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Friday, January 22, 2010

Snacks & Drinks Around The World

Here are a few snacks that we had that I felt were worth commenting on:

Bar Next To Tuskers
Pina Colada – This is a good place to get a drink, grab a table and watch the acrobats.  The only issue is that most of their frozen drinks are from machines or not very fresh.  I am spoiled since I have a tiki bar by me that makes their drinks with only premium boze, fresh squeezed juice and no mixes.  It was OK but next time I will have a beer.  That way you always know what you are getting.

The Royal Anandapur Tea Company - This is a GEM of a place if you like real tea vs. Lipton.  They have wonderful loose blends that they make into tea bags right there. They also have coffee drinks as well. If you like tea PLEASE check this out! It is on the way to Everest on the right hand side. It also has lovely seating areas. I would hate this to go away because people don't come.

When we were there, most people seemed to be ignorant about the different types of tea. I have had the following on various visits:
Silver Needle - One of China's best white teas. Brews at a pale yellow/reddish liquor and has a delicately sweet flavor.
Keteada - grown at a high elevation in Central Africa, this wonderful bold black tea is sure to please the palate.
China Green Jasmine - Classic scented green tea from Fouzou Province with jasmine flowers.
UPDATE 2010: Roobios Vanilla - This yummy tea with a smooth vanilla taste is perfect for a cold day.  I had wanted to taste their Dragon and Chai teas but they were out.  This one was recommended by the cast member and is lovely.

When we were there, most people just asked the CMs for "tea" or "hot tea" and were given most probably their mild house blend. When we asked for "Silver Needle" or "China Jasmine", first they just stared and then broke out into smiles figuring out that we were asking for SPECIFIC teas and were overjoyed.

I can't sing the praises of this enough. Also if you are one of these people from Starbucks - "I want a low fat, soy, double shot, dolce vente latte with hazelnut" - go home. I know - harsh - but true. I had this lady in front of me that was like this: "I want a grande capp with chocolate syrup". The guy stared at her like she was from Mars and said "You want a Mocha?" which is what she asked for and she says "do you have chocolate syrup that I can put in AFTER" and he tells her "no" and I just want to hit her in the head with a lemur and feed her to the Yeti because I get that way when confronted with pretentious coffee bar freaks. Don't be one of these people. Have the wonderful teas. Enough said. GO HERE!

Yak & Yeti (Yak Attack) - UPDATE 2010
This is soooo yummmy.  It is a mango daiquiri with extra rum and a berry swirl.  Go into the bar and get one.  You can get them at the "adult beverage counter" around the corner from the counter service food outside the restaurant but these are better.  I know, I tried both.

Dole Whips:  I love these but only with the pineapple / vanilla swirl.  Disneyland has Dole Whips as well BUT they only have the straight pineapple, no pineapple/vanilla swirl and that is the only one worth having.  I think the pineapple straight is a bit too tart and the vanilla mellows this out.  This is one of the few snacks I inhale so fast I get brain freeze.  The other good thing is you can now use a SNACK CREDIT for one if you are on Disney Dining!

Mickey Bar:  I’m not fan.  I think they are OK but not my favorite.  To me there is nothing to separate it from any Eskimo Pie aside from its shape like Mickeys head.
Mickey Ice Cream Sandwich: Now we’re talking.  I really like these but I am a pushover for any kind of ice cream sandwich even when the cookies is all soft and bendy like 99% of them are.  The problem is they are limited to only a few places.  I know Disney Studios has them and Magic Kingdom but this is about it that I have found.
Popcorn:  Is Evil.  It tempts you with its smell, it makes you think how happy you would be if you had some so you break down and buy it.  Then you discover that Mickey and his Uber Larger salt shaker was already there.  No real butter, just artificial butter flavored solids (which I am sure has 50,000 chemicals in it).  The popcorn is a bit chewy, VERY salty and just not worth it once you were drawn to it’s siren song and found yourself wrecked upon the rocks.

Pineapple Mohito – Nice.  It was not as refreshing as a regular Mohito and wasn’t too sweet.  A nice afternoon by the pool drink - $7.00
Pina CoLava – Amazing!  It is a Pina Colada with Raspberry Puree that makes the “lava”.  It is soooooooooo yummy and refreshing - $7.75
Lapu Lapu - UPDATE 2010 - If you want a hard hitting drink that comes in a pineapple, this is your drink.  After a day at the "dry" Magic Kingdom, getting your ankles sythed off by strollers, you need a drink, you deserve a drink.  This pineapple is for you!

