Review: New Samosas and Naan Dipping Safari at Namaste Café Food Truck in Downtown Disney

When the Namaste Café Food Truck made its debut in Downtown Disney’s West Side last November, we happily sampled the Butter Chicken (BUTTER CHICKEN!!!!!!!!!!), a favorite dish of ours from Sanaa.

The dishes at Namaste Café were chosen to reflect some of the best cuisine to be found in Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Animal Kingdom Lodge, and I remember thinking, “Cool… now, if only we could get a little of Sanaa’s fabulous bread service, we’d be set.”

But I didn’t really think it would happen. I just didn’t think the setting was conducive to it.

Well, apparently I was wrong, because IT HAS ARRIVED… kind of! Introducing, the Namaste Café Samosas and Naan Dipping Safari!!

Namaste Cafe Menu

Namaste Cafe Menu

Samosas and Naan Dipping Safari on Menu

Samosas and Naan Dipping Safari on Menu

Now, we’re talkin’!!!

Before we “dip in,” I should let you know where I found Namaste Café, because the Food Trucks are still moving all around Downtown Disney as they await their ultimate destination in the upcoming Food Truck Park.  On this most recent visit, I found it right outside of the World of Disney Store in the Marketplace.

Namaste Cafe in the Marketplace

Namaste Cafe in the Marketplace

A few [Read more…]

Tip from the DFB Guide: Where To Dine With Both Picky AND Adventurous Eaters!

We’re sharing another great tip from our critically-acclaimed e-Book, The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2014!

disney dining tips

Today, we’re talking about a common conundrum: How do you satisfy all of the people, all of the time?

We’ve all been there. You have a picky eater in your group. No problem, right? Hamburgers, pizza, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets are all available throughout the parks and resorts.

But where do you go when you have both picky and adventurous eaters among your number?

How about a buffet or food court?

Disney excels at offering some truly interesting, all you care to eat options and food court choices, where the picky and the persnickety can both find satisfying options. Let’s check out a couple.

Tusker House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Tusker House in Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of our favorite stops for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The restaurant features a wonderful spread of African-inspired food. And at breakfast and lunch, you also have the added benefit of a character dining experience!

Goofy Strikes at Pose at Tusker House in Disney's Animal Kingdom

Goofy Strikes at Pose at Tusker House in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

If you’re feeling adventurous, start your meal off with the interesting array of Chutneys and Spreads, before moving on to interesting house specialties like Bobotie or Potato and Pea Samosas.

Beef Bobotie at Tusker House

Beef Bobotie at Tusker House

And lovers of food and pickier eaters alike are [Read more…]

Review: Frozen Chai at Animal Kingdom’s Royal Anandapur Tea Company

We’ve visited the Royal Anandapur Tea Company in Animal Kingdom more than a few times.

Tucked in Animal Kingdom’s Asia just across the way from Kali River Rapids, this hidden gem is known primarily for it’s terrific variety of loose hot teas.

But you can also grab yummy snacks (check the baked goods case for one of those giant pink donuts from time to time) as well as specialty drinks. You’ll even find holiday flavors here during the Winter.

But since our visit coincides with the absolute pinnacle of Summer in Orlando, it was time to find something cool — even icy — to sip.

Royal Anandapur Tea Company

Royal Anandapur Tea Company

Anandapur Royal Tea Company

Royal Anandapur Tea Company signs

Tea selection at Royal Anandapur Tea Company

Tea selection at Royal Anandapur Tea Company

We know a lot of our readers love the Frozen Chai, and so we figured it was high time to feature it here on DFB! Ready to dive in??

Royal Anandapur Tea Company Menu

Royal Anandapur Tea Company Menu

While several of the coffee and tea beverages on the menu can be found at other Joffrey’s Coffee kiosks around Disney World, I believe this is one of the only locations where you can find a blended Frozen Chai. (You can find the Iced Chai — a creamy chai tea poured over ice — at a few of the other kiosks.)

When I placed my order, I was asked if I wanted whipped cream on top of my beverage. Hmmm, let me think about that… YES!!!

As someone who sees Mickey-shaped food rather frequently, I have no idea why I was so happy when it came to me like this…

Whipped Cream Mickey!

Whipped Cream Mickey!

A Whipped Cream Mickey!

Frozen Chai

Frozen Chai

I had to make it past the fun-ness, though, to try the Frozen Chai.

