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 Epcotadmission 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!

DFB Guide to the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival e-Book

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…]

Photo Tour and Review: The New Harambe Market in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Karibu! Welcome to the new Harambe Market in Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

Harambe Market

Harambe Market Entrance

Harambe Market

Harambe Market

This brand new Counter Service location in the Africa section of the park features four distinct serving stations offering dishes based on African street food, and plenty of beverages.

Harambe Market sign

Harambe Market sign

Harambe Market

Harambe Market

You have to look for it a bit —it’s tucked behind Tamu Tamu Refreshments, and this new section creates a continuing path from the Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction to the road leading from Africa to Asia.  Once you get there, the surrounding area begins pulling you into the setting and story even before you set foot past the official entrance….

Atmosphere

The new Harambe Market area is ready to welcome guests from all around the globe.

Harambe Guest House outside of entrance

Harambe Guest House outside of entrance

Surrounding area

Surrounding area

Surrounding area

Surrounding area

Surrounding area

Surrounding area

Surrounding area

Surrounding area

Just outside the Market

Just outside the Market

You walk into the official Market through this entryway.

Harambe Market

Harambe Market

Harambe Market gate

Harambe Market gate

Side entrance to Harambe Market

Side entrance to Harambe Market

When Disney released the first info about the marketplace to come, they shared a bit of its story  as well: the marketplace serves as a center of commerce serving food and goods to world travelers who have come to the town as a respite before or after their safari adventures seeking out the animals of Africa. Of course, we’ll be getting to the food :), but here are a few glimpses of the market.

Best Baskets

Best Baskets

Market Goods

Market Goods

Hidden Mickey?

Hidden Mickey? Or do I just see them everywhere now?

Market Goods

Market Goods

The water tower stands tall as a landmark over the marketplace.

Water Tower

Water Tower

Water Tower

Water Tower

Whenever the Wildlife Express Train goes by on its trips to and from Rafiki’s Planet Watch, it’s even more believable that you’ve stepped into a place that hosts traveling guests. It’s truly transportive.

Set near the train tracks

Set near the train tracks

My third or fourth attempt to capture the passing train

My third or fourth attempt to capture the passing train

If you’re like me and could spend all day checking out the detailed signs and wall art all over Animal Kingdom, get ready to have an absolute field day in here.

Signs and posters

Signs and posters

Signs

Signs

As always, some of the posters and bits of art make you smile while others are more thought-provoking, but all [Read more…]

Raglan Road (In Ireland!): How Recipes are Born

We are a couple days back from the Raglan Road Master Chef Class in Ireland! And after recovering a bit from the go-go-go pace and jet lag, I’d like to share with you a few more glimpses into my time there.

The Cooking School at Dunbrody House Hotel

The Cooking School at Dunbrody House Hotel

Today, we step into the kitchen to get behind-the-scenes insight into how Chef Kevin Dundon and his team create the recipes that we enjoy on Raglan Road’s menu and during special functions.

Creating the Recipes

If you followed along during our coverage of the #RaglanRoadTrip, then you know that Master Chef contest entrants were tasked with creating a three-course menu that would be featured at Raglan Road’s upcoming tenth anniversary celebration this October.

Sancerre and Irish Butter -- How Could We Go Wrong?

Sancerre and Irish Butter — How Could We Go Wrong?

As it turns out, this exercise set the stage for the curriculum in cooking school this week!

Chef Dundon took each of the finalists’ menus, chose one dish, and refined it. The resulting collaboration turned in five dishes that were at once original and recognizable — but also over-the-top delicious.

Chef Dundon Creates and Heather Takes Notes

Chef Dundon Creates and Heather Takes Notes

Watching the process was interesting in that it gave each of us the chance to see how recipe development for Raglan Road takes place.

Starting with the seed of the finalists’ recipes, Chef Dundon and the finalists experimented with the dishes and tweaked until they were just right. He cooked as the finalists took notes. And at the end of the day, each person tested how well they paid attention by cooking the dish all over again. (They all did great, by the way.)

One of the Dishes -- Flash Fried Oyster Butter Soup with Honey Foam

One of the Winning Dishes — Flash Fried Oyster Butter Soup with Honey Foam

I think the biggest takeaway for all of us was the concept of [Read more…]

News! 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Confirmed Booths, New Dishes, and More Details!

