Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Victoria & Albert's Chef's Table Photo Recap

Here is the photo recap of our experience at Victoria and Albert's Chef's Table on June 6, 2011. Paired wines and links to more details on the course are provided next to the photos.

Maine Lobster with Passion Fruit Pearls
Paired wine: Michel Redde Sancerre "Les Tuilieres", Loire 2007

Cold "Smoked" Niman Ranch Lamb with Fuji Apple and Curry Dressing
Paired wine: Grans-Fassian Piesporter Kabinett Riesling 2007

Sake-Soy Marinated Gulf Shrimp with Bok Choy and Soy Beans
Paired wine (sake): Kanbara "Bride of the Fox" Gohyakumangoku Junmai Ginjo, Nigata

Roasted Quail with Asian Pears and Serrano Ham Jus
Paired wine: Ceretto Rossana Dolcetto d Alba, Piedmont 2006

Veal Sweetbread and Shank with Chanterelle Mushroom Ragout
Paired wine: Domaine La Roquete Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone 2005

Australian Kobe Beef with Garlic-Potato Puree
Paired wine:  Benziger Tribute Sonoma Mountain 2006

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Victoria & Albert's Chef's Table: Course Ten

We made it. The last course. Before taking a look at the final dessert, here's that video of the coffee contraption:

Now the final dessert. We were both very full by this point so we weren't going to have much of this. I think it's a technique of fine dining to bring out the richest chocolate thing they can whip up to leave you with the impression of really being full.
Mocha Scented Tanzanie Chocolate Mousse Timbale
Chocolate Cocktail
These were tough to get through. Very rich. Chocolate mousse inside was more like a ganache. The chocolate drink also had a heavy orange flavor. All were good, just too much. Afterwards, they bring out a plate of chocolates and other candies. I was able to eat two jellied candies. We had heard they box up the rest of the chocolates for you. They didn't do it for us (we did not ask).

After settling up we received our menus and a loaf of orange bread. We dove into that 4 days later and it was still the moistest bread ever. Need more of that.
Overall the whole event was about 4 hours long and lots of fun! We went back by cab to the Animal Kingdom Lodge and prepared for our early wake-up call for our flight home.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Victoria & Albert's Chef's Table: Course Nine

Now for the sweet desserts. Our first plate had 3 items:
Orange Panna Cotta with Chartreuse-Pineapple Sorbet and Cherries.
The best item on the plate was the sorbet with the candied thyme.
Our coffee was prepared at-table using a fancy contraption that drew the water up into the grounds, then back down into the serving vessel as coffee. We got some video of that for the next post.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Victoria and Albert's Chef's Table: Course Eight

We've now crossed over into the dessert portion of the evening, which meant 3 items were coming.

Our first "dessert" was a cheese course.   I don't think I've ever ordered a cheese course.   The closest may have been at Food and Wine Fest.   Now that I've had one, I'll pay more attention to them in the future.  We both really enjoyed it.

Comte Sail Antoine, Flagship Reserve Truffle Cheddar, Colston Bassett Stilton, 24 Monnth Parmigiano-Reggiano

Each cheese was paired with a fruit, such as fig or a suace.  This was also served with our last wine pairing:  a port.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Victoria & Albert's Chef's Table: Course Seven

Back from the break. We are escorted back to our table and get ready for our final entree course.
Australian Kobe beef with garlic-potato puree
This was good! The beef was cooked perfect for Dave and went well with the sauce. The little vegetables come from a farm that specializes in them. The black mass in the potatoes is black garlic. This stuff is really good and appears to be a new on-trend ingredient. It's normal garlic that's been fermented. It has a real nice caramel/molasses taste to it. There was another new red wine with this course.
Forgot to put this in an earlier post. They had an ottoman for Holly to set her purse on.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Victoria & Albert's Chef's Table: Course Six

There's two more entree items left to go and they just started pouring red wine for the next course.
Veal Sweetbread and shank with Chanterelle Mushroom ragout
Sweetbreads.......We figured this was coming at some point. We've never had sweetbreads before for good reason: you shouldn't be eating THAT! The dish also had gnocchi and shaved white truffles. The verdict: I loved it. The sweetbreads added a bit of fatty texture to the dish. Holly did not enjoy it too much, but I think a lot of it has to do with not enjoying eating a baby animal.

This guy is working on fava beans. Lots of process goes into preparing these as we learned from Chef Aimee.
The waiter asked if we wanted a break. YES! We were escorted out of the kitchen to the main entrance. We had 20 minutes to stretch our legs. We watched the lobby band play some music and then went onto the terrace off the staircase.  We sat out here and enjoyed the view for awhile. The. We made our way in passing "Misnery" - which is our nickname for Misner's Lounge. We consider it the least appealing and impersonal lounge on property. A "miserable" place. We met back up with the hostess and were escorted back for our final entree.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pre Rock & Roll 5K Tune-up video

Time to take a break from food. Here's a quick video from a recent 5k in Chicago. 8am start time meant we left the house at 5:30.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Victoria & Albert's Chef'sTable: Course Five

Other than Dave not enjoying his egg, everything has been excellent so far. The next course was good, but probably the least favorite for Holly thus far.
Roasted Quail with Asian Pears and Serrano Ham Jus
The quail sat on a pear puree (not the same kind of pear as the round one) and was accompanied by a quail leg spring roll. Overall a nice dish and good presentation. Holly did not like the skin on it. I thought it was good. She tends not to like the taste of small birds. I believe we are still on white wines.

Victoria & Albert's Chef's Table: Course Four

Time for another crowd-pleaser. Lots going on here. See how nice the photo is? This is when Holly suggested I might have a food setting on the camera. Who knew?

This was Sake-soy marinated gulf shrimp with bok choy and soy beans. We each had two very large shrimp served on a bed of soy beans and mushrooms. The flavors really came together very well in this dish.

The wine pairing for this course was sake. We do not have much experience with sake, and asked, would say it's not our beverage of choice. The sake they served us did nothing to change our opinions. Dry and a little bitter.

They served fresh wasabi with the dish. We don't like wasabi when served with meals. This changed our minds. It didn't burn like it does at the local places. Chef Aimee explained that we typically see concentrated wasabi when out to eat. This however was fresh grated wasabi root (never knew it was a root) that costs around $250/lb.

Earlier in the evening the chef closest to us was making an item in a mold. I asked chef about it and he was making the amuse bouche for the main dining room. It was lobster pane cotta about the size of a sliced golf ball. It was good, but I was happier with our selection.

Yeah more bread. All the bread was made by the head pastry chef at the GF. This slice was an egg brioche with onion butter. Just as nice as the previous piece.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Victoria & Albert's Chef's Table: Course Three

Course Three was one of my favorites. This one came with a bit of show.
Cold "Smoked" Niman Ranch Lamb with Fuji Apple and Curry Dressing. When this dish came out the waiters had small pitchers with them. On queue they poured a brown liquid (guessing broth) into the plate's center. Then "smoke" came up through the plate.

The accompanying items were radish, Fuji apple, and sorrel leaves. The curry taste was very mild and the lamb was medium-rare and not very "lamby". We also received a new wine with this course. This was about the time we realized the first two dishes came out very quickly so we ate this, and each consecutive course, SLOWLY.

Either this is the time they brought us the salt bowl, or this is the time I decided to snap its photo. We had a variety of salts to choose from including: sea salt, fennel salt, black salt, red Hawaiian salt, and kosher salt. We didn't really need to use any of these. A few years ago (at The Wave) I learned about using unsalted butter for bread and topping it with Hawaiian salt. That's all I have to say about that.

Victoria & Albert's Chef's Table: Course Two

Onto course two.  Maine Lobster with Passion Fruit Pearls

On the left is a lobster timbal made with vanilla aioli with mango.  The yellow item in the middle is mango with some hearts of palm.    The little "pearls" are passion fruit Flavored.  When you bite them you get a burst of flavor.  They're kinda like bath beads.   On the right is a lobster tail section with caviar.  We also received another new wine with this course (will list later).

This is also the time we got the first of our three bread servings.  They were all incredible!

Victoria and Albert's Chef's Table: Course One

There's no better way to ensure you have blog content than by parsing up a ten-course meal into multiple posts.

We were all dressed up and ready to go. We grabbed a cab from Animal Kingdom Lodge to the Grand Floridian. The are very few two-points on property that could be farther from each other. When we entered the GF the swing band was playing. This was the first time I've ever seen them and I thought it was a nice touch. I had worn a jacket with no tie, but my shirt was a bit oversized. We decided I needed a tie and bought one in the men's shop in the hotel.

We arrived right at 5 and were asked to wait a few minutes in the Citricos lounge. After a few minutes we were invited in. We were greeted by the host and had small talk for a few minutes before being led back through the kitchen. 

They showed us to our table which was in a cute area designed to look like a kitchen with spice jars, cook books, pots, etc. There were several articles about the restaurant posted. After a few minutes we were served Tattinger champagne and introduced to Chef Aimee, our host for the evening. She told us a little about the process, asked about preferences and allergies, and told us to have fun - the Chef's Table is designed to be a more informal experience (so my jacket could come off). We said we were willing to try anything but uncooked fish. Once we finished our champagne toast, the meal began!

Our amuse bouche arrived on 2 plates. The long plate contained 3 items and one item on the small plate:

Grilled spot prawn, soft-poached quail egg, crab squash blossum, burrata alla panna with jamon iberico.  This was paired with a nice white wine (add here).  We don't buy white wine usually so it's nice to try some with these dinner pairings.

Everything was very good. I don't like eggs, so the quail egg frightened me. Then Aimee said to cut into it and let it ooze into the bed. Guess what? I still don't like eggs.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It's On! The Team Tizzel Challenge

Team Tizzel is pleased to announce its fundraising challenge:

Dave has volunteered to give you the opportunity to make him look ridiculous for the Family Fun Run 5K in Walt Disney World in January 2012. How does this work?
  1. Donate money to our fundraising efforts to fight breast cancer
  2. As the total funds go up, Dave will put on more clothing to transform him into the Ultimate Human Duffy!
  • When we reach $750 Dave will carry a stuffed Duffy!
  • When we reach $1,500 Dave will add Duffy Ears
  • When we reach $3,000 Dave will add the final touch....
C'mon you know you want to see photos like this.....

Here's how to donate!

Bonus:  As the total goes up we will release fun, exclusive content on the site.   See Dave in Fantasmic! at Disneyland.  Watch Holly get a surprise.   There's content we haven't even created yet!!!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Back from Florida

Well we made it back. Of course we came home a little Disney-Tired.

After landing I drove directly to Downtown Disney.
While I was at my conference, I was lucky to find my manager wanted to leave property the first day for lunch and dinner. Good thing I rented that car.
For lunch we went to Sanaa at Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge. We shared the bread appetizer and I had the Durban Shrimp and Curry Chicken combo. Good option for lunch. We had a great window table and watched the caretaker feed the zebras.

Later that night we headed over to The Swan for dinner at Il Mulino. I had a tortellini in cream sauce and gelatos of the day (cappuccino and nutella).

Next day was Thursday. Full day conferencing. Our gala event was at Universal City Walk. Good thing for my boss I was happy to go to this since it was my birthday and she originally promised to take me out. I have expensive taste when it comes to food. They blocked a portion off for a private party. We hangout at Bob Marley's and Pat O'Briens. Afterwards we had a snack in the hotel sports bar.

Friday: conference ends at 11:15 and I am in the car by 11:30. Off to Downtown Disney for a couple of items. Some baked goods from Babycakes NYC and the Confetti Cupcake Vinylmation. Next off to the Animal Kingdom Lodge for pre-check-in and drop off the luggage. Then a trip to the Animal Kingdom Park. Lunch at Flame Tree, walked The Boneyard, rode Dinosaur, rode Tricerotop Spin, watched The Tropicals and the parade, then watched Tough to Be a Bug. I also visited the Dawa Bar and Thumper! Got some fun video of Guit Tar Dan and Miss Bunny.

Back to the room to unpack and then picked Holly up from the airport. We had a drink at Sanaa, dinner at Jiko, and then some drinks at Victoria Falls Lounge.


Saturday: Epcot all day. We arrived early enough but stood at a turnstile they decided not to open. Once moving lines put us way back. We missed the opening show and were far back for the Soarin' herding. We still made it on relatively quickly. Rode Test Track, hit the Mission Space store, Mousegears, Art of Disney, Nemo ride, and Journey to Imagination.

