Review: Pumpkin Cheesecake and Pecan Pie Tart at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Happy Thanksgiving!

With Autumn waning, and the Winter Holidays just around the corner, we couldn’t resist offering you one last beautiful, delicious look at this colorful season.

Fortunately, a trip to The Mara provided a couple of great options to celebrate the season.

Autumn Chocolate Pecan Tart

Having enjoyed lunch in the Parks, I decided to drop by The Mara and see what was new in the pastry case. I was excited to see lots of Fall colors and flavors! The first sweet that caught my eye was this Autumn-Themed Chocolate Pecan Tart.

The bold colors of the Chocolate Garnish were the perfect complement for the season. And I was intrigued by the obvious color in the Whipped Cream that topped the Tart.

Autumn Pecan Tart

Autumn Chocolate Pecan Tart

Cutting into the Tart, it was obvious that this was a rich, moist pecan pie filling — nothing dry about this!

Pecan Tart -- Cross Section

Chocolate Pecan Tart — Cross Section

And the cinnamon-y and buttery flavors were perfect together. I think the whipped cream was [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: November 18th, 2014

Ready for another trip around the World? We’re heading to three parks and a few resorts to check out holiday treats, gingerbread feats, and new menu eats! And which Counter Service location is now serving up steak? Just read on to find out and see What’s New!

HOLIDAY TREATS

Red and green aren’t the only colors taking over Disney World now that the holiday season has launched around here… hues of blue decorate the festive snacks at this year’s brand new “Frozen” Gingerbread Display at the Contemporary Resort!

Contemporary Resort Gingerbread Display

Contemporary Resort Gingerbread Display

We tried the Blue Raspberry Cake Gelato

Blue Raspberry Cake Gelato

Blue Raspberry Cake Gelato

Read our review and see all the other treats available at the new display here!

Get ready for all your favorite Disney World bakery items (we’re talking Krispy Treats, Candy Apples, and Mickey Macarons) to be dressed up for the holiday season in spots like the Main Street Confectionery, Seashore Sweets, and Big Top Treats.

Holiday Bakery Case

Holiday Bakery Case

Ornament Candy Apples

Ornament Candy Apples

More candy apples!

More candy apples!

Holiday cupcakes

Holiday cupcakes

Red and Green Mickey Macarons

Red and Green Mickey Macarons

And now let’s look into some ways the Parks are getting into the [Read more…]

What’s Your Favorite Disney World Restaurant for Atmosphere?

Disney restaurants tend to have that little something extra that make them a magical experience for us and our families instead of, say, just another night at the local diner. The red carpet at Cinderella’s Royal Table, the aquarium at Coral Reef, the stage show at Biergarten…they all make these restaurants a more interesting, and more compelling, place to dine.

Proximity of Animals to Diners at Coral Reef

Proximity of Animals to Diners at Coral Reef

That’s why today, atmosphere is taking center stage instead of playing a supporting role. I want to know: What’s your favorite Disney World restaurant for its atmosphere? The place that you go, without fail, almost without thought to the food. (Almost. But not quite.)

Here are three of my favorite spots that I hit up as often as possible when I’m in town. I can’t wait to hear about your favorites in the comments!

Sci-Fi Dine-In Restaurant

If you A) pine for the days of drive in movies, or B) have heard about such days and you’re completely fascinated, then you’ve gotta check out Sci-Fi Dine-In with me.

Dining under the stars while watching ridiculous B movies on the big screen is just too much fun to pass up.

After all, this is the only place in Disney that you can eat in your car!

Dine in a Convertible at Sci-Fi

Dine in a Convertible at Sci-Fi

No time to wait for a car table? Check out the cool picnic table option, and you can still dine in the Disney “open air!”

Sci Fi Picnic Tables

Sci Fi Picnic Tables

Thankfully, Walt shows up every now and again to make sense of it all.

