Yak and Yeti at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

As anyone who is Gluten free will quickly lament, dining at an Asian restaurant can have its challenges. Soy sauce is laden with gluten, and getting around this key ingredient can be akin to dining at a French restaurant and asking them to hold the butter. But Disney always rises to a challenge.

Yak and Yeti and Disney's Animal Kingdom

For our latest trip to the World, we decided to try out a few new places – new to us, anyway. I had shied away from certain restaurants over the last few years for the above reason, but wanted to put my faith in the Disney chefs this time around. After a morning spent in Animal Kingdom running from one ride to the next – with breaks only for lion-spotting on a Kilimanjaro Safari – we hungrily approached our lunch spot at Asia’s Yak and Yeti. I tested the chefs, as well as my faith, and both were proved worthy.

The restaurant’s decor is very authentic, as several of the hosts pointed out during our short wait. We were welcomed to have a look around either before or after our lunch, in order to check out the artifacts that had been collected in the making of this dining locale. They claimed that wherever possible, owners had used antique furniture and relics. It really is one of the best themed restaurants in Disney World, but doesn’t get appreciated in the rush to get in and out quickly.

One of several colorful artifacts that make Yak and Yeti a unique experience

Yak and Yeti is one of the few park restaurants not technically Disney-owned, although I was unaware of this crucial detail until we had arrived at the restaurant and been seated. There on the table sat an unassuming advertisement that quietly announced the restaurant’s Landry’s ownership. Having had a not-so-favorable experience with special dining where outside ownership was concerned (namely at Marrakesh in Epcot’s Morocco), it was with trepidation that I opened my menu.

I was put at ease when our waiter arrived, having already been made aware of my restrictive palate. He informed me that Yak and Yeti caters to this request on a daily basis, and that we would both be happy with their most popular appetizer, which could be modified to be gluten-free. This order was taken and a chef was summoned to discuss entree options.

Gluten Free Lettuce Cups

We shared an order of the Gluten Free Lettuce Cups, which were so delicious they could have been made into a meal on their own. Minced chicken, chopped vegetables, and a gluten free soy mixture made these very reminiscent of the PF Chang’s/Pei Wei version. My husband informed me that he would never have known the dish was allergy-friendly.

Traditional Crispy Honey Chicken

After the chef came to give me my many options, we placed our entree order. Obviously feeling nostalgic after those Lettuce Cups, my husband ordered the Crispy Honey Chicken. We typically do not eat at Asian restaurants (much to his dismay), and this was a treat he couldn’t pass up. With the exception of a few grains of rice, he cleaned his plate – stopping just short of making it sparkle.

Malasian Coconut Curry

I chose to go with something a bit different, based on the chef’s recommendation and my own need for something other than the standard. The Malasian Seafood Curry was comprised of Mahi, scallops, clams, mussels, shrimp, zucchini, and tomatoes, all in a coconut red curry broth. While it traditionally came served atop a bed of jasmine rice, I chose to forgo that large amount of carbs and simply opted for the soup. To put it simply, it was amazing. The curry was rich, but not overly “coconuty”. The seafood was fresh, the vegetables cooked just right – had I eaten the rice I would have had to be rolled out, because I ate the huge bowl in its entirety.

After all this, there was no question about dessert. Aside from the fact that both of us were in a happy food coma, we knew that purchases of Mickey bars would be in our not-too-distant future. I could easily have eaten at Yak and Yeti more than once on this particular trip alone – it’s a given that we’ll dine here during our next Asian encounter at Animal Kingdom.

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A Pie Named Blondie

I tend to want to prove that allergy friendly-foods can also be palette-friendly. Perhaps it comes from the snide comments and awkward glances I get when I mention cooking or eating something that is “gluten free” or “vegan.” Holidays with my family is, like many others, centered around food. But the difference lies in the type of food – if it weren’t for me, there probably wouldn’t be a dessert in sight.

