Disney Recipe: Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli from the California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Today, I’m excited to share with you a recipe for one of my all-time favorite Disney dishes from the California Grill!

I enjoy going to this posh restaurant when I’m celebrating a special occasion, or just meeting friends for an extra special evening. And anytime I visit California Grill, you can bet that I’ll order the Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli! In fact, I ordered it during my most recent visit (it’s still there after the menu revamp!) and it never fails to impress.

The smooth, creamy, and slightly tangy filling of the house made ravioli is the perfect combination with the vibrant tomato broth. So it’s awesome to know that if I find myself with a craving for it between visits, I have a great recipe to fall back on!

Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli

Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli

And now, you can whip up a batch, too!

Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli

California Grill, Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Serves 4 to 8

Ingredients:

Clear Tomato Broth: [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Sushi!

We are back with another fun series of food photos, courtesy of Disney Food Blog Readers! That’s right, we love to show off the talents of folks who post their gorgeous photos on Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza, our Flickr group!

As you know, Sushi continues to be popular at Disney and everywhere else! Let’s take a look at some of the beautiful and fresh options for this Japanese delicacy that you’ve captured on film around Walt Disney World.

Spicy Kazan at California Grill

Fans of sushi who are also lovers of Disney dining know that one of the most awesome places to get sushi in Walt Disney World is California Grill. This uber popular fine dining spot, located high atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort, is known for fresh, seasonal ingredients, Pan-Asian influences, and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. And don’t forget to stay for the fireworks!

But when it comes to eats, this Spicy Kazan Roll looks pretty awesome. And if you’re a sushi-nonconformist like me, be sure to try the Pork Nigiri!

Photographer: Natasha Joyan

Spicy Kazan Roll from California Grill

Spicy Kazan Roll from California Grill

Tuna at Flying Fish Cafe

The Flying Fish Cafe remains one of my top choices for dining when I’m in Walt Disney World. I never pass up a chance to eat at this stellar restaurant. With food that’s always something special and a whimsical, carnival-like atmosphere, it always rates highly in my book.

One of the most popular appetizers that you can get here is the Yellowfin Tuna Tartare and Crispy Tempura Tuna-Vegetable Sushi Roll. We’ve tried it and it’s awesome!

Photographer: Stan4dSteph

Tuna at Flying Fish Cafe

Tuna at Flying Fish Cafe

Sushi at Wolfgang Puck Cafe

Another great spot for California cuisine is Wolfgang Puck Cafe and Dining Room at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney WestSide. And along with other house specialties like their [Read more…]

The Year in Review: Top 10 Disney Food News Items of 2013!

If you’re a Disney Food Fan, then 2013 has been an exciting year!

Disney food news stories of 2013

We’ve had lots of  change, new announcements, and brand new experiences.

So today, we thought we’d take a look back at this year, and review the Top 10 Disney Food News Items of 2013!

From new coffee to new restaurants, new technology to new ice cream, we have a ton to cover!

Let’s get started!

1. COFFEE!

When Starbucks and Disney announced in 2012 that the coffee giant would be coming to Disney Parks, the news was huge! And when the first Walt Disney World locations began opening in 2013, the story once again topped the list of Disney food headlines.

Starbucks at Main Street Bakery is Right in the Middle of the Magic

The first location to open was Main Street Bakery on Magic Kingdom’s Main Street USA. While some loyal fans of the historic spot decried the chain store intrusion, many coffee lovers were thrilled that they could now enjoy their favorite brew in the shadow of Cinderella’s Castle.

And with the Main Street cinnamon rolls available at Gaston’s Tavern (at least they claim they’re the same…you can see our cinnamon roll throw down here!), well — at least not all of our favorite goodies are lost.

A Busy Morning at Main Street Bakery

The reopening of Fountain View Cafe in Epcot as the second WDW Starbucks location seemed to ruffle fewer feathers, since the themeing for the futuristic ice cream parlor wasn’t as beloved as Main Street Bakery. Still, patrons were irked with the lack of seating, even if the many, many bays for ordering mean that your java arrives fresh and fast.

Have Your Starbucks in Epcot with a View of Spaceship Earth

But Starbucks wasn’t the only coffee news we debated in 2013. Disney also announced that Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea Company, headquartered in Tampa, would become the official specialty coffee provider for Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disney Vacation Club resorts.

