Guest Review and DFB Challenge: Eat Around the World at Disney’s Epcot

Ready to dine around Epcot? Yep, me too! Join me in welcoming guest author Anita Theiss with her review of some great Epcot eats!

World Showcase Snacks

My husband and I recently spent a day at Epcot celebrating our anniversary. While there, we decided to taste a little something from each of the nations represented in the World Showcase. An “Eat Around the World” challenge, so to speak. It was a lot of fun, and we really enjoyed discussing which foods we liked best and which we liked the least. We followed a few simple rules for our self-assigned challenge.

Eat Around the World Rules

Rule One, choose one country-specific food item (no generic cookies or fries) to order from each nation and share it. (We had a slight breech of etiquette on this rule when we got to France, but more on that later.) Sharing meant that we could discuss what we thought of the item, and it kept us from eating too much.

Rule Two, go to counter service restaurants, kiosks, or food stands only. It just didn’t seem right to take up a reservation spot for just one item.

Rule Three, rate each food item on a scale of one to ten, with one being not quite so palate pleasing, and ten being the best thing to ever grace your taste buds.

Nachos in Mexico

Our digestive expedition started in Mexico at La Cantina de San Angel with an order of nachos. The nachos come with ground beef, beans, cheese, tomatoes, jalapeños, and sour cream. We ordered them with the tomatoes and jalapeños on the side -— my husband loves them, but I am not a fan.

Nachos

Nachos

I enjoyed the nachos, but we both found them to be a little heavy on the cheese (if food can be too heavy with ‘plastic cheese’) and not heavy enough on the meat and beans. They had just the right amount of spice, and the chips were crisp. The portion was perfect for a meal, but these nachos are a great shareable snack as well. My husband gave them a 4, and I gave them a 6.

Troll Horn in Norway

We moved on to Norway and stopped at the Kringla Bakeri Og Kafé. There were several items on the counter that looked good, and I could not decide between the Troll Horn and the Viking Mousse. I asked the cast member behind the counter which of the two she recommended, and she suggested the Troll Horn, which is filled which cloudberry cream.

Troll Horn

Troll Horn

The cloudberry cream was smooth and sweet, but not too sweet, and the pastry was tender but a little bland. The sugar crystals sprinkled on top added a nice sweetness and crunch, but overall the Troll Horn was just meh (how do you like that technical culinary term?). We both gave it a 4 on our grading scale — not horrible, but we won’t be rushing back to Norway to get one during our next trip.

Egg Roll in China

After a ride on Maelstrom (RIP), we headed to China. We stopped at Joy of Tea to place an egg roll order. An order of egg rolls actually includes two nice-sized pork and veggie egg rolls, which was a pleasant surprise considering how very delicious they were. (My husband had already snagged his and started munching when I took the picture which is why there is only one pictured.)

Egg Roll

Egg Roll

The egg roll wrapper was both tender and crunchy, and the filling was flavorful with seasoned pork and crisp veggies. There were packets of soy sauce (and other condiments) which just added another layer of fabulous flavor. We both gave the egg rolls an 8.5; we would definitely get them again and feel that they would be an excellent use of a snack credit if you are on the Disney Dining Plan since they are easily shared.

Bratwurst in Germany

We moved on from China to Germany for a stop at Sommerfest. To be honest, I had my heart set on wrapping my lips around a Nudel Gratin for days, but I was starting to get full and knew that such a dish would be both rich and heavy. So, I passed on the Nudel Gratin (which I now regret — I really should have persevered) while my husband ordered a bratwurst. He loves a brat, and this one did not disappoint.

Bratwurst

Bratwurst

Bratwurst Cross Section with Mustard

Bratwurst Cross Section with Mustard

The bratwurst comes on a very large crusty bun topped with loads of sauerkraut. He said the sauerkraut was alright and the bratwurst itself was delicious, but he felt that there was just too much bread. The bun was quite large and had a pretty tough and crusty consistency. He still enjoyed it and gave it a score of 6.

Gelato in Italy

After a quick shopping break in Germany, we headed to Italy, which had me a little worried because there is no counter service restaurant. But as we were walking into Italy, I spotted Gelati — a nice little gelato stand, so I stopped for a cup of chocolate gelato.

Gelato

Gelato

It was smooth, thick, creamy, quite tasty, and reminded me of a cold version of hot chocolate. It would definitely hit the spot on a hot summer day in Florida. My husband had a taste or two of it, but he is not much of a chocolate fan and didn’t like it as much as regular ice cream. I, on the other hand, much prefer the thicker consistency of gelato to its thinner American counterpart and gave it a 7.

Sweet Cream Cheese Pretzel in American Adventure

After Italy, it was time for a return to our homeland of America. Now during our last trip to Disney a few months ago, I fell in love with the [Read more…]

Guest Review: Tony’s Town Square Restaurant in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Tony’s Town Square Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom tends to get mixed reviews. Today, guest author Rebecca Elliott shares her family’s first-time experience at this Disney World restaurant.

