Disney World March Dining Events: The Wave Discovery Dinner and Jiko’s Wine Dinner

Disney fans, check out The Wave Discovery Dinner (for Tables in Wonderland members only) and a Wine Dinner at Jiko — both events will be held in March at the Walt Disney World resort!

The Wave Discovery Dinner

Tables in Wonderland has announced a January Discovery Dinner at The Wave…of American Flavors at the Contemporary Resort for January.

Discovery Dinner Details - click image for larger version

Discovery Dinner Details – click image for larger version

The Wave Discovery Dinner Details

Here are a few details for ya…

Location: The Wave…of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Date: Thursday, March 20, 2014 6:30PM Reception; 7PM Dinner
Cost: $110 per person includes tax and gratuity
Dress Code: Casual Evening Attire

To celebrate Central Florida’s strawberry season, this event will feature family-owned Lott Farms. Tim Mahr (Vice President of Sales for the Southern Division of Martin Ray Winery) will be the wine speaker.

Menu

Welcome Reception
Strawberry Tequila Shooter with Lime Caviar
Strawberry Sweet Tea Braised Short Rib Slider
Kumamato Oysters in Strawberry Gelee with Micro Wasabi
MARTIN RAY CHARDONNAY, RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY

First Course
U-12 Scallop Crudo with Strawberries Five Ways and McGregor Farms Opal Basil
MARTIN RAY SAUVIGNON BLANC, NAPA VALLEY

Second Course [Read more…]

Disney Recipe: Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli from the California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Today, I’m excited to share with you a recipe for one of my all-time favorite Disney dishes from the California Grill!

I enjoy going to this posh restaurant when I’m celebrating a special occasion, or just meeting friends for an extra special evening. And anytime I visit California Grill, you can bet that I’ll order the Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli! In fact, I ordered it during my most recent visit (it’s still there after the menu revamp!) and it never fails to impress.

The smooth, creamy, and slightly tangy filling of the house made ravioli is the perfect combination with the vibrant tomato broth. So it’s awesome to know that if I find myself with a craving for it between visits, I have a great recipe to fall back on!

Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli

Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli

And now, you can whip up a batch, too!

Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli

California Grill, Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Serves 4 to 8

Ingredients:

Clear Tomato Broth: [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Sushi!

We are back with another fun series of food photos, courtesy of Disney Food Blog Readers! That’s right, we love to show off the talents of folks who post their gorgeous photos on Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza, our Flickr group!

As you know, Sushi continues to be popular at Disney and everywhere else! Let’s take a look at some of the beautiful and fresh options for this Japanese delicacy that you’ve captured on film around Walt Disney World.

Spicy Kazan at California Grill

Fans of sushi who are also lovers of Disney dining know that one of the most awesome places to get sushi in Walt Disney World is California Grill. This uber popular fine dining spot, located high atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort, is known for fresh, seasonal ingredients, Pan-Asian influences, and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. And don’t forget to stay for the fireworks!

But when it comes to eats, this Spicy Kazan Roll looks pretty awesome. And if you’re a sushi-nonconformist like me, be sure to try the Pork Nigiri!

Photographer: Natasha Joyan

Spicy Kazan Roll from California Grill

Spicy Kazan Roll from California Grill

Tuna at Flying Fish Cafe

The Flying Fish Cafe remains one of my top choices for dining when I’m in Walt Disney World. I never pass up a chance to eat at this stellar restaurant. With food that’s always something special and a whimsical, carnival-like atmosphere, it always rates highly in my book.

One of the most popular appetizers that you can get here is the Yellowfin Tuna Tartare and Crispy Tempura Tuna-Vegetable Sushi Roll. We’ve tried it and it’s awesome!

Photographer: Stan4dSteph

Tuna at Flying Fish Cafe

Tuna at Flying Fish Cafe

Sushi at Wolfgang Puck Cafe

Another great spot for California cuisine is Wolfgang Puck Cafe and Dining Room at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney WestSide. And along with other house specialties like their [Read more…]

Guest Review: ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

Join us in welcoming guest author Kevin Carpenter with a dinner review of ‘Ohana. This Polynesian Resort restaurant at Walt Disney World is popular for its all-you-care-to-eat fare served family-style. Aloha!

