Posts Tagged by landscape of flavors

Marathon Weekend Eats in Walt Disney World

It’s no secret that I LOVE food and I especially LOVE food in Walt Disney World.  One of the hardest things about running at Disney is trying to figure out what to eat around the race.  Well Vilay is here with some great meal suggestions during a race weekend and tips on how to stay healthy while being tempted by some not so healthy options.  Try not to drool will reading this post!

This being my first marathon, I was nervous about everything, including my food. I’m here to share with you what I found to eat before and after the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon.

Pre-Marathon Day

I arrived at the Pop Century Resort on Saturday, which was also my family’s day at the Magic Kingdom. I ate breakfast on the road, which was just a coffee and pastry. After arriving at the park and a few rides, I was ready for lunch and chose Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Café. I wanted the Deluxe Cheeseburger which comes with bacon and onion rings on top, but maybe I spoke my order wrong and received just a plain cheeseburger.  My table also shared some chili cheese fries but I was careful not to eat too many.

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Chili Cheese Fries
Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe

One thing I love about some of the Magic Kingdom counter service places is the amazing toppings bar. Somehow my photo got lost but I piled that burger high with mushrooms, tomatoes, lettuce, and banana peppers. If I weren’t running the marathon, I would have just made a burger salad without the bun so that’s an option for you low-carb eaters.

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Burger & Fixins
Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe

A few hours later, the sun was starting to beat down and we found ourselves in Adventureland so I waited in a very long line for a Dole Whip Float. My sister chose Pineapple ice cream while I chose Vanilla. We both agreed that vanilla is the best.

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Vanilla Dole Whip

Of course, I couldn’t help but think that a splash of coconut vodka would take this dessert over the top.  I hate that I have to wait for another Disney trip to eat another Dole Whip. I’ll miss you, Dole Whip!

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Dole Whip Dreaming!

After that afternoon snack, I counted down the hours until my dinner reservation at Be Our Guest. After the fun introduction to the restaurant and gawking at the ballroom where we sat, I was very excited to finally be able to partake in the bread basket, which I normally don’t do. The rolls were warm and served with a pat butter sprinkled with sea salt.

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Warm Rolls
Be Our Guest Restaurant

My sister ordered the braised pork. The online menu for Be Our Guest stated that the slow cooked pork was served with green beans and mashed potatoes but the menu that day was slightly different. The pork came with a good amount of vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, carrots, and a tiny salad, with cauliflower purée instead of potatoes. I blog about health and fitness, and I normally try to limit my carb intake. This meal would be perfect for someone trying to limit carbs and I would have ordered it under other circumstances.

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Braised Pork
Be Our Guest Restaurant

I didn’t want to eat too much fiber or have too large of a meal as my last meal before the race so I skipped a salad or appetizer and just ordered the salmon entree. I was I informed that the salmon was served cooked medium, which I love. It came perfectly cooked – very fresh, incredibly moist, and with a thin crispy crust. The whipped potatoes and creamy sauce sauce were not too heavy so they complimented the lightness of the salmon. Be Our Guest is the only restaurant at Magic Kingdom that serves alcohol. Oh how I wanted a glass of wine with this meal! Alas, I had to think of the marathon and skipped that too.

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Pan Seared Salmon with Leek Fondue
Be Our Guest Restaurant

After seeing the dessert cart, I am so glad that I saved room for dessert. Hey, this counts ad carb loading right? There was no question that I would get the Grey Stuff dessert. This stuff was amazing! The mousse was so light and airy and I loved the crumbly cookie crust. It also wasn’t as sweet as I thought it would be. I wish it were twice as large!

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The Grey Stuff!
Be Our Guest Restaurant

My five year old niece chose the chocolate cupcake as her kids’ meal dessert. This was a very adult cupcake – it was a very dark, almost bittersweet chocolate. I loved it but I can see how it might not appeal to a young kid. My little munchkin liked it though. Oh, and how cute is the rose decoration on each plate? The server did that tableside.

