Dinner at Whispering Canyon Cafe

While we paid a visit to Whispering Canyon Café in the Wilderness Lodge for breakfast two years ago, we still wanted to return for dinner. Being as big of carnivores as we are, we anticipated enjoying the meal, even if the atmosphere of the restaurant is a bit on the rowdy side for us (as anyone in the lobby during meal time can attest to!). We had a reservation shortly after they opened for dinner service, and we were promptly seated and brought some water while we looked over the menu. While the restaurant is known for its “All-You-Care-To-Enjoy” entrée, they also offer Starters and a “Lighter Side of the Trail” for those who prefer a bit more portion control.

whispering-canyon-cafe-dining-room

The meal starts with cornbread and whipped butter. The cornbread almost looks fake in the picture to me, but this was some fantastic cornbread! It was incredibly soft and its sweetness was balanced with the butter. I kept cutting off little pieces, and I had to be reminded to save room for the dinner.

whispering-canyon-cafe-cornbread-and-butter

whispering-canyon-cafe-cornbread-cross

Since we each wanted to try an assortment of foods, we both ordered the Build-Your-Own “All-You-Care-To-Enjoy” Family Platter. The menu invites you to start with three of six available meats: Kansas City-style Smoked Pork Ribs, Barbecue Pulled Pork, Herb-baked Chicken, Hand-carved Oak-roasted Beef Strip Loin, Citrus-crusted Market Fish and Western-style Sausage. Our waitress said we could order as many of the options as we liked, so we asked for some of each with the exception of the fish. It was only after the dinner while I was going through the pictures that I realized we never received any of the Barbecue Pulled Pork! D’oh!

whispering-canyon-cafe-pork-ribs-chickenHerb-baked Chicken & Kansas City-style Smoked Pork Ribs

whispering-canyon-cafe-herb-baked-chicken Herb-baked Chicken

Neither of us were expecting much from the chicken, despite being surprised by it at Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show. This chicken too was incredibly moist and well-seasoned, with a slightly crispy skin. This ended up being Matt’s favorite on the plate, but we were served enough in the first “round” that we didn’t need to reorder.

whispering-canyon-cafe-herb-baked-chicken-close

whispering-canyon-cafe-kansas-city-style-smoked-pork-ribsKansas City-style Smoked Pork Ribs

Matt and I had mixed reviews on the ribs. The ones I grabbed from the plate were tender, not too fatty, and just shy of fall-off-the-bone. The flavor on these was great and you could see a smoke ring on them. Matt’s, on the other hand, were a bit tough. Nature of the beast, I suppose! We did end up ordering a few more of these, however.

whispering-canyon-cafe-kansas-city-style-smoked-pork-ribs-close

whispering-canyon-cafe-kansas-city-style-smoked-pork-ribs-cross

whispering-canyon-cafe-strip-loin-sausage-vegetablesHand-carved Oak-roasted Beef Strip Loin, Western-style Sausage and Seasonal Farm Fresh Vegetables

whispering-canyon-cafe-hand-carved-oak-roasted-beef-strip-loin-and-western-style-sausage Hand-carved Oak-roasted Beef Strip Loin & Western-style Sausage

whispering-canyon-cafe-hand-carved-oak-roasted-beef-strip-loin-close Hand-carved Oak-roasted Beef Strip Loin

The strip loin wasn’t the most appealing meat on the platter, but it’s flavor was solid despite being a bit tough and overcooked. The two slices were enough for us.

whispering-canyon-cafe-western-style-sausage-closeWestern-style Sausage

The sausage was my favorite, but it was in really close contention with the ribs. There were some elements of the seasoning that reminded me of breakfast sausage which we both enjoyed. We ordered some more sausage with the ribs.

