Disney Information Station Logo

Go Back   The DIS Discussion Forums - DISboards.com > Disney Trip Planning Forums > Disney Trip Reports
Find Hotel Specials & DIScounts
 
facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS UpdatesDIS email updates
Register Chat FAQ Tickers Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read





Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 12-27-2013, 07:31 PM   #1
ehagerty
DIS Veteran
 
ehagerty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,065

14 Days at Disney; 40 Hours in Napa

The social media world has changed SO much since I started posting to the disboards in Jul, 2001. In those days, the disboards had about 20,000 members, internet access was a less than efficient or reliable resource and the main point of posting was to share insights with fellow nerds who could apply them to upcoming travel plans.

As I assess the state of social media in 2013, there are some differences:

1) Dilution - the number of people on disboards - make it more of a quasi-twitter-facebook media (quick insights into what is happening today) - posts appear quickly, and fall to page 3-4 within a day - which means that investing in posting gives a poster pause - "Do I really want to spend even 30 minutes on a post that may only been seen for a couple of days - or hours?" "Am I willing to share an insight that will be dilute in days instead of months?" And, by "dilute" I mean (a) so many disboarders are applying the benefits of the insight that Disney blocks it or (b) Disney's capability to respond to (block) said insight in their systems has become a lot more agile (E.g., dining plan utilization / feedback)

2) Changes - social media alters the landscape - people are not looking for "stories" so much any more - the great trip reports, while not completely a "thing of the past" are becoming fewer are far between; or worse, the population and culture of a media site is such that the most creative and funny trip reports have been marginalized (locked) based on content; I have a stack of trip reports printed out in 2003 that I still read - so often that the stack of papers has been knocked over and restacked out of order - yet, I can still tell each trip reporter by the pattern of text across the page - ZZUB (no one produced more quantity, quality, entertaining reports), Delswife (the single, greatest report), gopherit (such insights into the familial dimensions of vacationing together), BobNC (the original trip report that resulted in my reading TR and wanting to participate) - and many more. I understand the evolution of inclusion (I work for a large corporation), but, it is not nearly as interesting (amusing) as the original "open" atmosphere of this thread, where genuine diversity was entertained and the march toward the narrow range of common ground had not yet taken hold. BTW, just me editorializing, but, from a timing point of view, it matched the change in Illuminations from a multi-cultural celebration of music to a single, simple, generic, common-ground (relatively boring) music track - but that is another thread....

3) Alternatives - most retail establishments (restaurants, hotels, and on a grand scale, Disney) have a corporate site that contains most of the information a consumer (in this specific application, "vacation planner") needs, especially when combined with "reviews" (exemplified in my planning notes for Napa) from review sites (trip advisor, yelp)

4) As a result, what started, for me, as the "wild west" of the internet in 2001 is now the corporate buddy in 2013 - which means (to me) that no one really needs my input to optimize their vacation experience and results in the web-existential state of "why post at all?" Oh, pictures. If I post them, people can who might have liked a picture (but did not get one) can add them to their wallpaper. That is a good enough reason (for now).

So, for the first time in weeks, I have an evening to myself to catch up a serious backlog of picture posting. I have the hockey game (Sabres v Toronto) on (season ticketholder for Sabres - finally getting interesting to watch for the first time in awhile), alternating with the end of Mary Poppins. Am I the only one who thinks we need a "last" button between a cable TV station and a Netflix (Roku) selection?
__________________
To see all photos, search Disboards using advanced search where "thread starter = ehagerty"; sort by descending post date. If you need help, let me know!!


Last edited by ehagerty; 12-28-2013 at 12:53 PM.
ehagerty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2013, 08:03 PM   #2
ehagerty
DIS Veteran
 
ehagerty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,065

Blogger's Prerogative; Napa First

Why Napa? Why now?

I have never been to Napa. Except for Disneyland in November (will be a separate post, if there is enough demand), I have only been to California for business in the 80's. So, you might ask, how did I shake the Disney-hold on my vacation dollars in 2013?

Well, it started with a Facebook post from a fellow Disney-Foodie - Rasmus Kofoed, the 3 time Bocuse d'Or winner (gold, silver, bronze), from Denmark, was coming to a restaurant in California within my vacation window. Motivation and opportunities occurring in the same time frame (important). I have always wanted to see what Bocuse winners do, especially insofar as it can inform / contrast what the Bocuse d'Or USA team produces (as much as an audience member can evaluate, without tasting); keep in mind, I am intensely curious, moderately capable and of no significance relative to what the USA team might do. Thanks, indirectly to the disboards for creating the opportunity for the social relationship with the FB poster, I was able to call the Meadowood for reservations when California woke up that day. Even they were surprised by my call ("How did you find out about this? We have even posted it yet!"), but happily took my reservation. OK, now for building vacation plans around it. I already had DVC reserved for the WDW "core" part of the vacation, so I started considering air travel, hotel, ground transportation for Napa.

