Friday, July 27, 2012

Earl of Sandwich Review

Although I haven't been to the one in Downtown Disney, I made several special trips to the Earl of Sandwich right here in midtown New York!  Below are the pics of what I tried, from least favorite to most favorite. Enjoy!

These were actually the last things I tried.  As you know, I was deeply disappointed by the absence of the brownie frosting sandwiches here, so when I saw EoS cupcakes I thought well that's a nice and sugary silver lining!  I got one of each available flavors - vanilla and chocolate.

They look enormous don't they?  When I took the top of the vanilla one (I always save the best for last), I was incredibly disappointed by the sparseness of the frosting.  I shouldn't be able to see the cake THROUGH the frosting on my cupcake!

And then I took it out of the container . . . and it WASN'T a cupcake!  SIGH.

How completely deceptive.  The container is like TWICE the depth of the actual food.  No wonder it only cost $2 each!  And whatever frosting they DID give me, half of it came off on the wrapper.  

So I moved on to the chocolate one.  Chocolate icing with chocolate cake should be better right?  

Oh wait, NOPE - same frosting problems and the cake wasn't even chocolate to make up for it.    

This picture makes the frosting look more generous that it really was.

Thankfully, I had the chance to try two sandwiches to make up for it.  First up (actually now that I think about it, this whole post is in reverse chronological order in addition to worst-to-best order), is the Original 1762.  It was GOOD.   Toasty bread, creamy dressing (the melty cheddar perfectly balanced out the piquant horseradish), yummy beef.

And then, the Full Montague.  OMG SO DELICIOUS.  Hot and crusty with plenty-of-but-not-to-much filling.  Beef, turkey, Swiss, cheddar, lettuce, tomatoes, and mustard.  DROOL. Am I right ladies?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

BabyCakes Review Part II

Continuing on my BabyCakes NYC eating extravanganza.  To catch up on the background and explain why I have SUCH quantities of vegan, everything-free, baked goods, check out the introductory post (with lots of pics!).

So the mystery continues . . .  we know WHY the cupcakes taste not-bad-but-odd but to define the odd . . . I decided to switch gears for a little bit and go for the donuts.

The donuts were largely an improvement from the cupcakes - they were all cakey-not-flaky donuts.  We (I mean I) started first with the tiny one in the middle - it had berries (cherries?) in the cake and some chocolate frosting on top. It was okay.

I then hit a yellow donut with vanilla/sugar frosting and little crunchies on top.  Very good.  A nice respite from the cupcake weirdness - could it be that the weirdness comes from the frosting (which the donuts lacked) and not the cake (which the donuts shared)?

Next up: a cinnamon sugar donut.  This was a bit lighter than the other ones which was nice.  You can see that the holes don't go all the way through on BabyCakes donuts.  My notes say this was the best one lol.

Then, a monster.  This one was some kind of spice donut but it had chocolate chips in the cake AND apple filling in the hole AND a glaze on top.  It was VERY heavy.  Too heavy for me (although had I not just eaten 3 cupcakes, 2 brownies, and 3 donuts, I probably could have housed it anyway). 

Also, I didn't like the chocolate mixed with the apple and spice (cinnamon? nutmeg?). If it had been raisins I might have felt differently. It also didn't LOOK particularly pretty.

Last but not least, we have BabyCakes's take on a jelly donut.  It had a very light glaze on top and could have had cornmeal in the cake part?  It was GOOD.  I think the jelly part was cherry or cranberry or something.  Much better than the chocolate chip/spice/apple/glaze monster.

So, BabyCakes donuts are a win.  Then WHY are the cupcakes still so weird?  The mystery continues in the next post!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Disney Weekend Cruise from NYC!

Welcome to another Wordless Wednesday! 
Thanks to Deb at Focused on the Magic for hosting!

This past June, my family and I went on the very first weekend cruise on the Disney Magic from New York. 

We had been on the Magic back in the early 2000s for a longer cruise to Castaway Cay, but this was our first Disney, New York, weekend-long cruise. 

Here are some pictures of our concierge-level suite and stay tuned for future posts on this trip!

Our own private balcony!