Joffrey’s is Named the Official Coffee Brand of Disney Parks

We’ve been enjoying Joffrey’s products for ages at the kiosks throughout the parks, so this was welcome news to many. So far, we are hearing that you seem pleased with the switch from Nescafe to Joffrey’s.

2. RESTAURANT FASTPASS TESTING — AND MORE TECH UPDATES!

Waaaaayyyyy back in January of this year, we first wrote about how we thought My Magic+ would affect Disney Dining.

mymagic+

And before the year was out, we had the opportunity to see just how some of the new technology would work.

One of the most intriguing uses of MyMagic+ technology was the Touch to Pay System. We had an opportunity to put our Magic Bands to work with the new system, and Erin, our Disney Food For Families columnist, documented the process so our readers could be in the know!

Erin Paying with Her Magic Band at Artist Point!

Erin Paying with Her Magic Band at Artist Point!

And while we love the Magic Band concept, even cooler is all the Disney food bling that you can get to individualize your bracelet! I’m a sucker for the cupcake!

Magic Band Food Bling

Magic Band Food Bling

 

Another rumor that came to fruition was that [Read more…]

Review: California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

On a recent trip to Walt Disney World, I met a group of friends at the Contemporary Resort’s California Grill for what promised to be a memorable dinner.

It was my first trip to the hallowed culinary spot since the dramatic re-imagination of both the restaurant itself and the menu earlier this year. I’m a big fan of Chef de Cuisine Brian Piasecki, and I was anxious to see what he and his team had put together for the opening.

Having heard mostly good things about the new menu, and lots of raves about the decor refresh (see some breathtaking photos here!), I was really looking forward to this special night out. Would the restaurant deliver on expectations? Well, kind of…and kind of not. Let’s delve into the full story.

Atmosphere

If you’ve never been to California Grill, getting there is a bit of an odyssey. Although the restaurant sits high atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort, you’ll begin your journey on the hotel’s second floor, where the check-in desk is located.

Second Floor Check In Desk for California Grill

From there, you’ll be directed to an elevator where a cast member will escort you up to the restaurant. This way, the staff can practice a little crowd control, as the restaurant’s lobby and bar can get quite crowded at times.

You emerge from the elevator and are greeted by sleek design, accented by cool colors and rows and rows of wine fridges. Form follows function, as California Grill’s stellar selection of wines is well known.

Entrance and Wine Fridges

Time your visit just right, and another hallmark of the Grill’s atmosphere greets you —

Sunset

— A beautiful sunset through the picture windows directly ahead of you. I was lucky on this visit, as I got to see both the sunset AND the fireworks through those floor-to-ceiling windows!

Sunset

As I mentioned before, California Grill underwent an extensive renovation earlier in 2013. If you haven’t been to the restaurant since then, you will find that almost everything looks completely different from before.

We shared lots and lots of photos with you from the reno in that previous post, including pics of the private dining rooms. Be sure to pop over there if you’d like to see even more decor detail. For now, we’ll just give you a quick tour.

Step away from that glorious sunset, and you realize that you passed the beautiful bar area as you entered. It’s just to the left as you step off the elevators and head into the restaurant.

Directly in front of the bar, there’s also a limited lounge seating area. This means that you can, theoretically, score a table without an advance dining reservation, or meet here for appetizers and drinks on a whim. That said, the lounge is first come, first served, and you can imagine the scramble for seats during the fireworks. So look alive if that’s your plan!

Bar

Where the view is concerned, there are really no bad seats in all of California Grill! But the window seats on the Magic Kingdom side offer the best view if you’re going for fireworks. As part of the renovation, new windows were installed that block ultraviolet light, and electronically-controlled shades ensure that guests are never blinded by that bright Florida sunshine.

Views and Tables

A glance across the seating area gives you a good overview of the [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Mini Desserts!

We are back with another installment of Disney Food Pics of the Week. We love to showcase the ah-mazing food photos that our readers share on Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza, our Flickr group!

One trend that we lurve at Disney are all the mini-desserts and dessert trios that we see on menus. They’re so much fun, and they add some great variety to your plate. After all, who wants to be saddled with just one flavor for an entire dessert, right?

Let’s take a look at some of our favorites that readers have captured! Onward…

California Grill’s Sundae Sampler

One of the most beloved spots to dine in all of Walt Disney World, California Grill, recently reopened after a lengthy refurbishment. While the interior was given brand new life, there were also several updates to the menu.

