Small site update & FREE coupon alert

When I started this blog last year, my husband and I had recently moved to the Orlando area. Since we found ourselves eating out a lot, I thought it would be fun to write up reviews of our experiences as (mostly) vegetarian diners. After we took a couponing class last spring, however, our meals away from home decreased rapidly, just as our pantry was filling up. I follow a few couponing blogs and Facebook groups and besides saving a lot of money, I’m having a lot of fun playing the couponing game. Going forward here at Meatless in Orlando I will be sharing some coupon finds and smart shopping tips and other related tidbits in addition to restaurant reviews from our (mostly) vegetarian perspective.

The first deal I want to share is an awesome coupon booklet available from Mambo Sprouts, an organic coupon provider. The booklet will come in the mail this spring when you sign up here.

Mambo Sprouts

Thanks All Natural Savings!

Disney: Trail’s End Restaurant

Exterior of Trail's End Restaurant

Exterior of Trail’s End Restaurant

Trail’s End Restaurant is a family restaurant with a down-home western theme located at the Fort Wilderness Resort. The restaurant offers a dinner buffet of classic traditional American frontier fare.

Salad and huge chunk of cornbread, at Trail's End Restaurant

Salad and huge chunk of cornbread, at Trail’s End Restaurant

With a frontier / wilderness theme, you can imagine there is a lot of meat on the menu, including pork ribs, fried chicken, and hand-carved meats. However, the buffet offers plenty of sides and for fish-eaters there is shrimp and the catch of the day. There is also a modest dessert buffet with tasty and filling treats. I went back to the salad bar a few times before taking warm plates of vegetables, potatoes, and meatless pasta.

Homey western-themed dining room at Trail's End Restaurant

Homey western-themed dining room at Trail’s End Restaurant

The meatless fare at this restaurant is better than average though not spectacular. There were no outstanding choices but I was happy with what was available for vegetarians considering the restaurant style.

3rd of July Fireworks

3rd of July Fireworks

Date of visit: 03-JUL-13
My rating: 8/10 | I will return
Website: Trail’s End Restaurant

Disney: Tutto Gusto

Tutto Gusto exterior

Tutto Gusto exterior

Tutto Gusto is a wine bar in the Italy pavilion of Epcot. The cozy space offers over 200 different Italian wines and a light menu, much of which is veg-friendly.

Busy at the bar

Busy at the bar

During our visit my companion had the Bufala Mozzarella & Pomodoro Panini. The menu listed it being served with an Arugula Salad, but it was served with a Caesar-style wedge salad instead. No worries; all was tasty. I chose a pasta dish: Pomodoro. The tomato sauce was yummy over the substantial al dente corkscrew pasta. For dessert we fought over four small, delicious sweets.

Bufala Mozzarella & Pomodoro Panini at Tutto Gusto

Bufala Mozzarella & Pomodoro Panini at Tutto Gusto

Pomodoro pasta dish at Tutto Gusto

Pomodoro pasta dish at Tutto Gusto

Dessert at Tutto Gusto

Dessert at Tutto Gusto

Also on the menu are a variety of cheese plates and selection of small plates (like appetizers or tapas) which include mostly vegetarian options.

Tutto Gusto is a welcoming, cozy little spot inside the hustle and bustle of the Italy pavilion. It’s a great place to grab a quick, simple full-service meal.

More dining space at Tutto Gusto

More dining space at Tutto Gusto

Date of visit: 08-MAY-13
My rating: 8/10 | I will return
Website: Tutto Gusto

Blind Faith Cafe in Evanston, Illinois

During a visit to my hometown in Chicagoland earlier this year, I had the pleasure of dining at Blind Faith Cafe in Evanston, Illinois. The vegetarian Cafe has been in the city for over 30 years.

The dinner menu has a great variety of dishes from different kitchens. In our group we tried the Thai Peanut Noodles, Pesto Pasta Primavera (my choice), Kung Pao, and more. My husband and I, the only vegetarians in our group, were joined by my parents and family friends. Everyone enjoyed the food; my dish was delicious.

