Throwback Thursday: 2017 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Favorites

It’s here! Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival begins today! I love the different festivals at Epcot for various reasons, but Food & Wine will always be a favorite. The park offers food and drink tastings, speciality paring classes, cooking classes and meet and greets with famous Chefs, concerts, and so much more during the festival!

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So…why do I love this festival so much? Have you seen the concert line-up? The Eat To The Beat Concert series offers something for everyone and their taste of music. But, y’all lets be honest….HANSON is a fan favorite that comes to the Festival annually and my inner 13 year old LOVES it! Helihubby not so much.

Since it starts today we figured sharing some of our favorite finds of 2017 would be a fun way to celebrate Throwback Thursday and the kick-off of the 2018 festival! Join us as we eat and drink around the world!

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Epcot is one of three Walt Disney World Parks that guests can walk around the park with an adult beverage in hand. {This might be the main reason it’s the favorite park for us Newly Newlyweds.} Grab a cocktail and make your way eating and drinking around the world, exploring different countries, their rides and little hidden gems! During the Food and Wine Festival, Epcot adds additional countries and speciality spots throughout the park for guests to have even more dining options. What a great opportunity for people to taste samplings of dishes that may night otherwise have a chance to try!

Take a look at our favorite eats and drinks from the 2017 Festival!

Spain– Traditional Spanish Paella served with Shrimp, Mussels, Chicken and Chorizo img_1857.jpeg

France– La Passion Martini Slush a mix of vodka, Grey Goose Le Citron Vodka, Cranberry and Passion Fruit juiceIMG_1927.JPG

The Chocolate Studio– Gluten Free Liquid Nitro Chocolate-Almond Truffle with warm whiskey-caramel and a glass of Justin Cabernet SauvignonIMG_3582.JPG

Earth Eats!– Grilled Beef Skewer with Romaine, Apricots and FetaIMG_3581.JPG

Hops & BarleyHanson Brothers Beer Company Hop Jam Festive Ale and New England Lobster Roll: Warm Lobster with Fresh Herb Mayonnaise and Griddled RollIMG_3599.JPG

Greece– Spanakopita: Greek Spinach Pie {This was super tasty!} IMG_3580.JPG

Morocco– Chocolate Baklava: Rolled Phyllo Dough with Toasted Almonds and Dark Chocolate Sauce {This was my FAVORITE snack of the 2017 Festival and YES they have it again in 2018!} IMG_3598.JPG

Ahhh! Are you hungry now? We are and can not wait to arrive back at Epcot next week! Are you heading to the Festival?

What are you most looking forward to trying this year? It’s not on our Whole30 plan (which we are trying to stick to since we are running the Food & Wine 10k in November) but we will be trying the Belgian Waffle with Warm Chocolate Ganache and Whipped Cream from Belgium, Le Cellier’s Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle-Butter Sauce from Canada and Florida Beer Company Passport Triple Chocolate Milk Stout from Cape Canaveral, FL from Craft Drafts. YUMMM!

Let the countdown to our return to the Happiest (and tastiest) Place On Earth begin!

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See You Real Soon!

We hope you’re enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed moments as much as we are!

Cheers Y’all!

Adam & Holly, but mostly Holly

PS: Remember, we’re newlyweds, not experts! {and Go Stros!}

 

Tuesday Travels: Borgo Argenina

Welcome to Borgo Argenina, a truly magical stone estate in the hills of Chianti. IMG_2414.JPGIMG_2419.JPG

Visiting Borgo Argentina was an experience like no other and my absolute favorite part of our Newly Newlywed Italian Adventure. The 998 AD Peasant Farmer home had been abandoned for years when, now owner, Elena Nappa, discovered the property while on a holiday from Milan. A former fashion designer, Elena quickly fell in love with the estate. She knew in her heart it was a calling for her to restore the hamlet into a stunning seven room Bed & Breakfast and that is exactly what she did. Her story of how she transformed this property without electricity and running water into a fully functioning Bed and Breakfast is really remarkable. IMG_2416.JPG

