Disney Cruise Review: High Tea at Palo

Dining in Disneyland columnist Heather Sievers brings us on Board the Disney Magic’s Mediterranean Cruise for High Tea at Palo!

Although this was my third Disney Cruise, my husband and I had never had a chance to dine at The Disney Cruise Line’s upscale (and kid-free) Palo. We’d heard amazing things, but were always so happy with our dining room experiences that we never strayed from our nightly servers.  I now ask myself, “What the heck were we thinking?!?”

Palo is an Adult Exclusive Restaurant Located on Deck 10 Aft

On this last cruise, an 11-day Mediterranean Cruise, we had not one, not two, but three chances to visit Palo; and honestly, I wish we had made even more reservations than that.  Each visit was for a different meal.  We tried the brunch (amazing), we tried the dinner (amazing), and we also visited the High Tea. This was my first “fancy” official type high tea and I will tell you this: high tea at Palo would be hard to top.

High Tea Place Setting

High tea is offered on sea days only and reservations are a must. It takes place at 3:00pm and will set you back a mere [Read more…]

Menu Announced for the Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic!

As you know, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic is back this year with even more seminars, food, and tastings — and we’ve got the MENU below!

The Second Annual Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic will take place Friday, October 7, and Saturday, October 8, 2011 from 5:30 – 9:00 pm. Food and wine lovers can immerse themselves in this culinary festival while strolling the Crescent Lake causeway. Savor culinary delights from the resort’s award winning restaurants and lounges while listening to live music. With 17 restaurants and lounges, the Swan and Dolphin resorts have a nationally-recognized culinary team that can’t wait to show off their talents!

Causeway Tasting Booth Info and Menu

Choose selections from over 30 stations that showcase food and drinks from Shula’s Steak House, Il Mulino New York Trattoria and Todd English’s bluezoo, among other great Swan and Dolphin restaurants.

Select your favorite beverages from options such as wine, sake, beer, and cocktails created using liquid nitrogen (check out our experience with these liquid nitrogen cocktails here!).

Liquid Nitrogen White Russian Dippin

If you love wine, vintages will be offered from around the world including regions in France, Italy, California, and Australia. With over 70 certified wine sommeliers and more than 1,400 wine selections, this beverage team has a lot of knowledge to share!

Dessert will include selections made by two-time World Pastry Champion, Chef Laurent Branlard, the hotel’s executive pastry chef.

Here are a few of the menu items you’ll be able to explore:

Todd English
Friday: Browned Butter Basted Lobster Roll
Saturday: Browned Butter Basted Lobster Roll

todd english basted lobster roll

Shula’s Steakhouse
Friday: Carved New York Strip, Creamed Spinach
Saturday: Carved New York Strip, Creamed Spinach

shulas new york strip

Cib’s Smoke Shop
Friday: Carolina Style Pulled Pork, Southern Coleslaw, Parker House Roll, Fried Pickles , Ranch
Saturday: Smoked Pork Belly, Texas Toast, Baked Bean Foam

cibs smoke carolina pulled pork

cibs smoked pork belly

Todd English’s bluezoo
Friday: “Shrimp Cocktail” Steamrollers
Saturday: Heirloom Beet Salad, Goat Cheese Fondue, Candied Walnuts, Ice Spinach

bluezoo shrimp cocktail steamrooler-Heirloom Beet Salad

bluezoo Steamroller

bluezoo heirloom beet salad

Cabana Bar and Beach Club
Friday: Pork Carnitas: Braised Pork, Sofrito, Pita, Pico de Gallo, Iceberg Lettuce
Saturday: Crab Eggroll: Blue Crab, Cabbage, Ginger, Sweet Thai Chili, Soy

cabana pork carnitas

cabana crab eggroll

Laurent Branlard
Friday & Saturday:
Saint Honore — Vanilla Cream Puff, Whipped Cream
Coconut Macaroon — White Chocolate Coconut Mousse, Lime Cream
Lemon Berry Bubble — Lemon Curd, Berry Compote
Orange Caramel Baba — Caramel Cremeu,Caramel Sauce
Intense Dark Chocolate Cake — Flourless Sponge, Dark Chocolate Mousse
Choconut Tartlet — Chocolate Cremeux, Peanut Mousse, Caramelized Peanuts
Tasting Station: Bananas Foster, Vanilla Ice Cream, and Coconut Fondant Cake

