Review: Dinner at the Flying Fish Cafe on Disney’s BoardWalk

Welcome back to the Flying Fish Cafe!

While all the dining talk on Disney’s BoardWalk has centered around the opening of the brand new Trattoria al Forno as of late, I wanted to bring you back to the Flying Fish, which is not only my favorite restaurant on BoardWalk, but also one of my very favorites in all of Disney World. Period.

During the interim between the closing of Kouzzina and the opening of Trattoria al Forno, the Flying Fish served a stint as a breakfast location, previewing some of the dishes that are now on the breakfast menu at Trattoria al Forno.

But this signature restaurant is now back to its regular dinner-only schedule, and if you haven’t enjoyed dinner at Flying Fish before, I’ve gotta say it: it’s practically a must-do.

Flying Fish

Flying Fish

Come see what I mean…

Atmosphere

The decor of the Flying Fish pays tribute to two things: first, the atmosphere honors its place on Disney’s BoardWalk through some insanely fun murals depicting things like turn-of-the-century roller coasters, those old school parachute swing rides, and other carnival-style attractions.

Boardwalk murals

Boardwalk murals

Boardwalk murals

Boardwalk murals

The theme is continued as you move further into the restaurant with a gorgeous backlit ferris wheel, and the most enviable seating space of all right underneath the circus tent.

Backlit Ferris Wheel

Backlit Ferris Wheel

Circus Tent seating

Circus Tent seating

The second design element plays on the star of the culinary scene here: seafood. And nowhere is that theme more evident than in the parachuting fish “flying” above as you dine!

Flying Fish!

Flying Fish!

Notice the bait hooks mixed in with some of the underwater themed lighting fixtures.

Lighting fixtures

Lighting fixtures

With everything going on, you may not notice the open kitchen (unless you’re seated at the Chef’s Counter directly in front of the show), but try to take a moment to observe, since what happens in this kitchen is some of the best of Disney culinary feats in action.

Bar seating in front of the kitchen

Chef’s Counter in front of the kitchen

Of course, if you’re just looking for a quick dinner, the bar area is very comfortable, too.

Bar seating in front of the kitchen

Bar area

I have no idea if “upscale-whimsy” is an interior design term, but if it is, that pretty much sums up the Flying Fish. It manages to be both sophisticated and super fun at the same time.

Eats

The name of this restaurant gives guests an idea that there is a focus on seafood at the Flying Fish, but don’t let that scare you or anyone in your party off who isn’t a seafood fan. Remember, I said this was one of my favorite restaurants, and seafood isn’t exactly my ultimate choice in cuisine. There’s plenty of meat and pasta to go around, too.

But I’m getting ahead of myself… let’s start with the complimentary bread served with butter, which was hard to hold back on thanks to the unique touches of herbs and cheese tucked inside the nooks of the rustic bread.

Bread

Bread

My friends and I enjoyed some the bread while scoping out the [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland: Seasonal Treats at Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe

The Disney Holiday season is in full effect at the Disneyland Resort!  I love that the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe is always introducing us to new seasonal items.

In fact, because I never know what I’ll find, I’ve make it a point to check in on nearly every visit to Disneyland!

Jolly Holiday Bakery

Jolly Holiday Bakery

On my last trip there were a handful of new items that are special for the Disney holiday season.  Also in the bakery cases were some returning favorites. 

Eats

The popular Santa Mickey Candy Cane Cupcake is back.

The cupcake is chocolate, topped with a mound of red & green “sure to stain your teeth” frosting, and finished off with a candy cane.

Mickey Holiday Cupcake

Mickey Holiday Cupcake

I’ve actually never tried one of these because 1) I’m not a huge chocolate fan and 2) it looks way too messy for me to deal with in public!

Close Up

Holiday Cupcake Close Up

There are also Snowman shaped [Read more…]

Guest Review: The Steakhouse in the Disney Village at Disneyland Paris

Join me in welcoming guest author Lottie Linter with a review of The Steakhouse in the Disney Village at Disneyland Paris!