Taking it upon myself to provide the sweets this year, I set out looking for a recipe that everyone would enjoy…and I would be able to partake of, myself. Cakes and pies were among my top choices, but as my list of other foods to provide kept growing, my need for a simple dessert increased. These blondies provided the best of both worlds – and everyone seemed to love them!

Blondie (Pie)

  • 1 1/2 Cups Gluten Free Flour (I used King Arthur brand)
  • 1/4 Cups Gluten Free Rolled Oats
  • 3/4 Cups Organic Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 Tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup Oil (I used half Grapeseed and half Coconut)
  • 1/2 Cup Applesauce
  • 1 EnerG Egg Replacer
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Vanilla
  • 1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips, plus more for Topping
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts, plus more for Topping
  • 1/4 Cup Flaked Unsweetened Coconut, plus more for Topping

Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees. Prepare the faux egg as directed on box (1 1/2 teaspoons EnerG plus 2 Tbsp. WARM water). Mix together and set aside.

Mix the dry ingredients – flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder and cinnamon – together in a large bowl. Add the oil, applesauce, vanilla, and egg replacer. Mix by hand until all ingredients are fully incorporated.

Measure out and add the chocolate chips, walnuts, and coconut. Gently mix in until evenly spread throughout batter. Place all into a greased pie plate or baking dish. Add extra chocolate chips, walnuts, and coconut to the top (I was very liberal with this!).

Bake for 25-30 minutes, checking to see when Blondies begin to brown – coconut will brown very quickly, but this doesn’t mean the rest is fully cooked). Slice into pie-shaped servings and serve with your favorite ice cream!

Foodie Football Hors d’oeuvres

The trees are shedding their leaves as the weather cools, and with that comes thoughts of fireplaces, comforting soups…and football. At least for many of the boys in my life! While I’m not a sports kinda girl, I do love to eat during those occasions! There’s just something about dips and finger foods that make me happy – especially when those tailgating treats are Gluten Free and Egg Free!

 

Mini Burgers

  • 16 Large Frozen Waffle-Cut Potatoes
  • 1 lb. Ground Beef or Turkey
  • Preferred Burger Seasonings
  • Slices of Cheese cut into Small Squares
  • Cherry Tomatoes, Sliced

This is so easy! Simply preheat oven to 400, arrange desired amount of fries onto a baking sheet, bake for 10 minutes, turn them over, and bake for 10 more. Meanwhile, make small burgers (about 2 tablespoons each) and season well on each side before cooking in a large skillet over medium high heat. Turn burgers halfway through. Top each potato with a burger, a small piece of cheese, a tomato, and spear it all with a toothpick.

 

Goat Cheese Bacon Pops

  • 6 Slices Bacon (Turkey or Beef Bacon work as well)
  • 4 oz. Goat Cheese
  • 4 oz. Cream Cheese
  • Chopped Thyme or Basil
  • Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Pecans
  • Apple Slices, to Serve

Cut each piece of bacon in half. Place the bacon in a large skillet on low. Cook for about 15 minutes, turning frequently, until the bacon is crispy. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Pat the slices to remove excess grease. Meanwhile, put goat cheese, cream cheese, 1 tablespoon of herbs, and a few turns of cracked black pepper in a food processor. Mix until creamy then form small balls. Insert lollipop sticks. Put in the freezer for 20 minutes or until just firm – not frozen. Clean food processor and add cooled bacon, remaining herbs, and pecans. Mix until as fine and crumbly as it can be. Take the cheese balls out of the freezer and roll them in the bacon mixture, pressing it in with your fingers if it doesn’t immediately stick. Place in a container on their sides and refrigerate until serving. Serve on full rounds of sliced apple.

 

Brie with Pecans and Cranberries

  • 1 Round or Triangle of Brie
  • 1/3 Cup Pecans (Trader Joe’s has a great Candied version!)
  • 1/4 Cup Cranberries

Use a crockpot for this and it is SO easy. Put in Brie and top with chopped pecans and cranberries. Cook on low for 4 hours or on high for 2. Serve with sliced apples or crackers (Nut Thins are my favorite).

