Reviews written by Kait's Inside Dish
Registered on Nov 30 11
I had first heard about Beaches and Cream through a coworker who raved about the delicious Ice Cream treats served up in an authentic diner style atmosphere. Immediately upon hearing about Beaches and Cream I had put the table serve restaurant on my Disney Restaurant to do list, hoping to get a chance to try it during my time here in Florida.
Then today ironically 4 of us out of the 6 of us that live together just happened to have the day off, I suggested we all venture off to the Yacht and Beach Club Resort for a delicious dessert. My one roommate Scout, a connoisseur on all things Disney excitedly informed me that Beaches and Cream was amazing, she then continued to rattle off information about the different desserts, basically giving me a full overview of the entire menu, she was definitely on board. The simple promise of ice cream was enough to entice my other two roommates, Brandi and Kailey to also make the trip!
I will admit I was a bit hesitant about Beaches and Cream as far as finding a vegan dessert, although I was quite positive that they like most Disney Restaurants carried some type of vegan friendly ice cream I didn't too expect much, a simple bowl of tofutti or rice dream vanilla ice cream would be enough to satisfy me!
Never would I have ever thought it would be possible to enjoy a traditional ice cream dessert served at a non vegan ice cream parlor, then I went to Beaches and Cream were I was quite happy to be proven wrong.
Beaches and Cream is a cute 50's style ice cream parlor complete with counter service and high top bar stools, a jute box, and a pastel color scheme. This simple restaurants serves standard American fare including juicy hamburgers, perfectly golden french fries, and of course delectable ice cream desserts. Beaches and Cream is probably most well know for their Kitchen Sink Special, a huge dessert which includes 8 scoops of ice cream, all of the toppings offered in house, and an entire can of whip cream, talk about a yummy dessert! However, if this sounds like too much for you don't even worry with an immense selection of ice cream sodas, milkshakes, and sundaes to choose from your sure to find something you like.
After a 55 minute wait (which was totally worth it) we were finally seated in the small but cozy ice cream parlor. I informed our waitress that I was a vegan and asked her about some of the topping choices, she was very good about finding out specifically what was vegan and reporting back to me. She also informed me that the restaurant carried both Toffuti and Rice Dream brands of ice cream in the location in chocolate and vanilla flavors.
Looking at all the ice cream choices I was pretty stumped about what to order, so I simply created my own ice cream sundae which featured the winning combination of chocolate, peanut butter and banana.
My ice cream sundae was served to me in a traditional sundae dish with a hard peanut butter coating over the chocolate ice cream and sliced banana, a dish of warm creamy peanut butter also accompanied the sundae. Of course it wasn't long before I poured that over my ice cream and was happy to enjoy the combination of cold and warm ingredients together...YUM!
The Sundae was so delicious, In fact a guy at the table over from us curiously inquired about which menu selection I had chosen, after telling him I concocted the sundae myself he gave me his nod of approval and told me it looked quite good!
My roommate, Scout decided on the Mickey Mouse Sundae, made from a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream, two Oreo cookies which resembled the mickey ears, two chocolate chips which were made into the eyes, and a cherry used in place of the mouth, I have to say her mini sundae was quite adorable!
Kailey, another one of my roommates decided to go for a traditional soda shop favorite, a good old milk shake. Made with creamy vanilla bean ice cream, topped with whipped cream, peanut butter chips, and a red cherry!
Brandi ordered an Ice Cream Soda, which was made with vanilla ice cream and seltzer and doused in a cherry topping, quite an interesting combination of ingredients, but I am guessing she enjoy it seeing as her soda cup was completely empty once we left
Beaches and Cream is a cute place for dessert or a quick bite to eat. The prices are also quite reasonable! Unfortunately Beaches and Cream does not take reservations and due to their limited seating room and famous ice cream treats you can pretty much count on a long wait, however, with table side seating along the pool, and an action packed arcade located next door, their is plenty to keep you occupied while you wait. There is also an express take out window which offers a limited ice cream menu. Beaches and Cream is open for both lunch and dinner 11a.m.-11p.m.