Without going through the iterative evolution (or "progressive elaboration" - or "How I derived the details") of the plans, I scheduled:
1) Air from Orlando (MCO) to Oakland (OAK), because they had the best public (ground) transportation for one person ($45, Evans Transportation; BTW economies of scale change for multiple people, leaning toward car service or car rental), from airport to hotel (not just a drop off to a transportation hub) of the 3 airports (SFN, OAK, SAC)
2) Maison Fleurie Hotel, Yountville (bed and breakfast-like), because they had the best rate for the 2 nights I would be in town, and I could walk to French Laundry (at this point, I knew I had a confirmed reservation)
__________________
To see all photos, search Disboards using advanced search where "thread starter = ehagerty"; sort by descending post date. If you need help, let me know!!


Last edited by ehagerty; 12-28-2013 at 10:10 AM.
ehagerty is offline   Reply With Quote
|
The DIS
Register to remove

Join Date: 1997
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,000,000
Old 12-27-2013, 09:02 PM   #3
ehagerty
DIS Veteran
 
ehagerty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,065

Yountville - Maison Fleurie, French Laundry - Dec 17th

Today started with, ugh, travel. Air travel. Starting at 4 am Orlando time (1 am California time) wake up call (cell phone alarm). Relatively painless flight from Orlando (MCO) to Denver (DEN). No issues with Magical Express, TSA, SWA - pleasant plane-mate - your classic husband-and-wife-across-the-aisle configuration. The wife and I had much in common, enjoyment of wine, studying martial arts, etc. and the time after I documented all my "operational observations" in a word document (for future sharing with Disney) was very pleasant indeed.

Wish I could say the plane change from DEN to OAK was seamless, but without going into details, I ripped my favorite sweater in multiple, repairable, locations and broke 4 nails (not that I care, just an indicator). Had to repack weather layers (sweater, coat) from simple, smushable carryon back into luggage to prove I only have 2 carry-ons, while watching the "B" group walk onto plane ahead of my "Early Bird Check-in" (paid) position - such is (SWA travel) life.

Anyway, got off plane in OAK, retrieved luggage, and stood at Evans transportation position at 2:05 for a 2:30 pick up. It is these "in between" blocks of time that I actually enjoy - the chance to talk to people who are also waiting to learn more about why they are there, what might be interesting about the area, etc.

It would have been wise to sleep on the plane, or the bus, but I did not - too keyed up - and Starbucks one-pump, venti-mocha at play. I also appreciated not having to deal with the multiple traffic slow-downs between the airport and hotel, working away on my laptop, in between chatting with fellow passengers.

Dropped at hotel around 4:30, checked in (very pleasant, laid back) and quickly took a round of pictures before unpacking - that is, unpacking as much as I planned to, given I was only going to be here a short time.
Sidebar - typically, when I travel to a city I am unfamiliar with, I check Frommors recommendations - they may not be current, or au courant, but they are reliable - E.g. Rioja in Denver 2006. As of this writing, it behooves the reader to include the vendors web site and review sites to supplement for research. n.b., In preparation for visiting Napa, I actually visited Trip Advisor and Yelp for the first time ever (have never posted there) - and found them useful, for my purposes. For example, I did not need the reviews to make choices / decisions, but for details that are not a part of the official web site, for example - were slacks allowed at French Laundry? Taking pictures of food? etc.
As mentioned earlier, there are pictures of Maison Fleurie (bed-and-breakfast-like) on their own web site. These photos don't really tell you much their pictures do not, but .....

My room (on the first floor) - cute, small-ish, but served me well, as I am almost never in my room, even at Disney





Facing the other way - television, fireplace (did not use either)






The "common" area - for breakfast, afternoon snacks






I have more pictures, but suggest visiting the official web site and trip advisor if you are seriously considering this facility.



.
__________________
To see all photos, search Disboards using advanced search where "thread starter = ehagerty"; sort by descending post date. If you need help, let me know!!


