Disney Food Pics of the Week: Soft Serve Treats!

Summer’s coming! And we know that you’ll be looking to stay cool at Disney. And I can’t think of a much better way than by enjoying some terrific soft serve treats!

And when it comes to soft serve at Disney, you certainly have options! From Dole Whip to Root Beer Floats made with the creamy stuff, there’s no end to the variety you’ll find.

Cherry and Birthday Cake Swirled Fro Yo -- Up Close

Cherry and Birthday Cake Swirled Fro Yo Soft Serve from Magic Kingdom’s Storybook Treats

So we weren’t too surprised when we checked out pics that our members have posted on Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza, our Flickr group. We came away with all sorts of soft serve inspiration!

If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, head over there! But before you do, let’s take a look at some of the goodies we found while we were surfin’.

Soft Serve at Paradise Pier

Photographer: Riniel Calaelen

What makes a Soft Serve Ice Cream Cone even more delish? How about enjoying it with an awesome background, like Paradise Pier! I can almost feel that beautiful California sunshine coming through the pic, can’t you??

Chocolate Soft Serve + an Awesome Background

Chocolate Soft Serve + an Awesome Background

Pineapple Soft Serve at Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Photographer: V No Privacy

We love that Pineapple Soft Serve has become a mainstay at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival. We expect to see the popular treat back again at the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival as well!

This great pic features treats from Pineapple Promenade at this year’s Flower and Garden Festival. It really captures the contrast between the soft serve and the Sammy’s Beach Bar Red Head Macadamia Nut Flavored Rum!

Pineapple Soft Serve from the Pineapple Promenade at Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival

Pineapple Soft Serve from the Pineapple Promenade at Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival

Citrus Swirl at Sunshine Tree Terrace

Photographer: HTH Photography

This pic is entitled “Sunshine in a Cup”, and we couldn’t agree more! The Citrus Swirl at Sunshine Tree Terrace is this photographer’s [Read more…]

DFB Challenge: The Walt Disney World Beer Crawl

Alrighty, Guys — it’s time for another fun Disney Food Blog Challenge. And this one is definitely for the grown ups!

Everyone’s aware that craft Beer has become increasingly popular. Sure, through the years, you always had the garden variety options…

Lovely Beer!

Lovely Beer!

But these days, Craft Beers and International Selections are where it’s at. So we thought that it was high time we take a closer look at some of the interesting beer that you can get throughout Walt Disney World.

In the interest of interactive fun, we decided to come up with another DFB Food — er, Beverage — Crawl, dedicated to the world of beer, and all that it encompasses.

And we know that there are LOTS of you out there who are serious about your study and research of this important subject. We are in it for the fun. ;-) So we definitely want YOUR comments below on what you think the Can’t Miss Beers of Walt Disney World are!

Because this is a rather weighty subject, we’ll spread it out over a 3 day visit. But feel free to consolidate as your tolerance level allows.

Grab some beer nuts, and let’s go!

Day One: Explore Epcot

We’ll start our 3-day Beer Crawl in the best place for sampling a wide variety of food and drink — Epcot!

When beer is the main attraction of the day, it’s a good idea to get some sustenance first thing. We love to enter Epcot via the International Gateway Entrance and start our day with a stop in Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in the France Pavilion for a petit déjeuner of French Pastries and Coffee or Chocolat Chaud.

We especially love the Frangipane Triangles!

Frangipane -- Cross Section

Frangipane — Cross Section

If you’d like a full-on breakfast platter-type situation, head to Sunshine Seasons (although the Croissant Berry Bread Pudding gets our vote).

Fueled up and ready to go, it’s time to hit World Showcase!

Moosehead in the Canada Pavilion

We all have our traditions, and one that we love to embrace is the First Beer of the Day in Epcot. And that honor almost always goes to Moosehead as we begin our Drinking Journey around the World! Find it at the Canada Beer Stand located near the entrance to Le Cellier Steakhouse.

The beer offerings in Canada

Stroll the area, making time to check out the Totem Poles before you head to your next stop.

Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room in the UK Pavilion

With a small breakfast and your first brew under your belt, it’s time to stop for lunch and more beer in one of our favorite Epcot dining spots.

The Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room in the UK Pavilion offers a wide array of beer and cider from the British Isles. Make your advance dining reservation ahead of time for a sit down meal, or take a gamble with finding a spot in the pub (it can get pretty crowded in there). Note that you can also get beers at a counter outside the restaurant and pub.