Chocolate Cupcake Be Our Guest Restaurant

Chocolate Cupcake
Be Our Guest Restaurant

We also got the strawberry cream cheese cupcake. This was the only thing I didn’t like very much and my sister agreed. I thought it was too sugary and didn’t have enough cream cheese flavor.

Strawberry Cupcake Be Our Guest Restaurant

Strawberry Cupcake
Be Our Guest Restaurant

The whole Be Our Guest experience really was special and the food was much better than I expected. At around $25 per entrée, the quality of food truly did match “real world” restaurants in the same price range.

Marathon Day

On the morning of the big race, I didn’t leave enough time to stop for breakfast at the Pop Century food court, so I just ate a Luna bar and a packet of peanut butter while on the bus.

Breakfast on the Bus!

Breakfast on the Bus!

Post-race, my family met me with some Pepperoni Pizza Bread from Everything Pop. It felt so good to be have real food immediately after my long race. I’m holding the pizza in this post-race photo.

Post Race Pizza

Post Race Pizza

With the exception of a few pretzels, I had been eating only sweet things (Powerade and gels) for the past few hours so it was especially great to taste something salty. I also got the snack box and a banana, and there were a few food trucks parked there but as a runner, I was grateful not to have to wait in line for food. I only managed to eat one of the two pieces of pizza though. By the way, I think Disney should consider getting a Dole Whip truck for post-Marathon party. An ice cold Dole Whip after the race sounds amazing. (Sarah’s Note: LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea!)

I went back to Pop Century to get cleaned up and cat-nap by the pool while drinking lots of water and Powerade. I was surprised that I wasn’t ravenously hungry. My body seemed to be only wanting small meals. For example, I ate one piece of pizza and felt satisfied. Then an hour later I was hungry so I ate the banana they gave me, and didn’t want any more food. Around 4:00 I was hungry again so I decided to eat a mini dinner. We headed to the Art of Animation resort, home of Landscape of Flavors which everyone told me was the best food court. I ordered the children’s size chicken parmesan meal with whole wheat pasta and a side of grapes. And of course, more water and Powerade.

Chicken Parmesan Kids Meal Landscape of Flavors

Chicken Parmesan Kids Meal
Landscape of Flavors

With rest and sustenance in me, I was finally ready to go to the Cool Down Party at Downtown Disney. Because I ate early mini-dinner, I cancelled dinner plans and we agreed to eat whatever small bites and snacks that caught our fancy. I ate two churros – one caramel and one cinnamon-sugar. That was my first time eating churros since I was a small child and though it was a little stale, it hit the spot. Then I was in the mood for something from Babycakes – like their tiny donuts however by then it was 8:00 pm and they were sold out of everything except for banana bread and the thinnest chocolate chip cookies I had ever seen. Then I turned around and decided to try out Pollo Camparo. While their chicken looked really good and I’d like to try it sometime, I wasn’t hungry enough for a full chicken dinner. I ordered an empanada and yucca fries. The chicken empanada was a little soggy and bland. I didn’t enjoy it very much. I did enjoy the yuca fries. Yuca, also known as cassava, is a root vegetable. It’s denser and more fibrous than potatoes, so I felt the fries were more filling than regular potato fries.

Yuca Fries & Chicken Empanada Pollo Camparo

Yuca Fries & Chicken Empanada
Pollo Camparo

The Day After

The next morning, I think I finally had my appetite back. I got to the Everything Pop food court and suddenly I wanted to eat EVERYTHING. I figured out that I could achieve that goal by ordering two kids meals instead of one adult platter. I got one platter of Mickey Waffles with fruit, bacon, and sausage plus another kids platter of scrambled eggs, a biscuit, and gravy. Protein, carbs, fruit, and salty meats. Could you want anything else? After breakfast I had to hop on the Magical Express back to real life.

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Even though my eating preferences turned out a little strange after the marathon, I hope that my experiences give you some ideas on how you can fuel up before and after a big Disney race. One thing I learned just from observing the dining menus is that although a lot of the food on the Quick Service menus offer fried or greasy foods, you can look beyond that and look closely for healthy alternatives.  Mickeycheck_0Avoid getting fries just because the meal says that it includes fries, and consider the vegetarian meals. Look for items with the Mickey Check symbol, which indicates that the meal meets federal nutrition guidelines for what is considered a healthy meal. Foods with the Mickey Check symbol are also minimally processed, which is a great way to eat in general.

