Saturday, 27 June 2015

Disney's Magic Kingdom Eats 2015

We'd not been to the Magic Kingdom since our honeymoon back in 2012. There's been lots of new additions since then so this year we decided to get a day ticket and go back. I'm so glad we did as it was such a fun day. We'd had a huge breakfast at 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian Hotel before our last visit so I didn't eat at the park. I was looking forward to eating in the park this year and felt a lot more comfortable doing so knowing how amazing Disney are with food allergies.

For lunch we stopped at Gastons Tavern in the new Fantasy Land Area (Look out for Gaston in the courtyard for some funny banter). Its a quick service counter with a small seating area in a themed room to the left of the counter.

I really wanted to try the Roasted Pork Shank. I checked with the server and she showed me the ingredients list. Thumbs up it was safe for me. It was $7.99 which isn't cheap for just a bone with meat but when in Disney! I actually enjoyed it and it did fill me up nicely.

I also knew where I wanted to eat for Tea. I'd lined up Columbia Harbor House as they had a Special Diets Menu. This is a counter service restaurant with lots of indoor and outdoor seating.

I spotted a staff member while I was in the queue and asked for the special diets menu. I think he actually turned out to be a supervisor/manager as he told me to let him know what I wanted, he put it through with the cashier and he went into the back to arrange it. 

I picked the chicken tenders with fries (yes I was close to turning into a chicken tender by the end of the holiday, I was making the most of them). I also added an Enjoy Life cookie as a sweet treat. It was a nice filling meal and great service.

I loved our Disney day and it was so nice to know that as we were there for around 10 hours I was able to have two decent meals. The park has lots and lots of options for special diets. I'd highly recommend checking out Gluten Free & Dairy Free WDW blog as Sarah has lots of reviews for the restaurants in the park (plus all the other parks and hotels). Another favourite blog is Gluten Free Orlando. She also has loads of reviews of the parks and surrounding areas.

Enjoy a free from Disney trip!

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Discovery Cove Eats 2015

Spending the day at Discovery Cove is one of our favourite things to do on holiday in Orlando. You can buy a day ticket which allows you to have fun at the cove all day and includes breakfast, lunch, drinks and snacks. You can also add a dolphin swim onto the base ticket. We did this on our honeymoon but the last few visits we haven't felt the need to do it again. This year we did the SeaVenture which was great fun walking on the sea bed with the fish.

I didn't have anything exciting for breakfast as I wasn't too hungry, I opted for a fruit bowl as it was an easy option to pick out.

Around the park there a numerous kiosks with self serve drinks machines containing soda and slushies. They also have a selection of crisps which some are free from dairy & gluten and if I remember some packets of trail mix. The also serve "normal" pretzels and cookies.

For lunch I asked the server about allergies and she called out the chef to the end of the queue. He told me what options I had and I chose to have chicken and fries. He did tell me there were no safe dessert options. He came out with a plate full of chicken and fries and he's added some fresh fruit. It was a nice meal and fueled me up for more swimming.

What I did notice this year was there were no signs in the dining areas or kisoks advertising Gluten Free snacks like there was last year. There was also no sign of the allergy free snack packs that i'd had given me previous years so I can only assume they have stopped providing them which is a shame as snacks are limited.

I still like that they are good at catering for special diets and they go off and make everything separately in the back but I do think they could provide a few more allergy friendly snacks and an allergy friendly dessert option.

I highly recommend visiting Discovery Cove for the day though, its an amazing place and you wont be disappointed.

Last years post can be found here

Monday, 22 June 2015

Wholefoods Orlando Haul 2015

It's no secret that I absolutely love Wholefoods and I especially love the ones in Florida as they are filled with so much different stuff compared to what we get in the UK. Our closest one in Orlando is just near the universal parks which makes it perfect to call into when we're out and about

My husband loves the buffet items in the store so we like to fill a tub with whatever we fancy. On this occasion I had a piece of marinated chicken, a portion of ribs and some chilli with rice. All the signs above the food has the ingredients written out so you can pick out safe options. You pay by weight so it's not cheap but it's tasty!

I also like the sushi selection that they have. It's all super fresh and tasty. I like the Shrimp Summer rolls with sweet chilli sauce. I can never resist edamame too as a side.

