Sunday, October 23, 2005

Jiko - A Cooking Place

I fear eating in Orlando. As a's run by Disney, and the mouse house is known for food that is family friendly, affordable, overly salty, and just okay. Last year, our big night out was at Emeril's, which was good, but overpriced, a little pretentious, and weirdly so, as it was at Universal CityWalk, so you have people walking around just outside in tank tops with flop sweat, and a margarita around their neck. This year, I decided it would be a good idea to stay on the Disney property for our fancy dinner. We went to Jiko - The Cooking Place at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

First, while waiting, you can watch the giraffes and such grazing just outside the building. That is far more ambiance than watching margarita toting hefty folks. Next, it is supposedly African food. To me, I have no idea what this means. I think it's a more exotic spice regimen than I'm used to, curries, and peanuts, with a bit of flat bread. That's all I could think of.

Here's what was eaten...
We shared 4 starters...
Cucumber, Tomato, and Red Onion Salad with a watermelon vinaigrette

Marinated "Ahi" tuna with heirloom beans, and "Zough" yogurt

Flatbread with goat cheese, bacon, and tomato.

Maize "Tamales" with herbs and goat cheese, wrapped in corn husks

The ahi was excellent, as it was a tartare which when blended w/ the dressing and beans made for a surprisingly good texture and flavor which had spice, and didn't overwhelm the flavor of the fish. I also was a big fan of the cucumber, tomato and onion salad, as it was powered by white pepper, and had a powerful heat to it.

My dinner was seared Jumbo Scallops with "chaka-laka" and mealie "pap". It was excellent. The scallops were well prepared, and the chaka-laka, though silly to say, was quite a tasty tomato ragout. The mealie pap was basically a polenta, but a very nice blend of flavors.

The desert was mind blowing. I had their stone fruit napoleon which involved pomegranate syrup, and fruits soaked in the pomegranate flavors. The napoleon had a cardamon mousse which was exotic, and light.

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