Monday, January 25, 2016

Palo Dinner - Disney Fantasy

My family just got back from a seven night Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Disney Fantasy.  This was our 7th time cruising with the Disney Cruise Line, but our first on the Disney Fantasy.  You can read about my previous experiences dining gluten free on the Disney Dream and the Disney Magic here.

Before we sailed, I made reservations for brunch and dinner at Palo, and brunch at Remy, the two adults only restaurants on the Disney Fantasy.  My daughters don't mind, because we were cruising with my parents and my brother's family, so they had plenty of people to have lunch and dinner with.

Every meal at Palo, which serves Italian cuisine, starts with your server bringing the antipasti cart to your table.  Our plate of Italian meats, roasted peppers and artichokes, olives, and Parmesan cheese was drizzled with olive oil and an aged balsamic.  Everything on the cart is gluten free, so no worries about cross contamination.  I don't like artichokes or fancy olives, but everything else was delicious.

For the bread course, I was brought an herb flatbread made with Udi's gluten free pizza crust.  My bread at Palo looked almost exactly like the gluten-filled version my husband was given.  It tasted so good, I made Palo-inspired herb bread at home last night, which you can read about here.

I rarely drink alcohol, but I decided to order a glass of Asti Spumante to celebrate the last night of our cruise.

From the Antipasti, Insalatine & Zuppa portion of the menu, I chose the Tuscan white bean soup, which was described as cannellini beans with pancetta and kale simmered in chicken stock.  Our server Luca drizzled a little olive oil on top, and I asked for pepper and Parmesan cheese, which I added after I took the picture.  It was much lighter than the previous versions of this soup I had on the Disney Magic and the Disney Dream, because it did not contain any heavy cream.  I liked it, but I think I prefer the creamier white bean soup I had at Palo on past cruises.  I almost ordered the tomato mozzarella Caprese as a second appetizer, but I knew I wanted to try at least two desserts, and I ordered two entrees, so I decided to pass on a dish I frequently make at home.

Before our main courses arrived, we were served a delicious palate cleanser of lemon sorbet garnished with a blueberry.

I ordered the grilled prime beef tenderloin with pancetta potatoes, sauteed spinach, and Barolo Chinato wine sauce from the La Carne portion of the menu, because I have enjoyed it on previous cruises.  The beef was incredibly tender and cooked to temperature, but it was underseasoned for my taste.  The potatoes were the perfect accompaniment to the dish, which sadly, I was only able to eat about half of, because I had two entrees.

My husband and I split a bowl of the wild mushroom risotto made with arborio rice, porcini, portobello and cremini mushrooms, extra virgin olive oil, and served with a Parmesan crisp.  Chef Massimo and his team know how to cook an amazing risotto.  On this cruise, I had risotto at Palo for brunch and dinner, and both times, it was flavorful and perfectly al dente.

For dessert, Luca ordered me a chocolate souffle without me even having to ask, because we had discussed it at brunch earlier in the week.  He told me that the chefs at Palo prepare gluten free chocolate souffles when they see that they have gluten free diners coming to the restaurant that night.  Luca even mentioned a dairy free version as well.

Palo's chocolate souffle is served with vanilla bean and chocolate sauce, and vanilla gelato.  I did not use the chocolate sauce, because chocolate on chocolate seems like overkill to me, but I used both the vanilla sauce and the gelato.  If I was giving this dessert a grade, it would be an A+.  There is nothing not to love about Palo's chocolate souffle.  It did not puff up as much as my husband's gluten-filled souffle, but it tasted great, and that is all that matters to me.

For my second dessert, I ordered the warm orange almond cake with orange fennel salad with rhubarb puree and lemon cream.  I first tried this dessert on our last cruise on the Disney Magic.  I love to eat it with the vanilla sauce that is served with the chocolate souffle.  I wish I had asked for the recipe for this cake, which is super moist, and not overly sweet.  My friend Sarah from Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free at WDW was able to enjoy the almond cake on the Disney Dream when she ate at Palo.  Other gluten free dessert options at Palo include several flavors of gelato, and their vanilla bean panna cotta with strawberry-basil sorbet and raspberry jelly.

Our meal ended with the perfect palate cleanser, a complimentary after dinner drink made with lemon sorbet, apple brandy, and prosecco.

My husband and I never pass up a chance to dine at Palo, because we enjoy the food, the service, and some alone time without our kids.  Palo has plenty of gluten free options to choose from, so you will definitely not leave hungry.  My husband loved his marinated big eyed tuna steak with green beans, roasted new potatoes, quail eggs, cerignola olives and white balsamic, which can be prepared gluten free.  The current cost to dine at Palo is $30 per person, which is definitely worth it.  They have a pretty strict dress code, which you can read about on the Disney Cruise Line's website here.

What are your favorite gluten free dishes at Palo?  


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