Welcome back to Saratoga Springs Resort!
Saratoga Springs is a Disney Vacation Club Resort, with easy access to Downtown Disney by boat, bus, or foot path. Tucked into the main building that houses reception, a merchandise shop, and the Turf Club Bar & Grill (the resort’s Table Service restaurant and lounge), you’ll also find the Counter Service option for Saratoga Springs: The Artist’s Palette.
Having really enjoyed dinner at The Turf Club Bar and Grill a few months ago, I was looking forward to spending a little more time checking out The Artist’s Palette.
And since the hunt is currently on for the Triple Crown with “American Pharaoh” leading the way after winning the Kentucky Derby, what better time to visit this equestrian-themed resort once more?
While Saratoga Springs Resort itself is themed after upstate New York — a place known for spas and horse-racing (hence, the Turf Club), The Artist’s Palette is modeled to resemble a city artist’s loft.
Wood and brick walls, along with a lofted ceiling and lots of windows, provide a peaceful, simple setting that allows the bold and colorful lighting fixtures to really pop. I don’t know if this was the intention, or maybe it was just having painting on my mind due to the theme, but all the primary colors remind me of paint colors on a white palette just before mixing.
Naturally, large pieces of artwork complete the scene.
During your visit, be sure to check out the work of any little budding artists staying at Saratoga Springs ;).
Outside, you can find a few tables — not to mention rocking chairs — as well.
These overlook the main pool area, and face the beginning of the waterfall at High Rock Springs. Overall, it manages to feel calm and serene, even while being the busiest area of the resort.
And, since we’re outside, I’ll show you something that has absolutely nothing to do with food ;). This one’s for my
fellow Hidden Mickey fans out there, because Saratoga Springs happens to be the home of one of my favorites. Coming outside from Artist’s Palette, if you stroll to the left several yards you’ll arrive at the Winner’s Circle outside of the reception section of the building.
Take a look at the horse…
… and then a closer look at the bit on the horse’s bridle. TA-DA!
But we’re here to talk about food, so it’s back in we go!
Before we check out the menu, it’s worth noting the somewhat unique setup of The Artist’s Palette ordering area. The line to order your food is fairly typical — you walk down the display cases towards the center where Cast Members can take your order.
You can even see a few display entrees along the way.
The unique thing is that the cash registers also serve guests with merchandise from the shop as well as food orders.
In order to keep the lines from building up, guests with food orders bring their order ticket to the cash registers and receive a table number upon paying, which allows a Cast Member to find them at a table to deliver their food when it’s ready.
Sandwiches, salads, and flatbreads dominate the menu at The Artist’s Palette. And while that sounds pretty standard, many of the items have a little twist. The Bistro Buffalo Chicken Panini, for instance, is a fitting feature dish for the upstate New York theme of the resort.
Another example: you can get a fairly typical Pepperoni Flatbread, but other options include Chicken and Spinach, Italian Sausage, or a Cheeseburger (!!) version.
Speaking of the flatbreads, I love how the brick from the artist’s loft theme is converted into an oven in the kitchen area.
Oh, and if you’re visiting after 5:00 pm, make sure you take a look at the Dinner Specials which rotate throughout the week. On our visit, it was Roasted Apple BBQ Pork Loin.
You can also find the weekly rotation on the printed menu.
Ever since I first ate at The Artist’s Palette, I’ve had a Turkey and Brie Sandwich problem — the problem being that I like it so much that I’d never ordered anything else. But this was a day for branching out! So with that, we selected the Lobster Club Sandwich, Cheeseburger Flatbread, and Bistro Buffalo Chicken Panini, and chose to eat outside.
I’d heard good things about the Lobster Club Sandwich, so I was excited to give it a try: it’s lobster salad with lemon mayo, lettuce, and tomato.. oh, and smoked bacon!
You can see this one is heavy on the mayo, what with being a salad and all :). And while I prefer lobster sandwiches a bit more simple — a la the Maine Lobster Roll at BoardWalk Bakery — this is still a really tasty (not to mention substantial) dish!
The smoked bacon is a terrific complement to the lobster, and I love the multigrain bread they use for many of the sandwiches here (including my Turkey and Brie).