One of the most fun new dishes to debut is this super cute Sundae Sampler! (Read more about our thoughts on it here.)

Photographer: Imsoscared

Sundae Sampler from California Grill

2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Dessert Trio

We’ve just wrapped up the fabulous 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! And while we’re sorry to see it go, it’s always fun to look back at the food pics and see what we liked the best. Because really — is it ever too early to start planning for next year??

One of our favorite stops was the [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: September 8, 2013

WOW. A-MAZING!! The newly renovated California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort should be on your list of must visit Disney restaurants this year! Make those Advance Dining Reservations early; California Grill is going to be even more popular than ever!

California Grill Table Settings!

It’s been an exciting week with the additional re-opening of Fountain View Cafe in Epcot! Now that the location has been unveiled as a Starbucks, coffee fiends can get their brew (along with some breakfast sandwiches and baked goods) in Epcot’s Future World.

We’ve been busy keeping you up-to-date on the Disney food news! Read on…

Disney Food News

We have news on UPDATED Disney restaurants!

  • We’ve got first photos of the BRAND NEW California Grill at Walt Disney World’s Contemporary Resort!
  • Take a first look at the Fountain View Cafe in Epcot’s Future World. This Walt Disney World counter service restaurant is now serving Starbucks coffee and baked goods.
  • Check out the new Chocolate Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich at Epcot’s ice cream shop —- L’Artisan des Glaces — in Epcot’s France Pavilion.

Of course, there’s more! Check out all the latest Disney Food News — even the stuff we don’t mention in posts on the blog! — on our Disney Food News Pin Board, including a Tropical Shave Ice Truck in Downtown Disney Anaheim, Magic Kingdom’s new Village Market Kiosk, and more.

DFB Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food — or other edible awesomeness — in or from Disney, share a photo with us on facebook or twitter so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds each Sunday!

DFB Reader Don — who’s always saying awesome stuff on twitter — tempts us with this delicious photo of the No Way Jose sundae at Beaches and Cream in the Yacht & Beach Club Resort. Oh, how I LURVE that sundae!!

No Way Jose!!

Ashley tweeted a new menu item to our attention — Tea Breeze. She found it at [Read more…]

First Look! The NEW California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Oh my goodness, you guys! We got a chance to check out the newly revamped California Grill last night and IT. IS. AMAZING!

The popular restaurant, which sits high atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort, is the one that started it all. It was Disney World’s first foray into sleek, signature dining.

But even the most contemporary California vibe can become outdated. And so it was time for a little freshening.

Last night, we got a first look at the brand new re-imagined California Grill.

We’ll have even more pics for you later today — and a longer review for you next week! But I couldn’t wait to share these initial pics of the transformation! Come with us and take a look!

New California Grill Atmosphere

The facelift is evident before you ever set foot on the fifteenth floor. The check in desk, located on the second floor, has also received an updated look.

Second Floor Check In Desk for California Grill

A new font and background replace the signature cursive. Colorful stripes in warm colors replace the painted tile background.

After a quick trip up in the elevator reserved for California Grill guests, we stepped out into the entrance. A right turn, and we were greeted by a gorgeous, post-storm sunset.

California Grill view

Sweeping vistas have always been a hallmark of California Grill, but they’ve been made even more stunning with the introduction of floor to ceiling windows, which allow for plenty of natural light and incredible, 360-degree views.

California Grill New Dining Room

California Grill New Dining Room

Previously, the space was dominated by bright, bold geometric patterns. In re-imagining the space, Imagineers decided to look to the Contemporary’s mid-century roots for inspiration.

Taking elements from the work of iconic Disney artist Mary Blair, the entire space was [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: August 25, 2013

We’re finally in the know about the California Grill opening date!

New sushi options at California Grill!

Get ready to make your Advance Dining Reservations beginning August 26 (tomorrow!) for the restaurant’s September 9th opening date (and beyond)! We can’t wait to see the results of the restaurant’s renovations as well as sample new menu items!

Also, if your resort’s food court is an important element to your Disney World vacation, please review the news on the temporary closing of the All-Star Sports End Zone food court.

Don’t miss this week’s news. Time to catch up on your reading…

Disney Food News

Interesting and delicious news this week!