Adam and I drove from Florence to the Chianti hamlet. Passing thousands of grape vines and olive trees, around curvy bends, narrowingly escaping head on collisions with Italian drivers and through the rolling hills to get to Elena’s. Upon arrival at Borgo Argenina we were greeted by Elena’s four-legged friends, Giuseppina and Pasqualina along with other guests who were sitting on the grand stone patio, enjoying a glass of vino taking in the sunset over Chianti. IMG_2420.JPG

“Welcome! You must be new! Elena is upstairs in the Kitchen.” one guest said. Instantly we were family.

Our journey at Borgo Argenina began as we passed the bell to ring for Elena if you arrive after hours and opened the original wooden double doors adorned with iron locks and handles. IMG_2415.JPG

Once inside the main house, up the narrow stone stairway with one tiny window over looking the garden, we found Elena, tooting around her kitchen. IMG_2433.JPG

“Ah! Bella! Benvenuto! I’ve been expecting you! Fett, si?” Elena asked.

She grabbed the keys and escorted us to the Piccola Suite, our home for the next four days. We had a quaint sitting room adjacent to our bedroom, an attached private bath and views of the rolling Chianti Hills and Elena’s garden. PicTapGo-Image-5.jpg

Each room is equip with a mini bar and tea kettle that is refreshed daily, wifi and a hairdryer. (Yay! One less thing to pack!) There is no air conditioning at Borgo Argenina, thankfully, even during the Summer months the nights were cool and a flowing breeze filled our room. Elena took us downstairs, showed us the Parlor and Breakfast Room before heading outside.PicTapGo-Image-2.jpgIMG_2434.JPGIMG_2423.JPGIMG_2422.JPG

After a tour of our suite and parts of the property we sat down with Elena on the stone patio outside. She shared some of her favorite places in Tuscany with us over a glass of wine. PicTapGo-Image.jpg

We chatted for what felt like hours of friends catching up before we realized the time and that we were late for a supper reservation she made for us at Giorgio’s. We will share that experience with y’all a little later. Delizioso!

Every morning, Borgo Argenina guests are greeting to a beautiful breakfast spread prepared by two of Elena’s three employees. On the daily menu: Fresh Coffee, homemade Yogurt, local meats, cheeses and honey, fresh fruit, and varieties of Elena’s Coffee Cake.  PicTapGo-Image-3.jpgPicTapGo-Image-1.jpgPicTapGo-Image-4.jpg

Elena also invites her guests to a nightly Cooking Class at Borgo Argenina. If you’re staying with her, this is a MUST! It was by far the best food we had during our time in Italy and if she had extra room we would have taken the class a second time! Each guest is gifted with her Borgo Argenina Cookbook-filled with Elena’s family recipes and traditional Italian dishes. The time we spent in the kitchen with Elena and other guests was a highlight of our trip. Pop over next Monday to see what was on our Menu! IMG_1196.JPG

Y’all, I really can not express how much HeliHubby and I enjoyed our time at Borgo Argenina. It is in a perfect location to be a “home base” for Montepulciano, Volterra, Siena and more little Tuscan Wine towns. It’s truly an enchanting, one of a kind Italian escape. Elena is absolutely wonderful. She is warm, welcoming and lovely. We felt like we had known her for years and yet we just met. Leaving we all three got a bit teary eyed as we said our “goodbyes.” I don’t know when the Newly Newlyweds will get to return to Chianti to visit Elena, but I do know HeliHubby and I both left a piece of our hearts in Tuscany at Borgo Argenina. It is just magical.

If you’re considering a Tuscan Vacation I highly reccomened you consider Borgo Argenina as your home. Have questions about the hamlet or want help planning your vacation? Feel free to message us- I am happy to help! PicTapGo-Image-7.jpg

Fino all prossima volta, we hope you’re enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed moments as much as we are!

