Full Review: The Polite Pig at Disney Springs

We live somewhat locally to the Walt Disney World resort area (well, locally enough that we can drive).  I believe I’ve said this before, but on our final day we like to visit Disney Springs to do any last minute shopping, grab lunch, go for a walk, and buy some Sprinkles Cupcakes to home (thus preserving some of our vacation for longer).  We were recently in Orlando for MegaCon, which will be featured in an upcoming post, and made our way over to Disney for a few days as well.  On our way out, we stopped at The Polite Pig for lunch, which is a “modern BBQ outpost with Florida cuisine and an array of libations on tap,” according to disneyworld.disney.go.com.

It is actually a quick service BBQ restaurant that has a full bar (indoor and outdoor), with indoor and outdoor seating.  You place your order at the counter, they give you a pager, you go find a seat and they bring you your food at the table.  While we were there they also came around with samples of blondies and oatmeal cookies which were pretty great, although not great enough to make us actually purchase one.

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Menu behind the counter at the Polite Pig – it was actually this hard to see in real-life, but there were paper menus available for the visually challenged
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Sauce bar at the Polite Pig

Because it was lunchtime, we decided to split a few things instead of ordering our own individual meals.  The menu isn’t too extensive, but has some great options on it.  We ordered the pork shoulder ($14), the mac and cheese ($6), and the hop salt pretzel ($10).  I found the menu to be pricy as the sides are à la carte, but since we were splitting all of this it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, and trust me this was plenty of food.  We also didn’t have any alcoholic beverages on this trip (again, lunch, and we needed to drive home), which kept the cost down.

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Pork shoulder, pretzels, beer cheese fondue (top left), IPA mustard (hard to see in the middle).
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Better view of the beer cheese fondue and IPA mustard, plus some of the sauces from the sauce bar.  I’m not positive what these were, I found them un-remarkable.
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Better view of the mac and cheese and one of the pretzels.

The Polite Pig actually doesn’t get great reviews on Yelp, although I think most of it is due to the food cost issue.  We actually really enjoyed everything we had, particularly the pork shoulder.  The Polite Pig has a “BBQ sauce” bar (… actually, its just dispensers, like ketchup/mustard dispensers, and paper cups), which has a variety of options you can see on the menu, but we found that the pork shoulder really didn’t need any sauces to make it enjoyable, it was actually very flavorful on its own.  We did dip the pretzel in each one of the sauces, and while good, they were nothing to write home about.  The pretzel itself comes with beer cheese fondue (a HUGE AMOUNT OF IT) and IPA mustard, both of which were incredibly tasty – so much so that I usually couldn’t decide which to dip my pretzel into.  Finally, the mac and cheese was REALLY GOOD GUYS.  Sometimes mac and cheese can be kinda flavorless, but I really enjoyed it.

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A very tilted picture of the Polite Pig interior.
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Outdoor bar seating at the Polite Pig

Lets talk about seating.  There is indoor and outdoor seating, and its a pretty big place, we didn’t have to wait long to find a table.  They seemed right on top of cleaning off the tables as soon as one party was done, so even though we had a minute of “table-hovering,” we still sat down at a clean table.  There is also a lot of bar seating available, or I suppose you could get your food to-go and sit somewhere outside at Disney Springs.  The only thing I’ll mention about this is the day we were there was really hot (around 95 degrees), and while there were still people sitting in the “patio” area as it was partially shaded, I don’t think this would be the best place to sit in the middle of August, which would cut out some of the seating options.

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Taps at the bar
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Taps behind the counter where you order food

I’ll also say that while we didn’t partake, the bar options certainly looked intriguing.  I don’t really like bourbon, but there is a bourbon bar with options ranging from $9 to $99.  I suppose if I liked bourbon this would entertain me more.  There are also a variety of beers (I really like Florida Cracker from Cigar City, you should give it a try if you can find it in your area or if you happen to go somewhere that has it), and cocktails on tap.  Again, you can see all of these options on their menu.

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Polite Pig Merchandise!

So Drinking Ever After, what are your thoughts on the The Polite Pig in Disney Springs?

Well, I liked the Polite Pig. I thought it was a good option for lunch and we definitely got plenty of food, despite not ordering our own meals. We actually brought one of the pretzels home because it was too much (and BBQ is really heavy). I do think its pretty expensive given that you need to order the sides separately, but I would go back, possibly sit at the bar, and try some of the beers or cocktails.