EPCOT/FUTURE WORLD - Fountain View Cafe
I got a fruit croissant!
Look and weep with joy at its beauty! A flaky, buttery croissant, filled with creamy custard, topped with glazed fruit of strawberries, kiwis and blueberries and the whole thing dusted with powdered sugar. And if that isn't good enough, there are blueberries INSIDE THE CUSTARD! Let me just die now! $3.51 By the way - they lie. There is a sign saying that most pastries were not served after 10:30am. What it really means is they will serve until they are all sold. The fruit one is available all day though. GRADE: A-
UPDATE 2010:  This eatery has now changed to all ice cream and I have not been able to find this beauty anywhere.  I still cry a little at night.

Layered Margarita – too sweet for me.  This combo, lime/strawberry/mango/kiwi drink is from a machine rather than made from fresh fruit.  Tons of chemicals and not enough booze.  Looks pretty but you can get better drinks elsewhere.
UPDATE 2010: Margaritas & Tequilla in "The Ditch" - Mexico has opened a new tequilla bar.  A person on the DIS board coined the moniker "The Ditch" and I like it so I am using it.  I told all the cast members I could find about it.  It seems you walk into the ditch, find yourself trapped and then can't crawl out.  They have TONS of tequillas.  There are a variety of prices and even flights to try.  I would recommend just sipping and not using "Training Wheels" (salt & lime).  Margaritas are also available singly or in flights with such yummy flavors such as Prickly Pear, Blood Orange, Avocado & Cucumber.  These do NOT come out of a slushie machine and are well worth the money.  The cast members told me this bar evolved out of the 2009 Food & Wine Festival.  They were the most popular drink book 4 timers over so Disney smartly took advantage of that popularity.

Lotus Blossom Cafe - yes, yes, I know - Friends do not let friends eat at the Lotus Blossom Cafe. I didn't. I drank. I had an iced plum tea. It was really nice. Fruity, refreshing, slightly sweet but not overpowering. $2.67 with tax.

Kringla Bakery - I LOVE this place. Let see, here is the hit parade thus far:
Lefse Bread $1.99. Think a very thin flour tortilla spread with butter, sprinkled with cinnamon and then rolled tightly. Nice pocket food for easy transportation. Not too sweet but a nice treat. Great for kids, not too messy, not full of processed crap.  
Rice Cream - $2.29 - I LOVE THIS STUFF! cold white rice that is mixed with sweetened cream then topped with strawberries in strawberry sauce. I mix it all up so all the sweet creamy rice gets some of the strawberry and it is just heaven! The best sweet yummy in Epcot! Is it THAT good? You bet your sweet donkey it is!.
School Bread – I really want to like this.  I think that it is just a different texture than Americans are use to.  When you look at it you think of a Krispy Kreme donut covered in coconut.  The custard is really good, the coconut is good but the cake is not soft like a raised donut or even like a cake donut.  The cake is more dense and dry.  It is not sweet like an American donut.  As long as the custard holds out, fine but the bread by itself needed something.  Like I said, I think our American tastes are so skewered with too much sugar that this doesn’t work for us as much.  Europeans would probably like it better.
Cloudberry Horn – Very nice.  Not overly sweet but still nice.  A crispy pastry horn with large sugar crystals on the outside with cream piped inside.  Yummy.

Rosa Regale – at La Bottega Italiana - this is the bright red sparkling wine that everyone is ga ga about. It is a deep, pure red with a nose and slight taste of roses. It is really lovely.  You can get this at BevMo (Beverages and More), some people have found it at Cost Plus and Costco.This sparkling wine is amazing.  $6

Cannolli – I am really picky with my cannolli.  I don’t put any neon fruit inside mine.  This cannolli taste wise was really rich and good.  The ricotta cheese was fresh and very creamy.  The only problem is the size vs. the price.  I think they should either be larger for the same price or same size but less money.  They are only about 3 inches long which is just not big enough.  Yes, it is about size. - $6
UPDATE 2010:  Someone was reading my mind and the cut the price to around $3.  I was unable to see the size since it was raining and the cart was closed but I will venture to say it is the same size only a reduced price.

