Review: Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl at Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner

Fun news today from Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner!

You know how Columbia Harbour House used to have Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl? And you know how they don’t anymore and many, many, many of us still lament this on a regular basis?

Well, during a recent trip through the odyssey that is a Star Wars Weekend at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, one of our staffers spied a new menu at Min and Bills Dockside Diner that just might interest you…Clam Chowder Served in a BREAD BOWL.

Shazam.

Min and Bills Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Min and Bills Menu — Click to Enlarge

Bread bowls have been sorely missed in Disney World, although they remain a staple at several Disneyland spots, like Pacific Wharf Cafe and Royal Street Veranda.

So, it took us about 5 seconds to realize that we needed to get this and share it with you right now! And so…here it is.

It’s not a huge bread bowl, and it’s not Boudin Bakery (AFAIK); but it is hearty and the bread is clearly an artisan-type, fresh-baked boule that’s more interesting than your run-of-the-mill loaf. Pieces of onion make the boule visually interesting and infuse the bread with some complex flavor. Pretty, huh?

Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl is Back in WDW!

Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl is Back in WDW!

Under the little bread lid, you’ll find the boule hollowed out enough for about a cup of soup.

Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl -- Under the Lid

Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl — Under the Lid

When I removed the lid, I was happy to see the fresh Bacon and Chive garnish, which gave the soup additional color, texture, and flavor. I personally think Clam Chowder benefits hugely from [Read more…]

Review: Blue Milk Milkshake at 50s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

It’s time to head back to 50s Prime Time Cafe for a little Star Wars goodness.

This restaurant, located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, is a great example of Disney imagineering. The 1950s retro vibe is enhanced with authentic furniture, wallpaper, and knick knacks — and the staff play right along…so be sure to eat all your veggies, or run the risk of having them fork-fed to you.

Don't forget to ask for a TV table on your visit to 50s Prime Time Cafe! And keep your elbows off the table...

Don’t forget to ask for a TV table on your visit to 50s Prime Time Cafe! And keep your elbows off the table…

But 50s Prime Time also features some classic…and not-so-classic…Milkshakes. The Peanut Butter and Jelly Milkshake is a must-try.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Milkshake

Peanut Butter and Jelly Milkshake

You’ll find standard chocolate and vanilla as well, and the Prime Time will usually dream up a few specialty, seasonal milkshakes for the menu. The Red Velvet Cake Milkshake, with chunks of cream cheese frosting, was pretty fantastic.

But if you’re heading to the Studios for the last of the Star Wars Weekends today or tomorrow, it’s your last chance to try one of my favorite seasonal options — the [Read more…]

Review: California Grill in Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Time to check in on one of Walt Disney World’s most popular signature dining spots — California Grill.

Located atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the Grill has become nearly as well known for its stellar views as its market-inspired food. And those two factors can make this a tough table to book.

My last visit here, however, when the restaurant had just reopened after an in-depth refurbishment, was somewhat disappointing. At the time, I chalked it up to the kitchen having an off night; after all, I had enjoyed incredible dining here many times before.

I decided it was time to check in again. So we booked an early Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) on a recent visit, and up we went.

Atmosphere

If you’ve never visited California Grill, then there’s one thing you should know: you don’t just head to the 15th floor. Your journey actually starts on the 2nd floor of the Contemporary where you check in. Even if you’re just heading to the first-come, first-served Lounge, this is your first stop.

Second Floor Check In Desk for California Grill

Second Floor Check In Desk for California Grill

You’ll then be escorted via a private elevator to the 15th floor. In this way, staff act as gatekeepers for the popular spot. If left unattended, it would get pretty busy up there, especially around Wishes-at-Magic-Kingdom time.

Once you make your way upstairs, a bank of Wine Fridges greets you straight ahead.

Entrance and Wine Fridges

Entrance and Wine Fridges

You walk through the Lounge and Bar to get to the restaurant’s main seating area. That sounds as though these are different spaces; they aren’t. Basically, with the exception of a few private dining rooms, the restaurant features an open floor plan, accentuating the sweeping views and retro-meets-modern vibe.

California Grill Bar

California Grill Bar

If you find yourself without an ADR, there’s still hope. You can sit in the Grill’s Lounge and order from the menu, or just enjoy Drinks, Sushi, and Appetizers. Be forewarned, though: it’s not uncommon for this area to reach capacity as the night goes on. Here at 5PM, though, it was pretty bare.

California Grill Lounge

California Grill Lounge

Wrap around to the main seating area, and you see that nearly every table commands an excellent view of the surrounding landscape, including Magic Kingdom and the Resorts situated around Seven Seas Lagoon.

