Anniversary Celebration at Morimoto Asia

By Rich

After driving through a huge Florida rain storm to get to Disney Springs, we were pleased that the weather had cleared as we arrived for our anniversary dinner at Morimoto Asia. This restaurant has been on our list of must-dos since we first heard about it.

We checked in at the front desk at 7:10 for our 7:30 reservation. We were seated immediately at a table for two upstairs along the glass railing overlooking the downstairs dining room. This was a great location. It was less crowded than downstairs, and we had a great view of the whole restaurant.

Before arriving, we had reviewed the menu and selected what we wanted to eat and drink. However, when we looked at the menu, and then talked with our server, we found out that the drinks we were expecting to order (Singapore Sling for Kathy, a Morimotini for me) were no longer available. Instead, we both chose the Momo Mai Tai. It was a very tasty, and potent, choice. We did manage to order the four appetizers we had planned.

Menu

Drinks

Momo Mai Tai

Wicked Dolphin Dark Rum, Cruzan Light Rum, Passion Fruit, Blood Orange, orgeat, Pineapple

Appetizers

Rock Shrimp Tempura

Signature tempura rock shrimp, spicy gochujang aioli

Tuna Pizza

Crispy tortilla, tuna sashimi, tomato, jalapeño, anchovy aioli

Morimoto Spare Ribs

Pork ribs, cilantro, hoisin sweet chili glaze

Kakuni Pork Bao

Steamed buns, braised pork belly, lettuce, spicy mayo

Dessert

Cream Caramel

Yuzu caramel sauce, black sesame whipped cream, black sesame air cake

The architecture and atmosphere at Morimoto Asia is amazing. Well-conceived modern Asian design with interesting seating and decorations. It was fun just to look around at everything. The ambiance created a perfect setting for us to share our celebratory anniversary experience.

After we sorted out our drink order, we ordered the first three appetizers (minus the Pork Bao). Once the other appetizers arrived, we realized we wanted the Pork Bao too and added that to our order. Sharing small plates over a couple yummy drinks is one of our favorite ways to dine. And this was the epitome of this kind of dining.

I could not share the shrimp, but Kathy was blown away by the great flavors of this signature dish from Morimoto. The tuna pizza, another signature dish, was full of flavor and texture, enhanced even more when our server brought us some soy sauce to drizzle on it. Wow!

The spare ribs were the ideal sticky, Asian-style ribs we love so much. We could have eaten more of these. And the savory steam buns were filled with flavorful pork belly and a mayo with some kick.

Kathy asked me which appetizer was my favorite, and I didn’t have an answer. They were all incredible.

We were unsure if we wanted dessert, but since we wanted to linger, we decided to share an order of the cream caramel. We had a bit of a wait for the dessert to be delivered. The cream caramel itself was rich and delicious. The black sesame whipped cream and air cake added a bit of an odd savory flavor, but nonetheless, this was a nice ending to a marvelous anniversary dinner.

We’ve had some incredible dining experiences in our 21 years of marriage, and this ranks up there as one of the best.

Thoughts by Kathy:

As fans of all those cooking shows on TV, we were really curious about Morimoto’s food. And then when Deb Wills talked about the new late night cocktail menu and how, in her younger days, she might have downed them all – lol – well, we just had to experience this. And I know exactly what she means. Really cool vibe – kind of like an updated contemporary 70s Disco – at least like the one I used to frequent several nights a week. All that was missing was the dance floor. Oh, and maybe some disco balls.

The food was amazing and even the Mai Tai had a special flavor of its own. Rich couldn’t help me with the Shrimp so I took some of it home and had it for lunch the next day – yum!

We didn’t announce our anniversary, unlike our birthdays. Last year was the big 20th anniversary cruise and we wanted to play it a little more low key this year.

This was our first time at Disney Springs at night and it is so fabulous – very Vegas in a good way and now trumps Downtown Disney at Disneyland.

We stopped by Art Smith’s Homecoming, which we’re hoping to check out later this fall when we might be more in the mood for a bigger meal. It looked quite inviting and I’m sure it’s delicious, but I don’t really eat fried chicken any more. Still, we do want to try it.

Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming

Outside seating for street fare, Morimoto’s

Entrance to Morimoto Asia

Floating staircase leading to upstairs dining

Table for two seating along the upstairs rail

Morimoto’s Mai Tai – delish!

Rich enjoyed his Mai Tai

Kathy enjoying her Mai Tai in lieu of Singapore Sling, which is no more

 

Signature dish – tuna pizza

Signature dish – shrimp tempura

Ribs, appetizer portion

Bao buns

Cream caramel

After our meal, we strolled around Disney Springs to take a look after dark, stopped to listen to a band, and then a night time view of Morimoto’s all lit up – really cool!

Evening entertainment Tuesday-Thursday

Amphicar

The Boathouse at night

Morimoto’s all lit up

Disney in the Morning, Evening at the Beach

After such a hot, hectic but exciting morning at the Magic Kingdom, I needed to relax at the beach so Rich and I headed out there after I picked him up at work. The beach was amazing, and something I’m so looking forward to when we finally live there.

As an update to yesterday, I got a bit dehydrated even though I drank water throughout the morning – it was just too hot for the parks. I’m still under the weather so we’ll probably reschedule this weekend’s Frozen FPs.

 

If It’s Saturday, It Must Be Disney

For most of the years we lived in Las Vegas, we’d sip our coffee on a Saturday morning and say, “When we lived in Florida, we could wake up on a Saturday morning and go to Disney (World).” And that’s pretty much what we’ve been doing now that we’re back – only this time it’s even better.

It’s better because of Fast Pass Plus. Sometime during the week, we make a FP+ reservation for one of the parks and then we can relax. All we have to do is show up. So last Saturday, we decided to return to Epcot because we’d just discovered the new hazelnut chocolate Beignets. We didn’t know they were new until we read the Disney Food Blog.