Last edited by ehagerty; 02-07-2014 at 01:01 PM.
ehagerty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2013, 11:05 AM   #4
ehagerty
DIS Veteran
 
ehagerty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,065

French Laundry - Table for One

What I knew from "research"

From French Laundry web site (what I focused on)
- there were 3 menu choices this time of year - chef tasting, vegetarian, truffles - with full menus to view and prices
- the wine list was 109 pages long - most of which I read or skimmed, making a note to myself to ask about wine pairing

From Yelp (remember, this was my first time on the yelp site)
- reservations are hard to come by (yelp), but I had one
- there are MANY pictures of the food, most of them more useful to the individual poster for nostalgia than a yelp-reader to really get a sense of the food; I also noticed that flashes were used, which was a real plus because taking pictures with available light in low-lit dining rooms does not usually produce good results
- while the dress code sounds "little black dress" ish, pictures showed women wearing slacks - which was useful in planning clothes for 2 weeks in a carry-on
- like any other product review (for example, Amazon) there is a range of posts - from useful or humorous to cranky and devoid of any attempts at objectivity - and the reader (in this case, me) has to sort out what is meaningful, which is easy enough to do
- I noticed that the single greatest underlying factor in these posts seemed to be VARIANCE FROM EXPECTATION - that is, the diner went to the FL, probably based on reputation and not research, and documented all the ways they were surprised - some pleasant, some not. Figured that, since I had done a modicum of research, my expectations would be pretty well aligned (and they were)
- I also noticed that FL had a significant volume of posts - seems everyone who goes there wants the world to know (she says, keyboarding away....). Pretty flattering statistic all by itself
- While I was in Yelp (and who knows if / when I'll need to go to yelp again), I thought I would check on Victoria & Alberts reviews, since it could provide something of a baseline for interpreting what I was reading about FL. VnA had about half the number of reviews, but actually better stats. Maybe people knew what to expect (and were therefore happy), maybe Disney draws a more forgiving (or older, less twitter-pated; or "less discerning") crowd, or maybe (just maybe) VnA is a remarkable value-for-the-dollar meal (it is, but, please, "shhhh" - we don't want the prices going up!!)

Anyway, those are some of the thoughts I had going through my head as I unpacked (aka - opened ziplock bags, shook out my wool skirt and cashmere sweater). Somehow, I managed to check in to the hotel around 4:30, holding a 6:15 pm reservation at FL. Given the number of logistical elements, that's close.

.... only to discover that I had left my phone recharger at Disney and the battery was about to run out of power (first time I've ever done such a thing - a measure of my fatigue I guess). So, I spent my precious 1.5 hours locating a replacement (not hard, but took time) rather than relaxing or exploring (or, repairing what 12 hours of travel can do to hair).

I walked to FL, arrived about 15 minutes early. Normally, I take pictures of the outside, the lobby, etc. - but it was just me, everything was dark (outside) or low-lighting (inside) and I did NOT see any flashes going off (despite a yelp reviewer observing that flashes were prevalent during his / her dinner). I just checked my wool layers (stacked on shelf) and chatted briefly with a gentleman who turned out to be the Sommelier, Dennis
He: What brought you to Napa?
Me: Dinner tomorrow at Meadowood (Rasmus Kofoed)
He: You industry?
Me: No - just curious
Then, off to my table (first floor, left - room seemed configured for mostly 6-tops and deuces, fireplace)....

Warning - low light pictures (without flash) are always grainy. On the other hand, what you see is what you will get; this is what they eye sees

Table setting - classy Christmas flower arrangement, candle, sparkling water, complimentary champagne, souvenir clothespin with FL printed on it






.
__________________
To see all photos, search Disboards using advanced search where "thread starter = ehagerty"; sort by descending post date. If you need help, let me know!!


Last edited by ehagerty; 01-01-2014 at 06:33 PM.
ehagerty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2013, 11:43 AM   #5
ehagerty
DIS Veteran
 
ehagerty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,065

French Laundry - getting the meal started - I Made It !

All of the FL staff were very personable and professional (good combination), starting with Olivia (maître 'd), Leah (primary, meal), Dennis (Somm), Ben, Micheal, Juan, Kevin (gray hair - like me!).

I did feel a little odd being a solo-diner - more specifically, a solo-female-diner. What felt odd was that I don't feel odd anywhere else (London, NYC, Orlando, etc.) - so why here? I am guessing that most of my travels are to business centers where there are many solo travelers who like to take advantage of being in a city to try dining destinations. Napa seemed more of a couples / family destination and not a "lone ranger" place. In any case, the awareness that I was the only one alone didn't last long - just an observation here.

Had a few mini-discussions with Leah to sort out my questions - things I could not determine in advance:

- Wine Pairings - how does it work? what does it cost? Basically, the wine team chooses individual glasses of wine to go with that day's menu. The wine pairing price is the sum of the price of those glasses. Decision? Go with wine pairing. Will provide my thoughts on my wine pairing later

- Chef Tasting menu vs Truffles - how to choose? Without a baseline (previous experience of dining at FL), I had no way of estimating whether I could finish a meal. It's one thing to box leftovers from the chefs tasting, it would be another thing altogether to not finish the truffle menu.

