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Review: New Menu Items (and Lots of Fresh Cocktails!) Debut at Raglan Road Irish Pub in Time for St. Patrick’s Mighty Festival

Raglan Road Irish Pub at Downtown Disney continues to be one of my favorite spots to gather with friends.

Although the major overhaul of the Downtown Disney / Disney Springs area makes getting here more difficult, I think it’s worth the time and effort to make it happen.

You’ll find Raglan Road right in the front of what was formerly known as Pleasure Island, but what is slowly morphing into The Landing at Disney Springs. Indeed, so much work has taken place in this area (finally!) that you’ll hardly recognize it if you haven’t been there for a while. Let’s take a quick look at the immediate area, and also have a little look around the Pub before we settle in for the food talk.

Atmosphere

So…how long’s it been since you visited Raglan Road? Because the landscape around the Pub has definitely changed a bit. At least, for the time being. If you’re accustomed to approaching Raglan Road from the (previously) adjacent parking lot, you might be a little disoriented.

Raglan Road -- Outside, with Construction Walls

Raglan Road — Outside, with Construction Walls

We actually parked in the completed West Side Parking Building, and the exit brings you out in front of Planet Hollywood. From there, it’s just a short walk, past some of the new Disney Springs shops, to reach Raglan Road.

Don’t let all of those construction walls put you off. Once you’re inside, it’s exactly the same, and you’ll start to feel that sense of the familiar as you step into the foyer.

Entrance Foyer

Entrance Foyer

The gift shop is located to the right. You’ll find a good assortment of Raglan Road merch, but there are also some interesting items that would make awesome gifts.

Gift Shop

Gift Shop

You can choose between two bars. And be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to look around — the bars and other trim in the pub were actually salvaged from pubs, churches, and other spots in Ireland. That sense of nostalgia and antique? Totally authentic.

One of the Two Bars

One of the Two Bars

Raglan Road is pretty large, boasting three separate dining rooms, plus a snug and a few inviting corners. For a more extensive tour, check out our most recent lunch review.

Recently, I had the chance to sample some of the new menu items that Raglan Road has introduced just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

Eats

The staff of Raglan Road were excited to share some delicious new dishes with us. To showcase them, we enjoyed a sampling of several new items at a recent luncheon.

Dinner Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Dinner Menu — Click to Enlarge

Raglan Road fans will be relieved to see that a lot of their favorites, like Dalkey Duo and Nom Nom Wings, made the cut.

Menu -- Appetizers -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Appetizers — Click to Enlarge

Likewise, there are a couple of new Entree options that we’ll look at, but all of the signature items remain.

Menu -- Entrees -- Click to Enlarge

The New Dinner Menu — Entrees — Click to Enlarge

Menu -- Salads and Sides -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Salads and Sides — Click to Enlarge

While what you see here may not be plated in exactly the same way it was for us when you order it, you’ll get the idea from the pictures of the fives courses we enjoyed.

We also have several drinks to show you. Don’t worry; what you’re about to see was a team effort, and not my own personal parade of drinks. ;-) To keep things straight, I’ll share the cocktails as they were served — paired with each course.

We began our meal with an aperitif, an Irish Honey Cup. The refreshing drink combined Bushmills Irish Honey, Pimms, Fresh Lemon Sour, and Sprite for a little sparkle. The drink was garnished with Cucumber and Fresh Lemon.

Irish Honey Cup

Irish Honey Cup

We began with Harry’s Beef Carpaccio, a combination of Seared Beef Tenderloin with a side of Greens and Tomato, simply dressed with Creamy Anchovy Vinaigrette. The dish is garnished with freshly shaved Parmesan

Harry's Beef Carpaccio

Harry’s Beef Carpaccio

…and an Anchovy Filet. I confess, this wasn’t my favorite part. But others seemed to enjoy it. And it was certainly a showstopper!

