First Look! Photo Tour: Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn

Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn is officially open for business, and we’ve enjoyed our first dinner there!

Trattoria al Forno at Disney's Boardwalk

Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s Boardwalk

The restaurant began serving breakfast and dinner yesterday to a packed house (see our Trattoria breakfast menu review here). When we left late last night, the waiting area was standing room only!

We’ll have a review of all of the dishes we tried this first time out on Monday; but in the meantime, we wanted to give you a look around the newly remodeled space. Thanks to our friend Mealtrip for bringing his fabulous photography back to the blog in this post!

Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk

Trattoria al Forno occupies the space that was previously Spoodles, and most recently the home of Kouzzina by Cat Cora. Many Disney food fans were sorry to see the Greek-themed restaurant close.

Trattoria Entrance

Trattoria al Forno Entrance

Now, Disney takes the space back to its original roots with a “family Italian restaurant” that has grown in its physical space and has evolved in its culinary approach over time.

Trattoria Sign at the Hostess Station

Trattoria Sign at the Hostess Station

While the dining room of Kouzzina was open, basically occupying one large room, the Trattoria designers claim you’ll see smaller rooms as you travel the length of Trattoria al Forno, with subtle differences in decor signaling your progression from one room to the other.

The backstory of the restaurant holds that an Italian family ran a modest tavern and boarding house on the boardwalk, which expanded over the years into a popular restaurant. As the restaurant was growing, boardinghouse rooms were converted into additional dining spaces — each family generation adding their own touches to the menu and the restaurant’s design.

Now, in all honesty, the overall space is pretty much the same general area that it was when the restaurant was Kouzzina. There’s an entryway and waiting room, a big dining room (which Trattoria has outfitted with brick columns to indicate said “rooms”), and an open kitchen. The room used in the past as a private dining room has been included as a general dining area, but that’s pretty much the only completely separate dining room in the place. But we can chat more about that later. Let’s get inside!

Beginning in the Entrata, or entrance, the space has been overhauled to create a warm but open area with minimal detail. No more Cat Cora cookbooks or merchandise. Just a wine “wall,” very little seating, and a hostess podium.

Entrata

Entrata

Stone, wood, and warm lighting accent the space. Framed wall hangings give it that “family Italian” restaurant feel. You know the deal.

Seating While You Wait

Seating While You Wait

It’s very comfortable when it’s not crowded. While we didn’t have to wait long for our 5 PM advance dining reservation, the seating area was inviting.

Waiting Area

Waiting Area

Once your party is called, you’ll travel through frosted glass doors to your table.

The open kitchen remains the restaurant’s main focal point.

Wide Shot of the Trattoria Kitchen

Wide Shot of the Trattoria Kitchen

Kitchen

Kitchen

Here, you can see the open oven, which serves to anchor the Cucina portion of the restaurant. This is Trattoria’s first dining area, and offers a casual, “eat-in kitchen” vibe.

Forno Up Close

Forno Up Close

Kitchen from the Cucina, the Restaurant's First Dining Room

Kitchen from the Cucina, the Restaurant’s First Dining Room

Beyond the more casual Cucina, you travel into the slightly more opulent

[Read more…]

Review: Strawberry Cheesecake Holiday Cupcake from Disney World’s BoardWalk Bakery

I had so much fun during my recent visit to Walt Disney World.

What’s not to love about Disney at the Holidays? It was such a gorgeous — and delicious! — trip.

Today, I had to share with you a great Cupcake that I waited day after day for at one of my favorite snack stops, BoardWalk Bakery.

Let’s take a look and then I want to hear what you think!

Strawberry Cheesecake Holiday Cupcake at BoardWalk Bakery

See, the “seasonal cupcake” at the beginning of my visit was a pumpkin spice version, and I just KNEW it would switch over to a holiday option during my trip. Sure enough, about two days before I left property this lovely treat showed up.

Strawberry Cheesecake Holiday Cupcake from Disney's BoardWalk Bakery

Specialty Cupcake? C’mon BoardWalk Bakery — Give Us Some Deets!

Upon chatting up one of the awesome Cast Members, I learned that the cupcake was Dark Chocolate Cake with a Strawberry Cheesecake Filling.

Strawberry Cheesecake Holiday Cupcake from the BoardWalk Bakery

Strawberry Cheesecake Holiday Cupcake from the BoardWalk Bakery

For some reason I was super impressed by the crunchy chocolate toppers that were all glittery. Why? Who can say? I just thought they were cool. And that adorable white chocolate star was perfect on top.

Crazy Cute Christmas Tree Decorations!

Crazy Cute Christmas Tree Decorations!

