Disney Food For Families: Teachable Moments at Disney Restaurants

Learn from the Chefs at Victoria & Albert's Chef's Table

My 15-year-old daughter was recently invited by a classmate’s family to a super swanky dinner event at a super-duper swanky restaurant in New York City.

When she was telling me about it the next day there was a lot of “who wore what” and “what was on the menu” discussion. And then she said this to me, “Thanks for taking us to Victoria & Albert’s. I knew what to expect at the dinner last night because we had been to V&A’s.”

After I got over the shock of such an overt expression of gratitude and politesse from a teenager, I allowed myself a brief moment of parental pride. My plan to use Disney restaurants as a manners training ground had worked!

Using Disney Restaurants as Manners Boot Camp

I understand that using Victoria & Albert’s as etiquette boot camp is a bit over-the-top, but the concept could be applied to any signature restaurant at Walt Disney World. Before I get going, let me say that while of course you can (and should) teach manners at restaurants in your home town and at your own dinner table, the Disney signature restaurants are an ideal learning environment for adult behavior.

The Disney signature restaurants have all the elements of posh and polite, PLUS all the elements of easy-going and family-friendly. The restaurants put you in a position to succeed, with no fear or threat of derision or embarrassment if you don’t. The Disney signature venues are the perfect stepping stone on the path to civilized behavior.

Here are some things your children can learn and practice at a signature venue: [Read more…]

Risotto Around the World

Ah…time to talk about one of my very favorite side dishes EVER!!! Risotto is often overlooked, but the creamy savory goodness that is risotto could easily take center stage in a dish (and does in some of these highlighted below)! Disney chefs have mastered the art of making this slow-cooked yumminess — rice patiently mixed with flavorful broth — and whether it’s mixed with meat, fish, or vegetables, risotto doubles as as a sophisticated recipe and mouth-watering, comfort food.

I was looking through our Disney Food Blog Flickr group and saw so many gorgeous photos of risotto that I simply had to do a post about this dark horse side dish. (Of course, I’ve added a few of my own photos as well…;-D.)

Let’s take a tour around the world…

Butternut Squash Risotto from Artist Point

This butternut squash risotto topped with pork belly is easily in my “top 5″ risottos in Disney World. Offered at Artist Point in the Wilderness Lodge, the hint of sweet from the squash and tartness courtesy of the cranberry drizzle create amazing (and memorable!) flavors. Sigh. I miss it.

butternut squash risotto

Dungeness Crab Risotto with Blood Orange Sauce and Pea Shoots; from Artist Point

This ample portion of risotto is mixed handsomely with crab creating a decadent appetizer. (Looks amazing!!!) Dishes at Artist Point tend to change seasonally, yet Dungeness crab seems to be used in many dishes — like these crab cakes we highlighted earlier this week!
(Photographer: Roger Weeks)

Dungeness Crab Risotto

Mushroom “Risotto” (in reality this is white corn, but I love that they made a “risotto” out of it), served along side Seared Bison with, Turnips, Chestnuts, and Pinot Noir Juniper Emulsion; from California Grill

This striking presentation from the California Grill has a slight [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: February 19, 2012

New Temporary Italy Kiosk in Epcot

Viva Italia! The temporary Italy kiosk in Epcot is now serving up some tasty eats including ravioli — along with glasses of wine!

Disney Food News

We’re serving up the latest foodie news this week!


For more delicious food news, stop by our Disney Food News Pin Board, where Disney Food News is updated on a regular basis!

On to the Round-Up

Carmi’s Art Life World Check out the Mickey Retro Kitchen Series — it’s miniature Japanese collectibles!

Walt Disney World for Grown-Ups visits the lounge at the California Grill. Cheers!

MousePlanet stops by Germany’s Biergarten in Epcot!

Burger Invasion (c)Yesterland

StudiosCentral.com analyzes how to get the best values with your Disney Dining Plan credits at counter-service restaurants in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Yesterland takes a look back at the Burger Invasion in Disney California Adventure.

Kevin Kidney reminisces about a long-lost mural from the Plaza Pavilion and welcomes the new Jolly Holiday Bakery to Disneyland.

Main Street Gazette pays tribute to the Cobb Salad at The Hollywood Brown Derby.

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Flatbreads

One of our favorite pastimes is looking at your photos submitted to the Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza! While they make us really hungry…please send more! ;-)

The Disney Food Pics of the Week this week feature flatbreads! Flatbreads (also possibly known as fancy pizzas) can be found at many of Disney’s table-service and quick-service restaurants.

First up, a tempting Mushroom & Arugula Flatbread from Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Looks gorgeous!
Photographer: Kelly Tressler

Mushroom and Arugula Flatbread

And the flatbreads from Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Jiko are always delicious! Check out this [Read more…]

2011 DFB Choice Award Winners!

It’s time to announce the winners of the second annual DFB Choice Awards!!

The awards are 100% based on Disney Food Blog reader choices. Nominations and final winners are selected by DFB readers who participate in the process. Everyone is welcome to participate! If your favorites didn’t win this year, be sure to nominate and vote for them next year! :-)

Thanks to those of you who took the time to nominate your favorites, and to vote for the winners!

Without further ado, here are this year’s DFB Choice Award winners!

[Read more…]

Walt Disney World New Year’s Eve Dining and Special Events

Ringing in New Year 2012 from Walt Disney World? It’s going to be a memorable night! Call 407-WDW-DINE for holiday dining information and reservations! Here are some of your options for dining on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day:

Disney Resorts and Event Spaces

Boardwalk
Atlantic Dance Hall
Dance into the New Year at Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney’s BoardWalk
8 p.m. to 2 a.m., ages 21 and up.

