Wolfgang Puck’s is ok, but man are the Black Eyed Peas awful
The Black Eyed Peas really are awful. Hopefully you knew that already, but now the entire world knows. More on that later.
My sister and her family made a trip down to Orlando this weekend to chaperon a group of students on a Disney World trip, so we met her and my brother in-law and nephew at Wolfgang Puck’s Cafe at Downtown Disney for dinner on Saturday night. I hadn’t been to Puck’s in several years and really didn’t have much of a memory of it, so was glad to have a chance to try it again. My kids were very excited to see their cousin and could not have cared one iota where we went so long as they got to act like idiots in public. Which they of course did with gusto. See grainy cell phone evidence below.
After 15 minute or so wait (even though we had a reservation) we were seated as a party of 7. The first thing you notice about Puck’s is that it is crowded. And loud. And there are tons of kids. We were in the downstairs cafe area, but still saw several families headed upstairs to the more expensive dining room. This is fairly typical of a lot of restaurants in Orlando (especially at Disney of course) but still would give me a pause if I had chosen to have a dinner here without children.
The menu is fairly interesting and diverse, including a selection of sushi, pastas, and pizza. There’s also a decent if not exhaustive selection of wines by the glass, and I was able to get a pretty decent Albarino for about $7, which is fairly reasonable in the realm of Disney prices. Our waitress was pleasant and knowledgeable, if a bit harried. We ordered a couple of appetizers for our table, a frito misto (a mixture of fried seafood, vegetables, olives and lemons, which where interesting) and fried calamari. I missed a good bit of the appetizers while outside enforcing some parental discipline (we do NOT joke about throwing calamari at our cousin with the shellfish allergy!), but from what I had both were pretty good.
One thing we began to notice around this time. The service here is slllloooooowwwww. I’ve heard others say it has a lot to do with the restaurant only having one pizza oven (and there’s a lot of pizza served there). I have no idea whether this is true or not or why it would slow down our appetizers coming out, but caveat emptor should you choose to dine here with impatient kids in tow or if you have tickets to a show.
For an entree, I had the chef’s sushi sampler, which was fresh and well prepared, if unspectacular. Others at the table had pizza and one of the specialty dishes, pumpkin ravioli, with fried sage leaves and fresh Parmesan. I was excited to try this dish since I thought it sounded great, and was a bit disappointed. It wasn’t bad at all, but the pumpkin filling was overly sweet and this threw the balance of the dish off some. It would have benefited from another savory element to cut through the sweetness. In the end it was a great idea that just missed in execution.
We skipped dessert since the kids were beginning to grow really impatient at the length of the meal (almost two hours for 2 courses) and settled up. Overall the pumpkin ravioli kind of summed up our Puck experience: better than the ordinary, but just lacking something that makes it standout on the higher end. Personally if I’m at Downtown Disney I’ll still seek out Ragland Road, but Puck’s is certainly a notch above a visit to your local chain eatery.
Speaking of food, the wife cooked up some excellent nosh for the Super Bowl, courtesy of Giada and the Food Network (you can get recipes for both on their website). We had fresh, fried bocconcini and a some awesome potato skins stuffed with mushrooms and prosciutto. Did I mention how awesome this was? Needless to say I ate better than you did on Super Bowl Sunday.
The food and the game were good enough to distract from the musical catastrophe that was the Black Eyed Peas halftime show. The one positive I’ll throw out is that at least they dared to get an act under the age of 60 this year. But that’s where the positives end. Can we bring back JT ripping people’s clothes off next year?
I knew going in that they were pretty bad and their songs were fairly vapid and generic, but didn’t realize exactly how much so until it all unfolded there live in front of me. I get the feeling that Will I Am knocks out an albums worth a songs the day before they go cut a new record (somebody get me my Pro-tunes and a rhyming dictionary, Will’s got the urge to Cre A Te!”) Now I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a music snob and am definitely not the audience this show was meant to cater to, but I truly do struggle to understand why so many people buy this music.I’ve got nothing against pop music, I can see why somebody might even go buy a Katy Perry record even though it’s not my thing. So I ask this is all seriousness, what’s enjoyable about the BEPs? I want to understand, so I beg you to enlighten me if you can.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go heat up a leftover potato skin and make quasi obscene noises while I eat it.