Review: Tutto Gusto in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion

It’s time once again to look in on one of my favorite “hidden” spots in Epcot — Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar!

Tutto Gusto, located on the left as you travel through the Italy Pavilion toward Via Napoli at the back, hasn’t been open for very long. But in the short span of three years, Tutto Gusto has become a part of the fabric of World Showcase.

With its commitment to offering small plates that feature authentic Italian cuisine, Tutto Gusto has continued to be a DFB favorite. But you know me — I’m never content to continue recommending a spot unless I know for sure that it still  deserves to be recommended!

So, in the name of research, a friend and I headed there to grab a light dinner during a recent visit to Walt Disney World. We tried some new things and revisited some favorites. Let’s check it out.

Atmosphere

Although the sign for Tutto Gusto is perched high and prominent, it’s still sort of easy to miss it if you aren’t looking for it. You may mistake it for another entrance to neighboring Tutto Italia, if you notice it at all.

Tutto Italia and Gusto Wine Cellar

Tutto Italia and Gusto Wine Cellar

The entrance sits back a little, but Cast Members are usually flanking the door, and you’ll also notice the menus posted outside. Pay attention and you’ll find it.

Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar

Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar

Walk in and (after your eyes adjust to the darkened area) you’ll notice that the bar is front and center, serving as the small venue’s main feature.

Gusto Bar

Gusto Bar

Wine is king here, but you’ll also find an increasingly interesting array of Italian craft beers. Tutto Gusto also offers a full liquor bar. Check out the Italian-inspired cocktail menu, or order your favorite. Whatever you’re looking for, they can make it.

Gusto Bar

Gusto Bar

Because this is a wine bar, however, much of the real estate is given over to vino. Amuse yourself as you wait by checking out the ever-changing variety of Italian wines that are available by the glass or bottle.

Wine Fridge

Wine Fridge

Wine Fridge

Wine Fridge

But Tutto Gusto has more to offer than just beverages. From the get go, I prized this spot for their amazing array of small plates. There’s a display of some of the offerings to whet your appetite.

Antipasti Showcase at Tutto Gusto

Antipasti Showcase at Tutto Gusto

As is usually the case when you’re dining anywhere in the Disney universe, be sure to look up! The details of a spot usually include some really cool lighting, and Gusto is no exception.

Wine Bottle Lighting

Wine Bottle Lighting

You will find that Tutto Gusto can reach capacity rather easily — hence those Cast Members stationed at the doors. There isn’t a ton of seating here, but what you do find is rustic, cozy, and fairly comfortable. It is a little “close”, however, so if you prize privacy or personal space, you may want to look at the couch options.

Gusto Table

Gusto Table

Speaking of…you’ll find more comfy seating flanking the fireplace, another nice focal point in the small space.

Gusto Fireplace Area

Gusto Fireplace Area

Tables and stools here are low and well padded. It’s a great place to relax and catch up with friends, or to just take a breather from the bright sunshine.

Fireplace Area Seating at Tutto Gusto

Fireplace Area Seating at Tutto Gusto

And it truly is a beautiful location. Personally, I think they hit the themeing out of the park. Don’t you love the brick ceiling?

Tutto Gusto Seating

Tutto Gusto Seating

Having shown you around, I’m ready to get down to the serious business of [Read more…]

Disneyland Recipe: Matterhorn Macaroons

Today, we are heading back to Disneyland for some inspiration in the kitchen!

I recently stumbled upon this brilliant recipe by Rumbly Tumbly. While my attention perked up as soon as I saw a recipe for one of my favorite Disneyland Treats, the Matterhorn Macaroon, I was even more excited to see that one of my DFB posts had inspired the author to try her hand at recreating the treats in the first place!

Disneyland's Matterhorn Macaroon

Disneyland’s Matterhorn Macaroon

Shannon’s version looks so much like the original and sounds so chewy, moist and delicious. I’m definitely inspired to try my own hand at these giant treats!