Overall, this dish is hearty without weighing you down.
Our side with this one was the Vegetable Slaw (the other choice being house made chips). Though it’s pretty basic, it does have some unique components like corn and some added herbs.
Since flatbreads share the spotlight on the menu here, we couldn’t resist trying one. The Cheeseburger Flatbread features all (and I do mean ALL) of the most popular burger toppings — ground beef, onions, pickles, American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, mustard and mayo — on top of a thin flatbread.
While we got it as-is, these are made to order so if you’re not, say, a mayo fan, I’m thinking you could ask for it without.
It’s essentially a cheeseburger without a pesky roll getting in the way ;). And may I just say, “Woo!” It stayed together surprisingly well, even though the generous toppings took a bit of a balancing act.
Here’s the thing: I ordered this for the novelty of it and therefore had my doubts, but ended up totally digging it. It reminded me a bit of the Cheeseburger Spring Rolls I loved at Magic Kingdom’s Egg Roll Wagon, in that it tasted just like a cheeseburger, only in a different presentation. The fresh, dense toppings on top of the nicely crisped flatbread — along with PLENTY of cheese — came together for a fun and yummy meal. Or maybe more than a meal… this thing might be the equivalent to a couple of burgers. As such, it is very filling, so I’m glad I had someone with me for sharing.
Finally, we tried the Bistro Buffalo Chicken Panini: pulled chicken with Buffalo sauce, blue cheese, and a carrot and celery slaw. It’s served on the same bread as the Lobster Club, and this time we went with the house made chips (also referred to as “Saratoga Chips,” but really, they’re the same terrific house made chips you’ll find in Resorts all over Disney World).
Let’s start with the good news: for fans of Buffalo chicken (Why, hello, AJ!), the Buffalo sauce is as spicy and tasty as you’d hope, and it works just as well on pulled chicken as a traditional wing (case in point: the Buffalo Chicken Dip served at the Turf Club). Here’s a shot without all the chips to give you a better idea.
Clearly this won’t appeal to everyone, but for those who love the flavor of Buffalo sauce, this makes for one intense sandwich! I would’ve liked to have more of the celery and carrot slaw to help break things up (there was hardly any on my sandwich), but overall, the flavor was on point.
Unfortunately, the bread — which is typically what makes the sandwiches at The Artist’s Palette such a standout — couldn’t withstand the sauce and the heaviness of the chicken. When I tried to pick it up, it started to fall apart. I turned it over to find it had soaked through, making the whole thing a mess and difficult to enjoy.
I’m thinking a thicker roll might be the better choice for this one, which is on the right track (horse-race pun intended 😉 ), but didn’t do so well in the execution.
Craving dessert? The Artist’s Palette doesn’t really have anything in the way of signature dessert items, but they do, of course, carry standard ice cream novelties and bakery items.
I almost passed it by, except that the cupcakes were calling my name.
True, they’re just your basic chocolate and vanilla. But while I love a lot of the over-the-top gourmet cupcakes you’ll find all over Disney World property (the Tiramisu Cupcake at Captain Cook’s and the King Cupcake at the Everything Pop Food Court among a bajillion others), sometimes you just want a simple classic.
These absolutely fit the bill for a simple, delicious and moist cupcake topped with just the kind of slightly “crispy” icing I love. They also fit the bills in my wallet — at $2.66 apiece including tax (and considering that most gourmet cupcakes start around $4.59 and go above $5 in some cases), these are a great little dessert!
And with that, it’s time we exit the loft and wrap up our latest visit to Saratoga Springs.
The Artist’s Palette steps outside the norm with some of its more unusual offerings compared to the standard Resort food court, so it’s worth spending some time really exploring the menu to see if there’s something appealing to help you step outside your own norms, too! What you’ll likely find is some fun food twists in a more sophisticated and calm setting than you’ll find elsewhere.
While it’s a great spot for guests staying at Saratoga Springs, you may find it worth your while to hop over from a bustling visit to Downtown Disney to find a bit of respite, enjoy a nice meal, and explore a little more of Saratoga Springs Resort.
Have you dined at The Artists’s Palette? Please let us know about your experience with a comment!