Review: Steakhouse 55 at Disneyland Hotel

Ah, Steakhouse 55, a bastion of yesteryear near the Park That Started It All. Going to this place is like a living time capsule. Some historical exhibits celebrate the past by letting you look at it. But at Steakhouse 55, it’s like you’re actually stepping back through the years. And that’s a good thing.

Steakhouse 55

But if we’ve learned anything about Disney, it’s that change is always potentially on the horizon. Recently, they decided that the menu needed an overhaul. Maybe to match to some degree the rest of Disneyland’s emphasis on healthier fare?

We actually visited Steakhouse 55 prior to the recent menu refresh. But there has been so much to tell you guys over the last month, I’m just getting around to sharing my experience! So be aware that if you plan to visit, the menu will look a little different than what you see here.

Atmosphere

While Steakhouse 55 underwent a bit of a refresh in the decorating department last year, we didn’t find much different when we visited recently. You’re still greeted by this iconic, enlarged photo of Walt Disney as you enter the space. Rich wood trim and painted paneling hint at the more formal environment. Once you’ve entered, it’s very hard to remember that Goofy’s Kitchen is right next door.

Photo of Walt in Entryway

Photo of Walt in Entryway

You’ll come to the Steakhouse 55 Lounge first. Incidentally, this is a great spot to keep on your radar. Reservations are not required and they feature a bar menu with some delicious and satisfying options.

Recently they’ve also begun offering the full Steakhouse 55 Restaurant Menu in the Lounge as well. Stash this away in your bag of tricks in case you find yourself starving and looking for an upscale dining experience if the steakhouse itself is booked up.

Lounge

Steakhouse 55 Lounge

You’ll find shades of plum and silver, with plush finishes like satin and velvet. The bar area features a flat screen television, handy for checking out the latest scores.

Full Bar with Seating AND a TV

Full Bar with Seating and Television

Find a spot at the bar, or enjoy comfortable seating in softly upholstered chairs and plush couches and chaises.

Steakhouse 55 Lounge Seating

Steakhouse 55 Lounge Seating

Small tables are perfect for Bar Bites and Cocktails, but might pose a challenge if you’re enjoying a full meal.

More Seating

Additional Lounge Seating

Exit the lounge and you’ll find the main dining room. Low lighting and white tablecloths hint at the more formal setting here.

Inside the Cool and Serene Steakhouse 55

Inside the Cool and Serene Steakhouse 55

But you’ll find the same understated decor, punctuated by those large photographs of famous faces from years gone by.

Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel

Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel

The feeling here is retro chic, and it’s not hard to imagine what this spot may have been like when the name over the door was still Granville’s, and the people in the pictures were sitting at the next table.

Eats

I’ve shared with you that Steakhouse 55 is my absolute most favorite spot for breakfast at Disneyland, and Heather has written about her delicious experience dining in the Lounge. But it had been a while since I had taken in dinner here.

Unfortunately, my timing was just a little off. Immediately after we enjoyed this experience, the menu underwent a change.

Here is the menu that Steakhouse 55 featured at the time of our dinner.

Menu: Starters, Soups, and Salads -- Click to Enlarge

Menu: Starters, Soups, and Salads — Click to Enlarge

Menu -- Main Dishes and Side Dishes -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Main Dishes and Side Dishes — Click to Enlarge

Chef Marcel St. Pierre, a Disney veteran who was most recently over the kitchens of Club 33, has taken over at Steakhouse 55. Not surprisingly, he is eager to put his stamp on things here, and to experiment with some popular trends and classic French preparations.

Since the changes, I’ll try to note where the dishes that we ordered have been updated.

We began our meal with fresh, warm Sourdough Bread, served with softened, Unsalted Butter.

Bread and Butter

Bread and Butter

My husband was dining with me. And you long-term DFB Readers know — he never passes up the chance to enjoy a Caesar Salad, and this visit was no exception!

The classic version of the salad was served with Olive Tapenade atop a Parmesan Crisp. This salad has been replaced with Hearts of Romaine — served with Caesar Dressing. Yep. Basically the same. Just fancier.