Matterhorn Macaroons

Inspired by the Original Treat at Disneyland
Makes 12 Macaroons

Ingredients:
1 cup room temperature butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut – see note below for how to prepare coconut
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 bag of Wilton Bright White Candy melts
decorators sugar for sprinkling

Instructions: [Read more…]

Review: Starbucks Evenings Menu at Disney World’s Disney Springs

It wasn’t too long ago that Starbucks didn’t exist in the Disney Universe.

But although the coffee giant’s presence in Disney Parks has caused quite a bit of heated debate, their popularity is undeniable. And recently, the company has begun piloting a new evening menu, which is meant to appeal to those who are looking for a place to gather after 4PM. Not only does the menu include a select list of Wine and Beer, but there are also Small Plates available — perfect for sharing.

I say “piloting” because the concept is only available in about 30 stores in the US, primarily in large metropolitan areas. More locations are expected to be announced.

And if you are a Starbucks and Disney lover, then you’re in luck, because the Downtown Disney Orlando West Side location is one of the stores that offer the evening menu!

I was intrigued by the whole concept of getting a glass of wine and a snack at a spot that’s normally reserved for meeting my tea and (very rarely) coffee needs. So on a recent trip to Disney World, I decided that I had to check it out.

Atmosphere

And there it is! Starbucks. Complete with a hole in its roof for a palm tree to grow through!

downtown disney west side starbucks orlando (5)

Starbucks Entrance

You walk into a familiar site — a rope set up for the typical queue. That queue is usually pretty full, too.

Queue for the ordering counter

Queue for the ordering counter

Not only is this a massive Starbucks location, but it’s also a Reserve Location, which means you can enjoy rare, small batch offerings of some of the world’s rarest beans. Definitely check it out if you’re a coffee lover. Wendy shared her experience in our full review here.

Reserve Coffee Counter

Reserve Coffee Counter

Looking for a place to sit for a spell? You have plenty of options. From communal seating, to cozy tables for two, you’re likely to find a spot, even at busy times.

Seating at the Reserve Coffee Counter

Seating at the Reserve Coffee Counter

Indoor seating

Indoor seating

Large table

Large table

Don’t you love the bench seating against this picture window? It’s one of my favorite spots.

Indoor seating

Indoor seating

Murals that look like chalk drawings depict coffee growing regions across the globe.

Mural

Mural

Be sure to stop by the interactive screen and check out the action at the Starbucks in Downtown Disney in Anaheim!

Interactive Screen

Interactive Screen

There are also really beautiful water views from the inside seating area and the shaded patio area.

Window wall

Window wall

But the outside area also has another great focal point — a “live” wall and a glassed-in fireplace.

Outdoor seating

Outdoor seating

Fireplace

Fireplace

Now that we’ve looked around a bit, let’s head back in and take a closer look at the Starbucks Evenings menu.

Eats

Wanting to sample the Evenings menu? Head to Downtown Disney West Side at 4:00PM, when service expands to include [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Soft Serve Treats!

Summer’s coming! And we know that you’ll be looking to stay cool at Disney. And I can’t think of a much better way than by enjoying some terrific soft serve treats!

And when it comes to soft serve at Disney, you certainly have options! From Dole Whip to Root Beer Floats made with the creamy stuff, there’s no end to the variety you’ll find.

Cherry and Birthday Cake Swirled Fro Yo -- Up Close

Cherry and Birthday Cake Swirled Fro Yo Soft Serve from Magic Kingdom’s Storybook Treats

So we weren’t too surprised when we checked out pics that our members have posted on Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza, our Flickr group. We came away with all sorts of soft serve inspiration!

If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, head over there! But before you do, let’s take a look at some of the goodies we found while we were surfin’.

Soft Serve at Paradise Pier

Photographer: Riniel Calaelen

What makes a Soft Serve Ice Cream Cone even more delish? How about enjoying it with an awesome background, like Paradise Pier! I can almost feel that beautiful California sunshine coming through the pic, can’t you??