Sampling British beers is your goal here, so we recommend the Imperial Sampler, which normally includes pours of Bass, Harp, Strongbow, Boddington’s, and Guinness.

Imperial Sampler

Alternatively, you can choose from a long list of Pub Blends, which are half-and-half mixes of some of the beer on tap. You’ll never go wrong with a Black and Tan — half Bass Ale and half Guinness.

Of course, if you have a favorite beer among those on tap, enjoy a pint of that one instead. We especially love to order a Guinness, served with its famous Shamrock Head!

Shamrock Design on Top of Guinness

And if you visit on a weekday, don’t forget to say “hello” to Carl the Bartender!

Japan

With a little lunch under your belt, it’s time to hit up the Japan Pavilion for another unique stop on your beer tour. Kirin Frozen Beer comes with a fluffy, semi-frozen head that keeps your beer cold a little longer in that warm Florida sun.

While the picture below is from Tokyo Dining, you can also get a portable version in a plastic cup at Kabuki Cafe.

Frozen Kirin Beer in Epcot's Japan

Frozen Kirin Beer in Epcot’s Japan

Take in some time listening to the drummers or checking out the [Read more…]

News: Pomegranate Margarita Updated at La Cava del Tequila in Epcot

Fun news today out of one of our favorite watering holes — La Cava del Tequila.

Seems that the great group of margarita artistes are at it again.

This time, they aren’t debuting something brand new, like their newest must-have Tamarind Margarita. Nor are they bringing back another old favorite, like the Hibiscus Margarita, for a limited time. (Get it now during the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival. Hurry!)

No — today, we’re reporting on a revamped favorite. The Pomegranate Margarita, it seems, has received a little attention, and the recipe has been updated. Think of it as the Pom 2.0, if you will.

La Cava Has Changed Up the Recipe for Their Pomegranate Margarita!

La Cava Has Changed Up the Recipe for Their Pomegranate Margarita!

The new version even incorporates [Read more…]

2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Recipe: Piggylicious Cupcake from The Smokehouse Booth

There have been lots of memorable dishes from the 2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.

epcot flower and garden logo

But one that we continue to hear you rave about is a return dish from 2014 — the Piggylicious Cupcake from The Smokehouse: Barbecues and Brews Booth!

The Smokehouse: Barbecues and Brews

The Smokehouse: Barbecues and Brews

The cupcake made a BIG impression on us from the first time we tried it. And it’s definitely addictive, with that sweet salty combination of flavors.

But we all know that the trip to Disney isn’t always possible. And even if it is, the Flower and Garden Festival will wrap up in just a few weeks.

Piggylicious Bacon Cupcake From Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival

Piggylicious Bacon Cupcake From Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival

So I’m really happy to share this recipe with you today on the blog! Because once you hear about a Disney cupcake that combines bacon, cake, and maple frosting…well…there’s no way you’re NOT gonna want to make this!

Piggylicious Bacon Cupcake

The Smokehouse Barbecues and Brews Outdoor Kitchen
Makes 24 Cupcakes

Ingredients:

For Cupcakes: [Read more…]

News! Starbucks “You Are Here” Mugs For Sale Again in Epcot

They’re finally back!

All of you who love to collect the popular Starbucks “You Are Here” Mugs can now finally add the Epcot Cup to your collection. The mugs are once again being sold in the Fountain View Starbucks location in Walt Disney World’s Epcot.

New Epcot Starbucks "You Are Here" Mug, Featuring a Grey Monorail (Photo Credit Steven A. Miller)

New Epcot Starbucks “You Are Here” Mug, Featuring a Grey Monorail (Photo Credit Steven A. Miller)

Starbucks and Disney originally introduced the joint collaboration mugs earlier this year, and debuted versions for Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Epcot. (Disney’s Animal Kingdom will have a mug as well when the new Starbucks planned for that park opens soon.)

However, the Epcot mug was almost immediately removed from the shelves when it was noted that the monorail featured on the mug had a purple stripe in keeping with the cup’s color scheme. Monorail Purple was one of two trains involved in the 2009 fatal accident that took the life of pilot Austin Wuennenberg. After the accident, the train was retired.

Epcot "You Are Here" Mug

Original Epcot “You Are Here” Mug with Purple Monorail

When the mugs were removed, Disney and Starbucks promised to return an updated version to store shelves shortly. The new cups, which feature a [Read more…]

2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Recipe: Burnt Ends Brisket Hash from the Smokehouse Outdoor Kitchen

Flowers are not all that’s blooming at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival! This event — which is happening right now through May 17 — combines the best of all things: Spring and some truly Awesome Dishes! (For a complete run down of our Must-Eat Treats from this year’s Festival, click here.)

epcot flower and garden logo

The deliciousness comes courtesy of the Outdoor Kitchens. The kiosks, situated throughout World Showcase, provide guests with the opportunity to taste some fresh flavors of the season as well as some regional fare.

