Friday, January 2, 2009

Great Food & Fellowship: How it all came together

Well, we finally made it. Once the cabin door was closed on the plane, everything fell into place. TNT was running a "Bones" marathon, so Jim watched to episodes on the plane instead of napping. I watched one and then read a bit.

We finally got to the gate in Orlando at 6:15, and into our room at Saratoga Springs Resort at 7:45. I'm glad we decided to rent a car instead of taking Magical Express. There is no way our luggage would have been delivered in time to retrieve our jackets for dining at Victoria & Albert's.

We were to meet David & Sommer in the Contemporary Resort for drinks at the California Grill at 8:30, so we quickly unpacked and changed. Since V&A is in the Grand Floridian, we valet parked there (free with a V&A reservation or Disney's Dining Experience - we had both), and took the monorail to the Contemporary. We met David in the 2nd floor lobby and joined Sommer in California Grill. She had snagged a table in the lounge area with a perfect view of the Magic Kingdom for Wishes at 9:00. Since none of us had eaten much, she also ordered an awesome cheese plate.

The fireworks were really beautiful. I've now seen them 3 times in a row without being in the MK - from the Polynesian, on a cruise on the Seven Seas Lagoon and from the California Grill. I'm thinking that's the way to do it!!

David & Sommer drove us to the Grand for our 9:30 V&A ressies. This was our first time since our "DisneyMoon" in September 2007, and I'm glad we were back. After yesterday's travel and computer snags, I was looking forward to the wine pairings. ;)

V&A has a set seven course menu each evening, with 2-3 options per course. Each menu is personalized to the tastes of the guest. For instance, I love shellfish but don't often enjoy regular fish, so I had shellfish or alternative options on my menu. If someone doesn't like organ meat, the sweetbreads are taken off of their Veal Tenderloin.

Each table is served by 2 servers, a man and a woman (who all used to be named after Albert or Victoria, but they now use their real names). So, here's the rundown of what I enjoyed:

An Amuse Bouche of lobster bisque, shellfish sausage, mniniature vegetarian eggroll (in place of a tune something) and a lobster morsel served with Gosset Excellence Brut

Dungeness Crab Cannelloni with Baby Greens and Radishes, served with Langtry Sauvignon Blanc, Lake County 2006. The Cannelloni shell was a shaved sheet of jicama, and was wonderful.

Minnesota Elk Tenderloin over Mustard SpƤtzle and Apple-Wine Kraut served with Castilla Prelada La Garriga Samso, Catalonia 2004

Caramelized Diver Scallop with Zellwood Corn Ragout served with Frank Family Vineyards, Chardonnay Napa Valley 2006.

(Both the elk and the Scallop were my favorite, and the chardonnay was not very oaky, but more fruity so it went well with the scallop. Last time, I didn't enjoy the chardonnay as much.)

Marcho Farms Veal Tenderloin with Yellow Chanterelles and English Peas served with Abbazia Barolo D.O.C.G., Piedmont 2004

Colston Bassett Stilton, Comte Fort des Rousses and Brillat Savarin cheese plate with Quinta do Crasto Late Bottled Vintage Porto 2001.

(The Stilton has to be the most enjoyable cheese I've had of at least 10 different and wonderful cheeses I sampled tonight).

And dessert -

Grand Marnier Souffle (a V&A signature souffle) with a Kona coffee prepared at the table in a vacuum pot. WE all were also interested in the Strawberry Dumpling with Meringue Crisp, so we ordered that for the table to share and thoroughly enjoyed it as well.

So, we were seated at 9:30 and had such a well paced meal and good conversation, that it was 12:30 before we new it. Standing up for the first time in 3 hours after 6 glasses of wine (Oh, and Sommer ordered a Rosa Regale to go with dessert as well, so 7 glasses), was an adventure but my stress fracture in my foot was feeling no pain. :)

Surprisingly, when we left, workers were taking down the 4 story Christmas tree in the lobby, which you can see in the previous post. The parks are keeping their decor through Sunday, but it looks like 2009 is coming up on fast and furious anyway.

So, what's today's plan? Ideas are being mulled, so more details later.


Anonymous said...

Great reading! I am glad yall stayed a good mood after being a bit rushed when you landed. It looks like yall had a wonderful evening. It is always sad to see the trees come down! Looking forward to your next post!

KVanHilton said...

I'm so glad to hear that the trip seems to have come together! V&A sounds like it was a spectacular meal.

Tammy Stringer said...

So glad you made your V&A reservation. Thank goodness there were no further delays to your flight.

Must admit I was a tad worried when you wrote that you were enjoying a cheese plate beforehand - but glad to read you managed to eat all the courses together with the wine pairings. V&A really is a wonderful place isn't it?

Dirk said...

Yes - V&A set the tone for us. Everything has run so smoothly once we got on the plane.

The cheese plate at California Grill was a bit risky, but we were all hungry so it worked out OK.

Anonymous said...

The tasting menu at the V&A sounded wonderful! Glad you guys made it to the reservation after the flight delays. Looking forward to the rest of your trip posts. --madoka from MO

Susan Yates said...

You two are my heroes! A drink and a cheese plate half an hour before V & A and an EXTRA dessert and wine (even split!!) is unbelievable. I appreciate those who don't waste an opportunity. Well done.