Kona Café Breakfast – Beyond Tonga Toast

Tonga Toast at Kona Café is a Walt Disney World original.  This breakfast specialty has thousands of loyal fans and tops the list of must-do’s for those who have not yet had the privilege.  A generous serving of “Banana-stuffed Sourdough French Toast rolled in Cinnamon Sugar and served with a Strawberry Compote and your choice of Ham, Bacon, or Sausage” – Sounds heavenly and if you love sweet breakfast foods, you will not be disappointed.  Unless you’re me and you prefer savory eats first thing in the morning.

Kona Café Breakfast – Beyond Tonga Toast

For quite some time now, Kona Café has been a Disney vacation tradition.  Raymond and I (and now Joseph) are partial to the Egg White Omelet with roasted red peppers and goat cheese.  It comes with a side of berries and is an all around solid (and healthy) breakfast choice.  In fact, that’s just what they both ordered on our departure day.  Kona Café Breakfast - Beyond Tonga ToastMe? I decided to break away from the usual and try something new.  With quite a few delicious-sounding choices on the menu, I took my time selecting what I considered a splurge.  One, very simple-sounding dish caught my eye:  The Samoan.

Described as, “Poached Eggs with Hollandaise served over Smoked Pulled Pork Hash“, what could I not love about that?  All my favorite food-types in one dish.  In short order, my plate arrived.  It looked much fancier than I’d imagined.  Kona Café Breakfast - Beyond Tonga ToastBeneath a handful of gently sautéed arugula, the “hash” was actually some large, tender fried potatoes in a ring around the pulled pork.  This circle of yumminess was topped with two perfectly prepared poached eggs – yolks soft but not runny, whites firm but not rubbery.  The hollandaise sauce was smooth, thick and tangy.  I was uncharacteristically quiet as I savored every bite.

If you’ve been under the impression that Tonga Toast is your only breakfast option at Kona Café, think again.  Haven’t tried Kona Café yet?  Add it to your to-do list and you just might find a morning visit to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort becoming a vacation tradition for you, too.

Are you a Kona Café fan?  What’s your favorite breakfast item?

Disney Dining – Trattoria al Forno

Honestly, the newest Italian eatery at Disney’s Boardwalk, Trattoria al Forno, was never on our radar.  We love the Boardwalk to be sure, but we usually visit for dinner at Flying Fish or as I’m running down the actual boardwalk during a runDisney event.  Even when the Trattoria was Kouzzina, it never occurred to us to eat there.  Too many dining choices, too little time!

All of that changed when I was making plans for our most recent visit to Disney World (last December).  I wanted to see the Candlelight Processional and I didn’t want to wait in a long, LONG line only to find out that all the seats were taken.  We needed a dining package!  I was surprised to find that Trattoria al Forno was a choice for the dining package and that breakfast was an option.  SCORE!  We could sleep in, head to the Boardwalk, try out this previously unnoticed restaurant, spend most of the day in Disney Springs and arrive in Epcot just ahead of the Candlelight Processional.  To me, breakfast wasn’t a risk and not a substantial investment to get preferred seating for the Processional during Christmas week.

We were very pleased with the entire experience!  The atmosphere and décor are fantastic.  The breakfast menu is unique and the service was fine.  Shorthanded on the morning we were there, the restaurant’s manager jumped in to serve coffee and chat up the patrons.  Clearly out of his element, we appreciated his willingness to pitch in.  We were in no hurry and didn’t mind sipping Mimosas (I ate the orange slice before I took a picture…oops) while we waited for our food.  This ended up being a welcome respite from rushing around, dealing with Christmas crowds.  Raymond had the Breakfast Calzones, I had the Poached Eggs (with sausage over polenta) and Joseph had the Scrambled Eggs (with sausage and potatoes) we shared a  big bowl of fresh fruit.  We were all satisfied and thought the Italian-inspired menu items combined with traditional picky-eater-pleasing choices meant there was something for everyone.  We would definitely return again!

In early February, Disney World announced that a Trattoria al Forno character dining experience will soon be available!  This sounds like a wonderful option and excellent alternative to Akershus in Norway (a popular Disney Princess meal).  This new offering will allow guests to meet their favorite Disney couples!  Different from other character dining options and convenient to Epcot, this new experience will definitely put Trattoria al Forno on many people’s to-try lists.  If it has fixed pricing and takes only one table service credit on the Disney Dining Plan, all the better – this should be a big success!

Rumor Alert!  I heard that today (February 23, 2017) is the first day to make ADRs for this experience, so if you’re headed to Walt Disney World this summer and are interested in dining with beloved Disney couples (Like Rapunzel and Flynn & Ariel and Eric), you might want to get busy on the reservations.  If you are able to book this new Character Dining Experience, please let me know the details!

Disney Dining – Grand Floridian Café Breakfast

Last December at Walt Disney World, we ate a lot.  Adding both new experiences along with old favorites made coping with the Christmas crowds easier – less park time, more culinary exploration.  We rarely have a sit-down breakfast on vacation, so enjoying some early morning dining reservations was a rare treat.  One of the new places we tried was the Grand Floridian Café.