The Smokehouse

Smokin’ at the Smokehouse

You’ll find fan favorite Smokehouse: Barbecues and Brews located in the America Pavilion, serving up delicious regional barbecue favorites. We love their Pulled Pig Slider with Coleslaw, their new-this-year Smoked Debreziner Sausage, and their Piggylicious Cupcake!

But they’ve also introduced a brand new flavor sensation: Burnt Ends Brisket Hash!

Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash with White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled Jalapeños from the Smokehouse Outdoor Kitchen

Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash with White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled Jalapeños from the Smokehouse Outdoor Kitchen

I was excited to see the dish at the Flower and Garden Festival. Hash is having kind of a moment (it’s that whole retro thing), and we absolutely loved the Nueske’s® Pepper Bacon Hash featured at Farm Fresh during last year’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

The dish is both delicious and thrifty: it’s a great way to use up those “burnt ends” that result from low and slow smoked brisket.

So if you find yourself barbecuing Texas-style — and really, who doesn’t?? — then give this one a try to use up leftovers. Personally, they had me at White Cheddar Fondue. :-)

Burnt Ends Brisket Hash with White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled Jalapeño Peppers

Smokehouse Outdoor Kitchen
Serves 4-6

Ingredients: [Read more…]

Tip from the DFB Guide: Budgeting For Disney Snacks!

So you’re planning your next trip to Walt Disney World. And we all know that the FastPasses are the most important detail to cross off your list, right?

dfb2015_guide_3d

Wrong. Because the real reason we go to Walt Disney World? The Snacks!

Okay — they’re both important. But I bet that we can agree — one of the biggest reasons we both love Disney is the amazing variety of food choices, and fun snack options E-BER-Y-WHERE.

But the sheer volume of choices can be overwhelming! After all, how do you choose? And once you choose, how do you budget in order to try everything on that must-have list you’ve been compiling?

I totally get it! And that’s why we’ve dedicated a large section to snacking — our favorite Disney recreation — in our best selling DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2015!

Let’s talk through some of my Best Tips for Snack Budgeting. And if these tips are helpful to you, pick up your copy of the Guide today for $4 off using code “2015” right here!

Budgeting Money or Snack Credits

Whether you’re paying out of pocket for your snacks, or you’ll be using Disney Dining Plan Snack Credits, planning ahead is the key to ensure you enjoy the treats you’ve been been dreaming about.

Who Can Resist a Handmade Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich in the Shadow of Cinderella Castle??

Who Can Resist a Handmade Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich in the Shadow of Cinderella Castle??

One of my favorite features of the DFB Guide Books are the worksheets that we provide you to plan every facet of your eating journey. And snacking is no exception!

Use the handy worksheets to jot down all of the snacks that you’re anxious to try. Our Snacks Chapter is a great resource for browsing all of the possibilities! With full lists and reviews of snacks throughout Walt Disney World, you have everything compiled in one easy place!

Brainstorm everything you’d like to sample, and include their locations. Then, figure out where the snacks fit into your master plan.

White Chocolate Rabbit and Queen of Hearts Strawberry Shortcake Cake Cups

Be Sure to Save Room for Cake Cups at Cheshire Cafe

If you’re paying for food out of pocket, the keep in mind that most Disney snacks run between $2 and $10, with many of them priced in the $3-5 range. If you’re working with Snack Credits, a general rule of thumb is that a single serving food under $5.19 is usually available for your Snack Credit.

Budgeting Stomach Space

So you’ve done the planning, and you know exactly which snacks you want to try on your next visit. You’ve worked out the budget, and the money and credits are there to cover it all.

Jalapeno Cheese Pretzel

A Jalapeno Cheese Pretzel is Worth Saving Room For

Now comes the next big question: [Read more…]

Review: Snacks from the Canada Pavilion in Disney World’s Epcot

Greetings from Epcot! It’s time to see what we can find in some of the shops the World Showcase!

Epcot!!!

Epcot!!!

While you can bet on always finding some favorites, like Pocky in Japan, other spots like to change things up regularly.

I always love to check out the little bank of shops in Canada. In the past, we’ve discovered some awesome chip varieties. And last year, I was thrilled to tell you (and AJ’s Dad!) about the different Tim Horton beverages they’re now featuring.