Alongside the meats, we were served Seasonal Farm Fresh Vegetables, Herb-crusted Yukon Gold Potatoes, Cowboy-style Baked Beans and Corn on the Cob.

whispering-canyon-cafe-seasonal-farm-fresh-vegetables-closeSeasonal Farm Fresh Vegetables

The vegetables consisted of Green Beans and Carrots, of which we are fans. They were simply seasoned with what tasted like salt, pepper, butter and garlic, we had no issues finishing our veggies.

whispering-canyon-cafe-herb-crusted-yukon-gold-potatoes-and-corn-on-the-cob Corn on the Cob & Herb-crusted Yukon Gold Potatoes

whispering-canyon-cafe-corn-on-the-cob-close Corn on the Cob

The corn was well-prepared and had a nice, natural sweetness. Of course we both covered that up with plenty of that whipped butter from the cornbread.

whispering-canyon-cafe-herb-crusted-yukon-gold-potatoesHerb-crusted Yukon Gold Potatoes

whispering-canyon-cafe-herb-crusted-yukon-gold-potatoes-close

I was anticipating roasted potatoes (and that may have been the case at one point), but were both happy to see a dish of mashed potatoes come out. They were thick yet smooth, dotted with pieces of potato skins. You know, where all the nutrients are. ;) Can’t say we didn’t order another dish of these!

whispering-canyon-cafe-cowboy-style-baked-beansCowboy-style Baked Beans

While baked beans and I are NOT friends, I gave them a try. I actually liked them at first until their sweetness came through. They were reminiscent of Flame Tree Barbecue’s version, with pieces of pulled pork and a smoky, BBQ sauce flavor to them. One bite was enough for me, and while Matt likes baked beans, these weren’t in the style he prefers.

It was at this point we needed to take a serious breather from eating. While I stuck to water and Matt to Diet Coke during the feast, it was time to sip some moonshine! Whispering Canyon Café features moonshine from Troy & Sons Distillery, and they offer both a margarita and a flight showcasing their flavors.

whispering-canyon-cafe-moonshine-margarita Moonshine Margarita

I opted for the Moonshine Margarita, a concoction of Troy & Sons Platinum Moonshine, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, fresh Lime Juice, and Agave Nectar topped with Soda Water. Upon first sip, I got a bit of that burn from the alcohol. It was one of those initial sips that make you turn into Ric Flair. After you’re prepared, however, you can appreciate the subtle nuances in fruit flavor that make this a delicious margarita.

whispering-canyon-cafe-troy-and-sons-moonshine-flight Moonshine Flight

Matt ordered the Moonshine Flight which features a 1/2 oz. pout of each Platinum, Oak Reserve, and Blonde Whiskey. He mentioned the cards pretty much hit the nail on the head with their descriptions, and while he enjoyed each pour, the Blonde Whiskey was his top pick.

whispering-canyon-cafe-moonshine-flight

whispering-canyon-cafe-moonshine-flight-troy-and-sons-platinum

Troy & Sons Platinum
Color: Clear
Nose: Vanilla, wine, fruit intrigued
Palate: Chocolate, fruit, malt and oak
Finish: Clean

whispering-canyon-cafe-moonshine-flight-troy-and-sons-oak-reserve

Troy & Sons Oak Reserve
Color: Tawny Gold
Nose: Caramel, fruit and wood smoke
Palate: Hint of sweet oak and pepper
Finish: Smooth

whispering-canyon-cafe-moonshine-flight-troy-and-sons-blonde-whiskey

Troy & Sons Blonde Whiskey
Color: Rich Amber
Nose: Exquisite caramel
Palate: Vanilla oak and buttery maple
Finish: Exceptionally smooth and balanced

whispering-canyon-cafe-moonshine-flight-info

And then we finally moved on to dessert. Three desserts are served: Chocolate Cake, Cheesecake, and Fruit Buckle. The Chocolate Cake had a coffee flavor to it, the Cheesecake was enhanced by caramel, and the Fruit Buckle featured both strawberries and peaches.

