News! Allergy Friendly Culinary Demos at the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

We have breaking news today about the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival — and the our first news of this year’s Low Cost Culinary Demonstrations and Seminars lineup!!

Food and Wine Festival Updates

And stay tuned to the end of the post, because you could win a trip to Walt Disney World during this year’s event!

We all know that Disney is committed to serving guests with food allergies. Today, we’re learning that Mylan, the company that produces the EpiPen® (with which, if you have food allergies, you’re probably familiar), will be sponsoring the first ever culinary demonstrations at the Food and Wine Festival that are free of the top eight food allergens!

Living With Food Allergies Culinary Demonstrations at the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The demos will be part of the EpiPen® On Location™ initiative, “a national call-to-action for those living with potentially life-threatening (severe) allergies and their caregivers to understand the importance of avoiding allergic triggers and having access to two epinephrine auto-injectors, such as EpiPen® (epinephrine injection) Auto-Injectors, at all times — whether at home, school, work or on vacation.”

Chef Amanda Freitag

Chef Amanda Freitag

These events are scheduled to take place at the Festival Center throughout the days of October 2-4. Chef and restaurant owner Amanda Freitag will prepare dishes free of the top eight allergens — milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans. Chef Freitag lives with her own food allergy, and has become an EpiPen® On Location™ Ambassador, as she shares her own experience in a professional kitchen.

In addition, Auggie Maturo, who plays Auggie Matthews on the Disney Series Girl Meets World, will be on hand with his family to offer his best advice for navigating life with severe allergies.

Auggie Maturo from Disney's "Girl Meets World"

Auggie Maturo from Disney’s “Girl Meets World”

We’ll share more information about these events soon! It’s possible that the culinary demonstrations with Chef Freitag will be part of the Low Cost Seminar and Demonstration line up that is such a popular part of the festival each year. As such, there will be a charge for these events.

Win a Trip to the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

To help spread awareness about the serious issue of food allergies, Mylan will give away a three-night/four-day vacation for four to visit the 2015 Epcot Food Wine Festival! Three grand prize winners will be awarded a vacation that includes: [Read more…]

Review: Green Tea Plum Slush at Joy of Tea in Epcot’s China Pavilion

We’ve stopped by the Joy of Tea kiosk in Epcot’s China Pavilion several times…because it’s awesome.

So you may know by now that it’s packed with much more than tea, despite the name. I mean, sure, you can absolutely grab an iced or hot tea depending on the weather or just your personal preference. But it’s also got a decent snack selection for such a small place (I love the Strawberry Red Bean Ice Cream), and an “appetizer sampler” of sorts with their Lucky Combo, which allows you to try all three hot snacks (BBQ Pork Buns, Curry Chicken Pockets, and Egg Rolls) along with a soft drink and some ice cream.

You’d think that would about cover it! But you’d be wrong ;). Because there is a whole slew of specialty drinks here including some adult beverages, which is what we’re trying out today.

Joy of Tea

Joy of Tea

You’ll spot the choices under “Alcoholic Beverages” (natch), and they include the Mango Gingerita, Canto Loopy, Peach Snap!, and Green Tea Plum Slush, in addition to beer and wine. (Oh, and don’t forget the Tipsy Ducks in Love.)

Joy of Tea menu

Joy of Tea menu

I went with the Green Tea Plum Slush with plum wine, since I know it’s a guest favorite at the park. I really enjoyed the Strawberry Oolong Tea Slush here many moons ago, so I had high hopes for this one. I mean, plum wine? Sure — sign me up! I love that stuff.

Unfortunately, those hopes were [Read more…]

Fun Find: Flavored Moonshine in Epcot

You know how I’m always going on and on about the huge variety of food, drinks, and cuisine around Epcot’s World Showcase? I mean, you can find just about anything and everything, which is why I talk about it ALL the time, like it’s my job or something.

Oh, wait… it IS my job.

I guess somebody’s gotta do it! ;)

Anyway, I really do mean that you can find everything… and here’s my proof (ha ha — PROOF! I crack me up). Did you know that you can stock up on your supply of Moonshine at Epcot?

