Advanced Scouting Report: Sanaa – Part I

Time for a commercial interruption! Not really, it’s just time for a momentary break from polls and surveys. We’ll be back with those soon enough, but, for now, it’s time for an “advanced scouting” report.

As you all know, I prepped well-in-advance of attending the 2012 Epcot Food & Wine festival. Well, when we decided to put Sanaa onto our ADR radar for an upcoming trip, it occurred to me that I should spend the same amount of effort doing pre-work for that visit. After all, Sanaa’s menu is just a bit out of the ordinary for us.

Preparation takes research, so my investigation took me to some of my favorite sources of info – namely A.J. Wolfe’s Disney Food Blog, AllEars.net, and Wikipedia. As such, using the Sanaa dinner menu on All Ears as a guide, let’s get started with …

Sanaa’s Indian Style Bread Service! You get your choice of 5 breads and 5 accompaniments. Bread choices are: Naan, Garlic Ginger Naan, Spiced Naan, Onion Kulcha, and Papadum. Accompaniments are: Red Chile Sambal, Cucumber Raita, Coriander Chutney, Mango Chutney, Coconut Chutney, Garlic Pickle, Spicy Jalapeno-lime pickle, Roasted Red Bell Pepper Hummus, and Tamarind Chutney. Huh? Yeah, this was when I realized that some advanced study was in order.

Well, we certainly know what naan and roasted red bell pepper hummus are. In fact, we have it quite often. The local Publix (grocery store) has a great roasted pepper hummus, and it’s the only type of hummus we buy. With that experience in hand, I think three breads (because we’ll try all three varieties of naan) and one accompaniment can be knocked off right away. Now, what is kulcha and papadum? Consulting Google images and Wikipedia, I see that kulcha is quite similar to naan but that papadum is a thin, crisp, cracker-like bread. We’re not so charged up about the papadum, so I think we’ll pass on that one and order two servings of kulcha. I hope they’ll let us do that!

So, we’ve solved the bread. What do we add to the hummus? Let me ask this … what in the world is sambal and raita? Back to Wikipedia. Well, a sambal sounds pretty straight-forward – a chili-based sauce. It is “Red Chile Sambal”, so I guess I should have known that already. What Wikipedia did tell me, though, is that it “can be extremely spicy for the uninitiated”. In other words, if we try it, we should be very careful. Hmm. Raita? Raita is a yogurt-based sauce, evidently. And, this one is cucumber-based. We like cucumber. We like yogurt. Count this one in. Maybe it will cool the burn of the sambal?

That leaves two slots for chutney – either coriander, mango, coconut, or tamarind – unless we order the “Spicy Jalapeno-lime pickle”. I have to be honest, we might just “chicken out” on the sambal and order the “pickle” instead. And my choice for chutney would probably be mango and coconut. Both are pretty tame, I know, but apparently, tamarind is kind of sour. Not sure I want that. As for coriander, I guess we could give it some consideration (Wikipedia suggests we should expect a nutty, spicy, orange-flavor), but mango and coconut might be just right for us. We’ll see. I expect the choices to be a marital negotiation.

Wow, we’ve sure spent a lot of words on bread! Let’s move on before I get too full to write about the rest of dinner! When it comes to appetizers, I think we’re going to have to share a couple. Interesting choices are the Spicy Garlic Shrimp (with cauliflower), Mustard Seed-crusted Scallops (with a coconut cream sauce), and Lamb Kefta Kabobs (with mint chutney). I know a lot of people get the Potato and Pea Samosas, but that just doesn’t grab me. The pictures I have seen didn’t whet my appetite either. My guess is that we’ll end up with the lamb and shrimp. Before I leave, though, let me check on “kefta”. A ground and seasoned meat much like sausages or meatballs. OK. I thought so. Just checking.

I’m not sure if we’re going to want to consume precious stomach-space with salad, but on the chance we’re bold enough to try, we’ll give it a few sentences. The Salad Sampler entitles you to a choice of three salads. You can pick from:

Chickpeas with Cucumber and Tomato

Watermelon, Cucumber, and Fennel

Roasted Beets

Bhel Puri

Golden Lentils and Tomato

First things first. According to Wikipedia, Bhel puri is made out of puffed rice, vegetables, and a tangy tamarind sauce. While it sounds interesting, I think my tastes are bent more towards the chickpeas, watermelon, and lentils. Those three are likely to be my choices. You?

Ooh, the entrees. I’m afraid the entrees are going to have to be a story for another day. I’m stuffed! Check back really soon, and we’ll get into all kinds of delectable main courses and desserts! I’ve got to plan this menu!

What bread and accompaniments should we choose?  Click on the ones you would pick.  You can click more than one choice on these polls!

What appetizers and salads should we pick? We need your help!  Leave a comment at the bottom of the post and give us your recommendations and why.

Zebra

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