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Epcot Food and Wine Festival Review: French Regional Lunch

Bonjour! We are taking a tour today of the Culinary Capital of the World — France — as we continue to gear up for the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Okay…well, that may be a little overkill. But there’s no denying that French food is something special.

food and wine festival logo

And we were very glad to hear that French Regional Lunches — aka Frunches — would return once more as part of the festival’s line up of Special Events last year after taking a hiatus in 2012.

And they are back again in 2014! Woo!!!

As we prepare for this year’s festival to kick off on September 19, let’s sit down to a French Regional Lunch from 2013.

Join me, won’t you?

Atmosphere

They’ve made the entrance door a little less secret-looking, but the entrance to Monsieur Paul is still a bit on the understated side. Head for Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie and L’Artisan des Glaces, but make a sharp left at the awning. And you’ve arrived!

Monsieur Paul Entrance

Monsieur Paul Entrance

Step inside and you’re greeted by a small waiting area and this elegant winding staircase that takes you up to the second-floor restaurant. (There’s also an elevator if you prefer.)

Staircase in lobby leading up to restaurant Monsieur Paul

That Gorgeous Staircase!

Monsieur Paul is normally only open for dinner service, so it’s a real treat to enjoy lunch here in the recently renovated dining room. During the day, the natural light flooding through the uncovered windows lightens up the formal setting considerably. It’s a nice combination.

There is no assigned seating, so arrive early if you have your heart set on a certain area of the restaurant. Tables are set close together, so it pays to be of a social frame of mind. :-) Most of the time, people respect it if you would rather not chat with strangers. Don’t let this aspect of the experience keep you away. (And, honestly, after the fourth glass of wine, nobody’s a stranger anymore.)

Atmosphere and Seating Arrangement

Atmosphere and Seating Arrangement

You’ll notice in the photo above that there is a “host” for the luncheon. That’s because each luncheon is themed to a different region of France, and wines are paired to complement the flavors of each dish. A principle from a winery will guide you through each course and pairing.

And speaking of wine, there will be lots of it. My advice? Pace yourself. ;-)

Table Setting with Wine Glasses

Table Setting with Wine Glasses

I’m excited to show you the menu — let’s get started.

French Regional Lunch at Monsieur Paul

To me, the most interesting part of the French Regional Lunches is that they are just that — about different regions. Each week, they highlight a different region in France. During my luncheon, we were headed to Bordeaux!

Menu for the French Regional Lunch -- Click to Enlarge

Menu for the French Regional Lunch — Click to Enlarge

Our first wine was poured quickly after we were seated. The light-bodied Château Bonnet White Bordeaux was the perfect aperitif wine. It was excellent to sip on its own, but the crisp finish also paired well with our beginning dish, which was very rich.

Chateau Bonnet White Bordeaux

Château Bonnet White Bordeaux

Speaking of, our lunch began with an Amuse Bouche. The creamy dish reminded me of a savory creme brulee, if that makes any sense. No sweetness, but the same rich consistency, with the earthiness of mushrooms.

Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche

The peppery Arugula on top contrasted nicely with the creamy custard in the small starter. It certainly did its work — we were excited to see what would be next.

Amuse Bouche -- Inside

Amuse Bouche — Inside

Fresh Demi Baguettes arrived to the table next, baked in the ovens of Les Halles below. I’m a big ol’ fan of bread fresh from the oven, and they do it perfectly here.

Fresh Baguette

Fresh Baguette

Our next wine was poured in anticipation of our first course. I thought the Château Bonnet Rosé was the perfect segue from the light white we started with into the heavier dishes that would be coming.

Chateau Bonnet Rose

Château Bonnet Rosé

Our first course, Cassolette d’Escargot Cauderanaise — Escargot Cassolette with Bacon — was a twist on a classic. While Continue reading →

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Recipe: Grilled Verlasso Salmon with Quinoa Salad and Arugula Chimichurri

If you’re like us, you’re already counting down the days until the Epcot Food and Wine Festival Begins!

food and wine festival logo

If you haven’t already done it, mark your calendars for September 19 — the date that the food and fun gets underway!

Recently, we had the opportunity to see and taste some of the brand new dishes that will be featured at this year’s festival.

Today, we have a recipe for one of our favorites — Grilled Verlasso Salmon with Quinoa Salad and Arugula Chimichurri. The dish will be featured at this year’s new Patagonia Booth.

It’s an especially interesting dish, because the Salmon is sustainably farm-raised. In fact, it’s the first and only ocean-raised farm fish to receive the “Good Alternative” buy ranking from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Watch Group.

Salmon Quinoa Salad with Chimi-Churri Will Be Featured at the NEW Patagonia Marketplace Booth

Salmon Quinoa Salad with Chimi-Churri at the NEW Patagonia Marketplace Booth

And the Quinoa Salad is absolutely delicious, and among our favorite dishes that we tried!

