Posts Tagged by mexican food

Friday Feast: Pre-Race Meal at Tortilla Joe’s

It’s no secret that I’m a Mexican food addict.  I could eat chips, salsa and guac everyday without getting tired of it.  Some might think that it is a strange cuisine for a pre-race meal, but it is my go to!  As seen by my pre-race recommendations for Walt Disney World, I’ve eaten at San Angel Inn prior to the WDW Marathon and Maya Grill prior to the 2013 Princess Half, both of which worked out very well!

So it’s probably no surprise that I went with Mexican prior to the 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon!  My friend Amanda (a fellow Mexican food junkie) has raved about Tortilla Jo’s in Downtown Disney ever since eating there of Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekend and we knew that was going to be the place to go!

01 Tortilla-Jos

Tortilla Jo’s is part of the Patina Restaurant Group, which also runs one of my favorite spots in Walt Disney World, Tutto Gusto, as well as a few other Disney restaurants.  Since we had an early morning that day from the Disneyland 10K and knew we were hitting the sack early for the half marathon, an early dinner was in order.  B, Amanda and I headed over there around 4:45 pm and there was already a 20 minute wait…you should’ve seen it when we left!  The restaurant was massive and can probably hold over 400 people, so having it be that busy was a good sign 😉  I mean look at this menu…YUM!  Click the image for a larger version.

TortillaJos_MainMenu

TortillaJos_Margarita-SpecialDrinks

Once seated, we were brought some chips and salsa and we promptly ordered the table side guacamole we saw being prepared at the table next to us.  Now Tara Gidus advised against fats pre-race in the runDisney meet up earlier that week, but I just couldn’t pass up the guac.  Avocado is a healthy fat, right??

02 Tortilla-Jos-Chips

04 Tortilla-Jos-Guac

05 Tortilla-Jos-Guac

I also ordered another pre-race no-no…a margarita.  Look I had just ran a 10K that morning and it was still early enough in the day that it wouldn’t effect my sleep or the race.  What is Mexican food without a margarita??  Are my excuses convincing??

03 Tortilla-Jos-Margarita

Jo’s Super Gold Margarita

I didn’t want to order something too heavy for my meal and I definitely didn’t want to be weighed down with tons of dairy.  Jo’s Carnitas seemed to be the obvious choice.  Braised pork with some rice and beans for carbs…perfect!  Oh and was it oh so delicious!

Jo's Carnitas

Jo’s Carnitas

Crispy Pork Goodness!

Crispy Pork Goodness!

The pork came with freshly made corn tortillas and extra bonus, the waitress was nice enough to give me a few extra to bring back to the hotel for a morning snack.  You can bet that I loaded those up with some peanut butter the next morning 😉

Amanda ordered the same dish and B went with his favorite Enchiladas Suizas.  I didn’t try them, but they looked great and he said they were really good.  He particularly liked the corn that came with it which had a bit of a kick to it.

08 Tortilla-Jos-Enchiladas

We left there stuffed to the gills and very satisfied.  Probably one of the best Mexican dishes I’ve ever had.  Hey Patina Restaurant Group…can you PLEASE open one of these in Downtown Disney in Orlando so I can eat there more often??  That would rule!

Have you eaten at Tortilla Jo’s?  What is your go to pre-race meal?

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: San Angel Inn

Due to still not having power, I’m finally getting this week’s Friday Feast up using free WiFi and power at Starbucks 🙂  Hopefully, I’ll be back to a normal schedule next week.  Enjoy!

