Disney Food Pics of the Week: Martinis!

Happy Friday!! Today we have more great photos to share, courtesy of Disney Food Blog Readers! We love to show off the talents of folks who post their gorgeous photos on Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza, our Flickr group!

I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the awesome Martinis you can sample at Disney restaurants. So without further delay, let’s check out some delicious drinks that are perfect for the weekend!

Martini Flight at Hollywood Brown Derby

Photographer: Imsoscared

Can’t decide between the Shelby Mayer, the Honey Darling, or the Dorma Nesmond Martinis at Hollywood Brown Derby? Then I’ve got great news — you don’t have to! With this cool Martini Flight, you can try all three — and maybe even share a little.

And now, you can also get the flight at the new Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge as well!

Martini Flight at Hollywood Brown Derby

Martini Flight at Hollywood Brown Derby

Cherry Shaved Ice Martini at Yak and Yeti Restaurant

Photographer: Natasha Joyan

Is it a cocktail or a dessert? Who cares! I say let’s call the Cherry Shaved Ice Martini at Yak and Yeti Restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom a little bit of both.

Shaved Ice Martini at Yak and Yeti

Cherry Shaved Ice Martini at Yak and Yeti

Lemon Martini at Carthay Circle Lounge

Photographer: V No Privacy

Did someone say lemon?? Because I absolutely love the tart stuff! And this [Read more…]

April Treats of the Month and Food Merchandise at Disney World and Disneyland

Walt Disney World and Disneyland are soothing your sweet tooth with some delectable treats from the Disney candy kitchens in April; and in Walt Disney World this month, you’ll be able to take home some fun food merch!

Treat of the Month

Look for seasonal specialties including: dipped strawberries, cupcakes, apples, cookies, fudge, and more!

Getting Ready for a Chocolate Coating

Getting Ready for a Chocolate Coating

You’ll want to try a dark chocolate covered apple with a raspberry and vanilla white chocolate drizzle. Adorned with semi sweet, white chocolate chips, and roasted almonds pieces, this candy apple is sure to please!

Featured Candy Apple in April -- Dark Chocolate and Raspberry

Featured Candy Apple in April — Dark Chocolate and Raspberry

You’ll find these goodies at select locations:

Walt Disney World
Magic Kingdom
Confectionery
Storybook Circus

Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Sweet Spells

Downtown Disney Area
Goofy’s Candy Company
Candy Cauldron

Disneyland Resort
Disneyland
Candy Palace
Hunny Spot

Disney California Adventure
Trolley Treats

Downtown Disney
Marceline’s Confectionery

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Merchandise

Representatives from Tropical Blossom Honey Co. Inc. and Kumquat Growers will feature their products along Epcot’s Promenade from [Read more…]

Review: Lunch at Flo’s V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure

We are back in Disneyland today with another fun look at Flo’s V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure!

Flo's V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure's Cars Land

Flo’s V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure’s Cars Land

This diner is a throwback to all that was good and cool about eating while on the Great American Roadtrip, when Route 66 was in its heyday. And since it opened, Flo’s has quickly become a favorite for its incredible themeing and terrific eats.

While breakfast is phasing out at Flo’s, we recently had the chance to take in lunch here as well, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it! Read on for all the details and lots of pics…

Atmosphere

Visiting Flo’s anytime of the day is a treat, because there’s just so much rich detail to experience. But we especially love the views at night, when the whole place is decked out in neon lights.

Flo's V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure

Flo’s V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure

There’s some fun lighting inside, too! The entrance, which is a rotunda of sorts, features soft lights that change colors. I caught this pic when the room was decked out in bubble gum pink. Check out the cool chandelier!

Period Chandelier

Period Chandelier

One thing to note about Flo’s — it’s enormous! And the seating areas all have different themeing, so be sure to schedule a little extra time for this lunch stop if checking out incredible Disney detail is something that you enjoy.

The restaurant is actually much larger than it looks from the outside. That’s because part of the seating area is themed as a car clinic — both inside and out. Here’s the outside view.

Ornament Valley Mechanical Clinic

Ornament Valley Mechanical Clinic

And here’s the inside!

Mixed Seating

Mixed Seating in the Mechanical Clinic

Don’t you love the X-ray machine? It’s one of my favorite imagineering touches.

Diagnostic Machine

Diagnostic Machine

Much of the front seating section is decorated with touches that are a throwback to the 1950s, and a lot of the memorabilia centers around Flo — a member of the illustrious Motorama Girls.

The story goes that Flo gave up her glamorous career to settle down in Radiator Springs, where she opened up the coolest diner, ever.