And yeah, on a slightly unrelated note, if you can find Cigar City beers anywhere, definitely give them a try.

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Full Review: Sprinkles Cupcakes at Disney Springs

Sprinkles Cupcakes is a California-based cupcake bakery chain that sells hands-down the best cupcake I have ever had in my life.  And there is one in Disney Springs.  And I’ve asked everyone I know to vote for a South Florida location.  Or possibly Boston, so we can have Sprinkles Cupcakes at our upcoming wedding.

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Look at all the cupcakes!

One can only hope.

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Sprinkles, if you’re listening, South Florida or Boston would be great.

Something about their frosting is ridiculous.  And the cake.  I think I’m drooling.

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Frosting cupcakes at Sprinkles

Sprinkles has a rotating menu of cupcake flavors depending on day of the week and season.  I recommend the flagship flavor, the quintessential, the one and only Sprinkles Cupcake.  And actually all of the other flavors too.  Just go and get cupcakes.  So far we have sampled, the Sprinkles Cupcake, the carrot cake cupcake, the salty caramel cupcake, the black and white cupcake, the peppermint chocolate cupcake (during Christmas), and the vanilla cupcake, and probably others.  I’m not even sure.  They’re all amazing.

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Sprinkles Cupcake

In order of amazingness, here are my rankings:

  1.  Sprinkles Cupcake
  2.  Carrot Cake Cupcake (this is the only time I have ever rated something with carrot cake second)
  3.  Salty Caramel Cupcake
  4.  Peppermint Chocolate Cupcake
  5.  Black and White Cupcake
  6.  Vanilla Cupcake

But really they’re all pretty much tied.  The cupcakes come in 2 sizes, large and these adorable mini cupcakes, so you can try 2 flavors.  Or three.  Or four.

 

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Mini Sprinkles Cupcake, look at how cute it is!

In addition to cupcakes, Sprinkles also sells cupcake sandwiches (a scoop of ice cream between two halves of a cupcake or two cookies), shakes and floats, sundaes, cookies, and ice cream.

And frosting shots.  Yes, that is just a cup of frosting for $1.50.

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Sprinkles Menu

We have gotten one of the cookies and some ice cream, and admittedly they were somewhat unmemorable next to the cupcakes.

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Salted caramel cupcake, vanilla cupcake, peanut butter cup ice cream

So Drinking Ever After, what are your thoughts on Sprinkles Cupcakes at Disney Springs?

GO. TO. SPRINKLES.

What we like to do is arrive at Disney.  Go to Disney Springs.  Get some drinks and a snack at Hangar Bar.  Get two mini cupcakes at Sprinkles.  Then head to Epcot.

On the day we leave we get two cupcakes in a to-go box (which they will happily do, and give you an instruction sheet for how best to care for your cupcakes), and save them for dessert the next day when we’re sad we’re not at Disney.  Its awesome.

 

 

Disney Tips and Tricks: Footwear Edition

You might think this is a weird topic for a post.  Trust me.  It isn’t.  I have actually put a considerable amount of thought into my footwear choice at Disney.  The reason is that Disney is big.  You’re going to walk A LOT.

The Walt Disney World Resort area is made up of 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, 1 shopping area, and over 25 hotels.  According to the internet search I just did, thats over 40 square miles of Disney fun times.  Or, Disney fun roughly the size of San Francisco.

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Map of the Walt Disney World Resort area.  Its big.  Map courtesy https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/maps/

The 4 theme parks are Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom.    With a variety of ticket options, and enough time, you can manage to visit all 4 parks in a single trip.  Ticket options range from 1 day passes to 10 day passes, and you can get admission to 1 park per day, or a “park hopper” that allows you entry to multiple parks per day.  Admission to water parks is separate.

The parks themselves are big, with Magic Kingdom being the smallest park and Animal Kingdom being the largest.  Different sources quote different numbers, but I went with the sizes listed on themeparktourist.com.

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Approximate park sizes.  Sizes are courtesy http://www.themeparktourist.com/features/20140401/17257/numbers-comparison-disneys-theme-parks

What that also means is that you’re going to do a lot of walking trying to see everything.