Dining at ‘Ohana is not an experience entered into without expectation. The restaurant regularly claims a spot among the best table-service venues on Disney property and it enjoys word of mouth that is nothing short of exemplary. As such, reservations go quickly.

After years of close calls and near misses, I finally secured a dinner reservation – for a party of nineteen, no less – and my hopes were sky high for my first visit to ‘Ohana.

The Entrance to ‘Ohana

As we arrived at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, a large crowd already milled about outside ‘Ohana’s entrance. Seeing this, I feared our large group would be in for quite a wait. After all, our party – extended family members enjoying a Disney vacation together for the first time in many years – was well used to lengthy waits for tables. And this night looked to be no different.

We checked in and, much to my surprise, were immediately whisked to our table. I should have known that there is very little the Cast Members of Walt Disney World are not prepared to handle.

Atmosphere

From my very first steps past the Tiki idols guarding the entranceway, I was impressed by ‘Ohana’s ambiance. In true Disney style, the interior theming strikes a fine balance between subtlety and traditional Hawaiian decor.

Tiki idols stand watch as you enter ‘Ohana

As we reached our long table, one thing became abundantly clear – we had made the perfect choice for our trip’s centerpiece meal. The word ‘Ohana, meaning family, would prove to be more than simply the name of the restaurant. Everything – from the unending salads and appetizers to the main course and dessert – would be served family style. Even the servers are considered honorary “cousins”. What place could be better for a large family meal?!

While we had many cousins gathered around our table, it was our server, “Cousin” Candy, who stood out the most. She may have been a member of the family for just this one evening, but she fit right in with remarkable warmth and attentiveness.

Where all the magic happens – ‘Ohana’s grilling area

Eats

We had scarcely taken our seats before the table was filled with the incredibly tasty Welcome Bread and bowls of salad with passion fruit dressing. I could have been quite content to savor the bread’s rich tones of pineapple and coconut all night, but the few ‘Ohana veterans among us had warned not to fill up on the bread.

Welcome Bread

Salad with Passion Fruit Dressing

Next came plates of honey-coriander chicken wings and pork dumplings. These were labeled appetizers, but they could have sufficed as meals unto themselves. Especially as everything was all-you-can-eat!

Tangy and delicious, the trays of wings and dumplings demanded refilling several times. Thankfully, my seat at the end of the table afforded an excellent view of the grilling area, where skewers upon skewers of meat and shrimp delivered a firm reminder that the best was yet to come.

Chicken Wings & Pork Dumplings

Several of us requested drinks from the bar, including one who chose to fully immerse himself in the evening’s Hawaiian spirit by ordering the Lapu Lapu. This blend of rum and fruit juices comes in extravagant style – served inside a hollowed-out pineapple.

Much to the chagrin of the one who ordered it, the Lapu Lapu made its way around the table as everyone wanted a taste. It received high marks from all who sampled it. And, honestly, our meal just felt that much more traditionally Hawaiian for having the Lapu Lapu on the table!

Lapu Lapu

One important consideration to note is that it was not only the size of our party that posed a challenge, but that we were a motley crew of adventurous and picky eaters, with a dietary restriction thrown into the mix as well. One family member suffers from gluten intolerance and required special dietary accommodation. The chef came out to speak with her before any food arrived on the table, and he promised to keep her well-stocked with an assortment of gluten-free alternatives (including gluten-free bread, noodles, and dessert).

The ‘Ohana chefs worked hard to ensure that she did not miss out on any aspect of the meal and she could not have been happier with the results.

Gluten-Free Bread

Gluten-Free Dessert

“Cousin” Candy soon delivered [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Soup!

It’s freezing…well, just about everywhere. AND, it’s National Soup Month! So I thought it was time to add some brand new bowls of comfort to our Disney Food Pics of the Week Series.

It’s always so fun to flip through the fantastic photos that our members post on the Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza, our Flickr group. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, head over there! It’s great for a virtual trip to Disney, or even some fun inspiration for planning your next trip — or your next meal!

Cheddar Cheese Soup from Le Cellier

Ah, we couldn’t kick off a soup post without sharing a photo of one of your favorites and mine — Cheddar Cheese Soup from Le Cellier! It’s such a luxury to have a whole bowl of it! But it’s also nice to get a taste at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival each Fall. Only ten months to go! Woo!!