Of course, there’s more! Check out all the latest Disney Food News — even the stuff we don’t mention in posts on the blog! — on our Disney Food News Pin Board, including The Great Irish Hooley at Raglan Road in Downtown Disney Orlando, Food of Life Event at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, and more.

DFB Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food — or other edible awesomeness — in or from Disney, share a photo with us on facebook or twitter so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds each Sunday!

In our Reader Finds showcase this week — two new dessert options from Cinderella’s Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom! Thanks to Reader Kaitlyn for sending in these gorgeous photos!

The first is a trio — a warm pecan cake with caramel sauce, a triple chocolate mousse, and a meyer lemon tart.

Dessert Trio at Cinderella's Royal Table!

And check out a new signature dessert: [Read more…]

News! California Grill Opens September 9th; Reservations Available Monday, August 26

Circle this upcoming Monday, August 26, Disney Food Fans! That’s the day when we will finally be able to begin booking advance dining reservations for the newly renovated California Grill!

The NEW California Grill!

The signature restaurant, which sits high atop Walt Disney World’s Contemporary Resort, has been closed since early 2013 as it underwent a complete makeover.

It’s scheduled to open on September 9th, and will feature a new menu — including some awesome desserts!

Sundae Sampler Dessert Trio at California Grill!

Look for the new menu to continue to feature seasonal ingredients, but with a somewhat lighter hand.

While fan favorites like the flatbreads will continue to be around, Chef Brian Piasecki also plans to utilize the wood-burning oven for new dishes. These include Baked Local Prawns with Charred Lemon, and Savory Meatballs with Herbed Orzo.

Read our review of these [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: July 21, 2013

Helllloooooooo, Disney food fans! I have got some AWESOME links to share with you in the round-up at the end of this post, but first…

Sundae Sampler Dessert Trio at California Grill!

Check out this adorable dessert that you’ll be able to get very soon at Disney’s California Grill restaurant in Disney World!

This and several other yummy new menu items will be waiting for you as soon as the restaurant re-opens after a long refurb…possibly in late August or early September!

In the meantime, here’s the rest of the Disney food news to drool over… ;-)

Disney Food News

Read on for more Disney Food information!

Of course, there’s more! Check out all the latest Disney Food News — even the stuff we don’t mention in posts on the blog! — on our Disney Food News Pin Board, including California Grill Re-Opening in August or September, and Lunch Specials at The Hollywood Brown Derby.

DFB Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food — or other edible awesomeness — in or from Disney, share a photo with us on facebook or twitter so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds each Sunday!

Take a look at this Ghirardelli chocolate milkshake sent in by Reader C.n.! Yum! Speaking of, C.n. mentioned that this should be part of our Disney World Milkshake Crawl! This has GOT to be worth the calories…

Chocolate Milk Shake!

Reader Chris sends us a toast with these delicious beverages from ‘Ohana! Cheers!

Cheers!

DFB Guide to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios Snacks — A Must Have for Disney Snack Lovers!

We’re still celebrating the grand launch of our BRAND NEW DFB Guide to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios Snacks e-Book!

You can get the new Guide for $3 off the regular purchase price for a limited time — just use code SNACKS13 at the check-out!

With over 250 pages of delicious snacks, the DFB Guide to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios Snacks is the third — and long-awaited — book in our DFB Guide Snacks Series!

As always, you will enjoy an instantly downloadable PDF guide with comprehensive information, full color photos, and advice on well over 200 delicious snacks that you can savor at the Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios parks in the Walt Disney World resort.

Know what you’re getting BEFORE using a precious snack credit or spending limited vacation dollars. Whether you want sweet, salty, crunchy, healthy, or something in between, The DFB Mini-Guide to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios Snacks e-Book tells you where to find a snack to match your craving!

Don’t forget, you can read the book right on your computer — or for easy access in the parks, put the guide on your smartphone or tablet!

Bundle For Even More Savings!

Headed to Disney World and want the whole scoop on snacks? Bundle four of our most popular Disney Dining Guides and SAVE!

Pick up our DFB Guide and Snacks Bundle for over 40% off! This includes our critically acclaimed DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining, DFB Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks, and DFB Guide to Epcot Snacks along with the brand new DFB Guide to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios Snacks. All editions have been updated for 2013!

Check out how you can have the best Disney vacation ever…and pay even less!

For more detailed information and sample pages [Read more…]