But enough about Chocolate Pearls that double as ornaments and White Chocolate Gold Stars. At the end of the day, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. (See? That works for people and cupcakes.)

Under a crown of super light and fluffy Whipped Cream (belch, blech, blech), you’ll find Super Dark Chocolate Cake.

And hidden inside — yep, there it is — a thick Strawberry Cheesecake Filling.

Strawberry Cheesecake Holiday Cupcake -- Cross Section

Strawberry Cheesecake Holiday Cupcake — Cross Section

The filling itself was only slightly less dense than actual cheesecake. I was really impressed with its consistency.

Strawberry Cheesecake Holiday Cupcake -- Filling Up Close

Strawberry Cheesecake Holiday Cupcake — Filling Up Close

And the flavor? Well, non-traditional holiday-ness aside — it was good! I’m a big fan of fruit and chocolate combos, and a filling inside a cupcake is always a welcome addition.

Besides, have I mentioned how utterly adorable it is? Really, you can’t not.

What do you think of the Strawberry Cheesecake Holiday Cupcake? Leave a comment and tell us if it makes your “must have” list!

Snack Series: The Mickey Oreo Cupcake at BoardWalk Bakery

It’s time to pop in and see what’s what at one of the best Disney spots for treats, BoardWalk Bakery!

The Bakery has always been one of our favorite spots for sweet treats, but it’s a can’t-miss every trip since it reopened after a major overhaul last year!

The Cheesecake Brownie and Peanut Butter, Banana, and Candied Bacon Pie are some of our favorites! And their Lemon Meringue Tart is probably my favorite pastry treat in all of Walt Disney World.

But Boardwalk Bakery is also one of our favorite stops to find those amazing Disney World Cupcakes.

The Mickey Oreo Cupcake

The Mickey Oreo Cupcake captivated me at first glance because it’s just so darn cute. Underneath all of the fun trimmings, it’s a very simple cupcake — Chocolate Cake and Vanilla Icing, with a little surprise inside — and trimmed with Red Candies. But the garnish, though simple, adds something pretty special. It also bears a striking resemblance to another BoardWalk Bakery Mickey Oreo Cupcake from the past — the Oreo Bon Bon Cupcake.

Mickey Oreo Cupcake

Mickey Oreo Cupcake

Sitting on top is an Oreo Cookie, half-dipped in Red-Colored White Chocolate to resemble Mickey himself! Add a couple of Chocolate Discs for ears and Yellow Candies for buttons, and voila!

Mickey Oreo Cupcake -- Up Close

Mickey Oreo Cupcake — Up Close

But tucked inside, there’s another item of interest — a thick, mousse-like [Read more…]

2014 Gingerbread House Displays at Walt Disney World

Once again, visions of gingerbread houses will become reality at select Walt Disney World resort hotels!

Gingerbread Mickey Cookie

Gingerbread Mickey Cookie

The holiday season is underway as Mickey and his elves (and some talented chefs!) get busy filling the resorts and parks with seasonal decor, merchandise, and treats. Plan to stop by the resorts to see the displays, purchase a pin, and/or meet one of the fabulous chefs!

Contemporary Resort

And how cool is it that the Contemporary’s NEW gingerbread display showcases characters from Disney’s popular film, “Frozen” in the artistic style of Disney Legend Mary Blair! We reported on all the details last week. Check out all the details (including festive treats!!) on the Frozen Gingerbread Display here.

Frozen Gingerbread Display

Frozen Gingerbread Display

Grand Floridian Resort

The impressive gingerbread house churns out baked goods made from a classic Austrian recipe. Holiday treats for sale include cookies, shingles,ornaments, and houses — all made from gingerbread. Other freshly made items include Stollen Bread, chocolate peppermint bark, and truffles. Gingerbread decorating tips are given in free demonstrations! Opening date: November 23, 2014.

Life-size!

After 400 hours of baking, the chefs spent 160 hours decorating the house. This unique 80 square feet of retail space is 16 feet high by 17 feet wide and constructed with 1,000 board feet of trim, 60 sheets of plywood, 40 window panes, 100 square feet of display, and 10,000 pieces of gingerbread used.

Looking Down on the Grand Floridian Gingerbread House

Looking Down on the Grand Floridian Gingerbread House

The immense amount of gingerbread was made with 700 lbs. of chocolate, 1,050 lbs. honey, 600 lbs. powdered sugar, 35 lbs. spices, 800 lbs. flour, 140 pints egg whites. and 180 lbs. apricot glaze. Wow!

BoardWalk Inn

Inside the gorgeous lobby of the BoardWalk Inn, the Sweet Treats gingerbread display conjures visions of a Jersey Shore concession stand. We love the whimsical decor!

