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Review: MUST-EAT New Dishes at the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

It’s finally here! We are reporting to you LIVE from the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

We’ve been busy for the last couple of days gathering information and pricing for you for every one of the Marketplace Booths at this year’s festival.

Epcot Food and Wine Festival

We’ve also had the pleasure of Eating and Drinking Our Way Around the World! For pictures of every dish at this year’s festival, be sure to click over to our Marketplace Booth Page. Click through the links to see all of the pictures of your favorite dishes, plus plenty of new items to try!

It’s shaping up to be one of the most delicious Epcot Food and Wine Festivals ever! But after a day of tasting (and tasting, and tasting), we’ve definitely come up with some favorites. Let’s take a look at our top dishes from around the World Showcase this year…

Nueske’s® Pepper Bacon Hash with Sweet Corn, Potatoes, Hollandaise and Pickled Jalapeño At Farm Fresh

As soon as you get anywhere near the Farm Fresh booth, you can smell it. Nueske’s® Pepper Bacon Hash with Sweet Corn, Potatoes, Hollandaise and Pickled Jalapeño – a strong, smokey smell of bacon laced with the sweet-spicy onions and jalapeños.

We’ve been hearing about this fun take on “breakfast for dinner” for a while now, but we were blown away by the execution of it. The dish has everything — super flavorful Bacon, Potatoes cooked perfectly (soft and fluffy in the middle and crispy on the edges), and velvety Hollandaise that stands in for the Egg in the dish, not to mention the sweet corn and spicy peppers.

Bacon Hash

Bacon Hash

Just so you know, I have to eat so much during the festival that I never fully finish any of the dishes. This one? This one I finished completely and wished it made sense for me to order MORE!

If you only try one dish this year, I think this should be the one.

Fresh Baked Carrot Cake with Craisins® and Cream Cheese Icing at Hops & Barley

We hadn’t been wowed by the Fresh Baked Carrot Cake with Craisins® and Cream Cheese Icing when we’ve tried it at recent preview events. It was good and all, but nothing to write home about.

But the version of the dish that we tried today at the Hops & Barley Booth was a show-stopper. And no, I’m not even exaggerating a teeny bit.

The Cake itself is Continue reading →

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Booth Updates: Craft Beer Moves Into Odyssey Center, and More

We’re headed in to the “soft opening” of the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival today, and we’re gathering some v. cool news that we want to share with our readers!

Food and Wine Festival 2014

Stay tuned the rest of this week for fun news and live updates as well as updated food pictures from the World Showcase Marketplace Booths!

And speaking of those Booths, there are a few updates that we have to share with you that are NEW for 2014. Let’s start with beer…

Craft Beer “Booth” Moves Into Odyssey Center

Remember, like, two years ago when Disney said they were going to do a “lounge” in the Odyssey Center during the Food and Wine Festival…and it never happened? Well, this may be the year!

The Odyssey Center is typically only open for private events, but we’ve seen it used as an event space during past Festivals. This year, they’ve moved the entire Craft Beer booth into the massive space!

Craft Beer Sign

Craft Beer Sign

We’ll have more details (and inside photos) Continue reading →

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Opening Week — Celebrate With Savings!

Tomorrow officially kicks off the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! We’ve been walking the park and catching glimpses of all of the preparations, and I can’t wait! So what better way to celebrate the longest Epcot Food and Wine Festival ever than to offer you an extra-special deal on The DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival e-Book! If you don’t have your copy yet, NOW’S the time!

2014 Food and Wine Guide 3D

With over 220 pages and tons of special features, it includes everything you need to prepare for this year’s event.

And to kick of the Festival the right way, we have a deep discount option for DFB readers. You can get the new mini-guide for $4 off the regular price for a limited time — just use code OpeningDay at the check-out!

You can also apply the savings to the DFB Food & Wine Bundle. Enter code OpeningDay at the check-out, and enjoy $4 off the price of two of our most popular books — The DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival e-Book and the The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2014!

The DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book

The DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book features all the info you need to know before you attend the Food and Wine Festival, from what’s NEW this year to touring strategies — and a new section with top tips on how to use MyMagic+ at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

And with the opening of the Festival, there’s no better time than the present to get your copy. Our exclusive daily schedule of events is the most efficient way to plan your Festival strategy.

With a detailed schedule of seminars and events for every single day of the Festival, it’s a quick, easy way to decide what activities and events you want to check out! Don’t waste time flipping between web pages, PDFs, and websites — just find the date you need and we’ve got it all right there in front of you. Just like that!

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 11.17.33 PM

As always, we’ve made this guide instantly downloadable for your convenience, and easily installed on your mobile devices. It’s a PDF guide with

Continue reading →

Review: Steamed Vegetables and Rice at Katsura Grill in Epcot’s Japan Pavilion

I bet we caught you by surprise with the title of this post ;).

After all, here at the DFB we’re known for our love of all things fried, frosted, or otherwise fixed up in the name of vacation indulgence! It’s not that we’re opposed to veggies, believe it or not. (I love ‘em!) It’s just that in the Vacation Kingdom that is Disney World, we enjoy showing you all sorts of decadent vacation treats you might not typically encounter.

But sometimes maybe you just feel the need to switch things up for whatever reason… to counteract overindulgence, or just fulfill a sudden craving for more simple, natural foods.  For such times, I’d like to introduce you to one of my (surprisingly, I know!) favorite finds in Epcot: Steamed Vegetables and Rice at the Japan Pavilion’s Katsura Grill.

Katsura Grill

Katsura Grill

Now, the Steamed Vegetables and Rice aren’t sold as a combo – they are each Continue reading →

Top Tips for the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival kicks off this week! Get ready for 53 days of food and fun, starting this Friday, September 19!

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Tips

We know that you are just as excited as we are! But it’s a pretty big undertaking. With Special Events, Low Cost Demonstrations and Seminars, and of course, International Marketplace Booths, it can quickly become overwhelming.

Today, we thought we’d lend a hand by giving you a few of our tried-and-true Top Tips from our DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book. We’ll help you make this the best Epcot Food and Wine Festival yet!

1. Plan Ahead

If you don’t read or heed any other tip in this post, pay attention to this one: it pays to plan ahead when mapping out your visit to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

It’s a good idea to check out all of the Marketplaces and their Menus before you ever set foot inside of Epcot. After all, the portions may be appetizer-sized, but visits to just a couple of spots could mean you’re stuffed before you’re finished exploring!

Will the Mushroom Filet at the Canada Marketplace Be Part of Your Plan?

Will the Mushroom Filet at the Canada Marketplace Be Part of Your Plan?

If you have an idea about what’s offered at the kiosks and how much things cost, then you’ll be better equipped to make decisions and stick to a budget. Be sure to keep an eye on DFB’s 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival main page for links to booths, menus, prices, and more.

Disney also gives you some great tools to plan ahead. This year, they’ve published ahead of time a full listing of gluten-free items. We also expect that vegetarian dishes will be marked on the menus. And don’t forget to pick up a Festival Passport at the Festival Center! It’s a fun way to keep track of the dishes you’ve tried!

Collect Those Awesome Stamps in Your Food & Wine Festival Passport!

Collect Those Awesome Stamps in Your Food & Wine Festival Passport!

Worried about your budget? You may want to pick up a Food and Wine Festival Gift Card and have it pre-loaded for convenience.

Food and Wine Festival Gift Card

Food and Wine Festival Gift Card

Not only is this a quick way to pay at the booths, but it also makes easy work of tracking how much you’ve spent.

2. Know How to Beat the Crowds

There’s a reason that the festival is celebrating its 19th year — it’s kind of a big deal! So don’t be surprised when you encounter larger crowds than you might expect during the Fall at Disney World.