Backwoods Moonshine

Backwoods Moonshine

Yep! The Port of Entry and Disney Traders gift shops (those are the two gifts shops at the entrance to World Showcase between the Canada and Mexico Pavilions) carry an assortment of the whiskey beverage.

They’ve actually been available for some time now (and are, of course, being incorporated into many a cocktail around property due to the popularity of moonshine right now), but I only recently paused to take a look at the [Read more…]

Three Ideas For an Unconventional Disney World Date Night

Call us romantics, but we think that Walt Disney World is a GREAT place for a date night!

Watch the Fireworks from the Polynesian Resort Beach!

Do You Love to Watch Magic Kingdom Fireworks From the Polynesian’s Beach During Your Disney Date Night? We Do!

But we like to take a very broad approach to date night here at Disney Food Blog. So we decided that it would be all kinds of funnnz to come up with some radical departures for how to spend your Day o’ Love. I mean sure, chocolate-dipped strawberries and Champagne are awesome, and a fancy meal is sure to impress. But more than anything, we just wanna have fun!

If you’re with us, check out our Top 3 Ideas for Your Unconventional Date Night, Disney World Style!

Swap a Fancy Meal for FastPasses

Fancy meal? Whatevs. Who wants to get dressed up and sit around for hours?? You’re at Disney — get out there and enjoy it!

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Snuggle Up for a Ride on Disney’s Newest Attraction, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train!

Instead of dinner at a signature restaurant, skip straight to the fun, and schedule FastPasses for three of your favorite rides together (and make sure at least one of them is a dark ride. ;-) )

Spaceship Earth, How We Love You

Spaceship Earth, How We Lurve You

Getting hungry after all those adventures? Share your favorite savory snacks. The Lucky Combo from Joy of Tea in Epcot’s China Pavilion would be perfect!

Lucky Combo from Joy of Tea in Epcot's China Pavilion

Lucky Combo from Joy of Tea in Epcot’s China Pavilion

Or split a Waffle Sandwich from Sleepy Hollow Refreshments in Magic Kingdom.

Chicken Waffle Sandwich from Magic Kingdom's Sleepy Hollow Refreshments

Chicken Waffle Sandwich from Magic Kingdom’s Sleepy Hollow Refreshments

They’re definitely big enough to share!

Get the Kids Involved!

Spending more time together as a family always figures high on our list of priorities. And kiddos especially love some one on one time with Mom and Dad. So how about taking a different approach to your next evening out. Make a “date” with your littles!

One fun idea would be to split up for fun Mom/Son, Dad/Daughter “dates”. Go on separate dinner dates and let the kids choose the restaurants! ESPN Club at Disney’s BoardWalk is a great choice for your budding baseball or soccer star!

ESPN Club (with a line to get in on Game Day!)

ESPN Club is a Great Place to Take Your Favorite Sports Fan!

But save room, because you can all meet up for some ice cream later and compare notes! How about sharing a No Way Jose from Beaches and Cream four ways?? (Want more ice cream suggestions? Check our our Ice Cream Gallery!)

No Way Jose at Beaches and Cream

Split a No Way Jose from Beaches and Cream!

Top off the evening with an outdoor movie at your resort before tucking in for pleasant dreams.

Play with Your Food

Have you always wanted to [Read more…]

Review: Anna’s Happy Birthday Cupcake (A “Frozen Fever” Treat)

Happy Birthday, Princess Anna!

All over Disney World and Disneyland, guests are invited to celebrate the birthday of Frozen’s Princess Anna (she’s a princess, right?). This goes hand in hand with the Frozen Fever film short where our Arendelle friends attempt to throw her a surprise party, and Anna’s Happy Birthday Cupcake is one of three Frozen Fever treats brought out for the occasion.

Anna's Happy Birthday Cupcake

Anna’s Happy Birthday Cupcake

I grabbed mine at Epcot’s Kringla Bakeri og Kafe in Norway, but this is just one of the spots where you can find it. From parks to resorts, you can grab it at several locations including the Beach Club Marketplace and Epcot’s Sunshine Seasons in Disney World, and Jolly Holiday Bakery and The Coffee House in Disneyland (find the full list of locations here!).

When I mention our “Arendelle Friends,” that clearly includes Olaf, who tops this treat. (Incidentally, you’ll also find this white chocolate piece topping Olaf’s Perfect Sundae Day.)