Chocolate Soft Serve + an Awesome Background

Chocolate Soft Serve + an Awesome Background

Pineapple Soft Serve at Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Photographer: V No Privacy

We love that Pineapple Soft Serve has become a mainstay at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival. We expect to see the popular treat back again at the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival as well!

This great pic features treats from Pineapple Promenade at this year’s Flower and Garden Festival. It really captures the contrast between the soft serve and the Sammy’s Beach Bar Red Head Macadamia Nut Flavored Rum!

Pineapple Soft Serve from the Pineapple Promenade at Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival

Pineapple Soft Serve from the Pineapple Promenade at Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival

Citrus Swirl at Sunshine Tree Terrace

Photographer: HTH Photography

This pic is entitled “Sunshine in a Cup”, and we couldn’t agree more! The Citrus Swirl at Sunshine Tree Terrace is this photographer’s [Read more…]

Our Favorite Savory Snacks in Disneyland

Here at DFB, we talk a little about sweet snacks. You know, now and then.

Favorite Disneyland Snacks

Ok. We talk about them a LOT. And when we aren’t talking about them, it’s probably because we’re eating them. So we can talk about them some more.

But that shouldn’t lead you to believe that we love savory snacks any less.

I’ve talked about many of my favorite sweets, and even a few sweet and salty options. But today, I’m giving the post over completely to the non-sweet team.

These guys can double as a meal if you’d like them to. Or they can just give you that little boost between breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Let’s take a closer look at some of my favorites.

Flavored Popcorn at Cozy Cone Motel

Recently, I discovered a stand in Epcot that’s offering one of the best things ever — Flavored Popcorn! While we’ve seen the reports of such delights from Tokyo Disneyland, it’s the first time something besides Caramel Corn has made much of a splash at Walt Disney World.

But that isn’t the case at Disneyland, where Flavored Popcorn has been a mainstay of at the Cozy Cone Motel since it opened!

Popcone at Cozy Cone Motel

Popcone at Cozy Cone Motel

And inside that Popcone, there are some yummy Flavored Popcorn options. They change up every once in a while, so you’ll never know what you might get!

Flavors of the Day

Flavors of the Day

Personally, I’d be pretty happy with either Dill Pickle OR Nacho Cheese!

Dill Pickle Popcorn at Cozy Cone Motel

Dill Pickle Popcorn!

Which one would you choose?

Skewers and Tiger Tails at Bengal Barbecue

Bengal Barbecue is one of my favorite stops for a quick bite in all of Disneyland. In fact, it made my Top 10 List of Favorite Disneyland Fast Food Joints.

Don't Look for Much in the Way of Seating at Bengal Barbecue

Don’t Look for Much in the Way of Seating at Bengal Barbecue

The spot is little more than a stand with a grill. Don’t look for scads of seating; there’s not much. But what they do have plenty of are delicious savory bites that can serve as either a snack or a meal.

And the name of the game here is Meat on Skewers. (Okay…there are a few veggies, too.)

I have a hard time choosing a favorite at Bengal, so I’ll show you a bunch! I like to get a few of the different options and share. (Or not.)

I recommend starting with the Chieftain Chicken Skewer. Chunks of Chicken Meat are grilled and then smothered in a sweet, slightly spicy Chili Sauce.

Chieftain Skewer

Chieftain Skewer

But then, ya gotta try the [Read more…]

2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Recipe: Piggylicious Cupcake from The Smokehouse Booth

There have been lots of memorable dishes from the 2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.

epcot flower and garden logo

But one that we continue to hear you rave about is a return dish from 2014 — the Piggylicious Cupcake from The Smokehouse: Barbecues and Brews Booth!

The Smokehouse: Barbecues and Brews

The Smokehouse: Barbecues and Brews

The cupcake made a BIG impression on us from the first time we tried it. And it’s definitely addictive, with that sweet salty combination of flavors.

But we all know that the trip to Disney isn’t always possible. And even if it is, the Flower and Garden Festival will wrap up in just a few weeks.

Piggylicious Bacon Cupcake From Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival

Piggylicious Bacon Cupcake From Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival

So I’m really happy to share this recipe with you today on the blog! Because once you hear about a Disney cupcake that combines bacon, cake, and maple frosting…well…there’s no way you’re NOT gonna want to make this!