We live in Florida and have had annual passes for a few years now (I know you’re jealous).  I’ve put more thought into what goes on my feet than is probably normal, but we walk a TON when we’re at Disney.  The max we’ve walked in a day was during Star Wars Weekends, and we (somehow) walked 13 miles around Hollywood Studios.  Thats a half marathon of walking, just to give you an indication.  On our last trip, our average daily distance was about 8 miles per day, some days being more and some less.

Getting straight to the point, you’re going to walk more than you think.  Thus, your footwear choice is something that you should put at least a little thought into.

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With the right footwear, you could be as happy as Leonardo DiCaprio.

In 5 years of Disney trips, I have yet to find an option that has left me pain free by the end of the trip, and that I didn’t find hideously ugly.  What I have found to work tremendously is a combination of Reef flip flops, Cobian flip flops, and Asics slip-ons, and swapping them out daily.  Yes, that means I have walked upwards of 8 to 10 miles in flip flops.  Yes, my feet were fine afterwards.  I actually prefer them.  These all get between a 4.5 and 5 rating (out of 5).

Here are some others I have tried (with ratings), hopefully this will help guide your search for the perfect footwear:

Sanuk yoga mat flip flops (4/5):  Actually not bad, but for some reason soap would come out of them when they got wet and that annoyed me.

Chaco Flip EcoTread (0/5):  People swear by Chacos but these were possibly the most uncomfortable shoes I have ever owned.

Merrell Sandals (3/5):  Good for walking but not cushion-ey enough to stand on my feet all day.  The sandals I own aren’t available anymore.

Minnetonka Moccasins (4/5):  These were actually pretty good, but I could only wear them 1/2 a day.

Sperry Canvas Sneakers (2/5 at Disney, 4/5 for casual wear):  I actually love these shoes and wear them all the time, but walking long distances is ridiculously painful in them, so I do not recommend them for Disney.

Seriously though, cycling through Reef flip flops, Cobian flip flops, and Asics slip-ons has really been the most pain-free trip I’ve had.

Also, what really works is stretching while I wait in line.  Seriously.  You’ll look weird.  EMBRACE IT.

So Drinking Ever After, what are your thoughts footwear at Disney?

Before you leave for your vacation, put some thought into your shoes.  Are you bringing shoes you wear every day?  How far have you walked in them?  Are they broken in?  THEY HAD BETTER BE BROKEN IN.

Trust me.  Its better to think about this before you leave then to realize, 3 days into your 7 day vacation, that your feet are killing you and you have blisters.

And really, stretching while your waiting in line is a good idea.

Full Review: D-Luxe Burger at Disney Springs

On the final day of our trip we like to head to Disney Springs, go for a walk, do any last minute shopping, and have lunch before we head home.  With all the new shopping and restaurants at Disney Springs to try, its been a great new last day tradition.

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D-Luxe Burger at Disney Springs

We tried D-Luxe Burger on our most recent trip, doesn’t it look quaint?  D-Luxe Burger is quick service, you order at a cashier and they give you a pager and you pick up your food, in a bag, around the corner and take it to your table (there is plenty of seating).

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As you walk in to D-Luxe Burger

D-Luxe Burger sells, obviously, burgers and fries, and they do it really well considering its their namesake.  I have to say, we were pleasantly surprised by both the quality and quantity of food we got.  It was a bit pricey for burgers and fries, but the food was really great overall.

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Barbecue Classic Burger at D-Luxe Burger

We got 2 burgers and a large order of fries.  Pictured above is the Barbecue Classic Burger (Signature Blend topped with a Fried Onion Ring, Smoked Gouda, Bacon, Barbecue Sauce, and Lettuce, $11.99), and below is the Cluck Burger (Ground Chicken Patty, Garlic Herb Sauce, Avocado, Lettuce, and Tomato, $10.99).

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Cluck Burger at D-Luxe Burger
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Close-up of Cluck Burger at D-Luxe Burger

One of my favorite parts about D-Luxe Burger are the dipping sauces you can try.  Yes, you can get them all, or just a couple, whatever you’d like!  It was fun to try them all and dip the fries into them.  Sauce options include three mustard and honey, garlic ranch, curry ketchup, chipotle mayo, horseradish, and buffalo blue cheese.  There is also your standard mustard and ketchup available.