Cheers Y’all!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re newlyweds, not experts!

Wednesdays with Walt in Italy.

If you didn’t see our Tuesday Travels post, you missed out! We started the story telling journey of our recent Newly Newlywed trip to Italy. Over the next few days and weeks we’re going to share all the details from our two week trip across the pond. IMG_1518.JPG

We’ve got the perfect post for a Wednesday with Walt. If you’ve been following us for any link of time, you’ve caught on to my love for Disney. Wouldn’t you know, Disney just follows us wherever we go?

Skipping a few days into our trip from where we left off, while in Florence HeliHubby just happened to find me a Disney Euro Store! Ah! Y’all my heart was oh-so happy! IMG_1704.JPG

No surprise to us Disney fans, the store was full of Disney Magic. Disney movie music filled the air, all in Italian of course. As soon as I opened the doors and walked in, I immediately knew I was not in the typical Disney Store. The decor was very Italian. Ceilings painted with Roman Disney Characters, paintings hung the walls featuring iconic Italian landmarks and of course hidden Mickeys everywhere!

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The store had the typical Disney Merchandise: shirts, toys, stuffed animals, all the coffee cups and speciality merchandise specific to Italy. I. WANTED. IT. ALL. Y’ALL!

If you’re a Disney fan roaming the streets of Florence make sure to pop by Via dei Calzaiuoli, 69/71/R, 50123 and say hello to Mickey and the gang! The store is in the same building as Hotel Maxim. {Feel free to pick up your favorite Newly Newlyweds a surprise too!}

Have you found another International Disney Store? Which is your favorite location? We’d love to hear all about it!

Join us tomorrow as we Throwback to more of our Italian Adventures!

Until next time, we hope you’re enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed moments as much as we are!

Cheers Y’all!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re newlyweds, not experts!

Throwback Thursday: Girls Weekend in the Great State

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Unless your a resident of the Lone Star State, I have a inkling you’ve not. Fun Fact! Fredericksburg is the 5th largest wine producer in the US! Cheers y’all!

Last weekend Aunt Tina and I surprised Mom with {another} 60th Birthday Celebration! She knew she was heading to the GREAT STATE with two of her favorite people, but little did she know all the surprises we had in store!

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We told her to pack her bags- we were heading to Texas! Friday morning we were wheels up for Texas, flying from Atlanta to San Antonio. We picked up our rental car and I played Uber driver for our 57 mile commute to our VRBO rental in Kerrville. (About 25 minutes from downtown Fredericksburg.) Mom just couldn’t wrap her head around WHY we had to rent a house if it was just the three of us. Even though we told her it was cheaper than staying in town and probably a lot nicer than the local Holiday Express Motel.

This home was stunning y’all and Erin, the owner, was fantastic to work with. The house was updated and the views were spectacular- the rolling Texas hills made us feel like we were up in the hills of Hollywood. The Master Bathroom had a walk-in shower with three, yes THREE, shower heads! Don’t get me started on the backyard with the fire pit, outdoor kitchen and  infinity pool- absolutely breathtaking y’all! Highly recommend this property if you’re heading to Fredericksburg for any occasion! Wish we could have spent more time there!

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The real reason we needed a larger house? It was not going to be just the three of us spending the weekend together hopping around tasting wine. We were spending the weekend with a few of our favorite Texas women- sorority sisters, family, friends from fifth grade and friends that are like family! SURPRISE TG!

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Friday Night was spent with guests arriving sporadically surprising Mom. Catching up, laughing like school girls and of course cheers-ing to our Birthday Girl!

Saturday we got up bright and early to hit the Texas Wine Trail! We used The 290 Wine Shuttle Company, which was fantastic! They charter guests around to 13 local wineries for a very reasonable fee. It was so nice not having to worry about calling an Uber or having a one of the girls miss the fun and play Designated Driver.

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We started at Barons Creek for a quick tasting of five or six varieties.