San Angel Inn used to be one of my favorite restaurants in Walt Disney World.  I am a Mexican food addict and here you can enjoy some different and unique dishes compared to your local Tex-Mex joint.  The Mexico pavilion is also my favorite in World Showcase.  I love how it completely takes you to another place.  You can go from the sweltering Florida sun and humidity to a cool evening in a Mexican marketplace.  The restaurants atmosphere is romantic and oddly scenic if you can get a table overlooking the El Rio del Tiempo…oh wait, the Gran Fiesta Tour 🙂

When La Hacienda de San Angel opened across the way a few years ago, I forgot about San Angel Inn for it’s newer, spiffier cousin.  I love the simplicity at La Hacienda and kept returning there when I had a Mexican craving.  So recently, I decided to head back to my old favorite for lunch with my friends Amanda from Disney Every Day and Tony from Disney By the Numbers to see if it was still as good as I remembered.  Let’s take a look at the menu first before diving into the meal…

Drink Menu

Appetizers & Entrees

They have an extensive tequila and margarita list here that is very similar (if not the same) to La Cava De Tequila’s menu.  I went with the San Angel Inn margarita, which is the classic preparation.  I was very excited when they came to the table with the shaker and then left a “2nd round” for me to pour.

How cute is the mini ice bucket?!

As with most Mexican restaurants, we were brought chips and salsa after we placed our drink orders.  The chips were very good and seemed homemade, but the salsa left something to be desired.  It was very spicy, but was lacking in overall flavor.

Amanda and I ordered the Enchiladas Verde de Pollo which are corn tortillas filled with pulled chicken, covered with green tomatillo sauce, topped with sour cream, queso fresco and onions, served with black refried beans.  Salsa verde is one of my favorite sauces, so I was sold immediately on this one.  This was insanely flavorful, the chicken was moist and the black beans were great to scoop up with the tortilla chips.  Big winner here!

Enchiladas Verde de Pollo

Tony ordered the Tacos de Carne (my second choice!) which is a grilled New York strip on flour tortillas, topped with chipoltle pepper sauce, scallions and avocado.  Served with rice and beans.  I don’t think I would’ve been happy with the whole scallions in the tacos, but Tony said the dish was really good.

Tacos de Carne

It wasn’t very crowded during lunch, so this is a great options if you are looking for a good meal for lunch without an ADR.  San Angel Inn has moved back to the top of my list of WDW dining.  The food is tasty and fresh and the atmosphere is unlike anywhere else.  I’d highly reccommend giving it a try!

What do you think of San Angel Inn?

Scenes from a Saturday Run: October 13, 2012

It was chilly in the Northeast today!  We kicked on the pellet stove and commenced winter hibernation this morning.

Pellet Stove in Action

It got to about 50 degrees by 1 pm, so I decided it was a good time to head out for a run.  My goal was to try for 10 miles, but I wasn’t sure how I’d do since I haven’t done much running since the Tower of Terror 10-Miler.  Once I got out into the cool air, I knew I’d have no problem hitting that distance.  As much as I don’t enjoy the winters here in the Northeast, it makes for really good training weather!  Here’s a quick photo recap of my run…

Cinderella in CT???

GIANT Hill…this picture doesn’t do it justice! Yes, I ran up the whole thing 🙂

First view of the Long Island Sound around Mile 5

Mile 7 Stretch Break

GORGEOUS Day!!

I got the full 10 miles in and then some!  I even cut 8:30 off of my Tower of Terror 10-Miler time from 2 weeks ago!  It’s amazing what cooler temperatures and no humidity will do for you.  I had some shin splint issues in the beginning and tight calves towards the end, but overall I felt really strong and was super happy with my performance.

So how do I celebrate a 10 mile training run??  With Mexican food of course!

Love Boat Margarita…yes, that is a lime full of tequila

Chicken Mole Enchiladas YUM!

Did you get a long run in this Saturday?  How did it go?

Friday Feast: Craving Disneyland Counter Service & Cheribundi Giveaway Winner

Sadly, I’ve never been to Disneyland.  I grew up in the Northeast and Walt Disney World was always our home park.  I’m dying to visit, not just for the unique attractions or to walk in Walt’s footsteps, but for the food!  Shocking I know…me making food a priority, who would’ve thought?

