The First Photos: Walt Disney World, 2008 – 2012

Having finished up my Last Photos series for the time being, let’s take a look at the First Photos of my Disney albums. Because are not first photos just as telling?

Once again, apologies for the quality; these range from old to quite old.

The year: 2008
The companion(s): Moon, Elizabeth, and mutual friend Megan
The title of the album: Who’s the leader of the club that’s made for you and me?
The why: Awww, look at Moon and Liz and Megan, playing around in post-ride Test Track show room! You know, kids, in OUR day, it was sponsored by General Motors.

The year: 2008
The companion(s): Moon
The title of the album: Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning
The why: Slight cheat as my first photo was in BWI, and who wants to look at an airport that isn’t event a Floridian airport? BORING. Anyway, here’s a shot of the Grand Floridian’s life-size gingerbread house. I did not buy a shingle and have yet to decide whether or not a regret that. I mean, yes, it’s a rite of Disney passage, but pre-packaged frosting is never that good, y’know?

The year: 2009
The companion(s): Unofficial Guide people
The title of the album: Por favor mantengase alejado de las puertas
The why: Hey! Remember my Sharks of WDW series? Yeah, me neither. Anyway, here’s an entry: sharks on display in the Polynesian. Or anyway they were back in 2009; I have no idea if they made it through the recent refurb.

The year: 2009
The companion(s): My grad school friend Diana and her sisters
The title of the album: Practically perfect in every way
The why: Get in line for a shot with Mulan? Psh, why waste time when you can just take a picture of her with some rando and move on with your World Showcase adventure?

The year: 2010
The companion(s): Elizabeth
The title of the album: it’s a small world after all
The why: Another no-one-cares-about-BWI-so-let’s-skip-it cheat. Instead, let’s examine that inner workings of Orlando’s own MCO. Fun fact: convenience store newspapers are labeled Disney! (I still have those Chucks and they rock.)

The year: 2011
The companion(s): My ex-boyfriend
The title of the album: Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
The why: My ex and I snagged first-day ADRs at the Biergarten in the Germany pavilion to kick off our trip. The employees were very amused to discover my last name is German. No, literally.

The year: 2012
The companion(s): Elizabeth
The title of the album: A magical kingdom with lots of witnesses and great security (yeah Burn Notice!)
The why: The Dapper Dans are appropriately outfitted against freezing Florida winters.

The year: 2012
The companion(s): Sometimes my cousin and his friend, sometimes random people, sometimes just myself!
The title of the album: There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow
The why: “You won’t be able to finish this,” the bartender at Raglan Road told me as he served me the famous Ger’s Bread and Butter Pudding. “This is my dinner,” I countered. “Oh,” he said, “then you’ll be fine.”

That’s it for this installation. Up next: 2013 – 2016!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: Dinner at ‘Ohana, 11/09

Stretching out the trip report with restaurant reviews! You can see all the entries in this report here. Okay, onward! 

‘Ohana means family, and family means nobody doesn’t get a Lapu Lapu.

Our second ADR of the trip was for an early dinner at ‘Ohana. Katherine, Estelle, DeJanea, Erica, and I had a great table by the window overlooking, well, the construction currently muddying up the Polynesian – but ALSO of the Magic Kingdom and Cinderella’s castle, so that was nice. We got to see the sun set over the castle followed shortly by the lights turning on.

The very first order of business upon the arrival of our server was to order Lapu Lapus all around. Katherine has been singing their praises for several billion years, and it was great to finally try my own! The rum mixture inside packed a decent punch, but mostly I was just tickled to be drinking out of a whole pineapple. Not just a whole pineapple, but a pineapple WITH a little paper umbrella. That’s the dream, no? Yeah, they’re expensive, but I think that alone is worth it. I just wouldn’t order several in a given trip.

While we were sipping, the first course arrived: coconut-pineapple bread with butter (macadamia nut butter? I don’t remember). I dunno – this is a cult favorite, but I’ve never been anything but mildly impressed with the bread. It’s good and all, but not out of the common way. If you don’t like bread with butter already, you’re unlikely to get all excited about this variation.

