Posts Tagged by african food
|June 28, 2013||Posted by Running at Disney under Disney Dining, Friday Feast, WDW Restaurants|
I’ve visited Jiko a few times over the years, but I have recently discovered a love for this restaurant. Not only is it located at one of my favorite hotels, the Animal Kingdom Lodge, but the food is just beyond amazing. B and I ate here once and he wasn’t as big a fan as I was, so who better to bring back for an amazing meal than your best girlfriend. Enter Amanda….my foodie partner in crime! We had 2 amazing meals here this year and now Jiko is our favorite dining location in Walt Disney World. In fact, Amanda is celebrating her Mom’s birthday there tonight…Happy Birthday Mom!
Our favorite place to eat at Jiko is the Chef’s Counter. There are six seats here that overlook their partial show kitchen where they make all of the appetizers. This includes the flatbreads which are cooked one of the super hot brick ovens. The ovens get up to 685 degrees and only take 5 minutes to cook the flatbreads! The chefs (most of them) are very friendly and happy to answer any of your questions. If you’re a foodie, this is a great place to become more immersed in your meal.
Ok, some of the ingredients might be strange and unusual, but just give it a chance. How can you go wrong with this amazing bread and butter to start?! There are two kinds of bread, honey wheat and rye focaccia with flax seeds, and the butter is a sundried tomato butter combined with cilantro, turmeric and ginger. Yes, it’s amazingly delicious. Oh and if you have an egg sensitivity like I do, let them know and they will separate the bread for you…pretty cool!
On both visits, Amanda and I split the same appetizers. After having the Grilled Wild Boar Tenderloin for the first time, I’ve pretty much been dreaming about it ever since. The meat is insanely tender, the pap (a traditional African corn porridge) is amazingly creamy and the spices are insane. This tiny little appetizer packs a flavorful punch!
Amanda and I are cheese addicts…if there’s a cheese plate on the menu, we’re getting it! Jiko has a great one with some interesting accouterments, including a date and mango jam, ground pumpkin seeds, plum gelee and a honey crisp.
Mouth watering yet? Let’s move on to the entrees. The most famous entree at Jiko is their Oak-Grilled Filet Mignon. When the restaurant first opened, it came with an amazing Mac & Cheese. The menu was changed to the current Spoonbread Souffle, which I’m sure is good, but no comparison to the Mac & Cheese. Good news, you can still request it and the kitchen is happy to oblige!
If you’re a fan of beef, you might also like the Short Ribs. These are perfectly tender, but beware that they are quite spicy. Amanda ordered this on our first visit and while I thought the beef was good, it was a bit too spicy for me.
On our second visit, we both went the seafood route at the suggestion of our amazing waiter Hassan (who we had both times!). I was ready to get the Filet Mignon again, but was also intrigued by the Yellow Snapper. And I’m so glad he convinced me to go with that! The Pan-seared Yellow Snapper with Tea-smoked Lentils is beyond amazing. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it was probably the best dish I’ve had in WDW. The sauce is a Citrus-Curry Beurre Blanc and if I could put this on everything I would. Basically, order this dish….
Sigh…I want that right now. Amanda ordered another delicious seafood dish, West African “Jerked” Scallops. Girl likes the spicy stuff! These were very good and I particularly enjoyed the Coconut Curry Sauce. However the baby carrots were very underdone and hard to eat…boo.
Well there’s always room for dessert, right? Jiko has a very interesting dessert and after dinner drink menu, and me, I’m more partial to liquid desserts.
Most of the desserts have eggs, so I steered clear of those. But Amanda raved about both the Coffee Creme Brûlée and the Chocolate Cake. They look delicious!
I did try their sorbets, Coconut and I can’t remember the 2nd flavor!, which were quite good. Great egg-free option!
Now the after dinner drinks…I tried both the Zebratini and the Nutty African. YUM! The Zebratini was a bit too sweet for me, but the Nutty African was right up my alley!
Yowza…that’s a good meal! I wish I was there right now! Look how happy I was after my last meal there…
Have you eaten at Jiko? What is your favorite dish there?
|March 1, 2013||Posted by Running at Disney under Disney Dining, Friday Feast, WDW Restaurants|
This meal has been a long time in the making. After reading numerous stellar reviews and given my love of “exotic” foods, Sanaa always sounded right up my alley. My only barrier was B who HATES anything flavored with cumin (and I mean hates!) and isn’t a fan of Indian spiced food. So I figured my girls only trip over Princess weekend would be the perfect time to check it out. Oh yeah!
