Google+ Allergy-Free Vintage Cookery: Dining in Walt Disney World with Food Allergies: Epcot


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Dining in Walt Disney World with Food Allergies: Epcot

Welcome to Part 5 of my series on eating with food allergies in Walt Disney World.  You can find all the previous posts here: Part 1: Planning, Part 2: Magic Kingdom, Part 3: Animal Kingdom, Part 4: Hollywood Studios.

Today, let's have some fun in Epcot.

The iconic Spaceship Earth at Epcot

Walt Disney envisioned EPCOT as the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, featuring a utopian living space that previewed the best new ideas in technology and futuristic living.  His vision was not realized until after his death, and was altered somewhat to appeal to a wider range of visitors.  Today's Epcot is really two parks -- a Future World that includes six pavilions examining topics from outer space to imagination, and a World Showcase that features the architecture and cuisine of 11 different countries.

Visiting "England" in Epcot

The proximity, charm, and gourmet offerings at the restaurants in the World Showcase make it a popular destination for foodies, culminating in an annual Food and Wine Festival each fall.  We've always loved a great meal in a beautiful location, so our plan during this vacation was to walk from our hotel into Epcot as many nights as we could to have dinner.  While these restaurants are not low-cost, this vacation was meant to celebrate our 20th anniversary, so we splurged and visited four international restaurants during the trip:  England, Germany, Morocco and France.

"England" in Epcot
Our first stop was the Rose and Crown Pub in England.  This charming, casual restaurant features a number of traditional British dishes, including Bangers & Mash (sausage and mashed potatoes), Bubble & Squeak (mashed potatoes with cabbage and brown gravy), Cottage Pie (ground beef and root veggies with mashed potatoes on top) and Fish & Chips.  

The Rose and Crown Pub
Most of these dishes are heavy on the potatoes, as you can tell, which isn't Paleo at all, but certainly gluten-free.  The boys all indulged in potato dishes of various kinds (after the friendly chef came out to point out the allergies on the menu), but I chose a few different items to try and stay within my dietary restrictions.  

Bangers and Mash
To begin, I tried a shrimp cocktail-type plate called Mary and the Lads, but was disappointed at the flavorless-ness of both the shrimp and the Bloody Mary Sauce.  For dinner, I chose a dish not listed on the online menu -- a trout with almonds and green beans.  This was delicious, and although green beans  are not technically Paleo, it was the best I could do for a veg.  My husband tried the English Chicory and Watercress Salad with cranberries, which was lovely.  My youngest son chose the children's grilled chicken, which also came with green beans.  Minute Maid Pomegranate Lemonade was a thrill for the boys, and Ye Olde Husband enjoyed a Cider & Black (hard cider with a shot of black currant juice). He let the wife have a sip and she loved it, regretting bitterly that alcohol is not Paleo AIP friendly!

Here is the full menu for the Rose and Crown Pub.  

Walking the alleyways in Epcot's Morocco
Next evening, we headed to Epcot's Morocco, and the Marrakesh Restaurant.  Nestled at the back of the pavilion, this stunning Middle Eastern establishment features entertainment nightly with a belly dancer and live music.  The service was stellar, and the foods were all infused with such subtle layers of fascinating flavors, we all ate much more than we should have! 

Moroccan Salad
To begin, we shared a Moroccan Salad, full of fresh veggies and topped with a delicious dressing.  The salad came free (unbeknownst to us) with a sample of Chicken Bastilla and Beef Brewat rolls, both of which feature chopped meats rolled in phyllo dough.  We ate the insides out of these, and they were delicious, but it was such a shame to waste the dough, I probably wouldn't order either one again just to tear it apart and leave half on the plate.  

Shish Kebab

The boys all enjoyed Shish Kebab and Chicken Kebab, served with rice pilaf, but I decided to try something I'd never eaten before.  My Fish Tagine with olives, potatoes, green peppers, lemon confit, and chermula sauce was out of this world!  I tried one bite of potatoes, just to see what they tasted like, and they were so amazing I ended up eating the whole dish.  Tomatoes too.  This is what happens to me when delicious things are right on my plate.  I just can't remember why I'm not supposed to eat them! The fish was spectacular, and so well seasoned.  I would eat this dish every night ;) We drank a wonderfully refreshing cold mint tea, and enjoyed bowls of fruit for dessert. 

Here is the full menu for Morocco's Marrakesh restaurant. 

Fish Tagine
To celebrate our youngest son's ninth birthday, we headed to the Biergarten in the Germany pavilion.  This charming restaurant is decorated to look like a traditional Bavarian town square at night, complete with village buildings, a night sky, and a stage where a lively "oom-pah" band entertains regularly.  The dinner is a large buffet, featuring a larger-than-usual number of different meats (perfect for Paleo!)

The friendly chef walked us through the buffet himself, pointing out the items that contained gluten and dairy.  There were so many wonderful meat choices, and a good number of veggies as well, that we didn't mind skipping the bready items.  (The lighting was too dim to take a good shot of my plate.)  We enjoyed sauerbraten, bratwurst, rotisserie chicken, pork, unusual salamis, some lovely fish, delicious salads of cucumbers and beets, and a few things we couldn't name but loved!