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From the top left:  three mustard and honey, garlic ranch, horseradish, chipotle mayo, regular ketchup, yellow mustard.
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Large order of fries at D-Luxe Burger

The fries (above) really stood out.  They’re hand cut, hot and salty and perfect.  The only thing that bothered me is that the large is… pretty small.  While we definitely had enough food the cost/size ratio was a bit off.

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Beverage station at D-Luxe Burger

D-Luxe Burger has a really great looking selection of Gelato Shakes and Floats. We did not partake as there was already way too much food, and we got fountain drinks instead, but I’d really love to try one of them at some point. Some of them sound really interesting, like the Smoked Bourbon Gelato Shake, or the Vanilla Porter Gelato Shake, or the Godiva Chocolate and Strawberry Malt Gelato Shake.

I have to say, I also really love the decor of D-Luxe Burger.  Its designed to look like an “old Florida” farmhouse, and its just really cute.  There is ample seating, even outdoor seating, and its really quite nice and comfortable.  They also give you plenty of napkins to go with your gigantic, messy, burger, as you can see above.

The only thing you might need to watch out for is that D-Luxe Burger does not have its own bathroom.  You have to leave the restaurant to go outside to the public Disney Springs bathrooms.  Its not a big deal, but I did wander around for a few minutes before I figured it out.

So Drinking Ever After, what are your thoughts on D-Luxe Burger at Disney Springs?

I really recommend it if you’re looking for burgers and fries.  You might want to split a burger, large fry, and gelato shake with someone (if you can possibly agree what to get) as we did get a ton of food.  Definitely, DEFINITELY get the dipping sauces.  Experiment with adding them to your burger, fries, and different combinations.  Its great!

Disney Full Review: Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar at Disney Springs

Jock Lindsey’s Hanger Bar is our absolute favorite place to grab a drink at Disney Springs.  Our new-ish, since Hanger Bar is somewhat new, first day tradition is to head to Disney Springs, get a drink (or two…) and a snack at Hangar Bar, and then go to Epcot for Illuminations.   We usually try to go at least twice when we’re there.

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Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar at Disney Springs

Boasting a creative drink menu, light snacks, and an amazing atmosphere, particularly if you like Indiana Jones, it is a spot I dont recommend missing.  The interior is a 1940’s airplane hangar, and as the story goes, it was built by Jock Lindsay (you may remember him from Raiders of the Lost Ark) and became a popular watering hole for travelers.  The exterior overlooks the lake, and if you’re lucky you might see an amphicar launch from The Boathouse next door.  Overall, its a great spot to sit and chill.  All seating is first come first serve, and we typically did not find it busy, but we usually go at off peak times.

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Hangar Bar interior (left), and exterior (right).  There are plenty of cool details to look at inside and outside, be sure to check them out!

We have sampled quite a few of the drinks on the menu.  Here they are with my rating (out of 5), and a comment.  I’ve combined some pictures to save a little space.

Bedtime Story  – Absolut Mandrin Vodka, Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur, Hibiscus Syrup, fresh Lemon Juice, and Iced Tea.  My Rating:  3.5/5.  This is a perfectly acceptable drink, its not very sweet and its pretty refreshing.  However, I don’t think its anything particularly amazing to write home about. I will say that my fiancé likes this drink more than me and rates it a 4/5.  The standout is the candied hibiscus flower on top.  Its edible, and amazing.  I’ve contemplated asking for a few of them in a to-go box to snack on.  But decided that would be weird.  Maybe not, I’m undecided.

Safari Sangria – South African Red Wine with Van Der Rum Tangerine Liqueur.  My Rating:  3/5.  I wasn’t a huge fan of this, I thought the tangerine liqueur would give it a little something extra but it just tasted like red wine to me.  That might be how you like your sangria though.

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Hangar Bar Bedtime Story and Safari Sangria. You can also see the custom coasters from bars and clubs in the Indiana Jones universe.

Bam’s Barnstormer – Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, Fever-Tree Ginger Beer, and fresh Lime Juice.  My Rating:  3.5/5.  This is really just a Dark and Stormy, but this doesn’t disappoint. The bartenders at Hangar Bar can mix a mean drink, even the “classics.” However, there are more exciting drinks on the menu.  This one is not pictured.

