Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Kouzzina by Cat Cora Review

Update: Kouzzina is now officially closed.

I must admit that I had some pretty high expectations when selecting Cat Cora's Kouzzina as the place to celebrate the completion of my high school career. Nestled into the quaint and picturesque Disney's BoardWalk area, I found about the restaurant from the rave reviews written by Alexis and Sarah from the blogs Gluten Free in Orlando and Gluten Free and Dairy Free in Walt Disney World respectively. The number one reason that had me sold on Kouzzina? Allergy free Mickey waffles. That's right- the iconic way to start the day in the most magical place on Earth is an experience that can be shared for those of us dealing with dietary limitations. With high hopes and in eager anticipation, I made my reservation after my last exam and anxiously awaited my breakfast of champions.

When the magical morning arrived, my family literally rolled out of bed and hit the road. Since we were all exhausted from a busy week, we all relished the prospect of getting to enjoy having an elaborate breakfast prepared for us. Upon arriving and making our way through the adorable turn of the century themed BoardWalk Inn, we arrived at Kouzzina with our appetites at their peak. Upon checking in, I noticed the wait staff stamp a receipt holding our reservation information with the words "Special Diets" in bright red ink. This immediately put me at ease knowing I didn't have to do the gluten and dairy free song and dance to get accommodations. When our waitress introduced herself, she told me that she already had notified the chef who would be joining us shortly to discus my options.

As I looked over the menu, I did not see Mickey waffles listed, but knew that they were probably a "gluten-free perk" exclusive to those of us lucky enough to have dietary restrictions. One item on the menu popped out at me, the scrambled eggs with tomato, spinach, and feta, so I figured I'd ask if it could be adapted alongside the waffles. A short time later, Chef Brad came out to talk with me and was warm and welcoming. Right away, I asked about the Mickey waffles and he smiled and assured me they would be possible. I know from Sarah's blog that the allergy free waffles are made with either Bob's Red Mill mix or Namaste's mix, but in my excitement I forgot to ask which one my waffles would be made from. I also asked if I could have the scrambled egg dish sans feta alongside my waffles and he also confirmed this was possible. Although I'm used to talking to chefs to determine what is safe for me to eat, this time was different; I felt like a guest during the "Be Our Guest" number in Beauty and the Beast and wished every restaurant experience could be so easy and accommodating. Now with my order set, I took in the warm open dining area. Bordered by a large open kitchen, it was fun to see the chefs in action while waiting for the food to arrive.



When the food arrived, I couldn't help but get really excited when I finally laid eyes upon the famous mouse himself in waffle form. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning because I have not been able to have waffles or breakfast in a restaurant since going gluten and dairy free two and a half years ago. Waffles were always a special treat in our family- reserved to road trips and hotel stays- and it was such a treat to try them once again. After profusely thanking Chef Brad and taking my obligatory pictures for the blog, I dug in, choosing to sample Mickey's ear for my first bite. As I hoped, the waffles were incredible. Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, these were textbook examples of the perfect waffle. I loved their whole-grain taste which wasn't too sweet and didn't need syrup at all (then again, I am not a syrup fan in the first place). I couldn't wipe the grin from my face and before I knew it I was down to two glorious waffles left. My mom suggested that they would save well and I could have them the next day, so in the interest in preserving the remaining waffles I swung my attention over to the scrambled eggs.



Waiting patiently on the sidelines, the scrambled eggs were beautifully complimented by the splash of color from the spinach and tomatoes folded into them. As someone who has shied away from eggs for breakfast over the years, I was a little hesitant, but these looked and smelled amazing. Once tasting my first bite, all hesitations melted away as I fell head over heals for the perfectly cooked eggs and super simple but effective pairing of the tomatoes and spinach. The eggs are cooked in Greek extra virgin olive oil which gives them a heart-healthy boost and rich taste and renders them gluten and dairy free friendly. All to soon, I found that my portion had dwindled as I polished off the serving. Though I was happy and satisfied for the portion, the remaining two Mickey's smiling up at me proved to be very tempting- too much so to bear so I went in for round two relishing each bite of the crispy and soft waffles.



The best and worst part about eating breakfast at Kouzzina is that one's satisfaction and happiness is always balanced against the melancholy of realizing you're down to one last allergy-free Mickey waffle. The struggle to save or savor is hard, but alas, I chose to leave it all at the restaurant and promptly made my waffle last as long as possible by taking small bites. All to soon, the waffle was gone and I was already calculating my next trip back. Unfortunately, the window on Kouzzina's Mickey waffle serving time is limited as Disney announced they will be closing on September 30 of this year and will not reopen. It is another blow to the allergy-free community coming after the closure of Babycakes NYC's bakery in Downtown Disney. The good news for fans of the two is that these wonderful waffles can be found at other breakfast locations around the parks and resorts and Babycake NYC's treats can be found at various locations around the parks and resorts (hopefully, they'll come back to the Disney Springs area when renovations are complete). 



One last note, I want to give a huge shout-out and thank you to Chef Brad who made the experience heads and tails above anything I was expecting. His warmth and hospitality really made my breakfast special knowing I was in good hands and would eat well. He checked back on me often to make sure the meal was to my liking and even brought an Enjoy Life gluten-free ricemilk crunch bar for a special treat to enjoy later. Let me tell you that a simple gesture like this is the reason why Disney has earned it's reputation for great service for special diets and a reason why I will make a point of coming back to Kouzzina before it closes its doors. 


The Basics

Address: 2101 Epcot Resorts Boulevard, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Website: Disney's page for the restaurant
Cuisine: Mediterranean inspired twist on breakfast fare (Greek food featured for dinner)
Ideal For: Breakfast, Dinner
Price: Entrees run $15 and below
Accessibility: The restaurant was very accessible.
Special Features: See their full menu here and make reservations here (highly reccommended for special diets). 

Disclaimer: These reviews are based upon the information I have at the time of the review and do not reflect changes in ingredients or availability of items. Please contact the food truck directly for up-to-date information and feel free to to contact me with any questions or comments. I was not compensated for this review and it is a reflection of my personal opinion.

0 comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by! I cannot wait to hear what you have to say. Please note that comments may take up to 24 hours to appear on the page because I do vet them to ensure spam comments are not posted.