Another tip if you’re like me and want to avoid overeating before or after an event is to order from the kids menu when you are at counter service locations. One of the unexpectedly great things about being at WDW for a strenuous race is that there were so many food options within easy reach. In one evening, I was able to eat multiple mini meals of varying types because that’s what my stomach wanted. If I had been on vacation somewhere else, I might be limited to a few restaurants or I might have been too tired to go through the effort of restaurant-hopping.

Overall, finding the right foods to eat was much easier than I thought it would be. I hope your next runDisney race is as nutritious and delicious as mine.

*****

Having never played sports as a kid, Vilay Connor started running 2 years ago which empowered her to make healthy changes to her life until finally completing her first marathon. She is inspired by other “back of the pack” runners and women who find empowerment in exercise no matter what their size or ability. Follow her blog, Everyday Asian, where she shares her love of fitness, food, organic living, and travel.
Find Vilay here:  Website   Twitter   Instagram

Friday Feast: Pre-Race Fuel at WDW

One of the questions I get asked most often is “Where is the best place to eat before a runDisney race at Walt Disney World?”  This is such a difficult question and something I struggle with before every race.  Luckily, WDW has a TON of dining options, so there is generally something for everyone.

Here are a few of the places I have dined at before runDisney events…the good, bad and meh.

Via Napoli

Chicken Parmesan at Via Napoli

Chicken Parmesan at Via Napoli

Italian food always seems to be the go to meal before races, probably because of the abundance of pasta for carb-loading.  So before my first half marathon (Princess 2012), that’s exactly what I decided on and headed to Via Napoli.  I really wanted Chicken Parmesan (one of my favorite pre-race meals anywhere!) which is what I ordered.  At Via Napoli, this comes with roasted potatoes, but I wanted some pasta.  The waiter would not make the substitution, saying that the chef absolutely refuses.  Really?  In Disney?  Interesting…

So I settled for the potatoes, which were good but just didn’t hit the spot.  Also, the restaurant is very loud and busy so I didn’t enjoy the overall experience for before a race.  You can read my full review here.

San Angel Inn

Enchiladas Verde De Pollo at San Angel Inn

Enchiladas Verde De Pollo at San Angel Inn

I had a late lunch here before the 2013 WDW Marathon to fuel up for those long 26.2 miles.  I LOVE Mexican food and while it might not be good for some before a race, it’s perfect for me.  Well as long as it’s something mild and not too acidic.  The enchiladas at San Angel Inn are just perfect.  Corn tortillas, rice and beans for carbs and tons of chicken for protein.  Unfortunately, I had to pass on having a yummy margarita, but there’s always next time…

Maya Grill

Grande Taco Platter at Maya Grill

Grande Taco Platter at Maya Grill

Oh look…more Mexican food!  Maya Grill is an absolute hidden gem at WDW.  Fantastic food, fun entertainment and it’s pretty easy to get a reservation.  Before the 2013 Princess Half Marathon, my fellow Mexican food lover Amanda and I headed to Maya Grill to fuel up with some of our friends.  We shared a giant bowl of guacamole to start, which was some of the best guac I’ve ever had, and I ordered the Grande Taco Platter for my entree.  I got a combination of beef, shrimp and chicken tacos, and the beef tacos were by far the best.  The shrimp and chicken were just meh.  It came with a generous portion of rice, beans and corn pudding.  Overall, it was amazing and great fuel for the race!

Kouzzina

Turkey-Sweet Potato Hash at Kouzzina

Turkey-Sweet Potato Hash at Kouzzina

It’s no secret that I LOVE Kouzzina breakfast, so it probably comes as no surprise that this is my go to place for meals before any of the night races at WDW.  Before both the 2012 Tower of Terror 10-Miler and the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, I had a late breakfast (around 10:00 am) at Kouzzina.  Before I found out about my egg sensitivity, my favorite dish was the Turkey-Sweet Potato Hash, which is topped with a perfectly poached egg and arugula.  Drooooooolllll.  Perfect fuel for a night race!!