This is my Wholefoods haul, some of it was to take home but frozen stuff I had to devour while I was there. I really could have brought a whole lot more as there is just so much choice for every dietary need. I could go mad in the frozen isles but there's only so many meal times and not enough space in my belly.

I knew I had to find the Daiya Cheesecakes which are a new addition since my last visit. They come in a few different flavours but I picked the New York style. Now I couldn't wait to try this but stupidly I didn't check the ingredients. It was made with coconut milk which I can't tolerate. My husband talked me into trying it just in case I was ok with it, it didn't like me. But, it was worth the discomfort as it was so rich and creamy and tasted just like proper cheesecake. I wish I could still eat coconut because it used to be my fave and it would open up so many more options for me.

Another favourite of mine which can be found in the refrigerated section is Eat Pastry cookie dough. It makes lovely cookies. They are really good. They are really quick to make as you just scoop out the dough and pop them in the oven. Perfect to nibble on round the pool or at night.

I also picked up some guacamole as Wholefoods guacamole is my all time favourite. It is just the same in the UK stores too. Really delicious. I found some Amy's salsa too which was really nice.

Can't beat freshly made guacamole. Mm mm.

Another new thing I found was the Bold Organics pizza. I thought this pizza was by far the best free from pizza I've ever had. They had a selection of different flavours but I couldn't resist the meat lovers one as I love pepperoni.

The base was really tasty and had just the right crunch. The toppings were fab and the dairy free cheese melted and toasted well. I ended up having a couple while we were there as they were just too good.

For a sweet treat I love the Piping Gourmets whoopie pies. They are kept in the freezer and as they are individually wrapped you can take them out as you fancy. I didn't even wait for them to defrost as I quite liked them straight from the freezer. 

The mint ones are my favorite.

All in all Wholefoods is definitely a place you should visit in America. You will be overwhelmed by the selection and choices. I just wish I could have brought it all home with me.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Boma Breakfast at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge 2015

This year high on my to do list was visiting the Animal Kingdom Lodge resort. As we'd only got tickets to the Magic Kingdom this year it was a great way to feel a bit of the Animal Kingdom atmosphere without going into the actual park.

Again this hotel was amazing. The huge lobby was brilliantly themed. The pool area was fantastic and as you walked round the grounds you could spot various animals in the Savannah areas. I loved seeing the Giraffes. It's another hotel that would be amazing to stay at.

I'd heard great things about the restaurants at this resort so we decided to book a buffet breakfast at Boma. On arrival I told our server about my allergies (it was already printed on my receipt too from my online booking) and he told me a chef would be over. A nice lady chef came over and asked me if I'd like to walk round the buffet with her so off I went. 

She pointed out all the items that were safe and told me she'd make me some potatoes and mickey waffles (YES!!). She went off to sort those out so I started at the beginning of the buffet again. I got my self a bowl of fruit and a plate with sausage, bacon, carved ham and some sort of African spicy tomatoes. Being honest that is already a pretty big breakfast for me. When I got back to the table the chef had brought me out a plate of carved turkey, a bowl of potato wedges and three Mickey waffles with maple syrup. Oh my god! This food would have lasted me the day never mind one meal. Luckily my husband is always happy to help me out. 

I think this breakfast was the best breakfast I've had at Disney. Everything was really tasty, the carved meats were succulent and not dry, the wedges were perfectly cooked and the mickey waffles? Well the mickey waffles were the best I've had. They were crispy on the outside but lovely and fluffy in the middle.

After this breakfast I was seriously stuffed for the majority of the day. This is another restaurant I'd highly recommend visiting not only for the amazing food but also for a lovely walk around the grounds. If i won the lottery I'd definitely stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge. I thought the breakfast was great value though and excellent quality.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Oolite Miami Beach May 2015

While in Florida we decided to travel down south for 24 hours in Miami Beach. Nothing to do with food but I can recommend the Surfcomber hotel for its loveliness and location right on the beach.

I'd tried to research some spots for food before our travels to get an idea of if there would be anywhere suitable to eat and the place that jumped out at me was called Oolite.