Video DJ Tony Zapulla will play hits on the main dance floor. Beverages will be for sale from three different bars. There will be limited viewing of Epcot’s fireworks.

$37 (gratuity not included) for access to the main floor of the Dance Hall.
$80 for a VIP ticket that allows guests entrance to a private 2nd floor area with guaranteed seating and access to a private upstairs balcony for “limited” viewing of the fireworks. In addition, you’ll be able to indulge at a Dessert Station and private VIP bar. Cocktail service will also be offered.

Dress Attire: Business Casual or Formal

Parking:
Parking passes for the self parking lot will be given with advance purchases. Parking not guaranteed to be available for same day purchase.
Contemporary Resort
Chef Mickey’s (New Year’s Day brunch)
California Grill will host an evening of elegance!
$550 per person.

View of Castle from our California Grill Table

Entertainment will include casino-style games, live music and Disney characters. Enjooy food stations and beverages while watching [Read more…]

Review: California Grill

When planning meals for our October trip to Walt Disney World, I realized it had been a LONG time since we’d visited California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort! And I haven’t reported on it here on the blog for over a year, so I figured it was time to get a little updating in!

Let’s head over to the check-in desk, shall we…?

Atmosphere

To access California Grill, guests need to head to the 2nd floor of the Contemporary Resort and visit the restaurant’s check-in desk (you can get here by elevator, or by taking the stairs/from the back of the lobby).

Once you’re checked in, you’ll be waved over to a special elevator — one used only for California Grill guests — and taken up to the restaurant itself on the 15th floor of the hotel!

Entry from Elevators

I’m always immediately impressed by the nearly 360-degree view of Walt Disney World. The gorgeous, sprawling Grand Floridian Resort in front of you; the spires of Cinderella Castle, Big Thunder mountain, and Space Mountain to your right; and the Wilderness Lodge and Epcot to your left will make it difficult for most folks to tear themselves away from the walls of windows to take a look at the menu!

When you walk in, you’ll be greeted at the podium and (likely) handed a pager. No worries; there’s lots to do while you’re waiting. Start walking toward the windows and you’ll pass the California Grill Bar and head into the lounge area.

California Grill Bar

California Grill Bar

California Grill Lounge

Here’s a tip! If you don’t have a [Read more…]

Review: Catching Up With Disney Chefs in Chicago

I absolutely love when we get to publish posts like this. Disney chefs are often incredible stars in the culinary world, and it’s always fun to see where they’ve been and where they’re going! You don’t always expect the chefs behind a theme park kitchen to be trend-setters, but Disney hires only the best… . Welcome Werner Weiss from Yesterland with an interesting review of a recent cooking event in Chicago highlighting two folks with connections to Disney!

I had the pleasure of attending all five of the F.I.T. City Cooking Demos at the “Good Health is Always in Fashion!” event on August 26, 2011, at Macy’s on State in Chicago.

Macy's on State retains numerous references to when it was the flagship store Marshall Field's

The five featured Chefs — Ryan Hutmacher of the Centered Chef; Tom Douglas, who has ten restaurants in Seattle; Meg Colleran Sahs of Terzo Piano at the The Art Institute of Chicago; Randy Zweiban of Province in Chicago; and John State of Seasons 52 in Schaumburg, Illinois — all did a great job. The demos were all interesting and entertaining — and smelled good. Macy’s employees served samples of each Chef’s dish to the audience. The demos and samples were free.

You may wonder why this event should be of interest to readers of the Disney Food Blog. It’s because two of the participants have strong ties to Walt Disney [Read more…]

Disney-Linked Presenters Host Chicago Cooking Demos

Chicago natives will want to join in a day of fun for the family at the “Good Health is Always in Fashion,” event on August 26, 2011, which will highlight good nutrition through cooking demos and seminars!

Culinary demos will be hosted by Pam Smith, the longtime host of the demonstrations at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival.

Pam Smith Presents at Epcot Food and Wine Festival Culinary Demo

Cooking Demos

Pam Smith, the nationally recognized nutritionist (author of The Energy Edge) and culinary consultant, is scheduled to host the complimentary cooking demonstrations, including Fresh, Innovative, and Tasty (FIT) demos from local and celebrity chefs!

11:00 am Chef Ryan Hutmacher
12:00 pm Chef Tom Douglas
1:00 pm Chef Meg Colleran Sahs
2:00 pm Chef Randy Zweiban
3:30 pm Chef John State

Disney Food fans will recognize one of the presenters — Chef John State! Currently the head chef at Seasons 52 in Schaumburg, Illinois, Chef State oversaw the opening of [Read more…]

Chefs and Beverage Presenters at the 2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The list of Visiting Chefs and Presenters has been announced for the 2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! Are your faves on the list?

Visiting Chefs and Speakers include Cat Cora, the Food Network’s Iron Chef known for her Greek and American cooking. WDW guests love Kouzzina! You’ve seen Robert Irvine on several Food Network shows including 2011’s Restaurant: Impossible. Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmern may shock picky palates with his Bizarre Foods but he’s also a huge fan of Walt Disney World! And Keegan Gerhard, host of multiple Food Network Challenges, will surely present something mouth-watering!

Visiting Chefs - click image for larger version

And the renowned Walt Disney World Chefs (insert huge applause!) include Chef Brian Piasecki, Chef de Cuisine at the California Grill! Chef TJ Sudiswa has wowed many guests dining on a Special Diet. Once at ‘Ohana, he’s now [Read more…]