 

Zucchini Pizza

  • Large Zucchini slices, cut 3/4 inch thick
  • Olive Oil
  • Marinara of Your Choice (Pesto would be great also)
  • Grated Cheese
  • Pizza Toppings of Your Choice (Pepperoni, Canadian Bacon, Sausage, Caramelized Onions, Olives, Anchovies, Sauteed Bell Peppers, etc)

This will use your grill, or you could place on a broiler pan in the oven. Either way, oil the grates and preheat. Cut Zucchini into 3/4 inch rounds, or lengthwise depending on the shape (Don’t use very large Zucchini with lots of seeds). Cook for 7-8 minutes, remove and add sauce, cheese, and other toppings. Cook for 7-8 minutes more, checking every few minutes to see when the cheese has melted and topping are slightly browned. Serve hot!

 

Grilled Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers w/ Vintage Cheddar

  • Jalapeno Griller (Cabela’s has a good one)
  • Jalapenos
  • Tillamook Vintage Cheddar or other English Sharp
  • Salt and Cracked Pepper
  • Sliced Bacon cut in half, NOT Thick Cut

Turn grill to medium high. Shred cheese and toss with salt and pepper – set aside. Wash and cut the tops off the peppers. Set the tops aside for later. Carefully scrape out seeds (you probably want to wear some gloves, and don’t touch your eyes!). Poke a hole in the bottom of each pepper with a tooth pick. Stuff each pepper with cheese, then wrap the bacon around the jalapenos and secure with a toothpick completely through the pepper to the other side. Place in the metal griller holes, balancing the pepper caps on top and place on the grill. Cook until the skin has some black spots, the bacon is cooked through, and the cheese melts.

Are you ready for some football?

Treats, Not Tricks – Healthier Goodies for Halloween

Our condo is allowing Trick or Treaters to come knocking on everyone’s door this year, so I’ll be passing out Reese’s and Snickers with the best of them. I readily admit that Halloween candy is a weakness of mine, and more times than not I wind up with my hand in the candy cauldron along with the kiddos! This year the plan is to whip up some treats that I can indulge in, so that I won’t be eating the bad stuff – I found some great allergy friendly ideas!

Mounds Candy Bars

Almond Joys and Mounds are my very favorite, and they also happen to be quite easy to make! Elana uses a Mounds Candy Mould, so I will have to hunt one of those down. But there are only 4 ingredients, which makes up for the extra equipment.

  • Dark Chocolate Chips
  • Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • Coconut Oil
  • Agave Nectar (I will probably use Honey)

Peppermint Patties

My husband isn’t a fan of coconut, but he adores peppermint flavored candies! The use of coconut oil in this recipe doesn’t produce a coconut taste, especially with the strength of the peppermint oil. Once again, only 4 ingredients, and this time no extra moulds needed.

  • Coconut Oil
  • Agave (or Honey)
  • Peppermint Oil
  • Dark Chocolate Chips

Orange Apricot Clusters

This look so good! A few more ingredients than the rest of the recipes, but I think they will be more than worth it. The Spunky Coconut is such a fun blog for Allergy Friendly foods, and this is just an example.

  • Dark Chocolate Chips
  • Coconut Oil
  • Honey
  • Vanilla and Orange Extracts
  • Slivers Almonds
  • Dried Apricots

“Reese’s” Peanut Butter Cups

This one’s all for the husband! It’s my own recipe, and perhaps I’ll try to tweak it and make a few with almond butter and no Nutritional Yeast. But, I don’t think I can possibly get the consistency that I can with the Earth Balance Peanut Butter. Still, it may be worth a shot!

  • 2 Bars Dark Chocolate
  • Creamy Peanut Butter (Earth Balance)
  • Nutritional Yeast (Optional)
  • Dash of Salt, Honey, or Vanilla (also Optional)
This Blog is a part of Simple Lives Thursdays and Fight Back Fridays!

Roasted Pears with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts

Last night we had some friends over to our condo. Because I don’t often entertain in our tiny abode, I went a little crazy with the “light” hors d’oeuvres we would to be having, and concocted a spread that would have fed at least 15 people (there were 4 of us in total). Of all the food, the Pears were my husband’s favorite, however.