I Love These Booths!

I Love These Booths! Check out the headrests!

The Mechanic Room is a tribute to Doc Hudson’s glory days as a championship racer. With rich details like dark wood and leather-esque booths, it has a more [Read more…]

Review: Carthay Circle Restaurant at Disney California Adventure in Disneyland Resort

We are heading into Carthay Circle Restaurant today for dinner with a healthy dose of Old Hollywood glamour!

Carthay Circle Restaurant

Carthay Circle Restaurant

Located on the newly re-imagined Buena Vista Street at the entrance of Disney California Adventure, this is one majestic building. Let’s head in!

Atmosphere

If there is one word that I would use to describe Carthay Circle as I approach, it would be impressive. Disney is in the business of re-creating scenes from film, as well as re-imagining the past and forging the future. And once more, they’ve done an excellent job.

Carthay Circle Premiere!

Carthay Circle Premiere!

I mean, I’ve seen Carthay’s likeness so many times. There’s a gorgeous mural inside Hollywood and Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios depicting the night that Snow White premiered at the famed Tinseltown icon. You’ll find an old framed print of the theatre in one of my favorite Studios haunts, Writer’s Stop (home of the famous carrot cake cookie.) You can also spy it in the relief work of the Studios arch, and there’s a mini version on Hollywood Boulevard, doubling as a gift shop. (For more info, check out this great post.)

Carthay Circle Restaurant Menu

Carthay Circle Restaurant Menu

It’s clear that Carthay Circle holds a special place in the hearts of the Imagineering team. And since we’ll never have the chance to venture into the original theatre, it’s a joy to see it so lovingly recreated as part of the DCA overhaul.

Beautiful Detail on the Tower

Beautiful Detail on the Tower

Two sets of double doors greet you at the entrance of the building. The mirrored doors are great!

Carthay Entrance

Carthay Entrance

Don’t forget — this is a replica of an old Hollywood movie theatre. So naturally, you’ll find ticket windows on either side of the doors. I think it’s fun to see the scale here, don’t you?

Ticket Windows

Ticket Windows

A plaque reminds you of just why Carthay holds such an important place in Disney history.

Plaque Commemorating the Historic Premiere of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Carthay Circle Theatre

Plaque Commemorating the Historic Premiere of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Carthay Circle Theatre

And be sure, if you have the chance, to swing by here at night — if for no other reason than to see this gorgeous view.

Carthay Fountain at Night

Carthay Fountain at Night

As you head in, you’re greeted with separate doors. Two sets lead to Carthay Circle Lounge — and subsequently, onto the restaurant. The other set leads to the exclusive, members-only 1901 Lounge.

Don’t worry! Helpful Cast Members are there to show you the way.

Welcome!

Welcome!

Carthay Circle Restaurant is actually located on the second floor of the building. As you enter, you find yourself in the check in area. Upon confirming your table, you’ll bide your time in a spacious and comfortable waiting area.

Carthay Circle Waiting Area

Carthay Circle Waiting Area

Spend some time taking in the beautiful decor here, as well as all the fun memorabilia. There are tons and tons of photographs and other fascinating pieces. Be sure to check out the collection of Snow White animated cels that are said to have hung in Walt Disney’s home.

Snow White Animation Cels

Snow White Animation Cels

Or you can step into the Carthay Circle Lounge, and enjoy a [Read more…]

What’s New Around Disney World and Disneyland: April 1, 2014!

We have a few updates from both coasts for this round of “What’s New!” And we promise that none of these are April Fool’s jokes. :-D

Starting on the east coast, a recent trip around Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Monorail Loop has revealed a few changes in eats and treats. We’re talking property refurbishments, menu updates, tea, and cupcakes,  so hop on board the Monorail (“Your Highway in the Sky!”) and see What’s New!

We’re saving a seat for you…

Monorail Teal

Monorail Teal

Magic Kingdom

We’ll start our Monorail trip at Magic Kingdom. You may be aware that the Hub (the circular area directly in front of Cinderella Castle) has begun a major refurbishment. This project is slated to run in stages finishing sometime in 2015, with the purpose of accommodating more guests for fireworks and parade viewing, with the added benefit of relieving some of the post-show gridlock thanks to additional walkways.

Though much is covered by refurbishment walls, you can see in these photos where the water that flows towards and around Cinderella Castle has been drained for now to accommodate the construction.

Hub Refurbishment

Hub Refurbishment

Hub Refurbishment

Hub Refurbishment

Hub Refurbishment

Hub Refurbishment

Soooo… what does this have to do with food? The restaurants in the immediate area are still in operation. The beloved Main Street Popcorn Cart is, too; however, it’s now located on the bridge which connects the Hub to Adventureland.

Current location of Main Street Popcorn Cart

Current location of Main Street Popcorn Cart

Current location of Main Street Popcorn Cart

Current location of Main Street Popcorn Cart

Still an easy spot to grab some popcorn before the new Festival of Fantasy Parade!

Festival of Fantasy Parade

Festival of Fantasy Parade

Though the majority of the refurbishment to add expanded seating to Casey’s Corner is complete, we’re still noticing some small changes here and there.

The wall in the back room, which formerly housed a large-screen TV featuring vintage Disney sports-focused cartoons, was empty in the immediate weeks after the reopening. Now returning are the large pieces of artwork depicting turn-of-the-century images of America’s Favorite Pastime.

Casey's Corner Artwork

Casey’s Corner Artwork

Caseys Corner artwork (3)

Looking at the picture below, I’m sure you can’t help but notice [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Mickey Snacks!

Who’s the leader of the Club that’s made for you and me?

M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!

Yep, we’re going a little old school on today’s edition of Disney Food Pics of the Week — our regular series where we feature reader pics posted on Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza, our Flickr group!

And nothing says Disney Food! like having the Mouse himself on your eats.

Mickey Waffle with Bacon!

Mickey Waffle with Bacon!

If you’d like to get in on the fun, head over to Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza on Flickr and join the group. We’d love to see even more of your great food shots! Let’s see what you’ve found!

Mickey Cake Pop

Photographer: Tricki Woo

Cake Pops have taken the world by storm over the last couple of years, it seems. So, of course, it didn’t take too long for a Disney version to pop up! Ha! Get it? These normally come with marshmallow ears, and the colors are gorg!

Mickey Cake Pop

Mickey Cake Pop

Mickey Beignets at Cafe Orleans

Photographer: Riniel Calaelen

Cafe Orleans in Disneyland is one of my favorite stops for a delicious, Cajun-inspired meal. And I always leave room for Mickey Shaped Beignets, which come with amazing Raspberry and Vanilla Dipping Sauces here.

Mickey Beignet

Mickey Beignet

Mickey Ice Cream Bar

Photographer: Planning WDW

But there’s no way we could write about Mickey Snacks without mentioning the [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland: Dinner and Updated Menu Review at Ariel’s Grotto in Disney California Adventure

It has been just over a year since I’ve visited Ariel’s Grotto at Disney California Adventure. On past visits I’ve found the food just so-so. Not bad, not fabulous, but obviously it took me a year to head back… .

Because I chose to to stay away for quite some time, I was not aware that their menu had a major overhaul just about a year ago! So, on that last visit I must have just barely missed the changes.  Anyhow, I’m back and happy to report that the new menu items are actually quite fabulous! And I apologize up front for the photos. My camera died, it was dark, and all I had was my phone.  Next time I promise to be more prepared!

Ariel's Grotto

Ariel’s Grotto

Now, I know many people go to Ariel’s Grotto for the princesses, but please note that the princesses ARE NOT there during dinner service.  They are only there for breakfast and lunch, so if it’s princesses you’re looking for, make sure to dine early.

We made a reservation through Disney dining (714.781.DINE) to hold our spot for dinner, which I highly recommend. It gets very busy in the evening due to the fact that dinner includes preferred viewing to World of Color.  After dinner, you will be handed one ticket per diner, which will allow you to have a fabulous view of the show.

World of Color Tickets

World of Color Tickets

Atmosphere

When you enter Ariel’s, you descend a spiral staircase into the entryway and dining room area. Be sure to check out the bubbly chandeliers on your way!

View from entryway

Chandelier in entryway

The dining room has a great view of Paradise Pier, and “under the sea” touches can be found everywhere — including the walls!

Ground floor restaurant entrance

Wall mosaic mural

One of the restaurant chandeliers

Ceiling Decor

Once you’re seated, you’ll quickly launch into your meal… .

Eats

Now, on to the food! The menu was previously designed as family style appetizers, you choose an entree, then family style dessert.  You can read more about the old way  here.

Now, everyone orders everything individually. You choose an appetizer, entree, and the dessert is a fixed trio of treats, but it is served individually.  The current menu features soup or salad, 6 different entrees, and the dessert trio.  The dinner menu is a fixed price of $41.99 for adults (over 9 years old) and $19.99 for children under 10.