Ever since I can remember it has always been a tradition for my Aunt Barbara and I to go Christmas shopping together. As a kid I remember my aunt picking me up from school and driving a few towns over to the mall full of stores crowded with holiday shoppers on a mission. My Aunt would patiently await as I examined possible gifts always contemplating what to buy my parents and how much too spend. Usually we would end our tiresome day of shopping with a nice relaxing dinner as we reflected on all of our great finds. However, once my Aunt moved to Florida our holiday shopping tradition stopped, and for the last few years I have found myself doing my holiday shopping alone desperately missing my shopping partner who would easily offer up suggestions, helping me to make excellent Christmas gift decisions.
However, Now that I am here in Florida for the holidays my aunt and I resumed our tradition and spent our day doing some much needed Christmas shopping. Five shopping bags and a much lighter wallet later we heading to Animal Kingdom Lodge for our much anticipated dinner reservation at Jiko, a signature dining restaurant offering up delicious food which combines together African, Indian, and Mediterranean flavors.
It was may aunts first time to the Animal Kingdom Lodge and boy she sure was impressed! Upon walking into the lobby she stared wide eyed in amazement as she took in the magnificent open room complete with wood beams hand carved with intricate African symbols. A large African themed Christmas tree decorated with African drums and other traditional items stood perfectly tall in the center of the lobby.
Of course no trip to the Animal Kingdom Lodge would be complete without a stop to view the animals.
We headed outdoors where my aunt stood open mouthed as she watched the animals obliviously roaming the open 21 acre savannah. She was even more shocked when she realized that the resort rooms had balconies which over looked the savannah, imagine waking up to wild animal strolling the land right outside your window, quite a way to begin the day!
Finally it was time for dinner. Upon checking in I also informed the greater at the front podium that in addition to my food allergy I was also a vegan, she carefully took down all my necessary information and was happy to inform me that they would be able to accommodate my special dietary needs.
We were promptly sat at 5:50 (our reservation time) in the dimly lit spacious restaurant. The hostess pulled out the chair for me and even set the napkin on my lap (quite the attentive service). Once sat our hostess gave us a brief overview of the restaurant and then handed us our menus, to me she handed a special vegan menu (Obviously I was ecstatic) which had vegan appetizer, entree, and dessert offerings. Less then a minute later the hostess returned to our table with two warm towels to clean our hands with, quite an impressive addition to our overall dining experience.
Like the rest of the Animal Kingdom Lodge, Jiko has a very authentic African theme. The warmly decorated restaurant has an orange and bright blue color scheme which was inspired to resemble the serine African sunset. The restaurant also hosts an open show kitchen complete with coral colored wood burning ovens.
We started our evening by splitting a cold appetizer, we ordered the Roasted Beet Salad from the vegan menu, which was made with 3 different types of beets, candied beets, golden beets, and roasted red beets, the salad was topped with watercress and Frisee and a beautiful burgundy colored blackberry Shiraz Vinaigrette which was drizzled over the plate. The non vegan beet salad came accompanied with pistachio crusted goat cheese and thinly sliced Serrano ham, so our server, Mike brought out a side dish with the two non vegan ingredients for my aunt to enjoy! She raved about the creamy cheese and the slightly salty ham.
Next we had our hot appetizer, a delicious Puree of Sweet Potato Soup made with pineapple, red pepper, and grated plantain fries. This soup was delicious the combination of crispy fried grated plantains topped with the velvety smooth soup puree had a unique texture.
Our server also brought us out each a basket of bread. My basket contained whole wheat flax seed focaccia and thin crispy papadum bread. Both breads were delicious! My Aunts basket contained the whole wheat flax seed bread with a side of creamy honey butter,which she raved about. It took some serious willpower from both of us to resist eating our entire baskets full of bread.
Next it was onto the main event. I selected the Egyptian Kushari Entree Made with Lentils, Israeli couscous, fresh chickpeas, tomato sauce, almond,and a a light Harissa Vinaigrette. This dish was great, it had a slight kick to it but the vinaigrette seasoned couscous topped with the spicy chunky tomato sauce and slightly salty sliced almonds made for a wonderful combination of flavorful ingredients.
After Indecisively changing her mind several times my aunt finally selected the Grilled Wild Gulf Shrimp Curry served over a bed of coconut basmati and seasonal vegetables, topped with plump raisins in a durban curry sauce. She loved her dish especially the combination of spicy curry sauce with the plump raisins which provided a bit of sweetness to the dish.
