Epcot Food and Wine Festival Review: Japan Food and Beverage Pairing

We are ramping up for another fantastic Epcot Food and Wine Festival! Today, we’re reviewing a fun Special Event from the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

We are heading over to Tokyo Dining in the Japan Pavilion for the Food and Beverage Pairing experience. The light meals feature beverages paired with tasting-sized portions of the restaurant’s cuisine.

I’ve enjoyed dinner at Tokyo Dining as well as lots of fun meals at Teppan Edo, so I was pretty sure I was in for a treat! While we’d done the Morocco food and beverage pairing event, we’d not yet experienced the Japan version. Here we go!

Atmosphere

When I arrived for the Food and Beverage Pairing, I checked in at the stand that serves both Teppan Edo and Tokyo Dining. The cool, sleek waiting area features simple, modern decor and comfortable low lighting.

Waiting Area Serves Both Tokyo Dining and Teppan Edo

This area is also shared by the two restaurants.

Tokyo Dining and Teppan Edo Waiting Area from Another Angle

Step into the Tokyo Dining seating area, and the same modern Japanese vibe is prevalent throughout. A sushi show kitchen takes up space along one wall.

Tokyo Dining Seating and Open Sushi Kitchen

The other side of the restaurant is dominated by [Read more…]

Sneak Peek: Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort Opening Tomorrow!

Welcome to Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, where “luxury meets magic!” We got a chance to take a look around the hotel before it opens, and wanted to give you a quick peek! (Nope; they’re not paying us to do this. We just figured you’d be interested. ;-D)

Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World

Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World

Opening August 3rd, Four Seasons Orlando says they will provide a best-of-both-worlds vacation experience: “easy access to all the area entertainment in a tranquil setting,” at Golden Oak in Walt Disney World, according to Thomas Steinhauer, Regional Vice President and General Manager.

The Disney Help Desk

The Disney Help Desk

Stairwell to the lobby

Stairwell to the lobby

Chandelier

Chandelier

Twenty-six acres will hold [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…]

News! 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Special Events, Dates, and Prices; Booking Begins July 31st!

Awesome news today! We have a few more pieces of information to share with you about the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! We now know that booking for Epcot Food and Wine Festival Special Events will begin on July 31st at 7AM EST! Call 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378).

Food and Wine Festival Updates

What are we excited most about? Parisian Breakfasts BACK this year on Saturday Mornings! We absolutely loved these events in 2013, and we can’t wait to book it again in 2014! And we look forward to taking in some new experiences as well.

Be sure to check out our 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Special Events page for ALL of the details on these options; and check out our 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival page for all of the latest news and updates on this year’s festival.

New Epcot Food and Wine Festival Special Events for 2014

Sunday Mornings With… — This event will be a plated brunch with noted pastry chef or baker who will craft 3 different desserts for guests. Time and Price TBD

Dining Through the Decades, A Tribute to Walt Disney (October 24) $99 pp or $119 pp

Experience Puerto Rico – The All Star Island (September 20) $99 pp

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival — Boot Camp Series — An interactive epicurean adventure (September 21, October 5, 12, 19, Nov. 2) $119 pp

Food for Thought [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: More Breakfast Goodness!

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! We think a virtual trip to Disney is a great way to take a break from your busy day. :-)

And today, we are all about the tons of yummo breakfast options that you have at Walt Disney World! Let’s take a trip to some of our favorite Disney breakfast spots today for our latest installment in our Disney Food Pics of the Week Series!

Breakfast Skillet at ‘Ohana

Photographer: Ryesah

Yay for the words: “all you care to enjoy” and “Mickey Waffles”! You only need fun interaction with cool characters like Lilo, Stitch, and Mickey and Friends to make this character breakfast at ‘Ohana completely awesome!

Breakfast Skillet at 'Ohana

Breakfast Skillet at ‘Ohana

Baked French Toast at Cinderella’s Royal Table

Photographer: Nancy RK

Starting your day in Cinderella Castle for breakfast? Lucky you! We’ve had some [Read more…]

What’s Your Perfect Disneyland Dining Day?

Have you ever stopped to dream up your Perfect Disney Day? I bet I’m not the only one who’s whiled away the hours in this way. But I’m sure you won’t be surprised to find out that my daydreams about upcoming trips are frequently planned around — what else? — the FOOD!

So today, we’re going to have a little fun. I want to hear all about what your Perfect Disneyland Dining Day would look like! Where would you eat your meals? What would you have for snacks? Would it be an all fancy-meal affair? Or would treats and counter service eats make the cut too?

I’ll get the ball rolling on the food fantasy by sharing my picks!

Breakfast at Steakhouse 55

One of my favorite places for a serene breakfast is Steakhouse 55. This historic restaurant has been welcoming guests since the very earliest days of the resort. Formerly known as Granville’s, you’ll find a cool and classy atmosphere here with a retro vibe to it.

Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel

Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel

But the digs aren’t the only retro touch. The menu celebrates the past too, with classic dishes. That’s true for dinner as well as for breakfast.