The Fountain
Friday: Falafel: Chickpea Fritter, Tahini, Traditional Garnish
Saturday: Falafel: Chickpea Fritter, Tahini, Traditional Garnish

fountain falafel

Il Mulino New York Trattoria
Friday: Italian Meatball Sandwich
Saturday: Hand Cut Tagliatelle, Braised Lamb Ragu, Pecorino Romano

Il Mulino Meatball Subs

il mulino italian meatball sandwich

il mulino hand cut tagliatelle

Garden Grove
Friday: Jumbo Lump Crab Cake Sliders, Shredded Iceberg, Pickle Chip, Old Bay Aioli, Sesame Rolls
Saturday: Rock Shrimp “Po Boy”, French Bread, Tomato, Old Bay Remoulade

garden grove jumbo lump crab cake slider

garden grove rock shrimp po boy

Kimonos
Friday: Dragon Roll: Crispy Shrimp, Tuna, Avocado
Saturday: Spicy Yellow Fin Tuna, Nori, Seasoned Rice

Kimonos Dragon Roll

Wine Shop
Friday & Saturday: Find a wine you love at one of the booths? Make sure to visit the wine store offering bottles for purchase from each booth to take home.

Beverage seminars

And don’t forget to sign up for a Beverage seminar to enhance your experience! Offered each day from 4:30-5:30 p.m. These classes will be taught by certified experts in hour-long sessions.

Choose from Wine Blending; Modern Mixology; Riesling Rendezvous; Base to Bubbles; Beer, Please!; and All Things Sake. There is also a new seminar — Spanish Wines — that is sure to be a wonderful learning experience.

Cocktail 101 classes will also be offered throughout the two-day event. Purchase tickets here!

Swan and Dolphin Causeway

Entertainment

Expect some great live entertainment all weekend long! Groups will include Four Divo, The Groove Masters, The Current, and The Beu Sisters.

Tickets

Advance purchase event-only tickets are available for $65 for unlimited food and beverage samples on the causeway. Seminars are an additional $35 per person, per class, and require a causeway festival ticket require as well. Purchase tickets here.

Disney World Dolphin Resort

Hotel and Event Packages

Book your all-inclusive package by calling 888-828-8850 to make your reservation or book online. Packages available at the WDW Swan and WDW Dolphin include:

Package 1:
Includes accommodations for 2 adults and 2 event passes. Rates start at $255*

Package 2:
Includes accommodations for 2 adults and 2 causeway event passes plus 2 passes to one of the educational seminars. Rates starting at $329*

I’ll be at the Classic! See you there!! (And don’t forget to check out our other posts about the 2010 and 2011 Food and Wine Classic!)

Don’t Forget! There’s a Deal for Disney Food Blog Readers!
Disney Food Blog readers can receive a special rate and free upgrade at the Dolphin Resort on any length stay between Oct. 1-9, 2011! See details on this great deal here! Note: this will be a separate deal from the packages listed above and does not include causeway tickets.

* Rates are per room, per night based on double occupancy. Package is good for two adults only and not available for individual guests.

Guest Review: Private Mother’s Day IllumiNations Dessert Party

Welcome to guest author Mark Diehl with an illuminating ;-) review of an Epcot dessert party he created to honor the “mothers” in his life! He also inspired our upcoming WDW Foodie Fest Snack Attack dessert and fireworks event on October 4th — stay tuned as tickets will be going on sale today!

This was the second Mother’s Day we spent in Disney World, so I did some research and finally settled on an event we all could enjoy: a private IllumiNations Dessert Party.

It was not cheap, and while it was successful enough that I would want to do it every year, it was expensive enough that it was probably once in a lifetime for us. I got all of the information from Disney World private dining and once my contact Chris Ware (highly recommended, he was fantastic) sent me the sample dessert menus, I decided I needed to make my own custom dessert menu.

Decisions, Decisions

After bouncing around a number of ideas, I was able to narrow it down to 2, and ended up going with…neither of them.

Party of 6

The first idea was a dessert menu from the countries of Epcot. Each country was to be represented with a dessert item.  The following was my menu proposal:

School Bread from Norway, Apple Strudel from Germany, Napoleons from France, Churros from Mexico, Sticky Toffee Pudding from UK, Tiramisu from Italy, Kaki Gori from Japan, Baklava from Morocco, Caramel Ginger Ice Cream from China, Campfire S’mores from Canada, Funnel Cake from USA.