Grand Floridian Café Breakfast

It’s hard to write an honest review of a dining experience that began with vomit. Not our own, thank goodness, but there was upchuck splattered liberally near the cafe’s entrance.  If you’ve been to the Grand Floridian before, you may have noticed the dramatic and beautiful tiled floors.grand-floridians-tiled-entranceJust before our arrival, it appeared that a little someone had been violently ill smack in the middle of the lovely tiled atrium.  We gingerly skirted around the mess – I don’t know about Raymond, but I made a valiant effort to NOT breathe in until we were safely inside the restaurant. We were shown to our table immediately and seated beside a window.grand-floridian-cafe-table

The Grand Floridian Café’s décor is everything you’d expect from its location. It completely reflects the overall resort theme – white, bright, open and airy with small, lovely details in keeping with a Victorian feel. grand-floridian-cafe-detailsOur server visited our table right away with menus for us to look over.  I liked the simple presentation of the condiment selection on the table.grand-floridian-cafes-fancy-condimentsWhile there was nothing fancy or particularly outstanding among the menu offerings, there were some solid, hearty breakfast choices mixed among lighter fare like breakfast salads. I did not order one of theses, but thought the idea had merit. grand-floridian-cafe-interiorAs often happens with Raymond and I, we decided to order something to share and selected The Garden Omelet (Three-Egg Omelet, Spinach, Feta, and Roasted Tomato served with Lyonnaise Potatoes or fresh Fruit). We were keeping in mind that lunch that day would be at Whispering Canyon Café, another new experience for us, and we wanted to be good and hungry by then.grand-floridian-cafe-window-seat

While we waited for our omelets, I passed the time people-watching out the window. It was early and there weren’t too many people out and about yet.  There were few people seated near us in the restaurant.  It was Christmas week and while everywhere else was ridiculously busy, the Café was not doing a booming business this early in the day and that was just fine with us.grand-floridian-cafe-breakfastThe food was fine, even if our particular selection was rather unremarkable. The service was excellent, the restaurant’s peace and quiet was welcome and soothing.  Would we eat here again? Sure – especially during Christmas week when finding a serene spot to fuel up is nearly impossible.

I’ve heard the Grand Floridian Cafe’s lunch menu is good, boasting the popular Grand Café Sandwich (Open-faced hot Ham, Smoked Turkey Breast, Bacon, and Tomato with a rich Boursin Cheese Sauce and Fried Onion Straws).  Maybe next time we’ll try a mid-day meal instead of breakfast. Excluding the unfortunate vomit greeting, we had an overall good experience.

Have you tried the Grand Floridian Café? What did you think about it?


Disney Dining Review – Narcoossee’s

Narcoossee's ViewWith so many restaurants to choose from at Walt Disney World it can take quite a while sometimes to make a repeat visit to one.  In the case of Narcoossee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, it took us 26 years to dine there for a second time.  Certainly this wasn’t because we didn’t enjoy our first dinner there.  We really did have a great experience.  It’s just that on the next several Disney vacations, we had children with us and chose more kid-friendly options.

Disney Dining Review – Narcoossee’s

A few weeks ago we finally made our way back to Narcoossee’s and were pleasantly surprised that the experience was even better than we remembered!  Excellent menu, delicious food, top notch service, and a couple of seasonal extra-special surprises made the evening absolutely wonderful.  Narcoossee’s is a signature dining location, so it takes two table service credits if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan…is it worth it?  We think so.  (See current menu here.)Narcoossee's Dining Room

Narcoossee’s is located on the shore of the Seven Seas Lagoon.  The décor is beautiful and, on the night we dined there, we were mostly among other adults with a few families that had mostly older children.  The tables offer great views (even if you’re not sitting right next to a window) and the open kitchen is entertaining in its own way.  Narcoossee's Open KitchenOne thing we noticed right away was that our server, Tom, was a professional – he knew how to pace our meal and how to add the extra touches that made what we thought would be a nice dinner into an extra special one.Narcoossee's BreadOf course, bread came first and we ordered appetizers and a bottle of wine.  The menu offered so many tempting items, we actually passed up an artisanal cheese offering (so unlike us!) in favor of the Maine Lobster Bisque for Raymond and the Prince Edward Island Mussels to share.  Narcoossee's Lobster Bisque Narcoossee's Mussels AppetizerWe were very pleased with our selections.  When we finished, Tom brought us warm towels for hand-washing and suggested we take our wine out onto the deck to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks.    Narcoossee's Hot TowelsTom promised to hold our entrees until we returned and encouraged us to enjoy the show.  How great was this??!!  We stepped outside and spent the next little while sipping wine and taking in the view.Narcoossee's view of MK fireworks Narcoossee's view of fireworks at MKAs promised, when we returned to our table, our entrees were delivered and they were delicious!  Raymond opted for the Key West Shrimp and Garganelli Pasta (“Wild Florida Shrimp, Spinach, Oven-roasted Tomatoes, Basil Pistou, Comté Cheese, and Chardonnay-Garlic Cream“) Narcoossee's Pasta Entreewhile I chose the Coriander and Shichimi-spiced Seared Ahi Tuna (“Charred Beans, Gai-lan, Green Papaya, and Sesame Sticky Rice with Ginger-Kaffir Lime Broth“), which sounds fussy and complicated, but was actually pretty straight forward in both presentation and flavor.  The seared tuna was the star of the show and the rest was a perfect supporting cast.  Narcoossee's Tuna EntreeGenerally, we’re huge fans of spicy, well seasoned foods and these entrees fit the bill perfectly.  Completely satisfied, we decided to catch the little boat from the Grand Floridian back to the Polynesian, then use the stroll from the boat dock to the Moorea building to digest a bit before calling it a night.  Grand Floridian Boat TransportationWe noticed the outdoor movie had drawn a small crowd and appreciated again how those great Disney touches can make vacations so magical.Polynesian Movie Night Inside OutWe gave Narcoossee’s a definite thumbs-up!  Have you enjoyed Narcoossee’s?  Was your experience similar to ours?  If you haven’t eaten there before, has this restaurant even made it onto your dining wish list?