And that combination of serene surroundings and delicious food with a touch of elegance makes Steakhouse 55 a great way to start your day on vacation.

New York Steak and Eggs

New York Steak and Eggs

Besides, how you can resist a good plate of steak and eggs? :-)

Morning Snack at Corn Dog Castle

I must admit, a plate of steak and eggs will probably keep me going for the better part of the day, so I’m likely to skip the morning snack after a meal like that in the real world. But this isn’t the real world at all — it’s the Best. Day. EVER! Right? So you guys, there’s totally gonna be a morning snack stop at Corn Dog Castle.

And making a choice here is no small feat. I mean, you’ve got the amazing classic Hand-Dipped Corn Dog, and you absolutely cannot go wrong with it. But there’s also the nearly-as-delightful Cheddar Cheese Stick if you’d like to skip the sausages altogether.

For me, on this Dream Day, I’m going all the way — and opting for the Hot Link Corn Dog!

Hot Link Corn Dog Meal

Hot Link Corn Dog Meal

In this case, that hand-dipped, made to order treat consists of crunchy Cornbread Coating that enrobes a Hot Link. And it’s definitely got a little zip to it.

Hot Link Corn Dog

Hot Link Corn Dog

Believe me when I say to you — Go there. Get this. One of the three options, anyway. A trip to Corn Dog Castle must be on your list. I insist. (You’ll thank me, I promise.)

Lunch at Cafe Orleans

OK, you guys KNOW that this place is going to be on my “list of anything awesome in Disneyland,” so if you’ve read all of my goings-on about the restaurant already, you’re allowed to skip this section. ;-D Yep. One of my very favorite Disney table service stops is Cafe Orleans.

As much as I love their Gumbo here, it’s the Pommes Frites that I never pass up. Perfectly cooked fries are tossed with Parmesan, Garlic, and Parsley and served with a side of Cajun Spice Rémoulade for dipping. So, so good!

Cafe Orleans Pommes Frites

Cafe Orleans Pommes Frites

Next, I always make space in my Disneyland eating plans for a [Read more…]

Best Table Service Restaurants in the Disneyland Resort

We’re counting down some of our all-time favorite spots to dine when we visit Disneyland!

Best Disneyland Table Service Restaurants

And while snacking abounds and counter service can be delicious, today we are turning our attention to our favorite table service spots.

While Disney’s original park may not offer the same number of dining locations as Walt Disney World, there are certainly some places that you won’t want to miss. And we love them for all different reasons. Some are sentimental favorites, while others offer fantastic food.

Head out with us as we tour our Top 6 Table Service Spots in Disneyland Resort!

Steakhouse 55

Our first stop takes us to a spot steeped in Disneyland history — Steakhouse 55 at Disneyland Hotel.

Dark, cool interiors are replete with luxury and plenty of nods to the past. Named for the year that Disneyland opened, of course, Steakhouse 55 channels a bygone era with the glamour of Old Hollywood. Close your eyes, and you can easily imagine power lunches by the entertainment elite taking place at the next table.

Inside the Cool and Serene Steakhouse 55

Inside the Cool and Serene Steakhouse 55

There’s more here than just posh surroundings, however. The food is incredible, too. For dinner, expertly prepared Steaks and classic steakhouse Sides are the draw. And don’t forget the famous 24-layer Chocolate Cake!

No time for an epic meal, but still want to experience this awesome place? Stop in for Drinks and delicious Pub Grub in the Lounge.

Bone-In Ribeye Steakhouse 55

Bone-In Ribeye Steakhouse 55

But don’t forget breakfast! If you’re after a quiet start to your morning, you can’t go wrong with specialities like Eggs Benedict or New York Steak and Eggs.

Napa Rose

When I’m up for a culinary experience with a modern, California vibe, I head to Napa Rose at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.

The Craftsman style and open floor plan gives the restaurant a warm, welcoming feel. It never feels too intimidating or hoity-toity, even though you are dining in one of Southern California’s most celebrated eateries.

Begin your evening in [Read more…]

Guest Review: Harambe Nights at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Today, we welcome @MealTrip back to Disney Food Blog with an in-depth look — and some incredible photos! — of the opening night performance of Harambe Nights!

We enjoyed our first experience with this new hard ticket event at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom when we brought you a sneak peek from a media event recently. Now that the performance — which includes the new show The Lion King –A Concert in the Wild, a Welcome Reception, and a Street Party afterwards — is open to the public, we wanted to bring you another look at the event.

Let’s see what works — and what still needs a little work.

Harambe Nights at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

I made my way to the event location in plenty of time to check out the area for Harambe Nights before many of the guests arrived, and the set up is quite well done.

Festively-capped Cast Members greet guests of the event at the front gate of Animal Kingdom.

Cast Members Welcoming Guests to Harambe Nights

Cast Members Welcoming Guests to Harambe Nights

Here’s a close up of the Harambe Nights sign.

Welcome Sign

Welcome Sign

Let’s head in and take a look around.

Welcome Reception

As you enter the area, don’t forget to grab a program right after you check in and receive your wristband. The program contains information about merchandise, food, and the show.