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad with Olive Tapenade and Parmesan Crisp

Another classic dish that we couldn’t pass up ordering was the legendary Steakhouse 55 Seven Onion Soup. It’s delicious, but even better — it’s food theater. The soup comes together from two different dishes.

You are presented a soup bowl with [Read more…]

News! 2nd Annual Field to Feast Dinner to be Held on March 14, 2015

Once again, Edible Orlando magazine is partnering with Disney Chefs for a truly memorable farm to table culinary experience!

The 2nd Annual Field to Feast Dinner will take place on March 14, 2015, at Long & Scott Farms in Mount Dora, Florida.

Field to Feast 2015 Logo

The special dinner will kick off with a reception from 4:30 to 6:00 PM, during which guests can also take advantage of farm tours hosted by farmer Hank Scott. Culinary stations will follow from 6:00 to 8:30 PM.

The event will feature dishes created by Disney Chefs using locally sourced ingredients. And you’ll recognize many of the chefs and sommeliers as Disney Culinary Supertars! The list includes the following: [Read more…]

News: 21 Royal Street, a New Private Dining Spot, to Debut in Disneyland’s New Orleans Square

We have news today of a brand new private dining venue that will soon be available to Club 33 members at Disneyland. But even bigger news — the spot may eventually be available to the public as well!

Club 33 Entrance

Will Club 33 Be Getting More Private Dining Space?

21 Royal Street, adjacent to the members-only Club 33, is set to open in 2015. The space takes its name from another address in New Orleans Square.

The first rumblings that we heard about 21 Royal Street claimed that it would be a restaurant. However, Disney has notified Club 33 members via letter that the space will be used for private dining functions, and will be able to accommodate private parties for up to 16 guests.

At this point, speculation is rampant about [Read more…]

Guest Review: Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

While an exclusive meal at the Chef’s Table at Victoria & Albert’s is a unique experience, the main dining room exudes romance. This week, guest author Michelle Buchecker reviews this table service restaurant at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.

Located on the second floor in the main building of the Grand Floridian Resort, Victoria and Albert’s puts the “fine” in “fine dining”.

This table-service restaurant has won many awards and accolades for its fine food and superb service. The restaurant is divided into three seating areas: Main Dining room, Queen Victoria’s room, and Chefs Table. The Chefs table is in the kitchen. There is only 1 table and it often books well in advance. The Queen Victoria room seats 8 people and has only 1 seating a night. The 8 people may be all 1 party or 4 parties of 2 people or whatever ends up being reserved. But once they hit 8 people they close reservations.

Victoria and Albert's Entrance

Victoria and Albert’s Entrance

The main dining room (where we dined) has about 20 tables and has 2 seatings per night. This is a prix fixe meal for $135. A wine pairing is an extra $65. In addition, the menu will have “upcharge” items, which I will mention in the details below.

Victoria and Albert's Seating

Victoria and Albert’s Seating

The dress code is jacket and dress pants for men, and nice dress or pants for women. Ties are optional. We did see 1 family where the 2 men were dressed in tuxes and the woman was in a long cocktail dress. Most women were in nice dresses or skirts, but I did see one lady who was more casually dressed.

Our reservation was for 5:15PM on a Friday night. We arrived about 5:00PM and the doors were still locked. There were several other couples seated in the lounge area that is shared by Victoria and Albert’s and Citricos. Shortly after, a hostess came and asked people their names and escorted them into the restaurant based on their reservation time. Reservations are staggered, my guess is to not overwhelm the staff all at once. At about 5:10 we were escorted in and shown our table.

Atmosphere

As you enter the restaurant there is a [Read more…]

Review: “Frozen” Premium Package and Dessert Party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

We’ve got a holiday surprise for you today… . I’ll give you a hint — it involves Frozen, dessert, and more Christmas lights than you can possibly imagine!

Well, maybe it’s not really a surprise — after all, you already saw the title at the top — but still!