Piggylicious Bacon Cupcake

The Smokehouse Barbecues and Brews Outdoor Kitchen
Makes 24 Cupcakes

Ingredients:

For Cupcakes: [Read more…]

News! New Eats and Drinks Debut to Celebrate Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary

Did someone say cupcakes?!?!

As I’m sure you know, Disneyland has a rather big birthday coming up. The resort will celebrate its 60th Anniversary in July. But you don’t have to wait until the middle of Summer to have your cake and eat it too!

On May 22, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure will debut some fun (and delish) treats to mark Disneyland’s Diamond Anniversary Celebration.

While cupcakes are usually more of an East Coast Disney thing than a West Coast one, when Disneyland does ‘em, they’re incredible. Beginning May 22, find a Lemon-flavorored Cupcake at Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe. Why lemon? It’s the perfect flavor to celebrate the Victorian theme of Main Street USA.

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary Cupcake

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary Cupcake, Available at Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary Cupcake

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary Cupcake, Available at Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe

Similar Cupcakes will be available at Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe in Disney California Adventure — but the flavor will be Orange there to represent the 1930s vibe of Buena Vista Street.

In addition to the cupcakes, Disneyland will release lots of new, limited-time beverages. I gotta say — I’m a little perplexed why they’d offer five different drinks that look and sound incredibly similar. ;-)

Enchanted Cherry Apple Frozen Lemonade from  Troubadour Tavern

Enchanted Cherry Apple Frozen Lemonade from Troubadour Tavern

Honey Bee Frozen Lemonade Hungry Bear Restaurant

Honey Bee Frozen Lemonade from Hungry Bear Restaurant

But I’ll reserve judgement until I get to try a few! I think I’m mostly looking forward to the [Read more…]

Disney Drinks in Boots (and a Review of the Latest from Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe)

A while back I told you all about enjoying lunch recently at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe!

At that time, I promised to highlight a fun part of our lunch — the Slush served in a Souvenir Boot.

Welp, today’s the day. Let’s take a closer look at this fun little keepsake to determine if it’s worth your time and money.

Strawberry Lemonade Slush in a Souvenir Boot

Serving drinks in boots — plastic or glass cups shaped like boots, that is — really isn’t anything new at Disney. After all, we’ve been enjoying Root Beer Floats in a similar vessel practically forever at Disneyland’s Golden Horseshoe Restaurant. Because nothing says vacay like drinking a Root Beer Float out of footwear! (Complete with Whipped Cream and a Cherry!)

Root Beer Float at Disneyland's Golden Horseshoe

Root Beer Float at Disneyland’s Golden Horseshoe

And just a little while back, I couldn’t wait to show you guys when the boot finally made its way East, and landed at Pecos Bill’s. It didn’t feature a root beer float, but they were serving a refreshing Root Beer Slush out of it at that time. It featured the logo from the hot Disney movie du jour at the time — The Lone Ranger.

Souvenir Boot Cup With Root Beer Slush at Pecos Bill -- Check Out the Clear Version

Souvenir Boot Cup With Root Beer Slush at Pecos Bill — Check Out the Clear Version

When I stopped by Pecos Bill’s for lunch recently, I was glad to see that they were still featuring this fun souvenir item. After all, you’ve gotta stay hydrated, so why not? And having a swell cup to take home and remind you of all the Magic is pretty awesome.

But this time around, the Root Beer Slush has been replaced with a Strawberry Lemonade version.

Souvenir Boot from Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe

Souvenir Boot from Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe

I was surprised to see that the boot is now [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Caramel Apples!

It’s always so fun to check out the great 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’ll take a virtual eating trip to Disney over work any day of the week. :-)

And today, we are all about just a few of the outrageous Caramel Apple options that you have all over the Disney Universe!

Snowman Caramel Apples

Snowman Caramel Apples

Let’s check out some of the most awesome examples of Caramel Apples that you can find all over Disney for this latest look at our Disney Food Pics of the Week Series!