Kung Pao

Pesto Pasta Primavera

Thai Peanut Noodles

The atmosphere in the restaurant is casual and cozy with a modern decor, and the service our large group received was phenomenal. I can’t wait to go back to Blind Faith Cafe.

Diners

Date of visit: 01-AUG-13
My rating: 9/10 | I will return
Website: Blind Faith Cafe

Disney: Tusker House

The Tusker House exterior fits in with the Harambe Africa theme at Animal Kingdom

The Tusker House exterior fits in with the Harambe Africa theme at Animal Kingdom

Tusker House is a buffet restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It’s located in the Harambe part of the park, and is themed like an African marketplace. The offerings are very vegetarian-friendly.

The breakfast and lunchtime buffets are called “Donald’s Dining Safari” and include interaction with Disney characters. Between check-in and seating, patrons are able to take a photo with “Safari” Donald Duck.

Donald Duck greets patrons as they arrive at Tusker House

Donald Duck greets patrons as they arrive at Tusker House

The buffet offerings for both lunch and dinner are typically the same fare, most of which has an African flavor. Alongside meat dishes, vegetarian mains like couscous, samosas with chutney, and spiced vegetable tofu are available along with a great variety of tasty veg sides. Pasta, rice, plantains and plenty of tasty spiced vegetables make it easy for vegetarians to fill their plates on several trips to the unlimited buffet.

The buffet food is offered in a marketplace-like setting

The buffet food is offered in a marketplace-like setting

Breads at the Tusker House buffet

Breads at the Tusker House buffet

The dessert bar offers traditional American tasty treats like brownies and cobbler plus African-style sweets like baklava and carrot spiced cake.

Dessert treats at Tusker House

Dessert treats at Tusker House

Tusker House is easily one of my favorite Disney dining experiences and visiting during the lunchtime character buffet added to the Disney magic.

Disney characters in safari gear visit tables in the Tusker House dining room

Disney characters in safari gear visit tables in the Tusker House dining room

Date of visit: 25-APR-13
My rating: 10/10 | I will return
Website: Tusker House

Tusker House on Urbanspoon

Mini-Rant: Veg Unfriendly at Les Halles Bakery @ Epcot

The awesome French bakery at Epcot’s France pavilion, Les Halles Boulangerie & Pâtisserie, was recently moved and renovated, and got an updated menu. Many of the delicious pastry favorites are still there and the savory menu was expanded to include more mealtime items. The cheesecake is now off the menu, and while I will miss it (it was oh so yummy!), I have to admit the Europeans don’t make cheesecake like that so it didn’t really belong there.

One of the new digital menu boards at Les Halles

One of the new digital menu boards at Les Halles

Here is my rant. There are two cold sandwiches on the menu: Jambon Beurre (“ham butter” – ham and cheese on a baguette) for $6.25, and Dinde BLT (“turkey BLT”) for $8.50. Those baguettes look delicious, and I would like so much to have a Fromage Beurre sandwich – cheese, hold the ham. I have asked numerous times, both before the renovation and after, if I could have this. Not possible. Why not? It is a bakery. I can see the baguettes on the counters, waiting to be filled. Surely it must not be impossible to make a Jambon Beurre without Jambon for a customer? Nope, not possible. We were advised to purchase a baguette for $1.85 and a cheese plate for $9.25 to make our own cheese sandwich. Nevermind the price, there aren’t any young sandwich-friendly cheeses on the cheese plate. No cheese sandwich at the French bakery really bums me out. What a croque. ;)

Vegetarian Fare at Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival Part 2

The International Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot celebrates its 20th year

The International Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot celebrates its 20th year

This year the International Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot has a new feature: Garden Marketplaces. Throughout World Showcase there are food stands or kiosks, similar to the setup during the park’s International Food and Wine Festival. The Marketplace stands are a great new addition to the festival, now in its 20th year. Each stand offers a few tasty food and drink choices, and there are some great options for vegetarian visitors. The festival, which began on March 6th, runs through May 19th.