The second course yielded sesame wings, pot stickers, and lettuce wraps. The sesame wings were a big hit at the table, and I found them to be pretty good, but I wasn’t willing to sacrifice more than one or two’s worth of stomach space. Same deal on the pot stickers. I was not at ALL into the lettuce wraps, and didn’t even finish the one I took. Why would you put noodles in lettuce? It just doesn’t make sense, people. I did see that the couple at the table next to us got a salad instead. Special request? Dietary issue?

Speaking of noodles, next up were the noodles sans lettuce, as Katherine demonstrates here. Eaten as plain old noodles, they were as tasty as lo mein generally is. They were accompanied by stir fried vegetables that were nicely spiced and went a long way toward helping me pretend I was enjoying a healthy, well-balanced meal.

Then of course came the meat skewers, which for some reason I didn’t photograph. Bad blogger! Very bad blogger! Our selections were pork, steak, and shrimp (was there chicken? I can’t remember). Personally I thought the pork were best, but they were all perfectly good. The problem with ‘Ohana, though, is by the time the supposed stars of the meal – these aforementioned meats, I mean – come around, my only concern is saving enough space to go to town on the DESSERT DESSERT DESSERT WHICH IS (drum roll please)

BREEEEEEAD PUDDIIIINNNNNNGGGGGG

Tragically, tragically, I didn’t save quite ENOUGH space, because in the ideal world I would eat the entire thing by myself. But I made a decent hole. The bread pudding with the bananas foster sauce and the vanilla ice cream… seriously, can I just buy this through Kona? I hear I can buy it through Kona. I really need to test that out. Or – and I know I always say this – if I’m ever at ‘Ohana again I really WILL ask for dessert first. I mean it. I will.

Even with a Tables in Wonderland card, ‘Ohana ain’t cheap. And it’s not SO good (minus that bread pudding) that I’d say it’s worth an every-trip visit. But once in a while, with a big group of people all willing to go in on some Lapu Lapus and some silliness, it’s a fun occasional splurge. I can’t wait to broom some coconuts at your wedding, KRaut!

We’re not quite finished with the trip report food wrap up – there’s still one more to go. Strap in!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Squirtgun To Your Head: Favorite WDW Food?

JENN:  ALL RIIIIIIGHT. Squirtgun To Your Head! What is your favorite Walt Disney World food?

MOON:  fooooooood

JENN: You may, if you wish, divide into Dessert and Not-Dessert categories.

MOON: The most memorable food I can think of at the moment is the pineapple ice cream shake (I think it was a shake?).

JENN: Haha, you mean the Dole Whip float? Pineapple soft serve with pineapple juice?

MOON: That’s the winner! It’s pretty fantastic.

JENN: I would’ve guessed your answer would be trifle from afternoon tea. Dole Whip is, however, a most excellent choice. Classic!

After a great deal of soul searching and painfully and reluctantly rejecting the Writer’s Stop’s carrot cake cookie and any number of magnificent cupcakes, I have to go with ‘Ohana’s pineapple bread pudding. Because BREAD PUDDING.

MOON: Ha, I was going to suggest reminiscing about the Great Cupcake Search.

JENN: Not one of my finer hours. In my defense, though, Disneyland is WAY lacking in cupcakes.

MOON: Agreed. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen you so determined and subsequently bummed out.

JENN: I take my frosting very seriously, as you know. Luckily, Earl of Sandwich has those brownie frosting sandwich things, but eating it in cupcakeless defeat arguably removes some of the beauty from the moment.

MOON: What’s your favorite non-dessert?

JENN: I must choose one that may or may not be defunct: sweet potato rolls from Tokyo Dining. Last time I was there they were not available, but I have hope. Sweet potato + sushi = OBVIOUSLY YES.

MOON: When I’m feeling tired and need some comfort food, my mind always thinks, “Oh right, Epcot has sweet potato maki…!”

JENN: If nothing else, they are an inspiration.

Squirtgun To YOUR Head! What’s your favorite WDW food?

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

An Ode to Bread Pudding (And a Gluten/Lactose-Free Recipe!)

