Saturday, August 25, 2018

Victoria and Albert’s Chef’s Table Dinner: Walt Disney World May 2018

During our most recent Walt Disney World vacation we were able to enjoy dinner at Victoria & Albert’s Chef’s Table in the Grand Floridian Resort.  The last time we enjoyed this experience was in 2011 with just the two of us dining.   This year we invited long-time friends to join us.    There’s only one seating per night in the kitchen and to get that reservation you need to call six months in advance. For us, that meant remembering to make the phone call during our Bahamas vacation.

We were staying at Bay Lake Towers for this portion of the trip which made it convenient to navigate transportation in dress-up clothes.   Meeting our friends in the Grand Concourse we took the Monorail over to the Grand Floridian, leaving time for a pre-cocktail at Mizner’s Lounge.  We were greeted outside of the restaurant and were told it would be just a minute as they prepared for us.  It wasn’t too long before we were escorted through the dining area into the kitchen.  The dining table is off to one end of the kitchen to give diners a length-wise view to the action.  

One thing we observed in the beginnings their timing seemed off. The chef didn’t greet us right away, which was odd. Turns out a staff meeting was running late and Chef Amy was still at the meeting.  Our backup chef decided to start our toast.  Chef Amy joined us a few minutes later.  There were several times the ladies were not served first.  

Dinner at the Chef’s Table is a set ten-course meal that changes seasonally.  Offerings at the Chef’s Table are the same as in the main dining room.  Surprisingly it’s only a slight up-charge to eat in the kitchen, just requires luck to score the ressie.   We all chose to add the wine pairing which included three whites, three reds, and a dessert wine. We skipped the caviar, turbot, and Miyazaki upgrades.  At various points during dinner a different fresh bread is served along with your choice of salt and butter.

We were not fans of the duck pastrami.  We heard it is no longer on the menu - maybe a result of our dining companions sharing their opinion of the dish with the chef.

After dinner we were presented with a box of small candies to choose from.  Being full we asked for them to be boxed.   We were disappointed to find they did not box one of each for us.  Don’t know why - they had plenty.  

One of the more fun experiences we had in the kitchen was watching the chefs make stock.   Two large (20 gallon maybe) cook pots were close to our rooms doorway.  We watched the chefs stir the contents displaying whole garlic cloves, bones, other vegetables, etc.   this stock would be cooked down over 5 days.   

It was probably a little after 10 o’clock when we finished up our coffees and paying our bills.   We had a chance to get a photo with the staff, which was nice.  The quality of the food and knowledge of the staff still remains impressive.  On this night the attention to details slipped a little but it still did not detract from the experience.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Charity of the Month: Ronald McDonald House Charities

Charity of the Month is a way Team Tizzel is helping to support some very worthy organizations. As part of this program, we will dedicate a post to a charity that we will sponsor through the month by donating Holly's training run money.

In July we supported Sarcoma Foundation of America via Pittsburgh Cure Sarcoma 5K in honor of a friend’s relative with a $125 donation.

August Charity of the Month:

Yes we know we are late with this post.   When we rolled into August we did not have a charity in mind to support.  We thought we’d end up turning September into a double-down month until this came in the mail:

We were curious to see what Justin drew so we opened the envelope.  

Also included was a photo of Justin and his family.  The drawing was pretty accurate.  Good job Justin!  Thanks to your letter we are donating to Ronald McDonald House Charities this month.

From their website:

Many families travel far from home and spend several weeks or months to get treatment for their seriously ill or injured children – a long time to be away or to divide a family. And, for children facing a serious medical crisis, nothing seems scarier than not having mom and dad close by for love and support. A Ronald McDonald House provides a place for families to call home so they can stay close by their hospitalized child at little to no cost. 

Our Houses are built on the simple idea that nothing else should matter when a family is focused on the health of their child – not where they can afford to stay, where they will get their next meal or where they will lay their head at night to rest. We believe that when a child is hospitalized the love and support of family is as powerful as the strongest medicine prescribed.

Allow Families to Face the Weight of Illness Together 
Families are stronger when they are together, which helps in the healing process. By staying at a Ronald McDonald House, parents also can better communicate with their child’s medical team and keep up with complicated treatment plans when needed. They can also focus on the health of their child, rather than grocery shopping, cleaning or cooking meals.

Allow Children to Get the Best Care 
When your child is sick, you want the best care possible – even if it is hundreds or thousands of miles away. The Ronald McDonald House allows families to access specialized medical treatment by providing a place to stay at little or sometimes no cost.

Services for Families 
At every House, families can enjoy:
Home-cooked meals
Private bedrooms
Playrooms for children

Depending on the House, these services may also be available: 
Special suites for children with suppressed immune systems
Accredited education programs
Recreational activities
Non-clinical support services
Sibling support services

The generosity of volunteers and donors make it all possible. In return, families either stay at no cost or are asked to make a donation up to $25 per day, depending on the House. The RMHC Global Policy is that families are never turned away; if it’s not possible to pay, the fee is waived.