Olaf Topper

Olaf Topper

The cupcake is a simply a basic yellow cake— which, when I think about it, goes along pretty well with [Read more…]

Get Your Cinco de Mayo on at Disney World and Disneyland!

Isn’t it awesome how we just roll right from Star Wars Day into Margarita Day? What a great week!!

OK, so where should you go at the East and West Coast Disney parks to celebrate Cinco de Mayo on this not-so-ordinary Tuesday? I’m happy to share my suggestions… ;-D

Margarita Flight at La Cava del Tequila

Margarita Flight at La Cava del Tequila

La Cava Del Tequila in Disney World’s Epcot

If you’re in Disney World tonight, it’s time to head over to Epcot and settle in (ideally in the early afternoon, because this place will be PACKED come evening) at La Cava del Tequila.

I know you’ve heard me talk about it a million times, but for those who are new to DFB (welcome!), this tiny tequila cave has it all figured out.

la cava del tequila chips salsa guacamole queso trio anejo tequila (3)

Tequila experts serve only the best, and you can choose from a full menu of incredible options — shots, margaritas, flights, and more.

Avocado Margarita at La Cava del Tequila

Avocado Margarita at La Cava del Tequila

There’s no more authentic place to celebrate Cinco de Mayo (which, let’s face it, is pretty much just a holiday dedicated to Tequila at this point) than here.

Tortilla Jo’s in Disneyland’s Downtown Disney District

Over on the West Coast, you lucky ducks get to head on over to Tortilla Jo’s in Downtown Disney! This fun romp of a restaurant is sprawling, offering indoor and outdoor seating as well as a great menu including house-made tortillas (of course).

Tortilla Jo's raspberry margarita

Tortilla Jo’s raspberry margarita

Indulge in the sangria, a margarita, or [Read more…]

Review: Tutto Gusto in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion

It’s time once again to look in on one of my favorite “hidden” spots in Epcot — Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar!

Tutto Gusto, located on the left as you travel through the Italy Pavilion toward Via Napoli at the back, hasn’t been open for very long. But in the short span of three years, Tutto Gusto has become a part of the fabric of World Showcase.

With its commitment to offering small plates that feature authentic Italian cuisine, Tutto Gusto has continued to be a DFB favorite. But you know me — I’m never content to continue recommending a spot unless I know for sure that it still  deserves to be recommended!

So, in the name of research, a friend and I headed there to grab a light dinner during a recent visit to Walt Disney World. We tried some new things and revisited some favorites. Let’s check it out.

Atmosphere

Although the sign for Tutto Gusto is perched high and prominent, it’s still sort of easy to miss it if you aren’t looking for it. You may mistake it for another entrance to neighboring Tutto Italia, if you notice it at all.

Tutto Italia and Gusto Wine Cellar

Tutto Italia and Gusto Wine Cellar

The entrance sits back a little, but Cast Members are usually flanking the door, and you’ll also notice the menus posted outside. Pay attention and you’ll find it.

Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar

Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar

Walk in and (after your eyes adjust to the darkened area) you’ll notice that the bar is front and center, serving as the small venue’s main feature.

Gusto Bar

Gusto Bar

Wine is king here, but you’ll also find an increasingly interesting array of Italian craft beers. Tutto Gusto also offers a full liquor bar. Check out the Italian-inspired cocktail menu, or order your favorite. Whatever you’re looking for, they can make it.

Gusto Bar

Gusto Bar

Because this is a wine bar, however, much of the real estate is given over to vino. Amuse yourself as you wait by checking out the ever-changing variety of Italian wines that are available by the glass or bottle.

Wine Fridge

Wine Fridge

Wine Fridge

Wine Fridge

But Tutto Gusto has more to offer than just beverages. From the get go, I prized this spot for their amazing array of small plates. There’s a display of some of the offerings to whet your appetite.

Antipasti Showcase at Tutto Gusto

Antipasti Showcase at Tutto Gusto

As is usually the case when you’re dining anywhere in the Disney universe, be sure to look up! The details of a spot usually include some really cool lighting, and Gusto is no exception.

