When my daughter Kristina and I headed to O’Hare last Thursday afternoon on our flight to Orlando for the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, and a stay at the amazing Disney Yacht Club Resort, little did we know what adventures awaited us. We knew it sounded grand, but we weren’t expecting such royal treatment! Our host, Charles (who we adore!) met us at the airport after a short delay of our flight and whisked us quickly to dinner. He said we would be a little late, but we thought nothing of this because we thought it would be a roomful of people and no one would notice we were late arrivals. But that was not the case. We walked into the lovely Citricos restaurant at the Grand Floridian to find an intimate group of twelve in a private dining room. We recognized the friendly faces and warm smiles of cookbook authors Pam and Karen, who we had met at the Pillsbury Bake-Off earlier in the year. The others seated at the table included food writers, magazine editors, someone from Rachael Ray magazine, and online hosts. We sat down and were immediately presented with an appetizer trio consisting of gateau of crab, arancini, and pan-seared branzino. This was followed by a romaine salad with white anchovies. For the main course Kristina had the pan-seared Florida black grouper, while I enjoyed the Sicilian filet of beef. Throughout the meal, the chef came in and explained each course. For dessert, we devoured the chocolate-hazelnut mousse, lemon cheesecake, and tiramisu.
One of the wines we especially enjoyed was the Meeker handprint Merlot from Sonoma. Since Kristina will be in Napa and Sonoma in a few days, she spoke with the winemaker and was invited to have a tour of his winery while she is there.
After this thoroughly enjoyable evening with great company, food, and wine, we headed back to the Yacht Club. In the lobby is a huge globe specifically created for the hotel. It was designed to resemble the style of globes from the 19th century, and even has a hidden Mickey Mouse!
We proceeded to our room to find chocolates on our pillow, and the most darling Mickey towels on the beds.
Kristina and I were full of great food, sharing our thoughts of the evening, and fell asleep almost immediately because of the extremely comfortable bed and pillows. We had sweet dreams of our day so far, and couldn’t wait to wake up to what was next. Tune in tomorrow to find out!