Orlando Weekend

For my birthday last month I asked bf to take me to Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba.  Since the date we picked to go coincided with our anniversary, we decided to book an extra night and go for the whole weekend.  In addition to seeing La Nouba and sleeping a lot, we took the opportunity to try some new restaurants and visit an old favorite.

Friday we left work early to get on the road and visit Garden Cafe for dinner.  I had heard only good things about this vegetarian Chinese restaurant and was excited to try it, bf not so much.  But he made do.  I was actually worried about deciding what to order, as I’m not used to having so many options.  From what our waitress said only a few menu items included egg or honey, the majority was vegan.

I started with the wonton soup.  The wonton filling was a little bland, but the stock was very nice.

garden cafe

BF got a spring roll which looked good.

garden cafe

BF loves lo mein so he ordered the Combination Lo Mein, which had a couple kinds of veggie meat.

garden cafe

I chose one of the house specialties, Orange Beef.

garden cafe

I had a choice of brown or white rice which I always appreciate.  Here’s my brown rice posing next to a shrimp I stole from bf’s lo mein.

garden cafe

Overall the food was very good.  If you’re not a fan of fake meats they had veggie and tofu selections as well.  It’s a little pricy compared with standard Chinese fare, but the portions are large enough for leftovers.

We travelled onward to our hotel, Buena Vista Palace.  We were originally thinking of staying at a “moderate” Disney hotel, but this was a much more affordable room that was still really close to all the Disney action.  The decor was modern, the bed was comfy, and the room was cold.  We opted for a “Disney view” room, so Friday night we watched the fireworks over Epcot.  Here’s the view when we arrived, you can see the Epcot sphere at the right on the horizon.

disney view

After the fireworks we headed to one of bf’s favorite places on earth, the ESPN Club at the Boardwalk, to watch the A’s/Giants game.  I was feeling snacky so I ordered fries, which came in this contraption.

espn club

I think it’s supposed to be like a basketball hoop?  I’m still not sure.  I didn’t know it came with the dipping sauces on the bottom, and didn’t eat any of them.  Ketchup is enough for me.

Saturday morning we ate blueberry muffins I had pulled from my freezer, and I had hotel coffee with instant creamer and stevia, which was actually pretty good.  For lunch we headed to Big River Grille, also in the Boardwalk area.  This brewpub is owned by Gordon Biersch, who also owns A1A Aleworks in St. Augustine.  I had previewed the menu online to be sure I’d find something to eat there.

I ordered their beer sampler, 3 ounces of 6 kinds of beer.  It was quite a bit for lunch, but I like to get samplers at brewpubs to get a feel for everything they do.  This was after I kicked the table and spilled some of it.

big river grille

I didn’t care much for the light lager or the pilsner.  The seasonal wheat beer was okay, and the special cherry beer in the middle was interesting.  The flavor was good but it had lost carbonation in the brewing process since it was an experimental beer.  My favorites were the darker beers, the pale ale and the red ale.  I’m not sure why there weren’t any truly dark beers, I guess they brew those seasonally.

For lunch I ordered the hummus appetizer minus the feta it comes with.  I was pretty hungry and forgot to take a picture until I was a couple bites in.

big river grille

The hummus was standard, good but not anything special.  My only wish was that there were more veggies.  I was worried an appetizer portion wouldn’t be enough, but thankfully this was plenty to get me through until dinner.

After lunch we went back to the room and took a TWO AND A HALF HOUR nap.  We didn’t mean to sleep that long.  The room was just so dang comfortable!  It was lucky bf had thought to set an alarm just incase.

Next stop was La Nouba.  We got dressed up all nice, but bf didn’t want to appear in a photograph.

la nouba

The show was amazing.  I knew it would be good, and it delivered.  Even bf, who wasn’t sure he would like it, said “I liked it a lot more than I thought I would”.  If you ever have a chance to see any of the Cirque du Soleil performances, go.  I hope to see more of them.