After the runDisney meet up and picking all of our things up at the Expo, my partner in crime Amanda and I headed over to Sanaa for a late lunch. This was my first time at Kidani Village and I was taken aback by how small it was. After coming over from Jambo House, the lobby seemed tiny but eerily familiar. We headed downstairs to check in for our 2:50 reservation. Did you know there is a hidden Mickey in the woven baskets on the wall next to the check-in desk??
The restaurant is small, but incredibly detailed to look like an outdoor African marketplace. There are beads, artifacts and other various artwork scattered throughout the restaurant. I love the lanterns and really wanted to steal them for my patio set at home!
To the left when you enter is a really nice lounge area that I didn’t even know was there. I will definitely be returning here for drinks and appetizers on a future trip. I think I can probably get B to agree to that!
We were seated at a table right nice to one of the giant windows overlooking the savanna…how lucky were we?! The restaurant was actually pretty dead at this time, which is really good to know because I’m sure you could easily get a walk up. We were greeted by a few zebra who hung out with us the entire meal! Our server was even taking pictures of them because she said it was very rare that they would come this close. They must have known we were animal lovers 🙂
I told the server that I have an egg allergy and was brought a separate egg allergy specific menu. This was the first time I’ve seen this at a Disney restaurant…super cool!! I think I was so excited about the menu that I completely forgot to take a photo of it…total fail on my part, but here’s the link to the menu so you can see all of the fun offerings! The chef came out as usual to consult with me on what I can and can’t eat. I also can’t have cucumbers or squash, so she pointed out those items I should avoid.
We were there on National Margarita Day (February 22nd), so obviously we both started out with the Malawi Mango Margarita. This is a frozen margarita with tequila, tangerine liqueur, mango puree and lime juice. It was tasty, but a bit too sweet for my taste overall.
Earlier that day we gorged ourselves with delicious Kouzzina breakfast, so we weren’t going to order too much food. I was having a really hard time deciding what to have, but we finally settled on sharing the Indian-Style Bread Service and the Slow Cooked Beef Short Ribs.
When you order the bread service, you have a choice of 3 breads and 3 accompaniments. Let’s start with the breads. We chose naan, garlic ginger naan and papadum.
I LOVE naan. The texture, the flavor…everything! This was great naan, but I couldn’t really tell the difference with the garlic ginger naan. Usually garlic naan is incredibly strong, but I could hardly taste it here which was a tad disappointing. I’m sure Amanda was happy about that though so she didn’t have to smell my garlic breath for the rest of the day. The papadum was the surprise hit of the group. It is crisp, cracker-like bread made from lentils and rice flour (gluten-free!) and has caraway seeds throughout.
For our accompaniments, we went with the mango chutney, red bell pepper hummus and tamarind chutney. Our selection was more limited since neither one of us eat cucumbers and 3 out of the 9 choices have cucumbers, but we were very happy with what we got.
All 3 choices were on the sweet side, but went nicely with our bread selection. There are some very spicy choices on the menu, but we decided to steer clear of those. The hummus and mango chutney went really well with the naan since they were thicker. The tamarind chutney was more like a thin sauce and was great for dipping the papadum in. Overall, this was a hit!
As an entree, Sanaa offers a choice of two proteins that are simply slow-cooked in gravy and served with basmati rice or a five-grain pilaf. Instead of getting two different proteins, we ordered 2 short ribs so we could each have our own little dish…genius!
Oh. My. This was INSANELY DELICIOUS! The short ribs were incredibly tender and just fell apart when you cut them with a fork. And the gravy…whoa. This was intensely flavorful with both Indian and African spices incorporated. At the suggestion of our server, I poured the rice out on to my larger plate and then poured the short ribs and gravy all over it so it would soak up all the goodness. This is one of the best things I’ve had on Disney property…hands down.
We were pretty full after all of this, so we sat and enjoyed the view while sipping the rest of our margaritas for dessert. I’m glad we came for lunch so we could see all of the animals out on the savanna. I would think that the experience wouldn’t be as good for dinner when it is dark out.
I really loved my meal here and can’t wait to go back and try some of the other menu items. I think the Tandoori Chicken and the Shrimp with Green Curry are next on my list to try!
Have you been to Sanaa? What is your favorite meal there?