Since both those races, I have taken tests that have shown that I have a severe sensitivity to eggs.  Booooooo!!!  But guess what??  I found out from Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free in WDW that Kouzzina has some of the best allergen free waffles around.  And YES they do!!  Get these bad boys with a side of that delicious sweet potato hash and you are good to go.  You know where I’ll be for all the WDW races this fall.  You can read my full review of all the allergen free options here.

Allergen Free Waffles & Chicken Sausage at Kouzzina

Allergen Free Waffles & Chicken Sausage at Kouzzina

Landscape of Flavors

Mango, Blueberry, Banana Smoothie at Landscape of Flavors

Mango, Blueberry, Banana Smoothie at Landscape of Flavors

There are so many options at Landscape of Flavors at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, but my favorite pre-race option is their smoothie bar.  I drink a smoothie everyday for breakfast to get me going, so this was a seriously awesome find for me in WDW.  The only bad thing is that they wouldn’t add any spinach from the salad bar in the next station…come on!!  But even without the spinach, the mango, blueberry and banana smoothie I had was delicious and a wonderful snack before the Wine & Dine Half Marathon.

ESPN Zone

Championship Chicken Sandwich at ESPN Zone

Championship Chicken Sandwich at ESPN Zone

If you’re staying at the Boardwalk, this is an easy option to get a good meal.  Before the 2012 Wine & Dine Half Marathon, I ate here and ordered the Champion Chicken Sandwich without the bun.  I also got the sun-dried tomato pesto and goat cheese on the side so I could limit my intake of that.  The chicken was very good and the dish was a nice combination of protein and carbs for the race.  I just wish they had sweet potato fries!

I would also recommend getting your food to go if you plan on dining here before a race.  The restaurant is very loud with all of the games going on, so it’s not the best place to relax and get your head together.

In-Room Food

Whole Wheat Bagel Thin, Almond Butter & Banana

Whole Wheat Bagel Thin, Almond Butter & Banana

This combo is my must do meal prior to any race.  Whenever I’m in WDW for a race, I make a point to stop for some bagels, almond butter and bananas.  For me, this is the ideal race fuel…carbs, protein, sugars…perfect.  This combo is also great for staying in a hotel room because nothing needs to be refrigerated.  Trust me on this one…you’ll love it!

Well those are the restaurants I’ve visited so far prior to runDisney events.  What is you’re go to meal before a race?  What is your favorite WDW dining location before a race?

Friday Feast: Landscape of Flavors

Walt Disney World’s newest resort, Art of Animation, has received a lot of praise for it’s affordable family suites, detailed theming and giant pools, all of which are amazing.  But today, I want to focus on the food there.  It’s no secret that I prefer table service meals to giant food courts, but the unique offerings at Landscape of Flavors sucked me in!

LoF_Entrance

B and I went for lunch one afternoon and as is typical for a value resort food court, it was crowded and loud!  I thought B was going to turn around and run from the restaurant.  But since he’s such an awesome husband, he stayed so I could take all of these awesome photos for you 🙂

The dining room is vast and has 4 different themed areas based on the 4 areas featured at the resort: Cars, Finding Nemo, The Lion King and The Little Mermaid.  The space is quite beautiful, so make sure to take some time to look around…especially check out the light fixtures!

Finding Nemo Dining Area

Finding Nemo Dining Area

There are four main food stations set up for lunch and dinner and the choices are quite overwhelming.  I have to say that it took us a while to finally decide what we were getting…everything looked so good!

Salads & Sandwiches

LoF_Sandwich1LoF_Sandwich2

Compared to other WDW sandwich offerings, these looked to be a step above the rest.  I think this mainly had to do with the bread.  The ciabatta for the caprese looked delicious!  The salad bar is huge and gives a TON of ingredients to choose from.

Create-Your-Own-Salad Bar

Create-Your-Own Salad Bar

And don’t forget the homemade kettle chips.  Oh man do I love me some kettle chips!

Mmmmmm...Kettle Chips!