We had planned to go to dinner that night at an Ethiopian restaurant, but it took a little longer to get out of the theater than anticipated, and bf was hoping to be back at the ESPN Club by 9 for another baseball game.  So we decided to postpone our dinner plans and just eat at the ESPN Club.  I knew thanks to one of Ruby Red Vegan’s Disney food posts that there was a suitable veggie sandwich on the menu.  I double checked with our waitress, who sent the chef out with a list of ingredients to go over with me, and sure enough the Grilled Veggie Sandwich with Cucumber Salad is vegan!  It was pretty good too, the bread was hearty and the vegetables well seasoned.  The only thing that got me was that the grilled veggies had been chilled so the whole meal was cold.

espn club

I wasn’t in a beer mood, so I got this frou frou drink which I think was called the Power Play.  It had blue caracao, melon liqeuer, lemon and pineapple juice, and I think rum.  I’m a sucker for anything with melon liqeuer.

espn club

We slept like babies again Saturday night.  The next morning we packed up, walked around Downtown Disney for a bit, then headed to Nile Ethiopian.  I’d only had Ethiopian food a few times, and was looking forward to trying it again.  I ordered the vegetarian combination plate.

nile ethiopian

From left to right there is a salad with vinegary dressing, spicy lentils, split peas, collard, and cabbage on the bottom.  I don’t know the proper names of the dishes but I know they were all tasty.  BF liked the flavors but wasn’t a big fan of the sour injeera bread you use to scoop.

Overall I had a great time.  We slept a lot, ate a lot, saw an awesome show, and now it’s back to the daily grind.  I hope everyone else had a great weekend.

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10 Comments »

  1. Sounds like a nice getaway. And thanks for documenting your restaurant meals. It’s always nice to see that yes, vegans can travel and dine out!

  2. VeggieGirl said

    What a great, delicious weekend! :0)

  3. Oh, gosh! I cannot decide which meal I like better! this sounds and looks like a fantastic weekend! And you got to try all those nice dishes and beverages :-) Lucky you!

  4. Jennifer said

    What a fun weekend. Looks like you guys found yourself some tasty looking grub.

    I think our bf’s would get along, ESPN Club, you know Brett would force me to go there – if for nothing else, as a payback for all the hours I make him listen to me talk about food. ;-) At least they had something you could eat there, too bad it was cold though, I’ve never heard of serving grilled veggies cold.

    You look so good in that picture, love the dress. You bf should have posed with you!!

  5. Romina said

    Whoa the wontons look yummy! I stopped eating Wonton soup ages ago when they started putting shrimp in them at the restaurant i went to. Miss it like crazy though.

  6. aTxVegn said

    It sounds like a great getaway for you two. I would have been quite content with veggies sammies and Ethiopian foods.

  7. jessy said

    sounds like you and the boy had a wonderful weekend together! glad the show was stellar, hooray for lots of naps (i love naps – they’re my favorite) and it looks like you got some good eats in, too! i like your frou frou drink! i would have totally ordered that as well! the sammie with the roasted veggies looked so tasty! so did the orange beef & hummus, too! mmmmmmmm! that’s cool that you got brown rice – i wish more places around here offered it – i love it so much better than white rice – i like the slightly nutty flavor it tends to have.

    glad you had an awesome time, and welcome back! superhappyface!

  8. Cyn said

    All the food in this looks good, but I love, love, love Ethiopian food. So tasty!

  9. What a fun weekend! I love cirque du soleil shows.. I”m going to one in a few weeks in vegas! Too bad the weekend had to end, huh?

  10. emcegg said

    Next time you have an adventure in Orlando, you MUST check out Woodlands Pure Veg South Indian restaurant! It is AMAZING. AMAZING.

    I also recommend Infusion Tea.

    http://www.woodlandsusa.com/

    http://www.myspace.com/infusiontea

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