Olaf Caramel Apples

Photographer: Joel Caceres

Whether or not you want to build a snowman, no doubt you’ll enjoy sinking your teeth into a monster-size Olaf Caramel Apple, one of the many Frozen foods we’ve seen this past year in the parks. His little Carrot Nose might just be my favorite part.

Olaf Caramel Apples

Olaf Caramel Apples

Classic Minnie Mouse Caramel Apples

Photographer: Kirsten Marie Hutton

But you also can’t go wrong with a classic, like the Minnie Mouse Caramel Apple. There is just something captivating about rows and rows of these beautiful and perfect Minnies! Underneath that layer of Rich Chocolate, you’ll find [Read more…]

Magic Kingdom Frozen Snacks: Storybook Treats Frozen Yogurt and Mango Fruit Bar

Today I’ve got some new eats for you from the Magic Kingdom in Disney World!

Wall into the New Fantasyland in Disney World's Magic Kingdom

Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom

There are few snacks that are more perfect for warm Florida weather than Frozen Treats! You’d think this would be a fairly limited food genre. An Ice Cream Sundae here, a Pina Colada Slush there. But there’s so much variety that it’s dizzying! You never have to have the same thing twice — if you don’t want to.

We all know the popular ones — Dole Whips. Citrus Swirls. Mickey Bars. Handmade Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches.

Birthday Cake Ice Cream Sammy!

Birthday Cake Ice Cream Sammy!

But what if you’re looking for something a little…different?

Well, today’s your lucky day. Because we have not one, but TWO new-to-us Magic Kingdom Snack Options to share with you. And they’re both delightfully frosty, perfect for refreshing you after a long day of chasing Fast Passes and Parades.

Wanna see? I know you do. :-)

Frozen Yogurt at Storybook Treats

Looking to answer the call of your Fro Yo craving, then head to Storybook Treats in Fantasyland.

This tiny spot has been one of my favorite dessert stops for a while, because it offers unique snacks, like Fudge Brownie and Strawberry Shortcake Sundaes.

But on occasion, you’ll also find some interesting Frozen Yogurt flavors. And that’s what I was after on a recent visit here.

I hit the “out of the ordinary” jackpot when I spied two cool flavors — Birthday Cake and Cherry! Of course, these just demanded that I get them swirled together. That’s what you’d do too, right??

Storybook Fro Yo! Birthday Cake and Cherry Flavors -- Swirled

Storybook Fro Yo! Birthday Cake and Cherry Flavors — Swirled

Since this is Fro Yo and not Ice Cream, it had that predictable tang that you’d expect. I enjoyed both flavors, and the combo was great as well, but I’d give the slight edge to the Birthday Cake.

Cherry and Birthday Cake Swirled Fro Yo -- Up Close

Cherry and Birthday Cake Swirled Fro Yo — Another Angle

Because Birthday Cake.

Mango Fruit Bar at Magic Kingdom

Next, we’re stopping by Maurice’s Popcorn Cart in New Fantasyland. I don’t know if that’s what it’s called. But that’s what I’m callin’ it. :-)

Maurice’s features some of the standard, pre-packaged Frozen Treats that we all love — Mickey Ice Cream Bars and Sandwiches, Frozen Chocolate-Dipped Bananas, that adorable Olaf Frozen Lemonade Strawberry Bar (oh, are you STILL here, Olaf?), and the Plain Ole’ Strawberry Bar (seriously refreshing and pretty healthy as such things go.)

Maurice's Popcorn Cart Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Maurice’s Popcorn Cart Menu — Click to Enlarge

But I also spied something I hadn’t seen before — the Mango Fruit Bar. Here’s the interesting thing, though. It’s not a fruit bar like you think of a fruit bar. One look told me this one wasn’t just fruit, but Ice Cream too.

Mango Fruit Bar

Mango Fruit Bar

And if the word “Helado” on the front (oh, and the words “Ice Cream”) doesn’t confirm it for you, the ingredients, which include [Read more…]