The trip report concludes (waaah noooo!!) with Jenn’s final round of restaurant reviews. Click here to see all the posts for this trip report.
Our third ADR for the trip was at Sanaa, and it was exactly the hit I knew it was going to be. As I mentioned in the trip report proper: vegetarians, this is your home. My mostly-veggie mom loved this place for its unique meatless options. Heck, she loved that she actually had, y’know, multiple options.
So what did we pick? Well, for starters, I insisted on the Indian bread service, because duh, with all nine accompaniments, because double duh. Our breads were spiced naan, garlic-ginger naan, and onion kulcha (I’ve never been a huge fan of pappadam and similar and since my mom was aggressively deferring to me in this ordering process: I DO WHAT I WANT). When I read “spiced naan” I was thinking more the “aromatic” definition of spiced, but no, it was “spicy” spiced. Not to the extent where your mouth catches fire, but there’s definitely a bit of burn. Which is fine with me – I like spicy up to a point – but I’m not sure my mom loved it. The garlic-ginger naan and onion kulcha both went over very well.
I wish they would give you a little chart to go with the accompaniments, since it’s hard to keep track when you get them all (boo hoo, right?). The hummus was good – we’re hummus people – but the cucumber raita was easily my favorite. I know, I know; pretty standard by comparison, but I found it very enjoyable.
Oh, also – my mom went with a Coke, but I splurged on a mango lassi. It started out icier than expected, almost slush-like, with less of a yogurt element than I’ve experienced in other lassis. But as it melted it took on a creamier and creamier consistency, and I wound up enjoying it more as I went along.
We also ordered the salad sampler, selecting mango, chickpea, and watermelon salads. To be honest, I was just a little bit disappointed in them, as for whatever reason the flavors struck me as weak. But then I may have been expecting too much of the mango and watermelon; the flavor profile of fruit prepared in a savory manner is unique, and not for everyone. It was certainly worth trying, especially with our vegetarian bent.
For our second course we selected another round of appetizers: my mom got fried chickpea cakes, and I went with the tomato soup with paneer cheese. I had a bite of the chickpea cakes and thought them tasty, and my mom – main consumer of the dish, so she counts more than I do – positively raved about them. As for my soup, I found the cheese rather bland, but the soup itself was DELICIOUS. Creamy, flavorful, spiced (rather than spicy, I’d say), with just a hint of sweetness. If only Sanaa would serve some unique twist on a grilled cheese sandwich, we might have the finest available lunch on property on our hands.
I mentioned this in the report, but to reiterate: Sanaa is not the hidden gem it once was. You can no longer saunter in without a reservation and expect to have your pick of seats. Make ADRs if you want to eat here, and if you’re after a window-side table (and you should be; the animal views are stunning), be prepared to wait. The good news? I’d say it’s worth it!
Oh, Coral Reef. What a tempestuous review history you have. Truth be told, I selected this restaurant for our Candlelight Processional dining package more because of the ambiance than the promise of great food. That being said, my mom does enjoy seafood, so the menu made sense too. Our dining package entitled us to the appetizer, entree, and dessert of our choosing, with everything on the menu being fair game. Bread basket: acceptable.
My mom elected to start with a crab cake, which she declared to be very good with minimal filler. She even enjoyed the cole slaw on the side (and we are picky about slaw in my family). Meanwhile I went with the nori-wrapped flash-fried tuna, and this was easily my favorite part of the meal. Mind you, I LOOOOVE raw tuna; if you don’t you will not enjoy this. But the slight crisp of the fried nori yielded to an amazing tuna-y center, nicely accented by wasabi cream. I also liked that it wasn’t too big; good if you’re going to consume a three-course meal.
I selected the rainbow trout for my entree, and it was okay. I don’t know. I’m not a cooked fish person, is the problem; I’d a thousand times rather have some nice raw sushi. Maybe there was nothing wrong with the trout. But I found it to be thin and, well… fish. It was fish. The vegetables and bacon it came with were good, and so was the broth, so that was something.
My mom got the Scottish salmon, and it didn’t wow but neither did it disappoint. It was a cooked piece of salmon, and my mom likes cooked salmon, so that all worked out.
|Note to self: SLR or no SLR, don’t trust the autofocus.|
On to my favorite part of eating, always and forever: dessert! My mom selected the panna cotta key lime tart, which came out looking beautiful. My mom enjoyed it; I tasted it and found it okay, but I actually don’t much care for key lime pie, if you can believe such a terrible thing. In the immortal words of Deb from Dexter: “It all tastes like sour dog sh*t anyway.” The crust was nice, though, so if you’re one of the many, many people who DO like key lime pie, you would probably enjoy this.
I got the signature dessert of the house, the Chocolate Wave. This was, essentially, a warm chocolate lava cake with raspberry sorbet on the side. I devoured it no problem, but truth be told, for a signature dessert I didn’t find it particularly special, you know?
I dunno, guys. I feel like people in general are rather hard on the Coral Reef and I have been no exception. Maybe because the setting is so grand, I expect more? Question for the readership: considering how you feel about the Coral Reef, why do you think you feel that way?
I’m going to apologize up front: I didn’t take any pictures of the food at the Crystal Palace. My bad. But really, this is a standard Disney breakfast buffet. Various and sundry egg dishes, breakfast potatoes, breakfast pastries, breakfast meats, cereal. Skip the pancakes; those were disappointingly tough. Get the Mickey head waffles; I don’t care how ubiquitous they are, they will ALWAYS be worth the stomach room. The puffed French toast is good but greasy, so proceed with caution. The famous breakfast lasagna – composed, as far as I can tell, primarily of waffles and custard – was good but SUPER sweet. And I say that as a person who could easily live off sugar if my body would allow it. I did not go back for more (I did get more Mickey head waffles).
Like I said, this a Disney breakfast buffet, which means you’re mostly there for the characters and you’re paying for the characters and that’s how it is. Relax and enjoy it! The food is tasty, just not overly memorable. And if you’re worried about cost, you can always do what I do: EAT ALL THE SMOKED SALMON. ALL OF IT.
So there you have it – that wraps up my trip report for December 2013. It was awesome. I want to go back right now. Who’s with me?!
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I am not a big fish eater, so my opinion of coral reef is basically, "meh." My sister's a big fish eater, though, and she is not huge on coral reef. She doesn't ask to go back there, and I don't push it because I'd like to be able to order more than just a salad so yeah. I'll take udon at the Katsura grill over this place any day.
Have you had that pancake thing at Katsura? I am SO INTRIGUED by that pancake thing but I also don't care for mayo so I'm scared…