Seating varies here and includes both tables and chairs and booths.

Seating

Seating

There are also a selection of tables that mix banquette and chair seating. Note that white tablecloths and cloth napkins are the norm here, lending to the upscale air of sophistication.

Table for Two

Table for Two

Booths are somewhat unique in that they are located in the middle of the floor. That means that you can enter from either side, and there will be traffic on both sides of your table, similar to what you find at Jiko. While this isn’t necessarily bad, it does mean that your booth won’t be as secluded as you might like.

But the view outside of the windows isn’t the only thing you have to look at.

California Grill Kitchen

California Grill Kitchen

The well-orchestrated, professional hustle and bustle that’s happening behind the counter in the on-stage kitchen can be fascinating as well.

Prepping for Dinner Service

Prepping for Dinner Service

Although we will focus today on the food here, the sweeping, panoramic vistas certainly bear mentioning. You can see for miles!

The View

The View

And that’s one of the biggest draws of California Grill — this view, especially when it comes to [Read more…]

Review: Beignet at Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in Epcot’s France Pavilion

Bonjour! We are popping into Les Halles Boulangerie and Patisserie in Epcot’s France Pavilion today to take a closer look at a new-to-us pastry!

You may remember last year around Mardi Gras time when we shared with you the Beignets commemorating that time of year. They were really interesting — unlike what we normally think of as beignets. (You know, those fluffy fried pillows of deliciousness. Rectangular or Mickey-shaped — we’re good either way.)

But on a recent visit to Les Halles we were intrigued to read that the Beignets seemed to be different, since they were described as Chocolate Hazelnut-filled.

Wait. What?!

Yeah…that’s all it took to get us there.

Le Beignet at Les Halles

The previous beignets at Les Halles were Bugnes Lyonnaise, diamond-shaped with a hole in the middle, and were rolled in granulated sugar. So when I was handed this treat, it was clear that we were dealing with something completely different.

Enjoying a Beignet in a Quiet Spot

Enjoying a Beignet in a Quiet Spot

We took the snack to my favorite secret hide-y place in the France Pavilion. (Nope, not tellin’ ya where…OK, behind the perfume shops. But don’t tell.) It’s a wonderfully quiet and shady spot — a perfect place to dig into Les Halles loot!

As you can see, it looks like a traditional filled doughnut. Actually, it reminded me a lot of the Berliner featured at the Germany Booth during last year’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

Les Halles Beignet -- Up Close

Les Halles Beignet — Up Close

Time to cut into it! I went for it, expecting to see a snug little pocket of chocolate Hazelnut filling. But this is what greeted me on the cross section.

Beignet -- Cross Section

Beignet — Cross Section

Well, I knew there was filling in there. It was too heavy for there not to be! And so I [Read more…]

Review: Everything Pop Food Court at Disney’s Pop Century Resort

It’s time to head back to Everything Pop Food Court at Disney’s Pop Century Resort for lunch!

Pop Century Resort has a cult following of legendary proportions, and Everything Pop Food Court goes right along with that. Maybe it’s because the eats here are little more imaginative than they have historically been at other value resorts. Or maybe it’s just because you can get a waffle with a giant Pop! emblazoned on it!

Whatever the reason, this spot has long been a favorite of mine — and even a destination for me for some of their specialties when I’m staying at other resorts. (King Cupcake, anyone?)

It’s been a while since I’ve visited, so on a recent trip I made it a point to stop by Everything Pop for a bite to eat.

Let’s take a look at what I found!

Atmosphere

You will find no shortage of color and decor as you enter Everything Pop. But you wouldn’t really expect a Zen experience with such a name anyway, right?

Entrance Sign -- Up Close

Entrance Sign — Up Close

It’s fun, and it’s, well. Pop. The kind of loud, happy decor you’d expect with a name like that. These food “billboards” entice you into the eating area, beckoning you to come check out the newly updated menus.

Fun Food Signs

Fun Food Signs

As with other Food Court-type settings at Walt Disney World, the “Create You Own” theme is big here. But you’ll find more options to customize here than just about anywhere else. As the sign says, it’s the perfect place to head when you’re feeling hungry AND creative!

Poppin Nachos and Baked Potatoes Sign

Poppin Nachos and Baked Potatoes Sign

We’ll take a quick side journey to check out seating.

While there are plenty of tables and chairs to choose from, you won’t find super comfy digs here. After all, this is counter service. I don’t figure that you’re interested in lingering for hours over that burger or plate of eggs.

