Saturday, September 29, 2012

Day 4: Dining Hollywood Style!

On day 4, we ventured out to Disney’s Hollywood Studios where we had two goals: ride two of the best rides, Tower of Terror and Rockin’ Rollercoaster, as many times as we can and get last minute reservations for 50’s Prime Time Café at 11:00am so we have enough time to let our tummies settle before dinner at Hollywood Brown Derby. Mission: Accomplished.

50’s Prime Time Café is every parents dream and every child’s nightmare. Inspired by the 1950’s culture and lifestyle, every bit of this restaurant from the décor to the personality of the table servers brings you back in time and places you smack dab in the middle of a 1950’s family home. Our host, personifying a high-school nerd, high socks and all, guided is to our dining room style table equipped with an antique TV playing everyone’s favorite 1950 shows in black-and-white. The greatest thing about this restaurant is that you have no idea who’s taking care of you that day. Could it be the ruling momma who slaps your elbows off the table and demands you to finish your plate or else? Or the kind aunt who likes a cocktail or two? Or how about crazy, cousin Bob? Apparently, mom and dad were out for the night and well, cousin Bob was there to babysit. 

After demanding us to the set table ourselves cause in his words, he was too lazy, cousin Bob took our order. Now I only came there for one thing: a Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter and Jelly Milkshake. YES! I gave Bob my order and well, I got the crazy look. He said I was demanding, but I didn’t get offended. I knew he was playing a role. At least I hope. At any rate, according to Bob that wasn’t enough. Although they had a Vegan Meatball and Spaghetti dish which I devoured on our last trip here, this time I wanted something light just to hold me over til dinner. So I went for a simple plain Caesar Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette. Nothing fancy, but I thought it was important to have some greens with that milkshake.
After watching cousin Bob struggle to pour my milkshake into my glass, which you know I enjoyed every minute of, although I can’t say the same for him (LOL), I finally got a taste of my long waited peanut buttery milkshake. And boy was it peanut buttery! And sweet! It was a lot to devour, but when it comes to peanut butter, no drop is left behind! Just a note, they are filling so I recommend sharing one; unless you’re greedy like me, then have at it! 

After THAT a walk, or three, around the park was very much needed... I had to burn off that milkshake to make room for dinner. 

Dinner time rolled around and we headed back to Hollywood Brown Derby to experience dinner like the movie stars. As a replica of the original restaurant located in LA, this restaurant had the same 1920’s movie star feel and vibe. It was very nostalgic and left me feeling as if I was missing several pieces to my outfit, like long gloves, a boa and a long-stemmed cigarette? 

After being seated, our waitress Lynn, came over, congratulated us on our anniversary (kudos once more to Disney!) and offered us a complimentary glass of champagne beautifully garnished with a strawberry slice, as well a fun shower of stars to decorate our table. 

Now making my order was quite simple. There was only one vegan dish on the menu according to my waitress and based on previous research, the Noodle Bowl – a giant bowl filled with rice noodles, edamame beans, mushrooms and other yummy veggies swimming in a broth seasoned with Red Curry and topped with a seriously large piece of wok-fried coconut tofu.  I was quite shocked by the massive size of the tofu which turned out to be pleasant in both taste and texture. For those of who know tofu, texture can make or break a tofu based dish. Thankfully, this was firm tofu which seemed to be well pressed. The outside was well seasoned and crusted with coconut providing a contrasting crunch to the softer interior. I really liked it. Actually, the tofu was the highlight of the dish; my favorite part. Overall, the dish was tasty and very soothing, but nothing different then other Asian inspired noodle soups that I have had. Again, the coconut crusted block of tofu is what really sets this noodle bowl apart from others. 

After filling up to near capacity on soup and noodles, we were offered to see a dessert menu. I had viewed it previously online and I had seen no dessert dish that could have even been veganized. So I asked my waitress if they had any vegan desserts available. Her response was that she believes most of them are. As she walked to get the dessert menus, I looked at my husband in horror. He said, “I don’t think she knows what a vegan is”. But I had explained it before! I panicked wondering if my noodle dish really was vegan, but remembered that I had looked it up previously online where it was noted that it was a vegan dish. However, you will soon learn in future posts, you can’t trust the internet either (Sigh). So lesson learned, always call the chef and pray he or she understands what you are talking about. Better yet, follow the same rules as those with allergies: check once before you arrive and make a note with the chef ahead if applicable; check twice with the waiter/waitress and/or chef before you order; and check a third time when the food arrives, especially if you’re skeptical. I’ve gotten so comfortable in my veganism and how mainstream it has become that I forget to do the third check and just assume. 

Looking at the menu and feeling quite stuffed, we both denied dessert and ended our meal on a good note. Of course, I craved dessert so what to get? Well we decided to wait and stay for the Fantasmic show, which is one of the best Disney shows to watch no matter how many times you attend! Of course nothing is better at a nighttime live show then…cotton candy and cinnamon-sugar coated almonds (and something that lights up!)! Yeah I know it’s loaded with sugar but it’s a once in a very rare blue moon that I actually purchase and eat cotton candy so hey why not. I was enjoying the moment. And my sweet tooth craving…satisfied!

Although it was a sugar-loading day, one in which I’m sure I gained a pound from alone, it was also a day of nostalgic eating. From the present to the 50’s to the 1920’s, every dining moment was a different experience, even if the food wasn’t as different. While I would always return to the 50’s Prime Time Café for a vegan milkshake, I can’t say I want to return back to Hollywood Brown Derby. Unless, of course, they offer to serve me two Coconut Crusted Tofu blocks with some veggies and then I may give in.


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