21 September 2007

We hope that it fills you with pleasure and glee

The food of Walt Disney World conjures all sorts of memories to every person who has eaten anywhere on Disney property. Sometimes it’s a treat that can’t be missed, or the smell of the Main Street Bakery that reminds you of the time you saw SpectroMagic with your child for the first time, and there are even those instances where the name of a restaurant brings up memories so foul that you lost your appetite just thinking about them. Disney Delish is all about food and memories and traditions; so, for this week at least, we’ll cut the bad memories out of our dining delicacies and send them out with the trash this week.

Since this is the beginning of the segment, I thought we’d start at the end, the end of my trips that is. No matter how long or short the trip to Walt Disney World, there is a single tradition that must be carried out the final morning of the excursion. Before I get on the road to come home I must, without a doubt, stop in at the Kona Café for some Tonga Toast. My fiancée swears up and down by the Macadamia Nut Pancakes, but she is wrong, the true delight here is the Tonga Toast.

Tonga Toast, or more accurately Auntie Kaui’s Tonga Toast, is a concoction made up of extra thick slices of sourdough bread, topped with cinnamon and sugar, done up like French toast, and filled with bananas. It is then fried and served hot. These days with everyone feeling the urge to eat healthier, by the way, does Tonga Toast sound like it should even be in the same sentence as healthy, it can also be served grilled. A vegan Tonga Toast is also available, provided you give the chefs twenty-four hours notice.

The story of Tonga Toast, as told to me by a wonderful young man who worked at the Polynesian, is that the recipe came from a cast member who worked at the Polynesian. She had grown up in Hawaii and brought this family recipe with her when she came to work at the Polynesian. It was such a sensation that it has remained a favorite of guests, and a menu staple, for over twenty-five years. Whether that is actually the case or not, it makes a lovely story to swallow between gulps of friend dough and bananas. My love of the Tonga Toast has gone so far, that I actually requested a copy of the recipe, and was provided with the recipe below.

Oh, and if you are a coffee drinker, like I am not, I recommend the coffee at the Kona Café as well, it is second to none. How do I know? Simple, it is because even I have been tempted to try a cup after inhaling a single whiff of the fragrant scent.


2 or 4 slices sourdough bread, cut 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick
1 banana
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
oil or shortening for frying
whipped butter and/or syrup

Cut a 1-inch pocket in one side of each bread slice. Cut banana in half crosswise, then split each piece lengthwise. Remove peel and stuff two pieces of fruit in each pocket of bread; set aside. Mix sugar and cinnamon; set aside. Mix together well the egg, milk and vanilla.
Heat about 4 inches of oil in a pan to 350º F. Dip stuffed bread into egg/milk mixture and let it soak a few seconds to let penetrate bread. Fry bread on both sides in hot oil until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels or wire rack. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and serve.

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