Review: Katsura Grill in Epcot’s Japan Pavilion

Konnichiwa! And welcome back to another visit to Katsura Grill!

The counter service spot, located in Epcot’s Japan Pavilion, sits higher than the rest of the elevation in the area. Nestled into a garden behind the temple, this spot offers lovely, serene surroundings.

And in the past, we’ve really enjoyed the food here as well — especially lighter, healthier options, like Steamed Veggies and Miso.

I decided to visit Katsura spur-of-the-moment for lunch recently to see if I could still recommend this out-of-the-way counter service location. Come with me as we check out what I found.

Atmosphere

If you haven’t fully explored the Japan Pavilion, then make sure to carve out a little extra time to do it on your very next trip to Epcot. There’s lots to take in.

As you make your way through the Pavilion to the back, Katsura Grill sits to the left. You’ll do a little climbing to get up to it, however.

Katsura Grill

Katsura Grill

The building itself demonstrates a simple Japanese aesthetic. Whereas the temple in front of it is a showstopper, Katsura is plain and functional, with dark wood accents and a thatched roof. [Read more…]

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Recipe: Shrimp on the Barbie from the Australia Booth

We’re still months away from the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival but it’s always fun to look back at favorite dishes from the past years!

Food and Wine 2015 Info Graphic Square URL

We loved these Shrimp on the Barbie with Pepper Berry Citrus Glaze way back in 2012 and we’ve had a few reader requests for the recipe too!

Now it might be a wee bit cold in your neck of the woods for grilling outside but you can use a grill pan on the stove for this recipe and it’ll be just as delicious! Plus, the pepperberry sauce is delightfully spicy so it’s the perfect dish to whip up on a cold winter day!

We love exotic-sounding dishes that are actually really easy cook, and this Shrimp on the Barbie recipe is right up our alley! The shrimp would make a great, quick appetizer for a dinner party or a spicy side dish with pasta or steak.

Let’s get cooking and throw a few shrimp on the barbie!

Shrimp on the Barbie with Pepper Berry Citrus Glaze

Shrimp on the Barbie with Pepper Berry Citrus Glaze

Ingredients: [Read more…]

Our Favorite Epcot Restaurants

We are big fans of Epcot around here, just like you are. It may not be the original Disney World Park, but it holds a charm that few other spots in the Disney universe can. After all, walking around there feels like  you’ve stepped into the dreams of Walt Disney himself. It didn’t start life as the Experimental Prototype City Of Tomorrow for nothing!

Epcot!!!

Epcot!!!

The park has evolved a bit through the years, but we’re still enchanted by its dual personalities: Future World, celebrating technology and the promise of what’s to come; and World Showcase, which encourages visitors to embrace cultures from around the globe in order to learn from them. [Read more…]

Best Disney World Cinnamon Rolls

Nothing hits the spot quite like that decadent treat, a Disney Cinnamon Roll. Whether you’re enjoying one of these mammoth pastries for breakfast with your coffee, or as an afternoon snack, it’s been one of my favorites forever!

It’s unfortunate that some of the very best ones, like the Main Street Bakery Cinnamon Roll and the Sticky Bun at Kouzzina, are no longer available.

Best Disney World Cinnamon Rolls

But there are still so many delicious options available out there! Let’s take a look at a few of my favorites, and then you can share with me which ones you like the best. [Read more…]

Best Kept Disney Dining Secrets: Saving Money in Disney World

We are back with some of our very best kept Disney Dining Secrets. And we want to share them with you!

2016 book cover dfb guide

Planning where you’ll be spending your food budget in Disney World is a BIG deal. There are so many choices to make! Maybe you’re worried about getting the advance dining reservations you’d like the most. And what about your favorite brands and foods? Will they have them?

These are all great questions, and we address them all in our DFB Guide to WDW Dining e-Book! But today, we’re exploring one of the biggest concerns: Is it possible to save a buck or two when you’re at Disney?

Secrets to Saving Money in Disney World

Today, we’ll share some of our favorite ways to save money during your visit to Walt Disney World. And if you like what you see here, be sure to check out even more secrets in the brand new DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining, 2016 Edition, where we gather over 530 pages of tips, recommendations, and secrets to make your Disney trip the best ever!

Here we go!

Ditch Unwanted Sides

I love this tip, and it can save you some serious cash (and calories!). You may think the price printed on the menu board or in the menu is non-negotiable. But we’ve got a secret to share!

Did you know that you can often forego unwanted sides? For instance, say you order a sandwich that comes with fries, but you don’t really want them. Ask if you can order your sandwich as an entree only and save!

Cheeseburger at Backlot Express!

Cheeseburger at Backlot Express!

And if you’re a light eater, or someone who doesn’t really care about (or literally can’t EAT) that side of salad/chips/fries/coleslaw/pasta salad, then you’ll never miss it.

[Read more…]

Review: Starbucks Smoked Butterscotch Latte and Frappuccino… vs. Butterbeer™

There has been a LOT of hype over the latest specialty beverages to arrive to Starbucks.

And while these new sips are being served at Starbucks locations all over Disney property in spots like Epcot’s Fountain View, Magic Kingdom’s Main Street BakeryTrolley Car Cafe at Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom’s Creature Comforts, they’re likely gracing the menu at your local Starbucks, too (making this a two-fer review for you!).