Focused on the Magic

Thursday, July 19, 2012

BabyCakes Review Part I

Hey guys!  I'm joining in the Destination Disney blog hop hosted by the hilarious Heidi!  The quote this week is "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down."  Well how about some agave syrup in lieu of actual sugar?  lol here is my review of BabyCakes.  So sweet!  :)

So as most Disneyphiles know, BabyCakes is a bakery located in Downtown Disney that specializes in vegan, all-natural, organic, gluten-free, wheat-free, soy-free, dairy-free, whatever-free baked goods.  I have heard my favorite podcasters rave about the various baked goods and I believe Emily, one of the founders, has even appeared on a couple of podcasts in the past!

Did you know, however, that BabyCakes got its start on the Lower East Side of NYC?  So of course, I've been planning on making a trip down there forEVER (sure I live relatively nearby but the LES is a pain to get to from where I am) to try out their goods and get a Disney "fix" without a trip to Orlando. 

Knowing that it would be difficult for me to traipse back and forth multiple times to get a good idea of their menu, I basically just bought one of EVERYTHING, brought it home, and embarrassed myself by eating almost all of it.  Here is my review:

Let's start with something good.  The brownie bites are small (it's the little round brown item in the middle right of the above picture) but YUMMY.  OMG YUM.  Moist and with chocolate chips (or vegan chips, whatever).  I don't know what they're doing but they're doing it right with the brownies.

Okay three cupcakes: I believe they were strawberry/vanilla (think it was labeled vanilla/vanilla but the frosting had a berry flavor to me), strawberry (?) /carrot, and vanilla/red velvet (bottom left, top, bottom right).  Pretty to look at, meh tasting.  I'm not a fan of fruit in my desserts (if you want dessert, HAVE DESSERT.  Nothing healthy allowed), but even the red velvet was disappointing. 

Strawberry (?)/Vanilla:

Raspberry (?)/Carrot: 

Vanilla/Red Velvet:

They  I was trying to pinpoint the exact difference in taste (obviously the cause is the lack of gluten, different sweetener (agave) etc., but what WAS the difference)?  The mystery shall continue in my next post!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Spas Moten (Wordless Wednesday)

This was my little sister's journal entry regarding a trip we took when she was 6 (I was 10).  Every year during elementary school, we'd get pulled out of school to go to Disney World during the second or third week of the school year - after we'd have gotten settled in but before anything important happening.

We were good students and ended up at the top #1 and #2 Ivy League colleges so I guess it didn't hurt (and maybe even helped?)!  It was the best because the weather was still warm AND the crowds were extra low.  Anyway, the translation of her entry is below:

"September 21, 1992.  Today my family and I went to see two wonderful parades.  One of them was a light parade.  We also went to Space Mountain.  I will never forget that ride; it was scary."

Focused on the Magic

Friday, July 13, 2012

Was just thinking (not really Disney-related)

I am heterosexual myself, but I very strongly support equal rights for the LGBT community.  In case anyone wants to boycott me. 

Or you can ask me questions and open up a respectful and intelligent dialogue.  A disrespectful, uninformed discussion will be ignored and possibly deleted.

Just thought I'd put that out there.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Top 6 Water Features & Destination Disney Blog Hop!

Why top 6?  Because I like the number 6 okay?

Welcome to the first of my Top 6 series!  I am also joining the hospitable Heidi on her Destination Disney Blog Hop.  Her quote for the week is:

"Don't think and don't worry.  If the time comes, you'll know what to do"

Well I worry.  I worry.  All. The. Time.  It's like the main thing I do.  And you know what calms me down?  Peaceful, constant, water features.  So today I am looking at my top 6 water features in Walt Disney World. When I look at them, they help me focus, calmly, and not worry!

Unlike Lou Mongello and the WDW Radio crew, I am going to keep my top 6's to ACTUAL top 6's.  There will be no "go with me here"'s.  I'm following the rules, pure and simple. 

Let's start with water features in Walt Disney World. 

The Parameters:    For the purposes of this series, water features will consist of non-attraction (as herein defined), non-pool watery things.  They are primarily visual in nature.  You do not ride boats on them, you do not swim in them (although you may be splashed by them).  

The Fountain of Nations meets the rules (but does not make the list):

And I am defining attractions very narrowly.  Attractions are not everything that you may enjoy as entertainment (indeed, some of the below listed water features are entertaining and enjoyable).  Attractions are the rides and shows as appear on a park map. 

