Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Morimotos Asia, Lunch Review

One of the newest additions to Disney Springs is the elegant restaurant by world famous Iron Chef, Masaharu Morimoto, Morimoto Asia.  I had the pleasure to acquire a walk-in lunch seating recently and was impressed by the elegant decor, breath-taking food presentation, and VALUE for the quality of the meal.  There were a few slight glitches, but overall, this restaurant is another shining star to add on the list of newcomers to Disney Springs.
 The Food
We each ordered the Morimoto Lunch Set $26.00 which includes: Miso Soup, House Salad, Choice of California Roll with White or Brown Rice, Choice of Orange Chicken, Kung Po Chicken, Braised Black Cod, or Vegetable Tofu Medley, Dumplings and Kimchi. Substitutions are permitted for an additional charge.
The Lunch Set is an EXCELLENT value for both the quality and quantity of food included. It is also the best way to sample a wide variety of menu options. Ordering each item from the Lunch Set separately would bring a much higher price tag.

Morimoto Lunch Set Miso Soup (white miso broth, silken tofu) and House Salad (mixed lettuces, morimoto kabosu vinaigrette)
The soup was warm and flavorful with that distinct saltiness of miso. The Salad was lightly dressed with what seems to be a soy and ginger type vinaigrette as well as some thinly sliced radishes.  Both were delicious and could serve as a light lunch with nothing further on a hot Florida day.  My only difficulty was the size of the lettuce pieces. Some were very large. When dining with only chopsticks, smaller pieces would have been preferred.

Lunch Set Spider Sushi Roll $4.00 upcharge (tempura soft shell crab, spicy mayo, cumber, asparagus), Kung Po Chicken, (carrots, shimeji mushrooms, bell peppers, bamboo shoots, cashew nuts, stir fried with spicy szechuan sauce), Kimchi, Mini Egg Roll (I believe this was vegetable), Dumpling (pork or chicken, we were told "Chef's Choice." I believe ours was pork) and Shumai (pork, shrimp, mushrooms).
The Spider Roll was my favorite item and definitely worth the upcharge over the California Roll. It was in rather large pieces due to the size of the crab, and a bit difficult to eat, but the flavor was outstanding. 
I'm not typically a fan of spicy food. However, I took a chance on the Kung Po Chicken and was happy with the heat level. It was not overwhelming in the slightest. You can also see the attention to detail in the pretty flower designs of the carrots (right-handed chopsticks with left-handed photography skills). It was an excellent entree choice. 
The egg roll was a nice addition that was not listed on the menu. The wrapper was very light and crisp but slightly greasy for my personal taste.  We were never told what the dumplings were other than "chef's choice."  I deducted what they were from the menu options and general flavor. Neither of us were a fan of them. They weren't "bad," they just didn't seem to compare to the quality of the other items.
For my husband's Lunch Set, he chose California Roll with White Rice (crabstick, avocado, cucumber), Orange Chicken (tempura chicken, Chinese broccoli, wok-tossed with a sweet Florida orange sauce), Kimchi, Mini Egg Roll, Dumpling, Shumai.
The orange sauce on the Orange Chicken was so unique. It had an amazingly bright orange flavor. It was delicious and like nothing I've ever tasted before. Just be certain that you LOVE orange flavor when ordering it. You are sure to be surprised and woken up by the fresh flavor!
The California Roll is good but rather standard and sadly, made with imitation crab.  I suggest substituting for one of the more unique sushi roll options (see Spider Roll above!)
We were very full after the Lunch Set.  I could not even finish all of mine (that's why I bring the Hubby with me). But after watching some of the desserts coming out of the kitchen for other guests, we had no choice but to order something.  
Upon reviewing the "Desserts for Two" menu, my head was spinning over what to choose. EVERYTHING looked scrumptious.  We decided on the Churro Fondue $13.00 (housemade churros, Nutella, vanilla cream) because CHURROS AND NUTELLA!!  Do you really need to go any further than churros AND nutella when you see it on a menu??!
Sadly, this is where my heart was broken...twice.
Notice the lovely thick vanilla cream, the specially designed Morimoto Asia tube filled with Nutella love, and the crispy sugar dusted huge churros?  Unfortunately, upon first bite, they were raw inside.  Determined to try them, we notified our server and after a 25 minute wait, were given a second order. Alas, the second order was thicker, oddly shaped, and had an even MORE RAW interior. At that point, we cut our losses but were given the two tubes of Nutella as parting gifts. (One other point is that this is advertised as a dessert for two. However, there were no side plates given. Just with the one bite we tried of each, our table was coated in sugar crystals.  Individual plates would be helpful here.)

