Boatwrights Dining Hall allergy review

Boatwrights Dining Hall allergy review – gluten free, pork free, nut free (also pumpkin seed, arrowroot, and sorghum free)

A review of Disney World’s Port Orleans Riverside table service dinner option, themed with a partially built ship and boat wright tools, pictured here:

Many of your know I love Disney World–not so much for the characters like
many others, but because of their amazing allergy protocols! Most of Disney
World’s owned restaurants do a great job of keep people safe and most of them do it while providing great tasting food. We visit family in the area so we frequently add a few days in Disney World before returning home, specifically because of their generally good allergy protocols (knock on wood they stay that way!). One of the great recent additions that acknowledges the heavy allergy population of visitors is their allergy menus:

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However, sometimes one falls short on taste and that’s how I feel about Boatwright’s Dining Hall at Port Orleans Riverside. They kept me safe, and for that I’m grateful, but the food was horrible! The rolls served were the normal GNI gluten free rolls and were fine, but the appetizer of Colonel Peace’s Pieces were terrible–they had no flavor or spices in the batter and the remulade sauce sadly didn’t help!

I didn’t feel like any of the entrees were good choices (except Voodoo Chicken and waffles, but I can’t eat Disney’s waffle mix because I cannot tolerate arrowroot or sorghum), so I went with steak, green beans, and potatoes–one would think it’s hard to mess that up, right? Wrong. These green beans had no flavoring, were rubber texture, and the steak was rough and flavorless. The mashed potatoes were decent, but not amazing.

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The position of the lights throughout the restaurant also were not good, as the lights on the sides of the wall made both my husband and I a bit dizzy! You can see how harsh the glare is in the photo below. For dessert, I ordered the butterscotch creme brulee, only to find out it was a No Sugar Added dessert! (I avoid sugar substitutes and normally don’t have to mention this on top of my many allergies, because typically the menu denotes it, but this time it did not.)

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I must add that I really enjoyed Port Orleans Riverside as a resort, but this was a major downfall, as we always like to spend at least one day where we don’t leave the resort–a rest day, which means there has to be decently good food for a few meals. There is no sit down location open for breakfast (just the quick service) and this is their sit-down dinner option, disappointing dining for an otherwise great resort!

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Boma: Disney World allergen Restaurant Review

Boma

Boma Breakfast 2-1   Boma Breakfast 3-1
Somehow I still haven’t posted on my two favorite Disney breakfast venues: Boma and 1900 Park Fare.  I do hesitate to post places I love and will go back to, perhaps for fear of “jinxing” a good thing, but alas I want to share the good for those seeking a great experience!
Boma Breakfast 1-2
Let’s talk about Boma.  It’s an African-themed buffet in the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  It is open for breakfast and dinner, but I much prefer their breakfast.  It’s also a very good value on the meal plan, as it’s 1 sit-down meal credit for a huge buffet.  Now, I know, celiacs and others with food allergies cringe at the word buffet normally, but this is Disney.  They are generous with getting fresh items from the back away from cross contamination and offering substitutes as well.  So, for gluten free, I had an egg and cheese omelet (could have had other things in it, but I’m just a plain Jane). They had turkey bacon–hooray for non pork breakfast meats!

Boma Breakfast 1-1

They have the yummiest mixed fruit juice they call Jungle juice.  There was also fresh fruit of course.

Boma Breakfast 2-2   Boma Breakfast 2-3
For breakfast carbs that were safe, they served skillet potatoes most days (we went multiple days on our last trip).  They also have gluten free Mickey Waffles. (Side note, like most Disney locations, the allergen free Mickey waffles were made using Namaste mixed with Bob’s Red Mill.  Unfortunately, something in Namaste makes me ill–I’m guessing the arrowroot powder, but most people love these, so I know I’m a rare exception.  I was hoping for Cup4Cup, but alas they couldn’t find any.) There was also a nice showing of Udi muffins (chocolate and blueberry at this time) and MY FAVORITE Kinnikinnick donuts (vanilla glazed and cinnamon sugar at this time).