The Epcot Food and Wine Festival will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2015, and today, we’re starting to get an idea of what this year will include.

2015 Epcot Food and Wine Logo

We have updates on everything from food to new attractions, so let’s get to it!

NEW Booths and Dishes

While we anticipate lots and lots more announcements about new food items, we’re getting our very first glimpse of some eats that will debut in the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Booths!

The Scotland Booth is back and will debut a brand new drink, the Scottish Citrus Thistle!

A Grilled Sweet and Spicy Bush Berry Shrimp with Pineapple, Peppers, Onions and Snap Peas will be a highlight at the Australia Booth, and the New Zealand Booth will tempt guests with a Seared Venison Loin with Wild Mushroom Ragout and Kumara Dumpling.

Other new dishes will include Pepper Bacon Mac ‘n Cheese (what WHAT?!??!?) at the Farm Fresh Booth. But I super hope that amazing Hash returns in 2015!

Farm Fresh Marketplace

Farm Fresh Marketplace

Of course, we are crossing our fingers and hoping that plenty of dishes that we love return as well. We do know that the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup is returning to the Canada Booth!

Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup

Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup Will Once Again Join the Festival Line Up

So we can breathe a collective sigh of relief there. :-)

New Special Events

We cannot wait to check out a brand new festival Premium Event — the French Family Meal Traditions Lunch, which will take place on Fridays and Sundays.

Parisian Breakfast

If the French Family Meal Traditions Lunch is Anything Like the Parisian Breakfast, We Can’t Wait!

A brand new premium party, the Rockin’ Burger Block Party, will also take place on select dates. More details to come about that one!

NEW Artists Debuting and Familiar Favorites Returning to Eat to the Beat Concert Series

Taking in an Eat to the Beat Concert as the sun goes down is a great way to enjoy your evening at the festival. And this year, we have some brand new acts to choose from.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Performing at Eat to the Beat

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Performing at Eat to the Beat

New acts Tiffany, Everclear, Maxi Priest, and Chaka Khan will take the stage at the America Pavilion in 2015. They’ll be joined by several returning acts, including Wilson Phillips, Smash Mouth, The Pointer Sisters, Jo Dee Messina, Boyz II Men, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. (No word on Hanson, yet, kiddos — stay tuned!)

Celebrity Chefs to Appear at the 2015 Food and Wine Festival

One of the most fun aspects of the festival is catching a low cost culinary demonstration with celebrity chefs. 2015 will see the return of many favorites. Look for Cat Cora, Robert Irvine, Jamie Deen, Rock Harper, Kenny Gilbert, and Buddy Valastro at Culinary Demos and Special Events.

Cake Boss, 2011 Sweet Sundays Event

Cake Boss, 2011 Sweet Sundays Event

Chef Cat Cora Book Signing at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Chef Cat Cora Book Signing at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The festival will also welcome back chef and cookbook author John Ash, who appeared at the very first festival in 1996!

Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak Scavenger Hunt

Also new for 2015 — everyone’s favorite rat chef Remy will be joining the party with [Read more…]

Review: Disneyland 60th Anniversary Mickey Mouse Cake Pop

I had an amazing time in Disneyland last week, celebrating the kick-off of their Diamond Anniversary year!

Sleeping Beauty Castle decked out for the Diamond Anniversary

Sleeping Beauty Castle decked out for the Diamond Anniversary

And, of course, as is the case anytime a Disney park celebrates a big milestone, they brought out tons of special treats. From dressed up candy apples…

Diamond Celebration Minnie Apple

Diamond Celebration Minnie Apple

…to diamond glow cubes…

Specialty beverages with diamond glow cubes

Specialty beverages with diamond glow cubes

…to the most incredible popcorn buckets ever…

Disneyland Balloon Popcorn Bucket

Disneyland Balloon Popcorn Bucket

…it was a blast just wandering the park noshing on all of the latest goodies.

But, of course I had to see what the 60th Anniversary cake pops were all about!