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They have a huge tasting room, complete with multiple private rooms, a lovely back garden space and gift shop. The Viognier was one of our favorites from the tasting- it has ripe apricot and delicate lemon zest flavors combination in this delicious Texas Viognier. This wine has a long, creamy finish. It’s a fantastic companion for shrimp or lobster with butter sauce.

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Mom also really enjoyed their Muscat Canelli, a deliciously sweet and balanced wine bursting with flavors of peach, honeydew and a hint of grapefruit. It is a perfect aperitif on a warm day but you can also pair it with fruit salad or Thai cuisine. That has her name all over it!

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From Barons Creek we had a short wait for the 290 Bus and headed to Grape Creek: The Tuscany of the South.

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Grape Creek is a local favorite. The property was beautiful! You really did feel like you were in Tuscany! The tasting area was VERY crowded and on weekends they do limit the number of guests per tasting groups. This vineyard was highly recommend, so we broke into small groups for tasting prior to our arrival. Our tasting experience was ok. Our guide was not full of that Southern Texas hospitality until I decide to sign up for their Wine Club. We had to wait over an over an our for a tasting, their restaurant was packed and the check-in station seemed a little frazzled and not able to give us real information the wait time, availability, etc. I wish the customer service experience as a little different because the wine was quite good. We ended up finding a spot to sit and share a bottle and a stunningly delicious charcuterie board together before heading to our final stop of the day.

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Our third winery was Fat Ass.

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Our favorite for the atmosphere! {With a name like Fat Ass, how could it not?}  It was such fun y’all! Very laid back, low key environment with a live band. So, so much fun! Their wine supply was down when we were there, but they make a wine slushy that went down way too easily! A perfect drink for Summer days. Definitely plan to stop by Fat Ass when you head to the Texas Wine Country! We had the best time!

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Whew! Feeling wined-up yet? Hang on and pop over next week for our Travel Tuesday series when we wrap up our weekend in the Wine Country!

We hope you’re enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed moments as much as we are!

Cheers Y’all!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re newlyweds, not experts!

Monday’s Memory Maker: A Key To Our World

If you know HeliHubby and I through our blog or in real life, you have probably caught on to a few things about us.

We love to travel.

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I am quite the planner.

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I have a {healthy} love for Disney, that Adam is slowly starting to appreciate.

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If I was a betting lady (and I am) I’d bet in 2018, Adam and I have spent more nights in a hotel than in our own home. You tell us when and where and  bags are packed and we’re out the door! Traveling has always been a big part of our relationship. While we were on our first date we traveled to the Georgia/Alabama boarder, just so we could say we crossed the state line, knowing it would make for a good story later down the road. We took our first trip together to New York City after only knowing each other for three weeks.  Adam works in aviation, I used to be a flight attendant, we got engaged in a helicopter, arrived at our Wedding reception in the same one and y’all know we just added, “Elsa,” our 1967 Cessna 182 to our family.

83E96767-399E-49CA-95AB-688FABD15D71.jpegRoad Trips, plane rides, cruises, you name it. If we have an opportunity seek a new adventure, we go explore!

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Part of the traveling aspect I love the most is the planning. Researching the cities we’re visiting, finding the local favorites, best restaurants and things to see. I do it all! I’ve always been an organizer and planner. From planning Sorority functions to being hired for private event planning jobs, vacations for Adam and I or for family and friends. I am always planning. Don’t get me wrong, not ALL things are planned. We are semi-spontainous when we travel and in daily life. We do however, try our best to maximize our time while on vacation and planning correctly is a big part of that.

Since October I have gone to Disney World at least once a month. (The benefits of living within driving distance and having an Annual Pass.) Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in October, a “just because” visit in November, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party with the family in December, another “just because trip” in January, ran the Walt Disney World Princess 10k in February, and in March for Spring Break and Spring Training. Now some call this a little extreme or even an obsession- ha! I like to think of it as a more enjoyable way to get in my daily steps. It doesn’t matter your reasoning for going or how old you are, Disney is always magical. From the moment you walk through the front gates, hear the music playing in the background and the smells of popcorn and cotton candy fill the air, you can’t help but get butterflies of excitement.