- Picture Taking? - Yes, but no flash! Well - I can't say I was surprised - as a matter of fact, I suggested such a thing a few years ago here on the dsiboards when the food-photo phenom was first getting underway (thanks to phone cameras and social media). Still, I knew my pictures would be relatively grainy due to high ISO and probably shake. So it goes!

Amuse Bouche (not listed on menu, guess-remembering)

Salmon Tartare in Cornet







Cheese Puff




.
__________________
To see all photos, search Disboards using advanced search where "thread starter = ehagerty"; sort by descending post date. If you need help, let me know!!

ehagerty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2013, 11:55 AM   #6
ehagerty
DIS Veteran
 
ehagerty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,065

Soup

PARSNIP-VANILLA VELOUTE
Hadley-Orchard Medjool Dates, Belgian Endive and Toasted Marcona Almond










Notes:
- Normally, I try to shoot the food on its own, but in this meal, every dish had to be pulled close to the candle to illuminate the plate sufficiently to get a flash-free picture
- Delicious - I could enjoy this for dessert

.
__________________
To see all photos, search Disboards using advanced search where "thread starter = ehagerty"; sort by descending post date. If you need help, let me know!!


Last edited by ehagerty; 12-28-2013 at 12:04 PM.
ehagerty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2013, 01:36 PM   #7
ehagerty
DIS Veteran
 
ehagerty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,065

Next courses

OYSTERS AND PEARLS
“Sabayon” of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviar






Served with a spoon that was made of abalone (?)






Delicious - another "I would enjoy this as dessert" dish - delicate - caviar very good - oysters delicate and sweet (not fishy or slimy)



YELLOWFIN TUNA “TARTARE”






HEN EGG CUSTARD
With a Ragout of Perigord Truffles; Potato, chive chip






Notes:
- Delicious, dessert!
- Unfortunately, I broke the poor shell (having watched the chef-interns at VnA cut, clean, and otherwise prepare these shells for use, I felt badly - but, even being careful, my grip was too tight - oh, sure - you're thinking that is my personality - but I blame the hand surgery!). Still I scraped every available drop off the shell... it was that good!
- The server clearing my plate very kindly put me at ease, commenting "You're not the first, and won't be the last, to break the shell...."


.
__________________
To see all photos, search Disboards using advanced search where "thread starter = ehagerty"; sort by descending post date. If you need help, let me know!!

ehagerty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2013, 01:45 PM   #8
ehagerty
DIS Veteran
 
ehagerty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,065

Breads, Butters - yum!

The first bread "service" was a choice of Vienna and croissant roll - with salted Vermont Butter and a honeycomb-shaped butter. I am very partial to bread - but have made the mistake at VnA of consuming carbs and not having room for the proteins, SO I requested (of Leah) that she put one of each bread and butter in a box to go and did not consume these at dinner. My thoughts since that time ...
- It was a mistake (it always is) to not eat bread when it is fresh - by the time I got to it a 36 hours later, it was not the delight I am sure it was at this dinner. My apologies to the pastry chef, s/he deserved better enjoyment and feedback. I should have known this from Erich Herbitschek's (Master Pastry Chef, Master Chocolatier) delights, but somehow I made a less-than-stellar choice this night....
- If I get another chance (meaning, I get another reservation at FL), I would take one bite (like I have that kind of will power - well, I do, but exercising it under these circumstances is not practiced enough to be predictable) while it is fresh!






.
__________________
To see all photos, search Disboards using advanced search where "thread starter = ehagerty"; sort by descending post date. If you need help, let me know!!

ehagerty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2013, 01:59 PM   #9
ehagerty
DIS Veteran
 
ehagerty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,065

Salad & Sole

SALAD OF GARDEN TURNIPS
Tahitian Vanillas Bean, Compressed Asian Pears, Creamed Turnip “Bavarois,” Banyuls Vinegar and Komatsuna (mustard)







"PAUPIETTES” OF DOVER SOLE AND WILD SCOTTISH LANGOUSTINE
Arrowleaf Spinach, Italian Parsley Puree (looks like a green bean), Satsuma Mandarins, and Garden Radishes






Notes:
- One of my opening discussions with Leah was that I cook a lot (not at this level, at all) and I like savory, but not salty. I don't mind salty inherent in the ingredient (like cheese, or caviar), but "added" salt that hits the tongue hard is not my favorite. The sole was the only element of any dish that seemed somewhat salty to me. Mind you, this is a compliment, not a complaint - most restaurants have multiple elements, multiple dishes that I find too "salty" (my Todd English Blue Zoo fellow diners will recall the great "Salt Symposium, 2009" that included two virtually inedible dishes.... I suspect the cause is "chefs who smoke") - this was nothing like that - and I really liked the green bean in the middle - that wasn't a green bean at all, but a puree - whimsy - delight - unexpected


.
__________________
To see all photos, search Disboards using advanced search where "thread starter = ehagerty"; sort by descending post date. If you need help, let me know!!


