Voting Now Open for 2011 DFB Choice Awards!

The nominations are in, and now it’s time to vote!

These nominations were pulled directly from the responses received in our Disney Food Blog reader survey last week! Click on the “Click Here to Vote!” text below to cast YOUR votes!

CLICK HERE TO VOTE!

Voting closes December 28th and winners will be announced December 31st!

1. Best Disney World Signature Table Service Restaurant
California Grill
Yachtsman Steakhouse
Jiko — The Cooking Place
Flying Fish Cafe
Citricos
Narcoossee’s
Victoria and Albert’s
Le Cellier Steakhouse (dinner)

2. Best Disney World Non-Signature Table Service Restaurant [Read more…]

Review: Yachtsman Steakhouse

Awesomeness! It’s been a long time since we’ve reviewed Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney World’s Yacht Club Resort, which is a real shame considering how much I like this restaurant! (Meat? Good! Butter? Good! Habanero-Infused Flourless Chocolate Cake? Good!)

But on this visit, I broke away from my standards and tried some new items! Can’t wait to share them with you! Let’s get started…

Atmosphere

Yachtsman Steakhouse has very clean, traditional lines when it comes to decor.

One of the Yachtsman Steakhouse Dining Areas

Guests enter into a foyer where they’ll encounter a large picture window looking into the steak trimming room, then they’ll pass by the open kitchen and into the dining room, which is furnished in light woods and tasteful artwork from top to bottom. Craftsman style chandeliers hang over the white-clothed tables.

Restaurant Entrance

Chandelier in the Two-Story Dining Room

My favorite room in the dining area is a [Read more…]

Disney Food Updates From the World

Every once in a while when I’m in Disney World I gather a bushel full of food news, and this is one of those times! So, I decided to take one post to share all of these items and get your feedback! If you’ve heard this news or have experience with it, let us know in the comments! :-)

Poolside Dining Available at Beach Club Dunes Pool

The Dunes Pool outside of the Beach Club Villas is now offering Poolside Dining like we’ve found at Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Kidani Village and the Contemporary Resort!

Poolside Dining

Refillable Mug Price Hike

Disney resort refillable mugs will now cost $14.49, plus tax, meaning they’ll be over $15.00 when all is said and done.

Current Souvenir Mug Info

Holiday Swirl Cone at Storybook Treats

Magic Kingdom’s Storybook Treats is now offering a red and green version of its soft serve swirl cone! The flavor is still vanilla, but some creative food coloring gives the cones here a special holiday “something.”

Seasonal Cone

(By the way, we’ll have more Storybook Treats news [Read more…]

Disney Food Trend: Savory Beignets

One of the new food trends I noticed on my last visit to Walt Disney World was the use of savory beignets as sides or garnishes in many of the dishes I tried!

I don’t know about you, but beignets have always been sweet and powdered-sugary in my world; I’d never heard or seen a savory version! But it’s always good to sample something new! Here are a few of the versions I saw…

Sweet Potato Beignet: Yachtsman Steakhouse

At Yachtsman Steakhouse in Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, the Sweet Potato Beignet was a rib-eye steak side dish that we thought was a lot of fun!

Light, airy, and savory-sweet, this was an interesting mouth feel for a flavor most of us know well.

Sweet Potato Beignets at Yachtsman Steakhouse

Sweet Potato Beignets at Yachtsman close-up

Mushroom Beignet: Flying Fish Cafe

Over at my beloved Flying Fish Cafe, the “exotic forest mushroom beignets” came as an accompaniment to the [Read more…]

Walt Disney World Gingerbread Holiday Displays for 2011

Holiday Chef at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resorts

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…in Disney World, anyway! And it will be looking even more so very soon!

As we look forward to the holidays in our favorite Disney parks, let’s take a look at when to expect the artful decor to go on display this year. And we’ll look back to the gingerbread displays from past holidays to warm our spirits (and appetites) for now!