Anchovy Garnish on the Carpaccio

Anchovy Garnish on the Carpaccio

Our next course would be an Continue reading →

News! Cinderella Premium Popcorn Bucket Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Pretty soon, the Cinderella Cupcake won’t be the only food tribute to the upcoming live-action “Cinderella” film at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Cinderella cupcake

Cinderella cupcake

Because Cinderella’s Coach will be arriving in March… in the form of this awesome PREMIUM POPCORN BUCKET!

©Disney

©Disney

Complete with carrying strap, wheels, and a picture of the princess herself, the introduction of this bucket celebrates the Continue reading →

Tips from the DFB Guide: Healthier Options in Walt Disney World

Many of us regard a trip to Walt Disney World as an opportunity to take a break from healthy eating, and counting calories, carbs, etc.

dfb2015_guide_3d

But sometimes, you don’t necessarily want to check nutritional discipline at the Purple Gates.

You may think that healthy eating at Walt Disney World is an oxymoron. But more and more, that’s simply not so.

Sure, you can indulge to your heart’s content. But whether you’re looking to sub out just one meal or snack a day for a health-savvy option, or you plan to stick to your guns in the nutrition department while you’re amidst the magic, we have some great tips for finding healthy and tasty options at Walt Disney World!

They come courtesy of the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2015! And if you find these tips to be helpful, pick up your copy of the Guide today for $4 off using code “2015” right here!

Head for the Grab and Go

Not too long ago, Disney World was a sea of hamburgers, fries, and soda pop. And some people think that’s what it STILL is.

But, honestly, things have changed.

Disney Grab and Go Healthy Options

Disney Grab and Go Healthy Options

Sure, you still have lots and lots of choices in the burger genre. But they’ve definitely expanded beyond the fast food mentality when it comes to quick eating options.

My best tip for eating healthy — and this goes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time — is to head for the Grab and Go section.

Sunshine Seasons Fruit and Cheese Plate

Sunshine Seasons Fruit and Cheese Plate

You’ll spy Grab and Go spots in lots of places. There are always robust choices in the Resorts. There, you’ll find everything from prepared salads, sandwiches made with lean meats, and even sushi. Check out Landscape of Flavors at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort for a great selection! And when it comes to a Park option, Sunshine Seasons offers choices that can’t be beat.

Grab and Go Sushi

Grab and Go Sushi at Landscape of Flavors

So if you have the resolve to pass the pizza and burgers by, a healthy meal is totally in your grasp!

Be Mindful About Restaurant Choices

If you have healthy eating in mind, then you probably shouldn’t pencil in a counter service lunch at Casey’s Corner. ;-)

Don’t get me wrong — Corn Dog Nuggets and Plastic Cheese are totally boss. But let’s face it — planning ahead to eat at a restaurant that offers lots of fresh choices and grilled options is probably a better idea when you’re trying to stay on the healthy bandwagon.

Fortunately, better-for-you options abound at Walt Disney World. One of my favorite spots to grab a healthy counter service lunch is Tamu Tamu Refreshments at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. You can’t go wrong with their Chicken or Vegetable Curry.

Tamu Tamu Vegetarian Curry

Tamu Tamu Vegetarian Curry

Another option that I can recommend is the Japan Pavilion at Epcot. Whether you choose Miso Soup from Kabuki Cafe, a counter service meal at Katsura Grill, or you opt for Continue reading →

Spotted: Hawaiian Host Macadamia Treats at Polynesian Village Resort’s Boutiki

Did you know you can take a real taste of the Hawaiian islands home with you from Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort?

Boutiki

Boutiki

Boutiki

Boutiki

Now, you may already be familiar with some of the ways you can grab a macadamia treat while at the resort… say, the Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cupcake occasionally spotted at Captain Cook’s, or Macadamia Pineapple Pancakes from Kona Cafe.