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Don’t you wish you were there now?

Friends and family heading to Disney always reach out asking for help in planning their Disney Trip- Where should they stay? What fast passes should they get? What’s the best character dining? I get giddy with excitement for them and all the fun I know they will have at Walt Disney World. I love having the opportunity to help them plan their magical adventure.

So……after countless friends and family suggesting, years of researching and thinking it over I’m taking the plunge and becoming a TRAVEL PLANNER with Key To The World Travel!

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PINCH ME!

Is this a dream? I have found a career path that ties all of my favorite things together, traveling, planning and Disney. I could not be more excited! So while I am going to be specializing in Disney Destinations, I can plan any vacation for you! Cruises, All-Inclusvies, excursions, you name it, I can plan it!

Thank you to all my friends and family that encouraged me to pursue this new path. Thank you for trusting me to help plan your vacations and referring me to your friends too! I am thrilled to be doing Travel Planning and can not thank each of you enough for your support while I embark on this new adventure!

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Let’s get your bags packed and start planning your next vacation!

We hope you’re enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed adventures as much as we are!

Cheers!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re Newlyweds, not experts!

Tuesday Travels: Doing Disney {Tasting Around The World}

Hey there Musketeers!

Are you dreaming of Disney on this Travel Tuesday? We just returned from a quick weekend trip. I too, am wishing we were walking our way around Epcot. Sipping on seasonal cocktails and enjoying the fantastic March weather during the Flower and Garden Festival!

Come on! Take the stroll around Epcot with us! It’s not just for kids- adults can love Disney too!

We arrived at Epcot via boat from the Swan & Dolphin Hotel. Did you know you can do that? We went through the back entrace by the International Gateway. It was there we made a quick right to cross the bridge into France, where our day Tasting Around The World began!RenderedImage.jpeg

Our first stop was at Les Vins des Chefs de France for a little cocktail! We cheersed to our Day of Disney with a glass of Champagne and Adam had a French Beer similar to a Blue Moon. IMG_8012.jpeg

Also in France is Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie, where we had a yummy French Duo-  a White and Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake. SO good y’all! It just melted in your mouth. The Mousse was so creamy- clearly this was not a Whole30 Day! IMG_8020.jpeg

Did you know you could travel 1,200 miles in just three minutes? You can! At Epcot anyway! From France we made our way to Morocco where Adam had his second beverage, a Casa Beer, an original Lager from the host country.  IMG_8045.jpeg

After Morocco we made our way to Japan where Adam and I shared a Sapporno Beer from Kabuki CafeIMG_8061.jpegIMG_8059.jpeg

We passed through the American Adventure (we can have a Bud Lite anytime y’all) to Italy for another glass of Bubbly! IMG_8064.jpeg

Next, we headed to Biergarten Restaurant in Germany where Adam took in the, ehh, local fashion culture and even found himself an Epcot souvenir! IMG_8070.jpeg

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China was next on our list, before we headed to Norway for a Beer with Olaf! IMG_8086.jpegIMG_8316.jpeg

I think a Margarita is calling my name! Is it for you too? Mexico was next where we had Cucumber Lime Margaritas.  A mix of Tequila Avión Blanco, Fresh Cucumber, Orange Liqueur, Lime Juice and Agave Nectar. Whew y’all! These little babies were strong! Stronger than we expected for sure! We washed down Beef Empanadas filled with Barbacoa Beef, topped with Chipotle Sauce, Crema Mexicana and Queso Fresco and served with a side of Corn Esquites with our Margaritas from Choza de MargaritaIMG_8108.jpeg

We finished our snack in Mexico and  headed North to Canada for a little beer eh! IMG_8140.jpeg

We crossed the pond for a Half & Half at the Rose & Crown Pub in England for our final beverage on our World Tour of Epcot. IMG_8152.jpeg

Well just like that we traveled thousands of miles and tasted ten new toddies in a few short hours! What’s your favorite country to visit while at Epcot? Do you have a favorite cocktail or meal you have to get while visiting? We’d love to hear about it!