Walt and His Vision

Walt and His Vision

I personally love the house specialty, the [Read more…]

Snack Series: Candy Corn Cupcake at The Mara

Boo to You! It’s Halloween Week, and the Disney seasonal treats just keep coming!

Today, we’re showing you a fun Fall find from The Mara at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

I love me some candy corn, but when you combine candy corn and Cupcakes? Even better!

Candy Corn Cupcake

So, Disney World has some hidden gems that keep churning out awesome eats that you’d never expect. Places like Sleepy Hollow and Friar’s Nook in the Magic Kingdom, and Landscape of Flavors at Art of Animation Resort tend to be little hot-beds of creativity when it comes to snacks and must-eat treats. The Mara at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge also fits into this category, featuring some seriously great baked goods on a regular basis (like the Chocolate Raspberry Mickey Tart).

And so I give you the Candy Corn Cupcake — with Oreo Mickey Ears, even!!

Candy Corn Cupcake at The Mara in Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Candy Corn Cupcake at The Mara in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Mounded high with thick Buttercream Frosting in Candy Corn’s traditional tri-color pattern, the cupcake is trimmed out with orange-tinted White Chocolate Curls for even more visual impact.

This is all piled on top of dark Chocolate Cake. But when you cut into the cupcake, you’ll find a little surprise hidden inside.

Candy Corn Cupcake -- Cross Section

Candy Corn Cupcake — Cross Section

Now, to be honest, I’m not completely sure what this is. There is definitely chopped up [Read more…]

What’s New Around Disney World: October 28, 2014

Happy Fall! Autumnal treats have been appearing all over Disney World for a while now, but with Halloween just days away, we thought we’d give you one last glimpse of the season’s snacks.

But that’s not the only food news ’round these parts… not by a long shot. Take a trip with us around all four Disney World parks to check out What’s New!

Hollywood Studios

October is probably my favorite time for the candy apples that hit the scene, like these at Sweet Spells.

Halloween Candy Apples

Halloween Candy Apples

"Poisoned" Candy Apple

“Poisoned” Candy Apple

Minnie Witch Candy Apple

Minnie Witch Candy Apple

Min & Bill’s Dockside Diner currently features a Caramel Apple Shake as its tribute to fall. The featured shakes here change frequently, so be sure to pop by to see what’s available on your visit!

Min and Bill's Dockside Diner

Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner

Caramel Apple Shake

Caramel Apple Shake

Joffrey’s Coffee Carts all over Disney World have changed their seasonal offerings to include a Pumpkin Pie Latte and a Pumpkin Pie Frozen Cappuccino.

Joffrey's Coffee Kiosk at Pixar Place

Joffrey’s Coffee Kiosk at Pixar Place

Seasonal Coffee beverages

Seasonal Coffee beverages

Speaking of those Joffrey’s Carts… remember the Big ‘Ol Donut? We spotted a few topped with massive amounts of cookie crumble for a change [Read more…]

DFB Reader Questions Answered: Best Restaurants to Celebrate a Grown-Up Birthday at Walt Disney World

Today, we’re pulling another great question out the Disney Food Blog mailbag. You guys ask some great ones, and lots of times, we’ll get several emails and inquiries about the same subject.

Spontaneous Birthday Treat at Citricos

Spontaneous Birthday Treat at Citricos

Today, we’re going to delve into the wonderful world of birthday celebrations for grown-ups!

Celebrating Grown Up Birthdays in Walt Disney World

Our DFB reader asks:

We will be vacationing at WDW in May. My 25-year old son will have a birthday while we are there. We would like to have a special meal to celebrate, something fun but also really good!

I love this question! Disney brands itself a great place for all kinds of celebrations. And when it comes to birthdays, why should kiddos have all the fun?

When planning a special meal to celebrate a birthday at Walt Disney World, the most basic advice is probably a great starting point: what does the birthday boy or girl enjoy?

Birthday Dessert

Birthday Dessert

Does he like fine dining, or would he prefer a great night out at a sports bar? Does she like a quiet, elegant setting, or a spot with intricate themeing? Or are they a kid at heart who can Celebrate Mickey with the best of them?