Pennies in the water of Small World
(which counts as an attraction and therefore does not meet the rules):

Okay are we all set?  Then LET'S GO!

1) The fountains outside the Imagination pavilion.  Ever since I can remember, my sister and I have loved playing with these fountains.  Trying to catch the ones that throw a big drop of water up and down.  Laughing when the other one gets smacked with a chestful of water from the leaping fountains.  I love these guys!

2) The Polynesian lobby's waterfalls.  I feel like these contribute to the smell of the Poly lobby (like the Pirate's smell and the Small World smell - Disney water!) and I love that.

3)  The geyser at Wilderness Lodge.  I dunno why, just cuz.

4) The Singing in the Rain umbrella in Hollywood Studios.  Such a fun little hidden nugget!

5) The Muppet fountain in Hollywood Studios.  I love the whimsy and I love the Muppets!  Miss Piggy is my favorite, naturally.

6) Holes 15-18 of Fantasia Gardens.  Scroll all the way down to the bottom of this article to see why!  It's been so long since I've been there - I really need to go back!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Vintage Photo Alert

Welcome to another "Wordless" Wednesday. 
Thanks to our lovely host, Focused on the Magic (Hi Deb!).

Here is a pic of me and my mom and my little sis in front of the castle. 
I look about 6 right?  So that would make it around 1988. 

Looks like we're on the bridge to Tomorrowland . . .
unless someone out there wants to correct me?   I'm open to other ideas!

Focused on the Magic

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

7 Minor Disney Characters that Belong in Once Upon A Time

Love it when Disney gets love from more mainstream media outlets: LINK!  I always adored the dancing mushroom, personally. :)

In other Disney news....THIS sounds like copyright infringement to me but I assume they got the proper rights?  Reminds me of those creepy "Mickey Mouses" charging for photos in Times Square.  I am REALLY interested in finding out what the green dinosaur is supposed to be...

Oh please, Disney has been doing THIS for ages.

PLEASE GOD NO.  I don't want my beloved Disney/Pixar mixed up with uggo, boring superheros.  BLECH!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Solo Trip Recap Part 9: Jiko

Might as well get that out of the way up front right?  Oh yes it is there.  It is not on the menu, but you can still ask for it and it shall be yours.  The legendary filet with mac 'n' cheese at Jiko.

But let's start at the beginning shall we?  So I roll up to Jiko for my solo dinner ADR.  I have to wait a bit to get seated so I'm standing awkwardly in the entrance people-watching and whatnot.  Finally I am offered a seat at the chef's counter which is fine with me because, while I am a huge fan of solo travel, I am still a bit uncomfortable with solo dining and the counter provides me with a chance to interact with and watch the cooks preparing the meals.

My waiter arrives and takes my drink order.  I chat with the chefs at the counter who are very friendly and entertaining.  They confirm my suspicions that if I ask "really nicely", I can still get the filet with mac n cheese even though it's not on the menu.  They said since they still use the mac n cheese in other dishes, it's easy for them to swap out. 

Then my waiter returns and provides me with two kinds of bread (honey something and herbed something else) and a curry-flavored butter.  I was NOT a fan of the curry flavor in the butter.  This did not stop me from eating it though, because, well, BUTTER.  Duh.

Since I clearly wasn't getting enough carbs, I went with the Taste of Africa (African-inspired dips with pappadam, whole wheat lavosh and house-made naan) as my appetizer. 

The dips, I can't really remember exactly what each was, but I believe upper right corner was hummus, lower right was something spicy and flavorful, lower left was my least favorite, and upper left was something less spicy (maybe eggplant based?). Anyways, it was still delicious - I enjoyed it!

The puffy bread in the front was my favorite - chewy and oniony or something! YUMMMMM. The bread in the way back is like a super thin cracker and the bread in the middle kind of reminded me of a high-quality whole wheat tortilla.

And then, of course, this:

Honestly?  I wasn't impressed.  Maybe people oversell it.  Maybe it is loved more as a concept (beef + mac n cheese) then as the actual taste.  It wasn't bad by any means.  In fact, it was pretty good!  But I wasn't as blown away as I expected to be based on all the press this entree gets.

Again, no room for dessert but who cares!  I had to rush back anyway to call in to the Be Our Guest Podcast Live Show lol :)