Photographer: Nancy RK

Cheddar Cheese Soup at Le Cellier

Cheddar Cheese Soup at Le Cellier

French Onion Soup from Les Chefs de France

There is nothing better than [Read more…]

Review: California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

On a recent trip to Walt Disney World, I met a group of friends at the Contemporary Resort’s California Grill for what promised to be a memorable dinner.

It was my first trip to the hallowed culinary spot since the dramatic re-imagination of both the restaurant itself and the menu earlier this year. I’m a big fan of Chef de Cuisine Brian Piasecki, and I was anxious to see what he and his team had put together for the opening.

Having heard mostly good things about the new menu, and lots of raves about the decor refresh (see some breathtaking photos here!), I was really looking forward to this special night out. Would the restaurant deliver on expectations? Well, kind of…and kind of not. Let’s delve into the full story.

Atmosphere

If you’ve never been to California Grill, getting there is a bit of an odyssey. Although the restaurant sits high atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort, you’ll begin your journey on the hotel’s second floor, where the check-in desk is located.

Second Floor Check In Desk for California Grill

From there, you’ll be directed to an elevator where a cast member will escort you up to the restaurant. This way, the staff can practice a little crowd control, as the restaurant’s lobby and bar can get quite crowded at times.

You emerge from the elevator and are greeted by sleek design, accented by cool colors and rows and rows of wine fridges. Form follows function, as California Grill’s stellar selection of wines is well known.

Entrance and Wine Fridges

Time your visit just right, and another hallmark of the Grill’s atmosphere greets you —

Sunset

— A beautiful sunset through the picture windows directly ahead of you. I was lucky on this visit, as I got to see both the sunset AND the fireworks through those floor-to-ceiling windows!

Sunset

As I mentioned before, California Grill underwent an extensive renovation earlier in 2013. If you haven’t been to the restaurant since then, you will find that almost everything looks completely different from before.

We shared lots and lots of photos with you from the reno in that previous post, including pics of the private dining rooms. Be sure to pop over there if you’d like to see even more decor detail. For now, we’ll just give you a quick tour.

Step away from that glorious sunset, and you realize that you passed the beautiful bar area as you entered. It’s just to the left as you step off the elevators and head into the restaurant.

Directly in front of the bar, there’s also a limited lounge seating area. This means that you can, theoretically, score a table without an advance dining reservation, or meet here for appetizers and drinks on a whim. That said, the lounge is first come, first served, and you can imagine the scramble for seats during the fireworks. So look alive if that’s your plan!

Bar

Where the view is concerned, there are really no bad seats in all of California Grill! But the window seats on the Magic Kingdom side offer the best view if you’re going for fireworks. As part of the renovation, new windows were installed that block ultraviolet light, and electronically-controlled shades ensure that guests are never blinded by that bright Florida sunshine.

Views and Tables

A glance across the seating area gives you a good overview of the [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Mini Desserts!

We are back with another installment of Disney Food Pics of the Week. We love to showcase the ah-mazing food photos that our readers share on Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza, our Flickr group!

One trend that we lurve at Disney are all the mini-desserts and dessert trios that we see on menus. They’re so much fun, and they add some great variety to your plate. After all, who wants to be saddled with just one flavor for an entire dessert, right?

Let’s take a look at some of our favorites that readers have captured! Onward…

California Grill’s Sundae Sampler

One of the most beloved spots to dine in all of Walt Disney World, California Grill, recently reopened after a lengthy refurbishment. While the interior was given brand new life, there were also several updates to the menu.

One of the most fun new dishes to debut is this super cute Sundae Sampler! (Read more about our thoughts on it here.)

Photographer: Imsoscared

Sundae Sampler from California Grill

2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Dessert Trio

We’ve just wrapped up the fabulous 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! And while we’re sorry to see it go, it’s always fun to look back at the food pics and see what we liked the best. Because really — is it ever too early to start planning for next year??

One of our favorite stops was the [Read more…]

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Review: Sweet Sundays with Celebrity Chef Carla Hall

DFB reporter James Armstrong recently attended Sweet Sundays with celebrity chef Carla Hall (co-host of The Chew and Top Chef Alum) during the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! Let’s check out his review!