Naturally Gluten Free, these pears could have even served as a savory dessert. The sweetness of the pears and the addition of honey went wonderfully with the creamy goat cheese and sprinkling of Tarragon. They were absolutely delicious!

Roasted Pears with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts (Serves 4)

  • 2 Ripe but Firm Pears
  • Goat Cheese (I used a small log, 365 Brand – Organic)
  • 3/4 oz Pine Nuts
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • Tarragon
  • Honey

Preheat oven to 350. Wash the pears, cut lengthwise, and use a sharp paring knife and spoon to remove the core, leaving a round well for the filling. Heat butter in a skillet and brown the pears, SKIN SIDE DOWN, on low heat for about 10 minutes. Place in an ovenproof dish (I used a pie plate) and pour the remaining butter on top. Add 1/2 cup of water in the bottom of the dish. Bake 10-15 minutes.

While this is baking, combine the goat cheese with pine nuts and Tarragon. I just sprinkled to taste.

Remove the pears and evenly disperse the cheese mixture on top of each. Pour a bit of honey over each and put back in the oven to bake for another 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately – or not!

We didn’t get around to eating them for about an hour, with the pears sitting out lonely the entire time. But by the time we devoured them, they were still wonderful!

This blog is a part of Fight Back Fridays!

Organic, Gluten Free Cookie Dough Bites

Since I’m unable to eat gluten, soy, and a miriad of other things, I haven’t been able to have too many treats. So when I saw a recipe for Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough bites, I knew I had to try it out! It’s gluten free, dairy free, soy free, and as far as desserts go, pretty healthy!!

Gluten Free Cookie Dough Bites

  • 1 Cup Creamy Almond Butter
  • 1/2 Cup, plus 2 tbsp Raw Honey
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Cup, plus 2 tbsp Coconut Flour
  • 6 tbsp Ground Flax Seed
  • 1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 1/2 cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips (I used Enjoy Life Mini Chips)

In a large bowl, mix together almond butter, honey and vanilla until creamy and well blended. In a separate bowl, mix together the coconut flour, flax seed and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well to combine. Mix in the chocolate chips. Use your hands to knead the dough a few times to combine. If it’s too dry and doesn’t hold together well, knead in one teaspoon of water. Then, scoop out tablespoon-size portions and roll into one-inch balls using your hands. Refrigerate – Makes about 36 cookie bites.

This Blog is Part of Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays!

My Definition of Healthy at Disney’s 50s Prime Time Cafe

The Retro Entrance to 50's Prime Time Cafe

There are many places in Disney where you can stick to your diet, or your convictions, when it comes to choosing which menu item to order. Not so at the 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Hollywood Studios – or at least that was my experience when I looked over my choices. It reminded me of the wise words of Paula Deen, “I’m your Cook, Not your Doctor!”

Sure, they offer some items that would have been lower in fat, lower in calories, or lower in sodium. But they also would have been much lower in taste, and wouldn’t have given me the experience of this celebrated location that I had come for. The reservations had been booked long ago, and I knew I could find gluten free items while still having some good ‘ole homecookin’.

We had a wait of about 20 minutes, and were then sat in a very friendly, very LOUD waitress’s section. But that’s also the atmosphere you need to know about before coming here – the staff treats you like their own family, and that includes admonishments, teasing, and complaints about your not eating enough vegetables. They are also costumed in 50s housewife attire, complete with apron and wagging finger.

She understood I had a food allergy, and told the chef all about it. When he came out and discussed my choices, I was very excited to hear what I could have. With Entrees such as Fried Chicken, Meatloaf, and Pot Roast, the menu items really do take you back to your childhood, reminding many people of a time when they sat around the family dinner table as kids – I learned that I wouldn’t be left out of that journey!

We had the option to start off with a milkshake as our beverage choice, but we made that mistake last year at Sci-Fi. This time we just opted for water and ordered some appetizers.