Disneyland 60th Anniversary Cake Pops

Disneyland 60th Anniversary Cake Pops

These guys were just [Read more…]

Photo Tour: Streets of America “Restaurants” in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Typically when we’re talking about Streets of America at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it’s because we’re reviewing some eats in that area of the park, including Pizza Planet, Mama Melrose’s, Studio Catering Co., High Octane Refreshments, and our beloved Writer’s Stop.

Writer's Stop

Writer’s Stop

But today we’re going to take a stroll around this part of the park that doesn’t typically get a whole lot of attention (unless it’s the holiday season when The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights takes over).

Many people pass through this area of false fronts and forced perspective representing street sets for New York and San Francisco on the way to or from the Lights! Motors! Action! Extreme Stunt Show. But I have always loved this section of the Studios as a great place to wander around and take in loads of those famous Disney details.

Streets of America

Streets of America

Streets of America

Streets of America

Streets of America

Streets of America

Among the shops and various business ventures lining these city streets, you’ll notice more than a couple of restaurants and food stops — lots of mom-and-pop-style operations that look like places locals would frequent if these settings were, in fact, real.

For instance, when you’re wandering down New York street, you just gotta love the sign that says it all… by saying next to nothing: the “Eat” sign.

"Eat"

“Eat”

I don’t care what they’re serving. I’d kinda like to try it.

"Eat"

“Eat”

And I can’t be the only person who wishes the Village Pizza Parlor was real every single time I walk past.

Village Pizza Parlor

Village Pizza Parlor

Village Pizza Parlor

Village Pizza Parlor

Calzones and Pie by the Slice! And you have to respect a place that boasts “Macaroni” on the window.

Village Pizza Parlor

Village Pizza Parlor

Looks to me like a place that could rival Via Napoli for Best Pizza in Disney World… if it actually existed, that is ;).

If you look up (and, as they say, you should always [Read more…]

News: Cooking Classes and Demos for Kids and Adults Coming to Downtown Disney

Is your kiddo a future Disney Chef in the making? If so, you may want to sign him or her up for the Annual Kid’s Cooking Class, returning to Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe in Downtown Disney Orlando on Saturday, June 20th at 11 am!

Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe

Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe

What’s on the docket for any junior chefs in attendance? Not only will they learn kitchen essentials from master chefs, but they’ll also take part in creating a few Downtown Disney dishes (in kid-friendly versions, of course)! The menu includes Rice Balls from Portbello, Kid’s Pizza with assorted toppings from Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe, and will end with a Banana Split from Fulton’s Crab House.

© Wolgang Puck Cafe Orlando

© Wolgang Puck Cafe Orlando

The cost to attend is $40 per child. Included in the ticket are [Read more…]

Review: Backlot Express at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

We’re back at the Backlot Express!

And it’s a good time to visit, since Backlot Express is really THE place to go in Disney’s Hollywood Studios to get that “backlot” feel, especially since The Studio Backlot Tour attraction closed down last September.

It’s also a good time solely because it’s always a good time to visit Backlot Express. With its fantastically-done themeing, this movie production warehouse that’s actually an eatery serves up Quick Service favorites (with a few unique items thrown in), and it’s long been just about my favorite Counter Service restaurant in Hollywood Studios. Of course, now you’ll find part of it decorated for the Rebel Hangar Star Wars Lounge Experience for Star Wars Weekends, but my most recent visit took place just a couple weeks prior to the temporary redecoration.

It’s been too long, I’d say… so let’s head back inside Backlot Express!

Atmosphere

Yes, Backlot Express is a Counter Service stop, so the goal —aside from getting fed ;) — is to be in and out and get back to the attractions. In fact, that was even more of the goal with the Express Order test. But if you have a little extra time, I’d really encourage you to spend some of it exploring the terrific details here.

This “Warehouse of Good Eating” (its slogan is on the main entrance sign), in story, serves as a warehouse for the Studios, storing all manner of movie production items from paints and props to storyboards and stunt gear.

Backlot Express sign and "warehouse" entrance

Backlot Express sign and “warehouse” entrance

The sculpture area is super cool, with the scupltures all in white awaiting their paint.

Sculpture

Sculpture

Sculptures

Sculptures

Sculpture

Sculpture

And you can spot pops of color here and there, too.

Painted sculpture

Painted sculpture

Speaking of paints… you’ll see cans upon cans of the stuff, in both indoor and outdoor seating areas.