Wouldn’t it be nice to be back in Orlando making our way through Epcot and the World Showcase? Who knows…with just a little Pixie Dust anything can happen! Maybe HeliHubby and I will make our return sooner than planned!

 

We hope you’re enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed Disney moments as much as we are!

Cheers!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re Newlyweds, not experts!

Monday’s Menu: Yak&Yeti Dining Night

Adam and I just returned from Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. If you know me and follow along our Social Media outlets you’ve probably caught on that I LOVE Disney. This week on the Newly Newlywed Blog, we wanted to share all things DISNEY….starting with our menu today!IMG_7998.jpeg

We literally park hopped ’til we dropped on Saturday. Fourteen plus hours of Park Hopping fun.Before we ended our Disney day we had a fantastic meal (and service) at Yak&Yeti at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a park that is quickly becoming a favorite! FullSizeRender-1.jpeg

Yak&Yeti is a favorite in the park spot of mine, especially for lunch. It is a perfect spot for a casual, great tasting meal. They are one of the few in the park restaurants that actually have a bar- which is so nice for those of us that travel alone- especially if you can’t or didn’t make reservations. At the base of Expedition Everest sits Yak & Yeti Restaurant, a table-service eatery serving delicious pan-Asian cuisine. Reservations are encouraged, but if you are unable to score them on your trip, pop by and add your name to the wait list or see if you can grab a seat or two at the bar. If you’re an Annual Pass Holder you are able to use your discount, but sadly they do not accept Tables Cards. Yak&Yeti is a Landry’s Inc Restaurant, meaning if you’re a Landry’s card holder and you don’t have reservations you can get the next open table and you can score dining points! Such a great perk to being a card holder!

{Note: You do have to have a park ticket to dine at this restaurant.}

So what was on our menu for the night? Just a few of my most favorite dishes of course! We did a wide range of sampling, since it was Adam’s first visit after all!

We started with their Dim Sum Basket, a new dish for me! It was filled with Pork pot stickers, shrimp siu mai, cha su bao and pork siu mai steamed on a banana leaf, soy lime dipping sauce. So tasty! The Pork Siu Mai was definitely my favorite part of the basket. IMG_8181.jpeg

After the Dim Sum Basket we snacked on their Ahi Tuna Nachos. This dish is MASSIVE. I often order it as my lunch and can never finish it all. It is Sushi grade Ahi, Asian slaw, crispy fried wontons, wasabi aioli, sweet soy glaze. So delicious! IMG_8261.jpeg

We ended our meal with my FAVORITE dish Yak&Yeti offers, their Chicken Tikka Masala. It is some of the best I’ve ever had and yes, Adam loved it too! It is a Boneless chicken breast dish, marinated in yogurt and freshly ground herbs cooked in a traditional Masala sauce with jasmine rice and garlic naan bread. It’s a bit spicy which is nice. The Naan was tasty, but if I am being honest, not the best we’ve ever had- it was a bit soggy. Our neighbors Neil and Kokil have spoiled us with our Naan! IMG_8255.jpeg

All and all we had a fantastic dining experience. The food was so good, the service was great (Mike the Manager visited our table multiple times) and we left stuffed! This was clearly not a Whole30 day for me, but a day at Disney and 15+ miles of walking, it was a well deserved and enjoyed meal! I am getting hungry thinking back to this amazing meal, aren’t you?

Have you tried Yak& Yeti? What’s your favorite dish? Do you have another favorite restaurant at Animal Kingdom? We’d love to hear about it and it to our list to try!

We hope your enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed {Disney Magic} moments as much as we are! Stay tuned for a Tuesday Travels Disney Edition tomorrow!

Cheers!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re Newlyweds, not experts!