the disney food blog Rotating Header Image

Review: Chef Gale Gand’s Culinary Salted Caramel Brownies Demo at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Epcot Food and Wine Festival fans always anticipate the announcement of the Culinary Demonstrations: low-cost events where guests can enjoy presentations by a Disney or celebrity chef.

Food and Wine Festival demonstration kitchen

Food and Wine Festival demonstration kitchen

This year, I took the opportunity to purchase a $15 ticket to see Chef Gale Gand: pastry chef, author of cookbooks, 8-year host of the Food Network’s “Sweet Dreams,” as well as a founding partner of the restaurant Tru in Chicago (among a bajillion other accomplishments!).

I chose Chef Gand’s session because I love to bake. But I still consider myself a novice with just a few trusty recipes under my belt, and I don’t tend to stray from those. So, I was interested to find out upon arrival that Chef Gand would be sharing her recipe for Salted Caramel Brownies with those of us in the audience.

Before Chef Gand came to the stage, we enjoyed a presentation by a Master Sommelier who spoke about the choice of wine that we would enjoy with Chef Gand’s creation.

Master Sommelier

Master Sommelier

It really was interesting to hear him speak about the incredibly intense learning and examination process that it takes to become a Master Sommelier. But even with his depth of knowledge and expertise, I was happy to hear him share his favorite piece of advice when it comes to wine selection: “Drink what you like, when you like, with whom you like.” Works for me!

Viognier from Cambria Winery

Viognier from Cambria Winery

In this case, what we were drinking was the Tepusquet Vineyard Viognier from the Cambria Winery. Our Master Sommelier led us through the process of picking up the tropical, fruity notes in the aroma, and the floral notes in the flavor. I can’t claim to have picked up on all that on my own ;). As someone who prefers white wines over red, I can just say I enjoyed the glass.

When Chef Gale Gand arrived on stage, she greeted the audience with a smile and immediately continued in the personable, light-hearted tone set by the Sommelier.

Chef Gale Gand

Chef Gale Gand

She also greeted us with a surprise: today, she would be demonstrating two recipes. Even though this was a pastry demonstration, Chef Gand started with Continue reading →

Review: Hawaiian Shaved Ice at Kona Island in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Even if you’ve paid a visit to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, you may not be familiar with Kona Island.

This pleasant little stop upstairs in the Great Ceremonial House sits directly next to a much larger restaurant: Kona Cafe. So it can be pretty easy to pass by — unless you are in the know of its reputation for being one of the places on property where you can enjoy some sushi, or even a press pot of Kona Coffee, brewed to order.

Kona Island was closed for a while in the late summer to accommodate some of the construction going on at the Polynesian (among those changes, the eagerly-anticipated addition of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto to the resort).

Kona Island sign

Kona Island sign

But it reopened by the end of September, and more recently I finally had a chance to stop by and sample something I’d been curious about.

Kona Island

Kona Island

Kona Island

Kona Island

Hawaiian Shaved Ice is now part of the offerings. You can get all one flavor (“Kumau”) for $3.99, or a combo of two flavors (“Haukalima”) for $4.99.

Koan Island Hawaiian Shaved ice sign

Koan Island Hawaiian Shaved ice sign

While flavors may vary due to available syrups, I was able to choose from eight on the day of my visit: orange, passion mango, cherry, coconut, blue raspberry, strawberry, pineapple, and pina colada. I could’ve happily tried all eight flavors (and many thanks to the extremely patient Cast Member who waited while I took a crazy long time to decide!). But I ultimately chose a combo of pina colada and cherry.

Hawaiian Shaved Ice, cherry and pina colada

Hawaiian Shaved Ice, cherry and pina colada

The swirl of white (you can see it much better on the red cherry side) is Continue reading →

Disneyland Snack Series: Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie Pie at Jolly Holiday Bakery in Disneyland Park

We are stopping into Disneyland’s Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe to check out a new sweet treat that recently debuted!

Although Jolly Holiday is a fairly new addition to Main Street USA, the atmosphere of this spot is so perfectly excecuted that you’d swear it’s been there since Walt Disney walked these streets! Whenever I’m in Disneyland, even if it’s only for a short trip — and on this trip I was there for about 36 hours — I have to make time for this place.

Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe

Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe

The counter service spot celebrates all things Mary Poppins. Seating is outdoors here, but that’s perfectly fine with me — look how cheerful the patio setting is! (Seriously, is the weather EVER bad here?)

Outdoor Seating

Outdoor Seating

Inside, you’ll find touches everywhere that remind you of the film. Porcelain figurines bring a couple of the best movie scenes to life. I love this one of Mary on her carousel horse!

Mary Poppins!

Mary Poppins!

After a look around at all the wonderful touches, I wanted to see just what was new in the bakery cases! The lunch menu gives you an idea of the general offerings at Jolly Holiday. But the bakery has also become a landing spot for new and seasonal treats. Heather shared a few of them with you not too long ago!

Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Click to Enlarge

This time out, I saw a bunch of new things. But one treat in particular called my name, and I know it’ll call yours, too!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie Pie

Since it opened in a couple of years ago, Jolly Holiday has been a popular spot. But lately, they’ve really stepped up their game by offering some fantastic seasonal and limited-time options.

