Originally posted on Blogger on May 26, 2011
C and I stayed at Disney for our anniversary back in January and took advantage of the Disney Dining Plan as part of our mini-vacation. I know this post is way late but hey…I didn’t have a blog back in January! On the first night of our stay we decided to try out Kouzzina by Cat Cora (here’s a link to the full menu, a new-ish restaurant (it opened in August of 2009) that took the place of Spoodles at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort. I had made reservations a few days prior, and boy was I happy that I had!
|Photo taken from WDW Info|
I have been a fan of Cat Cora’s since her show Kitchen Accomplished aired on the Food Network, and love watching her on Iron Chef America, so when I saw that she was opening a restaurant nearby, I was psyched. Mediterranean food is a particular favorite of mine and C enjoys it as well, so it was a good choice for us for our anniversary trip. The anticipation was high enough as it was, but when we got to the restaurant and checked in for our reservation and saw a sign stating that Cat was actually at the restaurant that night and meeting the patrons, I got a little bit star-struck. Movie stars and famous singers do nothing for me. They might as well just be really rich (and often very attractive) random people. For the most part, anyway. Chefs and writers that I admire, though? As much as I say “oh they are just normal people, why would I get all worked up over meeting so-and-so”…I am 100% full of crap. When I saw Cat Cora walking around her restaurant and greeting people, I got positively giddy. Please forgive the horrible quality of these photos; they were taken with my old and incredibly crappy cell phone.
|Me looking ridiculous and giddy and Cat Cora….not looking at the camera. Oops!|
As part of the Disney Dining Plan, we were each able to choose one entree and one dessert. The appetizers sounded so great that we decided to go with one of those, too. We chose the Crisp Calamari and Lemon (we have a tendency to try the calamari appetizer, if available, at every new restaurant we try) and it was delicious. It was breaded in arborio rice flour, which made for an almost tempura-like coating, and the fried lemon slices were just to die for. It had to be in the top three fried calamari dishes I’ve ever tried (another of which would be the calamari appetizer at Palo aboard the Disney Cruise Line, but that is a post for another day). I have a tendency to be nosy and glance at other diner’s choices while at a new restaurant, and I’ve got to say, of the other appetizers I saw, I’d love to try the goat cheese-stuffed grape leaf and the Saganaki (which is a seared Halloumi cheese; I die for Halloumi, and it is SO hard to find here).
For my entree, I ordered the Fisherman’s Stew, which was a slightly spicy broth chock full of mussels, clams, shrimp, scallops, and chunks of fish served with two toasted pieces of crusty bread. Amazing. Seriously. I am not really a soup lover, but I do love seafood, and this was clearly the best choice I could have made. All around me people were eating the sampler entree, which included tastes of pastitsio, cinnamon-stewed chicken, and a lamb slider, and it looked okay, but not nearly as drool-worthy as the steaming bowl of deliciousness that sat in front of me. I ate as much as I could, making sure to get all of the mussels and clams (my favorite) and using the grilled bread to soak up the flavorful broth. I would order this dish again and again and again and again. And then again after that.
C ordered the Traditional Whole Fish, which was simply roasted and served on top of greens and deboned tableside for him. It was also perfectly cooked, moist, and flavorful. While it was second to my stew, it was another delicious dish.
We were so full at this point that we knew dessert would have to be taken to go. I will be honest; I don’t have a photo of it so I really don’t remember what C ordered. I ordered the baklava to go, and brought it back to the hotel with us for later (along with some ice cream from Beaches & Cream; again, another post for another day). It was an interesting interpretation of baklava. Instead of the layers of filo dough alternating with the nutty filling, a thick portion of filling was surrounded by a thick layer of filo, making it a cylinder shape and almost looking like a baklava cannoli when it was cut. Still, it was well-made and while it wasn’t the best baklava I’ve ever had, it sure wasn’t anything to sneeze at, either. Yum.
|Yep that’s right, I described this as a baklava cannoli.|
I cannot wait to go back to Kouzzina, even knowing that Cat probably won’t be there this time. I think I’ll need to bring a large group, though, because it will be very hard for me to order the other things on the menu that I’m dying to try, knowing how good the Fishermen’s Stew is now.