Sunday, February 17, 2013

Jiko ~ The Cooking Place, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney World #disneydining

On our first night at Disney, we all went to eat at Jiko. Jiko is located at the Animal Kingdom Resort. I love the Animal Kingdom Resort because it is really a fantastic place to stay. Where else can you wake up and see animals roaming around? Plus, the rooms were really lovely. We stayed a few years ago and really liked it.

I had never eaten at Jiko, so I was excited to try the food as our first stop on the Disney culinary tour. Jiko's food is African inspired and the wine they serve is from Africa. We had a very nice wine from South Africa with our meal.

We were escorted to the wine room, which was lovely. It was very cozy and was surrounded by African art and wine trees. Yes, wine trees. Now if I was a big wine drinker, I would totally want one of these in my house. They are very cool!

Our group was not that large but we took up the whole wine room. I was with Jeannette who I have known for a few years through Twitter and blog conferences. I am glad there was someone I knew. In the end, we ended up at a table with the media group from Argentina. They were great and throughout the rest of the trip we all hung out together.

The group from Mexico had issues at the airport in customs but they finally arrived at Jiko to enjoy our meal. The other group was the group from Brazil. I didn't know this but the Brazil is a huge market for Disney. They even have a new Facebook page just for Brazilians. They were very nice but since I do not speak Portuguese, it was tough to speak to them but somehow we all managed.

Later in the evening, Chef Michael Toussaint-Gunn came out to speak with us about the menu and his recipes. He talked about how Disney uses locally sourced food along with other products. It was cool. The food was delicious and the company was splendid. It was the perfect way to start our Taste of Disney adventure.

Here is a rundown of my experience at Jiko!

We arrive to have our first culinary experience! 

This was our special menu! 

The appetizer course consisted of  (left to right) Inguday Tibs in Brik - Mushroom, spinach and cheese in crispy Tunisian Filo with curry Vinaigrette and apple, Braai-Style Wahoo and Pork Belly - arugula, mache, grisse, fire-roasted Zellwood corn and almond crisps and Crispy "Bobotie" Beef Roll - With cucumber Raita, green mango atjar and honey roasted groundnuts

I loved it all. I don't eat fish so I was a little suspect of the Wahoo but I tasted it and it was delish. It did have a little spice on it though. The best part was the pork belly. I am a fiend for Pork Belly and can eat pork belly all day, everyday. The Beef Roll was to die for. The Inguday Tibs in Brik was so good. To me anything in Filo dough is better. 

The next course was Wild Boar with mealie pap, white truffle oil and micro cilantro.  I had never had wild boar but it's close enough to pork for me and I am a pork fiend. This was so delicious. The mealie pap is like a polenta or grits and it was great. It had a light tomato sauce that was the bomb!

We were able to choose soup or salad. I ordered the Jiko Salad. The Jiko salad had Bitter Greens, Frog Hollow Pears, Spicy Glazed Walnuts, Aged Goat Cheese and a Citrus Vinaigrette. Delish. It was fresh and clean. I loved the goat cheese with the pears and walnuts. 

I decided to go vegetarian. You all know we have been trying to eat more vegetarian dishes for better health and weight loss. I also wanted to see what gourmet vegetarian dishes would taste like at Disney. 

I ordered the "Bunny Chow" and "Falafel".  The "Bunny Chow" consisted of Durban Curry Vegetables with Naan Bread, Mango Ketchup, Harissa Mustard. The "Falafel" was a Chickpea-Lentil cake with Cilantro Yougurt, Wilted Greens and an Peppadew-Olive tapenade.

All I have to is that this was so delicious. If I could cook vegetarian dishes like this, I would be vegetarian more than 2 or 3 times a week. Unfortunately, I cannot cook gourmet vegetarian dishes, yet. But the "Bunny Chow" has such a wonderful curry flavor. Yet, it was not too strong and was perfect with the sauces. The "Falafel" was a little plain but the Peppadew-Olive Tapenade gave it that little extra punch it needed. I ate it all. And I could have had more "Bunny Chow". My sister would LOVE this. 

This was Jeannette's meal. It was a Oak Grilled Steak with winter veggies and ancient pilaf. She said it was very good. 

The dessert course from (left to right): Vanilla Roiboos-Tanzanian Chocolate cake, Cheesecake with Spice Cake Crust and Sauteed Apples in Caramel, Kenyan Coffee and Amurula Creme Brulee, Cake Kokesisters and Creme Anglaise

I loved the chocolate cake and the cheesecake. But the best part of this dessert was the Creme Brulee and the the mini doughnut. OMG! This little doughnut was better than the beignets at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans. Yes, I said it. Don't get mad but it's true. I wish I could have had seconds and thirds on that dessert!

I love this picture because we look so cute in our new Mickey aprons. We all got a little gift bag that included the perfect gifts for any foodie. Included in the gift bag was a Chef Mickey cookbook. I will be trying some of those recipes. A grocery list pad with pen. We also received Mickey dish towels and this fantastic apron. It is almost too pretty to use! But I will use it.

So there you have it. That was my first meal at the Taste of Disney. It was just the beginning of a week of culinary delights!

Next posts will be my day at the Magic Kingdom that ended with fireworks on the lake. Our experience at the new Be Our Guest restaurant in the New Fantasyland and our dinner at Artists Point in the Wilderness Lodge!

Disclosure: I’m was invited to attend this all-expenses paid trip by Disney. Thoughts and opinions are 100% my own and are based on my experiences.


  1. Looks so much fun! Glad Disney is treating you well :)

  2. Love your review, so jealous that you got to eat in the wine room! When I last went I had a glorious rib of beef in peanuts, absolutely glorious, best food in wdw :-)