Paint cans

Paint cans

Paint cans in outdoor seating

Paint cans in outdoor seating

Though you could choose to eat in the stunt crew area.

Stunt diagram

Stunt diagram

But I can’t say that I have, since I find the stunt dummies sitting above –frankly — a little creepy.

Stunt dummies

Stunt dummies

Stunt dummy

Stunt dummy

Some of my favorite details, though, are reminders that you’ve walked into a functioning, working warehouse complete with safety-in-the-workplace and supply conservation signs.

Save Money sign

Save Money sign

Safety Quiz

Safety Quiz

There is even the ol’ office bulletin board for the Paint Department, displaying inter-team memos as well as [Read more…]

News (From Ireland)! Grass-Fed Irish Beef Coming Soon to Raglan Road

In the next couple of days, I’ll be bringing you more highlights from Disney Food Blog’s visit to Ireland with Chef Kevin Dundon from Raglan Road Irish Pub. Today, we’re taking a closer look at one of the food suppliers we’ve visited, which will very soon be supplying to Raglan Road in Orlando directly from Ireland!

Grass Fed Beef at Raglan Road

I was very interested in our stop at Paddy Murphy’s to learn more about how grass fed cattle are raised for beef in Ireland. And while there, we were treated to some exciting news — grass fed Irish beef is coming to Raglan Road in the very near future!

Paddy Murphy and Chef Kevin Dundon Discuss Grass Fed Beef with the Group

Paddy Murphy and Chef Kevin Dundon Discuss Grass Fed Beef with the Group

Since grass fed beef is highly regarded as a more humane treatment for the animals, and is much healthier for beef consumers, this is pretty exciting news.

But why now, you may ask? Well, up until very recently, there has been a ban on Irish beef coming into the United States. But when the ban was lifted earlier this year, it paved the way for Chef Dundon to do something he’s wanted to do for quite a while — showcase Irish beef at Raglan Road in Disney Springs.

Raglan Road is Bringing Irish Grass Fed Beef to Its Menu (Photo © Raglan Road)

Raglan Road is Bringing Irish Grass Fed Beef to Its Menu (Photo © Raglan Road)

In recent years, there has been a huge movement by many people to leave behind the more popular grain fed beef for grass fed varieties. The reasons for this are fairly simple: grass fed beef is higher in nutrients than grain fed beef. Cows have historically grazed for their diet, which consisted of grass and grass-like plants as well as shrubs. Introducing grain into a cow’s diet does quite a lot to fatten the animal and promote nicely marbled meat, but it wreaks havoc on the nutritional profile, since animals are what they eat.

Currently, Irish raised grass fed beef is running as [Read more…]

Reminder! Just a Few More Days to Get These Limited Time Discounts!

I hope you’re all having an amazing day on this Memorial Day Monday!

As we mark a time of remembrance this Memorial Day weekend, we also look forward to fun celebrations with family and friends as Summer gets underway! And if you’re like me, that means one thing — vacation is JUST around the corner!

I wanted to remind you that here at DFB we’ve got some fantastic discounts on our best-selling DFB Disney World Dining Guidebooks for a limited time to celebrate all of the fun trips planned ahead!

Believe it or not, it’s already time to start making those Advance Dining Reservations! And we’re going to help you make sure you choose the best restaurants Disney has to offer. There are hundreds, after all!

We have three great offers for you to choose from! Read on for all the details, but hurry — you can only take advantage of these savings through Saturday, May 30!

dfb2015_guide_3d

Discount #1: $5 Off The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2015

Our fully guaranteed, comprehensive e-Book offers more than 490 full-color pages to help you plan your very best Disney World trip ever!

With reviews, tips, expert advice, and hundreds of color photographs, you’ll get the biggest bang for your planning buck! And our handy e-Book format has been completely updated for your 2015-16 Disney World vacation.

Inside the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2015, you’ll find:

  • A 5-Step Strategy for Disney Dining Planning, covering everything you need to know from budgeting and booking to kids’ meals, dining discounts, and fireworks. 5 simple steps and you’re done!
  • A comprehensive and in-depth look at EVERY Disney World restaurant, kiosk, bar, and lounge, including our personal tips to ensure a positive and stress-free dining experience.
  • Four free, [Read more…]