Monthly Archives: September 2011

Kouzzina dinner


We arrived a little early for our reservation at Kouzzina, which happened to be just as the restaurant opened. We sat on the Boardwalk, watching the ducks bob around the boat dock and the happy vacationers ambling around.


So while we were sitting outside Kouzzina, the staff all came out in front of the restaurant, circled up, and did a little cheer for Cat Cora and Kouzzina . It was a fun way for everyone to get into the spirit and fun of the restaurant (without being really over-the-top or cheesy).


We went inside, and were promptly seated. I then promptly decided to have a drink, upon hearing the words “sparkling” “wine” and “sangria”.

Sparkling Sangria @ Kouzzina, Boardwalk

Delicious! (For the record, I was given the option of red, white, or sparkling wine for the sangria. I’m a fan of white, and sparkles just seemed even more vacation-y )

We were dining here just a few days after Kouzzina reopened after a refurb. Some things we noticed were small screens in the lobby with pictures of Cat, and a few new menu items.

One new part of the dinner the restaurant added was an olive oil service along with the bread. They provided two types of olive oil, each with a slightly different flavor.

Olive Oil Tasting @ Kouzzina, Boardwalk

One was a kalamata olive oil, and one was…something Wingnut and I both forget. We liked both, but preferred the kalamata olive one, as it had a bit of a bolder flavor. (I asked the woman walking around with both and asking diners their opinions as we were leaving which one that most people preferred, and she said it was the kalamata olive one, overwhelmingly.) The olive oils were accompanied by a little dish of olives (just to ensure I would use the word “olive” a few more times in this review, I’m sure).

For his appetizer, Wingnut had the saganaki, which he was happy to see on the menu.

Saganaki @ Kouzzina, Boardwalk

He says “it was really good… I’ve had several saganaki’s, and this was the best of the lot. With the capers adding some saltiness and the bread a little crunch, it really was tasty.”

I decided to have the Kouzinna spreads.

Kouzzina Spreads @ Kouzzina, Boardwalk

There are 6 options to choose from (you can pick 3). I went with the Chickpea Hummus (very good), Skordalia (not my favorite, but was still good), and the Whipped Feta with Peppers (I picked this more for Wingnut, he enjoyed it, I thought it was alright). The other options are Harissa Yogurt, Eggplant Spread, or Tzatziki. This was accompanied by some pita, olives, and peppers.

Wingnut then moved on to the Kouzzina Trio, which includes Greek Lasagna, a Lamb Burger, and Cinnamon-stewed Chicken.

Kouzzina Trio @ Kouzzina, Boardwalk

He says: “The lamb burger is the highlight, it has a nice spice to it and is very tender and juicy. The pastitsio is very creamy and cheesy, but was my least favorite of the three – although thats not saying it is not delicious. (Lets see how many more triple negatives i can get into a sentence here ) The chicken with orzo was really good, but very cinnamon-y. It is a very different flavor than anything I had ever tried, but for fan of cinnamon, it was definitely a must-try.”

I decided to have the Wood-Grilled NY Strip Steak.

Wood-Grilled Flank Steak @ Kouzzina, Boardwalk

I had had this dish the year before, when it was served with the flank steak instead (but with the same accompaniments). I enjoyed it a lot more the previous trip, this time the steak wasn’t as much to my liking, and the herb salsa seemed incredibly salty (but Wingnut thought it tasted alright to him – I may have also been feeling finicky after a bit of disappointment with the dish). What was one of my favorite meals of the trip before definitely did not measure up this time, I really think that the flank steak was a much better fit for this dish.

Oh well, on to dessert!

I was hopeful that I would be able to have the Loukoumades (Greek-style doughnuts), but sadly for Stringbean, those were cinnamon dusted. Undeterred by spices, Wingnut decided to have them.

Loukoumades @ Kouzzina, Boardwalk

Unfortunately, it was Wingnut’s point in the meal to be disappointed. “The dipping sauces were nice, not too sweet, nice flavor. However, the donuts were just puffs with no real flavor or substance, and deflated when you bit into them.”