Oolite is a completely gluten free restaurant so that ticked a huge box. I noticed they had an extensive vegan menu too so it was obvious they were great at catering for different diets. Kris Wessel the head chef has created great healthy menus using regional food to suit everyone. I booked a table online before our holiday to make sure we didn't miss out. 

The restaurant is situated just off Lincoln Road Mall so really easy to find. On arrival we were early so decided to sit at the bar and make use of the cocktail happy hour. I had a Carrot Twist cocktail which was whisky, carrot juice and ginger, wow it was strong, nothing like what i'd normal drink but very enjoyable.

I liked the decor and the atmosphere of the restaurant. The staff were all very friendly and helpful. On ordering our meals I double checked that my meals could also be dairy/egg free which wasn't a problem. For starters we ordered Tostones to share which were served with avocado and a lime sauce. They were delicious. They are plantain which has been fried, flattened and fried again. Loved them. 

For main I knew what I wanted before even getting to the USA. I'd scoped out the online menus and knew I wanted the Key Lime Rotisserie chicken. I had this with a side of rice. It was so delicious and tasty. My husband had steak which was served with more tostones, he really enjoyed it too. 

If you ever find yourself in Miami beach needing a Gluten Free meal (or vegan, dairy free, egg free) I'd 100% recommend visiting Oolite. Their weekend brunch looks amazing too with lots of fresh homemade breads and pastries. Yum!
Check out the Oolite website here

Monday, 8 June 2015

Universals Islands of Adventure Eats 2015

The first park we visited was Universals Islands of Adventure. For the past few years I've avoided eating properly in the Universal parks as they weren't as great with allergies as Disney but this year after reading some blogs I felt more comfortable to enquire. They have snacks around the park such as Lays (Walkers) Plain Crisps and Fruit Pots but when you are at a park all day you really need to keep up your energy with a proper meal.

This year I picked out the Three Broomsticks restaurant in the Harry Potter Hogsmeade area. This is a counter service restaurant so at the counter I asked the server what was available for dairy, egg & gluten free diets. I was presented with a folder which showed what meals were suitable for each allergy. I decided on the Chicken Platter which consisted of Half Smoked Chicken, Potatoes and Corn on the Cob. I also had a Raspberry Iced Tea to wash it down. The meal it's self was really tasty and substantial. I really enjoyed it and would really recommend it. I think Universal are also getting better with information for allergy sufferers. 

I emailed the Special Diets department before the holiday and a chef came back to me and said that the two main table service restaurants in Islands of Adventure have in house chefs which can be brought to your table to discuss the menu options. They are Confiscos and Mythos. He also mentioned that Thunder Falls in the Jurassic Park area had Chicken, Ribs, Potatoes, Fries and Corn which were all suitable. He noted that Butter Beer is Gluten and Egg free but NOT Dairy free. Also the Turkey Legs have Milk powder put on them during the smoking process. 

 Make sure you ask at each location in case any ingredients or cooking methods change.

When I got home I decided to recreate my meal. Here's how I did it. I sprinkled chicken thighs with smoked paprika and sprayed with garlic oil then popped them in the actifry to cook (could roast in oven). Whilst cooking I sliced some salad potatoes and part boiled in water, also adding the corn cobettes to the boiling pan. I softened some onion in a frying pan with olive oil and when the potatoes were close to being cooked through I transferred them the the frying pan and sprinkled with a pinch of Rosemary & Thyme. I browned them off in the pan and seasoned with salt & pepper. 

I served it all up in a dish with a dollop of dairy free butter on the corn. Yum!!

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Beaches & Cream At Disney Beach Club Resort 2015

Another great place to explore is Disney's Boardwalk area where you can find a number of Disney hotels set around the lake. The Boardwalk area also has a number of restaurants, a bakery (sells some Babycakes items) and shops to wander around. Its really nice to stroll around in the evening too when it is lit up around the lake. Another tip, you can see the evening fireworks at Epcot if you stand on the bridge facing the park.