Boma Breakfast 3-2

I would pick this location again especially for the Kinnikinnick donuts, as those with eggs would make a pretty fulfilling breakfast. I only wish they offered another ingredient mix for the waffles.
Boma dinner fufu strong spices Boma dinner dessert sorbet and donuts GF SF
We also had dinner here one night and if you didn’t have a pork restriction, it was probably more enjoyable, but for gluten/nut/pork free, my options were limited. Some yummy steamed vegetables, their Fufu (spiced mashed white and sweet potatoes blended–pictured above), with some carved turkey or grilled fish (not pictured).  For dessert, they only have sorbet and fruit, which was okay but nothing special.  They did oblige my request for some more Kinnikinnick donuts with dinner for dessert. Sadly, they did not offer any of the gluten free Zebra Domes I’ve heard so much about (perhaps they are not nut free? I’m unsure).

Disney World allergen Restaurant Review: The Wave

The Wave

The Wave2 The Wave1

This restaurant, located on the ground floor of the Contemporary resort traditionally has been my favorite hidden gem!  (However, this was the absolute worst restaurant of our trip.)  It started with us being seated at the table for 2 right next to  the curtains drawn back.  They smelled, moldy or mildewy, not appetizing! We scooted the table away from the curtains and hoped things would get better.

I did not get the chef’s name but he seemed to do his best, but there were several troubles. I had only a salad option for appetizer, which I forgot to take a picture of.
The Wave3 The Wave4 burger upclose
I wanted the “grass fed” burger and he said they had Udi’s buns and that I could have fries too. This sounded wonderful, until the order came. The burger was a thin pre-formed patty that looked like a fast food restaurant. It had no taste or quality and I highly doubt it was grass-fed beef. The bun did not resemble any Udi’s I’ve had before and the texture seemed closer to EnerG. I can have EnerG too, but it made me nervous since the chef said they were Udi’s. I had him check again to be sure and he said the carton was gone, but he was sure they were Udi’s. (Really? the carton was gone? NOT reassuring!)  I had a few bites of the burger, but being unsure of the bun and the beef being subpar quality, I didn’t come close to finishing. I also asked for well done and got to several spots of pink (hard to see in the photo)!
The Wave5 not GF sundae
For dessert, he offered sorbet (why did they never offer ice cream first, even though I blatantly say I can have dairy?).  So, I asked about ice cream and Enjoy Life cookies. He said that was do-able. I was brought vanilla ice cream with a soft cookie like bottom. It did not resemble any of Enjoy Life brand cookies (and I do know them all!), so I asked if they were sure this was the right order. I asked if they made their own gluten free and nut free cookies (I hadn’t heard of that, but it was possible, right?)  The waitress went and said she double checked and this was right (no additional information was offered to allay my concerns). There was still an allergy stick in it, but those did not look like any cookies I’ve known. I was far too scared to eat the cookies and had my husband try them. He has no allergies but has had regular and gluten free. He said it did not taste or resemble the texture of any normal gluten free desserts.  He said he thought it was likely a regular housemade gluten cookie.  I was glad I did not eat it! That left me terrified and shaken.

Unfortunately, the Wave was the ultimate let down on this trip. I’m not sure I’ll be returning despite hearing others have good allergen meals here.

Walt Disney World Review: Kona Cafe

Kona Cafe

Kona Cafe GF menu cover

Set on the second floor of the Polynesian Hotel (along the monorail from Magic Kingdom) is the Kona Cafe. This was our first visit to this restaurant, but I’d read many good things about allergies here.  It’s open to the walkway and overlooks the Polynesian foyer.  To me this makes it look like a lunch sandwich style place, not fast food but not a normal sit-down dinner place either, but they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner as a sit down meal (non-quick service).  We dined for lunch.