Gingerbread Shingle from Disney's BoardWalk

Gingerbread Shingle from Disney’s BoardWalk

Beach Club

Once again, a life-size carousel will be the centerpiece of the Beach Club’s lobby. Look for the seven Hidden Mickeys! Take home treats including small gingerbread kits will be available for purchase at the Beach Club Marketplace. Watch for inspiring demonstrations by pastry chefs. Opening date: November 25, 2014.

Carousel Horse at Disney's Beach Club

Carousel Horse at Disney’s Beach Club

Think your holiday baking list is long? It took [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Gingerbread at Disney!

Today, we have another great edition of Disney Food Pics of the Week! We love to head over to our Flickr page — Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza — where DFB readers share all of their Disney Food Photos. Wanna get in on the fun? Just head over and post your pics for a chance to have them featured in our Disney Food Pics of the Week Series!

There’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit than a tour of the extravagant Gingerbread Displays at Walt Disney World. The treats that pop up during this time of year are extra special, too! Today, let’s look at a few of the photos that you’ve taken capturing the magic of Disney World Gingerbread!

Gingerbread Mickey Cookie

Gingerbread Mickey Cookie

Gingerbread House at Disney’s Grand Floridian

Photographer: Scott Sanders

It just wouldn’t be Christmas at Walt Disney World without a trip to see the huge Gingerbread House at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. I love this shot, which shows you the scale of the house and captures some of the beautiful lobby interior of the hotel as well! (Keep an eye on the chimney — you may just see smoke rising from the house when you’re there!)

Gingerbread House at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

Gingerbread House at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

Gingerbread Shingle

Photographer: Riniel Calaelen

After a day of touring all of the beautiful gingerbread displays at Walt Disney World, it’s pretty normal to start craving those spicy cookies! That’s when a shingle from Disney’s BoardWalk will come in handy for takeaway holiday noshing!

Gingerbread Shingle from Disney's BoardWalk

Gingerbread Shingle from Disney’s BoardWalk

Gingerbread Carousel Horse at Disney’s Beach Club

Photographer: [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…]

Sneak Peek and Review: Trattoria al Forno Breakfast at Disney’s BoardWalk

We have a treat for you today — a sneak peek at some of the food that will be served at Disney’s soon-to-be newest restaurant, Trattoria al Forno!

Trattoria al Forno Logo

Recently, we shared with you a first look at some of the menu items that are planned when the restaurant opens later this year at Disney’s BoardWalk (all subject to change, of course). But I was excited to find on my trip to Walt Disney World last week that the restaurant is already serving breakfast!

Well. Sort of.

As expected, the closing of Kouzzina left a breakfast vacuum (and a really, really devastating one at that). I was super bummed to see that the Mascarpone  Waffles and other unique offerings might be nixed when Cat Cora’s Disney restaurant would be shuttered. Breakfast at Kouzzina regularly topped our list for best ways to start the day in the World.

So while I was intrigued to see that Trattoria al Forno’s breakfast menu was being served already — at its closest neighbor, Flying Fish Cafe, I was skeptical that it would even come close to Kouzzina’s breakfast. But I was eager to try it out and see what would be offered!

Now, I’m accustomed to meeting friends for dinner at Flying Fish, so it’s a little strange to arrive here for a 9:00 AM advance dining reservation!

Flying Fish, is a DFB Favorite!

Flying Fish Cafe in the Morning Hours

Let’s take a look at what I found — focusing on the food, rather than the atmosphere.

Menu Comparison: Trattoria al Forno Breakfast Versus Kouzzina

So here’s the good news for all of your who were super sad to hear that Kouzzina was closing. The Trattoria al Forno menu — for breakfast, at least — definitely has some of the same “feel” as the Kouzzina menu. While there are enough standard items to keep breakfast purists happy, you’ll definitely see the influence of the restaurant’s themeing in some of the dishes.

To make easy work of comparing the two, let’s take a look at both new and old.

Here is the menu that I received during my recent breakfast at Flying Fish.

Trattoria al Forno Breakfast Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Trattoria al Forno Breakfast Menu — Click to Enlarge

And here’s the menu from the last time I enjoyed breakfast at Kouzzina.

Breakfast Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Breakfast Menu — Click to Enlarge

Press Pot Coffee will continue to be offered, something that Kouzzina fans often raved about.

While many of the exact items from Kouzzina don’t appear, there are definitely similarities. You’ll notice, for instance, that Trattoria will continue to serve Chicken Sausage as a side item. We’ve seen it on a few other breakfast menus though, at spots like The Wave (here’s a peek at their breakfast) at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Carnation Cafe (see a breakfast review here) in Disneyland Park.

