Monday, July 06, 2009

Club 33, part 3

Food, glorious food.

I’m ready for it, but as I stand, I can’t help but marvel at the riches of the room we’re in. A famous photograph, that of Walt Disney being presented with his special Oscar for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (one full size and seven small ones) by Shirley Temple, is hanging right above my head. Wow.

As we follow the directions of our server out of the trophy room and into the elevator lobby, we pass some amazing items – a painting of Walt looking out of a Club 33 window (fictionalized, since although this members-only restaurant was his idea, he did not live to see its completion), color pencil sketches of costumes for Mary Poppins (the original sketches), along with a foyer table used in Mary Poppins. There’s an ornate phone booth, of all things, made of dark wood and cut glass panels, which was used in the Disney movie The Happiest Millionaire.

The windows in the hallway look down onto Royal Street and all the peons, er, I mean “other park guests,” strolling by, unaware of the riches in the buildings above them.

We turn down a wide hallway. There is more to look at here, including a harpsichord on the left, the Club 33 bar on the right, and the main dining room straight on ahead. On the walls on either side are paintings and maps, conceptual art from the original designing of Pirates of the Caribbean. But there’s also food, so the other items lose our attention.

The buffet is tiny compared to, say, Goofy’s Kitchen, but it doesn’t need to be large for the comparatively low number of diners. And the quality and selection of the food certainly outweighs the megabuffets of the other restaurants!

On our right, just past a marble table with stacks of sparkling clean blue and white china plates, are the serving tables of the buffet, each with brass framework and the Club 33 logo etched on the glass sneeze guards. The are bowls of different salads nestled in a bed of ice, trays of sliced meats, exotic cheeses, crackers, and some delicious looking fresh fruit. A final table has peel-and-eat shrimp and crab claws resting on ice.

To the left is the small soup vessel our server spoke of, and the dessert table. More on that later.

I go first to the soup dispenser to get some of that amazing-sounding cheese and broccoli soup. There are tiny mugs, holding maybe 4 or 5 ounces each, for the soup. I fill one and turn back to the main buffet only to find that the other nine of my family have lined up there first. Oops. Now I’m stuck holding a mini-cup of hot soup needing to go to the back of the line. Fortunately, my family nicely lets me cut into the line to get a plate and continue on.

Besides the soup, I load my plate with Caesar salad, crackers and several of the more interesting looking cheeses – one of them is pink – and sliced meat, watermelon, honeydew and fresh pineapple (love fresh pineapple!), and several of the crab claws. There’s a bowl of tartar sauce by the seafood, and I put a spoonful or two by the crab.

One last thing – the unofficial Club 33 website suggests snaring a famed s’mores martini off the dessert table if they are available, since only so many are made and they can disappear quickly. The same dessert is here, but in a larger glass – more of a s’mores parfait – so I and several others take one with us.

Back to the table now – let’s eat!

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