On our recent trip to Walt Disney World, I made sure I made dining reservations in advance and notified reservations I was gluten-free. However, we ended up going a day early as a last minute thing to avoid a storm coming into the Atlanta-area, and as a result we were at Disney, with no reservations for dinner our first night. We stayed at the Swan hotel right off of the Boardwalk next to Epcot, so we decided to eat at the Greek-themed Kouzzina by Cat Cora (the first female Iron Chef), and thankfully we were able to get a last minute dinner reservation for that night. I was really excited since I had heard lots of good reviews of Kouzzina before we arrived.
When we arrived at the restaurant that night, we were seated quickly, the server came to our table and assured me the chef would be over to discuss what was gluten-free and safe for me to eat. This was my first meal at Disney and after all the positive reviews about eating gluten-free I was more than excited. Unfortunately, since we had a late reservation, it also seemed that the kitchen was behind and took a good 15 minutes until the chef came to speak with me. It all seemed a bit frazzled with a full house, but the chef assured me that he would bring out gluten-free rolls to have with their complimentary olive oil and roasted garlic and showed me what was safe on the menu. I can’t even remember the last time I could eat bread with the table at a restaurant before a meal. He pointed out they had gluten-free pita, so in my excitement we ordered the Kouzzina spread platter, the goat cheese stuffed grape leaf, the garlic fried potatoes and the sauteed brussels sprouts to share. I wanted to taste a bunch of different flavors so we decided to order a few different small plates. The chef did point out several entrées that were safe or would be safe with simple substitutions, but we decided to keep it light that night.
I was so excited when they brought gluten-free rolls to the table that were warmed and soft! Never before have gluten-free rolls been available at a restaurant for me. I felt “normal”. My husband decided to stick with gluten-free as well, so we wouldn’t have to worry about any cross-contamination with gluten-filled bread. He is such a good sport.
The service continued to be very slow, and our server seemed a bit scattered, but I was so excited to have pita and hummus, I was OK to wait. When it finally did arrive, it looked lovely and the pita was grilled and lightly coated with olive oil. I took one bite of the hummus and pitas and had to stop myself, because I thought they must have made a mistake and brought me the gluten-filled pita instead. The chef returned to the table and assured me they were gluten-free. I was still weary, because of how good they tasted, but decided that with the positive gluten-free reviews I had read, I would believe him. The Kouzzina spread platter included hummus, eggplant spread, harissa, skordalia, tzatziki, and whipped feta with peppers. It was great to be able to eat all of these spreads with pita bread, and not just by the spoonful. The spreads were all super tasty, but I think our favorite dish was the brussels sprouts.
Before we left, I asked the server if he could find out who made the rolls and pita, and after consulting with the chef he told me that they were both made by Ener-G Foods, the pita were made from their pizza shells that were sliced into triangles. What a great idea, I had never thought to do that, and grilling them it made it super delicious. This was my first time trying Ener-G bread products and I was pleasantly surprised.
For more of my reviews on our recent Disney trip, read my introduction to vacationing gluten-free at Disney, dinner at the Polynesian’s Kona Cafe, Disney’s quick service gluten-free options, dinner at Epcot’s Restaurant Marrakesh, our character breakfast at the 1900 Park Faire at the Grand Floridian, and my review of BabyCakesNYC at Downtown Disney.