I’ve been noticing a few food trends while traipsing through Disney parks, and I think they’re important to mention — especially since they seem to be popping up on every menu re-vamp out there.
First, we gotta take a gander at good old macaroni and cheese. When I asked Disney World’s Sanaa Chef Bob Getchell about the gourmet mac and cheese trend that seems to be taking over Disney restaurants, he mentioned that chefs like to make food they themselves love; many have fond memories of mac and cheese while they were growing up, and they want to create new and improved contemporary recipes for the dish. Here are a few of our favorite versions on and around Disney property:
Yacht Club Resort’s Yachtsman Steakhouse gets a nod due to a relatively new mac and cheese dish I found on the menu in October. Their truffle mac and cheese uses huge orecchiette noodles and Reypenaer cheese with a touch of truffle oil and a topping of crunchy onions. It’s served in a cast iron baking dish that lends a rustic look — very fun! The best part — it tastes amazing. Rich, tangy, creamy sauce nestles into those pasta pieces and serves as the perfect accompaniment to the meal. This is sold as a side dish only, so be sure to look for it at the bottom of the menu.
Not to be outdone, Epcot’s Le Cellier Steakhouse has also introduced some mac and cheese on the menu. Served in a cast iron skillet, elbow macaroni is mixed with creamy cheese (they don’t mention what kind on the menu, but my guess is black diamond cheddar is in there somewhere) and baked ’til the crumb topping is golden brown. This is a huge portion, so get it to share or as your entree.
Disneyland’s Napa Rose has some of the best gourmet mac and cheese I’ve tasted to date. This Truffled “Mac & Cheese” with Orecchiette Pasta and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is served in a small, personal copper pot, and the richness just doesn’t stop. This stuff is not for the faint of heart — you can check out my triplex of photos (including some graphic shots of the buttery sauce) in my Napa Rose review!
Bull and Bear Steakhouse
At the Waldorf Astoria Orlando in the middle of Disney World property, you’ll be absolutely pampered at the Bull and Bear Steakhouse. On the menu here is another massive portion of gourmet mac and cheese, again served in a cast iron skillet fresh from the oven. Strong, flavorful cheeses compliment the softer cream and butter textures and flavors; and this version was extremely creamy instead of sticky or overly thick. You’ll also find that quintessential crumbly breadcrumb topping here.
Les Chefs de France
If you’ve been to Les Chefs de France in Epcot and haven’t tried the Gratin de Macaroni, it’s time to go back. Yes, it’s very rich, but it’s just an incredible version of the dish and well worth ordering. This is probably a good one to share as well; it’s a large portion.
By now, we know the story of the incredible mac and cheese at Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Jiko and its mysterious disappearance from the menu earlier this year. However, it can still be ordered from the kids’ menu, and I highly suggest you do so! Ask your server if you can get it with some of that red wine sauce that used to accompany the filet when mac and cheese was the side for that dish — heavenly!
While the old version of Artist Point‘s mac and cheese side dish has been rotated off the menu, they are still serving a gorgeous Black Diamond cheddar mac and cheese as a side to the Buffalo striploin. While this version isn’t as creamy and rich as the last, it’s a good accompaniment to the striploin and offers a lighter tasting mac and cheese for those who’d rather not feel the aftereffects of such a heavy meal in their bellies! You’ll find Artist Point in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort.
Liberty Tree Tavern
Loads of guests tout the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Tree Tavern mac and cheese (served as a side dish at dinner), but here’s a secret — it’s actually Stouffer’s! No qualms from me, though — I love that bright yellow deliciousness! (Thanks to MFontaine for submitting this photo to the Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza on Flickr!)
Have you noticed any food trends in Disney World, or have you had the chance to sample some mac and cheese yourself? Let us know what you think in the comments section below, or find us over on twitter and facebook!