but hey, better late than never, right? oh yeah!
not surprisingly, i went a little crazy with the camera during our dinner at club 33. i had a great excuse to photograph everything without the hub having a big ol' fit (although he did raise an eyebrow at some of the shots i snapped), so i took advantage. sadly, some of them came out a bit blurry, but i think they'll tell the story quite sufficiently anyway. and now, on with the show.
it's hard to believe that above the rest of the general public:
behind this door:
and up these stairs/elevator:
there is a fabulous, upscale, members-only restaurant called club 33. membership is restricted to roughly 400, with a waiting list so long that they've closed it until 2010. that's crazy talk, right? although we learned later (from our server, jeff, who's been working at club 33 since 1981) that part of this is due to the fact that someone decided to upload the membership application onto their website, and over 1,100 folks submitted one. the regular process isn't that difficult - no sponsorship required - but you do have to at least write a letter expressing interest in membership before they send you an application. at least that way, they can kind of keep an eye on how many they receive.
the girls had fun going up the elevator, which the teen dubbed the "willy wonka glass elevator."
and then we were seated in the smaller dining room. the club is laid out like a horseshoe, with the kitchen, this dining room, and the entrance on one side, with a larger, more formal dining area on the other. this room was decorated in a safari theme, which is fairly new. previously, the walls were adorned with framed black & white photos of walt disney and various celebrities, dignitaries, etc. when we asked jeff where those photos ended up, he just gave a funny little smile and shrug of his shoulders and said "we don't know, but i'm sure they're worth a pretty penny."
yeah, those are bottles of evian water. no "ana-slime" tap water for club 33 members!
jeff pointed out that when the club was built, walt had microphones hidden in the middle of the chandeliers above the tables. you bird haters will love this: his original intent (which sounded weird and creepy to me) was to eavesdrop on the diners and have this freaky ass animated vulture come to life and join the conversation. mm-hmmm. that walt was quite...creative.
the chargers had the club logo on them. apparently, some of these went up for auction on ebay and sold for up to $450. apiece! yup.
there was a prix fixe menu available, as well as a nice selection of starters and entrees. the girls all looked at it in confusion and asked us to "translate." haha! it was so cute. anyway, they proclaimed everything "too fancy" and begged us to ask the server if there was some sort of pasta that they could order instead. and i wasn't too surprised when they were accommodated with a choice of fettuccine or ravioli with marinara sauce. heh.
the hub and i went for the prix fixe and happily sat back and listened to the girls chatter and giggle. after drinks arrived (a "real" mint julep for him, sodas for the rest of us save one girl who wanted water), the amuse bouche arrived.
the girls sniffed at it until we told them it was simply a potato pancake with a little bit of applesauce and sour cream on top. it was yummy, of course. our caesar-style salads, topped with olive tapenade smothered toast, came next.
second course: skillet-seared tiger prawn, which was cooked to perfection. i tell you, i dreamed about this damn thing that night:
and then the entree arrived: new york strip loin with sauteed spinach. the meat was so tender, the hub was able to eat with one hand (which came in handy, considering he was holding the sleeping bean).
oh, and here's the girls' pasta. ha! gotta love the adolescent palate.
i excused myself to visit the ladies' room and quietly picked up my camera, which did NOT go unnoticed by the hub. he just shook his head and continued teasing the girls about their pasta.
i thought i'd done a decent job of staying out of the mirror's reflection as i took this, but i guess not.
pretty girly, ain't it? apparently, lillian disney (who took it upon herself to design the ladies' restroom) decided it would be great fun to make the toilet into a "throne." heh. i forced myself to pee in it, even though i didn't really have to go, just so i could say i did.
i was amused to note that each stall had its own tampon machine.
but as i took a picture of this desk, i was even more amused to see that there were freebies in the drawers:
fourth course: regional artisan cheese plate. goat cheese, cow's milk cheese, and sheep's milk cheese, drizzled with a raspberry preserve and served with sliced grapes and crackers.
our dinner came with dessert, which consisted of a white chocolate pistachio mousse and oatmeal raisin cookie.
the girls opted to share two: banana split and a "chocolate bomb" cake.
and then the teen was served a special birthday dessert. it was a scoop of chocolate mousse, dressed up like mickey, of course. she said it was gross, but i thought it was tasty.
i thought the hub was going to take the camera away when i snapped a picture of his coffee cup.
as dinner came to an end, jeff offered to take us on a tour of the rest of the club, which we happily accepted.
this table was a prop used in the movie "mary poppins."
and this phone booth was from some old ass disney movie called "the happiest millionnaire." even i shrugged my shoulders when it was mentioned, but i took a picture of it anyway.
although walt disney died five months before the club was complete, this painting was done of him enjoying breakfast in the smaller dining room. wishful thinking, i guess.
and here's the larger, more formal dining room. it seats up to 80.
this innocent-looking china cabinet actually houses a two-way mirror. the other side of it is hidden behind a door that swings open from the wall. told you that walt was one freaky-deaky dude.
the girls' eyes were glazing over by this point, so the last stop on the tour was through a door marked "private." we stepped over the threshold and found ourselves standing on a balcony overlooking the blue bayou restaurant. and, of course, just past that, we could see riders at the beginning of the "pirates of the caribbean" ride. so cool! i'd always looked up there and wondered what went on behind that door. for some reason, i wasn't allowed to take pictures here. whatever!
and then it was over. i wasn't too sad, because the hub said that the guy who was his connection into the club told him that we were welcome to request reservations anytime, as long as he himself wasn't going. whee!
we were among the last to leave, and the girls ran downstairs to sneak into the pirates ride before we went back to the hotel. the hub let out quite the exasperated sigh when i pulled my pilfered souvenirs from the diaper bag:
muahahahahahaha! man, i crack me up.