Our main point for this visit was to go to the Disney Beach Club Resort and have a dessert from their Ice Cream Parlour called Beaches & Cream. Its a pretty cool old school style parlour. I had it on good authority from Sarah of GF & DF WDW  that the shop sold amazing ice creams and could cater for allergies. I really wanted an ice cream float as its something I always had as a kid in the summer and i'd not had one for years. At the counter I asked for a Dairy Free float and the manager came across. She asked what allergies id got and offered to do me the float with Toffuti Ice Cream (which is soya based) or Rice Dream. I chose Rice Dream as I don't eat too much soya.

I know its not hard to put some scoops of ice cream in a cup of coke but its not something you can normally just go and get in a cafe. I loved it and it brought back those childhood memories.

The shop does other amazing desserts too and is famous for its (not allergy friendly) Kitchen Sink which is a huge sink filled with one of each ice cream sundae! If you pop over to Sarahs blog here you can read all about her amazing sundae.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Disney Wilderness Lodge Lunch 2015

This year we decided to visit some more of the Disney Resorts that we'd not yet explored. If you did not know, you can visit any of the Disney hotels without having to be staying at them. You can make reservations in any of the table service restaurants, eat at the quick service restaurants or just walk round the resort taking in the sights and the atmosphere. Be warned, every one you visit you will want to stay at.

Mondays we find are always busy at the parks. Lots of people arrive over the weekend so of course they want to head straight to the theme parks. We find this a perfect day for us to do alternative things. Our first stop was the Wilderness Lodge resort. The theming in Disney resorts is amazing. The lobby at this hotel was epic.

We chose to have lunch at the Roaring Fork which is a counter service restaurant. On entering the restaurant a man greeted us on the door. I took the opportunity to ask him about options for food allergies and straight away he said he'd fetch the chef to go through the options. I decided to have my first experience of chicken tenders. The chef took us to a till and placed my order with the cashier. We took a seat and waited for the food to arrive at our table.

My food arrived with a plastic lid that had Allergy written on it. I helped myself to some lettuce and tomatoes from the salad stand. There were also some little Heinz sauce pots which on checking the ingredients were fine to eat. Chicken tenders are actually free from most (if not all) of the top 8 allergens so there are a lot of locations around Disney that serve them. I knew this trip I had to try them.

I know its not the healthiest of meals but 1. I'm on holiday and 2. you don't find takeaway chicken & chips in the UK so I was making the most of it. It was a great sized portion. They were actually really tasty and I enjoyed them for lunch.

 As in all Disney restaurants make sure you mention your allergies to the servers first so they can help with your options and call the chef (usually standard Disney practice).

Wilderness lodge is definitely now one of our favourite resorts to explore. Its lovely.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Downtown Disney 2015 Eats!

Our first full day on holiday in Florida is always pretty chilled. For the last few years we've had a walk around Downtown Disney and had lunch at one of our favorite places. 

Our chosen place for lunch was Cookes of Dublin which is the Fish & Chip Shop next to the Irish restaurant Raglan Road. After visiting Raglan Road last year I became addicted to their deep fried scallops with sweet chilli jam, to the point that I even make them at home now. Last year Cookes of Dublin did sell the scallops to take away but this year they had been taken off the menu (sob), but fear not they still have plenty of other delicious Gluten, Dairy and Egg free options. I chose the deep fried shrimp (prawns) which are served with chips. They were pretty darn good, I really enjoyed them.

Downtown Disney is also home to the amazing Gluten Free & Vegan Bakery which used to be known as Babycakes. It's now called Erin Mckennas Bakery and opened this year in a brand new store to fit in with the Disney Springs refurbishment.

After lunch we went round the corner to Erin McKennas Bakery. It's free from heaven. They had lots of choice including cupcakes, donuts, tea cakes, brownies, cookies and even savoury treats such as Foccacia. I now have to avoid the cupcakes as the frosting contains coconut milk which I can no longer tolerate but my favourite items are the donuts. 

I picked the Salted Caramel (caramel contains coconut milk I later found out), Cookies & Cream, Coffee Crunch and a slice of Cinnamon Toastie with blueberries. They were all delicious but I especially enjoyed the coffee crunch and the cinnamon toastie. Yum!

The shop also sells a small amount of merchandise including her new Bread & Butter book. This shop is a must if you are in Orlando and need a sweet treat. Some products are also sold in some Disney resorts and you can place orders for celebration cakes and deliveries.