Osborne Family Lights

Osborne Family Lights

On a recent trip to Walt Disney World to check out some of the early holiday decorations and events, I bought a ticket for the Frozen Holiday Premium Package. This package includes reserved viewing in the Premiere Theater for the “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration”, plus a unique Holiday Lithograph and Frozen Pin. There’s also a Frozen Dessert Party — which includes an all you care to enjoy spread of sweets and beverages. And the party was taking place right underneath the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights in a reserved area!!

Can I be honest? I really didn’t care about the Frozen stuff. I don’t have a “Frozen-aged” kid at the moment, and while I saw the movie, I didn’t need to see it a bajillion times. So the big reason why I booked this party — besides wanting to show YOU guys what it was all about, of course — was to get a VIP vantage point for the Osborne lights.

Seriously, most of the time when I go to the Lights, I’m shoulder to shoulder with everyone else there. It’s PACKED many nights, so I was thinking it might be worth the money for the dessert party if I’d be able to enjoy the lights without re-living my “on-the-subway-going-to-work-during-rush-hour-in-NYC” days.

Unfortunately, the evening that I attended the event, the weather was…well…crap. One of those Orlando days when it just pours…and pours…and pours…with no break at all.

Anna and Elsa Cupcakes!

Cupcakes AND Lights?!?

BUT — the show must go on. And so, with the dessert-eating portion of the event moved to a covered location (Studio Catering Co.), we still had the opportunity to view the Osborne Family Lights. But they were not “dancing” due to the weather and TORNADO WARNINGS (wha???!!!???!?!). And, did I mention it was pouring? So it wasn’t all that hard to find a spot to watch whatever WAS happening out there, since everyone else was smart enough to go back to their hotels during said tornado warnings.

Fortunately, our friend, Mealtrip, took some pics on his Frozen party night that show you what the event looks like when the weather behaves itself!

Let’s head back to the Streets of America for a close up of the festivities.

Atmosphere

If you’ve purchased tickets for the Frozen Holiday Premium Package, you’ll want to head to Guest Services first, where you’ll pick up your credential. Hold onto this. It gets you into the different experiences included in your package.

Frozen Dessert Party Credential

Frozen Dessert Party Credential

Consult the back of the badge for a map of the route you should take to get to the area where the party is set up.

Back of Credential with Map

Back of Credential with Map

In addition, you’ll find a rip-off coupon-type thing at the bottom of the credential; you’ll need this to pick up your Special Pin and Lithograph. I waited until the end to pick mine up so I wouldn’t risk setting it down someplace, but I’ll go ahead and show it to you now.

Pin and Lithograph

Pin and Lithograph

So, in order for this to make sense, I’m going to show you what the Frozen Dessert Party should look like — and then what it looked like for me.

Normal Frozen Dessert Party Setup

When it’s not raining, you can expect to attend the Frozen Dessert Party in a special reserved area on the Avenue of the Americas. For those who know DHS well, it’s called the “teardrop.”

Here’s a shot of the seating area at dusk before the lights came on. You can already see the crowds building in anticipation of the lights coming on.

Seating at Dusk Before the Lights Come On

Seating at Dusk Before the Lights Come On

And once they’re on — lookout! This area can become extremely crowded. And that can become the opposite of fun very quickly. But the seating area of the dessert party gives you a fair amount of elbow room to enjoy the display.

Seating with the Lights On

Seating with the Lights On

Another View of the Lights and Seating

Another View of the Lights and Seating

Tables and Lights

Tables and Lights

Here’s a shot of a Beverage Table.

Beverage Table and Gorgeous Lights

Beverage Table and Gorgeous Lights

Tables laden with sweets are positioned with [Read more…]

Review: Porterhouse for Two at Yachtsman Steakhouse in Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Today, we have a real treat for you. It’s time to highlight a special dinner at Yachtsman Steakhouse.

This signature dining spot, located at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, offers up a full array of classic steakhouse fare. But you’ll also find innovative dishes with an emphasis on using seasonal ingredients.

While we often find our favorites still on the menu during a visit, we can always count on some surprises. We had the pleasure of dining there with some friends on a recent trip, and I just had to share with you a glimpse of our special meal.