Three courses later we were quite comfortably full, yet there was still one course to go and I wasn't stopping until I had it. My Aunt on the other hand claimed she was too full for dessert, yet a run down of the items on the dessert menu by our server seemed to make the idea of dessert suddenly attractive to her. Within five minutes of being handed the dessert menu she had decided on the warm coconut bread pudding topped with caramel rum sauce and accompanied by the house made caramel ice cream. Despite being full she finished her entire dessert, somethings just don't deserve to be wasted!
I selected the Sorbet, a selection of three house made sorbets, creamy coconut, red raspberry, and sweet mango topped with a selection of fresh berries. A perfect light and delicious dessert and end to our dinner.
I also enjoyed a warm cup of freshly brewed chai tea with my dessert, made with the aromatic blend of comforting Indian spices!
We left Jiko completely stuffed but extremely happy with out excellent meal! Jiko is a great restaurant and extremely accommodating, in addition to their dinner menu the restaurant also offers Vegan, Vegetarian, Lactose intolerant, Gluten intolerant, and PKU menus making it a great place for those with special dietary needs. This is a signature dinning restaurant so entree tend to be priced between $28- $44 however, I think you'll find the quality of food absolutely worth the price!
We were seated exactly at 8:50 in the intimate dimmed dinning room at a window table providing a lovely view of The castle located across the way at the Magic Kingdom.
We started the night off by ordering appetizers. I had the Heirloom Apple salad served with Candied Pistachios ( which are usually coated in butter, but Noah made me a vegan version), toasted pumpkin seeds, thinly sliced heirloom apples, and pomegranate seeds with a delicious pomegranate vinaigrette drizzled over the salad. This seasonal salad was delicious and fresh!
In between examining the menu and carrying on our conversation we also took some time to enjoy the soft sourdough bread served with a side of butter topped with red Hawaiian sea salt for my Dad and a side of buttery olive oil for myself.
At 9:30 we headed out to the Verandah with the rest of the guests at the restaurant to enjoy the Holiday themed Wishes firework show. Aside from the delicious food Narcoossee's is known for having a great view of the nightly Magic Kingdom firework display. Without swarms of people, dinners are able to relaxingly enjoy the show from the comfort of their seats, or for an even better view, dinners are encouraged to head out onto the verandah which overlooks the water and view the show from there. The music is piped in and the lights in the restaurant are dimmed, servers even wait to bring out the food so that guests are able to have a magical experience and fully enjoy the show.
We returned to our table and within minutes are entree's were being served. An amazing artfully plated dish was set in front of me, I wasn't quite sure what this delectable looking entree was but it definitely wasn't the Asian themed stir fry that Noah and I had talked about on the phone. Suddenly Noah appeared at our table, ready with a prepared overview of his vegan concoction. He explained that the dish was inspired by the Vegetarian Entree, the Pan Seared Sweet Potato-Ricotta Gnocchi, He altered the dish where necessary to make it vegan friendly but still used the main ingredients from the original recipe.
He created a creamy vegan sweet potato puree and topped it with wilted ice root spinach, Hon-Shimeji mushrooms (which I am normally not a fan of, but I did actually enjoy them in this dish), crispy yellow baby carrots, and crunchy Chinese artichokes, drizzled with a sweet raisin vinaigrette. The meal was unique and flavorful and I thoroughly enjoyed this delicious seasonal custom made entree.
My Dad selected the Crispy Whole Snapper, which as implied in the title is an entire snapper which is tossed in a flour mixture and deep fried until perfectly golden brown. It is served over a bed of basmati rice with charred green beans with a soy- lime vinaigrette.
My Dad was pretty much in his glory as he messily dissected the fish trying to abstract every ounce of flesh from the bone. As a fisherman he claimed to know his way around a fish and judging from the near empty plate aside from the thin fish bones I'd say he did a pretty good job!
Finally it was on to dessert, usually a troublesome task for most chefs, but not for Chef Noah. He prepared a special dessert consisting of refreshing granny smith apple sorbet severed over heirloom apples plated on a dish with sweet pear wine jelly and edible flowers. It was delicious, light, and refreshing and a perfect end to our perfect day.
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