This is a Jenn post. I figured I’d mention since it’s not in the post title.

I am an acknowledged sweet tooth, and I’ll be the first to acknowledge it. If there were any possible way to achieve a balanced diet while consuming only dessert, I’d be the first person on board. One year for my birthday Moon gave me a can of frosting, and I was thrilled because as far as I’m concerned cake only exists as a conveyance for frosting anyway. Yay for eliminating the middleman!

Indeed, there is no foodstuff in the world I love more than frosting. Except for one.

Glorious, glorious bread pudding.

I don’t know why, precisely. I don’t recall eating it as a kid so it can’t be a nostalgia thing. It’s not particularly fancy and rarely complex. Certainly it’s easy and cheap to make. But there’s something about the sweetness, and the texture, and the spices… in a word: yum. (But NOT yum-o because that is not a word. Neither is delish. STOP IT.)

And so naturally, as one of my ongoing Walt Disney World projects, I have been making a slow tour of the bread puddings of the World. I once kept a reservation at Boma, even though I knew I wasn’t hungry enough for it, purely because the prospect of unlimited bread pudding was too idyllic to ignore. I nearly flipped my proverbial lid when I discovered banana bread pudding in the late lamented Main Street Bakery, and my raptures over the bread pudding that concludes a meal at ‘Ohana were so intense my server insisted on bringing me another bowl. Next time I dine there I am seriously considering asking for it first.

I went on a solo trip two years ago, and my very first night was spent wandering through Downtown Disney. I marched directly into Raglan Road, plunked myself down at the bar, and without even glancing at a menu declared my intentions for Gir’s bread and butter pudding. “It’s big,” warned the bartender. “You probably won’t finish it.” “Oh, no,” I replied. “This is my dinner.” “Then you’re probably fine,” he said, and showed me how to mash up the delicious pudding and pour vanilla sauce all over it. I ate every bite. (And then a Moroccan man tried to convince me to go home with him, but I’m pretty sure the two aren’t related.)

Not pictured: creepy guy.

Occasionally I have been known to make my own bread pudding, which brings me to what the White Knight would refer to as My Own Invention. As an experiment, I’ve been cutting down on gluten in my diet, just to see if it does anything. I bought a couple boxes of gluten-free waffles on sale at Target, and found them fairly dry and crumbly and not particularly appetizing. Say, what does one generally do with dry bread products?

BREAD PUDDING TO THE RESCUE.

I pulled up a recipe I had used a few years earlier at Thanksgiving, pumpkin bread pudding, which can be found here. I combined it somewhat with this basic bread pudding recipe. For starters, the pumpkin recipe mentions sugar in the directions but not the amount in the ingredients, so I used the 3/4 cup from the basic recipe and it turned out fine. I also baked the pudding in a sous vide bath as recommended by the basic recipe and it worked, although I don’t know if it necessarily made a huge difference.

As I mentioned, I replaced the bread with the gluten-free waffles. I had one full box plus an extra waffle from the other box, so I used seven waffles total. I think there was enough liquid to handle another two to four waffles if you wanted a denser pudding, but I’d use at least six or else you’ll likely end up with something better described as pumpkin-pudding-with-sporadic-waffle-pieces.

I ripped the waffles up into small pieces after I took this photo.

Now for the lactose-free part: bread pudding recipes tend to call for milk and even heavy cream. Uh-uh. I replaced both with unsweetened almond milk and it turned out great. Would the taste have been richer had I used the milk and cream? Probably, but since I didn’t compare I remain blissfully ignorant of what I was missing. Almond milk substitutes just fine; you could probably use rice or coconut milk too.

The recipe does call for eggs and therefore isn’t vegan, although if anyone has suggestions on that front, lay ’em on me.

I hesitate to show you a bowlful of my finished bread pudding because it just doesn’t look that appetizing. Bread pudding generally doesn’t photograph well. But close your eyes and imagine it covered in ice cream and whipped cream and caramel sauce and tell me that doesn’t sound AWESOME. I dare you.

One question remains: would bread pudding taste good covered in frosting?

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon!