A few weeks ago my Dad introduced me to this really cool on-demand channel that reviews restaurants all over Central Florida. I must have watched all 10 of the 5 minute on demand segments that morning. A couple of the restaurants I had been to, some I instantly added to my ‘must- try’ list, and ONE had me screaming “That would be an awesome idea for a Foodbuzz 24,24,24.”
So, I took a chance. I submitted a proposal, I crossed my fingers, and guess what? My proposal was accepted! After over a year of submitting proposals one of my Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 proposals was accepted! And to top it all off, I knew this was a good one!
The Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 is a program that presents Foodbuzz featured publishers with the opportunity to experience their dream meal with Foodbuzz footing the bill. The dream meal could be a large gathering, a fun party, a new menu, or dining at a fancy restaurant.
What was my dream meal submission?
The complete dining experience at Walt Disney World’s Victoria & Albert’s Restaurant at the Grand Floridian.
When most people think of Walt Disney World their mind might not automatically jump to a 5 star elegant dining experience, but in between the hustle and bustle of the Magic Kingdom, Princess parties, and Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream treats lies Victoria and Albert’s – a unique dining experience that comes complete with personalized menus and a dedicated butler service.
Victoria and Albert’s has high standards. For one, they require proper dining attire. A dinner jacket is required for all gentlemen and dress or pants ensemble for the ladies.
My Dad may have groaned a little when I informed him of the jacket requirement. My Dad is not one to wear suits on a regular basis. He owns exactly one dinner jacket and I believe he purchased it long before I was born.
But, he’s my Dad and I love him anyways. 🙂
My Dad is just as big of a foodie as me and I was more than thrilled to invite him along for the experience. I felt a little guilty for not inviting my Mom, but when I brought it up at dinner my Dad made a good point when he said “She got to go to NYC.” Touche Dad! 🙂
Victoria and Albert’s is located on the second story of the Grand Floridian Hotel. We were greeted by the hostess before we had the opportunity to enter the restaurant. It was like they knew we were coming. I’m guessing the valet had tipped them off? That’s service! 🙂
We were seated in a low lit table toward the side of the restaurant.
The restaurant itself was not that large. Maybe 10 or 15 tables tops in the main dining room? Each table was beautifully set with roses and a low candle.
Each table also came with two personal servers. It just so happened that our team of servers have been happily married for 17 years and you could tell they both really love what they do. They knew every detail there was to know about every item on the menu. They were spot on with all recommendations. And they were just two of the genuinely sweetest servers I have ever had the pleasure to be dining under. This level of personalized service really was the real deal and I would happily return again for the dedicated love and attention the servers bring to the experience.
Just one example of their level of dedication was the stool our head server brought me to rest my camera and purse on so I wouldn’t have to put it on the floor or leave it on the table. Loved that!
When I called to made reservation the other week the hostess asked a series of questions including the spelling of my Dad and mine’s full names and if we had any specific dietary needs or allergies. Victoria and Albert’s is vegan friendly if you inform them at the time of the reservation and make strong efforts to avoid any allergens.
When I was presented with the menu my server informed me she was well aware of my banana allergy. She told me that would only affect one course and the option had already been removed from my personalized menu. Loved that.
Each menu is truly personalized to reflect the diner’s full name and specific dietary requests.
There was even a vegetarian menu left at the table and we were given the option to pick and choose between the two menus.
Our meal was compromised of 7 courses and we were presented with two or three choices for each course, plus a luxury option if we so desired to pay the extra fee for it.
It was a lot to choose from! My Dad and I had to borrow a pen from one of the severs to mark our choices.
The restaurant does offer a wine pairing special where each course is complement with 1/2 a glass of wine. I was tempted, but decided one glass of wine would work for me.
I had a glass of Zinfandel and managed to make it last through 6 of the 8 courses.
Our first course was the Amuse-Bouche to awaken the senses.
I really should have been taken notes because I am ashamed to say I can not provide a full description for each item on the plate. I do know this was a salmon themed plate. In the shooter glass was smoked salmon salad, the egg was a salmon mouse that my Dad joked he needed a cracker for, the bottom left a salmon gel topped with caviar, and on the right a salmon pancake. Though each item had a salmon based, none of them were overly fishy. It was the perfect balance of fish and texture that really did awaken my senses.
We were presented with three separate bread selections throughout the evening. Our first was a french baguette that came after the amuse-bouche.
Paired with a vermont creamery butter.
The baguette was warm, crusty, and perfect in every way. I’m not a fan of adding butter to my bread, but my dad enjoyed the special vermont creamery butter. He said it was slightly sweet and was served at the perfect spreadable room temperature.
Our next course was our cold appetizer selection.
I selected the Maine Lobster with Watermelon Radish, Kohlrabi, and Vanilla Aioli.
The presentation was absolutely stunning. Inside the radish cylinder was a tiny serving of lobster salad that was lightly dressed paired perfectly with the radish. The vanilla aioli gave the dish a touch of sweetest that was a nice welcomed surprise.
My Dad ordered the Minnesota Elk Carpaccio with Olives, Artichokes, and Chorizo Vinaigrette.
I had a tiny bite and let me tell you, that else was like butter. It was sliced ultra, ultra thin and melted in your mouth.
For our seafood course my Dad and I both selected the Sake-Soy-marinated King Salmon with Bok Choy and Soy Beans.
The salmon was very tender and crumbled under my fork. The sake, soy sauce was a great salty addition to the salmon. I wanted to lick my plate clean of that sauce!
Our second bread choice of the evening was the freshly baked herb brioche.
Paired with a herb butter.
This was my favorite bread of the evening. The herbs added such a great level of flavor to the bread. The bread itself was a great light texture that did not require a lot of chewing.
My Dad preferred the baguette and I preferred the brioche. To each their own. 🙂
For the fourth or hot appetizer course I ventured to the vegetarian menu and ordered the Truffle Gnocchi with Black Trumpet Mushrooms, English Peas, and Perigord Winter Black Truffles.
Mushrooms and Truffles? I was in heaven! These two flavors were made for each other. You really have to love mushrooms to appreciate this dish, but if you do it will tickly your senses and leave you wanting more and more.
My Dad had the Duck Breast, Duck Sausage and Confit with Strawberry and Rhubarb.
I am not the biggest duck fan, but I had one bite of the duck breast and immediately swooned. The duck was very tender and the lovely sauce paired with it only enhanced the lovely gamey taste duck can poccess.
Our next course was a surprise addition to our meal. Our server actually referred to it as ‘lagniappe’ which means ‘something a little extra’ in creole.
I’m afraid I do not have the full description, but I do know it was a duck dish coated in that same lovely mushroom-truffle ragout I had just previously enjoyed. Cover anything in that ragout and I am immediately in love. I was more than happy to enjoy that flavor base again, again, and again. 🙂
Our final bread course was a multigrain loaf prepared from a special recipe that was past on to the restaurant’s pastry chef by his grandmother.
The multigrain slice was extra grainy and chewy.
For the main course I ventured back to the vegetarian menu for what our servers referred to as the ‘ Chef’s vegetable playground’ or Stewed French lentils, Potato Gratin, and Chef’s Vegetable Garden.
Is that not the most beautiful thing you have ever seen? Now this is what I call a vegetarian dish!!
All of the vegetables in the forefront were not only beautiful, but perfectly seasoned and prepared. The mini bites of radishes, beets, carrot, and zucchini all had their own flavor palette. The best bites were actually from the vegetables I didn’t recognize, especially the mini purple potatoes.
The lentils were warm and delicious, but the veggies definitely overpowered the tiny dish.
The star of the plate was the yukon gold mashed potatoes.
When we asked our server what the secret was behind the potatoes he responded with lots and lots of butter. Well I guess that makes sense. 🙂
My Dad ordered the Niman Ranch Lamb with Spring Asparagus and Minted Jus.