Kona Cafe GF menu

They are trying out a special gluten free menu, which gave me a starting list of options. However, once I spoke to the chef and we removed the pork, peanut, and soy options…almost no options were left. Chef Amber was very kind and knowledgeable, she offered to make me a salad for the appetizer. The salad was good but be warned, their almond pieces are chopped and spread throughout the salad, which I did not enjoy but were too small and plentiful to pick out. The greens were great, the citrus vinegrette was yummy, and the pear pieces were delightful.

Kona Cafe salad too many almond pieces

The entree was to be plain chicken and white rice for the entree. She served the chicken with a delicious mango puree (not pictured unfortunately!), but I thought being served absolutely plain chicken with rice was a restaurant fail. Could they not have cooked it in the mango puree or added cheese or something? The rice was also hard and dry :-(. The mango puree was heavenly!

Kona Cafe bland chicken with mango puree

We had a reminder here that you must always be diligent for yourself, even with the best chef. I always bring a list of my allergens, since I have several, but the chef still almost missed the chorizo in the soup as pork!  She may have realized it in the kitchen, but luckily I stopped her before that.  My side was just fruit.

Kona Cafe dessert2

For dessert, I had already discovered when the chefs came out with no real offering to suit my needs (they usually offered just fruit or sorbet), I would ask for ice cream and enjoy life cookies.  For some reason, this wasn’t usually offered, but was always available when I asked! So here I had vanilla ice cream and Enjoy Life soft baked brownie cookies!

Overall, I appreciated another safe meal but was disappointed with having no real choice and very limited flavor.  I had bigger expectations, but I would order the salad again without the almonds and perhaps return for the mango puree if it could be worked into the chicken/rice as it was cooked.

Flying Fish Cafe – gluten free review at Disney World

Flying Fish Cafe

(I haven’t completed my dining reviews from last Christmas at Disney…I will cover those in the next few posts.)

This was a fine dining (read: 2 credits on Disney Dining Plan) restaurant along Boardwalk Disney–the area mostly for Disney Vacation Club members.  It was a bit tricky to find, but has a nice water walkway and scenic area to enjoy before or after dinner. We even saw a large turtle swimming in the lake while waiting for our dinner reservations. It’s next to the new Trattorio al Forno. I wish I had known, but the Boardwalk Bakery there has gluten free treats–I didn’t even think they would and didn’t look!
Flying Fish cafe exterior        Flying Fish cafe interior
The ambience here was nice enough, but it didn’t scream fine dining to us.  There was a story (as everything at Disney has) that the restaurant is themed around the post WWII era of carnivals.
Flying Fish cafe roll Flying Fish roll gross
The bread service was a brand I’m not sure about, but it was disgusting! It literally tasted like cardboard and I’ve never had to say that about a gluten free food!
Flying Fish gf crab cake
Luckily, things got better when the chef (I didn’t catch his name, but a large African-American man who was amazing!) talked about the choices for appetizers and entrees.  He said you tell me what you want, I should be able to do almost anything on the menu!! I had a gluten free (and the rest) crab cake for the appetizer! It was delicious, although some strong raw onion pieces in the mix detracted from the crab flavor!

The entree, which was so good I forgot to take a picture of it, was salmon. They even asked how I liked it cooked, which delighted me as I enjoy my salmon more like well-done, slightly crispy and it’s typically served medium-well!
Flying Fish Caramel sundae
The dessert here was tricky, but when I suggested ice cream and asked about the salted caramel sauce, he said that was doable. (There was a sundae on the menu with candy crumbles and other syrups that might have been okay, but just one was enough for me!) Yumminess!

While the bread service turned me off here, this overall was a very enjoyable experience overall and another testament to the theory of doing 2-credit dinner fine dining restaurants for dinner with mulitple food allergies!