Chocolate Macadamia Cupcake from Captain Cook's

Chocolate Macadamia Cupcake from Captain Cook’s

Macadamia Pineapple Pancakes from Kona Cafe

Macadamia Pineapple Pancakes from Kona Cafe

But I was walking by Boutiki recently — the main merchandise location at the Polynesian — and couldn’t help but notice this window display packed to the brim with “Hawaiian Host” items, prepackaged and ready for travel.

Boutiki window display

Boutiki window display

Boutiki window display

Boutiki window display

Boutiki window display

Boutiki window display

Stepping inside I found the Hawaiian Host display, which features an assortment of chocolate treats — all starring Macadamia nuts. The selection at Boutiki includes Continue reading →

Best Disneyland Restaurants for First Timers

Okay. So I tried to come up with the Top Three Disneyland Restaurants for First Timers. But there was no way I could limit my picks to just three. So then, I said, hey, let’s try for the Top Five.

Even still.

So in the end, I cut myself off at Eight. :-)

Disneyland's Matterhorn

Matterhorn!

There is so much good food in Disneyland. Really, it was super hard not to just give you a list of pretty much every restaurant there, and call it a day.

But if you must narrow it down, these are the restaurants that I love. These are the spots that I’d go to every single time if I could. (And mostly, I do.)

Heading to Disneyland, or just dreaming about a pilgrimage there? Check out my picks for the places you have to visit during your very first trip. Whether you’re looking for a meal or a snack, you can’t go wrong with putting these spots on your list.

Cafe Orleans

If I could only eat at one spot in Disneyland for the rest of my life, I’m fairly sure that spot would be Cafe Orleans. Located on New Orleans Square, it’s offers some of the beautiful patio seating that Disneyland is known for.

Outdoor Patio at Cafe Orleans

Outdoor Patio at Cafe Orleans

But I’m going to be honest — Cafe Orleans claims the distinction of offering not just one or two, but three of my favorite Disneyland dishes. (And that’s pretty much all I ever eat there.) First, when you visit here, I insist you order the Pommes Frites. Tossed with Garlic and Parmesan, they’re served with a Cajun Remoulade ramekin. I also insist you order TWO remoulades. At least. Per person.

Cafe Orleans Pommes Frites

Cafe Orleans Pommes Frites

While I love their gumbo here as well, it’s the Monte Cristo Sandwich that I can’t live without. Pockets of bread layered with Ham, Turkey, and Swiss Cheese are lightly battered and deep-fried. Served with Berry Puree for dipping, this is pretty much something everyone should eat at least once in life.

Disneyland's Famous Monte Cristo

Monte Cristo at Cafe Orleans

Not a meat-eater? There’s also an All-Cheese Version. No. Seriously. There is.

Behold. The Three-Cheese Monte Cristo. Did I mention the Double Creme Brie?

Three-Cheese Monte Cristo at Disneyland's Cafe New Orleans

Three-Cheese Monte Cristo at Disneyland’s Cafe New Orleans

But save room for dessert — because you can’t pass on the Mickey Beignets served with Dipping Sauces.

Mickey Beignets with Sauces

Mickey Beignets with Sauces

Have this meal just once, and you can say “I’ve been to Disneyland” properly as far as I’m concerned.

Blue Bayou

But Cafe Orleans has an older, slightly more posh sister — Blue Bayou. And while I usually skip it in favor of Cafe Orleans, if you’re visiting the ‘Land for the first time, you really need to experience this place.

Because more than anything, Blue Bayou is an experience; it’s as much an attraction as a restaurant.

Blue Bayou Atmosphere

Blue Bayou Atmosphere

Because the restaurant is fashioned to look like a verandah on a river’s edge. Look below you into the water, and you see travelers, en route to explore the mysteries of the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Honestly, the food is less important here to me than the “view.” I have enjoyed the New Orleans Signature Gumbo. And in this setting, it’s even better.

New Orleans Signature Gumbo

New Orleans Signature Gumbo

And yep, to be honest, I like to order the Monte Cristo here, too!