But there are ways to deal with the crowds. First, know that Continue reading →

Tip From the DFB Guide: 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Eat to the Beat Playlist

What’s better than Eating and Drinking Around the World?

2014 Food and Wine Guide 3D

How about enjoying the sounds of some of your favorite musical acts from the 80s and 90s while you’re doing it?

The Eat to the Beat Concert Series showcases great sounds from these decades as you enjoy the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, and the DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival includes an awesome way to stay entertained while you’re planning for your trip!

Just one of the great extras in the book is this fun list of hits from all of the featured performing acts. In addition to the playlist, the book features a full, day by day schedule of every event at the Festival; touring strategies so you don’t miss a thing no matter how long you’ll be at the Festival; full menus (with hundreds of food photos) for each Marketplace Booth; and more! Pick up your copy today using code CHEFS at the checkout for a discount!

So, whether you’re training for the Tower of Terror 10 Miler — or just a marathon session of tasting your way around World Showcase, download this playlist to get the party started!

2014 Eat to the Beat Playlist

Jo Dee Messina

1. Bring on the Rain – iTunesAmazon

2. Heads Carolina, Tails California – iTunesAmazon

3. Burn – iTunesAmazon

Pointer Sisters

1. I’m So Excited — iTunesAmazon

2. He’s So Shy – iTunesAmazon

3. Jump (For My Love) – iTunesAmazon

The Commodores

1. Easy – Amazon

2. Lady (You Bring Me Up) – Amazon

3. Nightshift – Amazon

Christopher Cross

1. Sailing – iTunesAmazon

2. Ride Like the Wind – iTunesAmazon

3. Best That You Can Do – iTunesAmazon

Hanson

1. MMMBop – iTunesAmazon

2. Where’s the Love – iTunesAmazon

3. I Will Come to You – iTunesAmazon

Air Supply

1. All Out of Love – iTunesAmazon

2. The One That You Love – iTunesAmazon

3. Making Love Out of Nothing – iTunesAmazon

Continue reading →

Review: Strawberry Daiquiri, Blue Skyy Lemonade, and Captain’s Mai Tai at High Octane Refreshments in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Today we’re celebrating Happy Hour (no matter what the time is when you read this) with a few cold sips at High Octane Refreshments at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

The name is a hint as to what’s on the menu, since just about everything is “fully loaded” at this little bar, tucked into the Streets of America section of the park. It’s a very close neighbor to Studio Catering Co. quick service in both location and vibe. So much so, in fact, that — at a glance — it appears to be little more than expanded seating for the location.

But what High Octane offers that the Studio Catering food counter does not is a variety of specialty drinks served frozen and on the rocks, along with a full bar and an assortment of beer and wine to wet your whistle and offer a moment to refresh and refuel… in a “high octane” sense, of course ;) .

Atmosphere

The red and yellow color scheme over a large area of concrete that dominates Studio Catering Co. continues here, even down to the style of seating.

High Octane Refreshments next to Studio Catering Co.

High Octane Refreshments next to Studio Catering Co.

High Octane Bar

High Octane Bar

Seating at High Octane

Seating at High Octane

The only thing that really differentiates it is this small sign above the bar.

High Octane sign

High Octane sign

And sometimes you’ll spot a propped up menu in the middle of the street to let you know what awaits you at this stop.

High Octane Street Sign

High Octane Street Sign

Bar and Beverages

High Octane’s menu features good ol’ standard bar drinks like Long Island Iced Tea, Pina Coladas, and Rum Runners. (We miss you, Stoplight Margarita!) So when it’s time to belly up ;), you likely won’t have a difficult time deciding if you’re already familiar with these basic bar beverages.

High Octane Refreshments Menu

High Octane Refreshments Menu

High Octane Refreshments Menu

High Octane Refreshments Menu

I like the little seating area to the left of the bar that’s spotted with trees (it provides a wee bit of shade), so my friend and I carried our beverages there.

Side area seating

Side area seating

We decided to sample the Strawberry Daiquiri, Captain’s Mai Tai, and Blue Skyy Lemonade.