These displays will be created by the WDW Food and Beverage team. Sometimes you can even watch the chefs put on the finishing touches! And don’t forget to check out the limited edition Gingerbread Display pins coming out this year!

Please note that information is subject to change.

Grand Floridian Gingerbread House

(Gingerbread House was scheduled to open on November 14th)

As your eyes try to take in the enormous Christmas tree in the lobby, your sense of smell will lead you toward the 16 foot tall Gingerbread House located in the lobby of the Grand Floridian Resort.

Grand Floridian 2010 Gingerbread House

It takes over 400 hours to bake the 10,000+ pieces of gingerbread! Last year’s house was amazing, and one of our colleagues snapped some pics of the construction this year! Thanks to Carla at Hoperatives for these!

Grand Floridian Gingerbread House Construction 2011

Grand Floridian Gingerbread House Construction 2011

Don’t forget that you can purchase a treat made from a classic Austrian gingerbread recipe right inside the Gingerbread House!! Freshly baked items will include [Read more…]

Review: Epcot Food and Wine Festival Party for the Senses

So this is pretty exciting — I finally got to attend a Party for the Senses at this year’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

For those who aren’t sure what I’m talking about (I know — “Party for the Senses” can sound a bit odd!), the Party for the Senses is held most Saturdays during the Epcot Food & Wine Festival each year. This exclusive event impresses the taste buds, of course, but it also aims to awaken all of your senses. During this 2 1/2 hour extravaganza, food and beverages flow freely as awe-inspiring entertainment is performed by Cirque du Soleil, La Nouba.

Party for the Senses at World Showplace Pavilion in Epcot (Photo copyright Disney)

There are two more parties being offered this year — November 5, and November 12 — for $145 per ticket (plus you’ll need Epcot park admission). Note that the Wine View Lounge upgrade, which includes private tables ($260) is sold out. Reservations can be made at 407-WDW-FEST or at Disneyworld.com/foodandwine.

Interestingly, the artfully prepared menus (including chefs and vinters) change, so your party may not have the same offerings as the one that we attended.

Now that we have the specs out of the way, let’s get into the meat of the night!

Atmosphere

We attended the Party for the Senses during the “Deluge of 2011,” as I like to call it. That’s right; we got all gussied up and sloshed over to Epcot on October 8th. When we arrived at the World Showplace [Read more…]

New Credit Card Guarantee Requirements and Technology Affect Disney Dining Reservations

Chef Mickey's Cracking Down on Skipping Reservations

UPDATE: See bottom of post for some FAQs and answers via a Disney Dining Phone representative.

In the past several weeks, Disney has instituted a few new technologies and requirements to better regulate the Disney World Dining Reservations Systems. These are largely being put into place to deter the ever-increasing practices of double-booking dining reservations, or simply skipping reservations without canceling them.

Double-booking and skipping reservations in restaurants that fill up six months in advance means that a large percentage of dining reservations are not being used, which, in turn, means that fewer guests are able to dine at these locations, and less money is made in each restaurant.

To improve this process, Disney has (or will be) instituting three new practices:

  • Mandatory Credit Card Guarantees on Signature and Character Dining Location Reservations
  • Reservation Reminder Emails
  • Disallowing Double-Bookings

Credit Card Guarantees Required for Signature and Character Dining Locations Starting October 26th

In order to deter skipped reservations at Disney’s most expensive and popular properties, Disney will begin requiring credit card guarantees on many restaurants beginning October 26th, 2011.

What does this mean for us as guests? Basically, you’ll be required to give a valid credit card number in order to make your reservation for these popular dining spots. No money will be charged to your card at the time of booking (unless the location is a pre-pay meal). However, should you neglect to cancel a credit card guarantee reservation within the allotted timeline (usually 24 hours prior to the meal), a $10 surcharge — per person — will be charged to the card.