32 Ounce Porterhouse for Two at Yachtsman Steakhouse

I always enjoy a visit to Yachtsman Steakhouse. (Check out this dinner review of a full meal we enjoyed here recently.) While the atmosphere isn’t particularly inspired, we’ve had some truly amazing meals here!

A quick look at the menu will show you what I mean about the combination of steakhouse-classics-meets-seasonally-inspired fare. And notice the emphasis on Charcuterie — something we’re seeing in other signature restaurants like California Grill as well.

Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Click to Enlarge

But even though it’s tough to make a choice from all of those steaks, we were after just one thing: the 32 Ounce Porterhouse for Two.

After we placed our order, we were surprised with an Amuse Bouche — this Savory Mickey Waffle! This had to be just about the most adorable started to a meal, ever. The Sweet Potato Waffle was delicious, and I loved all of the little touches on the plate.

An Amuse Bouche Featuring a Savory Mickey Waffle

An Amuse Bouche Featuring a Savory Mickey Waffle

Soon, however, we were ready to dig into the main course — that beautiful Porterhouse! It’s presented tableside already cut into pieces. I thought this was a great touch, and made sharing a much neater situation.

You can see that the meat was cooked to the medium rare temperature that we requested. In fact, it was a little on the rare side. The dry-aging process lends complexity and depth to the flavor and makes the meat very tender.

The steak comes with plenty more to share as well, including the Trio of Classic Steakhouse Sides: creamed spinach, mushrooms, and onions.

32 Ounce Porterhouse for Two with Trio of Steakhouse Sides

32 Ounce Porterhouse for Two with Trio of Classic Steakhouse Sides

And I couldn’t help but order the killer [Read more…]

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival: Food for Thought with Chef Rick Bayless

With a full week plus a weekend, there’s still plenty of time to enjoy the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, going on right now at Walt Disney World!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Today, I’m back to tell you about one of the Food and Wine Festival Special Events I had the opportunity to attend recently.

While I love spending time strolling the Promenade around World Showcase and taking in all of the fantastic food and drink, there’s so much more to the Festival than the International Marketplace Booths.

Each year, I also enjoy attending a sampling of the Low Cost Demonstrations and Seminars as well as Festival Special Events. And one of the biggest highlights is enjoying time with chefs whom we’ve admired in an up close and personal way!

Recently, I was given the opportunity to attend Food For Thought, a Festival Special Event that’s new for 2014. Replacing the Kitchen Memories series from past years, Food For Thought events allow guests to hear the story of a favorite chef before he or she walks the audience through a demonstration of dishes.

Food For Though at Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

Food For Though at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival

I was so excited when I learned that one of my favorites, Chef Rick Bayless, would be rejoining the Festival line up after an absence of several years! Bayless is the Chef and Owner of Frontera Grill and Topolobampo in Chicago, in addition to a collection of quick casual dining spots.

In addition, he’s about to begin the tenth season of his critically acclaimed PBS cooking show Mexico — One Plate at a Time. You can also find his line of Frontera Food Products throughout the country.

At My Place Setting

My Place Setting

Join me as we listen into his conversation with Disney’s Pam Smith, and watch as he puts his apron on and provides us with a dose of kitchen wisdom via authentic Mexican flavors.

Food For Thought with Chef Rick Bayless

My husband and I have followed the career of Rick Bayless for a while. We were first inspired to explore authentic Mexican cuisine by cooking our way through his books. Having the opportunity to hear more about his journey in such an intimate setting was a great way to spend the morning.

Food For Thought with Chef Rick Bayless and Disney's Pam Smith

Food For Thought with Chef Rick Bayless and Disney’s Pam Smith

If you’ve watched his PBS series Mexico — One Plate at a Time, then you know that Chef Rick excels at telling a good story and conveying the excitement of an experience. That combination, along with his wry sense of humor, made for an interesting chat session. Having grown up working in his family’s restaurant, his passion for Mexican cuisine was born out of his study of and love for that country’s rich culture.