There are twelve different Marketplaces located throughout World Showcase. Here are some veg-friendly notes on six of the stands. You can read my first post about the other six stands here: Vegetarian Fare at Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival Part 1.

Fruits by the Glass

Fruits by the Glass is located in World Showcase Plaza, and offers fruity beverages. Everything on the menu here is vegetarian! There is one non-alcoholic beverage offered, Wild Berry Slush, while others feature local Florida fruits.

Fruits by the Glass offers fruity beverages

Fruits by the Glass offers fruity beverages

Hanami

Hanami is the name of the kiosk by the Japan Pavilion. There are four food items available, and if you are a pescatarian then you might try all four. Frushi is a sweet fruit dish; Chirashi Hanazushi combines grilled salmon, shrimp, and crab along with rice and sauce. YakiSoba Pan is a medley of vegetables served with a bun and sauce; the sweet Green Tea Flan rounds out the very veg/pesc-friendly menu.

The Hanami kiosk is located in Japan

The Hanami kiosk is located in Japan

L’Orangerie

L’Orangerie offers unique French fare in the France Pavilion area. Two items are vegetarian. The Tarte à la ratatouille et fromage de chèvre is a vegetable ratatouille tart served with goat cheese. The sweet Verrine Charlotte au Pèches, caramelized peaches with rosemary and cream, is also veg-friendly.

French fare is offered at L'Orangerie

French fare is offered at L’Orangerie

Taste of Marrakesh

The Taste of Marrakesh offers Moroccan fare in that country’s pavilion area. One sweet item, Baghrir, is veg-friendly. The dish is a Moroccan pancake served with honey, almonds, and oil.

Moroccan fare is cooked up at Taste of Marrakesh

Moroccan fare is cooked up at Taste of Marrakesh

The Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews

The Smokehouse is located in the American Pavilion area and doesn’t offer anything on the menu for vegetarians (other than beverages). The theming is “barbecue & brews,” so the lack of veg-friendly fare here isn’t too surprising.

The Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews

The Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews

Jardin de Fiestas

The Jardin de Fiestas is located in the area of the Mexico Pavilion. A dessert treat, Flan de Guayaba, is vegetarian. There is also a savory item that may be of interest to pescatarians: the Tostada de Jaiba is a crab tostada served with Chipotle mayonnaise and Valentina salsa.

Tasty Mexican treats are available at Jardin de Fiestas

Tasty Mexican treats are available at Jardin de Fiestas

Have you attended this long-running festival? What did you think of the new food kiosks?

Disney: Sunshine Seasons

Sunshine Seasons is a quick-service food court-style restaurant located inside The Land pavilion in Epcot’s Future World.

Fresh sustainable fish is usually on the menu, and I have had that quite a few times. Served with fresh veggies, this is a reliable, tasty, and filling pescatarian quick service meal at Epcot. Besides a vegetable flat bread sandwich, they also offer a vegetarian Asian meal: Orange Sesame Glazed Vegan Chick’n Chunks with Stir Fry Noodles [$7.59]. My companion tried this on a recent visit; I had the Cesar Salad minus the Oak-fired Chicken along with a cup of the day’s vegetable soup.

Cesar Salad without Oak-fired Chicken, Sunshine Seasons restaurant at Epcot

Cesar Salad without Oak-fired Chicken, Sunshine Seasons restaurant at Epcot

Vegetable soup of the day with cracker, Sunshine Seasons restaurant at Epcot

Vegetable soup of the day with cracker, Sunshine Seasons restaurant at Epcot

I’m glad the quick service restaurants are flexible enough to offer the chicken salads meat-free for vegetarian diners. The Cesar Salad at Sunshine Seasons was tasty but no different than other salads I’ve had from other Disney vendors. My companion enjoyed the Stir Fry; I had a taste and thought the meat substitute had a very good consistency and taste.

