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Sunday Brunch

Sunday Brunch: A Landscape of Flavors

15 July 2012

Disney's Art of Animation Resort showcases four animated films from the Disney and Pixar library: The Little Mermaid, the Lion King, Finding Nemo, and Cars. Opening on May 31, 2012 with the Finding Nemo section, the resort continues to surprise guests throughout this year with its whimsical emphasis on characters, art, and animation. Though the biggest and best surprise, especially for a Disney food blogger, is the unique quick service food choices found at this new Value Resort.


My friend Tony and his coworkers proudly show off the colorful new costumes that enhance the Landscape of Flavors


The wild savannahs and jungles from the Lion King


The mythical undersea world of Atlantica and Ariel's Grotto

From the resorts gift shop, the Ink & Paint Shop, guests find their way into the Landscape of Flavors. With dining rooms decorated with impressive landscapes and background art, the resort's food court puts guests directly in the settings of the four animated features represented. Though a 'Landscape of Flavors' does not only describe the literal landscapes guests are dining in, but also in the flavors and cuisines guests will find in the food court. Out of all of the value resorts, Disney's Art of Animation boasts an incredibly unique and exotic menu, with an emphasis on healthy eating and green dining.

Before looking at the menu, we'll take a look at the initiatives the resort is taking for going green. Guests will not find disposable dishware or flatware here. At the end of each checkout counter is a station with silverware. Food is also served on melamine plates and reusable metal baskets. The trash bins have sections for recyclables and pizza boxes like the other resort food courts, but also a counter and bussing station to drop off used silverware and dishware. The Landscape of Flavors offers such a landscape of conservation and waste reduction!

Serving Breakfast, lunch, and dinner from 6 am to 12 midnight, the Landscape of Flavors kitchen takes full advantage of the tools and equipment it was provided with. Today, we'll be looking at the lunch and dinner options. The two stars of the kitchen are the tandoor ovens and the Mongolian grill.


Tandoor

The tandoor is a cylindrical shaped oven originating from Southern, Central, and Western Asia. Its design and heat sources (charcoal, wood, gas, and/or electric) allow it to reach incredibly high temperatures as much as 900⁰ F. Its high heat is used to bake and cook flatbreads and meats. At Landscape of Flavors, guests can order Tandoori Boneless chicken thigh, Tandoor Shell-on Shrimp, Tandoor Portuguese Sausage, and Tandoor Acorn Squash. Each of the Tandoori entrees also comes with Naan bread, a typical flatbread baked in a tandoor.


Mongolian Grill

The Mongolian grill is a large, flat, round iron grill used to cook meats and vegetables. The grill originated in Taiwan in the middle of the 20th century, and is said to imitate the way Mongolian soldiers cooked meats on their large round shields. The size and design of the grill allows the grill chef to cook multiple dishes at once on different sections of the grill. As seen above, one grill chef is stir frying vegetables and beef while the other is cooking Spinach and Paneer cheese. The Mongolian grill is used to grill the Mongolian Beef Stir Fry, and Mongolian Grill Fish along with other side items. At breakfast, the grill is used to cook the Challah French Toast.

Back in college, there was a Mongolian Grill restaurant called the Round Grill near my campus that I've had the fortune to dine at before it closed. In a create your own stir fry dish concept, diners could create dishes with strong flavors and tender meats in a medley of vegetables. While this create your own concept was not present at the Landscape of Flavors, I knew right away that I had to order from the round grill to see how it compared to the fond memories of food from college. With only two choices, I chose the Mongolian Grill Beef Stir-Fry and watched the grill chef cook it right before my eyes. Eye appeal is buy appeal, so I was looking forward to feasting, watching her cook the rainbow of fresh broccoli, red peppers, and carrots along with the mound of beef.

My final dish came with the main entr'e, as well as wild grain rice, naan bread, and a tandoori acorn squash for my side. By nature, the wild grain rice was very hard, but its flavor made up for the texture. Basmati rice is also available for guests wanting a softer, more traditional rice. The naan bread was fluffy, and while this is characteristic of naan bread, I would have preferred a more uneven distribution of fluff as it is a flatbread after all. Perhaps they used too much leavening or they overproofed the bread that day, but still it was good. The tandoor acorn squash was my favorite of everything, sweet with a somewhat creamy and buttery texture. The real star though was the stir fry: juicy, tender, high quality beef that was incredibly flavorful with spices rather than spicy in flavor. It definitely held up high with the memories of the Round Grill.

While the create your own meal was not present at the grill station, guests can do this at the Sandwich, salad, and smoothie stations. The dessert counter not only offers a variety of smoothies, but also cupcakes, cheesecake, gelato, and fresh fruit beverages.


(Naked) Chicken Burger


Gelato: Raspberry, mango, Lemon, Chocolate, Pistachio, and Torrone (honey and almonds)

With a variety of backgrounds, flavors, and tastes, the Art of Animation Resort's food court truly creates a unique Walt Disney World dining experience found no place else. Fans of animation and food would be pleased to stay at this resort or simply just visit for the sights and the food. In my youth, I had always known Walt Disney World to be the land of junk food when it came to quick service, but as the resort continues to grow and evolve, it is quite exciting to see how the company is taking chances in offering their guests access to a unique landscape of flavors.

 

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