We’re talking about the Smoked Butterscotch Latte and Smoked Butterscotch Frappuccino! And though they’re available nationwide, many folks are making the comparison to a specific specialty drink at a certain theme park also located in Central Florida: BUTTERBEER™.

Described as “creamy-sweet with kettle cooked butterscotch,” it sure sounds enticing enough.

Smoked Butterscotch Drink Menu

Smoked Butterscotch Drink Menu

So I grabbed both the hot latte and the frappuccino versions so I could decide for myself how they really compare to a glass of Butterbeer™. If you’ve never had one, Butterbeer comes in a few different versions like cold or frozen, and has a very sweet and distinct butterscotch flavor throughout its cream soda base. The whole thing is topped off with foam.

Butterbeer at Three Broomsticks

Butterbeer at Universal Studios Wizarding World of Harry Potter

[Read more…]

News! 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Eat to the Beat Concert Preliminary Dates

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Fans — it’s tiiiiiime!

Food and Wine Festival Updates

As you know, here at DFB we report as SOON as we have any Epcot Food and Wine Festival info. And today we have a FIRST LOOK at a couple of the artists you can expect to return for the 2016 Eat to the Beat concert series!

If you’re new to the Food and Wine Festival, here’s a little background. Eat to the Beat is a concert series that takes place during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, which runs this year from September 14-November 14. The series features musical acts from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and 00s each year, and concerts take place throughout most evenings of the Festival.

Since this partial list is preliminary, be sure to stay tuned to the Disney Food Blog for additions and/or changes to the schedule! We will bring you all the latest news first!

Eat to the Beat concerts are performed three times per evening, so you have three opportunities every night to see your favorite acts — at 5:30PM, 6:45PM, and 8:00PM.

eat-to-the-beat-logo

2016 Eat to the Beat Concert Line Up…So Far

Note: this schedule is subject to change.

September 16-18: Starship Featuring Mickey Thomas
October 20-21: Christopher Cross

We’ll be updating our Eat to the Beat Schedule Page as soon as we have more bands confirmed! Taking in an Eat to the Beat concert is a great way to unwind and continue the fun of the Food and Wine Festival into the evening. [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: March 15, 2016

Happy Spring! At least, it’s Spring in Disney World where temperatures are starting to rise once more with warm days leading into gorgeous nights!

Springtime Treats at Main Street Confectionery

Springtime Treats at Main Street Confectionery

No matter what the thermometer says in your neck of the woods, why not enjoy a bit of spring with us here at the DFB as we travel all over Disney World to find out What’s New!? [Read more…]

Best of the Fest: What to Eat at the 2016 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

There’s a lot to love about Epcot during just about every season. With the Epcot Food and Wine Festival in the Fall, and Holidays Around the World celebrating Winter holidays, this has truly become a festival Park!

But Spring in the park is especially beautiful as the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival gets going. (I know. It doesn’t feel like Spring everywhere. But trust me. It does in Florida.)

Flower and Garden Festival

The Flower and Garden Festival, which runs through May 30, opened last week, and we were there for the very first day! After an afternoon of Eating and Drinking Around the World, we came away with pictures of all of the dishes — and more than a few new favorites! Today, we’d like to share with you our Best of the Fest — our top picks from the new dishes that you can enjoy when you visit this year’s Festival.

Jerk-spice Grouper (or Chicken) from La Isla Fresca

La Isla Fresca debuted at the 2016 Flower and Garden Festival, and it brings with it the fresh flavors of the Caribbean. Everything that we tasted here was a winner!

La Isla Fresca Dishes

La Isla Fresca Dishes

But we especially liked the option to choose between Jerked Grouper or Chicken (although we went for both! :-D) But seriously — not everyone is a fish lover, and not all folks eat chicken. So having a dish where you can decide, but still enjoy the flavors, is a great idea! [Read more…]

News: Two NEW Challenges Join the Wine and Dine Half Marathon in 2016!

We don’t often report on runDisney news here at the DFB (unless it has to do with WHAT you’re going to eat BEFORE your race and WHERE you’re going to eat after to celebrate your accomplishment!).

wine and dine logo

But we make a small exception for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon… ‘cuz wine. And DINE! And also because it takes place in tandem with the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, our favorite celebration of the year!

So we thought we’d chime in with some news about the 2016 Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend, which will take place November 3 – 6, 2016.

Here’s the RUNdown, along with details on two NEW challenges debuting this year!

Wine and Dine Half Marathon

First: the Half Marathon — typically a nighttime race — will take place in daytime hours moving forward, beginning at Epcot at 5:30 AM on Sunday, November 6th. An updated course will bring runners through Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Please note that the Post Race Party will take place on Sunday evening, and runners will have exclusive access during “later hours,” according to runDisney. (This is AWESOME, because it means you don’t miss out on party fun if you’re a slower runner…not that I have any experience in that department at all, of course. ;-D)

2015 Epcot Wine and Dine Medal

2015 Epcot Wine and Dine Medal

Wine and Dine 10K — NEW!

Second: a Disney Wine & Dine 10K has been added to the weekend, with Chef Remy on the way to host the race! The race will start at Epcot at 5:30 AM on Saturday, November 6th. (There will still be a 5K race as well :-D; Mickey’s Holiday 5K will take place at Animal Kingdom on Friday, November 4.)

Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge — NEW!

[Read more…]