Olivia’s Cafe at Old Key West Resort in Disney World – a Gluten free, soy free, peanut- and pork-free review

One of our yummiest but simple meals of the trip was at Olivia’s Cafe. It’s a cute cafe at Disney’s Old Key West Resort.  The chairs and placemats are a bit mismatched and I asked our awesome waiter, Jason, why.  He told us the short version of the story about the inspiration for the cafe.

Olivia's Cafe

The story goes that Olivia was a woman who loved to cook as a way to occupy herself when her husband went off to WWI.  She would share her food, but ran out of plates and chairs, so she told anyone she’d feed them but they had to bring their own plate and chair.  I wish I had taken more pictures, because the decor was bright and colorful, very pretty in a surprisingly modern way!

Olivia's Cafe at Old Key Resort drinks

Onto the food, well first–the drinks. They had a delicious acai berry smoothie I was able to have (as it would turn out, my only non-boring drink of our trip!), it was so refreshing and delicious!  I also had some cranberry juice, a refreshing change.

Olivia's Cafe at Old Key Resort breakfast

And now–the star: “Poached Eggs and Hash.”  I had done my research before the trip and wrote Disney Special Diets ahead of time as I knew I’d like to try the poached eggs with the sweet potato-white potato hash but it normally is made with ham (and I cannot eat pork). They had not told the restaurant, but the chef, Corey, was amazing and said if I was willing to wait, he’d have some made just for me! The poached eggs were perfect, the hash was very good but the onions were strong–if I was having it custom made again, I’d also ask for no onions.  It normally comes with Hollandaise sauce, which I didn’t think was safe so I just had them skip it.  The platter came with Udi’s toast (done perfectly) and butter in place of the gluten biscuit.  (This meal was gluten free, pork free, soy free, and peanut free.)

As always, I was not compensated in any way for this review.

Coral Reef in Epcot at Disney World – Gluten free, soy free, peanut free review!

Coral Reef view

Next up is the Coral Reef restaurant, in Epcot.  It’s a restaurant beside a massive aquarium and has a beautiful view because of that!

Coral Reef rolls Coral Reef roll and butter

Disney has gone to the EnerG brand of gluten free rolls, which is unfortunate as there are so many better brands out there available! These are edible and even good tasting with butter when they’re warmed perfectly, but if they’re warmed wrong or if they get cool, forget it–they are hard as rocks and literally inedible! Fortunately, they were served just right here! I got to eat 1 and a half before they were too cold and therefore too hard. The black salt on the butter was odd and made things a little messy (it streaked the butter & the plates), but it was yummy!

It was, however, a far cry from how yummy the last visit was–they toasted Udi’s bread in a frying pan with butter and it inspired me to this day to make my toast like that at home! (Chef Larry was cautious and brought me the binder of allergens, as he seemed less familiar than most chefs with the ingredients–but better safe than sorry is okay by me!)

Coral Reef appetizer

The only safe appetizer unfortunately was grilled octopus. Not my first choice and after it looked like it had pieces of ham (I did inform them of the pork allergy, but the chef was a bit unsteady in his choices), I did not eat any of it.

Coral Reef dinner

There are many seafood dishes served here, but I’m not too keen on seafood and there was no gluten free lobster option, so I chose the steak with mashed potatoes and broccolini. The steak was cooked well, as I asked and the mashed potatoes were delicious!  The broccolini is not something I cared for. (I could also have had salmon.)

Coral Reef dessert

I had Chef Rob for dessert, as Chef Larry had left. I remember him from a few visits ago, he is awesome!  One thing I noticed throughout Disney is that so many of the chefs are used to those who are gluten free also being dairy free that many would forget to offer me ice cream or regular butter!  I asked for ice cream and they had Haagen Daas vanilla (made on shared equipment, but I took a chance and seemed okay) with Enjoy Life soft Chocolate Chip Brownie cookies! YUM! If I were not soy free, they had a gluten free chocolate torte that is popular there.