Chatting with Chef Rick Bayless

Chatting with Chef Rick Bayless

Soon, however, it was time to turn our attention to the food! At that point, Chef Rick and Pam made their way to the exhibition kitchen for a demonstration of the food and drink we’d be sampling.

Cooking Demonstration

While a big draw of Food for Thought is getting to hear the backstory of a culinary notable, the event also makes for a delicious morning, as the featured chef shares a few of his recipes.

Menu

Menu

It’s always fun to see what the suggested pairings are for courses during an event. Typically, guests enjoy a few different wines with tasting portions of dishes, but on this occasion, we had the chance to enjoy a beer pairing instead. A glass of Negra Modelo stood at each place setting.

Negra Modelo Beer

Negra Modelo Beer

Normally, servings are tasting portions, but we enjoyed a full glass of beer as we’d be pairing it with each of the three courses. In addition, we learned how we might use the beer to create a delicious Fall-themed [Read more…]

Review and Preview: The Causeway at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic

It’s almost time! The Fifth Annual Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic is just around the corner!

2014 Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic Thumbnail Logo

This event, which takes place concurrently with the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, is a fantastic evening for food and wine lovers.

This year’s Food and Wine Classic will take place on Friday, October 31 (yep! Halloween!) and Saturday, November 1. The two-day event consists of food and beverage tasting booths set up on the resort’s beautiful causeway each evening. And new for 2014, a Beer Garden experience has been added for even more great food and drink.

Guests can also take part in a number of special food and beverage seminars for an additional fee. Seminars take place at 4:30PM both days, and the Causeway booths are open from 5:30 until 9:00PM on Friday and Saturday.

We’ve enjoyed the event every year since it began, and 2013 was no exception! We thought a look back at last year’s event was the perfect way to get excited about what’s in store for 2014. Let’s head out to the Causeway for a delicious evening.

Dining al fresco on the Causeway at the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic!

Dining al fresco on the Causeway at the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic!

Atmosphere

Whether you’re staying at the Swan and Dolphin or you’re arriving from another location, head to the Promenade that connects the two resorts — that’s where the evening’s festivities will take place. We stopped by the Will Call Booth to pick up tickets.

As far as admission goes, you have options. Purchase an all-access ticket, and it’s an all-you-can-eat-and-drink pass to the booths. If you prefer, you can choose a la carte tickets instead, which are sold in books of 25.

Will Call Booth

Will Call Booth

The Check In Table provided us with handy plates and plastic wine glasses.

Check-In Table

Check-In Table

These would come in handy as we juggled plates and drinks on the Causeway.

Food and Wine Classic Tray and Glass

Food and Wine Classic Tray and Glass

Booths line the walkway leading from the Swan to the Dolphin as well as the path directly behind the Swan. There’s a lot to take in!

The Promenade

The Promenade

Hi-Top tables are scattered throughout the middle of the Causeway. You’ll also find large tables with chairs off to the side directly behind the Swan.

High Top Table

High Top Table

At the end of the Causeway closest to the Dolphin, a stage is set up for musical performance. While you sip and stroll, you can listen to live tunes!

Stage

Stage

In addition to the food and beverage booths, last year’s Classic featured a large [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…]

News! Disney Adds Premium Event “Villains’ Sinister Soiree” to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Lineup

If Fall and Halloween are your favorite Disney times of the year, you’re going to LOVE what we have to share!

Mickey Lantern!

Mickey Lantern!

We’ve seen hints that Disney will be offering some new premium enhancements to the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. This hard-ticketed, after-hours event takes place at Magic Kingdom on select evenings September through November. The party features trick or treating, your favorite characters dressed up in their Halloween costumes (so cute!), the Boo-To-You Parade (with the Headless Horseman!), and Happy HalloWishes Fireworks. It’s a whole lot of fun!

But if you’re looking for an extra special way to enjoy the holiday, you’ll want to check out this news!

Villains’ Sinister Soiree at Cinderella’s Royal Table

Lady Tremaine and Friends are taking over the Castle! Join her at [Read more…]