It was creeping up on noon so we had to start heading to Mexico. On the way we stopped at one of the gateway stores and took in all the Duffy merchandise. You don't say it "Duffy" though. You say it kinda gravelly like this "Duffffffaaaaaayyy". We got our drinks from La Cava de Tequilia. I went classic margarita and Holly picked cucumber. Lunch was 45 minutes away so we strolled with our drinks. Lunch was at Via Napoli where we had La Rossa beer (great beer), the risotto balls, and pizzas. Holly's Quattro Fromage was way better than my sausage and peppers pie. holly indicated it was he birthday so she got a little dessert and a serenade.

After lunch, we decided to take a walk back to Duffy (now say it right in your head). I told him I'd like to see him in his other outfits and that made him feel sad. Duffy: your sailor outfit is very nice. For some reason Holly wanted a photo of his butt. For some reason, I took it.
We then went around WS again clockwise. On our way around we stopped at each Kidcot Stop for a Duffy stamp. We also made stops at the outpost, Karmel Kuche, Mitsukoshi, and The Rose and Crown. We made a lap between Off-Kilter and the new UK band. They were good, but they looked like they just rolled out of bed and didn't even try to fake an English accent.

Dinner was at La Hacienda. We got a window table 1:45 before Illuminations. Our waiter was very cooperative and let us linger. The food was actually very good and I enjoyed my rose margarita. Complete with petal. Holly's drink was not as tasty. I think it was called Orange Fire. We had a great view of Illuminations from this vantage point. After dinner we did some damage in Mousegears and left the park for Animal Kingdom Lodge and a visit to the Victoria Falls Lounge.

Sunday: Big day! Star Wars Weekend at The Studios and evening EMH at Magic Kingdom. Holly had a hunch that they'd open the Studios an hour earlier like they did the day before. Our bus got us to the turnstiles 2 minutes before the gates opened at 8. We casually walked onto Toy Story Mania. We were in the 2nd cycle of cars. Very luxurious. We headed over to Star Tours for our first of 4 rides that day. Without spoiling anything we had a lot of repeat experiences. It is a great improvement and can't wait to go back. We made our way to the merchandise tent and bought almost nothing. DVC an AP pins were sold out. Holly bought the R2-D2 popcorn bucket and threw out the stale caramel corn inside. We made a new friend via Facebook, but I'll save that story for another post.

Lunch was at The Brown Derby. We both had the soup. Holly ordered the crab cake appy as her entree and proclaimed it the best crab cake ever! I had the biggest piece of grouper ever cooked. I also had another pink drink (it's a rum runner by a different name). Holly had another birthday treat coming.

We did a few more things around the park including getting a Stormtrooper to harass Stunt Duffy. We headed over to The Magic Kingdom and immediately got Peter Pan fast passes. We walked around a bit and then visited the new Mickey meet and greet. 5 minute wait.

It was time to get dinner so we hopped a boat to the Polynesian Resort. We ate at the sushi bar outside of Kona Cafe. We both had Lapu Lapus (a drink server in a pineapple), wings, and shrimp tempura rolls. Back to the Magic Kingdom via monorail. We visited the new Princess meet and greet and saw Aurora, Belle, and Cinderella. I think they all sensed my "don't talk to me" vibe and did not go too much into their spiel. We hit a few attractions, watched all the night time spectaculars, then kept an eye on the clock for midnight. Holly was turning 40 at midnight and our plan was to ride Peter Pan as she turned 40. We got on the FP line a bit early so we let folks ahead of us until it was time. Our plan worked and Holly got one of her birthday wishes. Afterwards we hit a couple more rides then left the park about 12:45.

Monday: Slept in a bit and went to Boma for breakfast. Since we had to come back and change for dinner we were not going to spend a ton of time in the parks today. We drove to Epcot. We went to Test Track first. After that we went to the World Showcase and rode Maelstrom (skipping the film). We then tooled around a bit until La Cava de Tequila opened. we got our walking beverages and made our way around the showcase again. We tried a napoleon from the French bakery and did not think it was that good. After some more strolling and a break in Rose and Crown we left Epcot to go get ready for dinner. We had a 5pm seating at Victoria and Albert's Chef's Table.
To be continued....