Last edited by ehagerty; 02-28-2014 at 07:26 PM.
ehagerty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2013, 02:04 PM   #10
ehagerty
DIS Veteran
 
ehagerty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,065

Lobster & Quail

SWEET BUTTER-POACHED MAINE LOBSTER
Crispy Salsify, Sicilian Pistachios, Mustard Frills and Whole Grain Mustard Relish








WOLFE RANCH WHITE QUAIL “PRESSE”
Applewood-Smoked Bacon, Cauliflower, Compressed Winter Chicories, Honey-Poached Cranberries and English Walnut Jus







.
__________________
To see all photos, search Disboards using advanced search where "thread starter = ehagerty"; sort by descending post date. If you need help, let me know!!


Last edited by ehagerty; 12-30-2013 at 07:01 PM.
ehagerty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2013, 07:05 PM   #11
ehagerty
DIS Veteran
 
ehagerty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,065

Lamb

HERB-ROASTED ELYSIAN FIELDS FARM LAMB
Globe Artichokes, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Bulb Onions, Glazed Carrots and “Bagna Cauda”







.
__________________
To see all photos, search Disboards using advanced search where "thread starter = ehagerty"; sort by descending post date. If you need help, let me know!!

ehagerty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2013, 07:07 PM   #12
ehagerty
DIS Veteran
 
ehagerty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,065

Cheese

ANDANTE DAIRY “ACAPELLA”
Spiced Wine Glaze, Poached French runes, Caramelized Sunchoke Cream, Red Russian Kale and Black Pepper Shortbread







.
__________________
To see all photos, search Disboards using advanced search where "thread starter = ehagerty"; sort by descending post date. If you need help, let me know!!


Last edited by ehagerty; 02-07-2014 at 01:10 PM.
ehagerty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2013, 07:11 PM   #13
ehagerty
DIS Veteran
 
ehagerty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,065

Dessert

The big picture - 3 dishes, and 3 wines behind (about to pour last - far left)







“PINA COLADA” - upper right
Braised and Compressed Pineapples, Coconut “Mouse” and Pineapple Chip


SPICED ICE CREAM - upper left
Vanilla Sponge, Hazelnut Dentelle and K&J Orchard Apple Compote


“DEVIL’S MOUSSE” - below
Maralumi Chocolate Mousse, Banana Gelee, Peanuts, Caramel Source and Devil’s Food






.
__________________
To see all photos, search Disboards using advanced search where "thread starter = ehagerty"; sort by descending post date. If you need help, let me know!!

ehagerty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2013, 07:19 PM   #14
ehagerty
DIS Veteran
 
ehagerty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,065

Second Desserts

Doughnuts, Late Harvest






Chocolate Covered Macadamia Nuts






Macaroons






Shortbread






.
__________________
To see all photos, search Disboards using advanced search where "thread starter = ehagerty"; sort by descending post date. If you need help, let me know!!

ehagerty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2013, 07:42 PM   #15
ehagerty
DIS Veteran
 
ehagerty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,065

Wine Pairing

Gaston Chiquet, Blanc de Blancs d'Aÿ, Grand Cru, MV

Schramsberg, "Cuvée French Laundry," Extra Brut, Blanc de Blancs, California,2009

D'Oliveira, Madeira Verdelho, "Reserva," 1973

DeSante, Sauvignon Blanc, "Old Vines," Napa Valley 2010

Comtesse Bernard de Cherisey, Puligny-Montrachet, Premier Cru, "Hameau de Blagny" 2010

Cobb, Pinot Noir, "Coastlands Vineyard," Sonoma Coast, 2009

Fantino, Barolo, "Vigna dei Dardi," Riserva 2004

Topaz, "Special Select," Late Harvest, California, 2004
__________________
To see all photos, search Disboards using advanced search where "thread starter = ehagerty"; sort by descending post date. If you need help, let me know!!

ehagerty is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS Updates
GET OUR DIS UPDATES DELIVERED BY EMAIL



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:41 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 1997-2014, Werner Technologies, LLC. All Rights Reserved.