Unlike Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney, the Disney Village at Disneyland Paris is where you’ll find most of the table service options at the resort. This is because the parks in Paris close very early (around 6 or 7PM) out of peak season, and not everybody wants to sit down to eat at 5:30PM, especially in Europe! We prefer to eat later, so we booked a table at The Steakhouse for 8PM on a Monday evening.

Atmosphere

From the outside, the restaurant looks a little non-descript, and with the enticing Planet Hollywood, Rainforest Café, and Annette’s Diner drawing in people nearby, it’s easy to overlook this place if you only walk through the main thoroughfare of the village. In fact having visited Disneyland Paris seven times previously, I didn’t even notice this restaurant until I was a Cast Member there a few years ago!

The entrance takes up just a small strip of the Disney Village facades, but once you are inside and down a short corridor lined with dark wooden paneling and a wine fridge, the restaurant opens out into an absolutely huge warehouse complete with a large conservatory area.

The entrance to the restaurant

Exterior of The Steakhouse

The entrance corridor, taken from the bar

The entrance corridor, taken from the bar

After checking in, you can wait at the old-fashioned bar and have a pre-dinner drink, but as we were visiting out of season the restaurant wasn’t full and we were shown straight to our table.

The spacious bar area

The spacious bar area

The dining room is very impressive, and is themed around the Chicago meat markets during the prohibition era. There are black and white photographs all over the walls of who I can only assume were supposed to be wealthy meat-traders, or market owners – it’s not immediately clear, but I do think they add something quirky to the décor.

Some of the black and white pictures on the walls

Some of the black and white pictures on the walls

One of the big walls is vintage-style painted brickwork, but it has been made to look like they pulled down the plaster from a more modern steak restaurant to discover the old meat warehouse underneath. The conservatory area has black and white tiled floors and looks towards Lake Disney, McDonald’s, and the building that houses the Rainforest Café.

The huge exposed wall along one side of the restaurant

The huge exposed wall along one side of the restaurant

This slightly raised part of the restaurant with booths only opens at busier times

This slightly raised part of the restaurant with booths only opens at busier times

The conservatory area

The conservatory area

We were pleased to be seated in the main warehouse area, and although our particular two-top was quite close to the one next to us, in general the rest of the tables seemed to be quite nicely spaced.

At busier times they also have live jazz playing in this restaurant, which I imagine would really take the atmosphere up a notch, but tonight we just had the sounds of the hustle and bustle in the dining room. If there was any music, we couldn’t hear it!

Cool light fixtures in the main dining room

Cool light fixtures in the main dining room

Eats

In France, they tend to eat from prix-fixe menus – these are often made up of a select number of options from the à la carte menu but priced at a discount. The Steakhouse is no different, and offered up [Read more…]

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival: NEW Menu Item Spotlight

The 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is RIGHT around the corner! With the countdown at just about a week now, we know that you’re just as excited as we are.

food and wine festival logo

Today we wanted to spotlight the NEW items that are coming to the menus at the World Showcase Marketplace booths this year. And with more than 30 new dishes and sips to sample this year, there’s plenty to experience!

We have a TON of stuff to cover, so to keep it all straight we’re gonna go alphabetically! Ready? Here we go! (And don’t forget, you can check out ALL of the menus from the World Showcase Booths — and many food photos — at our World Showcase Booth Page.)

Africa Marketplace

We had the chance to try a sample of the brand new South African Bobotie with Turkey and Mushrooms from the Africa Marketplace and loved it! The egg dish packed a spicy punch when we tried it at a preview.

South Africa Bobotie with  Turkey and Mushrooms

South Africa Bobotie with Turkey and Mushrooms

Lovers of South African wines will also appreciate the addition of the Fairview Pinotage to the menu.

America Adventure Coffee Cart

If you love the flavors of Fall, get ready to try the Apple Maple Spice Latte at the America Adventure Coffee Cart in the America Pavilion. It’s available hot or cold!

Joffrey's kiosk to the left of American Adventure

Stop by the America Adventure Coffee Cart for an Apple Maple Spice Latte

Australia Marketplace

Always a fan favorite, the Australia Booth will feature a new lineup of beverages this year, including Cooper’s Brewery Original Pale Ale, Chateau Tanuda Grand Barossa Dry Riesling, St. Kilda Chardonnay, and Nine Stones Shiraz. The menu looks to complement classic Food and Wine Festival dishes like the Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Garlic Shrimp with Roasted Tomatoes, Lemon Myrtle and Rapini.

Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies -- Australia Booth

New Beverage Selections Complement Classic Dishes, Like Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies

Belgium Marketplace

At the Belgium Marketplace, we’re seeing another hot trend — hard cider. We think that the Stella Artois Cidre will be a big hit with festival goers who are looking for a refreshing alternative to beer.

Stella Artois Cidre

Stella Artois Cidre

Block & Hans Kiosk

The Block & Hans Kiosk features a regular assortment of craft beer, but for the festival, they’ll add wines to the mix as well. Enjoy a bevy of American wines, which will include all of the following!

  • Robert Mondavi, Fume Blanc
  • The Great American Wine Company, Chardonnay
  • The Great American Wine Company, Red Blend
  • Robert Mondavi, Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Domaine Chandon Brut Sparkling Blanc de Noir
  • Still River Winery Apple Ice Wine
Chandon Blanc de Noir at Block & Hans

Chandon Blanc de Noir at Block & Hans

Great American Wine Company by Rosenblum -- Chardonnay -- at Block & Hans

Great American Wine Company by Rosenblum — Chardonnay — at Block & Hans

Brazil Marketplace

While Brazil brings back a favorite menu item from 2013, the Pork Belly, there are several new items to savor as well.

Moqueca de Pescado: Regal Springs Premium Tilapia with Coconut Lime Sauce and Steamed Rice

Moqueca de Pescado: Regal Springs Premium Tilapia with Coconut Lime Sauce and Steamed Rice

  • Moqueca de pescado: Regal Springs Premium Tilapia with Coconut Lime Sauce and Steamed Rice
  • Pao de Queijo: Brazilian Cheese Bread
  • Cocada: Brazilian Coconut Candy
  • Tannat Reserve

We enjoyed the [Read more…]

Guest Review: Dinner at The Wave… of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Join us in welcoming back Guest Author Paul Kuconis! His latest review features dinner at The Wave… of American Flavors located at the Contemporary Resort in Walt Disney World.

When I think of Contemporary Resort-based restaurants, California Grill and Chef Mickey’s immediately come to mind. It’s hard to miss the glass dome sitting atop the Resort — ‘Oooh, there’s California Grill!’; and Chef Mickey is always in sight from the monorail.

But there is a hidden gem neatly tucked away — The Wave…of American Flavors — and entering through the front door makes it easy to miss. We always arrive by boat from Disney’s Wilderness Lodge so we walk by it often. Well, we finally decided to stop ‘passing by’ and made reservations during our last visit.

Atmosphere

The first thing I saw was a video marquee highlighting the culinary options presented inside. To me this presentation is very much in keeping with the ‘contemporary’ theme of the resort. OK, now I know what they serve, so let’s head inside.

Video Marquee

Video Marquee

The entrance is rather neat. First, it establishes the stainless steel theme I noticed throughout my meal, and the tunnel takes me to a different place — that of sustainable and locally-sourced ingredients.

Entrance to The Wave

Entrance to The Wave

As we approached the reception desk, I noticed the earth tones in keeping with the sustainable theme. Also, the wall partition presents the wave theme.

Reception Desk

Reception Desk

We had nice wall art to look at while we waited for our table. A very contemporary rendition, in keeping with the resort.

Wall Art

Wall Art

Even the ceiling features carry the wave theme with contemporary light fixtures. It all works well together as the earth tones carry throughout the restaurant.

The Wave Themed Ceiling

The Wave Themed Ceiling

A nice touch, and a very subtle one, is the wave embroidered on the linen napkin.

Themed Linen Napkin

Themed Linen Napkin

Eats

After we sat down and perused the wine list, we decided on a bottle of Bonterra Chardonnay 2012. I enjoy a nice chardonnay and this wine fits the bill. It’s from Mendocino, one of California’s better known wine regions with predominant vineyard acreage in chardonnay.