The Service
My experience with the service was very good. The staff, from the time we entered, was exceptionally friendly and willing to tell us all about the design of the restaurant and answer any questions that we had.  Our server was very knowledgeable about food and very gracious.  Our water glasses were filled at least six times by three different servers. The tables around us were cleared and set with great care for additional guests. BUT, our lunch took OVER TWO HOURS including the 25 minutes for the second dessert. Now, I am at Disney enough that I am rarely in a hurry when dining. I enjoy lounging. But, that was a long time for lunch.  I am not sure if that is typical because we did see other tables come and go while we sat.  The delay may have been simply small glitches in service. For example, when our dinner plates were cleared, we were not asked if we wanted the dessert menu or our bill.  They were cleared and our server then went and started filling water glasses around the room.  We asked for dessert menus when he filled our glasses again. Perhaps just an oversight?
Overall the experience was lovely and I wouldn't hesitate to return.  We were so busy enjoying our meal that we didn't notice the slow service until the dessert issues. I highly recommend trying Morimotos Asia for lunch. Especially if you would like a reasonably priced sample of a variety of food. 
I'm looking forward to a return visit sometime for dinner and FINALLY getting those churros!

The Decor
I will leave you with some photos of the decor.  Morimotos Asia has two levels. The bottom level has a dining room, bar, open kitchen (see Peking Duck display), and patio.  The upstairs is only open for dinner and includes a bar/lounge, sushi bar, outdoor upper deck patio, and private dining room.

*Morimotos Asia is handicapped accessible. There is an elevator to the second floor. 
*Various discounts are accepted. Be sure to ask your server.
*Find Jeanie on Twitter @PrincessPapers, Facebook @ThePrincessPapers or @JeanieGallo and as a regular correspondent on The Disney Dream Girls Podcast, on Twitter @DisDreamGirls.
*For your next Disney Vacation, contact Katerine at www.ImaginationsVacationsbyKatherine.com and let her know the Princess sent you!

Latest Food Truck Menus, Disney Springs

Looking for a great quick bite while visiting Disney Springs?  The Disney Food Trucks located on the West Side between Starbucks and Bongos is the perfect option. With multiple menus and kid size portions available, there's sure to be something for everyone.  The food is deliciously fresh and cooked to order. Grab a bite, have a seat, and enjoy the beautiful view (even on a cloudy day).
Below are the updated menus. To read more about The Disney Food Trucks, visit my previous reviews HERE and food photos HERE on The Princess Papers.

Grilled Ham and Cheese with Waffle Fries 11.00
Buffalo Chicken and Waffles Topped with Blue Cheese Cream 10.25
Hand-dipped Corn Dog with Waffle Fries 8.00
Sweet Potato Puffs Topped with Marshmallow Cream 5.00

Pierogies with Kielbasa and Caramelized Onions 8.50
Grass Fed Beef Sliders with Monterey Jack and Sweet-Hot Pickles 9.50
Grilled Chicken Breast Gyro with House-made Chips 9.50
Wines by the Glass 6.00-8.00

Lamb Kefta with Raita Sauce on Naan Bread 12.00
Butter Chicken with Rice 9.50
Char-grilled Tandoori Shrimp with Rice and Pickled Vegetables 12.25
Samosas and Naan Dipping Safari 11.00 (vegetarian item)

Salmon B.L.T. with Chili Lime Mayo and House-made Chips 12.00
Shrimp and Lobster Mac & Cheese 12.00
Dueling Sliders 10.75
Flatbread with Garlic Spread and Balsamic Glazed Mushrooms 9.50

*The Food Trucks' opening times vary and are subject to change based on weather conditions.

*The Disney Dining Plan Quick-Service Credits and Snack Credits are Accepted.

*Food Trucks are handicapped accessible, however the order/pick-up windows are high. Cast members are happy to assist bringing out food to you, if needed. 
*Follow Jeanie on Twitter @PrincessPapers, Facebook @ThePrincessPapers and find her regularly on The Disney Dream Girls Podcast, follow on Twitter @DisDreamGirls. 
*Book your next Disney Vacation with our sponsor, Katherine, by contacting her on www.ImaginationsVacationsbyKatherine.com and let her know the Princess sent you!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Lounging: The Wave, Dining Review

As Part 2 of my Walt Disney World Lounges Series, I visited The Wave located at The Contemporary Resort. (See Part 1:Brown Derby Lounge HERE.) The wonderful things about lounge dining are that no reservations are needed, many offer both snack menus and full menus from nearby restaurants, they are often quieter than restaurants, most dining discounts apply, and you get to relax and lounge!  For many reasons, lounge dining is a wonderful option.

The Wave restaurant has both a bar area as well as a lounge with a distinctive blue light ambiance. Keep that in mind when viewing the photos of food. 