Foiled from my original plan, but not discouraged, I chose the chocolate budino cake.

Chocolate Budino Cake @ Kouzzina, Boardwalk

This was very good, it was a fairly typical molten chocolate cake, but was allergen-free, so that earns a from me. The whipped cream a nice fresh accompaniment, but I could have used about 5 times as much as they provided (and I don’t use whipped cream with abandon).

So, Kouzzina. While we did have a very nice meal, it did have its ups and downs, a little more so than our previous experience. The food is very good, and is a nice and different type of meal from a lot of the other places around WDW. And I do love being in the Boardwalk area, it’s a nice excuse to meander around there.


Winter/Summerfest – Part 4


While I have covered nowhere near all of the festive ambiance and activities Disney unleashes during the holiday season, I figure I will wrap up this 4-part series with a look at the little details. Not the huge trees, the spice-scented oversized gingerbread creations, or the spectacle of lights. Just the other little reminders placed throughout the resorts and parks that this is a season of celebrating (and yes, decorating!). Here is just a fraction of the many:

Lobby decor in the Yacht Club


The Yacht Club also puts out a train set


It’s themed with locations from the Yacht and Beach clubs



Beach Club


Animal Kingdom Lodge


Holiday topiaries in Epcot



Holiday sprinkles


Epcot adds a special holiday ending to Illuminations – very peaceful and wonderful.


Some of the details can’t be captured in a picture. For example, the parks, rather than the usual area music, play instrumental holiday music. (Here is part of the Hollywood Studios loop)

I’m sure you’ll notice that I didn’t include any of the ticketed events in this series, such as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party or the Candlelight Processional. While these events are also wonderful ways to experience Disney during the holidays, I had wanted to just write about the things you could “discover”. None of the items in my list require extra money, a ticket (beyond a park ticket in some cases), or a special time (except for the Osborne Lights, but those are almost nightly, or the ending to Illuminations). And in my mind, that makes them even more magical.

Feel free to chime in with your favorite Disney holiday events/decorations/special touches!

Winter/Summerfest – Part Three!


First and foremost, I apologize for my inexplicable absence recently. I’m back, and I’m here, I promise!

For our third part of our look into the holidays at Disney, we’re going to be looking at something big. And bright.


The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights takes place on the Streets of America (where the aforementioned umbrella is) every November to late January. The display consists of more than 5 MILLION lights strung around pretty much any surface that sits still long enough for Disney to.


The story behind the lights goes as follows:

Jennings Osborne, from little Little Rock, Arkansas, began putting up lights on and around his home at the request of his young daughter. Each year, he added to the displays, making them larger and brighter and more elaborate. When he ran out of room on his own property, Osborne bought the two houses on either side of his home so he could continue his creativity.


Neighbors began to complain about the display, and it was ruled that Osborne’s house, when decorated with the 3 million lights, was a public nuisance. Despite legally barred from creating a “spectacle”, Osborne still lit the display on three nights. He ended up being fined for this.


In 1995, the Osborne family decided to share the spectacle that the lights had truly become with the world, and Disney brought the lights to WDW. Walt Disney World Resort is now the permanent home for what is now the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.







The pictures honestly do not capture the amazingness that is these lights. In addition to the lights being, well, lit, “snow” falls periodically.

Also, I believe I had called them “dancing” lights before, had I not?

(Sorry this next video is sideways, I’m not sure how to rotate it!)

This one isn’t sideways.

Even the smallest details are dancing.

I truly believe that the Osborne Lights are one of the most special and magical things in Disney. I have never seen a place full of people that are all truly entranced by the lights, happy and dancing through the streets.

Yes, people do dance through the streets.

No, it wasn’t (just) me.

During the day, you can still walk down the Streets of America, but the lights are a bit more unassuming.


At dusk each day that the lights are running, they are turned on, and run for several hours.


This year, the lights will be running from November 10th 2011 to January 3rd, 2012. They are absolutely and completely worth a visit if they will be dancing during your trip!