Archive for the ‘Restaurants’ Category

A Great Restaurant Close to Windsor Palms

March 26th, 2009 by Alison | Comments Off | Filed in Orlando Vacation Homes, Restaurants
Want to dine at a great restaurant close to Windsor Palms?

Want to dine at a great restaurant close to Windsor Palms?

One of the great things about staying in Windsor Palms is that you are so close to Disney World. And that means you are within very easy reach of all the great restaurants that Disney World has to offer. The very closest Disney restaurant to the resort is actually one of my favorites. Jiko The Cooking Place at Animal Kingdom Lodge. This excellent innovative restaurant is just a short 7 minute drive from Windsor Palms.

As soon as you walk in to Animal Kingdom Lodge you are transported to a different world – the sights, sounds and atmosphere of a luxury safari lodge in Africa. It is one of the most amazingly themed Disney resorts and is always worth a visit when you are staying at Windsor Palms. Relax in the amazing lobby and enjoy a drink or a snack from the bar.

But if you want a real culinary treat the get yourself a table at Jiko The Cooking Place. An excellent fine dining experience where you will find that the kids are welcome too. The cuisine is African, Indian and Mediterranean inspired. So a pretty broad spectrum of flavors there. No, don’t be put off by this – it really works I promise you!

As you walk into Jiko you may start thinking that it reminds you of a Disney movie. Well it should as the design was inspired by Disney’s The Lion King. The center of the restaurant is the show kitchen with twin wood burning ovens where you will see the talented chefs preparing the food. You are greeted by a student from Africa who is part of the Disney cultural exchange progam – where young people from around the world spend a year working around Disney World.

The service at Jiko is exceptional. Highly skilled waiters, many of whom are also sommeliers will guide you around the innovative menu and exclusively South African wine list.

So what is on the menu at Jiko? The Flatbreads are a specialty and definitely worth trying. My kids just love those. Other favorites from the appetizer selection are Curried Samosas and the roasted sweet potato soup. I have to say I have never tried the Spiced Ostrich Filet but I hear that it is very good. Entrees range from around $30 and upwards. Great options include Swahili Curry Shrimp, Maize Crusted Halibut and Oak-Grilled Filet Mignon. To finish the meal try my favorite – the Pistachio Creme Brulee. Or if chocolate is what you crave then the Tanzanian Chocolate Cheesecake is also excellent.

There is also a great vegetarian menu. My favorite entree from this is Swahili Curried Vegetables with Tofu which is priced at $26.

What I really like about this restaurant though is that it is fine dining where they really do welcome the children. It is Disney after all! There is a kids menu available with the usual favorites including Grilled Cheese and Peanut Butter and Jelly. Kids entrees range from $7 and up.

A visit to Jiko is well worth the splurge. As with all Disney restaurants it is wise to book ahead by calling 407 WDW DINE up to 90 days ahead.

Photos used under Creative Commons from framedanddriedl

Windsor Palms Take Out Delivery

March 19th, 2009 by Alison | 1 Comment | Filed in Orlando Vacation Homes, Restaurants

Let’s face it. Even though one of the advantages of renting a Windsor Palms vacation home is that you have your own fully equipped luxury kitchen, not everyone actually wants to cook in there! So if heating up a take out is all you want to do on your vacation you will need some suggestions of restaurants and take outs which will deliver right to your door. Then all you have to do for dinner is to get out of the swimming pool to answer the door!

If you are staying in one of my Windsor Palms homes and are looking for inspiration on what to have for dinner always look in the kitchen drawers. No you won’t find a gourmet meal in there unfortunately but you will find lots of take out menus!

If you like Chinese food then Taste of China will deliver food to Windsor Palms. Their number is 407-397-9911 or toll free 1-866-397-1890. They have all the usual Chinese food favorites and do not use MSG. You can also call ahead and pick up as they are located on your way back from the parks – inside Formosa Plaza next to the grocery store. I have eaten there many times and the food is good and ready quickly.

If pizza is more your thing then you have quite a lot of choice. There is a Pizza Hut take out located close to Windsor Palms at 8557 W Irlo Bronson Hwy Kissimmee FL 34747. To order call 407-239-4456. Usually there are coupons available and again, look in the house to see if there are any coupons or online at Pizza Hut to find the best deals. There are often some good deals that you can pick up online so it is always worth looking if you can. The registration and ordering process is not that easy though in my experience so you may be tempted just to pick up the phone.