The two hour event was divided up into two parts: the first hour consisted of the Sunday Brunch and the second was the celebrity chef demonstration. Upon arrival at 9:30am, we lined up for our table assignments. Doors opened promptly at 10am.

Table assignments

Each assigned table sat approximately six guests with seats on a first come first serve basis. The tables were set with pre-made yogurt parfaits and orange juice.

Once most of the guests had arrived, waiters began escorting each table to the buffet in an orderly “one table at a time” fashion.

Buffet overview

Buffet

Sweet Sundays Brunch

The brunch portion of the event started with some standard buffet items — croissants and strawberry cheese danish. They were good but there was nothing exceptional about them. The croissant was flaky and buttery.

Overview of buffet

There was also fresh raspberries and blueberries [provided by Driscoll’s one of the Festival sponsors]. They were very sweet and at the height of their ripeness.

Raspberries and blueberries

A favorite part of the buffet was the [Read more…]

News! Flying Fish Cafe Luncheon and Interactive Cooking Demonstration

Flying Fish Cafe at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn has just announced a NEW 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Event. And it looks like they’ve saved the best for last!

Join the Flying Fish Cafe for an exciting afternoon of gastronomical wonders while you explore the art of food and wine pairing. This event features an Interactive Cooking Demonstration & Luncheon hosted by Chef de Cuisine Tim Keating;  Flying Fish Café Maitre d ‘Table/Cellar Master, Stig Jacobsen; and Max Macalman (Author, The Cheese Monger, and aficionado of all things Fromage).

Look for Chef Tim in the front of the Flying Fish’s Dining Room where he will present the afternoon’s Creations in Cooking School-Style. Guests will be free to mingle, observe, and ask questions during the demonstration. Stig Jacobsen will be providing Wine Pairing Notes, David Abdy will be talking all things Heritage Pork from Florida, plus Max Macalman will be talking through: Cheese as Dessert.

Max McCalman, Maître Fromager and the Presenter for The Tasting

When: Saturday, November 9th, 2013 from 1-4PM
Where: Front Dining Room of Flying Fish Café at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort
Cost: $135/per person (includes gratuity) plus tax
Reservations: Contact Joanne Berube; 407-939-5102 (Tuesday-Saturday 8:30am-4:30pm ET) or the Flying Fish Cafe’s Special Events Line at 407-939-2398.

Seating is limited to just 36 guests! As it is the last weekend of the festival AND Wine & Dine Half-Marathon Weekend, we suggest reserving your space now!

Chef Tim’s Wine & Food Pairing Demonstration Menu

“Bubbles”
Amuse Bouches – Small Bites best-suited with the Crisp Flavor Profiles of Champagne & Sparkling Wines

“Crisp and Curious White”
Unveiling the Secrets of the Flying Fish Café Signature Crab Cake…and a TK Crab Cake with a Twist!

Crab Cake

“Making Red Wine & Fish Work”
Yet another unveiling of the Flying Fish Café Signature [Read more…]

Review: Halloween Desserts and New Dinner Menu Items at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Please welcome back DFB author Wendy with a review of Halloween at Be Our Guest Restaurant!

It’s time to dine once again with the Beast in his Castle for dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant in New Fantasyland in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom!

Even though Be Our Guest will celebrate its first birthday next month, it’s still fun to take in the sight of the Ballroom (especially for that hard-to-snag Advance Dining Reservation!).

Be Our Guest Restaurant Ballroom Dining Room

Chandelier in Ballroom

No matter where you’re seated, you should definitely take a minute to stroll a bit and take in all of the amazing detail. Now it is, of course, October -– the month of ghouls, goblins, and all things foreboding — so it seemed somehow fitting when our party was placed in the West Wing, the only room that was off-limits to Belle in Beauty and the Beast.

West Wing Dining Area

This room is darker than the others, with dark tapestries and ornate seating.

West Wing Table

Fans of the movie will remember that this is where the Beast’s Enchanted Rose resides. Guests can watch the rose slowly losing its petals throughout their meal!

Enchanted rose

I love some of the touches unique to dinner at Be Our Guest, from the [Read more…]