And now you and I can make it at home with this handy recipe.

Grilled Verlasso Salmon with Quinoa Salad and Arugula Chimichurri

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival’s Patagonia Marketplace Booth
Serves 6

Ingredients: Continue reading →

News! And Review: Waffle Fry Menu Debuts at Magic Kingdom’s Golden Oak Outpost

The next time you’re stepping into the Wild West of Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland, you simply MUST mosey on up to Golden Oak Outpost.

Not exactly what you’d expect to hear, I know, seeing as the Outpost typically featured a fairly simple menu of items like Chicken Sandwiches, Chicken Breast Nuggets, and fries made to feed hungry cowpokes who don’t feel like facing the lines at Pecos Bill’s.

But not anymore! Golden Oak Outpost just received yet another menu revamp.

They’ve introduced not two, not three, but FOUR variations of over-the-top, loaded-up Waffle Fries! We tried them ALL. And one of them is awfully close to the Figaro Fries of yore…

Golden Oak Outpost

Golden Oak Outpost

New Golden Oak Outpost Menu

New Golden Oak Outpost Menu

So join us on a veritable FRY FEAST, friends! And we’re not going to make you wait to see what the Figaro fuss is about…

BLT Waffle Fries

We’re starting with the BLT Waffle Fries. Just like the sandwich it’s named after, you’re looking at bacon, lettuce, and tomato, with the addition of Ranch dressing.

BLT Waffle Fries

BLT Waffle Fries

BLT Waffle Fries

BLT Waffle Fries

You can barely spy a fry at first for all that BACON!! And this is the good stuff – nice and crispy. None of that wimpy, soggy bacon here. The ample amount of Ranch dressing oozes nicely over the whole batch, and the lettuce and tomato add variation to the texture.

And, yes, as you can now tell, there are indeed waffle fries underneath it all, ready to fulfill their yummy, starchy, potato-y destiny!

BLT Waffle Fries underneath toppings

BLT Waffle Fries underneath toppings

BLT Waffle Fry

BLT Waffle Fry

So. ARE these Figaro Fries given a second life?! Not exactly. No cheese here. And, obviously, these are waffle fries as opposed to regular. But it’s as close as we’re gonna get for now, and I — for one — will take it!

Brown Gravy and Cheese Waffle Fries

Next up: Brown Gravy and Cheese Waffle Fries. Oh, my word… it’s Poutine in Magic Kingdom, y’all!

Our Canadian friends can verify whether or not I’m correct on that assessment, since I’ve never had real poutine in real Canada, sadly. But in Continue reading →

News! Magic Kingdom’s Be Our Guest Restaurant Introduces a New Standby Policy

Have you been caught in the forever-line that is lunch at Be Our Guest Restaurant?

Then you’ll love the news we are reporting today!

The SUPER popular Magic Kingdom restaurant has instituted a new Standby Policy for guests who show up for lunch without a FastPass+ reservation.

We’ve got all of the details right here!

Be Our Guest Restaurant Standby Lunch Policy

Guests at Magic Kingdom who would like to dine at Be Our Guest Restaurant in New Fantasyland may be able to skip the crazy long lines going forward — even if they don’t score a FastPass+ reservation.

Return Card for Be Our Guest Restaurant Lunch Dining

Return Card for Be Our Guest Restaurant Lunch Dining

And if you’re thinking this looks a whole lot like the old FastPass system for attractions that used cards, you are on the right track.

Basically, if you’d like to eat at Be Our Guest Restaurant for lunch, which continues to be a quick-service affair, head over to New Fantasyland to the entrance of the restaurant.

You’ll be greeted by a Cast Member, who will give you a card like the one above. The card will provide a window with a time for your party to return to Be Our Guest. Once the cards are all passed out for the day, signs are set out that no more guests can dine at lunch for the day.

And the super awesome news? It means that lines like THIS will hopefully be a thing of the past!

Line to get in to Be Our Guest Restaurant for Lunch

Line to get in to Be Our Guest Restaurant for Lunch

After all, who wants to spend half their day in Magic Kingdom waiting in a line for lunch??

We were on hand this morning to get all of the details. The Cast Member explained the process to us in terms of Continue reading →

Dining in Disneyland: Dinner at the Newly Renovated Club 33

After a 6 month full renovation, Club 33 has re-opened to members and their guests.  The expansion includes a new entrance, a modernized and much larger kitchen, and the gorgeous new Salon Nouveau.

Similar, but much more swanky, Salon Nouveau is sort of like Disneyland’s equivalent to 1901; a members only, no reservations needed lounge serving up food, drinks and jazz. We will be posting a full review about Salon Nouveau in the very near future, but for now, let’s take a look at the new Club 33!