When I heard that they had debuted a Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie Pie? Wild horses and all that.

Peanut Butter Whoopie Pie at Jolly Holiday Bakery

Peanut Butter Whoopie Pie at Jolly Holiday Bakery

You know I am all about the Peanut Butter. And Disneyland has some of my favorite PB treats, like the Continue reading →

“The DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays 2014″ Grand Launch and Discount

Tis the season to eat, drink, and go to Walt Disney World! And that means it’s time for the Grand Launch of the DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World® Holidays 2014 e-Book!

We’ve been busy updating all the latest holiday tips and brand new info you NEED to know before you hit the parks this November, December, and January! (Yep — we cover EVERYTHING in this one — not just food!) With 310 pages of detailed information and multiple bonus extras, it WILL save you time and money during the busiest season in Walt Disney World! And it’s here just in time!

miniguide_holidays0714

And since we want you to save some cash right NOW, we have a steep discount for DFB readers (as always!). Get the brand new guide today for $3 off the regular purchase price for a limited time! How? Use code JINGLE at the check-out!

The DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays 2014 e-Book Is Here!

The DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays 2014 e-Book features 310 pages of all the info you need to know before you head to Walt Disney World for the holiday season, including NEW events and holiday happenings, over 250 photos, and an informative FAQ section. It includes:

  • Detailed descriptions and photos of every holiday event and activity happening at the parks and resorts this year — including tips on how to make the best use of your time and money when visiting!
  • A fully comprehensive holiday dining section with listings of holiday snacks, treats, meals, and menu items offered this year — from popcorn kiosks all the way to Signature Restaurants.
  • New chapter on where to dine with no advance dining reservations.
  • New chapter on 10 must-eat snacks this holiday season.
  • A clickable 3-Month Schedule of Holiday Events so you can see at-a-glance what looks interesting to you.
  • Comprehensive listings — with color photos! — of Disney Resort holiday decor and gingerbread displays
  • Our recommendations on ways to SAVE while you’re in Disney World this holiday season.
  • A full chapter dedicated to all “New for 2014″ events, dining options, and activities, including what’s new at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, The Celebrate the Magic Castle Show, and the Epcot Candlelight Processional.
  • Updated Scavenger Hunts
  • Disney Cruise Line Chapter
  • A Preview of the 2015 Holidays in Disney World
  • And more!

Don’t Miss Out on Any Disney Holiday Fun!

You’re probably paying a lot of money for your Disney holiday vacation…and we’re here to make sure you get the biggest bang for your buck! And with the holiday season already here, the time is now!

Holiday Guide Sample Pages

Holiday Guide Sample Pages

Booking early for holiday events and dining is critical, and our exclusive Continue reading →

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Recipe: Kielbasa and Potato Pierogies at the Poland Marketplace Booth

Craving some of those awesome dishes that you’ve enjoyed at the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival?

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

It’s one of my favorite parts of the Festival — tasting my way around World Showcase, and then going home to try my hand at a few new recipes!

Today, we’re visiting the Poland Marketplace Booth for a taste of traditional fare. This year, Poland offers two varieties of Pierogies.

Similar to dumplings, you’ll find them stuffed with sauerkraut or potato at the Festival, depending on which dish you choose.

Today, we’ll take a closer look at Potato Pierogies served with Kielbasa.

Kielbasa & Potato Pierogie with Caramelized Onions and Sour Cream

Kielbasa & Potato Pierogie with Caramelized Onions and Sour Cream

If you’ve ever wanted to make your very own pierogies from scratch, here’s your chance!

Kielbasa and Potato Pierogies with Caramelized Onions and Sour Cream

Poland Marketplace Booth

Ingredients:

Serves 4 (16 Pierogies)

Kielbasa:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup fresh diced tomatoes
coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound boiled Polish smoked Kielbasa sausage

Pierogies: Continue reading →

What’s Your Favorite Disney World Restaurant for Atmosphere?

Disney restaurants tend to have that little something extra that make them a magical experience for us and our families instead of, say, just another night at the local diner. The red carpet at Cinderella’s Royal Table, the aquarium at Coral Reef, the stage show at Biergarten…they all make these restaurants a more interesting, and more compelling, place to dine.

Proximity of Animals to Diners at Coral Reef

Proximity of Animals to Diners at Coral Reef

That’s why today, atmosphere is taking center stage instead of playing a supporting role. I want to know: What’s your favorite Disney World restaurant for its atmosphere? The place that you go, without fail, almost without thought to the food. (Almost. But not quite.)

Here are three of my favorite spots that I hit up as often as possible when I’m in town. I can’t wait to hear about your favorites in the comments!

Sci-Fi Dine-In Restaurant

If you A) pine for the days of drive in movies, or B) have heard about such days and you’re completely fascinated, then you’ve gotta check out Sci-Fi Dine-In with me.

Dining under the stars while watching ridiculous B movies on the big screen is just too much fun to pass up.

After all, this is the only place in Disney that you can eat in your car!