Beer Battered Onion Rings
Aunt Annie’s Seafood Salad

Jeremy got the Onion Rings, which I was secretly envious of. While some places in Disney offer gluten free onion rings (such as Raglan Road), 50’s Prime Time’s version is deliciously beer battered, making them off limits to me. So he indulged in the two-person sized appetizer, and I chose Aunt Annie’s Seafood Salad. This came with Shrimp, Scallops and Crab tossed in a citrus vinaigrette. It was tasty, but I was saving room for my entree!

Fish Sandwich with More Tartar Sauce than Fish!

Jeremy isn’t one for the usual home-cooked meals that most people think of. He doesn’t like meatloaf, roast, pot pie – and usually likes his fried chicken in “nugget” form. So he bypassed the usuals and ordered the Fish Sandwich. An odd choice to be sure, but he really enjoyed it! I also think he was a little on the full side after all those onion rings!

Chicken Pot Pie - Oooey Gooey Goodness

I however, really like all that comfort food, and opted for Grandma’s Chicken Pot Pie! The chef shocked me when he said that he could make a gluten free version, so I happily took him up on it. It came out piping hot in a very large bowl, and in place of the crust were two large tapioca rolls to soak up all the gooey goodness. I was in heaven!

PB&J Milkshake - and me in the background enjoying my own dessert!

Of course the dessert menu was soon to come, and even though we were full, we had purposefully not ordered the milkshake at the beginning so that we could enjoy dessert. Jeremy got his favorite – the PB&J Milkshake. It tastes exactly like it sounds, and it’s fantastic! I had ordered a gluten free version last year from the bar section of the restaurant, and walked around the park with it for an afternoon snack.

Gluten Free Brownie with Tofutti Ice Cream

I had a special creation made – a Brownie Sundae with Tofutti Ice Cream. I was a little kid in the ice cream shop, wanting to bury my face in the plate that was set in front of me! Rarely do I get dessert anywhere, so my time at Disney is always a delicious indulgence.

We really like 50’s Prime Time. The theming is fun, the food is filling and offers a ride down memory lane, and the waitresses are an attraction in and of themselves!

This Blog is Part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays!

A Dinner at La Hacienda de San Angel

Disney’s newest restaurant may have to be added to my list of favorites. The decor itself is enough to tempt anyone to stray from their longtime favorites, with bright tile, eclectic lighting, and a view that rivals anything in Epcot’s World Showcase. But the food – well, that’s another story altogether.

Fun Architectural Details and Gorgeous Lighting
I Would Love These Lights in My Own Kitchen

Always a fan of Mexican cuisine, I made these reservations with high hopes. We had decided that this would be a “dinner and a movie” evening, so we ate an early meal and then headed to Downtown Disney to catch the newly released Pirates of the Caribbean film. What a great evening it turned out to be!

Contemplating the Mango Blueberry Basil Margarita
Stay Thirsty, My Friends

As per tradition, we began with a cocktail to kick off the evening in a festive manner. I went out on a limb and ordered the Mango Blueberry Basil Margarita, and was surprised at how great the combination of flavors turned out to be. The basil really enhanced the drink. Jeremy ordered a Dos Equis, because “When in Rome,” right?

One thing about Mexican food – it’s doesn’t always come out picture perfect! But some of the best foods don’t. After being seated, our waitress came and recommended some appetizers to start with. She found out I would be eating a gluten free diet, but the items she had pointed out were naturally GF anyway.

Sometimes Good Things Come in Unattractive Packaging

We started with the Queso Fundido, which came out bubbling in a ceramic dish filled with peppers and chorizo. Of course chips and salsa accompanied it, as well. The Queso had a really amazing flavor – a little bit smoky and rich, with some spice to it. And while it wasn’t the prettiest dish I’ve ever had placed in front of me, it was great nontheless! One point to make though, don’t expect this to be your typical white cheese dip. It wasn’t very liquidy at all – in fact, we used a fork when placing it on our chips after it had cooled off slightly.

