Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Melting Pot

Saturday night, my daughters and I had dinner at The Melting Pot on Sand Lake Road.  I have eaten at fondue restaurants before, but not since being diagnosed with celiac disease seven years ago.

Since reading Jennifer's review of The Melting Pot on her blog Celiac in Orlando, I have been excited to dine there.  The Melting Pot worked with the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) to create their gluten free menu, which you can view here.

My daughters and I decided to try the four course experience, which includes cheese fondue, salad, an entree, and chocolate fondue.

For the cheese fondue course, we could choose cheddar, spinach artichoke, or classic alpine.  Each cheese fondue is served with gluten free bread, and seasonal vegetables and fruit for dipping.

We chose the cheddar fondue, which is made with cheddar and Swiss cheeses, Redbridge gluten free beer, garlic, and seasonings.  Our server substituted vegetable broth for the beer, but next time, I would like to try it with the beer.  For dipping, we had Udi's whole grain bread, apples, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower.

I ended up sampling only one bite of the cheese fondue, because of our server put mustard powder in it before I could stop her.  I don't like the taste of mustard, and it often does not agree with me, so I left this course to my daughters, who devoured every single piece of bread.

My girls, who can eat gluten, each ordered a Caesar salad without croutons, because I wanted to keep our whole meal gluten free, so I did not have to worry about cross contamination at the table.  They both agreed that it was one of the best Caesar salads they have ever had at a restaurant, rivaling their favorite, the Caesar salad at Bonefish Grill.  I don't eat Caesar salad, but the Parmesan-encrusted pine nuts on top were amazing, and thankfully, my daughters were willing to share.  I passed on the salad course, but I could have ordered the Caesar salad, The Melting Pot House Salad (no croutons), or the California.

For our entrees, we ordered the Mojo cooking style, a Caribbean-seasoned bouillon with fresh garlic and citrus.

For the three of us, we chose two entrees, The Classic (certified Angus beef sirloin, pork tenderloin, Pacific white shrimp, and herb-crusted all-natural breast of chicken), and Land & Sea (premium filet mignon, herb-crusted chicken, and Pacific white shrimp).

All entrees at The Melting Pot are served with seasonal vegetables and signature dipping sauces.  For vegetables, we were given a bowl of mushrooms, broccoli, and potatoes.

Five of the six dipping sauces are gluten free, but we only sampled the ginger plum and the curry.  Both were good, but our favorite was the ginger plum, which was delicious on all the meats and vegetables.

My girls loved the experience of cooking their own meats and vegetables.  I used the stopwatch on my phone to keep track of our cooking times.  Our server told us to cook seafood for 1 1/2 minutes, and anything that walks on land for two minutes, but I found that the chicken needed at least three minutes to be cooked through.  I thought all of our meats were seasoned well, and the Mojo cooking style added a lot of flavor.

For our final course, we had six gluten free chocolate fondues to choose from.  We decided on the chocolate s'mores with milk chocolate and marshmallow cream (no graham cracker bits), which is flambeed at the table.

After the flames disappeared, we stirred it until it started to bubble, then dug in.

For dippers, we had marshmallows, strawberries, bananas, pineapple, and gluten free brownies and cake.

The s'mores fondue was so incredibly delicious, and I would have been content to just have a huge plate of strawberries to dip in it.  My daughters' favorite dipper was the brownies, which were nice and fudgy.  By the time were were done, all of our dippers were gone, our fondue bowl was empty, and we all agreed that this was our favorite course.

Overall, we were really impressed by the food and the dining experience at The Melting Pot on Sand Lake Road, which is about a five minute drive from Universal Orlando, and 20 minutes from Disney World.  We enjoyed it so much, we came home and bought a Groupon for a three-course experience for four people at The Melting Pot in Longwood, so we can take my husband when he gets back from Asia.

Every year, blog readers ask me about gluten free drinks at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival, but only gluten free food options are identified in the festival passport.  I was impressed that The Melting Pot has an entire page of gluten free specialty cocktails, and their 40th Anniversary menu also identifies gluten free drinks.

If you are a gluten free vegetarian, The Melting Pot has got you covered.  You can order the Good Earth Vegetarian entree with edamame, onion rings, artichoke hearts, baby Portobello mushrooms, and asparagus by itself, or as part of a 4-course experience.

You can read more about The Melting Pot, view their menus, and find their store locator on their website here.

What are your favorite gluten free dishes at The Melting Pot?

I was invited to dine at The Melting Pot as part of Vegetarian Awareness Month.  Our meals were provided to us, compliments of The Melting Pot, but the opinions in this review are entirely my own.


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