03 July 2013

The Last Unknown

Last week we stopped by Territory Lounge for an adult beverage. Today we’ve ducked into the rarely crowded lounge to sample some of its small plates. As appetizer and lounge menus go, Territory Lounge offers up some of the best fare that doesn’t require an Advanced Dining Reservation. While we didn’t sample the entire menu on our recent visit, we did our best to make it through as much as we could!

House-made Northwest Chips – These are the same handmade chips that have been cropping up all over Walt Disney World in the past couple of years, but have a different set of seasonings. The real story here is the trio of dipping sauces that come with the chips. The Smokey Bleu has a creamy, salty flavor. The Truffle Aioli is heavier than the bleu, and could be overwhelmed by the aioli, but the strong truffle flavor really brings this dip home. Last, and certainly not least, is the sweet, sticky, fruity combination of the Huckleberry Honey.

Sharp Cheddar-Beer Fondue – A basket of diced pretzel, sourdough, green apples from Washington, and dried figs were served up alongside the cheddar-beer fondue. The breads were soft, the apples fresh, and the figs were succulent, were all better than the ingredients you could have picked up at your local grocery store, and certainly on par with what you could find at the local farmers’ market. As for the fondue, the cheddar used has an aged and smoky flavor to it, while the beer seemed to be like some sort of lager. I’m not a huge fan of beer, and it was definitely present here, but the rest of our group loved it.

Get crazy with the fondue like we did! At some point we began dunking our chips in the fondue and it was one of the best decisions, in a night filled with great decisions, that we made!

Territory Lounge Chicken Wings – The wings are not terribly spicy, but the Sweet Thai Chili sauce they are tossed in certainly brings the heat. The skin of the wings was crispy, but not burnt, and went down easy with the opening sweet notes of the glaze. The Thai chili portion of the coating, the component that heats up the dish, does so with a slow heat that builds through wing after wing.

Wild Mushroom Flatbread – Figs, mushrooms, arugula, caramelized balsamic onions, and the lounge’s favorite cheese, the Smokey Bleu, perched atop a cracker thin piece of flatbread. While I love mushrooms, I wasn’t thrilled about the prospect of ordering this flatbread, but I grossly underestimated this dish. Like the fondue, the ingredients are fresh and chock full of flavor.

Northwest Charcuterie – This plate has a bit of everything: Smokey Bleu Cheese, Drunken Goat Cheese, Aged Gouda Cheese, Venison Sausage, Buffalo Sausage, and Liverwurst served alongside Walnut Multigrain toasted rounds, pickles, and Cranberry Mustard. There isn’t much more I can say than this assortment may be the single best savory item on the menu.

Drunken’ Doughnuts – If the Charcuterie plate was the best savory item on the menu, the doughnuts are the hit of the menu’s sweet side. In fact, they may be the entire reason to wander down the tasty lane that is the Territory Lounge’s menu! The doughnuts, including the carved out holes, are coated with cinnamon sugar and served in a bag. Accompanying the doughnuts is a maple and Grand Marnier glaze. The sauce is sweet and tangy, but the doughnuts stand up all on their own.

If this review that covers two-thirds of the Territory Lounge’s menu doesn’t convince you to give the out of the way watering hole, I don’t know what will. Wilderness Lodge has no shortage of extraordinary dining venues, but the Territory Lounge is one of the true hidden gems of the Walt Disney World culinary circuit. Top tier dishes, unique beverage options, and rarely a crowd make a stop here a win-win-win!

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