My first impression was that it was [Read more…]

Review: Coconut-Lychee Lemonade at Drinkwallah in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom was chock full of surprises on a recent visit! While Chester & Hester’s Dino-Rama debuted the Cotton Candy Carnival Cocktail, the Asia section’s Drinkwallah held a refreshing adult beverage find of its own: Coconut-Lychee Lemonade.

Drinkwallah Sign

Drinkwallah Sign

Coconut-Lychee Lemonade

Coconut-Lychee Lemonade

One of the reasons I was intrigued by this new drink (aside from the whole “Coconut Rum” thing, that is ;) ) is that it gives us a reason to explore this unique location a little more.

Welcome sign

Welcome sign

Sure, it’s pretty much a small kiosk dedicated to its typically limited menu of frozen non-alcoholic beverages (Coke, Blue Raspberry, and Lemonade are the choices) and a few grab-and-go snacks.

Drinkwallah Menu

Drinkwallah Menu

But that’s exactly what makes the high level of detail in this small snack stop so impressive. Like many places in Animal Kingdom, you could stroll right past Drinkwallah without realizing it, since it blends in so well with its surroundings.

Drinkwallah kiosk

Drinkwallah kiosk

You can spot a few clues, however, as to what’s available inside…

Outdoor signage

Outdoor signage

Ice Cold Refrigeration!

Ice Cold Refrigeration!

… as well as what’s not :).

Drinkwallah signage

Drinkwallah signage

Should you decide to stop inside based on the promise of cold beverages on a hot day, you’ll find that this is where the details really kick in. Just about every inch is packed with a huge array of trinkets, photographs, and artwork.

Inside Drinkwallah

Inside Drinkwallah

Inside Drinkwallah

Inside Drinkwallah

Coke bottles inside Drinkwallah

Coke bottles inside Drinkwallah

Poster on the wall

Poster on the wall

Inside Drinkwallah

Inside Drinkwallah

I always like the detail of exposed electrical wires that you’ll find all over the Africa and Asia sections of Animal Kingdom.

Light fixture

Light fixture

Forgive the awkward angle of this shot of the Coke freezer, but I love the weathered look of it, and it at least gives you some idea as to how small this space is — I had just enough room to lean back and take this picture.

Coke freezer

Coke freezer

In fact, I took the majority of these pictures through the outdoor windows – feeling oddly like a Disney-detail paparazzo ;) — since there is so little room to move inside.

The only thing that reminds you that you are in a theme park is the glow coming from the frozen drink machines themselves, and even they have been enhanced with unique fonts and topped off with materials marked by the “Anandapur Sheet Metal Company.”

Frozen beverage machines at Drinkwallah

Frozen beverage machines at Drinkwallah

Frozen beverage machines at Drinkwallah

Frozen beverage machines at Drinkwallah

Once you ‘re set with your drink or snack, you’ll do best to follow the posted advice.

Indoor signage

Indoor signage

It’s a great feeling to score a spot in this little building just behind Drinkwallah, equipped with a tall chair and – obviously – lots of shade.

Building behind Drinkwallah

Building behind Drinkwallah

But since that’s often already claimed, you can plan an escape to the lower garden.

Lower Garden direction sign

Lower Garden direction sign

What a lovely little space… There isn’t much in the way of seating here, with most opting to grab their cold drinks and continue towards Expedition Everest. But if you do have a few moments to enjoy the view, you can grab [Read more…]

Review: Big Ol’ Donut at Joffrey’s Espresso & Pastries Kiosks

Okay, so maybe when you read the title of this post, you thought, “Really? In the land of Dole Whips, Citrus Swirls, and Supersize Grand Marnier Slushes… you give me donuts?” But just wait. These are super, duper giant donuts. And I know that makes a difference.

One day, I was passing by one of the kiosks, and I heard a man yelling to his wife, “Honey, they’ve got ‘em! I found DONUTS!!

Big ol' Donut

Big ol’ Donut

And I thought, “You know what? The man is right. Sometimes, a person just wants a donut.” And since you can’t find them much anywhere else in Disney World (cronut excepted, of course), it gives us an excuse to check out a few of the Joffrey’s kiosks located in and around the Parks.

Espresso and Pastries stand between the United Kingdom and Canada Pavilions in Epcot

Espresso and Pastries stand between the United Kingdom and Canada Pavilions in Epcot

You’ll find them peppered all over property, often labeled some variant of “Coffee, Espresso & Pastries,” summing up exactly what they serve. Even though they’re painted to match the area where you find them, they look fairly similar to one another in shape and size. Here are just a few examples — there is one right before you enter Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Kiosk before entering Animal Kingdom

Kiosk before entering Animal Kingdom

You’ll find two in Epcot’s World Showcase — one to the left facing [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: June 24, 2014

For this round of “What’s New,” we’re heading to three Disney World parks and five Resorts to check out candy apples, menu changes,  comfort foods, and oodles of cold drinks to help you cool down in hot temperatures! Welcome back to “What’s New!”