The price for this menu came back at $95 per person.  That may not sound bad, but when you consider that this was only for food and did not include the location rental, table set-up fee, or drinks, you can see it adds up [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Desserts I’d Love To Try

Thanks to all who have contributed their photos to the Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza! Keep sending them along! This week, the Disney Food Pics of the Week are three desserts I’d love to try!

Here’s a gorgeous shot of the Warm Chocolate Espresso Tart at Disney California Adventure’s Wine Country Trattoria. Photographer: Kirsten Marie

warm chocolate espresso tart at Wine Country Trattoria

This Chai Cream dessert at Sanaa has been called addictive! Photographer: [Read more…]

“You Won’t Believe This!” Snack: Brownie-Frosting Sandwich

This one is going to be hard to top. It might be my favorite “You Won’t Believe This!” Snack to date.

I was knocked off my rocker when I tried this Brownie-Frosting Sandwich today. There’s no other name for it. Earl of Sandwich calls it “The Earl’s Brownie Creme,” but, in my book, it’s a big ol’ Brownie-Frosting Sandwich.

Here’s the basic construction: a huge, circular, rich brownie was cut in half and filled with the most delicious frosting imaginable. First, let’s discuss the brownie: This was the closest thing to home made I’ve ever seen in a Disney baked good. It looked, smelled, and tasted [Read more…]

A Trio of “Traditional Desserts”

One of my never-ending quests as a food blogger is to make sure everyone saves room for dessert! So, to forward that goal, I’d like to tempt you with three World Showcase desserts that are often considered to be, in a way, “food ambassadors” from their respective countries.

When you’re dining at Chefs de France, the Rose and Crown Restaurant, or Marrakesh, these are some of the desserts that are on the menu to represent their national cuisine:

Chefs de France: Creme Brulee
Creme brulee is a dessert made of a baked and cooled vanilla custard topped with sugar, which is rapidly melted (usually with a blow torch or broiler) to form a caramel-y, candied top crust. One of the most fantastic things about eating creme brulee is that first “crack” of the sugar crust crunching when you dive in with your spoon! The earliest known reference to Creme Brulee — which means “burnt cream” — is in a 17th century French cookbook.

The Chefs de France Creme Brulee is BIG and beautiful! It’s authentic, and it’s served without the flavor-y flair (pistachio, maple, milk chocolate, etc…) you’ll in creme brulee versions at other Disney restaurants. This is simple, straightforward, rich, and — honestly — luxurious.

Chefs de France Creme Brulee

Chefs de France Creme Brulee

Rose and Crown Restaurant: Sticky Toffee Pudding
Compared to creme brulee, Sticky Toffee Pudding is a relatively new dessert in the culinary world! Said to have been developed in 1907 and refined by a Lake District pub owner in the 1960’s, Sticky Toffee Pudding is a warm sponge cake, often flavored with dates, covered with…well…a sticky, toffee-flavored sauce! Many restaurants serve sticky toffee pudding with ice cream or a [Read more…]

New Menu Items at Disney World Restaurants

While I’ll always have my favorite Disney World restaurant menu items, I always like to hear about new things to try. And while this is by no means an exhaustive list (menus are changing all the time), I wanted to share with you a few changes I heard about and experienced during my recent WDW trip.

If you’ve heard about or experienced other menu changes, let me know! You can contact me via twitter, facebook, or email!

Liberty Tree Tavern
You might have read the Liberty Tree Tavern menu changes blog when I posted it a couple of weeks ago, but I figured I’d get all the info in one place!

There are two brand new dishes at LTT: Chicken and Dumplings and Salmon Cakes!

New Liberty Tree Tavern Menu Items

New Liberty Tree Tavern Menu Items

The chicken and dumplings was not what we expected, and almost tasted like a very hearty, VERY peppery chicken soup. A bit too homogeneous a taste for an entree (we like some sides with our meals), but not a bad dish.

Liberty Tree Tavern Chicken and Dumplings

Liberty Tree Tavern Chicken and Dumplings

Unfortunately, the pasta dish has been taken off the menu.

Le Cellier
There have been a few changes over at Le Cellier as well, but one that we tried and loved was the Poutine. Although I grew up very close to Canada, I’d never heard of this French Canadian delicacy! Luckily, our server explained it perfectly. Fries. Cheese. Gravy. Sounds good to us! I asked for the gravy on the side (sorry, Canada!), so that’s what you get in the photo.