Dine in a Convertible at Sci-Fi

Dine in a Convertible at Sci-Fi

No time to wait for a car table? Check out the cool picnic table option, and you can still dine in the Disney “open air!”

Sci Fi Picnic Tables

Sci Fi Picnic Tables

Thankfully, Walt shows up every now and again to make sense of it all.

Walt and His Vision

Walt and His Vision

I personally love the house specialty, the Continue reading →

News: BabyCakes NYC Possible Return to Downtown Disney Orlando

Great news for a LOT of our DFB readers today.

We’ve been keeping tabs on the construction at Downtown Disney as this dining and entertainment district at Walt Disney World is transformed into the new Disney Springs. Recently, we shared updates on The Boathouse and Morimoto Asia — two new restaurants with anticipated opening dates in 2015.

The latest trademark discovery out of Orange County? The potential return of BabyCakes NYC, which closed its doors in the Marketplace earlier this year.

We’ve missed the BabyCakes NYC Cupcakes in Downtown Disney

Of note, Continue reading →

News and Review: Pesto Knots at Magic Kingdom’s Pinocchio Village Haus

When you’re up for Italian fare in a Bavarian setting, there really is only one place to go… The Pinocchio Village Haus in Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland!

The main food news from Pinocchio’s as of late has mostly revolved around a rotation of slush beverages paying tribute to various characters from the Pinocchio film, such as the Jiminy Cricket Slush, and the current Lemonade and Blue Raspberry Slushes (said to be “favorites” of Pinocchio and the Blue Fairy themselves… according to the Pinocchio Village Haus menu, that is ;) ).

Other than that, the menu itself hasn’t had much of an overhaul since it changed over from pizza to flatbreads over two years ago. While that remains the case, there were a couple of changes on my recent visit, including a new side item that I couldn’t resist.

Pinocchio's Village Haus

The changes are so subtle that they’re pretty easy to miss on the scrolling menu, so it’s a good thing Cast Members hand printed menus to guests in order to keep things moving at this always hoppin’ spot.

Pinocchio Village Haus printed menu

Pinocchio Village Haus printed menu

For starters, the Barbecue Chicken Flatbread is now a Barbecue Beef Flatbread. A Spicy Chicken Sandwich has been added in case someone in your group isn’t in the mood for flatbreads or a sub sandwich, but that didn’t replace anything from the menu. (AJ tried the chicken sandwich on her last visit and will have a review of that for you soon.)

I almost didn’t notice a small change to the side items: the Bread Sticks have been replaced with Pesto Knots. Since I love the Garlic Knots served at a local pizza place, I had to give the Pesto Knots a try.

When I received my order, the first thing I noticed wasn’t the appearance, actually… although the braided bread does look pretty stellar.

Pesto Knots

Pesto Knots

No, the very first thing to greet my senses was Continue reading →

2014 Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving Contests

Didn’t get your fill of Halloween fun this year? Fret not, friends! Because we’ve got one more treat for you from the season of tricks…

On October 30th and 31st, Disney Resort Cast Members at resorts around the World competed in pumpkin decorating contests. I got to check out the displays at the Contemporary Resort and Port Orleans — Riverside, and wanted to share some of the fun with you today!

At the Contemporary Resort, individual Cast Members showed off their pumpkin carving skills. The display was huge, including well over twenty pumpkins!

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving 2014

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving 2014

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving display

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving display

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving display

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving display

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving display

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving display

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving display

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving display

Guests at the Contemporary placed their votes for pumpkins across a few categories. A member of the Security Team won “Best Overall” for this awesome Continue reading →

Review: Specialty Hot Dogs at Casey’s Corner in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

“Take Me Out to the Ball Game…”

Okay, we know… with the San Francisco Giants winning the World Series, baseball season is officially behind us for the year. But there’s one place where it’s always baseball season, and that’s Casey’s Corner in Magic Kingdom!

And what’s a baseball game without a hot dog… or three ;) ? I know you agree. Let’s head in to the quintessential hot dog joint in Disney World for a bite.

Casey's Corner

Casey’s Corner

Atmosphere

Before you even step in the front doors, you’re “greeted” by a turn-of-the-century baseball player.

Casey's Corner baseball player

Casey’s Corner baseball player

Casey's Corner baseball player

Casey’s Corner baseball player

Once you enter, the baseball theme really kicks into high gear, down to the Cast Member baseball player costumes (which might be my favorite costumes just about anywhere at Disney World).

Casey's Corner

Casey’s Corner

Vintage artwork and props (including ads for Coca-Cola) line the walls and top the shelves just about everywhere you look.

Vintage Coke Advertisement

Vintage Coke Advertisement

Art at Casey's Corner

Art at Casey’s Corner

Atmosphere Details at Casey's Corner

Atmosphere Details at Casey’s Corner

The indoor seating does its best to place you outside, giving the impression that you’re at an outdoor ballpark. The scoreboard reflects a score that is much to the chagrin of the citizens of Mudville, thanks to the legendary strikeout of “Casey at the Bat.”

Scoreboard

Scoreboard

There may be “no joy in Mudville,”  since Mighty Casey struck out, but Continue reading →