MAGIC KINGDOM

Character-inspired Treats

Magic Kingdom rang in the summer with the 24-Hour Rock Your Disney Side event. Several treats debuted that day, which were originally intended to be around just for those 24 hours; but a few made the cut to stick around a little longer, including these eye-catching Maleficent Krispy Treats and cake pops found in the Main Street Confectionery and Big Top Treats.

Maleficent Cake Pops and Krispy Treats

Maleficent Cake Pops and Krispy Treats

If you followed our coverage that day, you may have seen the Sunshine Tree Terrace’s Orange Bird join the candy apple ranks as well, but just in case you missed it, here he is!

Orange Bird Candy Apples

Orange Bird Candy Apples

He’s too cute to not show twice ;) !

Orange Bird Caramel Apple

Orange Bird Caramel Apple

And at Main Street Bakery, the Olaf the Snowman Carrot Cake Cupcake remains, alongside a Frozen-themed one as well.

Olaf Cupcake

Olaf Cupcake

Frozen Cupcake

Frozen Cupcake

Columbia Harbour House

In Liberty Square, Columbia Harbour House is offering two new dinner-only comfort foods: Seafood Macaroni & Cheese and Chicken Pot Pie. You can read our review here!

Columbia Harbour House

Columbia Harbour House

Seafood Macaroni and Cheese

Seafood Macaroni and Cheese

Full entree

Full entree

The Plaza Restaurant

The Plaza Restaurant added a great-sounding choice to their list of entrees: a Beef Brisket Onion Burger.

Plaza sign

Plaza sign

Plaza Entrees

Plaza Entrees

Tony’s Town Square

At Tony’s Town Square, guests can now choose a Seasonal and Sustainable Fresh Catch Salad. And at lunch, a Meatball Trio has replaced the Meatball Sliders.

Tony's Sign

Tony’s Sign

Tony's Town Square Menu

Tony’s Town Square Lunch Menu

Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe

Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe is serving up a new Cherry Slush topped with Lemon-Lime Fomz.

Cherry Slush at Cosmic Ray's

Cherry Slush at Cosmic Ray’s

Cherry Slush topped with Lemon Lime Fomz

Cherry Slush topped with Lemon Lime Fomz

Read more about it (and the mystery that is “Fomz”) by clicking here!

EPCOT

The Refreshment Cool Post (found in the Africa Outpost as you stroll around World Showcase) is offering a few summer treats: Pineapple and Coconut Frozen Yogurt (served solo or swirled together) and a Mango Rum Smoothie featuring African Starr Rum. Check out our review of the new Frozen Yogurt flavors here!

Refreshment Cool Post

Refreshment Cool Post

Pineapple Coconut Swirl Frozen Yogurt

Pineapple Coconut Swirl Frozen Yogurt

ANIMAL KINGDOM

A couple of really fun new adult beverages have arrived in Animal Kingdom!

Drinkwallah

Head over to Asia’s Drinkwallah for a Coconut-Lychee Lemonade with Parrot Bay Coconut Rum. We’ll have a review on the blog soon!

Drinkwallah

Drinkwallah

Drinkwallah Menu

Drinkwallah Menu

Corn-Ivores

Or if you’ve really got to tame your sweet tooth, try [Read more…]

Review: Cotton Candy Carnival Cocktail at Chester & Hester’s Dino-Rama in Animal Kingdom

When you think of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you likely think of winding paths, lush greenery, and rich experiences based in the history, culture, and beauty of Africa and Asia.

Unless, of course, you’re HERE…

Chester & Hester's Dino-Rama sign

Chester & Hester’s Dino-Rama sign

Welcome!!

Welcome!!

Welcome to Chester & Hester’s Dino-Rama!

Dino-Rama Entrance

Dino-Rama Entrance

This street carnival smack-dab in the middle of Animal Kingdom’s Dinoland, U.S.A. is… well, it’s like nothing else in Disney World, that’s for sure. A brightly-colored and whimsical fair of carnival games and rides with over-the-top roadside-stop flair!

