La Cantina De San Angel with lots of allergies and autism
My family has a lot of special needs that make dining interesting to say the least. We've got lots of allergies between the group of us plus DH is a type 2 diabetic (who cheats frequently) and DD14 has Asperger Syndrome which is a high functioning form of autism. Here's our lists of allergies.
DD14: gluten, milk, eggs, citrus (citric acid is ok), yeast, msg, peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern)
DD11: milk, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, citrus (citric acid is ok), peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern), sesame, blueberry, cranberry, raw carrots, raw fruit skins besides grapes, lima beans, hops, soy products other than Tofutti and Follow Your Heart (soy’s not the problem but we haven’t identified what ingredient in Silk and other soy products cause Oral Allergy Syndrome)
Me: gluten, milk, peanuts (minor - cross contamination not a concern)
On 02/26/12 we ate lunch at La Cantina De San Angel in the Mexico pavillion in Epcot. I had heard that the tacos should be safe so I found the shortest line (it was early, maybe 11:30, so no more than 2 people per line). When I got to the front of the line I asked for their allergy book. Rather than getting a book, a chef was called. It only took a couple minute for a chef to come out. I'm glad I was able to speak with a chef because he knew about cross contamination issues while a book may not have been that specific.
Both the beef and chicken tacos were safe for all of our allergies but only in the soft shell. They make their corn tortillas in house but the hard tacos are deep fried in the same oil as gluten containing items. This is the type of thing that a book may not be clear about. The chips that come with the tacos are also fried in the same frier. I asked about the rice figuring maybe that would be a good alternative to which I was told that it is. Great! I was then told I could definitely order a side. It couldn't be a substitute for the chips. Fine, I order the rice on the side.
DH and DD14 headed to find a table to get her away from the business of the counter as she was getting anxious about being bumped. They ended up going inside and it was practically empty in there. I wonder if people even know that there's an inside seating area? Anyway, it was a great option for us to get out of the crowd so DD14 could be comfortable with both space and sound as well as even things like brightness of the sun.
When I was handed the tacos, I was surprised at how small they are. Each order is 3 tacos but the wraps are significantly smaller than the kinds I use at home. I don't know if they normally have a bunch of toppings on them but ours didn't have any I'm assuming because of allergies. We did receive small cups of pico de gallo but the chef had warned me that neither of the girls could eat it because it's made with a lot of lime (I have no idea why he felt the need to serve it but he did). I'd hardly call it a pico de gallo; it was pretty much all just chopped up tomato tossed in lime juice. The beef tacos were made with shredded brisket. It was very under seasoned. I personally couldn't taste any seasoning and the meat was dry. It really needed some kind of sauce. The chicken was shredded chicken and had more flavour but not a lot though it was more tender. I did notice that they gave us a pack of kids grapes with each of the meals, I guess because we couldn't have the chips. Good thing they did because it just wasn't enough food (for the 3 of us we split 2 beef and 1 chicken taco plates), even with a side of rice. The rice was probably the best part of the meal. It was just jasmine rice in a tomato sauce with a little bit of mexican seasoning but it at least wasn't all dried out and had a bit of flavour.
In a pinch, if we're in the area and we get hungry then it's at least a safe place for us to get a bite, but I think we'll stick with Sunshine Seasons when we're at Epcot looking for a CS meal or even just a snack (splitting a meal would be a decent snack I suppose). It definitely won't be at the top of our list but it's good to have as a backup plan.
I'm sorry to hear that you didn't have the greatest experience there. That is great that you were able to meet with the chef and they were able to accommodate you, but it is not worth all of the trouble if you didn't enjoy the food!
I didn't know that there was indoor seating! Where is it? The outdoor area is always packed.
I don't know if I'm going to explain the location of the indoor seating clearly or not, but here it goes. When you leave the food counter, go to the far end of the counter away from the entrance area. Follow the wall past the food windows and you should see an entrance arch. Go through the arch (I don't remember a door but my memory is a bit hazy) and there's a whole lot of indoor seating. I think there's more seating in there than there is outdoors but I don't think a lot of people venture there. When we were there, the outdoor area was probably half full but the indoor groups could be counted on one hand.
I read online, the big restaurant isn't open for lunch so you can go in there to eat before 4pm.
Traditional Mexican tacos are small with diced on onion and cilantro for flavor. Pico de callo is just diced onion, tomato and a cilantro. American tacos are super sized and have cheese, sour cream, etc. The meat should never be dry! My husband was born in Mexico and we have reservations for dinner reservations for the main restaurant. I sincerely hope the meat is of better quality.
Josh has this in his Epcot counter service review on La Cantina:
How La Cantina Seating Works: From 11am to around 3pm, guests may take their food from La Cantina de San Angel and eat it in the air-conditioned La Hacienda de San Angel restaurant that sits adjacent to La Cantina de San Angel. Those eating at La Cantina may also choose to eat in the covered, outdoor seating section next to the restaurant. After about 3:30pm, La Cantina guests must either sit in the La Cantina seating section or find somewhere else to sit because La Hacienda de San Angel begins seating guests for table service dinner at 4pm. La Hacienda de San Angel has a capacity of about 250 people and the dedicated La Cantina seating area has a capacity of about 150 people.
here is the link: http://www.easywdw.com/category/dini...-epcot-dining/