Wine Bottle Lighting

Wine Bottle Lighting

You will find that Tutto Gusto can reach capacity rather easily — hence those Cast Members stationed at the doors. There isn’t a ton of seating here, but what you do find is rustic, cozy, and fairly comfortable. It is a little “close”, however, so if you prize privacy or personal space, you may want to look at the couch options.

Gusto Table

Gusto Table

Speaking of…you’ll find more comfy seating flanking the fireplace, another nice focal point in the small space.

Gusto Fireplace Area

Gusto Fireplace Area

Tables and stools here are low and well padded. It’s a great place to relax and catch up with friends, or to just take a breather from the bright sunshine.

Fireplace Area Seating at Tutto Gusto

Fireplace Area Seating at Tutto Gusto

And it truly is a beautiful location. Personally, I think they hit the themeing out of the park. Don’t you love the brick ceiling?

Tutto Gusto Seating

Tutto Gusto Seating

Having shown you around, I’m ready to get down to the serious business of [Read more…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: Dining Solo in Disney World

When most people think of Walt Disney World, they automatically think of visiting with friends or family, which is lots of fun.

dfb2015_guide_3d

But there’s another way that I really love to tour Disney World. And that’s solo.

Sure. It’s always awesome to experience the magic with others…to catch their smiles, impressions, opinions. But sometimes out of necessity, and sometimes out of preference, I find myself visiting the ‘World alone.

It may sound lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. After all, what better way to take advantage of that single rider line? ;-) You can also spend as long as you want drinking in every detail of attractions and other surroundings.

But even if you’re totally OK with doing attractions by yourself, dining may feel like another matter altogether. You may be tempted to just stick with a table for one in the counter service spots.

And that’s all good, if that’s what you want. But if you’re looking to enjoy some of the great dining choices Disney has to offer, we have some terrific Tips from the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining for making this an awesome experience. And this is just one of the many unique ways of enjoying the World that we cover in the guide. There’s a chapter for everything, so be sure to check it out!

And if you find this information helpful, then be sure to pick up your copy of the Guide today for $4 off using code “2015” right here!

Dine Overlooking a Great View

There is no shortage of great Disney restaurants with equally great views! Why not choose one of them for your next solo meal?

One of my favorites is Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Request a window seat and enjoy an ever-changing view of the animals that call Sunset Savanna home.

Watch the Wildlife as You Dine at Sanaa

Watch the Wildlife as You Dine at Sanaa

And while you enjoy the live action through the window, the food incredible as well! The menu features East African and Indian-inspired dishes, and I can never pass up the opportunity to enjoy their incredible Butter Chicken.

Slow-cooked in Gravy, Simple and Well-seasoned Butter Chicken and Chicken Vindaloo

Ya Gotta Try the Butter Chicken!

Prefer serenity to scenery? Grab a table at one of Flame Tree Barbecue’s many pavilions. (Flame Tree Barbecue has been closed for refurbishment, but we expect it to re-open very soon.)

Eat at the Counter

Many Disney table service restaurants feature chef’s counters or bars where you can dine while you watch all of the exciting action of the kitchen. Sitting at these high-energy spots was a favorite tip that I received from my friend Gray at SoloFriendly.com. And if I’m choosing some of my favorite bar seating, it has to be [Read more…]

Review: Lemon with Crispy Meringue Ice Cream at L’Artisan des Glaces in Epcot’s France

We have an almost-birthday to celebrate… L’Artisan des Glaces is nearly two years old!

L’Artisan des Glaces opened in late May of 2013 and has been serving up 16 daily flavors of house made ice cream and sorbet ever since. Oh, and more than a few Cafe Glaces and Pressed Brioche and Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches. Not to mention an Ice Cream Martini or two…

You may be dedicated to your favorite flavor or enjoy trying something new each time, such as the ever-changing seasonal macaron sandwiches.

Me? I’ve just gotta try their newest flavor whenever I’m in Epcot’s France, because they never seem to disappoint with the latest ice cream creation.

L'Artisan des Glaces in Epcot's France Pavilion

L’Artisan des Glaces in Epcot’s France Pavilion

Menu at L'Artisan des Glaces

Menu at L’Artisan des Glaces

The most recent addition of Lemon with Crispy Meringue Ice Cream presented a bit of a conundrum for me, though (even if I can never argue with an Ice Cream Mickey!).