Bonterra Chardonnay 2012

Bonterra Chardonnay 2012

A very nice wine. An initial impression of rich, buttery cream quickly turns to aromas of honey and lightly toasted almonds, followed by tropical aromas of pineapple, citrusy lemon and crème brulee. The wine is refreshing on the palate, with a minerality that is both bright and clean, drawing you into a vibrant tartness and lemon zest.

Although that description sounds very complex, it’s not. Bottom line for me is, does it have a nice flavor? And yes, this one does! Notice the stainless steel wine cooler.

A Nice Pour

A Nice Pour

After we ordered we were served bread and butter — Multi grain bread with ground flax seeds and butter with Hawaiian sea salt. (Notice the stainless steel bread bowl.) The bread was nice and fresh and the butter was just soft enough to spread easily and allowed the salt to mix in giving each bite a nice crunch. The ground flax seeds provided a visual balance to the sea salt atop the butter. Nicely done!

Bread and Butter

Bread and Butter

I always look for menu offerings that I haven’t had before. The Sustainable Fish Taco fit the bill. To me, it also fit the theme of the restaurant, sustainable and locally sourced. I’ll try that!

Sustainable Fish Taco Menu Item

Sustainable Fish Taco Menu Item

Oooh! Very nicely plated with a stainless steel taco tray! The fish used were Snapper and Swordfish and fit nicely with the Apple-Jicama slaw and a mild white sauce drizzle, topped with micro greens.

The apples used were Pink Lady (a trademark and the variety is more correctly known as Cripps Pink). Cripps Pink apples are a cross between the Australian Lady Williams and the Golden Delicious. At any rate, this variety was new to me and had a very nice flavor and texture.

The slaw and sauce complemented the mildness of the fish and made for a nice bite. Providing a contrast in textures; the crunch of the apple and jicama worked well against the smoothness of the fish.

Sustainable Fish Taco Appetizer

Sustainable Fish Taco Appetizer

Yuzu Gelato was served providing a palette cleanser and a nice finisher. Yuzu a citrus fruit, originates in East Asia and looks like a very small grapefruit. The yuzu’s flavor is tart, closely resembling that of a grapefruit with hints of mandarin orange. A very nice way to end an awesome appetizer!

OK, how can my entrée top my appetizer? A tough task indeed.

I settled on the [Read more…]

Review: March Signature Dinner at Raglan Road Irish Pub at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney

Anytime I can enjoy an evening at Raglan Road, I know it’s going to be a good one.

The Irish pub, located in Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney, is well known for its authentic atmosphere and delicious, modern twist on Irish food. And the nightly live music and dancing makes it one of the best values in all of Disney. It’s dinner and a show all in one!

But recently, we had the opportunity to attend one of Raglan Road’s special dining events, the March Signature Dinner.

Part dinner, and part opportunity to launch a new book detailing the history and recipes of Raglan Road, we couldn’t wait to take part. Read on to see pictures of the evening, as well as some of the interesting dishes we had the opportunity to enjoy.

Atmosphere

If you haven’t had the chance to pop into Raglan Road for a pint and a meal, you should take care of that as soon as possible. If you have any interest in pubs, this is a place you want to see.

Raglan Road in Downtown Disney

Raglan Road in Downtown Disney

Authentic is an apropos descriptor here, as much of the inside of the pub actually came from Ireland. Bars and fixtures were salvaged from churches and pubs.

We have explored the beautiful space in other reviews; click over to our last lunch review to take a bit of a tour. For today, we’re going to stick to the event.

As guests arrived we checked in at the podium and were ushered through the main dining room, around the bar to the left, and into the Raglan Room. The room is a cozy spot with lower ceilings than the main dining room. A partition separated the room from the rest of the pub for the dinner.

Seating for the event consisted of six or so large tables with an open arrangement; there were no assigned seats.

Room

The Raglan Room Begins to Fill Up with Guests

And here’s where I apologize for all the wonky light. It was very bright early in the evening, and then very dark later on. While it made for lovely views to watch the light ebb, it didn’t do my pictures any favors. :-) Still, I’m hopeful you’ll get an idea of what a beautiful event this was.