Club 33 Entrance

Club 33 Entrance

We gave you an atmosphere look previously, but we’ll cover a few more pics of the interior for you today!

Atmosphere

The entrance is now located just steps to the right of the old Club 33 entrance in New Orleans Square. The pretty new doorbell includes an etching of the new logo surrounded by a gold toned art nouveau design. It’s located on the side wall to the left of the door.

The New Doorbell

The New Doorbell

When you are buzzed in, there is a small reception area (formally the ornament shop) where you can check in for your meal and do some shopping from one of the two merchandise cases at the club.  Notice the bust? She is a piece from the club that was located on the old stairwell.

Check In Area & Merchandise Case

Check In Area & Merchandise Case

Once you check in, you’ll take a seat in Continue reading →

Snack Series: The Macarons Collection from Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in Epcot’s France

We’re headed back for more macarons! Ready?

We’re on our way to that lovely spot where you can get house-made ice cream, mimosas at 9AM, frangipane, and more – Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in the France Pavilion of Disney World’s Epcot.

This spot underwent an enormous expansion a while back. And while there are things that we miss about the old bakery, on the whole it’s been a terrific success!

Not only do we have the amazing new L’Artisan des Glaces to tempt us, but the expanded bakery and pastry outlet means that you can enjoy a full meal.

Or you can continue to stop by for a treat between meals. :-)

Box -- Up Close

Box of Deliciousness

And that’s what we’re doing today as I finally get to sample a treat that’s part pastry and part art.

The Macarons Collection

On my recent visit to Walt Disney World, I knew I had to carve out some time to visit Les Halles for one reason: I had to try The Macarons Collection for myself.

They come packaged in this awesome little box — perfect for taking and enjoying one or two while strolling around World Showcase, and saving the rest for later. The packaging also makes for a great take home treat for you or a loved one — if you can stay out of them on the plane ride/car trip home. (Good luck with that.)

Box of Macarons from Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie

The Macarons Collection from Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie

Open the lid, and you see the assortment of beautiful colors that make up your gift box of goodies.

Under the Lid

Under the Lid

And I’m not kidding about these sweet little treats being as much fine art as culinary art. Just look at them!

Now, here’s where we need to talk. Because some of you out there may be tempted to dismiss macarons as frivolous, tasteless, silly little things.

All the Pretty Flavors!

All the Pretty Flavors!

That would be a mistake. Yes, several of them are beautifully dyed to suggest the flavors that hide inside. But they’re still delicious.

Let’s take a closer look at the Continue reading →

Spotted! Venomade at Disneyland’s Bengal Barbecue

Let’s say you’re stopping by Disneyland’s Bengal Barbecue to tame your craving for a Jungle Skewer, or maybe even a Tiger Tail.

Bengal BBQ Sign

Bengal BBQ Sign

You’ll need something to wash it down, right? Well, how about a little Venomade to take care of that for you?

I know what you’re thinking: “Whaaa …Huh?” Continue reading →

What’s New Around Disney World: August 12, 2014

It’s time to take another trip around the World, from Downtown Disney to EPCOT… and we’ll be visiting all sorts of Disney Resorts along the way! Strap in, folks, because there’s always something to find when you’re searching for What’s New at Disney World with the DFB!

DOWNTOWN DISNEY

Construction

The name of the game all over Downtown Disney these days continues to be, of course, construction for the transformation into Disney Springs. Here are a few recent shots of what will be The Boathouse restaurant, which seems to be coming along nicely.

The Boathouse construction

The Boathouse construction

The Boathouse construction

The Boathouse construction

The Smokehouse

On the West Side, The Smokehouse has introduced a new item: Smokehouse Nachos!

The Smokehouse

The Smokehouse

The Smokehouse Menu

The Smokehouse Menu

The Nachos can be customized with Continue reading →

News! Enjoy Disney Family of Wines and a New Menu at Alfresco Tasting Terrace in Disney California Adventure

Wine lovers have something new to try at Disneyland Resort!

Wine Country Trattoria at Disney California Adventure in Disneyland

Wine Country Trattoria at Disney California Adventure in Disneyland

We’ve long enjoyed the Alfresco Tasting Terrace at Disney California Adventure for a place to enjoy small plates and California wines. You’ll find the secluded spot on the second floor of the Park’s Wine Country Trattoria.

Alfresco Tasting Terrace Seating

Alfresco Tasting Terrace Seating

But now, we have even more reason to visit, as the rustic venue has introduced a revamped menu to complement their brand new line up of wines.

A Selection of Options from the Disney Family of Wines

A Selection of Options from the Disney Family of Wines

Alfresco has introduced the “Disney Family of Wines”, a collection of California wines all bearing some connection with the Disney brand. While some of the wines are featured at other Disney restaurants, Alfresco is the only spot where you can sample selections from all eight of the wineries featured in the collection. They include: Continue reading →