Lemon with Crispy Meringue Ice Cream

Lemon with Crispy Meringue Ice Cream

If you’ve been reading the DFB for a while, then you probably know how much I seriously love all things lemon, so I was pretty pumped about the lemon ice cream. On the flip side, you may also know that I don’t care for [Read more…]

Great New Drinks to Enjoy at Disney World

Top Five New Drinks to Try at Walt Disney WorldWell, I guess it’s time… Florida sure had a beautiful “winter,” but as much as I’ve tried to deny it over the past few weeks, we’re back to the time of year when it’s not unusual to see the thermometer (otherwise known as my weather app) climb back up into the 90s.

One good thing about all that? It’s the perfect excuse to cool down with some cold beverages! And since we’re looking at hanging out in the heat until… oh, until the end of the 2015 Epcot Food & Wine Festival in, like, November, now is as good a time as any to check out some highly recommended sips!

So today we’re stopping at two Disney World Parks, one Resort, and Downtown Disney to check out some of the latest and greatest concoctions. We’re focusing primarily on some killer cocktails, but we’ll end with a little something for kids (and kids at heart!), too!

So grab a straw and a teeny-tiny umbrella, because we’re starting with a new vacation must-have…

Spikey Pineapple

We’ve just gotta dive in with this new gem at Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort: the Spikey Pineapple.

Spikey Pineapple

Spikey Pineapple

While most of the drink menu at the Tiki Terrace is the same as that inside Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, you can ONLY enjoy the Spikey Pineapple outside on the Tiki Terrace… and it is well worth a special visit.

Why? Because this is Pineapple Soft-Serve (Dole Whip!) served in a sippable form and spiked with Barbancourt Pango Rhum.

Spikey Pineapple menu description

Spikey Pineapple menu description

If you’re a fan of Dole Whip (and especially the rum-spiked Pineapple Soft-serve at the Epcot Food & Wine and Flower and Garden Festivals and in Animal Kingdom), or just fantastic tropical vacation drinks in general, this one is a must-try!

Tamarind Margarita

What’s a post about drinks in Disney World without mentioning one of the greatest watering holes this side of the Mississippi (and, OK, the other side, too)? Over in Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion, La Cava del Tequila sets the standard for incredible and creative margaritas served alongside high-end tequilas.

La Cava del Tequila Sign

La Cava del Tequila Sign

And while the debut last fall of the Maelstrom Margarita (created in tribute to the now-extinct Maelstrom attraction formerly housed in Mexico’s neighboring Norway Pavilion) receives a lot of well-deserved buzz, it’s the Tamarind Margarita, which debuted last summer, that really knocked our socks off in a recent visit: Ambhar Blanco Tequila, tamarind pulp, orange liquor and agave nectar with a chili powder rim.

Tamarind Margarita

Tamarind Margarita

The tamarind and agave make this one incredibly sweet — without being too sweet (I hate too sweet), thanks to the tamarind tang, and the chili powder rim provides some kick. This one well earns its place beside the beloved Avocado Margarita. And Horchata Margarita. Oh, and the Wild Passion Fruit;)

Dark & Tropical Stormy

Inside at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, though, we’re loving the Dark & Tropical Stormy: Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, fresh lime juice, Ginger Beer, and Falernum.

Dark & Tropical Stormy on the Trader Sam's menu

Dark & Tropical Stormy on the Trader Sam’s menu

It’s the unique and bold taste of the ginger beer that makes this one stand out, giving it a sweet spice while the layered pour allows the rum to have its own moment as well.

Dark & Tropical Stormy

Dark & Tropical Stormy

Another fun feature with many drinks inside the Grotto are toppers themed to the beverage. The Dark & Tropical Stormy’s is understandably windblown ;)

Dark & Tropical Stormy umbrella

Dark & Tropical Stormy umbrella

Batten down the hatches and grab one!

Raspy Old Fashioned

We’re taking a trip over to Downtown Disney for our next one and stopping at Raglan Road.

Raglan Road

Raglan Road

Understandably, lots of folks stepping into Raglan Road fancy a pint, and the [Read more…]