The Newly Remodeled Snug and Another Table

The Newly Remodeled Snug and Another Table

The tables set just the right tone, with an elegant, farmhouse feel. A close up of our table gives you a better idea of the setting. I loved the white tablecloths and kitchen towels that would serve as napkins.

Our Table

Our Table

The fresh flower centerpieces and candles were a beautiful touch as well.

Table Candles

Table Candles

But there was a touch of whimsy in the place setting as well, owing to the [Read more…]

2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Preview: France and Greece

Just a couple more weeks, and we’ll all be checking out long-awaited 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

While we look forward to trying some brand new experiences, like the Scotland Booth, there are plenty of returning fan favorites as well. Two of my favorite booths over the past couple of years have been the France and Greece Marketplace Booths.

Boasting delicious bites and long lines, these are spots that you should try and hit early in the day before the crowds swell! Let’s check out what they’ll be offering in 2013…

France

The France Marketplace Booth is one of the original marketplaces that debuted for the very first Food and Wine Festival eighteen years ago. I can’t imagine having this event without it!

2013 France Marketplace Booth Menu

What’s back this year? Staples like snails and creme brûlée, but also a past festival favorite. This booth offers, really, a full MEAL when you think about it! Appetizer, entree, dessert, drinks!

  • Escargots Persillade en Brioche (Garlic and Parsley Snails in Brioche)
  • Boeuf Bourguignon (Braised Short Ribs in Cabernet with Mashed Potatoes)
  • Crème Brûlée au Chocolat au Lait (Chocolate Milk Crème Brûlée topped with Caramelized Sugar)
  • Beer Kronenbourg Blanc
  • Chardonnay, Macon-Villages, La Côte Blanche
  • Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, Château Bonnet
  • Sparkling Pomegranate Kir
  • Eiffel Sour Cosmo Slush (Vodka, Grey Goose Cherry Noir, Grand Marnier, Cranberry Juice)

For the last two years, the France booth has offered Coq au Vin with Macaroni and Cheese, and there have been rave reviews (from me especially!).

This year, Boeuf Bourguignon created with Braised Short Ribs in Cabernet and served with Mashed Potatoes are back on the menu — a return from 2010. Thanks, as always, to Kelly Amey from Changing Latitudes for this pic!

Braised Short Ribs

The Escargots Persillade en Brioche have been a [Read more…]

Review: Les Chefs de France in Epcot’s France Pavilion

Bonjour, Mes Amis! We are heading to the City of Lights today for a luncheon at one of Epcot’s most iconic eateries, Les Chefs de France!

The bistro, located in the France Pavilion, has been a fixture of World Showcase since Epcot’s earliest days. It’s served thousands of meals to Epcot guests, and you’ll still find its tables full if you visit today.

Les Chefs de France has had the happy distinction for me of providing consistently decent food and friendly service — something that can’t always be said about Disney restaurants. Since I’ve had some truly fine meals here, I was ready to head back for lunch with AJ’s Mom and Dad (whom many of you know!).

Atmosphere

The food has been good to great during every visit that I’ve made in recent years to Les Chefs de France — but that’s only part of the story. Because I would be in love with this restaurant based upon looks alone.

Menu and Place Setting

That’s because I personally think that Les Chefs de France represents some excellent restaurant themeing. If it weren’t for the kid in Mickey ears at the next table, it’s very possible that you’d forget you’re actually in Florida.

We visited during the day, but I just couldn’t help but show you this gorgeous view of Les Chefs de France at night.

Front of Les Chefs de France at Night -- My Favorite View!

It reminds me so much of my first trip to Paris that I wanted to share it with you.

And that’s the beauty of this restaurant. If you’ve had the pleasure of a trip to Paris, you will probably have eaten in (or at least seen) a spot that looks Just. Like. This.

Inside Les Chefs de France

Photos of the original “Les Chefs de France” team — Paul Bocuse, Gaston Lenotre, and Roger Vergé — line the walls. These days, Chef Bocuse’s son, Jerome Bocuse, runs the France Pavilion restaurant empire. (Check out the photo of Chef Bocuse on opening day in front of Les Chefs de France that hangs upstairs in Monsieur Paul. You can see it in our review here.)