Le Special de  Monte Cristo Sandwich

Le Special de Monte Cristo Sandwich

It’s a little fancier (and more expensive), but just as delicious.

Napa Rose

Some of my Disneyland dining choices are obviously sentimental; either I love the restaurant, the food, or both. But it’s not like they’re the tip-top of the culinary pyramid or anything. But then, there’s Napa Rose.

I Love the Napa Rose Outdoor Lounge Area

Start Your Napa Rose Adventure With a Glass of Wine on the Outside Patio

Nestled inside Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, Napa Rose stands as a testament to fine California fusion cuisine, inspired by fresh farm-to-market ingredients.

Chef Sutton's Chili Base

Chef Sutton’s Chili Base — Even Base Ingredients are Created in House From Scratch

Chef Andrew Sutton is in charge here, and his menus make use of the freshest items. Prepare to be Continue reading →

News! 2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival FULL Food Menus!

We have big news from Epcot today!

The 2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Menus are Finally Here!

With just a week to go before the opening of the 2015 Flower and Garden Festival, we have the full list of menus for the super popular Outdoor Kitchens! Mark your calendars — the Festival lasts from March 4 through May 17.

Disney Food Blog Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

These Outdoor Kitchens, which are similar to Marketplace Booths that dominate the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, feature delicious small plates that allow you to taste fresh flavors from the garden.

We Loved This Violet Lemonade at the 2013 Flower and Garden Festival!

We Loved This Violet Lemonade at the 2014 Flower and Garden Festival!

There are lots and lots of new things to try. A brand new Outdoor Kitchen will debut in 2015. Botanas Botánico will be located between the France and Morocco Pavilions and will feature food and drink with a Venezuelan influence.

Sadly, we’ve also confirmed that one of our favorites, Continue reading →

Review: Cheese Danish at Writer’s Stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

If you’ve picked Disney’s Hollywood Studios as your first stop of the day, with plans to swing by your Resort’s Grab-and-Go to pick up a Cheese Danish before making your way to the park… may I offer a word of advice?

Don’t.

It’s not that it’s a bad choice, per se. There’s not a thing wrong with the standard cheese danish available across resort food courts. It’s fine. But it’s nothing compared to the Cheese Danish waiting for you at the Writer’s Stop.

We’re big fans of Writer’s Stop around here for a couple of reasons. Reason One: it offers a nice respite thanks to its out-of-the-way location in the Streets of America and low key coffee shop/bookstore vibe. It blends in so seamlessly in this area filled with TV and movie set false fronts that a lot of people don’t even realize it’s an operating snack stop.

Writer's Stop

Writer’s Stop

Writer's Stop

Writer’s Stop

Writer's Stop

Writer’s Stop

The casual bookstore-and-coffee-shop vibe inside invites you to meander and browse for a while.

Inside Writer's Stop

Inside Writer’s Stop

Inside Writer's Stop

Inside Writer’s Stop

Book shelves

Book shelves

Small seating area

Small seating area

Reason Two (ok, maybe this should be Reason One ;) ): it’s home to the famous Carrot Cake Cookie! We love this legendary snack so much that we’ve yet to sing the praises of the danish pastries available in this stop, because it’s so hard to resist the Call of the Cookie.

Carrot Cake Cookie at Writer's Stop in Disney's Hollywood Studios

Carrot Cake Cookie at Writer’s Stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

But since there really is no better way to start a day than with an enormous pile of cream cheese doused in icing, today is the day that the danish gets its due. I’m obviously focusing on the Cheese Danish, but you can often find Continue reading →

News! Flip Cards Offer a Fun New Way To Communicate with the Staff at Whispering Canyon

Whispering Canyon Cafe is a favorite destination for Disney World guests who are looking for an interactive dining experience.

The restaurant, located in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, has long been known for its vivacious waitstaff.

Veterans of this fun spot know what happens when you ask for ketchup. (I hope you wanted a lot???) And be forewarned that your straws will probably be thrown at you.