Today, let’s check out some grab and go sweets from North of the Border!

Grab and Go Snacks from the Canada Pavilion in Epcot

If you’re in need of a chocolate fix, consider the Rochef Chocolate Bars. From Quebec, they were available in a couple of different varieties the day I visited. I skipped this one due to the melt factor that day!

Rochef Chocolate

Rochef Chocolate

Next, I found two different sweet popcorn snacks. First, I spied Jakeman’s Maple Popcorn. You’ll often find Maple-flavored snacks in the Canada pavilion, but this was new to me.

Jakeman's Maple Popcorn

Jakeman’s Maple Popcorn

True, you’re getting a pre-packaged snack that’s been in that bag for an undisclosed amount of time. So if you value something made fresh and on the spot, high tail it over to Karamell-Küche for their version of caramel popcorn.

But if maple is your thing, give this fluffy popcorn a try. The subtle maple flavor makes this variety stand out from the sea of “just sweet tasting” caramel popcorn that’s out there.

Jakeman's Maple Popcorn Out of the Bag Epcot Canada Pavilion

Jakeman’s Maple Popcorn — Out of the Bag

If you prefer your popcorn alongside other stuff, then you’ll want to check out Moose Munch. Or should I say Moose Munches — because you have choices! Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate varieties are on offer.

Okay, okay, so let’s cover the obvious first. Moose Munch is the brain child of gourmet food company Harry & David. And so, it is not technically (not even a little bit) Canadian.

So why’s it here? I’m guessing 1) there’s a moose on the package; and 2) it’s delicious. That’s all I can come up with. So we’ll have to suspend our attachment to authenticity with this one.

Moose Much Varieties

Moose Munch Varieties

I decided I had to try some Moose Munch for myself, and I opted for the Milk Chocolate version.

Milk Chocolate Moose Munch

Milk Chocolate Moose Munch

If the picture on the front doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, check out this “moostastic” description on the back.

The Moose Munch Low Down

The Moose Munch Low Down

Do not mistake the desiccate packet for seasoning. I don’t think it brings much flavor to the party. ;-) It’s just there to keep everything from clumping together, of course. Seems obvious, but this is a warning to not let your kiddos just stick their hands into the bag and take a big mouthful. KIDS! ALWAYS REMOVE THE NOT REALLY FOOD PARTS OF YOUR SNACK BEFORE EATING.

Desiccate in Moose Munch

Desiccate in Moose Munch

And out of the bag, it looks pretty much like what I expected — an assortment of [Read more…]

Easter Treats and Spring Break Eats Around Walt Disney World

The 2015 Chocolate Easter Egg Display at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort isn’t the only sure sign of spring around here these days! Easter treats have been “hopping” up everywhere around Disney World Resort to celebrate this weekend’s holiday — not to mention the remainder of the Spring Break season through the end of next week.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a holiday at Disney World without all sorts of specialty cupcakes, and Easter is no egg-ception. (I. Can’t. Stop. Doing. That!). At Epcot, a Chocolate Cupcake with marshmallow filling and marshmallow buttercream frosting can be found at Fountain View from now through April 11th, and at Sunshine Seasons for a very limited run on April 4th and 5th.

©Disney

©Disney

This beauty of a Carrot Cake Cupcake topped with a mini Bunny Macaron will be at the Contemporary Resort only through April 5th! The inside has a pineapple-coconut filling and it’s all topped with white chocolate buttercream frosting along with toasted coconut and — hooray! — jelly beans!

CEC8898471LARGE-613x409

©Disney

While there, be sure to check out the Contemporary Resort’s display of Chocolate Bunnies and decorated Easter Eggs presented by the Resort’s pastry chefs on the fourth floor!

BoardWalk Bakery boasts its own Easter Cupcake: vanilla cake filled with raspberry panna cotta, topped off with a coconut nest filled with jelly beans.

makmak868775-613x409

©Disney

And, of course, you can check out spots at [Read more…]

Review: Tutto Italia Ristorante in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion

Nestled in Epcot’s Italy pavilion at Walt Disney World, Tutto Italia Ristorante is open for lunch and dinner. Welcome back DFB guest author Rebecca Dolan with a review!

Epcot’s Italy had long been one of our family’s favorite places to dine since we started visiting in the ‘80s. We were huge fans of the pavilion’s original restaurant L’Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante, and were admittedly a little crushed when we heard it was going to be closed and replaced with Tutto Italia. (Yes, this happened like seven years ago, but the wound is still fresh.)

