Guest Review: Planet Hollywood


Bill Iadonisi returns with a star-studded review of a Downtown Disney restaurant – Planet Hollywood. Take it away, Bill!

No one can mistake the iconic “Planet Hollywood” restaurant. With its girded blue starred globe and flying saucer overhang over the entrance, it’s like nothing else around.

This Hollywood themed restaurant was the brainchild of Robert Earl, a prominent figure in the food and beverage industries, specializing in themed based eateries. His financial backers at the start were stars Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, and Baron Montague.

At its peak there were over one hundred restaurants worldwide, now only 20 remain.

View from Upper Level

Hanging Props

Planet Hollywood is a themed restaurant in the style of Rainforest Café and T-Rex, other Downtown Disney watering holes. If you love anything about Hollywood, blockbuster movies and film stars, this is the place to dine.

It’s three floors of [Read more…]

Jim Korkis on Walt’s Favorite Foods

Bread Pudding from Main Street Bakery

Jim Korkis has a great article over on MousePlanet about Walt Disney’s favorite foods, including some great recipes.

The Disney’s family cook prepared a dessert every night. Walt’s other favorites included Apple Brown Betty, custards, bread pudding, baked apples, red Jell-O with fruit, lemon snow pudding, and lemon chiffon with a graham cracker crust. He liked Gingerbread and another type of cookie made with chow mein noodles and melted butterscotch.

This article should be on your must read list! Read it in its entirety here.

Review: Olivia’s Cafe at Disney’s Old Key West Resort

Olivia’s Cafe over at Old Key West in Walt Disney World is just about the most homey restaurant in Walt Disney World. Its only rival would be Trail’s End, and I see them both as a great place to meet up with old friends year after year.

These are the types of restaurants that inspire memories of heading off on summer vacation, reuniting with friends you haven’t seen in a while, and enjoying some good food together in an atmosphere that’s as familiar to you as your own kitchen. I guess that’s what Disney was going for with the Disney Vacation Club, and they’ve achieved it at Olivia’s.

Atmosphere

In fact, when I walked into Olivia’s, it almost felt as though the needle scratched off of the record in the jukebox and everyone turned to stare at the newcomer. Because I’m not a regular at Old Key West, it really did feel like I was a bit out of place at this restaurant that’s frequented by Disney Vacation Club members who are owners at Old Key West.

Olivia's Sign

Olivia's Open Sign

Of course, that was only my perception. After checking in, we were [Read more…]

Disney World Bread Pudding Poll

Bread pudding is a ubiquitous dessert in Disney World. You can find versions of it on nearly every buffet restaurant menu (Boma’s and Crystal Palace’s are well-loved!), a counter-service version exists at the Main Street Bakery, savory versions have been found at Le Cellier and Cinderella’s Royal Table, and you could claim that Rose and Crown’s Sticky Toffee Pudding fits the bill.

But there are some spectacularly sweet, official bread pudding options at three of Disney World’s popular table-service restaurants.

It’s these three that I’m going to stick with today, and usually I can give you my clear favorite; but when it comes to these, I think it’s time for a poll. After having eaten each one of these desserts over the past year, I can’t make up my mind as to which I like best — I honestly can’t wait to dig into each one of them again!

So I’m hoping you’ll join in and cast your vote for a favorite. Let us know in the comments why you made your choice, and if you have another bread pudding version that you would [Read more…]

What Disney Foods Do YOU Crave?

Well, I’ve been home from Walt Disney World for two weeks now, and I’m already craving some dishes and snacks I know I’m going to have on my next trip (um…Karamell Kuche, anyone?).

So, a while back, I asked over on the Disney Food Blog Facebook Page: What Disney Dish Are You Craving Today? I got some fantastic answers! Let’s take a trip down a delicious road of favorite dishes and menu items in Walt Disney World… (Note: You’ll see some sad news about the Jiko Filet with Mac and Cheese about halfway down the page. I’m just warning you.)

A Few of the Classics…

With all the changes in Disney World’s menus lately, it’s nice to know these favorites have been around for a good long time:

Fried Chicken at 50’s Prime Time Cafe
This classic, simple dish has been on the menu at 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios for ages, and we’re glad it’s not going away!

Fried Chicken at 50's Prime Time Cafe

‘Ohana
Folks wrote about loving the wings appetizer and the dessert — that fabulous Bananas Foster Bread Pudding — at [Read more…]

“The Best Thing I Ever Ate at Disney!”: Desserts

I am SO excited!! Dessert!!!

Here’s the final post in our series based on the Food Network’s (very cool) show, The Best Thing I Ever Ate. As many of you know, due to some keen suggestions from readers we’re splitting our series up into different sections: breakfast, appetizers & side dishes, snacks & drinks, entrees (lunch & dinner), and desserts.

Today, we’re finallly taking a look at desserts! I’ve done my favorite brand of informal polling (i.e. posted questions on twitter and facebook ;) ) to find out others’ experiences of the “Best Thing They Ever Ate” in Disney parks and resorts.