Fantastic ideas abound for fun birthday celebrations at Disney World, but let’s go with my three favorite ideas. At the very least, it might lead to some good brainstorming when it comes time to plan your own special dinner party!

Signature Dining

For the Disney fan who enjoys a fine dining experience, there would be no other place to celebrate a birthday than where these two things meet — Disney’s signature dining restaurants.

If you’re looking for the pinnacle of fine dining, consider booking a table at Victoria and Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

Victoria and Albert's Main Dining Room

Victoria and Albert’s Main Dining Room

The ultimate in Disney fine dining, this relaxed, refined restaurant has won countless awards for its upscale take on modern American fare and its stellar wine menu. To make it an even more special experience, book the Chef’s Table!

Another great option is California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The restaurant sits atop the hotel, and boasts panoramic views. It’s a great spot for viewing Wishes, Magic Kingdom’s fireworks spectacular!

Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli is as Good as Ever

Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli at California Grill

Food here is always fresh and inventive, celebrating the farm to table movement and the Asian fusion style that placed California on the culinary map.

For something a little off the beaten path but no less delicious, check out Jiko at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Jiko at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

In a relaxing atmosphere that mimics the [Read more…]

Walt Disney World Steak Gallery

It’s time for another fun addition to our Disney Food Galleries!

disney world steak gallery

We just love to share photos of all of our favorite foods — and collect them into galleries for easy viewing! Whether your craving is for popcorn, ice cream, or a cupcake, there’s a gallery for you!

And today, we’re introducing a brand new gallery for all of you red meat lovers out there! Yep, we’ve gathered a whole buncha steaks from around Disney World to help you make your choices on your next visit.

Remember, some of these may drop off menus from time to time or have side dishes or preparation changed, but hopefully this will give you a good overview of what’s available! Here we go!

Yachtsman Steakhouse

Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht Club is one of my top picks when it comes to steak at Walt Disney World. After all, they decorate with meat — the first thing you pass en route to your seat is the Steak Trimming Room!

Chefs here pride themselves not only on the very best cuts of meat, but appetizers, side dishes, and desserts inspired by market fresh ingredients. Yachtsman combines the very best of seasonal flavors with the traditional steak experience.

My absolute favorite pick at Yachtsman is the 16-ounce Boneless Ribeye. It is always a melt-in-your-mouth choice.

Ribeye with Herb Fries at Yachtsman Steakhouse

Ribeye with Herb Fries at Yachtsman Steakhouse

But we are also big fans of the 12-ounce Prime New York Strip Steak, served here with a rich potato gratin stack.

Strip Steak

12-ounce Prime New York Strip Steak

Shula’s

Shula’s at Walt Disney World’s Swan and Dolphin is the kind of place that you think of when you envision an upscale steakhouse. As your eyes adjust to the dim lighting and you check out the menu — printed on a football! — you’ll settle into the refined elegance of your surroundings.

When I have the chance to dine here, I almost always go for my favorite, the 22-ounce Cowboy Ribeye (are you sensing a theme?). The Bone-in Steak has been excellent on every visit. The flavor is unbelievable!

Cowboy Ribeye

22-ounce Cowboy Ribeye

Looking for a lighter approach to soothe your carnivore cravings? We’ve also enjoyed the Steak Mary Anne. Delicate by steakhouse standards, the 5-ounce medallions are served with a simple demi glace in this case. It’s the perfect plate for the guest who prefers all the flavor of prime, aged beef in a smaller serving.

Steak Mary Anne

Steak Mary Anne

Flying Fish

If you’re a landlubber like me, then finding a great steak at a restaurant known for fabulous seafood is a dream come true. But it’s not impossible if you’re dining at Flying Fish Cafe.

When I visit, I always order the Char-Crusted Black Angus New York Strip. The creamy Sauce Foyot is such a great accent — and they’re never chintzy with it!

