Eating: Portobello and Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue

Besides eating at the Food and Wine Festival, Cristina and I had two nice meals in Disney while we were there at the beginning of October. The first was at Portobello in Downtown Disney while the other was the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner and show.

On Saturday, after our race, we headed to Downtown Disney. We decided to eat at Portobello. It was mid-afternoon so the restaurant wasn’t very crowded, yet we still had to wait for a little longer than what should have been necessary. Maybe we were both tired from the race, but when you see only 3 tables filled you get antsy having to wait. However, the extra time gave Cristina and her mother more time to talk so in the end it wasn’t that bad. While waiting for our food we were brought some fresh baked breads with a half of a roasted garlic bulb that was drizzled with olive oil. This was the best thing I ate there. Don’t get me wrong, my meal was excellent, but this was just perfect. Maybe it was because I was hungry. Knowing I was going to eat a lot that night, I choose two appetizers: the calamari and the meatball sliders. The calamari was lightly battered and well season and cooked perfectly. None of that chewiness that you get at lesser restaurants. The sliders were also very good but the buns were overwhelming the meatball so much so that I ate the last one without the bun. Cristina ordered the mozzarella stuffed rice balls which were the star of the bunch. The risotto stuffing was well flavored and made the marinara sauce served on the side unnecessary. Cristina’s mom ordered the portobello mushroom served with gorgonzola, polenta, and rosemary sauce which was also quite tasty. For a main course, Cristina ordered the gnocchi which came with a nice pork ragu even though she only ate the gnocchi. Cristina’s mom went with a woodburned oven pizza that looked yummy, but I was rationing lactose pills so I didn’t partake. Overall, Portobello served us a nice meal for a very affordable cost.

Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue

Playing the washboard at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue

On the Sunday night of our trip, we met up with Michael, an old friend of Cristina’s who lives in Orlando. While playing a very whimsical round of mini golf at Fantasia Gardens, I stated how I always wanted to do the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue. I’ve always heard great things about the show even though I never heard about the food. Michael stated it was an all you can eat and drink comfort food based menu. We called for reservations to find out they only take pre-payment. It is very pricy, but we had been saving up. After the golf match (Michael won), we headed to Fort Wilderness. When you walk in, you are greeted by your waiter and brought to your table where cornbread with honey butter and salad is waiting for you. There were quite a few drinks that were included which did include quite a few adult beverages. Cristina when with root beer while Michael and I enjoyed some sangria. Before the main course, the show starts. The premise is that you are at G-Rated Saloon show. It’s great if you like you good singing and really bad jokes, i.e. “Call me Butter cause I’m on a roll!” After the introduction to the show the main courses come out: fried chicken, bbq ribs, baked beans, corn and mash potatoes. The ribs were the star with the fall of the bone quality but the fried chicken was as good as an all you can eat set could be. We quickly finished the ribs and ordered another bucket. The show continued while we were served strawberry shortcake for desert. While the food was good, you wouldn’t come to the Hoop-Dee-Doo for the food. The show is the main attraction here and if you are a lover of bad jokes, as I am, then the show is well worth the money.


Running: The Disney Halloween 5K

The Run According to Kurt

Four o’clock is not a time I should ever have to wake up. Especially, when I’m not even sleeping in my own bed. However, we had to start getting ready for our run. The buses were leaving around five to take us to Animal Kingdom. We bought bananas the night before so we could have something in our stomachs. The air was chilly.

We arrived at Animal Kingdom to the sounds of very loud music. An energetic and, actually, quite funny DJ was keeping the crowd entertained. We walked around and sat down and talked about the race. About a half hour before the race, our supporters, Cristina’s mom and sister, joined us to cheer us on.

Around seven, we got in our chute position. Due to Cristina’s illness we self-imposed a slower pace time for us.  The race began shortly after.

I have to admit, it was a fun, if rather crowded, race.  Disney music was playing throughout the park.  We could take pictures with characters, which most of the runners with kids did, but we were too worried about finishing to stop.  The park made the race go by that much quicker especially since it kept setting up mini goals for us.

The only problems with the race were that the people with strollers were way too fast.  They started right after us so they kept passing us up.  They kept trying to avoid us and we kept trying to avoid them.  There was also one section that wasn’t wide enough for the runners so everyone except the very first people had to stop and walk.  While I don’t mind walking, we were all sweaty at this time so it reminded me of teaching middle school boys after PE.