Ariel's Grotto Menu

Ariel’s Grotto Menu

The Kids’ Menu includes fresh fruit and veggies as an appetizer, 4 different entree options, and dessert.  Unfortunately, my growing every minute boys don’t order off of the kids menu any more…  And bummer, because I was really pushing them towards Ursula’s Octo-Dog!

Two of the four items on the Kids’ Menu are Mickey Check items, which means they are “healthier” choices.

Kids Menu

Ariel’s Grotto Kids’ Menu

Bread Service

Dinner starts with a basket of warm sourdough bread. It’s very tasty, but I do miss the trio of salted butter & dipping sauces from the old menu.

Hot Sourdough Bread

Hot Sourdough Bread

Dinner Salad & Soup

Upon ordering you choose whether you’d like soup or a dinner salad.  Soup options were Crab Chowder or Butternut Squash Bisque.  I’m a huge butternut squash lover so I didn’t think twice about my order. But since my kids didn’t want their soup or salad, we were able to sample both soups and the salad! Thanks, guys!

The bisque was lick your bowl (or at least mop it up with a piece of bread) good.  Fall flavors in Spring are A-OK with me! The bisque is thick, creamy, and topped with a swirl of sour cream & a sprinkle of pepitas.

Butternut Squash Bisque

Butternut Squash Bisque

The Crab Chowder was also a hit at the table. My husband — who normally isn’t a seafood chowder person — really enjoyed it. The Crab Chowder came topped with bacon and chives.

Crab Chowder

Crab Chowder

The Dinner Salad consisted of mixed greens, candied walnuts, pears, and blue cheese topped with a vinaigrette dressing.  Also, very good, but I’m a huge blue cheese & pear fan.  If this isn’t your thing, you can order the salad to your liking without the goodies!

Dinner Salad

Dinner Salad

Entrees

The menu at Ariel’s Grotto has six entrees to choose from.  Unfortunately everyone but me chose the same thing, so I don’t have a lot of entree photos to share.  Let’s start with my entree, the Citrus Glazed Chicken Breast.

Served in a bowl with Udon Noodles, Bok Choy, Edamame, Carrots, and Miso Broth this dish is such a great addition to the new (to me) menu.  I thought it was unique and very flavorful.

The noodles were cooked perfectly as was the chicken, very juicy.  The Miso Broth complemented the chicken very well.  After my last visit I went in with some low-ish expectations and was quite surprised by how good this dish was.

Glazed Citrus Chicken

Glazed Citrus Chicken

Everyone else at the table opted for the Red Oak Smoked Honey-Whiskey Barbecue Tri-Tip.  My boys were very happy to learn that they could substitute the mashed potatoes for french fries.

 Tri Tip & French Fries

Tri Tip & French Fries

The two grown-up boys (aka my husband and a friend of ours) at the table went for the Grilled Lobster Tail and Red Oak Smoked Honey-Whiskey Barbecue Tri-Tip which is served with mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables.  The portions were very generous and everyone cleared their plates.

Lobster Tail & Tri Tip

Lobster Tail & Tri Tip

 Dessert

The dessert trio features 3 mini desserts. Everyone receives the same dessert which includes a Chocolate Covered StrawberryS’mores Bar & Creme Brulee.

The Chocolate Covered Strawberry was sweet & juicy. They are smaller versions of the ones that are sold at Candy Palace and Marceline’s.  The S’mores Bar was the table favorite; a chocolate ganache filled crust topped with 3 dollops of chocolate mousse, a graham cracker, and toasted marshmallow.  The Creme Brulee was actually a little runny.  It tasted OK, but the other two items trumped the brulee by far!

Dessert Trio

Dessert Trio

Drinks

Because the Cove Bar is right there at Ariel’s Grotto, the restaurant serves up a full bar plus specialty drinks.

Drink Menu

Drink Menu

We sampled a few adult beverages including the Skinny Coconut Mojito and the Habanero Lime Margarita.  The mojito was SO delicious.  One of those, “Are you sure there’s alcohol in this?” types of drinks. Way too easy to drink.  Ingredients include Skinny Girl Island Coconut Vodka, coconut water, fresh lime juice, mint and agave nectar.

Skinny Coconut Lime Mojito

Skinny Coconut Lime Mojito

The Habanero Lime Margarita had some serious kick to it.  Ingredients include Patron Silver Tequila, habanero lime syrup, agave nectar, and fresh lime juice.  Interesting to taste but be prepared for a little burn!

Habanero Lime Margarita

Habanero Lime Margarita

Overall

Overall, I am 100% impressed with the change of menu at Ariel’s Grotto. I felt like the food was more flavorful and there was a more interesting variety of entrees. The soups and salad were great and the dessert was also a big improvement.