The following are the answers received from our readers about their favorite desserts! If your favorites aren’t here, please add them in the comments section below!

Yak and Yeti Cream Cheese and Pineapple Fried Won-tons: While I haven’t had the pleasure of trying these myself, you can bet Yak and Yeti is the first place I’m going when I arrive in September! (No kidding…it’s my first ADR…even before Liberty Tree Tavern lunch, and you guys KNOW how we feel about Liberty Tree Tavern lunch!)

Yak and Yeti Fried Cream Cheese Wontons.

Dole Whip: What better dessert [Read more…]

Taste of Africa Street Party Photo Tour

Sometimes the stars collide and really rockin’ things happen. This week, I was lamenting the fact that I won’t be able to get to Disney World to experience the Taste of Africa Street Party. But at the same time it’s been exciting to watch my friend, Brett Young, experience a Disney World trip that’s been a long time coming! Now what do you think happens next…

That’s right! Brett goes to the party — and takes a whole lot of food pictures!

But, first things first, here are the details on the party: It’s currently running from July 9 through July 24, 2010, and takes place nightly in Harambe Village in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The event is full of [Read more…]

Dinner at ‘Ohana

Today, my friends, we’re headed to Disney World’s Polynesian Resort to visit one of my favorite places — and yours — ‘Ohana. Those of you versed in Lilo and Stitch, or those of you who have been lucky enough to visit the beautiful islands of Hawai’i, know that “‘Ohana” means “Family,” and at this restaurant, they drive the point home.

Food is served family style, everyone in the restaurant — including you — are “cousins,” and the Hawaiian entertainment is aimed at bringing everyone together to participate in common activities. It’s a restaurant like none other in the Disney realm, and its high points are what keeps ‘Ohana a tough reservation to get.

Atmosphere
You’re greeted at ‘Ohana by “cousins” at the podium who take your name, give you a buzzer, and send you out into the Polynesian Resort to explore. Trust me, this is one of those rare restaurants where you hope you have 15-20 minutes to wait until you’re seated — there’s so much to do! Here are my favorite diversions while waiting for my buzzer to go off at ‘Ohana:

  • Have a Drink: Grab yourself a giant wicker chair in the Tambu Lounge just past the ‘Ohana podium. Knowledgeable bartenders and friendly servers will cater to your whims as you relax and wait for your table. (One of my favorites is the Lapu Lapu…a drink served IN a pineapple!)
  • Lapu Lapu

  • Listen to the Islands: ‘Ohana often provides a very talented [Read more…]

2009 Epcot Food and Wine Festival: Today’s Food Photos!

Epcot Food and Wine Festival welcome

This post is part of our series of posts on the 2009 Epcot Food and Wine Festival.  Be sure to check out more of the posts in the series.

Hi all! I’ll be putting up separate posts all about today’s Tequila Tasting Seminar, the Epcot Food and Wine Festival Center, the Taste of Puglia seminars, and the Festival Artwork artist — Tim Rogerson — with whom I had the chance to chat. For now, I wanted to share with you all of the delicious things I got the chance to try and see today. If your suggestion didn’t make it into this round of photos, don’t worry — I’ll get to it!

A radio station was broadcasting live from Epcot!

Radio Station Broadcasting Live

Radio Station Broadcasting Live

Around the World I go! Stopped in the San Juan booth for some Arroz con Pollo and Ham Croquettes.

San Juan Booth

San Juan Booth

Arroz con Pollo

Arroz con Pollo

Ham Croquettes from San Juan Booth

Ham Croquettes from San Juan Booth

Then it was next door to Santiago, Chile, for a taste of the Corn and Cheese Arepa and the Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Cookie). I also had a chance to snap a photo of the Rock Shrimp Ceviche. I love that they put popcorn in this thing — the CM said it was a Chile tradition.

The Corn and Cheese Arepa was nothing to write home about (basically, a cornmeal pancake — rather grainy on the inside — with a sprinkling of cheese), but the Alfajor was amazing. Served chilled, this little cookie was one of the superstars for me today.

Santiago Chile Menu

Santiago Chile Menu

Ceviche

Ceviche

Dulce de Leche Cookie

Dulce de Leche Cookie

Had to show you a pic of the delicious filling

Had to show you a pic of the delicious filling

Santiago, Chile, Corn and Cheese Arepe

Santiago, Chile, Corn and Cheese Arepe

Inside the Corn and Cheese Arepe

Inside the Corn and Cheese Arepe

Next came the first of two baklavas taste-tested today (thanks for the suggestion of the Baklava Throwdown!). I’m going to write the Baklava Throwdown as a separate post, but for now, here are photos of the Marrkesh Baklava and the Athens Baklava. Which do YOU think is better?

