You're thinking, "Jack, at the end of your review of Bongo's, you said the next entry was going to be from the Food and Wine Festival! Now you're talking about the Liberty Tree Tavern! What's going on?"
Well, let me tell you. I had a small accident. While working at the Pool Bar and Grill at the Grand Floridian Resort, I slipped and literally fell on my tailbone. As a result, I had two slipped disks and a couple of pinched nerves and I absolutely could not stand up long enough to take walking around Epcot long enough to do the Food and Wine Festival justice. Or without bursting into tears from the pain.
But here's the funny, ironic, and tear-jerking part: I also couldn't remain seated long enough to take being pushed around Epcot long enough to do the Food and Wine Festival justice. Or without bursting into tears from the pain. Literally, I was only comfortable when laying down. And by the time I was mobile enough to make the trip, the Food and Wine Festival was over.
I am highly disappointed I missed it. I mean, seriously disappointed.
But anyway, you're not here to listen to me whine about missing the best food fun event Disney has to offer. You're here to listen to me talk about the Liberty Tree Tavern.
|The Liberty Tree Tavern|
|Jared, my partner for the day.|
Seems Jared has a thing for hiding in dark tunnels and leaping out at people when they aren't expecting it.
|Jared in front of the Liberty Bell replica, in Liberty Square.|
We were on our way to the Haunted Mansion when Jared declared that he was hungry. A quick check of my clock told me we still had half an hour until our reservation, but I figured what the heck... the park wasn't that busy and maybe they'd let us sit down early. So we hied ourselves hence to the Liberty Tree Tavern.
|The entrance to the Liberty Tree Tavern.|
For those of you who've never been to the Magic Kingdom, the Liberty Tree Tavern is in Liberty Square, across from the Liberty Bell replica on one side and the Diamond Horseshoe on the other. If you have trouble finding it, head toward the River Boat landing and look around a little, or ask a cast member. Its pretty easy to find.
The Liberty Tree is a charming place done up in late Colonial American kitsch. Its homey and welcoming, and the food is amazing. The cuisine is classic American fare, with a bit of a concentration on that New England feel.
|The entrance to the Liberty Tree.|
|A view to the right, from the entrance. Its not even Thanksgiving, and they already have their Christmas tree up.|
|A view to the left, from the entrance.|
|Laura, from Bartonsville, Illinois, at the check-in. She was amazingly nice.|
No sooner had I become comfortable, however, than our names were called by Dean, one of the managers at the Liberty Tree. Dean greeted us, took us to our table, and assured us that Mo, our waiter, would be along shortly.
|Dean, the Manager. A very nice, understanding man who becomes more important later in the story.|
|Mo, our waiter.|
So Mo came back and we made our orders. Jared wanted the kid's macaroni and cheese dinner, choosing carrot and celery sticks as his appetizer, and an ice cream sundae for desert. I started with a bowl of New England clam chowder, and decided on the Pilgrim's Feast.
|New England Clam Chowder|
Anyway, where was I?
Oh yes, the chowder. It was smooth and creamy and not too thick. The potatoes were cooked just to par so they held their shape under the weight of the chowder, but weren't so stiff they counted as "crunchy". And the slivers of clam were the size of a Kennedy half-dollar, I swear on my life. It was clam chowder heaven.
|The Pilgrim's Feast.|
The gravy, which you can probably tell from the picture above, was pasty and thick and sludge-like. It was also tepid. Now, for cold, over-thick gravy, it actually had a pretty decent flavor, which tells me that had it been properly warm, not to mention possessing the proper nape for gravy, it would have been perfect.
Quick diversion: nape (pronounced "napp-pay") in this context means the thickness of a sauce. To test the nape of a sauce, you dip a spoon into it quickly (so the spoon picks up just a light coating of sauce). Then you turn the spoon sideways. If the gravy only drips off the spoon slowly, its got the right nape. If it doesn't drip at all, you've got sludge.
The nape of this gravy was spoon-grippingly thick.
Jared's meal, on the other hand, was apparently perfect.
|Kid's Macaroni and Cheese with Celery and Carrots Sticks|
|Let's just say he loved that too.|
So, the round-up. Mo, our waiter, was quick on his feet with drink refreshment and dirty-dish-clearance, though there were a couple of times when he took a bit longer to get to us than I expected. The restaurant wasn't too crowded or too noisy. Everyone was friendly, and the food was almost perfect.
About that almost. When Dean the Manager walked through the restaurant I stopped him and told him about the gravy. I'd already finished the rest of the meal (how hard is it to scrape bad gravy off terrific turkey, after all), so I didn't feel that accepting his offer to comp my meal would be fair. Nor did I accept the offer of a dessert. But I did appreciate that he came back a few minutes later to tell me the kitchen people were busily making a new batch and apologized for it again.
Anyway, the entire meal was pleasant and the rest of the day (we went from the Liberty Tree Tavern to the Haunted Mansion, and then further into Fantasyland, including the new Storybook Circus section of New Fantasyland, and Tomorrow Land.) We had a grand day, and called it quits when both of us were sweaty, tired, and full of fun.
As a dad, I suggest spending time with your kids doing what they want to do as much as possible. Its a great feeling when your son hugs you and says, "Thanks for having fun with me."
|Jared said, "You're not in any of the pictures!", grabbed the camera, and took this picture.|
|Jared, my best buddy and frequent restaurant partner.|
So in the end, I'd give it four stars out of five, and I'd recommend the Liberty Tree to everyone.
Next time: Olivia's Cafe at the Old Key West resort.