California Grill Cancellation Policy Warning

Starting October 26, 2011, the following restaurants will require the credit card guarantee: [Read more…]

Disney Fall Food Pins Preview: Food & Wine, Gingerbread Houses, and More

We’re always happy to see new food pins! Thanks to Cody Smith at Global Disney Pinvestigation for sharing this great preview with us from the Florida Project Pin Previews!

This first group of pins was introduced at the 2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival:

Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Donald with menus. $44.95

Food and Wine Pins

Food and Wine pins

Disney Parks will offer these pins as online exclusive merchandise. Check out the Disney characters eating favorite Disney food for a fun mini-set!

Disney Parks food pins

Characters put the finishing touches on holiday Gingerbread decorations and chocolate displays for the Disney Cruise Line ships (Magic, Wonder, Dream), Grand Floridian, Contemporary, Beach Club, Yacht Club, and Boardwalk! Can’t wait to see these in just a couple of [Read more…]

Best Disney World Buffalo Wings

The Buffalo Bills are currently 2 and 0 right now — undefeated — and this is something we Bills fans do not take lightly. So I thought I’d celebrate (with the Bills, you never know when your next chance to celebrate might come…months?…years?…) by showcasing my top two picks for Buffalo Wings in Walt Disney World!

This post has been a long time coming, because for a while there I hadn’t really seen any Buffalo Wings in Disney World. Slowly but surely, I’ve visited enough places to put together my list of top picks, but I’m eager to hear your suggestions in the comments. (The more suggestions you make, the more Buffalo Wings I get to try!!!)

Also, as a disclaimer, I live in Texas now, so I only get Wing City Grille and Anchor Bar wings about twice a year — go easy on me if my palate isn’t as honed as it once was! ;-)

Where to Find the Best Wings in Walt Disney World

#1: House of Blues

Over in Downtown Disney, House of Blues serves their Buffalo Wing appetizer with a bleu cheese slaw.

The wings are crispy and hot with a strong, spicy flavor. On my scale of mild to hot, I’d definitely put these at mild-medium, but that also means that the heat isn’t charring your mouth to the point that you’re unable to taste the food anymore.

House of Blues Chicken Wings

House of Blues wings have a really great Buffalo Wing flavor, and they don’t try to do anything fancy with them so all you get is good old wings. Personally, I could use a little more sauce with them, but I’m also the person who [Read more…]

Top 10 Disney World Bars and Lounges

South African Wine at Jiko

When it comes to a happy hour beverage, a night out with your spouse or some friends, or…let’s face it…a margarita at the stroke of noon…there are a few spots in Disney World that get the job done better than others! FYI — The Disney Food Blog offers a full list of bars and lounges — complete with descriptions of each place — in our DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining e-Book.

Now, let’s take a tour of our Top Ten Disney World bars and lounges — these are the places that really make us want to get up and dance. ;-) Don’t forget to check out our list of Honorable Mentions at the end! Many of these spots offer the standard Disney Parks bar and lounge menu should you be interested.

Top Ten WDW Bars and Lounges

Top Ten Walt Disney World Bars and Lounges

1. La Cava del Tequila

Nestled in the twilit atmosphere of the Mexican pavilion in Epcot, La Cava del Tequila is popular with tequila and margarita fans. Try the Avocado Margarita while perusing the limited appetizer menu. See our margarita reviews here and a pic of the tequila flight here!

Due to its cozy and dark location, La Cava makes a great place to escape the heat and bright sunshine while touring World Showcase. However, it gets crowded quickly, so to ensure that you get a table, head over to La Cava at opening time — noon!

La Cava Bar

2. Jellyrolls

While Jellyrolls isn’t for everyone, if you love music from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, and especially if you love dueling piano improv, it’s going to fit the bill for you!

An entertainment spot on Disney’s Boardwalk bringing you non-stop dueling pianos, the bar at Jellyrolls plays second fiddle to [Read more…]