Eating Our Way Around the World – Counter Service

Trip Report – May 1, 2009

As we started our way around the world in Epcot we decided we wanted to have our children, ages 6 and 9, try some of the food that they might not otherwise be exposed to at home.   We decided to buy a combo meal with our Disney Dining Plan CS option in several of the countries and split it between the four of us so that we could all try at least one bite of everything.

Our first stop was Germany.  The meal was bratwurst with sauerkraut on a roll, large pretzel with brown mustard and a drink.  We sliced the bratwurst and pretzel into 4 pieces and all started to dig in.   My children are acquainted with sauerkraut as I use it at home in several dishes and my mother used to make her own in our basement.  Both children agreed that they would eat bratwurst again and that we should try the German Deli near us to see if we could get a more authentic ones than at the grocery store which tend to taste more like hot dogs.  I like my brats with a bit more flavor than this had but the saurkraut helped make up for this some.    The pretzel was similar to any that you would buy at any mall around the country so there was no big wow for us.  We were hoping for German Potato Salad or something else to go with the meal but….  On to our next stop.

We by passed the American Pavillion as we felt that we had eaten enough chicken nuggets and hot dogs already on our vacation.  Our next stop was Japan and the Yakatori House.  We sat in the garden outside the restaurant which offered a bit of shade and breeze on this overly warm day.  We ordered one Shogun Platter which at that time was teriyaki chicken thigh (bottom right of plate), sukiyaki beef (top right of plate), tempura shrimp (left side of plate) and  steamed rice with candied ginger (left side of plate).  The children were a little hesitant at first to try some of this food as it looked unfamiliar to them.  We had the rule that all of us had to try one bite of everything before we could move on so we all started to dig in.

The teriyaki chicken was recognized first by my son who realized he had teriyaki before but it did not look like this.   The meat being the dark meat of the chicken was very moist but almost a little too salty for our liking.  Yet, we gobbled it all up!  The tempura shrimp was our next tasting.  It was crunchy and warm, not at all soggy like I feared it may be.  The children were in love with the shrimp and wanted more at the end.  From the updated menus it appears that the tempura shrimp is no longer part of the platter.  I think this is a shame as it was only one large shrimp and really added another dimension to a platter that would be all texturally the same. The sukiyaki beef was shredded beef with sauce.  It tasted like almost a light teriyaki sauce.  Not knowing what sukiyaki was I had no real expectations but thought it would be a little different.  Everyone was pleased with this though and again there was none left on the plate as we mixed it with the rice.  The rice was your typical white rice found at any number of Chinese restaurants.  The one thing that made a little different the candied ginger on top that when both children tried they LOVED!  I was shocked.

The meal ended with ginger cake.  This was the one thing that my son, the least adventurous eater of all of us, asked if we could go back again and have ginger cake. It was very light and creamy.   It was a light ginger flavored cream nestled between two flaky pastry crusts.  We thought it was going to be a cake similar to gingerbread but were very pleasantly surprised.`

On our way out of Japan we watched the Koi and learned about Bonzai trees and how they are kept.  There was also a very nice museum tucked away that many people passed by.  This gave the children some great information for the  journals they were keeping about the countries.  The one downside to our whole time in Japan was that the bathroom next to the eating area was disgustingly filthy and took almost an hour to get someone to come clean up.  All through our meal people were coming out complaining and wondered if the bathroom was in that state what did it say about the rest of the Pavillion?  We didn’t want to think about it.

We were very excited to head to Morocco and the Tangierine Cafe.  We chose the Shawarma Platter.  This platter included hummus(left center in picture) a blend of garlic, chickpeas and spices.  It looks like beige mashed potatoes in the picture.  Tabouleh (top left on plate) which is a combination of parsley, tomato, garlic and spices, and a Tangierine CousCous Salad (top left on plate) with a Fresh Moroccan bread.  We chose to have our platter to come with a combination of chicken and lamb.

We thought Japan was going to be tough to convince our children to eat one bite of each food on the plate little did we know what we were in for in Morocco.  But, after much discussions about ingredients, textures of food and why they use the foods they do we were all ready to dig in.  By far the biggest surprise to us was that the children LOVED the lamb with tahini sauce.  Good thing there was plenty of it.  We felt by far this was the most generous portion of meat we had received in any country thus far.  Both the chicken and lamb were moist and very well spiced.  The couscous salad and tabouleh did not go over as well.  This tabouleh was much different from any other I had tasted before.  It was extremely lemony in flavor and drowned out almost all other flavors.  Not liking lemon anyway this turned me off immediately so that I only took my one bite.  Also the couscous salad was rather bland and plain.  I would have expected some more pizzazz to it and flavor but it was there so I ate my one bite.

Our meal ended with a serving of Baklava.   It was sweet and sticky as you would expect it to be but just having had homemade Baklava shortly before our trip found this to be rather average in comparison.  It is massed produced and for that it is very good in texture and flavor.   But, if you want to see what Baklava can really taste like and have the time (hours) and patience (tons) try making it yourself or find someone who will make it for you.  Delicious.

By now we are getting stuffed and have only been to three countries.  What are we going to do?  Head for France of course.  As we entered the Boulangerie Patisserie we realized this was going to be a tough choice.  The only “meal” choices were baugettes, cheese and a few croissant sandwich items.  The rest of the choices were of course French pastries.   We decided to for go the meal choices and concentrate on the desserts.

My daughter chose the Strawberry Tart.

My son chose the chocolate mousse.

We decided to stick to only two desserts (2 snack credits) as we were very close to bursting as it was from all the food we had tasted so far. We found a quiet area through the archway that had a few benches near the garden and the International gateway.  This was a good area until they families started arriving with their Kim Possible Kimmunicators.  There is a clue near the benches that lets off a strong perfume scent as it gives the clue.  Not the place to be with your food when this goes off as it did at least four times while we were there.

The strawberries looked gorgeous atop the tart.  But, as is often the case the taste does not match the expectation.  They were sugar glazed, I think, to make them shiny but they only had a hint of flavor.  They were not the sweet delicious berries I was hoping for.  The rest of the tart was okay.  It looked much better than it tasted but my daughter did not have any qualms about digging in and trying unsuccessfully to finish it.  The chocolate mousse was the better of the two desserts.  It had almost a dark chocolate taste to it.  Not too sweet but after the food we had just eaten it was far too much.  We ate almost half of it before the four of us cried, “Surrender!”

Our eating our way around the world was over far too soon.  What about China, Mexico, England and Canada?  They would have to wait for another day.  We slowly made our way out of the World Showcase with overly full bellies and dreams of what we may find in the other countries on our next time of trying to eat our way around the world.


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