What was really wonderful this evening was that we were able to order an allergy-free birthday cake from the local Babycakes bakery and have it delivered right to the restaurant in Germany.  Babycakes (based in New York City, with a store in Orlando) will deliver any of its bakery items to Disney restaurants -- all you have to do is give them the confirmation number for your reservation, and the treats will be waiting in the kitchen when you arrive.  Our waiter brought the cake and candle just as our dinner finished.  The cake was SPECTACULAR!  As are all the Babycakes items, it was gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, refined-sugar free and vegan.  We chose a chocolate cake with chocolate chips in it and chocolate frosting, and even the other family at our communal table liked it (we shared).

Here's a shot of our very special waiter, Robert, who gave our son a birthday card with sentiments written in German inside, and a dollar bill with special German birthday greetings written right on it, so he can keep it as a souvenir forever!  That's the Disney difference - very special memories are everywhere, brought to you by cast members who absolutely adore their jobs. 

Here is the full menu at the Biergarten.

The best waiter ever.
The next evening we capped off our International Showcase dinners with an evening of fine French dining at Monsieur Paul's.  Although official Disney policy allows children in every restaurant and casual clothing in most restaurants, this was the kind of place that we would have felt uncomfortable if we hadn't dressed up.  It was beautiful, hushed and elegant, and the staff was as formal as you would expect at a fine French restaurant.

Both the chef and the restaurant manager came to our table to discuss the food allergies, with the manager translating our English to French for the chef (who was an adorable young Frenchman with a boyish smile).  Many sauces were prepared with flour (using the typical French roux), but the chef cheerfully offered to substitute other types of sauces and garnishes for us.

Monsieur Paul's Restaurant in Epcot's France pavilion.
 We all started with an amazingly flavorful salad featuring Serrano ham, white asparagus and frisee lettuce.  The boys are all big fans of Spanish hams, and this one was a particularly high quality specimen. We all cleaned our plates!

Jambon Serrano & Asperge Blanche Remoulade
 We are lucky to have very adventurous eaters in our family.  This has made it much easier to transition away from eating the standard American diet, as the boys have been willing to try new types of protein and veggies to replace what we must now avoid.  Case in point: my twelve-year-old chose a duck entree (pictured below) this evening, without being encouraged by us in any way! As you would expect from a classic French restaurant, it was delicious, and he was so proud of himself for eating like a gourmand :)

Magret de Canard aux Epices
Typically, our fallback entree is steak and vegetables.  At Chef Paul's the filet mignon is normally presented with a mushroom crust, which contains flour.   For our dinner, the chef eliminated the crust and added a different sauce.  The result was delicious, although it made for a rather stark presentation.

Filet de Boeuf Grille 
Even the children's entrees were healthy, delicious and presented beautifully.  Below you can see the children's grilled chicken with carrots and green beans -- lovely!  This is normally served with mashed potatoes, but the boy eating this dish is not a fan of those, so they left them off for him. 

Supreme de Poulet Roti
The chef came back to offer special options for our dessert, which we were going to skip, but were so charmed that he was ready to make us something unique, we accepted.  One dish featured fresh raspberries and blackberries with a wonderful berry sauce, and the other was a delicious sorbet with fresh berries.

Special Fresh Berry Dessert just for us
Everything was perfectly prepared at Chef Paul's and we appreciated the extra-careful service from the staff.  While French people may labeled "stuffy" or "snooty" by some Americans, these particular cast members were heartfelt in their efforts to make our evening a perfect one.  My middle son decided to practice his middle school French by ordering all of his dishes in French, and this tickled the formerly stiff manager to no end!
Sorbet and Berry Sauce
Here is the full menu at Monsieur Paul's.

Eating in the world Showcase was a real treat.  Every restaurant was lovelier than the next, and the variety and quality of food was on par with some of the best restaurants we've had the pleasure to enjoy.  Disney makes a point to bring in the best chefs they can find, and move them around among the restaurants on the property to keep them challenged and fresh.

Other posts in this series:

Part 1: Planning for your allergy-free Disney vacation
Part 2: Eating in the Magic Kingdom
Part 3: The new food allergy kiosk in Animal Kingdom
Part 4: Eating allergy-free in Hollywood Studios
Part 5: Eating allergy-free in Epcot
Part 6: Eating allergy-free at Disney hotel restaurants
Part 7: The rest of the parks (Downtown Disney, Typhoon Lagoon, room service and more)

Shared with Fight Back Friday, Foodtastic Friday, Food on Friday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Party Wave WednesdayWaste Not Want Not WednesdayGluten Free WednesdayPin Me Linky Party, All Things Thursday, Think Tank ThursdayThriving on Thursday, Monday Funday, Better Mom Monday, The Gathering SpotMotivation MondayNatural Living Monday, and Foodie Friday.

1 comment:

  1. What a thorough review! Thanks so much for sharing it on WNWNW, I've pinned it :)