Hanamizuki

The cool thing about starting a new job in a new neighborhood is that you get to explore and learn where all the good places to eat are. Whether you’re eating by yourself, with friends or with coworkers, there are always new places to discover. I recently discovered Hanamizuki, which sells Japanese rice balls. It’s right smack in the middle of wholesale clothing and jewelry stores so it’s easy to miss if you’re not looking!

They do an Omusbi Plate combo for $9.50 and you get your choice of 2 rice balls and miso soup combined with their appetizer of the day and Japanese pickles. There are 8 rice ball choices and 4 miso soup choices – all of them sound super delicious!

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I went with the Hawaiian, which had spam, dried tomato, chili and nori – seaweed, and the Sweet Potato, which had Japanese sweet potato, hijiki-seaweed, deep fried tofu and black sesame. For my miso soup, I went with the Gnocchi, which had tofu-gnocchi, arugula, black peppers and extra-virgin olive oil.

I really liked the miso soup – the gnocchi was very moist and chewy. The arugula was also made the soup very fresh and light. The rice balls were a bit on the small side but they’re pretty filling once you get through eating both of them! I thought the Hawaiian wasn’t as good as some other spam musubis I’ve had but it was pretty tasty. I really liked the Sweet Potato rice ball because it was sweet and salty at the same time.

The workers were very friendly and I hear the desserts are coming in soon so that’s definitely something to look forward to. They also serve Columbe coffee!

Disney Roundup: Rainforest Cafe

For my last Disney Roundup, I present our last dinner at Disney: The Rainforest Cafe. The food was pretty good but it was the atmosphere that really got me. For those of you not familiar with the Rainforest Cafe, it’s literally themed on the inside to look like a rainforest. Every 20 minutes there is a rainforest “thunderstorm” and every 10-15 minutes the animals come to life. A lot of people think the noises are too loud but I quite liked it – it’s a different experience than your usual restaurant!

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If you’re on the meal plan, anything in the entree section is up for grabs so I went with their Taste of the Islands, which features blackened tilapia with mango salsa, shrimp and scallops in a creamy garlic and chili sauce, and coconut shrimp on a stick. It also comes with a side of your choice so I chose mashed potatoes. The portion size was literally more than I could finish! Everything had a bit of a kick in spice so beware! I also had bits of my sister and mom’s steak, which I thought was great. A lot better than our experience at Planet Hollywood, which I do not recommend.

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For my dessert, I had Maya’s Mango Sorbet, which is served with fresh cubed mango, raspberry sauce and a chocolate filled wafer. As with the other Disney restaurants, the dessert portion size was huge! They give you two huge scoops of mango sorbet and in my opinion, it’s definitely more than enough for two to share – let alone just me! The sorbet was refreshing and just right for a hot, humid Florida night.

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There are so many options on the Disney Dining Plan that it’s not possible to try them all on one visit. But I am already planning where I want to go next time! It’s definitely a trial and error system where some restaurants are amazing while others are a miss. I can’t wait to try them all!

Disney Roundup: Raglan Road + Wolfgang Puck

Since we ended up with 7 nights of table-service credits, I picked a combination of new and old restaurants. We revisited Yak & Yeti in Animal Kingdom and Tony’s Town Square Restaurant in Magic Kingdom because we really liked our experiences there last time. We ate at five new restaurants during our stay but I want to highlight Raglan Road, Wolfgang Puck and Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney.

Raglan Road is an Irish themed restaurant located in Pleasure Island in Downtown Disney. There’s live performances during dinner – usually Irish tap dancers. They perform both on the main stage and in the side dining areas, where we were seated. There were a lot of yummy options on the menu but I opted for their special of the day – Baked Cod in a creamy sauce on top of mashed potatoes. I’m a sucker for mashed potatoes and any kind of cream sauce so this was heaven for me. The cod was tender and cooked just right. The sauce wasn’t overpowering at all and paired very nicely with the mashed potatoes.

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For dessert, I had the Key Lime Pie, which was huge! The key lime was just tart enough without being overly sour and the crust was nice and crunchy. This feels more like a two person dessert to share – especially if you’ve eaten a huge entree beforehand.

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Wolfgang Puck is located in the West Side of Downtown Disney. Since we stayed at Port Orleans, who have a River Ferry to the West Side, we didn’t have to walk far at all. I only wish that it didn’t rain so much, which causes the ferry to close! I liked Wolfgang Puck because it had a lot of different dishes on the menu – you could get pasta, pizza, sushi and a variety of entrees. I went with the Pesto Rotisserie Chicken with mashed potatoes and an arugula salad. The portion size was huge! The chicken was tender and not dry at all. The pesto sauce was strong and tasted really good mixed with the mashed potatoes. This dish is definitely worth your money.

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My mom and sister both went with their Salmon with polenta, which I thought was amazing. The salmon was cooked perfectly and wasn’t dry at all. The polenta gave the dish more flavor and the fresh veggies really made the dish pop.

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Both meals were beyond my expectations. Even though Downtown Disney isn’t technically a theme park, it is affiliated with one so I wasn’t expecting too much from either restaurant. Especially since the night before our visit to Wolfgang Puck, we had a pretty disastrous dinner at Planet Hollywood. But all in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner at Raglan and Wolfgang Puck and will definitely put them on my Disney must-go list for our next visit.