Decor Featuring Photos of the Founding Chefs

The color palette in Les Chefs de France tends toward [Read more…]

Review: Jiko at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

You guys…Jiko still rocks.

Animal Kingdom Lodge’s signature dining spot has it all — unique, interesting food that’s constantly changing to reflect seasons and trends. Ambiance that changes with the evening light. Impeccable service.

We have returned to Jiko again and again since my husband and I celebrated our first Valentine’s Day together. On a recent visit, we met friends at Jiko for a special dinner in hopes that our streak of great experiences would continue.

Atmosphere

Jiko is located on the ground floor of Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Head downstairs from the lobby, past Victoria Falls Lounge. You’ll find Jiko adjacent to Animal Kingdom Lodge’s other table service spot, Boma.

Menus -- Click to Enlarge

A bank of windows overlooks a beautiful water feature just outside of the restaurant. The rocks and running water provide a soothing backdrop to your dining experience. And if you happen to be seated near the window, be sure to try and spot the hidden Mickey in the rock formations!

Outside View

Back inside, you’ll pass a bar area and the outside wall of the Cape Town Wine Room en route to the main dining room. This is a great time to discuss the truly amazing wine offering at Jiko. The restaurant offers only African wines and is home to the largest collection of South African wines outside of the African continent.

Bar Area and Wine

Pause as you enter the restaurant and take in the view before you. The interior created by well-known restaurant designer Jeffrey Beers evokes themes from The Lion King. The colors, although understated, are rich and mimic nature.

A View of the Restaurant from the Front

Dozens of bird sculptures are suspended in realistic fashion from the ceiling and provide a wonderful sense of movement. I have yet to walk into Jiko with someone seeing the birds for the first time and not see his or her face light up. They’re a beautiful touch.

Ceiling and Bird Detail

A “jiko”, or cooking place, is [Read more…]

DIY Disney Recipe: Crème Brûlée from Narcoossee’s — Blowtorch Optional!

Please welcome DFB guest chef Carol E.! She’s tempting us this week with a delicious Crème Brûlée recipe from Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. So, let’s dig in…

My husband and I love exploring Disney restaurants since we are lucky enough to have Walt Disney World in our backyard. On one of my birthdays, he surprised me with dinner at Narcoossee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa!

An evening at the Grand Floridian's Lobby.

I can still remember the taste of the real vanilla bean in the crème brûlée! It was so rich and creamy. Nothing like anything I had ever tasted. The perfect ending to the perfect meal!

Our recent dessert at the Grand Floridian!

Disney Creme Brulee Recipe

I want to share with you that wonderful memory of crème brûlée filled with the taste of fresh vanilla bean and topped off with a lot of Disney magic!

I found the actual recipe from the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa in the Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs cookbook.

Before we get started, I do want to warn you that this is a plan ahead recipe. You need at least 3-4 hours in the fridge, but better if left in overnight before serving.

I have never made crème brûlée before, so at the end of the recipe below, I posted a few extra notes that may help you if this is your first time making it, too. By the way, this is my first and only batch so far, and it turned out perfect!

Let’s get started! Here’s your shopping list:

Ingredients — Makes 8 Servings

-2 Cups Heavy Cream

-1/2 Cup Milk

-1 Cup Sugar Plus a 1/4 cup for Sprinkling

-2 Vanilla Beans

-6 Large Egg Yolks

Ingredients for Creme Brulee Recipe

Instructions

-Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

-Take 2 bowls and separate 6 egg yolks from the whites. Place the egg yolks in the large mixing bowl. Set mixing bowl aside. (Keep the egg whites to make a fantastic egg white omelet tomorrow.) :)

Egg Separating

-Take 2 Vanilla Bean pods and cut in half lengthwise with a very sharp knife. Scrape seeds with the tip of the knife.

Vanilla Bean Pods

Cut Pods Lengthwise and Scrape Seeds

-In a 2 quart saucepan, bring the heavy cream, milk, sugar, vanilla beans and vanilla bean seeds just to a boil over medium heat. Mix all of these items together, but don’t [Read more…]