Monday, December 20, 2010

wdw dec. 2010 - veggie burgers & salads

This is going to be a shorter post, about some of the standard counter-service items I tried on our trip.

First, I didn't take any salad pictures, but my two favorites salads from the last trip are still my two favorite salads. :-) Probably the best "deal" is the house salad from Earl of Sandwich, at Downtown Disney. Just make sure you specify "no croutons" - it's the only "possibly non-vegan" item on the salad (and, of course, choose an appropriate dressing - the Italian is a safe choice). It's a very large salad at a very fair price ($5.99).

However, I still prefer the "made to order" salads available from the Beach Club Marketplace. It's not the most convenient location unless you happen to be staying at (or near) Disney's Beach Club Resort, but it works out for us. At $8.99, it's a bit pricey for a salad, but since I always take it back to our room, I can usually split it up and get two good-sized salads out of it. There are quite a few veggie toppings available to choose from: carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, hot peppers and olives, and some of what might have been "seasonal" offerings: sunflower seeds, cranberries, and another type of nut... sorry, that's all my brain would hold, LOL. (For any non-vegans, there are also two types of cheese, hard-boiled eggs, and croutons.) The raspberry vinaigrette dressing is wonderful. I always order the dressing on the side, and they put it in a little cup for me. With this method, the salad will easily last a couple days in your room's fridge (if you have one).

And, now onto those "last resort" veggie burgers. I have good news, and bad news. The good news is that there is a new option for a bun, available at *some* locations. As previously reported, the Angus burger multi-grain bun is (more or less) vegan (e-mail me for complete ingredients list). And, in my humble opinion, is definitely a step up from the gluten-free roll. (Note, though, that this new option is *not* gluten-free.) The bad news is that the veggie burgers are the same as they were a year ago - not very good. Perhaps they have their fans, but I haven't found any yet.

I ended up finding enough other options on this trip that I only resorted to a veggie burger once, at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe, at the Magic Kingdom. The ample toppings bar helps, and I do like this bun better, as I said. It's more substantial, less crumbly - but it's still lacking a bit in flavor. Bottom line, though - I just don't care for these burgers, in any bun, with any variety of toppings. (Not the best photo. Bad or not, I was hungry, and I almost forgot to take the photo.)

I should also mention that, if you're interested in this new bun option, you may need to be VERY specific with your request. I followed the "now standard" procedure of telling the cashier that I had an allergy, and needed to speak with a manager. This time, the cashier actually pointed to the manager and said "he's over there" (not very classy, in my opinion, but it wasn't too big of a deal). Once with the manager, I tried the "v" word, but ended up having to explain what a vegan is (usually the managers are familiar). He then tried to get me to order the veggie burger with the gluten-free roll. I was persistent, saying that I had heard about the option of an Angus burger bun. He hesitated, but eventually got out "the book" (a big black binder with the ingredients for every item sold at that location). I verified that the bun met my requirements and asked if I could order the veggie burger with that. He took care of it from there, and I got what I wanted.

It wasn't the highlight of the trip (I promise there are better meals yet to report!), but at least this time, I was prepared. I will state again that any vegans wanting to eat at counter service should (A) try to eat at "non-peak meal times), (B) know what you want and be specific, and (C) be prepared for an additional wait. I did, I was, and I was. All in all, this was a much smoother trip than last time, because of that.

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