Christmas 2006

We read in the Sentinel about the days the parks closed due to capacity. We were so happy we had been able to exercise a little creativity to explore the less-popular venues – such as walks around Fort Wilderness, Wilderness Lodge (highly recommended for Christmas especially), and the Boardwalk.

But even our treasured Fort Wilderness was getting a little too busy for our taste. And the melted and refrozen ice cream we purchased and immediately discarded from the Outpost was disgusting. When Disney is overly-crowded, it just isn’t as pleasurable. Take the Flying Fish, for example. There was some really good stuff and some not-as-good-as-usual stuff.

It wasn’t all that busy when we were seated for our 6:30 ADR. And the waitstaff, while pleasant and quite knowledgeable when recommending wine pairings (he just passed his sommelier test), didn’t offer as top-notch service as we’ve had in the past. The servers at the finest (expensive) Disney restaurants in the past used to be absolutely amazing. But in recent times, service seems more hit and miss, and the best servers are no longer there.

And while the wines and the appetizers were of such quality we were oohing and aahing as we ate, the beloved Potato-Crusted Red Snapper was so swimming in the Creamy Leek Fondue and Red Wine Butter Sauce, that the “potato crust” seemed more like a potato lake. It was still tasty but did not live up to previous times and I ended up leaving a portion of it on my plate. The diners next to us were quite perplexed by the fish, too, especially when one of them didn’t even order it. Her order was soon rectified. The service just wasn’t up to par.

Okay, so that’s the not-as-good-as-usual stuff. Now on to the really good stuff:

First off, we were served a plate of warm, whole wheat sourdough bread and a large slab of butter. Having lived in San Francisco for 22 years, I love sourdough bread and it’s been harder to find since leaving the West Coast. So I was thrilled to not only be served sourdough but whole wheat sourdough – what a find!
Here’s the rest of our menu – we must repeat that our waiter made some superb wine pairing recommendations. We salute him for that.

Appetizers – We shared two:

Chardonnay Steamed Mussels – fennel, pesto cream sauce, grilled sourdough
Crispy Fried Calamari – Vietnamese dipping sauce, shredded iceberg lettuce, snipped chives
Wine Pairing: Honig Sauvignon Blanc 2003

Rich has always been a huge fan of mussels, but ever since I had them at Artist Point on my birthday last summer, I’ve been hooked, too.

And the calamari was so light and the dipping sauce so tasty – a great match.

The wine was a nice, dry wine that paired quite well with the appetizers. Our waiter did a great job of pairing one wine with two appetizers with slightly different flavors and textures.

Entrees: We ordered the same:

Potato-Wrapped Red Snapper – Creamy Leek Fondue and Red Wine Butter Sauce
Wine Pairing: Château de Cugat Bordeaux Supérieur

We’ve already mentioned our reaction to the snapper. It was still tasty – I do love the leek fondue and red wine butter sauce. In fact, I ate all of that but left some of the snapper. The two should have blended together better instead of seeming like two separate parts of the dish.

But what can we say about any wine that makes you feel so special and privileged just holding a glass of it in your hands, inhaling it, letting it linger on your tongue, and feeling it slide down your throat begging you to repeat it as quickly as you can while urging you to slow down and make it last as long as possible?

You might think this was the highlight of the meal, and you’d be close, but the best was yet to come.

Dessert:

LlaffinPlace – this one’s for you:

Warm Valrhona Chocolate Galette – white chocolate gelato, raspberries

WOW, WOW, WOW! Absolutely amazing!

We lingered over coffee – which didn’t arrive until we were almost finished with dessert – we had to remind him – but hey, maybe it’s better to enjoy the dessert without being watered-down by coffee.

Overall, it was a wonderful meal and a great way to spend Christmas Eve. While our original intention was to enjoy a late-night Christmas church service afterward, we decided we wanted to extend our evening at the Boardwalk, have an after dinner stroll, and to enjoy a Christmas Day service, instead. It all worked out well.