Primeval Whirl

Primeval Whirl

Comet Crasher

Comet Crasher

TriceraTop Spin

TriceraTop Spin

Mammoth Marathon

Mammoth Marathon

Mammoth Marathon

Mammoth Marathon

It’s also where you can find some traditional carnival treats, like cotton candy and snow cones at Dino Diner, and popcorn at Corn-Ivores Popcorn Cart.

Corn-Ivores Popcorn

Corn-Ivores Popcorn

Corn-Ivores Popcorn

Corn-Ivores Popcorn

In fact, it was while stopping by Corn-Ivores that I spotted this sign for a Carnival Cocktail: a blend of lemonade, blue cotton candy, and Bacardi Black Razz Rum.

Carnival Cocktail sign

Carnival Cocktail sign

This, I had to try!

Upon placing my order, I was expecting a cotton candy-topped beverage akin to the Cotton Candy Lemonade that you can occasionally find at the Everything Pop Food Court. Nope! Here the cotton candy is blended into the mix prior to pouring. Sad face.

But at least it’s BEAUTIFUL! Don’t you just want to jump in?

Carnival Cocktail

Carnival Cocktail

You can spy the vivid blue hue coming from the drink machines.

Carnival Cocktail in drink machines

Carnival Cocktail in drink machines

But just because I couldn’t see the cotton candy, doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. Because [Read more…]

Guest Review: Harambe Nights at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Today, we welcome @MealTrip back to Disney Food Blog with an in-depth look — and some incredible photos! — of the opening night performance of Harambe Nights!

We enjoyed our first experience with this new hard ticket event at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom when we brought you a sneak peek from a media event recently. Now that the performance — which includes the new show The Lion King –A Concert in the Wild, a Welcome Reception, and a Street Party afterwards — is open to the public, we wanted to bring you another look at the event.

Let’s see what works — and what still needs a little work.

Harambe Nights at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

I made my way to the event location in plenty of time to check out the area for Harambe Nights before many of the guests arrived, and the set up is quite well done.

Festively-capped Cast Members greet guests of the event at the front gate of Animal Kingdom.

Cast Members Welcoming Guests to Harambe Nights

Cast Members Welcoming Guests to Harambe Nights

Here’s a close up of the Harambe Nights sign.

Welcome Sign

Welcome Sign

Let’s head in and take a look around.

Welcome Reception

As you enter the area, don’t forget to grab a program right after you check in and receive your wristband. The program contains information about merchandise, food, and the show.

Distributing Programs

Distributing Programs

It also gives you a handy schedule so you know just how the evening will unfold.

Event Program -- Click to Enlarge

Event Program — Click to Enlarge

Here’s the view as I arrived. The streets of the new Harambe Theater District are set up and ready to go before the party.

Streets of the New Harambe Street District as Guests Arrive

Streets of the New Harambe Street District as Guests Arrive

And here’s the area after 1,000 people are let in!

Streets of the New Harambe Theater District as it Fills with People

Streets of the New Harambe Theater District as it Fills with People

There are numerous beverage and food stations set up throughout the area. Here’s an example of one of the beverage stations. And yes — that’s Jungle Juice!

Beverage Station

Beverage Station

The Welcoming Party menu is somewhat light, and everything food and drink-wise is repeated at all stations, so if you’ve found one, you’ve found them all.

Welcome Reception Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Welcome Reception Menu — Click to Enlarge

The self-serve hot “appetizer” stations are well-looked after by Cast Members, and if you feel the line is too long when you walk up to one, just hang back and wait a few minutes. The crowds tend to ebb and flow, and there’s plenty of time to visit the food tables multiple times without standing in a long line.

Self Serve Appetizers at the Welcome Party

Self Serve Appetizers at the Welcome Party

Spicy Durban Chicken will be familiar to guests who have dined at Boma or Tusker House.

Spicy Durban Chicken

Spicy Durban Chicken

Also throughout the area, there are numerous [Read more…]

Review: Yak & Yeti Restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

At the request of my family, I decided to venture away from my familiar dining locations and try Yak and Yeti in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Earlier in the day, we chose to move up our Advance Dining Reservation from 4:45PM until later in the evening. A quick phone call to 407-WDW-DINE and we were able to re-schedule for 7:30PM.

Atmosphere

After utilizing the single rider line at Expedition Everest, we trekked to Asia’s Yak & Yeti and were one of the last parties seated for the evening. (Isn’t Animal Kingdom awesome in the dark?!)

Expedition Everest at night

Expedition Everest at night

Upon arrival, the upper level was closed off, but the lower dining rooms were still bustling.