Le Cellier Poutine, with gravy on the side

Le Cellier Poutine, with gravy on the side

Now, let me pay homage to all of the twitter-ers who commented on my Poutine twitpic that it didn’t do justice to real Canadian poutine. For example, in most Canadian poutine, the cheese is not usually yellow, and it is always in curd form — not melted. (Our server DID mention that he considered this Le Cellier version to be “American” poutine, but it doesn’t make it any less delicious!)

We also tried a few new desserts over at Le Cellier: the Le Cellier Mont Blanc Semifreddo with chilled fruit soup, the Chocolate-on-Chocolate Whiskey Cake, and the Warm Apple Tart with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Maple Syrup.

Le Cellier Semifreddo

Le Cellier Semifreddo

Le Cellier Semifreddo Inside

Le Cellier Semifreddo Inside

Le Cellier Warm Apple Tart

Le Cellier Warm Apple Tart

Le Cellier Chocolate on Chocolate Whiskey Cake

Le Cellier Chocolate on Chocolate Whiskey Cake

While none of these desserts wowed us, the chocolate cake would have been the best of the three. Our suggestion: forget dessert and head over for a Kaki Gori! ;-)

Rose and Crown Dining Room
The Cottage Pie makes a re-appearance on Rose and Crown’s menu! I can recall Cottage Pie on the menu years and years ago, but it’s back again for all of you Anglophiles (including me…).

Rose and Crown updated menu

Rose and Crown updated menu

Rose and Crown Cottage Pie

Rose and Crown Cottage Pie

Rose and Crown Cottage Pie Inside

Rose and Crown Cottage Pie Inside

We also sampled the brand new Lemon Pie at Rose and Crown. It’s pretty much your standard lemon meringue pie, so if you love it, order it. Otherwise, stick with something else.

Rose and Crown Lemon Pie

Rose and Crown Lemon Pie

California Grill
California Grill, as always, is playing around with the “market-inspired” menu as it should, but the dessert menu has really been changed up this time around.

California Grill dessert menu 10-1-09

California Grill dessert menu 10-1-09

We sampled the Valrhona Chocolate Cake, which used to be paired with cherries and is now coupled with salted caramel ice cream and roasted pineapple. They’re riding the salted caramel train down at The Wave as well, so I think it’s a “Contemporary” thing. Either way, we loved it.

California Grill Valrhona Chocolate Cake

California Grill Valrhona Chocolate Cake

We also tried their “Sweet Celebration” item, which is a Fall Apple Cobbler, with Walnut-Oatmeal Streusel, Calvados Ice Cream, and Apple Caramel Drizzle. Our waiter kindly let us know that the cobbler wasn’t a standard “gooey” item, but instead was more of a dry dish, with the apples well-formed and not mushy. We’re BIG cobbler fans, so ordered it anyway. We loved the dish, but were glad for his warning as we would have expected something different without it.

California Grill Apple Cobbler

California Grill Apple Cobbler

Yachtsman Steakhouse
Yachtsman Steakhouse is doing all kinds of fun things with its menu — a couple of raviolis to try (including Potato and Leek Ravioli!), escargot, and a Cowboy Steak (my favorite!).

But what I’ve got to rave about here is the new Mushroom Risotto side dish. I really dislike mushrooms, but because I was so taken with Le Cellier’s Mushroom Risotto I knew I had to try the new Yachtsman version. And as a result, I have two comments: 1.) They are completely different dishes, and 2.) Yachtsman’s mushroom risotto is unbelievable.

Yachtsman Steakhouse Mushroom Risotto

Yachtsman Steakhouse Mushroom Risotto

I couldn’t stop eating it, and probably would have ordered a whole bowl if I could. It’s just that good.

Sanaa
Finally, although I didn’t get a chance to dine there this trip, Sanaa, one of Disney World’s newest restaurants, has changed up a few menu items as well (thanks to Amanda Tinney for the tip).

While many things on the menu remain, the Dum Biryani has been removed as an entree (replaced with a Lamb Kefta, at least at lunch), and the “Slow-Cooked in Gravy” section has been divided into a meat section and a vegetarian section (no more mixing!). Stewed Lentils and Spicy Cauliflower, Onions, Tomatoes, and Mint have been added as options on the vegetarian list, along with the old Paneer Cheese and Spinach.

Be sure to keep me updated on the new things you sample on your next trip! Bon Appetit!