And it’s not just the small fries who get in on the games. Kids of all ages can join in. In fact, you’re pretty much expected to!

Fair Warning -- Your Straws Will Most Likely Be Thrown At You

Straw “Delivery”

But it seems like Whispering Canyon understands that some of us like to participate in Stick Horse Races…and others would rather just watch.

Hobby Horse Race at Whispering Canyon Cafe

Hobby Horse Race at Whispering Canyon Cafe

And so, they’ve come up with an ingenious, lo-tech way to signal your server which tribe you belong to!

On a recent visit to the ‘World (this week, in fact!), one of our intrepid team members spotted these cute cards at Whispering Canyon. This was the first time we had seen them. They were instructed by their server to use the cards to communicate with the staff.

Want the full battery of antics? Then flip the card to Continue reading →

Tips from the DFB Guide: How MyMagic+ is Impacting Disney World Dining

When we all had our first glimpse of Magic Bands a couple of years back, did any of us have an idea that MyMagic+, Disney’s all-inclusive planning system, would impact so significantly the way we dine in Disney World?

dfb2015_guide_3d

As soon as we saw those super cute bracelets (how many colors do you have??), we had an inkling that they’d spell major changes in the way we enjoy our Disney mealtimes. Almost immediately we put together this post, which gave our predictions for the MyMagic+-ful future.

Fast forward a couple of years, and we’re definitely seeing the impact of Disney’s commitment to the technological overhaul. So today, we thought we’d share with you some seriously helpful information from the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2015!

And if you find these tips to be helpful, pick up your copy of the Guide today for $4 off using code 2015 right here!

So let’s talk about some ways that MyMagic+ is impacting your Disney World Dining!

Schedule Meals and FastPasses — Without Conflict

This is probably one of my favorite things about MyMagic+. Use of the My Disney Experience app to preschedule my Advance Dining Reservations and my ride FastPasses means that the two don’t ever conflict.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Choose Between Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Be Our Guest? Now You Don’t Have To!

In the past, when the FastPass machines simply spit a time out for your return, there were times that I had to choose between Soarin’ and La Hacienda de San Angel’s Crema de Elote. (And seriously. You do know that the food always, always won, right?)

Corn Soup -- Up Close

Sorry — But I Will Always Choose La Hacienda’s Corn Soup Over Soarin’

But in the time since MyMagic+ was introduced, I’ve been able to schedule attractions around meetings, meals, and anything else I’d like! Seriously — I’ve ridden so many more rides since MyMagic+ came on line!

Touch to Pay is Awesome!

If you ask me — and pretty much all of the DFB Staff! — we agree that the Touch to Pay using our Magic Bands is one of our favorite things about MyMagic+ System.

Touch to Pay at a Counter Service Location

Touch to Pay at a Counter Service Location

Across the board, we love that you no longer have to search through your bag or wallet for a Key to the Kingdom card or credit card to pay.

Touch to Pay at Raglan Road

Touch to Pay at Raglan Road

Teenagers especially love the freedom of being on their own in the parks, knowing that Continue reading →

News! New “Kitchen Magic with Mickey” Disney Cookbook Arrives in Disney Parks

Many of us love to reproduce the recipes that we find at our favorite Disney restaurants once we get home. That’s one reason that I love to collect Disney Cookbooks, filled with my favorite old and new recipes. They’ve become some of my family’s favorite meals!

If you love to collect, cook, and recreate, too, then you’ll be excited to hear this news today. Disney has introduced a brand new cookbook, Kitchen Magic with Mickey!

Kitchen Magic with Mickey Cookbook

Kitchen Magic with Mickey Cookbook

Written by Disney cookbook author Pam Brandon and the Disney Chefs, the cookbook brings together a collection of favorite and often-requested recipes from the four corners of Disney. You’ll find dishes from the Parks, Resorts, and even Disney Cruise Line! With 100 recipes ranging from comfort food favorites like Continue reading →