The Food
  Seasonal Soup with Chef Accompaniment (8.49)

The soup of the day was pumpkin and topped with a drizzle of cream and toasted pumpkin seeds. The accompaniment was a sweet jalapeno cornbread muffin. This was a very large serving of sweet, rich soup. It had a very classic fall flavor but perhaps a bit too much sweetness for such a large portion.  I enjoyed the crunch of the toasted pumpkin seeds. They provided a delicious nutty flavor in addition to the crunch.  The cornbread was very dense, moist, sweet, and flavorful.  The jalapeno added more flavor than heat. It was delicious but not necessarily what I would pair with the sweet soup. Together they made for a very rich and filling appetizer.

Citrus-marinated Fish Tacos (11.99) Avocado-Mango Salsa and Sriracha Crema. 
The fish of the day was grilled swordfish. It was very hearty but could have used a bit more salt. I was rather disappointed in the tortillas for the tacos. They were plain flour tortillas with grill char marks on one side. But overall, the dish was just bland.

Seared Potato Gnocchi (21.99) 

Cabernet Cream Sauce, Braised Beef, and Meyer Lemon Creme Fraiche. The little gnocchi dumplings were light but held up well with the rich hearty beef flavor of the sauce.

Blue Cheese Polenta Side (4.99)
This is not a listed side, however after hearing the Chef describe it as a side dish with the Lamb entree, I requested it.  It was surprisingly mild. The aroma was distinctly blue cheese, but the flavor held none of the typical sharpness. I would have preferred a bit more of that sharp flavor.

The Wavesicle (10.50) Florida Cane Orlando Orange Vodka, Cointreau, and Nonfat Yogurt with a splash of Orange Juice. 

This was an adult creamsicle and absolutely delicious! It was very easy to drink. 

Seasonal Dessert Trio (8.49) Apple Cobbler, Pumpkin Cheesecake, and Pecan Pie with Chocolate Gelato. 
I am guessing on the specifics of this dessert. We did not see a dessert menu. However, due to an ordering glitch with a lost order ticket, we were offered complimentary desserts as well as two additional desserts wrapped up to take home.  All three desserts had the classic flavors of the fall and holiday seasons. I have never been disappointed in the cheesecake at the Wave, regardless of the accompanying desserts along side of it in the trio. It is sinfully rich and perfect.

The service at the Wave Lounge was outstanding. Our server, Jess, juggled an entire room of guests all coming in at once, with a smile.  She also brought a Leader to our table who offered the complimentary desserts without us ever complaining about the delay.  We were having a relaxing evening, "lounging."  In true exceptional Disney service style, she went above and beyond expectations. 

I highly recommend the Wave Lounge for a cocktail, quick bite, or full dinner. It's a lovely option with unique ambiance and delicious food.  From previous experience, my biggest recommendation is the Pan-Seared Sustainable Fish with Edamame Stew.  It is ALWAYS delicious and my go-to choice. I broke from tradition this visit, but will return to it on my next visit.

The Wave also has a selection of more typical lounge food: soft pretzels, flatbreads, etc. A wide selection of wines (including organic), beers, and beverages make this a place to find something for everyone in the family.

*The Wave Lounge is handicapped accessible with low tables. The bar area has high stools. Lighting in the lounge is very low and muted with heavy blue tones. Those with vision issues may have difficulty.
*Follow Jeanie on Twitter @PrincessPapers and Facebook @The Princess Papers. You can also find Jeanie regularly on The Disney Dream Girls Podcast on Twitter @DisDreamGirls and Facebook Disney Dream Girls Podcast.
*For your next Disney Vacation or Cruise, contact The Princess Papers Blog Sponsor Katherine, www.ImaginationsVacationsbyKatherine.com and let her know the Princess sent you. 


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Disney Documentaries by Theme Parkology

Love Disney history and nostalgia? Then snuggle up with a cup of cocoa and a Mickey krispy treat and enjoy a few of the fan-made documentaries by Theme Parkology. Jerry Cornell along with the support of script writers, artists, narrators, and photographers bring this video series to life with a long list of interviews from some of the most famous Disney personalities such as Bob Gurr (Disney Imagineer), Eddie Carroll (the voice of Jiminy Cricket), Margaret Kerry (reference model for Tinker Bell), and Floyd Norman (storyboard artist). 
Video titles currently available include:
The Matterhorn
The Jungle Cruise
The Tower of Terror
The Haunted Mansion
Tom Sawyer Island
The Submarine Voyage
The Monorail
...and many many more!

For a full list of videos please CLICK HERE!

Trailers for several of the productions can be found by CLICKING HERE!

Whether you have a love of history and nostalgia or simply would like a momento of your favorite attraction from a recent vacation, there is a DVD here for you!
*Disclosure: I did receive several complimentary DVD's for my review. However, I strongly support the website and it's mission to document and preserve Disney history.
*Follow Jeanie on Twitter @PrincessPapers or Facebook @The Princess Papers or Jeanie Gallo.