Mmmmmm…Kettle Chips!

Pizza & Pasta

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Being from the Northeast, I tend to skip over all WDW pizza, but the Create-Your-Own Pasta bar looked intriguing.  Here you choose your pasta, add other ingredients like shrimp, chicken sausage, or veggies, and then you have it mixed all together with either pesto, tomato or Alfredo sauce (or all three!).

The Disney Food Blog has been raving about the Cheesy Pesto Bread at this station lately.  This is more of that yummy ciabatta bread simply topped with pesto and mozzarella.  You really can’t go wrong with that!  And it’s a great value at $4.99 or for 1 snack credit if you’re on the dining plan.  I’m going to have to try this next time.

Cheesy Pesto Bread Photo Source: Disney Food Blog

Cheesy Pesto Bread
Photo Source: Disney Food Blog

Burgers

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I love that you can customize your burgers here!  Avocado on a burger…where else can you get that on WDW property?!  There are also come interesting options here including the Surf and Surf Burger, which is a crab cake topped with popcorn shrimp.  That’s a whole bunch of fried deliciousness.  Or you can try the pastrami cheeseburger, but make sure to schedule an angioplasty for the following week 😉

Oh so many burgers...

Oh so many burgers…

B ordered just a basic cheeseburger topped with tomato.  He said the burger was nice and charred, but I’m more impressed with that bun.  Seriously, I think I have a bread obsession…

Burger & Fries

Burger & Fries

And if the fries weren’t enough, B also got an order of kettle chips…I mean really, how could you pass those up?!

YUM, YUM, YUM!

YUM, YUM, YUM!

Tandoori & Mongolian Grill

LoF_Grill1LoF_Grill Menu2

Now this is the station I was looking forward to!!  I was just having a serious problem deciding what to get.  I originally ordered the chicken thighs, but then switched to the fish.  I don’t recall what the actual fish was, but it was a light, white fish with a butter sauce.  This comes with a choice of rice, I went with the multigrain, naan bread and a choice of one side.  I chose lentils for my side and also got an extra dish of spinach paneer (indian cheese), which is one of my favorite dishes.  Some other options are cauliflower, steamed veggies or acorn squash.

Mongolian Fish and Sides

Mongolian Fish and Sides

Spinach Paneer

Spinach Paneer

As with everything here, this was made fresh to order so I had to wait around 10 minutes for everything to be complete.  So worth the wait!  This was seriously one of the best meals that I have had on property, signature dining included!  Now I just wish the dining room wasn’t so loud so I could’ve savored it.

Desserts & Beverages

There are TONS of grab-and-go desserts here.  Cupcakes, pastries, mini-cheesecakses…you name it!

Pastries

Pastries and Cookies

Wall O Cupcakes!!

Wall O Cupcakes!!

Assorted Cheesecake Bites

Assorted Cheesecake Bites

There is also a gelato bar here…that’s right, a gelato bar!!  This seriously kicks this counter service us a notch.

Gelato Bar!

Gelato Bar!

On top of the usual fountain beverage station, there are also many unique beers and wines you can choose from.  A great option if you’re looking to relax by the pool.

Beer & Wine Selection

Beer & Wine Selection

Smoothie Bar

And now my favorite thing about Landscape of Flavors…the smoothie bar.  I love smoothies!  I have one everyday for breakfast, so you can just imagine how excited I was when I discovered this.  This was the perfect fuel when I ran the Wine & Dine Half Marathon last year.  You can be sure I will be back for another one this year!

Smoothie Bar!

Smoothie Bar!

Smoothie Ingredients

Smoothie Ingredients

Mango, Blueberry, Banana Deliciousness!

Mango, Blueberry, Banana Deliciousness!

And lastly, I don’t want to forget the staff.  They were all very helpful in answering questions about the dishes (particularly at the Tandoori station) and I just love the colorful costumes 🙂

LoF_Staff

I know I will definitely be back for more Mongolian fish and spinach paneer, but it will be hard to convince B to go with me.  The place is VERY chaotic, so just be prepared for that.

Have you been to Landscape of Flavors?  What’s your favorite dish?