The Strawberry Daiquiri (this blend of strawberry and Bacardi Rum is pre-mixed and poured from a machine, for those curious) is Continue reading →

2014 Food and Wine Festival Booth Preview: Hops & Barley and Ireland Marketplaces

This week, all! The 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival kicks off THIS WEEK!

food and wine festival logo

It seems like we’ve been counting down, bringing you previews, and talking about it forever, so it will be so fun to hit the ground and begin trying all of the new dishes and returning favorites!

And this year, the festival has been extended to a record 53 days. That’s more than seven weeks to experience this great event.

We love showing you what you can expect from the Marketplace Booths that surround World Showcase. (For all of the Marketplace Booth Menus, be sure to visit our Main Booth Page.)

Today, let’s take a closer look at a couple favorites…

Hops & Barley Marketplace Booth

Originally introduced in 2005, the Hops & Barley Booth serves as the upscale taste of American food for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. You’ll find the extra large kiosk situated in the courtyard of the America Pavilion.

Hops & Barley Booth

Hops & Barley Booth

While the marketplace began as a celebration of New England food and Samuel Adams beer, they’ve widened the scope a bit with food and beverages from all across the country.

And, as the name implies, there are a few different beers to sample here. But while the booth has been all about Sam Adams beer in the past, now you can sample other craft brews as well as wine.

2014 Hop & Barley Marketplace Booth Menu

  • Artisan Cheese Plate featuring Cabot Cloth Wrapped Cheddar, Purple Haze Chèvre Goat Cheese and Cave Man Blue Cheese
  • Baked Lobster Alfredo
  • Florida Grass Fed Beef Slider with Pimento Cheese
  • Fresh Baked Carrot Cake with Craisins® and Cream Cheese Icing
  • Samuel Adams® Octoberfest
  • New Belgium Brewing Company Snapshot
  • Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat®
  • Leinenkugel’s Seasonal Shandy
  • La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
  • Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir, Cambria Estate Winery
  • Beer flight (featuring 4 4-ounce servings): Samuel Adams Octoberfest, New Belgium Snapshot, Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat and Leinenkugel’s Seasonal Shandy

While the Cheese Booth will be on hiatus in 2014, we’re happy to see one of its offerings pop up here at Hops & Barley — the Artisan Cheese Plate!

Trio of Artisan Cheeses

Trio of Artisan Cheeses

The trio includes some familiar faces from cheese plates around Walt Disney World, including Purple Haze Chèvre Goat Cheese and Cave Man Blue Cheese.

Purple Haze

Purple Haze Chèvre Goat Cheese

Caveman Blue Cheese

Caveman Blue Cheese

Also migrating from another marketplace is the Florida Grass Fed Beef Slider. The burger was previously featured at the Florida Local Booth. But for 2014, Florida Local has morphed into Farm Fresh.

The Mini Burger gets new life with a fun new topping — Pimento Cheese! Creamy and spicy, this is a great addition to the lineup here!

Florida Grass Fed Beef Slider with Pimento Cheese

Florida Grass Fed Beef Slider with Pimento Cheese

We’ve looked forward to Lobster dishes at Hops & Barley in the past. This year, we’re happy to say that it returns once more! Find it in the Continue reading →

Review: Dinner at The Turf Club Bar and Grill at Saratoga Springs Resort

We’re off to the races!

And by “races,” I mean sitting and enjoying dinner ;). Today we’re heading to The Turf Club Bar and Grill at Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. The theme of this Disney Vacation Club resort reflects upstate New York and celebrates its history of horse racing.

Naturally, this theme extends to its solo Table Service Restaurant – The Turf Club (a common name for dining establishments offering great club views of the races at many horse racing destinations across the country).

Oh, and if you’re curious about where you can find THIS chocolate dessert at Disney World, you’ll want to stay tuned!