Like most families, my husband, daughter, and I have favorite restaurants in Disney World that we like to visit again and again. On our most recent trip, we decided to break out of the box and dine only in restaurants we haven’t tried before.

Tony’s Town Square Restaurant hasn’t been on our list mostly because I grew up in New Jersey and regularly prepare Italian-American dishes at home. Also, reviews for this spot have been mixed at best, so we weren’t sure we wanted to risk our meal plan credits. But, we were committed to our plan and chose to give Tony’s a shot. Besides, who can say no to a Lady & the Tramp theme?

Tony’s Tony Square Restaurant

Tony’s Tony Square Restaurant

Atmosphere

The restaurant space on Main Street that houses Tony’s has been around since the park opened in 1971. Unlike the incredible theming of Disney restaurants today, previous dining venues in this space were sponsored by Oscar Meyer and Hormel. In 1989, Disney completely remodeled the restaurant and incorporated a Lady & the Tramp motif. Since the movie takes place in a Victorian-era American city, Main Street is the perfect backdrop.

The restaurant in the movie is famously Italian, and the atmosphere of Tony’s reflects this. From the black and white tiled floors to the dark wood banquettes, Disney does its best to deliver on this point.

Tony’s Main Dining Room

Tony’s Main Dining Room

The Restaurant is Regularly Busy

The Restaurant is Regularly Busy

The walls are decked with the artwork of Ducky Williams, a senior character artist at Walt Disney World. They are all original paintings.

Images of Lady & the Tramp Are on Display Throughout the Restaurant

Images of Lady & the Tramp Are on Display Throughout the Restaurant

There was a nice effect by our table – a painting of Lady & the Tramp appears behind a faux window, giving you the impression they are outside, about to kiss.

Lady and the Tramp About to Kiss Outside the Window

Lady and the Tramp About to Kiss Outside the Window

The centerpiece of the main dining room is a sweet fountain featuring Lady & the Tramp. It’s lovely to see older Disney movies and characters celebrated in this way.

This Darling Fountain Sits in the Center of the Dining Room

This Darling Fountain Sits in the Center of the Dining Room

There is a beautiful sunroom off the main dining room with lots of natural light that offers fantastic views of Main Street. I can see how this would be a terrific viewing spot for parades. Be sure to request this area if you plan on eating a meal during parade times.

The Sunroom Has a Nice View of Town Square

The Sunroom Has a Nice View of Town Square

As with all Disney restaurants, when you enter, you must first check in at the host stand. It is easy to see and well staffed. There is a small waiting area that loops the movie Lady & the Tramp on a TV to keep anxious children occupied if you have to wait. There was also a cast member with a Tony puppet entertaining would-be diners. We arrived a little early for our Advanced Dining Reservation, and they happily sat us.

The Check In Desk

The Check In Desk

A Cast Member Entertains Eager Diners

A Cast Member Entertains Eager Diners

We were led to a table that had two seats on a banquette and two chairs. When my husband sat on the banquette, we were disappointed to find that it was too low to comfortably enjoy his meal. The server quickly brought him a chair, and the problem was resolved.

Eats

The menu features loads of Italian-American favorites. We each chose to try something different. Since my life’s mission is to find the perfect meatball, I went with the meatball sliders. I was expecting smallish bland sandwiches with a little sauce. Boy was I wrong!

Meatball Sliders Topped with Provolone & Arugula

Meatball Sliders Topped with Provolone & Arugula

Instead, I got three medium-to-large sandwiches and a heaping portion of potato chips. The meatballs were a balanced combination of meat (beef and sausage), breadcrumbs, cheese, and herbs with no single component overwhelming the others. They were topped with house-made marina, provolone cheese (melted just enough to make it soft but not gooey), and a little arugula (for a spicy kick). All this on focaccia rolls that didn’t get mushy or fall apart, even with loads of sauce on them.

My daughter ordered the spaghetti and meatballs – an Italian-American classic. A very large portion of pasta arrived, with the same marina and meatballs as my dish, only with smaller meatballs. I’ve read in many sources that people wished the dish came with [Read more…]

Review: Gelato Bar at Art of Animation’s Landscape of Flavors

My adoration of Gelato is well documented. I’ve sought it out recently at Cafe Rix at Coronado Springs Resort, and I love stopping by Epcot’s Italy for one of their spectacular gelato treats, like the Coppa Delizia or the Handmade Gelato Cookie Sandwich.

So of course, during my recent stay at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, I had to check out their Gelato Bar!

The dense, frozen treat — an upscale, Italian cousin to American ice cream — is only one of the yummy desserts featured at this particular Landscape of Flavors station. But we’ve already told you about the Mickey Oreo Cupcake and the Mickey Ganache. :-)

Gelato Menu Board -- Click to Enlarge

On any given day, the flavors might vary somewhat; but I have a feeling you’ll find something you want to dig into!

Gelato Flavors

But what I (*cough* picky eater *cough*) really enjoy about the gelato here is [Read more…]