Char Crusted Black Angus New York Strip

Char-Crusted Black Angus New York Strip

Can’t decide between surf and turf? You don’t have to! Try the two house specialities side by side with the Entree Duo, which features the Char-Crusted Angus New York Strip Steak and the restaurant’s most famous fish dish, the Potato-wrapped Red Snapper.

Entree Duo of Red Snapper and Strip Steak

Entree Duo of Red Snapper and Strip Steak

Jiko

Jiko offers some of the most interesting food at Walt Disney World.

And while I enjoy the fusion of African, Indian, and Meditteranean flavors when it comes to appetizers and desserts, I rarely deviate from my favorite entree: the Oak-Grilled Filet.

Oak Grilled Filet with Mac and Cheese

Oak-Grilled Filet with Mac and Cheese

And even when their delicious Mac and Cheese isn’t featured as the dish’s side, you can usually score it as a special request (and I totally recommend that you do). :-)

Liberty Inn

In the mood for steak with no Advance Dining Reservation? Then head to Epcot’s Liberty Inn. Their New York Strip Steak, served with Red Wine Butter, Roasted Potatoes, and Steamed Broccoli, is surprisingly good.

New York Strip Steak Meal

New York Strip Steak Meal

Sci-Fi Dine-In Restaurant

Even though most of my favorite steaks at Disney World are featured at signature restaurants, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a good option at moderately priced restaurants, too, like Sci-Fi Dine-In.

Recently, I was pleasantly surprised by [Read more…]

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…]

Disney Recipe: Macaroni and Cheese from Jiko at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

I have a super special treat for you today!

I know I’m not the only person in love with the Macaroni and Cheese at Jiko, right? This signature restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge — and this dish in particular! — regularly tops my list when I’m visiting Disney World.

And when you run into me having dinner here, chances are better than great that I’ll be enjoying their Oak-Grilled Filet with a side of their amazing Mac and Cheese.

While the filet is a mainstay on their menu, the side dishes that it’s paired with tend to change up regularly. But Jiko created a legend with the filet and cheesy goodness combo; it had legions of fans! So normally, even if the mac and cheese isn’t on the menu, you can request it.

Oak Grilled Filet with Mac and Cheese

Oak Grilled Filet with Mac and Cheese

And now you can make it at home too!

Jiko’s Macaroni and Cheese

Jiko — The Cooking Place, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients: [Read more…]

Tip from the DFB Guide: How to Outsmart the Heat and Crowds at Disney World This Summer

We’re coming into the very hot, very crowded summer months at Walt Disney World. And that gives me a chance to share with you one of my favorite tips from the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining!

2014 dfb guide 3d cover

So, dining in the theme parks is awesome and convenient, since you’re probably already there. BUT, it can also be a hassle…because you’ll get hungry for lunch, well, just about same time that everyone else does!

So one of my favorite tips for dealing with crowds during lunch at Disney Parks? Escape the Parks for lunch at a nearby resort.

The food is as good (and sometimes it’s better) than what you’ll find in the Parks. And with all of that wonderful air conditioning comes another pleasant surprise. Since most guests are busy running to and fro to attractions, you’ll often find little to no wait at Resort restaurants.

When I’m at Magic Kingdom, I love to hop a boat and head for lunch at Trail’s End Restaurant. Located at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort Campground, getting there by boat is actually a smart move, since the restaurant is located all the way at the back of the resort.

Grab this Sticky Bun Sundae -- or another mouth watering menu item -- at Trail's End on your Magic Kingdom Day

Grab this Sticky Bun Sundae — or another mouth watering menu item — at Trail’s End on your Magic Kingdom Day

ESPN Club is a short walk from both Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and it’s a great place to catch up with what’s going on in the world of sports while you cool down!

Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge has amazing food, and it’s an easy commute from Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

You Just Might View Some Animals While You Take in Lunch at Sanaa

You Just Might View Some Animals While You Take in Lunch at Sanaa

And don’t forget [Read more…]