Yak sign

At first, we were led to a table right outside the kitchen and nearby the elevator. It was so loud that we couldn’t enjoy our conversation and quickly asked to be seated in a quieter spot.

Decor in Yak & Yeti

Decor in Yak & Yeti

In the next interior room, we settled at a table that was conducive to dinner conversation and also enabled us to enjoy the restaurant’s decor. (Big kudos to the hostess that assured us that she wasn’t a fan of tables near the kitchen and completely understood our request.)

Dining Room

Dining Room

Statue

Statue

Our waiter was very informative and fun. We asked questions about how the new My Magic+ payment system was working for the staff. He shared his frustration with weak wi-fi connections; sometimes he has to move around the restaurant to find a better signal!

Reception Area

Reception Area

He also indicated that it’s more difficult taking Disney Dining Plan credits with the new system; although he felt it was much easier to deal with customers paying with their room accounts. The Cast Members at this restaurant were extremely friendly!

Dining rooms at closing time

Dining rooms at closing time

Bar at Yak & Yeti

Bar at Yak & Yeti

Since I love themed restaurants, I was anxious to take in the detail within the walls of this Asian hideaway. The exotic menu foreshadowed the unique dishes we’d find inside the booklet.

Look inside for exotic dishes

Look inside for exotic dishes

While chopsticks were added to our tabletop, we stuck with our silverware skills!

Chopsticks

Chopsticks

Eats

Already fans of the Crispy Honey Chicken served at Anandapur Local Food Cafe (Yak & Yeti counter-service), hubby and son confidently put in their wok-based order. Made with tempura chicken, broccoli, carrots, and honey sauce, this dish did not disappoint.

Mr. 13 ate heartily (including the brown rice) although he pushed his broccoli to the side. Both agreed that the rice was cooked well, chicken was very tender, and the honey sauce had just the right amount of sweetness.

Crispy Honey Chicken

Crispy Honey Chicken

All three of us chose [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: June 4, 2014

For this round of “What’s New,” we’ve got food news (and menu changes galore) from every single Disney World park… and beyond! So settle, in, make yourselves comfy, and join us to see What’s New!

Animal Kingdom

We’ll start with the fact that Dole Whip (with or without rum, y’all) can now be found at Tamu Tamu Refreshments in Animal Kingdom’s Africa! (Yep; we’ve had confirmation from Dole that it IS indeed authentic Dole Whip Pineapple Soft Serve.)

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

Pineapple Soft-serve (Dole Whip!) menu

Pineapple Soft-serve (Dole Whip!) menu

But we don’t want to miss the chance to mention that Tamu Tamu has also brought back some old favorites with a recent menu refresh: The Slow-cooked Pulled Beef Sandwich is back (hooray!), along with the return of the Quinoa Salad. The Roasted Chicken Salad and gorgeous Fresh Fruit Salad made the cut from the previous menu.

Tamu Tamu Menu

Tamu Tamu Menu

Inside the pulled beef sandwich

Inside the pulled beef sandwich

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad

And I’m very happy to say that the Fresh Fruit Bowl is back in time for summer!

Fruit Bowl at Bradley Falls Kiosk

Fruit Bowl Salad

The Fruit Salad has returned to Bradley Falls, too.

Bradley Falls menu

Bradley Falls menu

Remember, Bradley Falls operates seasonally, so if it’s closed during your visit, it’s good to know you can head over to Tamu Tamu for a Fresh Fruit Bowl.

Have you seen (or heard?!) this awesome Musical Tumbler found at various food locations throughout Animal Kingdom? Get the full scoop here!

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

The Royal Anandapur Tea Company is a perfect spot to grab a cup of hot tea (assorted varieties available) or coffee. However, they’re currently offering some flavored Iced Teas in light of the warmer temps.

Royal Anandapur Tea Company Menu

Royal Anandapur Tea Company Menu

Though not food-related, I’d like to offer this next picture as a small tribute. Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade wrapped up its nearly 13-year run as Animal Kingdom makes way for all sorts of new adventures. I don’t think I’m speaking solely for myself when I say this unique, beautiful and fun parade will be missed.

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade

Magic Kingdom

The Lunching Pad has added one more option to its gourmet hot dog selection: the BLT Hot Dog joins the Coney Island Dog and the Philly Cheese Steak Dog.

Lunching Pad Menu

Lunching Pad Menu

Now, here’s something you don’t see everyday… this next bit is not a new item, but rather a new [Read more…]