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Athens

Athens Baklava

Athens Baklava

Marrakesh Booth

Marrakesh Booth

Marrakesh Baklava

Marrakesh Baklava

I also snapped some shots of the New York State wines booth, as I’m such a giant fan of ice wine…

Wines of New York

Wines of New York

New York State wines menu

New York State wines menu

The ice wine is all the way to the right...

The ice wine is all the way to the right...

And I got the chance to chat with Tim Rogerson, the Festival Poster Artist. I’ll write a separate blog about his work, but I snapped a fun photo of Tim with his original masterpiece. (Note: I’ll grab the price on the poster tomorrow.)

Tim Rogerson with his original painting

Tim Rogerson with his original painting

Then it was over to New Orleans for a bit of some AMAZING Chicken and Andouille Gumbo and Praline Bread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel Sauce. I can’t tell you how many happy noises I made while chowing down on these two dishes. The Praline Bread Pudding tasted like a sugar-soaked monkey bread with the perfect crunch of sugar caramelization on the top. The Gumbo was spicy and flavorful — a meal in itself.

New Orleans Booth and Menu

New Orleans Booth and Menu

New Orleans Praline Bread Pudding

New Orleans Praline Bread Pudding

Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

I realized that Big Bad Voodoo Daddy was about to perform at the Eat to the Beat Concert, so I popped in to listen to the first song. I’d seen them in concert back in the 90’s, so it was fun to reminisce!

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Announcement

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Announcement

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Performing at Eat to the Beat

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Performing at Eat to the Beat

Continuing my tour, I headed to Melbourne, Australia, for a bite of Grilled Lamb Chop, Red Wine Sauce, and Murray River Sea Salt.

Melbourne, Australia Booth

Melbourne, Australia Booth

Grilled Lamb Chop, Red Wine Sauce, Murray River Sea Salt

Grilled Lamb Chop, Red Wine Sauce, Murray River Sea Salt

Finally, I headed over to the China booth to try a Green Tea Plum Wine Cooler. This drink was absolutely delicious. I highly recommend it to anyone. In fact, I liked it so much, I went back and got a photo of the Plum Wine bottle! Also got a shot of the rice pancake.

Shanghai, China Booth

Shanghai, China Booth

Green Tea Plum Wine Cooler, China

Green Tea Plum Wine Cooler, China

Plum Wine

Plum Wine

The Plum Wine pour and some rice pancakes in the China booth

The Plum Wine pour and some rice pancakes in the China booth

Whew!! I hope you’re still with me! I’ll be back tomorrow with more — and stay tuned for my Tequila Tasting Seminar post coming soon!

Recipe: ‘Ohana Bread Pudding

‘Ohana, at the Polynesian Resort, is a hawaiian-themed restaurant that serves skewered meats and side dishes family-style. Their menu has taken many twists and turns over the past several years, but at least one of the changes has been embraced by just about everyone who’s tried it.

Bananas Foster Bread Pudding at 'Ohana

The Bread Pudding with Bananas Foster Sauce, although one of the heavier Disney World desserts, has become almost universally beloved among Disney fans. And, as luck would have it, it comes along with your meal at no charge!

Now, my family and I love the dessert so much that one family member (who shall remain un-named) decided to try to make the dessert as part of a recent Christmas dinner. This likely occurred at my urging, but who can remember?

As it turned out, the “flambe” directive was a bit tricky, and we still had quite a bit of rum left in the sauce when it was served. Still delicious, but not exactly the same taste we were used to! From then on, we’ve taken a bit of the alcohol out of the dessert prep… just food for (hiccup!) thought… Recipe follows.

Ohana Bread Pudding with Bananas Foster Sauce

Ohana Bread Pudding with Bananas Foster Sauce

Recipe (This recipe was found on both AllEarsNet and WDWMagic, so I feel pretty confident with it. It’s also the one we used at my house, so take your chances!)

Ingredients
BREAD PUDDING
5 eggs
3 cups whole milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cup sugar
8 cups french or ‘Ohana breakfast bread

1. In bowl mix eggs, milk, salt, sugar, and nutmeg. Set aside.
2. Cut bread in medium (usually 2-inch) pieces and place on cookie sheet pan. Put in 350 degree oven.
3. Bake bread until lightly toasted: about 15 minutes. Remove bread and place in egg and milk mixture.
4. Place mixture in a greased 10-inch cake pan, and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.
5. Let stand 5 minutes; serve hot with ice cream.

BANANAS FOSTER SAUCE
4 oz sugar
4 oz brown sugar
4 oz corn syrup
4 oz unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup spiced rum
1 cup banana slices

1. Combine sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and half of heavy cream in a large pan. Bring to a boil and slowly add remaining heavy cream keeping mixture at a steady boil.

2. Add spiced rum and flambe.

3. Candy will brown slightly; cook 3 minutes until candy forms into a firm ball in cold water. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Add sliced bananas. Serve warm.

Many thanks to Brett Young for use of his photos on this blog!