Eiswein - this is a tiny taste (2 oz.) of German Ice Wine. It is very sweet but with a very clear edge. They give you a little 70% cocoa fine chocolate to eat with it. They should since this wine shot costs you $12.01 with tax. Remember that is TWO OUNCES. Regular wine glasses are 6-8 oz. I splurged. Was it worth $12 for that taste. Not really but it didn't suck either. Now I am waiting to break open my Canadian icewine.

Baklava – this phyllo dough pastry with nuts and honey is always yummy.  At the back of the tangerine café you can get a choice between many different kinds.  Some less sticky, some with chocolate, some with crushed pistachio nuts (like the one below) but all good.

Kaki Gori – OK, they are snowcones and who doesn’t like a snowcone?  However their rainbow / 3 flavor one is the best.  Three strips of Tangerine, Honeydew Melon and Strawberry.  Total Yum!  The Melon especially was very refreshing on a hot day.  You can get the flavors seperatly  as well.

Sake, mmmmmm hot sake. Now this is a good buzz. Just don't pair it with Kaki Gori as the flavors don't mix. Kaki Gori is a Japanese snow cone.  YUMMY. So very refreshing. Just no sake with it. Have the sake later. It can be confusing because they are sold out of the same cart and if you get the sake first and start pounding sake’s you can be in a lot of trouble. I mean Cast Members pulling your donkey out of the lake trouble as you try to swim home.

I know people are all about the bakery here but I think the bakery in Norway WAAAYYY surpasses this one.  I find these offerings way too sweet for my taste.  I had the chocolate mousse here once and it was a bit dry and kinda nasty.
UPDATE 2010:  I did find the level of their pastries has gone up.  Their croissants (plain, chocolate and almond are all VERY good.  I also tried a long pastry filled with almond paste which was lovely.  As where their cream puffs.  I was still scared by my previous bad mousse experience and since I'm not that much into chocolate, I didn't miss it.  OK, I was so carried away by this chocolate croissant that I forgot to get a picture until it was half gone.

The wine shop did offer some nice cocktails like the Kir Royal and the Pomegranite Kir along with other champagne drinks.  I’ll take these over dry mousse any day.  However some red wine I cannot pronounce, (once again) tasted like ummmm, donkey. Why do I keep saying donkey? Because I can't say ass in a Disney blog. How do I know it tasted like donkey? Because if I was to guess what a donkey would taste like, I would point to this wine. AND it set me back $6.23 a glass. The whole French pavilion needs a trip to Napa to see what they are missing.

Rose and Crown Pub - Guinness. That wonderful chewy breakfast beer, loaded with lots of good for you grains with a hint of malty chocolate flavor set me back $7.46 without tip. Our barkeep also poured a shamrock into the foam on top for good luck. ALSO, you can take your booze TO GO! Just like the French Quarter! ROCK ON! Just no flashing!

The Tea Caddy - Part of my quest for "weird candy" aka "candy we don't have here in 'Merica" (1) 
Toffo, little bits of toffee. They are kind of like a Rolo without the chocolate only not as sweet. (2) Curly Wurl - mmmm, a twisty flat plait of caramel covered in Cadbury chocolate - yummy (3) Lion Bar - I have no idea. I haven't eaten it yet but the shop girl said it was really good and there are rice krispies in there so you can't go wrong. Each of these were $2.25 each. Shipping from England is pricey.

I really wanted to try the ice wine but after the dinner from hell, my hopes of this faded as fast as Illumination fireworks.  The beaver tails are gone so all that is left to me is maple fudge which was again, too sweet.  What is a Beaver Tail?  Ahhhh, it is a paddle shaped plate of fried dough.  It is at least 8" long and about 6" wide and was shaped ... like a beaver tail.  It use to be fried fresh then topped with all kinds of things... powdered sugar, chocolate, strawberries & whipped cream, nutella, spiced apples.  They were lovely.  Then they had them pre-made and the cast members would run them through a little "easy bake oven" set-up.  They were not as good  They were kinda chewy and then they went away.  Look for them in a midwest county faire near you.

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