Friday, August 25, 2006

Food Glorious Food

I am already regretting all the food I didn't eat on the cruise, but there is only some much a stomach can take. There are three restaurants on the Disney Wonder, and you eat at a different restaurant each night, but your servers follow you. There is a fourth restaurant, Palo's, which is for adults only, requires a reservation, and is not included in the price of the cruise. For breakfast and lunch, there is a buffet and usually one or two restaurants will be open as well for those meals. In addition to all this, there are places for pizza, hamburgers, and ice cream on the pool decks.

On the first day, we had the option of eating lunch at the Beach Blanket Buffet on the tenth deck or Parrot Cay, one of the sit-down restaurants for dinner, on the third deck. We chose Parrot Cay, mostly because it was closest to where we boarded and closest to our rooms. The amount of food was overwhelming, especially the desserts, a whole table and an ice cream bar. I had the tomato and shallot salad which was very tasty and a small portion of the veggie wrap which was good, but nothing extraordinary. The most unusual thing I tried was a cold strawberry soup which tasted like melted strawberry ice cream. Then I attacked the dessert table, trying the fruit salad, the tiramisu, and a strawberry puff dessert of some kind, which I am still not sure exactly what it was. The last item was filling and did not have much flavor, but the tiramisu was just right, moist and flavorful.

There are different seatings for dinner, early and late, and not everybody eats at the same location each night. We had an 8:30 p.m. seating, which meant we could eat more during the day and still be hungry for dinner, but the negative side is that we were never hungry for the specialty late night buffets.

Dinner our first night was at the same location as lunch, Parrot Cay. We were introduced to Chat from Thailand, our head server, and Alain from Belgium, our assistant server. I cannot say enough good things about the two of them. Chat always knew what items were vegetarian for my benefit and both of them were patient and always willing to chat.

Parrot Cay is bright and colorful with green leaves everywhere and a Caribbean theme. It is the least fancy of the three restaurants, and I am glad we ate there first, because the restaurants kept getting better each night. The "warm" banana bread was too dry and not even warm. My appetizer, the quinoa and grilled vegetables, was also dissapointing as they were stingy with the goat cheese, but the gnocchi au gratin was exquisite, filled with cream spinach. I was so full that it was difficult to enjoy my creme brulee cheesecake which tasted more like cheesecake than creme brulee.

For breakfast the next day, we ate at the Beach Blanket Buffet. I had watermelon and mini Mickey chocolate pancakes which were more fun to look at than to eat. I also had a brioche with coconut icing which was the highlight of that meal.

For lunch at the same location I had a greek salad with deliciously warm pita bread and a cucumber and mint cold soup that was too strong for my taste. The caramel custard, which was really a flan, was ok, but the trifle tasted authentic.

Dinner that night was at Triton's, the fanciest restaurant with French cuisine. That was the same night as the Pirates of the Caribbean deck party, so dinner was a pirate theme. Everybody was given souvenir pirate bandanas.

The basil and tomato soup was thick and creamy. The rigatoni pasta with four cheeses and a light cream sauce was a little too heavy and it proved to be a bad choice as I could not enjoy the desserts which were probably the best out of the three restaurants. I had a bite of my cherries jubilee which was perfection on a plate, but sadly I could not try my mom's creme brulee or my sister's white chocolate domes, which they raved about.

On Saturday I had a very light breakfast at the Beach Blanket Buffet as I was still recovering from dinner the night before. I just had some fruit and a croissant. We had lunch at Castaway Cay which I will write more about in the Castaway Cay entry.

Dinner on the last night was one of the best experiences of the whole cruise. Animator's Palate has animation all over the walls. Everything is in black and white and as you eat, the walls get colored in. By the end of the night, you are sitting in a colorful display of Disney's most beloved characters. Each time a picture changes color, the music from that film is played, so true Disney freaks can tell which pictures will change before they do. Even the waiters start off wearing black and white Mickey vests and when they bring out the dessert menus, they have turned their vests to the colorful side.

The confetti tomato salad was simple, but the olive oil and herb dressing made it one of the best appetizers on the trip. The piquant vegetable curry was just the way I like it, not to spicy, but plenty of flavor. The Boston cream pie was luscious, but the other family that dined with us informed us that we could order off the kid's menu, so I only ate a bite of the pie, opting for a Mickey Mouse ice cream bar (which cost $2.50 at the parks) topped with sprinkles and marshmallows. It was the perfect way to end my dining experiences at the cruise.

On Sunday, before we left, we had one final breakfast at Animator's Palate with our servers. It was a bittersweet experience, and I could barely enjoy my blueberry pancakes.

In addition to these meals, Pinocchio's Pizzeria offered cheese, pepperoni, and vegetable pizza to enjoy by the pools. The pizza was nothing special, but I wish it was open 24 hours a day for a late night snack.

Pluto's Dog House offered hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers, french fries, and my personal favorite, cheese fries, but again, if it was open later or all night, I might have made more use of it. The only thing that I thought the Carnival cruise did better than Disney was they had a pizza parlor open 24 hours a day. On the Disney cruise, there were was more than enough to eat all day long but if I was ever hungry in the middle of the night, there was nothing.

Scoops offered soft serve ice cream with a choice of sprinkles, marshmallows, and caramel for toppings. They also had a display of fruit available all day long, which was convenient to have by the pool.

I only hope that next time I can experience the seven day cruise so I can eat even more.

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