Flavors shift in the Mediterranean spectrum from Greek to Italian. Pequillo Peppers give way to Roasted Red Peppers, and Feta and other Cheeses disappear in favor of Pecorino Romano and Fresh Mozzarella.

We did notice that the Waffles seemed to make the trip over with a “tiramisu” type flavor — the addition of a coffee accent to the mascarpone. Yay!

I was pretty sad to see the demise of one of my Kouzzina favorites, the Warm Honey Pecan Cinnamon Roll.

So Far, No Warm Honey Pecan Cinnamon Roll at Trattoria al Forno

So Far, No Warm Honey Pecan Cinnamon Roll at Trattoria al Forno

I’m still holding out hope that something similar will show up when Trattoria al Forno opens its doors! It was awesome.

In chatting with the staff, we do know of a few other items that will appear on the menu later that weren’t available when we visited. These include Caramel Apple Pancakes with Streusel-Like Topping, and a Fontina Fondue-Type dish with Prosciutto, Eggs, Vine Tomatoes, and several different types of Cheese.

Eats

Now that we’ve talked about the menu at length, it’s high time I showed you what I actually enjoyed!

I decided to go with [Read more…]

Review: Ghost Cupcake at Disney’s BoardWalk Bakery

The Boardwalk Bakery is scaring up some Halloween fun this year. Our twitter followers wanted to see what was inside this Ghost Cupcake! (And, let’s be honest, I did, too!)

No stranger to unique treats of any sort (Peanut Butter, Banana, and Candied Bacon Pie, anyone?), the BoardWalk Bakery has earned its place as a go-to stop for cupcake gems — both seasonal and otherwise.

We’re talking everything from the Red (Velvet), White, and Blue Cupcake to celebrate this past Fourth of July to the recently made-over staples: the Strawberry Cupcake and the (soon to be reviewed here on DFB) Oreo Cupcake. So, it’s not exactly a surprise that the newly renovated Bakery would conjure up a little something (see what I did there?) to commemorate Halloween.

Ghost Cupcake

Ghost Cupcake

Taking it from the very top, our little ghost friend is formed of fondant, just like the Ghost Cupcake featured at Gaston’s Tavern at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. While technically edible, it’s not recommended. He’s really there for decoration and — clearly — a super high fright factor ;). 

Ghost topper

Ghost topper

Also like Gaston’s version, his ghostly form is supported by a (totally edible!) marshmallow tucked underneath.

Marshmallow ghost

Marshmallow ghost

The “frosting” is [Read more…]

News: Opening Day, Reservation Date, and Menu for Trattoria al Forno on Disney’s BoardWalk

While we recently bid farewell to Kouzzina at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort, we can soon welcome Trattoria al Forno to the Disney World restaurant list.

Disney's BoardWalk

Disney’s BoardWalk

Set to open on December 18, 2014, this BoardWalk restaurant will add yet another Italian eatery to the Disney line-up. The menu includes handcrafted mozzarella (made daily), fresh cavatelli pasta, and pizzas made in the wood-burning oven. Take a look at the full menu below… .

Trattoria Menu

Trattoria al Forno Menu

Dishes will include Uncle Pats Pickled Peppers, Meatball Cannelloni Basil, Lasagna Bolognese, and Chicken Parmesan. The pics below come to us from the Disney Parks Blog.

Trattoria Dinner Entrees

Trattoria Dinner Entrees

Trattoria al Forno will serve [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: September 24, 2014

Food is always the star of the show for Disney Food Fans, but there’s no time of year when food steals the spotlight quite like this… with a little something called the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival!

But that’s not all the food news in these parts! We’ve spotted more fall treats and new Resort eats as we’ve been looking around Disney World to see What’s New

EPCOT

So, right off the bat, we know this isn’t exactly what you would call a “surprise” ;) , but since it’s Epcot’s time to shine, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the recent opening of this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Food and Wine Festival!

Be sure to check out the Must-Eats among the dishes making their debut this year!

Bacon Hash at the Farm Fresh Booth

Bacon Hash at the Farm Fresh Booth

Coconut Candy at the Brazil Booth

Coconut Candy at the Brazil Booth

Fresh baked carrot cake with Craisins® and cream cheese icing

Fresh baked carrot cake with Craisins® and cream cheese icing at the Hops & Barley booth

In other EPCOT food news (yep, there’s still more!), the ice cream experts at L’Artisan des Glaces are helping everyone get into the Fall spirit with their release of the Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream Macaron Sandwich.

Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream Macaron Sandwich

Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream Macaron Sandwich

You can enjoy this pumpkin deliciousness in a [Read more…]