Chiles Toreados y Chorizitos

We also ordered the Chilis Toreodos y Chorizitos. This was a bowl of roasted sweet peppers served with mini chorizo sausages. I was surprised by how good this was, because it wouldn’t be something I would ever typically order. But the flavor was fantastic, and it went really well with the Queso.

Our entrees presented themselves shortly after this. We decided to get two entrees and split them so that we could try a little more variety. I’m not sure which one would be the winner, since they were both so tasty!

Chicken "Fajitas" - Always a Classic

The Pollo al Pastor was a marinated chicken that was served with roasted veggies, beans and a pineapple relish. We ate this like fajitas, since all entrees were served with homemade corn tortillas and rice.

Tacos de Camarones

The Tacos de Camarones contained fried shrimp with a chipotle-lime aioli, cabbage, and salsa verde. The shrimp was cooked just right, the aioli made it pop in your mouth for that wow factor. It was also light enough to be able to eat more of the chicken dish!

After this we were stuffed. I’m not talking about your average Disney vacation post-meal feeling. We had eaten so much we couldn’t even look at the dessert menu, which for me is absolutely unheard of! We also weren’t capable of getting snacks at the movie theater, and I had high aspirations of a trip to Goofy’s Candy Co! I regretted the decision not to order dessert later in the week, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to review that course of the meal after the vacation had come to an end. But what I can tell you is that there wasn’t a huge selection…most likely because everyone leaves with overly full bellies!

As was the theme for our week in the World, we loved our dining experience at La Hacienda and will make plans to go there again!

Disney World’s Flying Fish Cafe

After our late lunch at Le Cellier on the day of our arrival, I was hesitant about dining at a Signature restaurant for dinner. Making the reservations for 7:40pm allowed us plenty of time for wandering around Epcot, riding a few rides, and completely unpacking and getting dressed up for dinner at the resort. It’s always nice to stay at one of the property’s that has great dining options!

We walked the short distance to Flying Fish Cafe, watching a boardwalk musician in the few moment’s we had to wait on our table. Soon we were led towards the back of the restaurant and promptly asked for our cocktail order. Jeremy ordered his customary Gin and Tonic, while I opted for a Cosmopolitan…VERY light on the cranberry.

Mural in Flying Fish Cafe
Another fun Mural

While we waited for this to come, we had the opportunity to look around us. The atmosphere at this restaurant is fantastic, with murals on the walls depicting by-gone circus days, and clean lines that make it elegant and not over crowded. One thing I noted was that there were quite a few families eating, even though the meal came with a signature price tag.

A beautiful cocktail with just the right amount of Cranberry
Starting off the vacation with his signature G&T

Soon our beverages were placed in front of us, and we ordered appetizers. Of course the waitress was aware that I would be dining Gluten Free, and had called the chef over to the table in advance. He walked me through my MANY options, and we placed our first order. Luckily, I could have more than one appetizer on the menu, so Jeremy and I put our heads together and chose two to share between us. We ordered the Tuna Tartare and Lobster Summer Roll. By this point I was actually getting hungry again!

A shot of a half consumed but still tasty looking Lobster Summer Roll
Tuna Tartare - as good as it looked!

Entrees were soon to come, and they sounded absolutely delicious as the chef described them, and the small alterations he could make for me. Jeremy decided to go with the Citrus, Sesame, and Szechuan Pepper-crusted Yellowfin Tuna, which came with bok choy, carrots, snap peas, and mushrooms in a delicious asian broth.

Yellowfin Tuna

I ordered the Signature Flying Fish Cafe Potato-wrapped Red Snapper. He altered the potato slightly so that I could be able to eat it Gluten Free. It was absolutely delicious. I would say that this restaurant does one of the best jobs accommodating those with special diets – quite an award to achieve at Disney World!

Potato Wrapped Snapper

Finally came the desserts. Jeremy was able to get the Carmelized Banana Napolean, which had phyllo, a banana mousse, creme caramel, and bitter chocolate. He ate it in its entirety! I ordered the Season Sorbet, which had Coconut, Strawberry and Cherry Coulis. It was just enough after all that other food!