In addition to the food upgrades, I noticed a difference in service. My last visit was rather sluggish and unimpressive.  This visit started off a bit slow, but once we ordered, our server was fabulous and very attentive.

I really think that Ariel’s Grotto has brought itself up to par with the other table service restaurants in Disney California Adventure. I might even go as far to say that it’s one of the better dining options in the park (ranking just below Corn Dog Castle, 1901, and Carthay Circle, ha!).  I would definitely recommend a visit, especially if you are interested in seeing World of Color. It’s a great meal, plus you get the added bonus of preferred viewing – win win!

Have you been to Ariel’s Grotto for dinner since the menu change?  What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Heather Sievers is the Disney Food Blog’s Dining in Disneyland columnist. See more of her columns here!

Disney Recipe: Veggie Tater Bake from Flo’s V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure (A Vegetarian Recipe!)

It’s always a good idea to have a vegetarian meal or two tucked into your recipe box, don’t you think? And if Shepherd’s Pie or Cottage Pie are your thing, you’ve gotta try this veggie version!

Flo's V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure

Flo’s V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure

Offered at Flo’s V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure’s Cars Land, Flo’s Veggie Tater Bake has been delighting herbivores and carnivores alike since the restaurant first opened two years ago!

Veggie Tater Bake

Veggie Tater Bake

Whether you’re looking for fresh ideas for Meatless Mondays or Fridays during Lent, or you have special friends you’d like to impress with your vegetarian cooking skills, we definitely think you should give this hearty casserole a try!

Veggie Tater Bake

Flo’s V-8 Cafe, Disney California Adventure
Serves 6

Ingredients: [Read more…]

Review: Breakfast at Flo’s V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure

“Eat at Flo’s and Get Gas!”

Yep — It’s time to head to Radiator Springs in Carburetor County, for a tasty breakfast along Route 66 at Flo’s V-8 Cafe!

Flo's Sign

Flo’s Sign

Since it opened a couple of years back, Flo’s has quickly garnered a great reputation for delicious table service-style breakfast with counter service convenience and prices. It even makes our list of favorite fast food joints in Disneyland!

Let’s head over for an early morning visit to Cars Land in Disney California Adventure!

Atmosphere

As you quickly see from Flo’s Sign out front, the restaurant is superbly themed. If you’re a fan of the film Cars, you are gonna love this place. With the backdrop of desert rock formations (a.k.a. Radiator Springs Racers!!), Imagineers have outdone themselves here. You truly feel as though you’ve stepped through the silver screen.

Flo's Sign

Flo’s Sign

And while it’s all stunning in the daytime, you should definitely make a point to visit at night, when the glow from pastel fluorescent lights brings every inch of this place to life!

Flo's V-8 Cafe at night

Flo’s V-8 Cafe at night

Flo’s V-8 in the movie is, of course, the only gas filling station in Radiator Springs…which, of course, equates to food for us humans. :-)

Outside View

Outside View

Flo’s roof is famously patterned after an oil filter. Get it?

Oil Filter Roof -- Up Close

Oil Filter Roof — Up Close

Directly in front of the restaurant’s entrance, you’ll find one of the outdoor seating areas. These are the filling stations in the film, so naturally, you’ll find gas pumps and stacks of oil cans nearby.

Motor Oil and Gas Pumps on the Patio

Motor Oil and Gas Pumps on the Patio

As you go into Flo’s, you realize the seating area is enormous. It looks much larger inside than it does outside! It’s more than just Disney magic, though; one of the seating areas is themed both inside and outside as the Ornament Valley Mechanical Clinic.

Ornament Valley Mechanical Clinic

Ornament Valley Mechanical Clinic

Head inside, and step further back in time. The round-room entrance is crowned by this [Read more…]

News!: Disney World and Disneyland to Offer Braille Menus at Select Locations Starting March 1st

Today we get to share with you one more way that Disney parks on  both coasts are becoming more user-friendly for all of us!

Both Disney World and Disneyland Resort are preparing to offer a new service for guests with visual disabilities. Starting March 1, 2014, guests may request Braille menus at select food locations across the Parks.

Kouzzina by Cat Cora Menu Cover

Kouzzina by Cat Cora Menu Cover

As always, guests may continue to request menu reading assistance from Cast Members at any location in order to interpret the menu if a Braille version is not yet available at their chosen location, or to meet the preference of the individual.

Cast Members at Flo's

Cast Members at Flo’s

Prior to visiting, more information for guests with visual disabilities ranging from restaurant and [Read more…]