While we have run faster times, I was real proud of our forty-six minute time.  Cristina had only run once in the last 3 weeks due to her illness.  We enjoyed collecting our plastic medals.  Most importantly, we realized this race wasn’t the end of our training but the beginning of our next phase of running.

The Run According to Cristina

Disney Halloween 5K

Meeting Mickey and Minnie before the race

I was so excited to run the Disney Halloween 5K. Disney World is one of, if not, my most favorite places on Earth, and since running is becoming more and more of a big time hobby for us, it was the perfect place to have one of our first races. Especially since Halloween is my favorite holiday! Unfortunately, I contracted the flu 3 weeks before the race. I was bedridden for a week, and it took me almost two full weeks after to really get over the tired, achy feeling the flu left behind. During that time, I only ran once, which bummed me out. I was shooting for a goal of around 40ish minutes before the flu, but now I upped it to 45 minutes.

We went to sleep around 8pm the night before the race to try and get a good night’s sleep. While various reasons kept us from getting a great night’s sleep, we did okay. 4am came quickly, and before we knew it we were on the bus, headed to Animal Kingdom. It was still pretty early when we arrived, around 5:30am for a 7am race, so though there were people, it wasn’t hugely crowded yet. A dressed up Mickey and Minnie were out and since the line was short, we jumped at the chance to take a picture with them (which became a ridiculous line a little later on). A DJ was blasting out music to keep us pumped up, a much appreciated thing. After about an hour, my mom and sister arrived to cheer us on. We smartly saved seats on the bleachers for them and suddenly, it was time to line up.

Disney Halloween 5K

Hitting the 3 mile mark

As Mickey and Minnie cheered us on, we were off! I was a bit tight, because we placed ourselves toward the back of the race where the slowish people were. The beginning was very slow going as we tried to move past some of the slower ones and were forced to walk at certain areas due to a large crowd in a tight squeeze. The first mile was entirely in the parking lot. When we actually got to the entrance of the park, characters were greeting us. Though some people were stopping to take pictures, Kurt and I really wanted to time ourselves and declined doing so. As we ran, the park with littered with different characters, the only ones giving me pause to almost stop being the hyenas from The Lion King since I’ve never even them out before. We kept moving, however, through different sections of the park, including behind the giant animal facilities which looked much nicer than it smelled.

Eventually we hit the 3 mile mark and only had that .1 left until the finish line. We pumped up the volume and crossed at 46:06…not quite my goal time of 45, but good enough considering how slow that first mile had been. It truly was exhilarating to run through Animal Kingdom and see all the people enjoying themselves like I was, especially Kurt. We got our plastic medals with pride and met up with my mom and sister to tell them all we had seen during our run.

Next year, I foresee the Wine and Dine Half Marathon in our plans.

Disney Halloween 5K

Cristina crossing the finish line

Disney Halloween 5K

Sweaty and displaying my medal

Eating: The Food and Wine Festival at Epcot

Kurt and Cristina at the 2011 Food and Wine Festival

Kurt and Cristina at the 2011 Food and Wine Festival

Anyone that knows Cristina and me will be quick to tell you that it seems like we are always at Disney World. We’ve actually bought season passes before. As I heard one man tell his friend at the entrance of Magic Kingdom: you may walk in age 37 but you will leave age 7.

My favorite event at Disney World is the food and Wine Festival mainly because I like food and wine. The festival, which takes places in the World Showcase of Epcot, features food from around the world. Tasting plates are served for around five dollars. Wine comes in small glasses ranging with the most expensive being around ten.

Cristina and I both buy gift cards when we go. It makes it easier than pulling out our wallets and debit cards every time. It’s also safer.

We decided to attend the festival during the Wine and Dine Half Marathon Party. We could enter the park at 7 pm and the party ended at 3 am. There was a big screen with the half marathon being broadcast. Most of the rides were open (except Spaceship Earth, my favorite ride, of course). The price was actually a few bucks cheaper than a park ticket.

Continue reading

Drinking: The Old New Orleans Rum Distillery

The Old New Orleans Rum Distillery Door

The Old New Orleans Rum Distillery Entrance

Neither Cristina nor I are big drinkers but that didn’t stop us from touring the Old New Orleans Distillery. Located on Frenchman St. between the I-10 split, the distillery can be a little hard to find. In fact, if it wasn’t for the decorated door, we would have wondered if we were in the right place. That and a pretty decent crowd for an October afternoon tour.

Continue reading