Tuesday, May 26, 2015

La Hacienda de San Angel - Epcot

Last Saturday, we had dinner at La Hacienda de San Angel in Epcot.  Nina, our international student, chose the restaurant for her final meal at Disney before she flew back to China.  My whole family was happy with her choice, because we love La Hacienda de San Angel, which is featured in my Favorite Table Service Restaurants at Disney blog post.  

La Hacienda de San Angel offers Mexican cuisine and lagoon views, in an incredibly beautiful setting.  I wish I could take some of their light fixtures home with me.

Like San Angel Inn, which is located inside the Mexico Pavilion, La Hacienda is now marking gluten free and diary free dishes with a GF and DF on their menu.  Chef Luis told me that he could make almost any dish on the menu gluten free, as long as it is not fried.  

I was a little shocked when I was told that the tortilla chips were not safe for people with celiac.  On every previous visit to La Hacienda de San Angel, I was able to eat the chips, but Chef Luis told me that they are now making more fried dishes, and no longer have a dedicated fryer.  Not filling up on chips and salsa before my meal allowed me to enjoy it more, so I was not too sad, but I know a lot of my blog readers were very disappointed when I shared this news on Facebook over the weekend.  Hopefully, La Hacienda de San Angel will remedy this situation in the near future so guests with celiac and gluten intolerance can enjoy their tortilla chips.  

Our entrees were served with large bowls of rice and black beans, which my daughters adore.  I think they would be quite content to make a meal out of the tortilla chips & salsa, and rice and black beans.  

We ordered two of our favorite entree, the Pollo al Pastor, which is achiote marinated chicken served with roasted vegetables, beans and pineapple relish.  This dish is so flavorful, and we all enjoyed it wrapped up in homemade corn tortillas.  In the past, the chicken was boneless, but now it is being served with a half chicken.  The boneless chicken was easier to eat, but the crispy skin on the half chicken was delicious.  

The Pollo al Pastor is served with long strips of red pepper, zucchini and squash, and is safe for gluten free and dairy free diners.  

The Carnitas Yucatecas is also gluten free and dairy free.  This dish is described as pork confit (carnitas Yucatan style), with pico de gallo, cabbage, citrus juice and avocado salsa.  Nina, my husband, and I were all thinking this dish was a little tasteless until my daughter Katie told us that it had been delivered with a side of salsa that we couldn't see at our end of the table.  The beautifully green avocado salsa, which is not pictured, added much needed flavor to this dish, which we ate wrapped in corn tortillas.  

For our final entree, we chose the New York steak dusted with pumpkin seed, garlic and habanero pepper, topped with a Tequila-butter Cascabel pepper reduction, and served with roasted tomatillos, onions, chiles toreados, grilled queso fresco, and corn mashed potatoes.  

The Tequila-butter Cascabel pepper reduction on top of the steak was amazing, but our meat was very overcooked.  We ordered our steak medium, but it was definitely well done.  Nina, who loves super spicy food, tried the pepper on the dish, and was breathing fire, so Mitch and I did not sample it.  I told Chef Luis that I do not eat aioli, crema, sour cream, or anything else that tastes like mayonnaise, but there was definitely something on top of the corn mashed potatoes that had that taste, so I gave my portion to my husband.  Even with the issues we had with this dish, I would order the steak again, because of the delicious sauce on top.  

For dessert, I always order the Helado de Maiz, which is not marked gluten free on the menu, but is safe without the candied popcorn.  It is featured in my The Best Thing I Ever Ate at Disney - Gluten Free Desserts blog post.  Don't expect the corn ice cream to be super creamy, but it is a nice light dessert that I am able to enjoy after a big meal.  My favorite part is the Tajin sprinkled on top, which is a mix of chile peppers, lime and salt.  There was very little on my ice cream this time, so I asked for some more on the side.  

My daughters shared their favorite dessert, the Mousse de Chocolate, which is also gluten free.  It has a hint of cinnamon, and little chocolate pieces in it like the chocolate mousse at San Angel Inn.  

On previous visits, we have tried the Parrillada "La Hacienda" (mixed grill with New York strip, chicken al pastor, chorizos and vegetables) and the Costillas en salsa de Chile (braised short ribs), which are marked as gluten free options on their new menu.  You can read my previous reviews of La Hacienda de San Angel here.

The slow service we experienced Saturday, and the lack of gluten free tortilla chips will not prevent us from dining at La Hacienda de San Angel in the future, but I don't like to see restaurants taking a step back from their gluten free offerings.  I was most disappointed when their neighboring quick service restaurant La Cantina de San Angel changed their Empanadas con Queso from being made with corn to flour tortillas.  The empanadas used to be my favorite gluten free quick service dish at Epcot, but now we don't dine there anymore because their gluten free options are so limited.

October 27, 2015 Update

Before the Food Allergy & Celiac Convention's dessert party at Epcot, I had dinner at La Hacienda de San Angel with Erica Dermer from Celiac and the Beast.  The bad news is that their tortilla chips are still made in a shared fryer, but the good news is that they gave us housemade corn tortillas to eat with our salsa, which is some of the best I have had at a restaurant.

I ordered the Pollo al Pastor, which is achiote marinated chicken served with zucchini, squash, and pineapple relish.  This dish is one of my favorite entrees at Disney World.  The chicken with the relish is sweet with a little bit of heat, and it is amazing eaten with the vegetables in corn tortillas.

May 5, 2016 Update

In December, we had dinner at La Hacienda de San Angel.  Yeah, I know it's May now.  I am a bit behind on updating some of my Disney reviews.  Gluten free options noted on the menu include the Agua Chile de Camaron, Crema de Elote, Ensalada de la Hacienda, Parrillada Del Mar, Parrillada La Hacienda, Pan Seared Snapper, New York Steak, Costillas en salsa de Chile, Pollo al Pastor, and the Carnitas Yucatecas.  There are other dishes on the menu that can be made gluten free, so it is a good idea to speak to a chef.

La Hacienda de San Angel is still using shared fryers for their tortilla chips, but I love their green salsa with warm corn tortillas, so I don't really miss the chips.  My friend Sarah was given guacamole with corn tortillas as an alternative to the chips on her last visit to La Hacienda, which you can read about on her blog Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free at WDW.

I ordered the Pollo al Pastor as my entree, and it was as amazing as usual, but for dessert, I chose the chocolate mousse, because Flan de Maiz replaced the corn ice cream on the menu.  I like the chocolate mousse, but definitely prefer the corn ice cream, which is a much lighter dessert.  The good news is that when I checked La Hacienda's menu on Disney's website today, it appears the corn ice cream is back!

La Hacienda de San Angel is not a Disney-owned and operated restaurant.  You can follow them and/or contact them on Facebook and Twitter.

You can read more about La Hacienda de San Angel, view their menu, and make advance dining reservations on Disney's website here.

What are your favorite gluten free dishes at La Hacienda de San Angel?


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