food – 4.6 / 5

Mussels Tikka Masala (had to be rated separately) – 7 /5

Atmosphere – 4 / 5

Service – 8 / 5

 

 

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Chocolateria San Gines

 

I’m back!!! I know I’ve been neglecting this blog for about 10 months and now that I am on summer break, I hope I can get the ball rolling again and start catching up on posts that should have been up months ago.

To get back into things, I thought I would quickly share with you the thing I miss the most from my trip to Spain last January (“Quick Shots” post coming soon) which is chocolate con churros. One of the most famous places in Madrid to get your chocolate fix is Chocolateria San Gines located off of one of the streets at Puerta del Sol. This place was definitely on my “must-eat” list and Dawnee and I were not disappointed.

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IMG_2099I really enjoyed walking into the cafe and being greeted by the guys at the counter and checking out the pictures of all of the famous people who have stopped by to get their chocolate fix. It was a Sunday night so it was not very busy and if I remember correctly, it may have been around 10:00PM.

IMG_2102 IMG_2103Unlike churros here in the US, there were not covered with cinnamon sugar. They are just long pieces of fried dough the people dip into the rich and thick hot chocolate. My order came with six churros and I was just so excited. What I love is that the chocolate seeps in to the churro when you dip it so when you bite into the churro, you get a burst of hot chocolate and a crunchy, chewy, and creamy texture in your mouth. I’m drooling just thinking about it. Another thing to note is that the chocolate is really¬†thick. The best way I can describe it is pretty much calling it a melted chocolate bar with a little bit of milk. If you let it sit too long, a film starts to form and you can literally rest your spoon on top of it. It’s really sexy when you finally penetrate the film with the churro and all of the chocolate just envelopes the fried dough and you bring the churro up to you mouth and chocolate just dribbles down your chin. Oh man, that how chocolate makes me feel.

Anyways, it’s getting late so I’m going to call it a night, but I’m really glad that I was able to put something up. You can definitely expect more posts on Spain because I had a great time there and ate amazing food. So keep an eye out because I would love to continue to share my adventures and interests with you!

 

 

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San Francisco’s Academy of Sciences

Yesterday was an “Off-Friday” for KMD so my mom and I decided we would visit the Cal Academy. I’ve been here many times, but this was my mom’s first time visiting the new building since it was remodeled.

The first area we hit was the popular Osher Rainforest where butterflies fly freely among the guests and children try to chase and catch them. Inside it is 80 degrees Fahrenheit and 90% humidity. This is one of my favorite exhibits because I think the butterflies are genius and everyone looks like they are having a blast.

Here is a picture my mom snapped while I went to the restroom. I think came out really good.

There I am playing with the sea star in the touch pool.

After the aquarium, mom and I decided to skip the cafeteria and sit down to a nice meal at The Moss Room which is located right under the cafeteria. I had the hanger steak with fingerling potatoes, carrots, and mushrooms. I enjoyed my steak and finished everything on my plate.

The Academy had some new additions which are baby ostriches. If I remember correctly, I think the sign said they were only 14 days old. I didn’t know that they would be so cute! Did you know that you can’t tell which babies are male or female until they get much older. Males have black feathers while females have brown feathers.

Here is the view from the Living Roof. This is also one of my favorites because I think it’s pretty unique compared to other museums I’ve been to throughout my travels.

The last few pictures are of my mom who kind of had a nice photo session on the roof. Enjoy!

So this end our to the museum. It was much better than being stuck in the office. The Academy is a museum all visitors to San Francisco need to see. Yes, it is expensive, but I think everyone will enjoy it, not just the children. Some tips when visiting The Academy at Golden Gate Park is go on a weekday and go early so you can find street parking. Also, an underground secret is, if you do park in the concourse under the museum, have a meal at The Moss Room and enter from the parking lot. After you meal, just walk up the stairs and, BOOM, you’re inside the museum and you didn’t even pay admission! But let’s keep that secret between us, okay?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Valkyrie Profile Sculpture Arts by Square Enix

Just like my previous post about completing my Final Fantasy VIII Kotobukiya statue set, I just completed my Square Enix Sculpture Arts collection with the exception of the samurai guy, which I’m not interested in at all. The last piece in the set that I really wanted is the Lenneth statue from Valkyrie Profile. Just like most of my collection, I’ve never played Valkyrie Profile, but I’ve had my eye on this statue for years. I finally decided to bite the bullet and just purchase one on eBay because I couldn’t find it anywhere else. The price on these statues just keep going up so I had to give in. I actually bought this one used, but the previous owner took very good care of it and packed it very, very well. Nothing was damaged during shipping which I am very grateful for. Anyways, enjoy the pics!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My overall impression of this figure is just, “WOW!” I can’t believe I finally own this. Right now I have it displayed on top of my centered Detolf. Because it stands at about 17 inches, it won’t fit in the cabinet. It took a while for me to put it together, making sure everything is in its place. Surprisingly, once everything was locked in place, the statue feels very sturdy. After it was complete, I just looked at it for a bit, admiring all of the work put into it. I believe the best work on this statue is the stained glass window in the back and the wings. There is so much detail on the wings it’s insane! Pictures don’t do this justice. You have to see this in person.

 

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