Orange Sesame Glazed Vegan Chick'n Chunks, Sunshine Seasons restaurant at Epcot

Orange Sesame Glazed Vegan Chick’n Chunks, Sunshine Seasons restaurant at Epcot

The atmosphere at Sunshine Seasons typically gives a chaotic first impression. The pavilion houses one of the park’s most popular attractions (Soarin’) so the building is always bustling. Despite the crowds, even during the lunch rush we have never had a problem finding a table. I already considered Sunshine Seasons a good, reliable dining option. With the yummy Asian vegetarian stir-fry, I like it even more.

Date of visit: 22-MAR-13
My rating: 8/10 | I will return
Website: Sunshine Seasons

Sunshine Seasons on Urbanspoon

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T-Fal Cookware Set

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Vegetarian Fare at Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival Part 1

The International Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot celebrates its 20th year

The International Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot celebrates its 20th year

This year the International Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot has a new feature: Garden Marketplaces. Throughout World Showcase there are food stands or kiosks, similar to the setup during the park’s International Food and Wine Festival. The Marketplace stands are a great new addition to the festival, now in its 20th year. Each stand offers a few tasty food and drink choices, and there are some great options for vegetarian visitors. The festival runs through May 19th.

There are twelve different Marketplaces located throughout World Showcase. Here are some veg-friendly notes on six of the stands.

Primavera Kitchen

Primavera Kitchen, in Italy, offers two vegetarian bites. Panna Cotta al Limoncello sounds delicious: Limoncello flavored Panna Cotta with wild berries. I’m saving that one for next time! I did try the Lasagna Primavera, a small sampling of spinach lasagna. Unfortunately my order was not cooked properly and my lasagna pasta was tough and dry. On the second try the pasta was tender and moist but the lasagna overall was unimpressive and rather tasteless. At $6 this offering, an undersized portion, was overpriced. My advice: skip it.

Lasagna Primavera at Primavera Kitchen Marketplace

Lasagna Primavera at Primavera Kitchen Marketplace

Primavera Kitchen has a third offering that may be interesting for pescatarian readers: Asparagi con Aragosta all’Ortolana (Asparagus with lobster and cocktail sauce).

Bauernmarkt: Farmer’s Market

The Bauernmarkt, in the Germany Pavilion, offers one vegetarian menu item: Potato Pancake. This little snack is served with house-made applesauce. It was soooo tasty! I ate it up so fast I forgot to take a picture of it. The stand is nicely themed:

Bauernmarkt Marketplace at the International Flower & Garden Festival

Bauernmarkt Marketplace at the International Flower & Garden Festival

Lotus House

Lotus House is located in the area of the China Pavilion and features two vegetarian food options. I tried the Pan-fried Vegetable Bun, which is a large doughy dry dumpling filled with minced vegetables and served with savory sauce. This was quite tasty! The other vegetarian offering is a sweet dish: Beijing-style Candied Strawberries.

Pan-fried Vegetable Bun at Lotus House Marketplace

Pan-fried Vegetable Bun at Lotus House Marketplace

Pineapple Promenade

Pineapple Promenade offers sweets for pineapple lovers. Dole Whip soft serves (non-alcoholic or with rum) are enticing, especially on a hot afternoon. I tried the Pineapple Upside Down Cake. This was a tasty little treat.

Pineapple Promenade treats: Dole Whip & Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple Promenade treats: Dole Whip & Pineapple Upside Down Cake

The Cottage: Savories, Trifles and Teas

This Marketplace in the UK Pavilion offers two savory vegetarian items on the menu: Baked Goat’s Brie with Kumquat Chutney and Waterkist Farms Heirloom Tomatoes with House-made Mozzarella, Minus 8 Vinegar and Basil. These sound really tasty — I’ve saved them for a future visit.

The Cottage: Savories, Trifles and Teas

The Cottage: Savories, Trifles and Teas

Florida Fresh

The Florida Fresh Marketplace at the International Flower and Garden Festival

The Florida Fresh Marketplace at the International Flower and Garden Festival

The Florida Fresh Marketplace showcases local Florida fare. Watermelon Salad and Angel Food Cake with macerated Florida Berries are the two vegetarian tastes available at this stand.

Have you attended this long-running festival? What dishes did you try?