We’ve been back to Tutto a few times since with mixed experiences, so we ventured back a few months ago to give it another go.

Atmosphere

You’ll find Tutto Italia off the Italy pavilion’s central piazza. Enter under the large black awning (that says Tutto Italia, of course). The understated lobby area is small, so be prepared to stand while waiting for a table if it’s crowded. The lobby also connects to the Tutto Gusto wine bar, which makes for a nice place to enjoy an early glass of wine if your wait is long.

Outside Tutto Italia

Outside Tutto Italia

Off the front of the building is a patio with some seating (how very Mediterranean of them) which is great for a balmy Florida evening, though probably less so for a scorching July afternoon. In fact, Tutto Italia is one of the few full-service restaurants along the world showcase to offer outside seating.

Enjoy the chance to dine full-service outside at Epcot

Enjoy the chance to dine full-service outside at Epcot

Inside, the dining room looks much like it did in this building’s previous incarnation as Alfredo’s. Murals still decorate the walls and giant crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling, otherwise it’s lots of dark wood and booths that make the room seem small and crowded.

Inside the no-frills dining room

Inside the no-frills dining room

Eats

The menu features a number of familiar Italian classics like fried calamari, antipasto, lasagne, ravioli, and risotto. For those not into carb-loading at lunch, there are a few meat and fish entrees as well.

Appetizers

Appetizers

Pasta Entrees

Pasta Entrees

Entrees and Children's Menu

Entrees and Children’s Menu

Each meal starts out with a plate of pillowy focaccia bread plus olive oil for dipping and whole green olives for munching. I’m a big fan of the olive oil here, which always seems to be more fruity and flavorful than what I can get in the store.

Focaccia and olives to eat while you look over the menu

Focaccia and olives to eat while you look over the menu

I also took this opportunity to order the “tropical blend” iced tea. I’m not sure how Italian that really is, but I’m a sucker for flavored iced teas and this fruity brew did not disappoint. A glass of sangria, however, had a little too much of some alcohol in the mix, which kept its fruitiness from coming out. We kept trying to ask exactly what was in it to no avail.

Being an Italian family, we can never visit Tutto Italia (or any Italian restaurant for that matter) without ordering the antipasto platter. The version here came piled with cured meats, cheeses, farro salad, artichoke hearts, eggplant caponata, marinated mushrooms, and sweet peppers. It was easily enough to feed four, and could be shared by more depending on your appetites.

The grande antipasto misto

The grande antipasto misto

We also ordered the Fior de Latte mozzarella, which was accompanied by roasted sweet peppers. It was indeed creamy and delicious, but both, as it turned out, were components of the antipasto platter. So, it was unnecessary repetition.

Fior de Latte mozzarella with roasted peppers

Fior de Latte mozzarella with roasted peppers

After finishing our appetizers we put in our entree orders. Curiously, the orders came out less than 10 minutes after we ordered. Sure pasta isn’t exactly time intensive, but the quick turn around made us wonder how much of the meal was pre-prepared. That might have accounted for the fact that much of it was cold. So, you may want to take a bite before your server walks away.

I went for the spaghetti, which came topped with beef and veal meatballs and pomodoro sauce. I rarely order spaghetti and meatballs out since they almost always fail to live up to expectations. And, while this was definitely not my grandmother’s spaghetti, it was better than most restaurant versions I’ve encountered. The sauce was thick and low on chunks (there are few things I hate more than chunky sauce) and the pasta was just firm enough. The meatballs were ok, if a little dense.

Classic spaghetti and meatballs with red sauce

Classic spaghetti and meatballs with red sauce

The penne caprese, topped with tomato sauce and cubes of mozzarella, is similar to the spaghetti. The big difference (aside from the pasta shape, of course) is the sauce that’s lighter tasting and flecked with bits of cherry tomato and basil. Nothing mind blowing, but nothing to complain about.

A heaping plate of penne

A heaping plate of penne

The lasagna was pretty standard, with layers of pasta, chunky meat ragu, and creamy bechamel sauce. Carnivores will appreciate the generous amount of meat tucked between those pasta sheets, but as a cheese lover, I was disappointed that the ricotta and mozzarella cheese I’m used to weren’t there. The flavor was fine, even without the cheese, but between the too-soft pasta and too-much bechamel, the texture was mushy.

Hearty lasagna al forno

Hearty lasagna al forno

The Polenta Valsugana was a big [Read more…]