Distributing Programs

Distributing Programs

It also gives you a handy schedule so you know just how the evening will unfold.

Event Program -- Click to Enlarge

Event Program — Click to Enlarge

Here’s the view as I arrived. The streets of the new Harambe Theater District are set up and ready to go before the party.

Streets of the New Harambe Street District as Guests Arrive

Streets of the New Harambe Street District as Guests Arrive

And here’s the area after 1,000 people are let in!

Streets of the New Harambe Theater District as it Fills with People

Streets of the New Harambe Theater District as it Fills with People

There are numerous beverage and food stations set up throughout the area. Here’s an example of one of the beverage stations. And yes — that’s Jungle Juice!

Beverage Station

Beverage Station

The Welcoming Party menu is somewhat light, and everything food and drink-wise is repeated at all stations, so if you’ve found one, you’ve found them all.

Welcome Reception Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Welcome Reception Menu — Click to Enlarge

The self-serve hot “appetizer” stations are well-looked after by Cast Members, and if you feel the line is too long when you walk up to one, just hang back and wait a few minutes. The crowds tend to ebb and flow, and there’s plenty of time to visit the food tables multiple times without standing in a long line.

Self Serve Appetizers at the Welcome Party

Self Serve Appetizers at the Welcome Party

Spicy Durban Chicken will be familiar to guests who have dined at Boma or Tusker House.

Spicy Durban Chicken

Spicy Durban Chicken

Also throughout the area, there are numerous [Read more…]

Disney Recipe: Smokie City from Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant PLUS New Signature Dinner Announcement!

Time to dig into another delicious dish at Raglan Road!

The authentic Irish pub, located at Downtown Disney in Orlando, is one of our favorite spots for its warm atmosphere and fantastic live entertainment. But the food is incredible too. Fans obviously agree that it’s the total package — the pub was awarded Best Restaurant honors by Orlando Magazine earlier this year.

And Chef Kevin Dundon has knocked it out of the park on this one. (Well, he does that quite often, but that’s beside the point.) I first had Smokie City — a chunky, hot, cheesy dip that features potatoes and the rich flavors of smoked fish — at the recent Signature Dinner that I attended at Raglan Road. Chef Kevin was on hand to present each course, and while they were all first rate, this one was my favorite. I loved it so much that I made it for a recent family dinner!

Smoked Haddock Potato Tomatoes and Vintage Dubliner Cheddar Bake  -- Up Close

Smoked Haddock, Potato, Tomatoes, and Vintage Dubliner Cheddar Bake — Up Close

And after you read about it, I think you’re going to want to make it, too. So here’s the recipe!

Smokie City

Smoked Haddock, Potato, Tomato, and Vintage Dubliner Cheddar Bake
Serves 4

If you can’t find smoked haddock, go for an all-natural, firm smoked fish such as cod or coley. I also used Irish cheddar cheese.

Ingredients: [Read more…]

News! Menus and Details for the 2014 Fifth Annual Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic

We are so excited to share with you some big news today!

2014 Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic Thumbnail Logo

The Swan and Dolphin Resort at Walt Disney World has announced that it will hold its Fifth Annual Food and Wine Classic this Fall!

Coinciding with the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, the two day event returns with some fan favorites and some brand new experiences!

2014 Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic Details

Save the dates for Friday, October 31, and Saturday, November 1, 2014. Most of the Seminars will get underway at 4:30 p.m. and the Causeway Booths will be open from 5:30 until 9:00 p.m.

The Causeway at the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic

The Causeway at the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic

The two-day event will offer opportunities to learn while you play, with informative seminars covering facets of food and wine. Seminars are conducted by experts in each field and last about an hour — giving you plenty of time to join in on the Causeway fun afterwards!

Once the seminars conclude, the booths open and the tasting begins! Wines from all over the world and dishes in appetizer portions are available to sample from each of Swan and Dolphin’s nine restaurants. For the last few years, Celebrity Chef Todd English has also been on hand to interact with guests!

And don’t forget the music! As night falls, you’re treated to live music as you dine under the stars.

Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic Seminars

For 2014, guests can choose from ten different seminars. Choose from categories of Beer and Wine, Spirits and Mixology, or Pairing Experiences. The seminars take place on both days of the event. Beverage seminars all begin at 4:30 and last for approximately one hour; Pairing Experiences begin slightly earlier. Prices for the seminars vary.

From Base to Bubbles Seminar

From Base to Bubbles Seminar

You can check out all of the details about the 2014 Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic Seminars — including specific start times and prices — here!

The popular Pasta-making Seminar, which debuted last year, returns to the Classic this Fall.

And guests can also choose from two other brand new seminars! Check out all the details about The Fine Art of Sushi and Sake and The Cheese Course!

Causeway Tasting Booths

Once again, the big ticket will be the Causeway Tasting Booths, which line the promenade between the Swan and Dolphin Resorts. Eat and drink your way up one side and down the other! And new this year, the Classic will introduce a [Read more…]