Sign leading you to the Turf Club

Sign leading you to the Turf Club

Heading towards the Turf Club Bar and Grill

Heading towards the Turf Club Bar and Grill

And so with that, I say… “Riders up!” Let’s dig in!

Atmosphere

Upon arriving for our Advance Dining Reservation at 5:00 pm (the earliest seating at this dinner-only spot), I noticed that just behind the check-in stand was a beautiful wooden piece resembling an old-fashioned horse stable.

"Horse stable"

“Horse stable”

Okay, that’s not entirely true… I didn’t pick up on the fact that it was supposed to be a stable until exiting the restaurant, which is why this picture was taken from the back :). Once I realized it, I thought it was pretty clever. All that to say… themeing here is quite subtle. Dark woods and deep greens are predominant, and the overall effect is appealing.

Indoor Seating at the Turf Club

Indoor Seating at the Turf Club

Of course, you will find a few nods to the equestrian theme throughout the restaurant.

Framed horse racing gear

Framed horse racing gear

Carpet decoration

Carpet decoration

Covered, outdoor seating is available, offering views of the Lake Buena Vista Golf Course.

Outdoor seating

Outdoor seating

Outdoor seating

Outdoor seating

And our host checked with us if we would like to be seated outdoors, but since they day was still very warm, we chose indoor seating.

Indoor Seating

Indoor Seating

Table for two

Table for two

Overall, think less whimsical, and more Continue reading →

Disney Food Post Round-Up: September 14, 2014

Are you ready for all of the appetizing eats and sips featured at this year’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival? Yes! The Festival gets underway this week with a September 19th debut.

Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Purée at the Patagonia Booth

Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Purée at the Patagonia Booth

And we’ll be devouring ALL of the menu items as so that we can keep our readers updated with new reviews. Stay tuned this week for photos, reviews, and updated pricing on all of the Festival menus!

Plus, click below for all the details on this week’s Disney Food News!

Disney Food News

Check out all the latest Disney Food News — even the stuff we don’t mention in posts on the blog! — on our Disney Food News Pin Board, including restaurant closures, and more!

DFB Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food — or other edible awesomeness — in or from Disney, share a photo with us on facebook or twitter so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds each Sunday!

We’re featuring delicious entrees from Disney California Adventure at the Disneyland Resort in California! Here’s the Red Oak-Smoked Honey-Whiskey Barbecue Tri-Tip with mashed potatoes and seasonal veggies was shared by Facebook friend, Terry. Try it at Ariel’s Grotto.

BBQ Tri-Tip

BBQ Tri-Tip

We were also sent this pic of a Thai Lettuce Wrap on the menu at the Cove Bar — sent in by Facebook friend Joanne.

Thai Lettuce Wrap

Thai Lettuce Wrap

What’s your Favorite Find? Send it in!

The DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book

Pick up your copy of the DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival e-Book!

2014 Food and Wine Guide 3D

The DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book features all the info you need to know before you attend the Food and Wine Festival this year, from what’s NEW this year to touring strategies — and a new section with top tips on how to use MyMagic+ at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

As always, we’ve made this guide instantly downloadable for your convenience, and easily installed on your mobile devices. It’s a PDF guide with over 220 pages of detailed information about the Festival as well as photographs and customized bonus items to help you get the best experience possible. On a budget? Find out how to make those dollars (or Disney Dining Plan snack credits) stretch all around World Showcase. And we have a fully updated FAQ section that answers questions you didn’t even know you had!

Bonus Items

The DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot Food & Wine Festival includes customized bonus items that go above and beyond any other Food & Wine Festival coverage currently available. These include:

  • A full, daily schedule of events for every day of the festival
  • A printable World Showcase Booth Menu Checklist that you can use to plan, and easily bring with you to the festival
  • Themed World Showcase booth crawls (there’s even one for the kids!)
  • Food and Wine Festival customized Touring Strategies for One Day visits, Budget-Conscious visits, visits with kids, and more
  • A chapter dedicated to all Continue reading →