Additional Seating

Seating Area

Still, if you do require a bit of a comfortable break, booth seating is padded and a little more cozy, since it’s walled (or windowed) off to one side.

Booth Seating

Booth Seating

More tables along the bank of floor to ceiling windows provide a little space from the rest of the guests, and give you a good view out onto the grounds.

Table Seating

Table Seating

Enough with tables and chairs. On to the food!

Eats

Pop in to Everything Pop, and you can choose from seven different serving stations. They include, in broad terms, a [Read more…]

It’s Back! Bacon Mac and Cheese Bread Cone at Disney California Adventure

Well, I’ll be dipped.

So there I was, walking around Disneyland taking in all the sights and tastes for the 24-Hour Kickoff of the Disneyland Diamond Resort Celebration, when I stumbled upon THIS piece of gorgeousness.

Bacon Mac & Cheese Cone sign

Bacon Mac & Cheese Cone sign

The Macaroni & Cheese Bread Cone is BACK! Well, at Disneyland, that is! And you can find it at the Cozy Cone Motel in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure.

Cozy Cone Motel Sign

Cozy Cone Motel Sign

Cone Queso at the Cozy Cone Motel

Cone Queso at the Cozy Cone Motel

So, why is this such a huge deal? Well, in case you missed it last summer, a little backstory: last August we reviewed the Macaroni and Cheese Bread Cone at Disney WORLD found in Hollywood Studios at the concession stands for the Fantasmic! nighttime spectacular.

And it was quite a hit. Because it’s a HUGE pile of MAC AND CHEESE. Topped with BACON. Stuffed in BREAD. Like this…

Macaroni and Cheese Bread Cone previously served at Fantasmic!

Macaroni and Cheese Bread Cone previously served at Fantasmic!

Macaroni and Cheese Bread Cone previously served at Fantasmic!

Macaroni and Cheese Bread Cone previously served at Fantasmic!

However, probably no more than two days after we reviewed it, it was pulled from the Fantasmic menu.

Gone. Vamoose. Finito!

No big drama or anything, just a regular menu change and pretty much par for the course when you’re scoping out food at Disney World. But a major bummer nonetheless, what with it being MAC AND CHEESE. Topped with BACON. Stuffed in BREAD and all.

So when I saw that sign last week, I knew I had to grab it. Lesson learned: far be it from me to let a moment with the Mac and Cheese Bread Cone slip through my fingers. Pay no mind to the fact that [Read more…]

News! The Orange Bird Returns to Magic Kingdom — With SUPER Limited Time Merchandise

As you may know, there was a little switch-up in Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland a few months ago: Aloha Isle (home of the Dole Whip) and Sunshine Tree Terrace (Citrus Swirl haven) changed places to accommodate construction — it is widely believed — for an upcoming Jungle Cruise-themed restaurant.

New Sunshine Tree Terrace location

New Sunshine Tree Terrace location

On the day the “new” locations opened, however, there was one obvious thing missing: the Orange Bird could not be found at Sunshine Tree Terrace (to learn a little more about the Orange Bird’s long Adventureland history, check out the video in this post!).

Disney assured fans, thankfully, of his impending return, and it seems it has now come to pass. The original Orange Bird figurine returned today — Friday, May 29th — to Sunshine Tree Terrace (and he is going to be honored on the location’s sign as well).

Welcome back, Orange Bird!

Welcome back, Orange Bird!

To celebrate his homecoming, the Disney Parks online store is selling a LIMITED RUN t-shirt and poster featuring our little orange pal! Through June 4 only, this Orange Bird T-shirt will be available in an Adult and Youth size:

©Disney

©Disney

A print featuring the same design is up for grabs, and so is [Read more…]

News! 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Eat to the Beat Concert Schedule!

It’s finally here! We have more information to share with you from the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, which runs September 25-November 16, 2015.

eat-to-the-beat-logo

The Eat to the Beat Concert line-up is in the books! There are lots of exciting returning acts like Hanson, Wilson Phillips, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. And as always, a few new acts freshen up the mix a bit. We look forward to seeing Tiffany, Everclear, Maxi Priest, and Chaka Khan this year!

Here’s the full list. Don’t forget to check out our 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival page for all the latest details on the festival!