Dominos Pizza will also deliver to Windsor Palms resort. Their number is 407-420-7272. Still wanting more pizza take out choice? Then try Papa John’s Pizza of 877-420-7272.

Outback Steakhouse is the very closest restaurant to Windsor Palms and they do curbside take out. Almost as good as delivery but not quite! Their number is 407-396-0017.

So there is plenty of choice for what to eat when you are staying in Windsor Palms resort. And you never have to do any of the work – just pick up the phone and dial!

Gloria Estefan Cookbook

November 14th, 2008 by Alison | Comments Off | Filed in Restaurants

I really enjoy dining at Gloria Estefan’s Cuban Cafe in Downtown Disney so I was very pleased to learn that she and her husband Emilio have released Estefan Kitchen

I had never tried making any Cuban recipes before but I have been really inspired by Gloria Estefan’s book. It includes some of the recipes found in her famous restaurants. If you have never tried Bongo’s Cuban Cafe in Downtown Disney you really should stop by one day. The cuisine and wonderful atmosphere make it one of my favorites. I know that Cuban cuisine isn’t always everyone’s first choice but really do give it a try! My favorites include plantain soup and the lobster bisque. The Cuban sandwhich is another favorite. It is great to see some interesting desserts on the menu too such as the traditional Cuban flan and the guava and cheese flan. And of course they serve some fabulous cocktails too. I seem to remember indulging in rather too many of those the last time I was there!

Bot now you don’t have to travel to one of Gloria Estefan’s restaurants to get enjoy great Cuban cooking. You really can create it at home. One of my great passions is cookery and I enjoy trying out new recipes. I have so many cook books that they are beginning to take over the house. So I was really excited to try out Estefan Kitchen. The book itself is very well set out with great photos and simple explanations of the recipes. The emphasis is on easy to create recipes. Gloria and Emilios enthusiasm for Cuban cuisine really stand out.

So even if you can’t make it to their Cuban Cafe in Downtown Disney or Miami you can now try out Cuban recipes at home.

Windsor Palms and Windsor Hills Resorts – No Hidden Fees

August 13th, 2008 by Alison | Comments Off | Filed in Disney World, Orlando Theme Parks, Orlando Vacation Homes, Restaurants

Windsor Palms, Windsor Hills and Solana have facilities to rival many expensive hotels in the Orlando area. Vacation homes already make a lot of sense in offering value to families looking for a great place to stay. But when you also look at all the hidden extras which often appear on your hotel bill it makes Windsor Palms and Windsor Hills look like an even better option!

Hotels seem to have started more and more to ‘hide’ the fees that they charge. I am not sure why they think that we won’t notice when we check out that all of a sudden there is a long list of extras. Perhaps they know that by the time we check out it is too late to make other choices!

Recently I stayed in a great hotel in California. One of the best I have ever stayed in. But it came at a price! The room rate looked good. Well that is the ‘headline’ room rate. The one that you see before you start adding the tax, the ‘resort fee’, the wireless internet access fee, the extortionate phone charges…….

But the charge that made me most annoyed was the valet parking fee. $25 a day plus tips! Was there a choice? Not unless you were prepared to put your car in the parking lot across the busy street about a 10 minute walk away. Will I stay at that hotel again? Probably not as they just didn’t seem to be being honest with me about how much it was going to cost. Why aren’t they just upfront about it?

So an added bonus to staying in one of my vacation homes? The resort facilities are free. No charge for the Windsor Palms community pool, spa, tennis, gym,basketball, volleyball or even the movie theater! No charge for all the fabulous community facilities at Windsor Hills or Solana.

Many of the homes that I offer also have free wireless internet, game rooms (no need to feed the pool table with money) and free international phone calls.

Oh, and of course parking is always free. On your own private pool home drive.

So when you are working out the amount of money you save on an Orlando vacation home as compared with an hotel remember to think about all the ‘hidden’ hotel fees. You are not going to get a big shock at check out as everything is already covered. So just check in, relax and enjoy the benefits of your smart choice.