Almost too pretty to eat - Carmelized Banana Napolean
A Delicious End to the Meal - A Trio of Sorbets!

We were both so happy with our meal here, that will will definitely go again. Not only was it convenient to the Boardwalk, but it was a beautiful setting with great food!

A Very Happy Couple

Disney’s Le Cellier – Lunch After the Signature Conversion

When making reservations way back in December, I had decided that going Gluten Free would be a way that I could eat more organically in Disney World. Although there are a few sustainable/organic options in certain spots throughout the world, it would be more than impossible to attempt it everywhere we went – not to mention stressful and a sure fire way of making it a “not so happiest place on earth” for me.

We were going to be doing the Deluxe Dining Plan, so I knew there would be many meals, and many courses, to be consumed. The brands that Disney uses for their gluten free products can be found online or at my local Whole Foods, so I checked on some of the foods to be aware of their practices and ingredients. With this in mind, I booked a week’s worth of dining venues and was excited to get there!

Dining in a Canadian Chateau certainly seems worthy of a Signature experience.

I admit that after hearing Le Cellier would be making the switch to a Signature dinner option, I was excited about the change – fewer people crowding in for dinner, and new changes to the menu that would allow it to compete with the other signatures. There was only one thing I was uncertain of, and that was LUNCH. Suddenly, this would become the most hard-to-get reservation in Disney – one that I would be vying for a full 180 days in advance (as if I didn’t already do that for every one, anyway). But would the quality of lunch go down? Would they still offer the selections that they’ve become known and loved for? I was soon to find out on our arrival day to Disney this year.

After checking in at The Boardwalk, where we discovered we had a lovely villa room overlooking the waterway, we walked speedily to make our 1:30pm lunch reservation at Le Cellier. We waited for less than one minute before they whisked us off to our table. All was cool and dimly lit in the dining room, a vast contrast to the unending heat and brilliant blue skies outside.

The waitress was aware I would be eating gluten free, and she gave me some options before also getting the chef involved. My husband was just excited about all the food choices that was included with our dining plan. He chose a Strawberry Smoothie as his beverage to start himself off with – he had failed to eat anything for breakfast and was ravenous by this point in the day.

Enjoying a little Dessert before the Meal

For our appetizers, he ordered the Cheese Soup, which he adored. While not much of a bread person, he did make use of the bread service by cleaning up the bowl with one of the pretzel sticks.

Cheese Soup with the Famous Pretzel Bread

The chef had recommended many options for me, but I chose the Tomato Stack because I knew that it would contain less chemicals and pesticides than the beef options. The Stack included Carmelized Onions, Cucumbers, Crumbled Blue Cheese, and Vinaigrette – absolutely delicious! I ate every bit.

Tomato Stack with Blue Cheese Crumbles

Our entrees were to come soon after this. Jeremy ordered the Mushroom Filet, because he had not only heard me talk about how popular it was, but the waitress had also recommended it. One change he made was that he subbed the Risotto for the Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes. Again, a winner many times over! If Le Cellier does anything well, it’s steaks.

Mushroom Filet with a substitute of Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes

I ordered the Salmon Burger and made some adjustments myself. The Aoili had gluten in it, so the chef prepared it plain, and brought everything out separately so that I could arrange it on a tapioca bun myself. It came with Napa Cabbage Slaw and French Fries (my weakness). The buns are made by Ener-G, and were suprisingly good. I had many over the course of our stay.

A Dissasembled Salmon Burger with Ener-G "bun"

Dessert could have been a letdown for me, but the Champagne Sorbet was gluten free and absolutely delicious. Jeremy ordered the Maple Creme Brulee and really loved the crispness of the shell and the hint of maple that tasted of Canada.

Looks are Sometimes Deceiving - the Champagne Sorbet tasted Delicious!
The Maple Creme Brulee didn't Disappoint!

It was a great experience, and I was happy to note that quality and service are still a part of the Le Cellier experience even though there is now more of a focus towards their Signature dinner. We will go back – hopefully next year!

This post is part of the Disney Blog Carnival – head over there to see more great Disney-related posts and articles.