Because of the Disneyland Half Marathon last weekend, I was doing a lot of research on the Disneyland Resort for my fantasy trip and of course found myself looking at menus from the various restaurants.  Yes, my top priorities on my visit (whenever that may be) will be to eat at Napa Rose and Carthay Circle, but I was excited to see all of the amazing counter service options available.  I tend to stay away from counter service in Walt Disney World because of all the generic and uninteresting food.  Sure you can find a few good choices at places like Tangerine Cafe in Morocco and the new Landscape of Flavors at the Art of Animation Resort, but for the most part you will find unhealthy options like burgers and hot dogs.  This is why I was surprised (and a little jealous) of the variety available in the parks at Disneyland.  Let’s look at some of my favorites.

Given my love of all things Mexican food, I’m going to start off at Rancho del Zocalo in Fronierland.  The first thing that stood out to me about this restaurant even before I looked at the menu was the beautifully themed restaurant itself.  El Zocalo means “town square” in Spanish, so the decor is made to look like a an open air market in a rural Mexican village.  The tile work, fountains and glass lighting fixtures are quite charming.  Seems like the perfect place to grab a margarita…oh wait, no alcohol in Disneyland Park.  Boo.  Anyway, the menu is quite impressive for theme park fare featuring Citrus Fire-Grilled Chicken, a Burrito Sonara with “fajita-style” beef or chicken, and various enchilada platters.  Of course, I would go for the Grilled Fish Tacos, one of my favorite all time dishes.  YUM!

Citrus Fire-Grilled Chicken at Rancho del Zocalo

Keeping with the Mexican theme, let’s move over to Disney California Adventure.  The obvious choice would be to go to Cucina Cucamonga, but their menu is very similar to Rancho del Zocalo without the ambiance.  I’m actually more interested in Flo’s V-8 Cafe in the new Cars Land.  Did you know that they have a Chicken Tamale Breakfast on the menu?!?  That sounds amazing…I LOVE Mexican breakfasts.  This is a chicken tamale topped with scrambled eggs, salsa verde and pico de gallo.  I need one of these stat.

Staying in DCA, let’s visit the Paradise Garden Grill in Paradise Pier.  This is a fairly new addition to the restaurants in the area and the menu offers a variety of fun Mediterranean skewers, including grilled steak, lemon-oregano chicken, ground beef (Kefta), and vegetables with tofu for vegetarians (finally!).  You can then choose your sauce to go with the skewer like Tzatziki or Chimichurri.  All skewers come with rice, cucumber salad and a pita.  I love that it is healthy and that you can customize your meal!

Chicken Skewer with Chimichurri
©Heather Sievers
The Disney Food Blog

Lastly, I want to head back to Disneyland Park for more meat on a stick at Bengal Barbecue.  Here they have chicken and beef skewers on the menu, but the most interesting one of all is the the Safari Skewer.  This is grilled asparagus wrapped in bacon.  Yes please!!  That looks and sounds so good, but really how is anything bad once it’s wrapped in bacon.  Everything is is great to just grab as a snack to walk around the park with, and with all the skewers under $4 you can’t go wrong!

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus Skewer
©Lynette Johnson
The Disney Food Blog

So this leads me to wonder why Walt Disney World can’t offer the same unique counter service cuisine as Disneyland.  Is it because Disneyland is more of a “locals park” and they want more variety than the average WDW guest?  Is California really that far ahead of the curve when it comes to good food?  Is WDW just producing for the masses?  I can’t figure it out!  All I know is that it makes me sad to see all of these wonderful dishes available in Disneyland and not at Walt Disney World because I am CRAVING good, quick food.  I guess this is even more incentive for me to go out west!

Why do you think Walt Disney World doesn’t offer these kind of options in their quick service restaurants?

 

Giveaway Winner

There was a HUGE response for the case of Cheribundi tart cherry juice in last week’s Friday Feast!  I loved all of your comments and the Ginger Cherry and the Whey Cherry were the clear leaders for flavors that you all wanted to try.  I can’t argue with you there since those are my 2 favorites.  And now the anticipation is over…the winner is:

Andi S. from Indiana

Congratulations Andi!!  I know you are going to enjoy all of that delicious tart cherry juice from Cheribundi.  Make sure to come back after you tried them and let us know what you thought.

Thank you again for everyone who participated in the giveaway.  I hope to have many more coming your way soon, so stay tuned!