Air Pirate’s Mule – Knob Creek Disney Select Single Barrel Reserve Bourbon and fresh Lime Juice topped with Fever-Tree Ginger Beer.  My fiancé’s rating, because honestly I hate bourbon:  3.5/5.  His comment is “it was good, if you like bourbon.”  So, there you go.

Reggie’s Revenge – Florida Cane ‘Orlando Orange’ Vodka, Midori Melon Liqueur, White Cranberry Juice, and fresh Lime Juice.  My Rating: 4.5/5.  This was my favorite drink, until I had the Cool Headed Monkey.  Generally I really like drinks that are green for some reason, but this one is very refreshing, and a little tangy from the cranberry and lime juice.  This is one of the more popular drinks on the menu, I recommend giving it a try!

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Hangar Bar Air Pilots Mule (on the left), and Reggie’s Revenge (on the right).  You can buy the cup for Reggie’s Revenge if you’d like a souvenir (and its glass as opposed to plastic, as so many souvenir cups tend to be).

Cool Headed Monkey – Starr African Rum, Van Der Hum Tangerine Liqueur, fresh Lime Juice, Watermelon, and Pineapple Juice.  My Rating: 4.75/5.  I was nervous about this because there are so many flavors going on, but I have to say this is my favorite out of all the drinks I’ve tried.  Its sweet, kind of like fruit punch (well, I guess its rum punch), but awesome.  And dangerous, I couldn’t taste the alcohol in this.

Aviator’s Flight – ¾-oz pour of each Single Malt Scotch Whisky – The Macallan 12 yr Speyside, Highland Park 12 yr Orkney Islands, and Bowmore 12 yr Islay.  I’m not going to rate this because its just 3 3/4 oz pours, which is pretty hard to mess up.  The way that its presented is pretty cool, you get the drinks on a wooden propeller.

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The Cool Headed Monkey and Aviator’s Flight.  That’s me taking a picture of my drink in the background.  You can buy the Cool Headed Monkey cup as well.
And now for the food!  We have sampled a bit less of the food, and the menu recently went through an overhaul.  The new one is still good and kept the favorites.  They also have a Holiday Menu which has dishes inspired by the most recent Holiday (Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc.), and a happy hour menu with some food options.  You can see the full menu here.

Air Pirates Pretzels – A flight of Everything Pretzels with spicy German Mustard and Beer Cheese Fondue.  My Rating: 4.75/5.  Pretzels go well with drinking, so I may be biased, but the sauces, particularly the spicy german mustard, really make these amazing.  Its a pretty big portion, and comes with plenty of dipping sauce.  And I love the presentation!  Just wait until they bring it to your table in a more grown up version of the “airplane” game (but don’t worry, they don’t try to feed you).

Rolling Boulders Sliders – Three-Runaway Brisket Meatballs with Tomato-Bacon Jam, House-made Pickles, Shredded Lettuce, and Tomato.  My (snarky) Rating: 3/5.  Okay, I really loved these before the menu overhaul.  They used to have tzatziki on them, and you should know by now how much I love tzatziki.  These are still good, but I miss the other ones.  Really, they probably deserve at least a 4/5, but man do I miss that tzatziki…

Junior’s Fedora Flatbread – A hit at the Jones’ holiday gatherings! Toasted Flatbread layered with Slow-roasted Turkey, Cranberry-Onion Jam, Butternut Squash, crisped Greens, Chèvre, and Candied Pecans finished with a splash of Sage Oil.  My Rating:  2.5/5.  So, I had this during Thanksgiving and it had a different name, it was called “Thanksgiving” something or other.  I think they changed the name and description to a more generic “holiday” theme.  Regardless, this was okay.  There is a lot going on with it, and its really just deli turkey and a bunch of toppings on a flatbread.  I wasn’t that impressed.  Get the pretzels or sliders instead.

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Rolling Boulder Sliders, Fedora Flatbread and Air Pirates Pretzels.

So, Drinking Ever After, what are your thoughts on Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar?

Well, clearly we have visited Jock Lindsay’s Hangar Bar quite a bit.  We think its great!  Definitely check it out when you’re in Disney Springs.  Get a drink, get the pretzels, hang out and enjoy the atmosphere, its worth it!