23 December 2009

100% Kona

When it comes to the best place for a hearty, sit-down breakfast on Walt Disney World property, there are always several contenders. The most common culprits are the Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom and various stops along the Magic Kingdom’s Resort Monorail loop, including Chef Mickey’s and ‘Ohana. ‘Ohana’s smaller cousin, Kona Cafe, is talked about in Disney circles but is often times overlooked unless ‘Ohana is full. For the serious breakfast enthusiasts, that is a mistake.When it comes to breakfast, I know that I am the exception to the rule, as I do not do coffee. My wife, however, could have the stuff delivered intravenously and still need a cup of fresh brewed coffee in her hand. At Kona Cafe, your basic coffee comes in two forms, a Kona Blend or 100% Kona Coffee. The blend is perfectly fine, but the 100%, served in a French press pot, is heaven in a cup. According to the menu, after the coffee beans have grown in one of the most fertile soils on earth, “These beans are then flown to Central Florida, where they are roasted to our strict specifications. We then grind the beans to order.” This may seem like the liquid gold of the coffee world, and one would expect a steeper price, but a French press pot for two only runs $7.49. Kona’s coffee gets high marks in flavor and body, as well as quality control.For the non-coffee crowd, Kona Cafe offers a variety of juices, alcoholic cocktails, and specialty drinks. The juice selection is more than your usual orange or apple, and includes such diverse offerings as grapefruit, cranberry, tomato, and pineapple. In the cocktail department you have the classic Mimosa and Kona’s take on the Bloody Mary, the Wasabi Mary, which is a concoction of Absolut Peppar Vodka, wasabi, tomato juice, and various spices. There is also a Mega-Berry Smoothie, with an emphasis on raspberries, and my personal favorite, Lilikoi Juice, a tropical fruit mixture of orange, guava, and passion fruit juices.The Kona Cafe breakfast menu offers something for every eater, and covers both sides of the sweet or savory breakfast debate. Fans of traditional breakfasts can choose from a fruit plate served with banana-nut bread, to pancakes (with or without blueberries), French toast, ham and cheese omelets, steak and eggs, or just two eggs. For the adventurous breakfast diner, there are options that include macadamia nut butter, poached eggs served with hollandaise over smoked pulled-pork hash, and, of course pineapple.My wife will often times explore a different entrée each time she eats at a restaurant. At the Kona Cafe, however, she has been hooked on the Macadamia-Pineapple Pancakes since the first bite. In fact, her love affair with these pancakes, which comes with macadamia nut butter, pineapple sauce, and a choice of meats, has become so serious that as she waits for her meal now she does a jig in her chair and sings a little song that goes something like, “I. Love. Macadamia-Pineapple Pancakes. I love them, yes I do.”For my part, I am as large a fan of the headliner at Kona Cafe, the Tonga Toast. Although I don’t take my passion for this banana-stuffed, cinnamon-sugar encased, sourdough French toast to the level of singing a song about it, just a thought about smothering this already sweet to the point of pucker-worthiness with a dollop of strawberry compote is enough to make my mouth water. This massive meal clearly has a grandmother-who-thought-her-grandson-needed-to-be fattened-up’s fingerprints all over it, and has been a favorite of Polynesian Resort guests for over twenty-five years.A note about the meat choices, which include ham, bacon, or sausage, that are available with most meals. The sausages are in link form, but rise far above the average sausage link in terms of size and zest. Also, a majority of entrées come with a wedge of pineapple. This piece of fruit should be saved as the last bite of a meal, as it is the perfect palate cleanser.

Any way you slice it, Kona Cafe offers a wonderful assortment of breakfast dishes, for a fair rate, in a unique, but oddly down to earth, pacific island environment. While the restaurant may lack the character interactions that make so many breakfasts the hottest meals in town, Kona Cafe’s fare has a character all its own, and is a true treasure of the breakfast circuit.


Mark said...

Nice post- It's a great place for lunch, too. Uncrowded and pleasant.

steve2wdw said...

I haven't been to Kona since the year it first appeared at the Poly. I'll have to give it a shot for breakfast, as I've missed the banana stuffed toast since the Tangaroa Terrace closed. I didn't realize this breakfast fav had found a new home. Yippy.

susie said...

The dance your wife does for macadamia nut pancakes? I do that for the tonga toast! Thanks for the great post!

Unknown said...

Thanks for taking the time to post about food at Disney World. I have to admit that eating something new and fun is one of my priorities for our family trip there. It is fun to research where to dine. It would be so disappointing to go and come up with the lesser meals so figuring some of it out ahead of time seems a worth while endeavor.