Our FP+ this time would be Soarin’. We’d ridden the new Soarin’ back at Disneyland and this would be our first time at WDW.

We arrived at rope drop and entered the bag free and Annual Passholder’s lines and were quickly inside the park. We headed straight for France to start our day with those yummy beignets. This time we each got one instead of sharing and Rich also chose some kind of bready thing with bacon. I took a bite but stuck to my beignet. YUM! We got a coffee to share.

Our FP wasn’t until 11 a.m. so we decided it was time to catch up with the Epcot resorts so we headed for the Yacht Club, our home away from home. We talked about how we must stay over again sometime.

Inside the YC, we noticed merchandise from the gift shop stuck out in the lobby, so we marched on over to the previous location to see what we could find out. The CM greeted us and I knew I must have been frowning because I was not happy with what I was seeing. So when she asked how we were, I told her we hadn’t been there for 5 years and it had changed. She said this renovation had just started  and the lobby merchandise was temporary. They’re adding hot and cold food items because guests were complaining there was no food court or any way to pick up some quick service food.

Ah, yes, we always noticed that too, when we stayed there. We think it’ll be a good addition.

Then we left the YC and marched on over to the Boardwalk via the “Swolphin” where the RWA conference will be held this year this July, exchanging our traditional kiss at the top of the walkway and then on to the Boardwalk, getting our first look at the new Flying Fish, the Abracadabar, the Trattoria al Forno, and Ample Hill Creamery ice cream. We began making plans to return to do some kind of progressive dinner (Trattoria instead of Flying Fish for the dinner portion).

It was scorching hot today, but we kept marching until we were in the FP line for Soarin’. For some reason, I wasn’t feeling that confident riding this ride. This was the first time feeling that for this one, but I am noticing this is happening more frequently for me (last time it was Test Track). So this may be the last time for this ride. Besides, after the first time, I’m not that wowed by it. We were surprised by the different ending than the one at Disneyland so that was fun.

We kept chugging through the park and out to the parking lot. Today’s walking mileage: 5 miles.

We made our way home, talking about how once we’re living at the beach, we’ll have to do some overnight trips to get the full WDW experience. We’ll be about the same distance as we were when we lived in Tampa and we sometimes did overnights then, although a day trip still works, too.

But, for now, we’re going to try to get in as much Disney as we can while we’re living closer, and it helps to kill some time while we wait for the house building adventure to begin. The apartment is getting a bit close for us and the cats, but that’s a story for another blog post.

 

Tampa Bay on Memorial Day

After our taste of the crowds at Disney Springs on Saturday and wait time to just get our AP,s and hearing insane reports of wait times and staggered park entrances, we decided not to venture back to Disney on Monday to catch the last day of the Flower and Garden Festival.

So we headed back to our beloved Tampa Bay to catch up, have lunch at Frenchys Outpost and spend some time on Dunedin Causeway and/or Honeymoon Island. Frenchys wasn’t too crowded but we couldn’t get on Dunedin. So we squeezed onto a small stretch of the Courtney Campbell Causeway on our way back to Orlando.

It was such a blast being back at Frenchys – we were last there on our Thanksgiving trip from Las Vegas and now six months later we’re living in Florida again. We’d hoped we’d be living in Tampa Bay – Orlando is crazier than over – so much traffic and beat up roads making getting around quite a challenge. And, of course, housing prices are higher in Orlando.

We’ve been househunting like crazy and are absolutely exhausted mixing that with so much fun – lol! Hard to believe we’ve only been here two weeks.


Above: Blackenef Mahi Mahi Sandwich, Fiery Shrimp Tacos, Blue Paradise, and the “Perfect Margarita”

Catching up with Central Florida Weekend, Day 3: Sunday Brunch at Disney Springs

We woke up so stiff and exhausted, we decided a Disney treat was in order. We thought we might head on over to Geyser Point for lunch after church, but we were a bit early so we thought we’d kill some time at Disney Springs.

By the time we parked and walked around, we were so caught up in the Disney Springs fun, we decided to stay for lunch. We already have ressies at The Boathouse and Homecoming for summer celebrations later this summer, so Raglan Road with its dark, cool interior was beckoning. It was one of our favorite hangouts when we lived in Windermere and when Rich noticed a sign for “Brunch,” well, we couldn’t resist.

We were seated in the Music Room and I enjoyed photos on the wall of musicians and the music coming from the speakers. I felt in touch with my Irish ancestry and musical family – the music room was the perfect room for us.

Jose, our server, introduced himself and the special of the day, which was Salmon and Waffle. When Rich heard that, he put down his menu and ordered one of those. I chose one of my favorites, breakfast potatoes with eggs, but this time pork belly was added, which I must say right now, was absolutely awesome!!!

We were undecided about drinks – I was still feeling the drinks from the previous two days, but we couldn’t resist so Rich ordered the Bloody Mary and I had the G&T (Gin & Tonic) with a grapefruit twist – seemed to be my fruit this weekend.

The drinks were a good choice as were our brunch items. We were also served some sort of smoothie and some brown bread. After brunch, we stopped in at Sprinkles and got a couple of cupcakes – Salted Caramel and the Red Velvet, which we’d first tried at Sprinkles at Disneyland, which we took home to enjoy later.

All in all, we were absolutely in love with this brunch experience – the food (Rich was pounding his fist on the table in pure ecstasy), the drinks, the service, the atmosphere, the fun, the company – I could definitely do this every Sunday!

One of the songs we heard was the Hills of Donegal, and we cracked up over the Las Vegas references, etc. I felt so at home. Yes, I could definitely do this every Sunday! (Video preview here.)