Another beautiful dish. 🙂
The main course portion of the menu had Australian Kobe Beef listed as a luxury option for an extra charge. My Dad had actually made a comment on how the extra charge was almost worth it just to be able to try the kobe beef, but in the end went with the lamb.
You can imagine how happy my Dad was when a side of the Kobe Beef was delivered to our table with the main course – compliments of the chef.
Wow! I mean WOW! No knife was required for this beef. It was so, so tender that a fork was all you needed to tear a bite a way. I think it would be hard to go back to any other beef after trying this. Tender, juicy, and just amazing. 🙂
By this point I was having a little trouble breathing. I was getting so full, but I still had two more courses to go! Dad and I were both in need of a pick me up before we moved on.
I had a fragrant pot of Vanilla Roobios Tea to complement my remaining dessert courses.
My Dad asked for coffee and what arrived at our table resembled more of a science experiment than a cup of coffee.
The Cona Coffee Maker works as a vacuum of sorts. I’m not sure of the exact scientific description, but I did witness the water vapor rise from the boil into the coffee grounds. Once the flame was removed the coffee flows back into the bottom pot.
Pretty cool, right?
Our second to last course was the cheese/ gelato course.
I chose the White Chocolate Gelato with Tableside Shavings.
So rich, so good. Enough said.
My Dad went with the traditional cheese course. Thomas Hoe Stevenson Stilton, Coach Farm Goat, Gouda Reypenaer V.S.O.P. and Thomasville Tomme
I was surprised that both my Dad and I weren’t the biggest fans of the cheese course. They were all very different and none were a very strong cheese that we both tend to prefer.
Of course they saved the best for last.
Hawaiian Kona Chocolate Souffle with Chocolate Ice Cream
Oh. My. God.
This is how good this was. I was stuffed, bursting from my pants stuffed, and I cleaned my bowl!
Souffles are a rarity for me. They are a favorite and one that is hard to do right. This souffle was perfect in every way possible. Just the memory of this souffle has my taste buds doing a happy dance. Way to end the meal on a bang!
Eight courses later and my Dad and I were two very full, very happy people.
After dinner chocolates were delivered to our table, but we both politely declined and the servers were kind enough to wrap them in a to go box to take home with us.
One of the really cool things Victoria and Albert’s offers is their Chef’s table. This table is situated right in the kitchen of the restaurant and when each course is delivered not only do you have the service of your personal butler, but the Chef is there for each presentation as well.
I desperately tried to book the Chef’s table for last night, but sadly the table books up up to 6 months in advance. 🙁 However, our servers were kind enough to give us our own tour of the kitchen so that even though weren’t able to dine at the Chef’s table we could still get a taste of the kitchen and see what the experience would have been all about.
The kitchen was beautiful and every member of the kitchen team were very polite. They all greeted us with smiles and made sure each course was to our liking.
The Chef’s table really was in the ideal spot, located right behind the line it was the prime location to know what was going in to each and every dish.
Our server happily introduced us to Chef Thomas and I am kicking myself for not getting a photo with him. He was obviously a very busy man last night, but still greeted us with a big hello and smile. I thanked him for the wonderful dishes and promised I would be back to dine at the Chef’s table one day.
The evening ended with the presentation of a rose for the lady of the table (me!) and a goodie bag to bring home.
Inside the bag was a lovely breakfast bread, our chocolates from the table, and our personalized menus. I thought the bag and rose were a nice touch to end the meal with.
Before Dad and I jetted off home we decided to let our stomachs settle by walking around the beautiful Grand Floridian Hotel (I can’t believe I’ve never been here before!)
Last night’s dining experience at Victoria & Albert’s was one to remember for a lifetime.
Thanks again to the Foodbuzz 24,24,24 program for sponsoring my dream meal and thank you to my Dad for being my date for the evening! 🙂