whispering-canyon-cafe-desserts Cheesecake, Chocolate Cake and Fruit Buckle

whispering-canyon-cafe-cheesecake Cheesecake

I like cheesecake, and its presentation in the Mason jar was indeed cute. It was a touch difficult to get some of each component in each bite at first, but as room was made, it became easier. Just ask Matt; he finished the whole thing! At least I enjoyed the bite I had. ;)

whispering-canyon-cafe-cheesecake-top

whispering-canyon-cafe-cheesecake-side

whispering-canyon-cafe-chocolate-cake Chocolate Cake

Since Matt isn’t a fan of coffee at all, he didn’t like the bite of this cake that he took. I, on the other hand, like the bitterness of coffee (even though I don’t drink it), so really liked that it helped balance out the sweetness of the cake. There was enough coffee flavor that I was able to focus on it over the chocolate

whispering-canyon-cafe-chocolate-cake-2

whispering-canyon-cafe-fruit-buckle Fruit Buckle

The strawberry and peaches in this dish were delicious and gave a light feeling to the dessert. The cake layer on top wasn’t too sweet, and the whipped cream quite good. Matt did a number on the strawberries underneath as he’s not a fan of peaches, but overall it was a dessert win from both of us.

whispering-canyon-cafe-fruit-buckle-cross

Here’s a look at the menu from our visit:

whispering-canyon-cafe-menu

whispering-canyon-cafe-menu-1

whispering-canyon-cafe-menu-2

whispering-canyon-cafe-menu-back

We had a great experience at dinner and, for the most part, enjoyed every bite of food we had. With the overcooked-but-flavorful Hand-carved Oak-roasted Beef Strip Loin being the low point of the meal (and again, really not that bad considering), Whispering Canyon Café really surpassed our expectations. Kids rode hobby horses around the restaurant and ketchup migrated from table to table, but we had a blast watching the families enjoying themselves in the atmosphere (well, except one guy who really got annoyed by all the ketchup coming to his table… that was HILARIOUS to us!). We’ll definitely be returning, because there are still several items on the menu that aren’t offered in the Family Platter we want to try, and we can’t wait until that day comes!

9 responses to “Dinner at Whispering Canyon Cafe

  1. Great report. Looking forward to our visit here in September much more after reading this!

  2. Thank you, Dave! I hope you have a great time on your visit!

  3. Pingback: Weekly Round Up: July 10 | Mouse on the Mind

  4. Oh my gosh. I am so hungry now. I went here for a rehearsal dinner a few years ago and didn’t like it much. Did you guys have a table to yourself? But the food looks delicious and I’m more of a BBQ fan now. I also love that you had the Moonshine margarita! So much fun, even that flight. I’m not sure if I could try three moonshines in a row tho. Might be a little too happy when it’s all over ;) Great great overview! James is going to be shocked when I suggest we give this a second try.

  5. Yes, we did have a table to ourselves. The two of us were given a table for 4 near a wall (you can see the view from our table in the pic) so we weren’t in the thick of things as we had been during our breakfast experience. I’ve certainly become a lot better with BBQ the past few years. The Moonshine Margarita was pretty strong, but enjoyable once I got used to it. The flight only amounted to 1.5oz of booze, but it had that “whiskey” smell I really struggle with. I think if you schedule your meal for around dinner opening, you won’t be subjected to as much hoopla. Plus you can let them know you’d rather not participate in anything and they’ll leave you alone. When our waitress asked if we needed anything for the table, I replied, “Certainly not ketchup.” This was before the first batch of ketchup came out. :) Then you can digest at Territory Lounge!

  6. …Very random Ric Flair reference…Woooo!

  7. That’s all I could think of when I took a sip of my drink and I made that noise! Lol

  8. Did you ever get that cheesecake recipe??? I was there in May and then again in November and I am hooked. It seems to me it was a white chocolate sea salt caramel cheesecake but I may be wrong. Apparently I need the recipe to refresh my memory! Please let me know; I’ve been hunting everywhere for it! Thanks!

  9. Unfortunately, I do not have the cheesecake recipe. :(

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