Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas has more than enough dining venues on board to keep any passenger very well fed throughout their cruise. I recently reviewed their highest level fine dining restaurant, Chef’s Table. But what if Chef’s Table’s limited availability has made it impossible for you to snag a reservation? What if you want a more intimate fine dining experience with your significant other, without fourteen other strangers at the the table? Or what if you just don’t want to drop another $170 per couple on a dinner when there are cheaper options, including numerous free venues across the ship? Assuming you still want that fine dining experience, but with just you and someone else (or several others if you have a group you want to dine with), there are plenty of options. Continue reading
When boarding my cruises, I prefer to avoid the masses that tend to swarm to the buffets on board. For Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, that would be the Windjammer venue. While the ship can hold over 6,000 passengers, for the most part the crowds are minimal as the ship itself is huge, and people are always spread about doing different things during their days at sea. There are a few exceptions to this, and one is during boarding day. During this approximate five hour period, all 6,000+ people are doing virtually the same thing; boarding the ship and heading to lunch. With limited dining venues open during boarding, the majority take the easiest route which leads them to the buffet, and allows them to begin their week of included (seen as free to many) food by indulging on all-you-can-eat grab and go options.
There are many like myself, that prefer to avoid the masses, and enjoy a quieter, slower paced meal. In the past I have chosen Park Cafe, but on this trip I decided to try something new. I went with a for-fee dining venue, Giovanni’s Table, which was open for lunch during boarding at a reduced rate of $15 per person. As with all fee based restaurants, this would include all the appetizers and desserts I wanted, and my choice of entrée. I could still feast, but the small fee would keep the area a little quieter than others on the ship. Continue reading
It’s been a while since I last visited Highland bakery in Atlanta. You can find reviews of my last two visits here: Part 1, Part 2. I had been dying to get back and try a meal I had on my first ever visit, before I started doing these reviews. During my last meal that I reported, I ordered a plate of French toast, but made mention of their Peanut Butter French Toast. I wasn’t completely in love with the peanut butter version when I first had it, due to the brown sugar butter that was served in lieu of maple syrup. When I learned that I could order regular maple syrup for both French toast plates, I was ready to give the peanut butter another shot. Continue reading
Disney. A place that’s built around fun. With well over a hundred restaurants on their property, there are dozens of choices that keep that fun going while you eat. Then there are a handful that go out of their way to provide antics specifically aimed and having child-like fun with the customers. One such place is located at one of Disney’s deluxe resorts.
Wilderness Lodge is a resort that simulates the Pacific Northwest. As you arrive, you are initially greeted by a grand sized building with a green metal roof. A large covered drop-off area hangs over the front entrance, with several employees waiting to help you check in or valet your vehicle. If you choose to self park, it is free of course, and after many visits I’ve never had trouble finding a spot in their expansive parking lot. Continue reading
It’s time for another edition of City Cafe snacks, and this one is a feast. I picked up several treats from my favorite local bakery to bring home and eat. As this was a to-go order, I’ll get right down to business and show you my selections. After this run, I only have a few items from their case to try, other than the rotating cakes and pies that are constantly changing. Continue reading
Like most cruise ships today, Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas has many specialty dining options for a nominal fee. The most expensive of the 26 dining venues is the exclusive Chef’s Table at $85 per person. By the end of this review, you’ll hopefully see the bargain in this price and what it brings you. There is only one seating per night, and each seating can only accommodate 16 guests. That means that on each cruise, only 112 of the approximately 6,500 passengers get a chance to attend this unique dining experience. It’s important to lock in your reservation as early as possible if you’re interested in participating. I’ve eaten at Chef’s Table twice, and both experiences were very similar in style, but differed in the food served. Continue reading
After over a year of doing these reviews, I’ve talked with many different restaurant owners and their employees. Last week I had what was probably one of the strangest encounters with a business owner that I’ve experienced so far. Not long after Lagniappe Deauxnuts closed in Fayetteville, GA, a sign was put up in their window that told of a new bakery coming soon. I was excited that I had a new bakery opening so close to me, and hoped for some unique food to sample. I thought it would be interesting to visit on their opening day, try some food, get a feel for the place, and post a review so readers could see what it’s all about before most of them even knew it existed.
By their opening day, I still had yet to see a single piece of advertising for The Candybar Bakery, other than the sign that had been up in their front window saying that it was “coming soon.” It was exciting to think that my review could be one of their first, and I was more than happy to get the word out that they were now open. Continue reading
I don’t know anyone who would disagree that Publix supermarkets have some of the better bakery items around (for those living in the Southeast). I have always thought that they may have the best key lime pies I’ve personally eaten. In fact, all their pies are fantastic. The amazing thing is that the majority of all their baked goods are frozen, but you’d never guess that unless you were told. Everything including the cakes, pies, cupcakes, and pastries are brought in frozen, and then thawed. They then decorate items like the cakes with frosting in the store. This is probably done at most grocery stores, but somehow Publix’s thawed bakery foods still taste so fresh, you’d swear they were made that morning.
I’ve noticed my local Publix has been well stocked in cupcakes lately. Their cupcakes are fairly large, and sell for just over $3. During my last visit I was admiring how well decorated and delicious the cupcakes looked. I was curious how they compared to my personal reference point for all cupcakes, Disney World. Disney by far has some of the most elaborate cupcakes I’ve tried. They are always at the forefront to new and innovative ways to decorate and spruce up these old favorites. Publix’s cupcakes seemed to be almost the same size as Disney’s, but they were about $2 cheaper. Could they possibly be a substitute when I’m having Disney withdrawals? I was about to find out. Continue reading
Located a couple blocks from the Fayetteville square in Georgia, a popular local restaurant is packed with diners every night of the week. At Broadway Diner, it’s not uncommon to see folks waiting outside for a seat, even in the middle of the week. Usually the wait isn’t any longer than twenty or thirty minutes, but that’s an indication of something. There must be something people find special about this place. After all, it is a diner, and people wait here like they would for the big chain restaurants.
Because of their exceptional gluten-free options, you will probably see a future review here on their meal options, but for today it’s just about the desserts.
Broadway Diner has a single dessert case that isn’t large at all. Fortunately, that doesn’t stop them from stuffing it with huge cakes and pies offering some of the most incredible flavors around. My wife and I stopped in after dinner to pick up a couple slices to bring home for dessert. Just like Frank’s at the Old Mill, the portions here are quite large, and to top it off, they’re only $5.95 a slice!
It’s time for a very short review of one of my favorite breakfast spots located in Disney World’s first ever resort hotel, The Polynesian. Kona Cafe is one of the few places that my wife and I try to patronize at least once during every visit to the parks. So far, we’ve only done breakfast there, but have plans to try a dinner sometime soon.