2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Eat to the Beat Concert Line-Up

  • David Cook – September 25-27, 2015
  • Wilson Phillips – September 28-29, 2015
  • Christopher Cross – September 30-October 1, 2015
  • Starship – October 2-4, 2015
  • Smash Mouth – October 5-7, 2015
  • The Pointer Sisters – October 8-9, 2015
  • 38 Special – October 10-11, 2015
  • Rick Springfield – October 12-13, 2015
  • Sugar Ray – October 14-16, 2015
  • The S.O.S. Band – October 17-18, 2015
  • Air Supply – October 19-21, 2015
  • Fuel – October 22-23, 2015
  • Tiffany (NEW!) – October 24-25, 2015
  • Dennis DeYoung – October 26-28, 2015
  • Jo Dee Messina – October 29-30, 2015
  • Everclear (NEW!) – October 31-November 1, 2015
  • Boyz II Men – November 2-4, 2015
  • Sister Hazel – November 5-6, 2015
  • Big Bad Voodoo Daddy – November 7-9, 2015
  • Hanson – November 10-12, 2015
  • Maxi Priest (NEW!) – November 13-14, 2015
  • Chaka Khan (NEW!) – November 15-16, 2015
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Performing at Eat to the Beat

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Performing at Eat to the Beat

Eat to the Beat concerts are free with Epcot admission throughout the festival. You can catch up to three shows per night at at 5:30 PM, 6:45 PM and 8:00 PM in the America Gardens Theater, located in the America Pavilion. Check out our Eat to the Beat Concert page for details and times.

Start Your Planning Today! The DFB Guide to the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival e-Book is now available for Pre-Order!

2015 DFB F&W Guide Cover

This 200+-page guide to the Festival offers insider tips and advice as well as all of the details you need to know to plan your best Festival visit ever. Pre-order your 2015 edition today, and download the 2014 guide for FREE — immediately!

Your purchase includes several bonus items as well — including a full daily schedule of events at the Festival and a printable World Showcase Booth Menu Checklist to carry with you as you Eat around the World!

Use code Chefs at check-out for a $3 discount!

Is YOUR favorite act [Read more…]

Review: Star Wars Specialty Beverages in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Umm… have we mentioned that there is a wee little event by the name of Star Wars Weekends going on at Disney’s Hollywood Studios?!

Star Wars Weekends

Star Wars Weekends

In case you missed the memo ;), Star Wars Weekends is running Fridays through Sundays through June 14th. And as in previous years, temporary pop up bars appear for the weekends all around the park offering specialty cocktails just for the occasion. Last year, guests were asked to Choose Their Side by choosing their beverage: The Force or The Dark Side. This year, though, you get to Choose your PLANET!

The Mustafar and The Tatooine

The Mustafar and The Tatooine

The Endor and The Alderaan

The Endor and The Alderaan

There are four different drinks available, and each bar features two of the four. For instance, in the seating area of Starring Rolls Cafe, I happened upon this pop up bar featuring The Mustafar and The Tatooine.

Popup Bar near Starring Rolls

Popup Bar near Starring Rolls

The pop up bar near the Hollywood Studios Main Stage, however, was serving The Endor and The Alderaan.

Pop-up Bar near Min & Bill's

Pop-up Bar near Min & Bill’s

For a point of location reference, you can spy a few of the umbrella-topped tables from Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner in the background for this bar, but really you can’t walk very far without happening upon a pop-up in just about every section of the park.

Now, while the drinks differ, there is something special about the beverages that is similar, no matter which bar you visit, and that is the souvenir glow cubes corresponding to specific beverages. With The Tatooine and The Endor, you receive a Millennium Falcon glow cube, while The Mustafar and The Alderaan feature the Death Star.

Death Star Glow Cube in The Alderaan

Death Star Glow Cube in The Alderaan

Last year the glow cubes were a major part of the story, too. First, because they’re awesome. Second, they were so popular that they ran out almost immediately. If I understood correctly, many were gone as early as the second weekend of the event! Here’s hoping the inventory was greatly amped up this year in anticipation of their popularity.

If you choose your drink based on a glow cube, you’re [Read more…]

Spotted: Mickey Waffles and Ice Cream Bars… for Your Dog!

We know… if you were able to bring Fido on your Disney World vacation, you totally would. You would probably even sneak him a bite of your Mickey Waffle under the table at your resort food court as you start out each day before heading into the parks. After all, you love nothing more than starting the day with a Mickey Waffle, so why wouldn’t he?

Well, now your dog can have one of his very own! Our friends at Mickey Fix let us know about this awesome Mickey Waffle Pet Chew Toy, and it can be yours (well, Fido’s, really!) from the new Disney Tails line found on DisneyStore.com!

©Disney

©Disney

But why stop there? Wouldn’t he just love his own Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Bar Chew Toy, too?

© Disney

©Disney

There are actually several chew toys available, though not all of them feature food. How about [Read more…]