Review: Crossroads at House of Blues at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney

So the big news from last week was the opening of a brand new counter service spot at Downtown Disney’s House Of Blues — the Smokehouse!

While we’ll be sure to stop by from time to time, it’s been a while since we reviewed the main house here as well! Let’s check out the dining room at Crossroads at House of Blues at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney for lunch.

We were surprised by the quality of food on our first visit. While just about everything was good, the classic Buffalo Chicken Wings and the White Chocolate Bread Pudding were the real standouts.

But since our last visit, House of Blues has partnered with celebrity chef Aarón Sánchez to completely overhaul the food offerings. While the emphasis at House of Blues is still on live music, the new Crossroads menu has taken the previously Southern-tinged menu in a slightly different direction.

Atmosphere

As I mentioned, if you haven’t been to House of Blues since the Crossroads menu came to the Walt Disney World location, you won’t find the surroundings to be much different than before. The menu didn’t coincide with a revamp of the restaurant itself.

In Blues We Trust!

Funky, rustic, slightly dark, and whimsical…those are the words that come to mind. You’re supposed to feel as though you happened upon House of Blues on some country road while traveling through the Deep South. And they succeed with transporting you.

Folk Art Outside

Like other Downtown Disney restaurants, House of Blues features multiple bars. The outside bar is a great spot to grab a drink and hang out with friends before or after a performance. It features “hand-lettered” menus and tole painting, as well as brackets and other finishes that appear to have been salvaged and repurposed.

Outdoor Bar

Next to Crossroads Restaurant, you’ll find the Club, which is the main performance venue for House of Blues. The hall holds up to 2,000 guests, and draws top-name talent regularly. It’s a great place to see a show if you haven’t had the chance.

Club — House of Blues Concert Venue

In addition to other performances, House of Blues also offers a regular Gospel Brunch. Held each Sunday at 10:30 am and 1:00 pm, you can read our review of Kirk Franklin’s Gospel Brunch in Disneyland’s Downtown Disney District here.

Gospel Brunch Information

But, snazzy musical performances would have to wait for another day. We were here for lunch, and we were hungry.

We made our way into the restaurant and were greeted with more folk art. At the hostess stand, you get a healthy dose of this interesting fusion. Gothic arches and cherubim call to mind a place of worship.

Entrance

Seating is nothing fancy — just utilitarian wooden chairs and tables.

Seating

Even booths are wooden. Nothing cozy here in the way of seating, but the booths are [Read more…]

Review: Tony’s Town Square at Magic Kingdom

Time for a visit to a great little table service stop in the heart of all the magic — Tony’s Town Square in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom!

This spot has it all — Disney history, beautiful themeing, and if you play your cards right, some of the best views in the entire resort!

But while I love the restaurant itself, the food hasn’t always been the main draw in the past.

We’re checking in today for lunch to see what’s new, and if my love affair with that the patio seating remains firmly intact!

Atmosphere

Tony’s is located right on the Town Square (natch) of Magic Kingdom — as soon as you pass below the train station and enter Main Street USA. You can’t miss it.

Tony's Sign

Pass by the Town Square Theater where you can meet Mickey, and you’re there!

Tony's Entrance

Inside, you’ll check in at the hostess stand and await your table. While a walk up spot isn’t unheard of, it’s best to make an advance dining reservation here — especially if you’d like to take advantage of Tony’s biggest draw. We’ll get to that in a few minutes.

Tony's Check-In

The waiting area was given a bit of a refresh last year, when the Town Square Theater opened as the new spot for Mickey’s meet-and-greet.

The space retains its turn-of-the-century charm, but the finishes are newer. You’ll also get your first dose of the restaurant’s star characters and theme! The animated classic Lady and the Tramp plays continually on the flat screen television.

Tony's Waiting Area

Once your table is ready, you’ll be shown to one of three main seating areas. The restaurant is [Read more…]

What’s The Best Walt Disney World Park for Dining?

There is so much to love about the parks of Walt Disney World.

What's the Best Disney World Park for Dining?

The rides and attractions. The sense of history — both in the parks, and the memories that we’ve all made in them. The incredible themeing that greets you at every turn.

But of course, what do we love the most? The FOOD!

I’m serious about eating when I’m in Disney parks. And I know you are, too! But which Disney World park is the best when it comes time for eating?

This is a question I get asked a LOT; and it’s always tough to make a choice. Sure — Epcot has the largest number of fantastic restaurants, but there are some snacks that can’t be beat in Magic Kingdom; and the other parks offer some not-to-be-missed items, too.

There are some seriously awesome, edible reasons to visit each park — and I’m going to share some of my favorites with you today!

Get ready, because I want to hear your point of view, too! What’s your favorite Walt Disney World Park for Dining…and why?

Magic Kingdom

Eating your way through Magic Kingdom seems to me to be one part fantasy food, and one part pure nostalgia. It would be hard to imagine not carving our a few days on my menu for some of my favorite stops here!

Nutella and Fruit Waffle Sandwich at Sleep Hollow

For brunch or lunch, I can never pass up the chance to have a Waffle Sandwich at Sleepy Hollow Refreshments. Choose from Nutella (!!!) and Fruit, Spicy Chicken, or Ham, Prosciutto, and Swiss.

Seriously delicious — and enormous. I like to get two and split them among friends for a little variety.

Spicy Chicken Waffle Sandwich

We can’t go very far in this conversation though without discussing [Read more…]

Guest Review: Trail’s End Restaurant at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Join me in welcoming back guest author Julie B.!

She returns with a review of Trail’s End Restaurant in the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. The journey to this restaurant is part of the experience, right?!

Howdy folks! Even though we’re on vacation, sometimes you just want the comforts of a home-cooked meal. Trail’s End Restaurant at Fort Wilderness Campground brings all the happiness of home to its dinner buffet.

Remember, this spot is a little distant from some parks and resorts. You can reach Trail’s End at Fort Wilderness by taking a boat from Magic Kingdom, Contemporary Resort, or Wilderness Lodge; or by taking a bus from any park or Downtown Disney to Fort Wilderness. Note that if you take a bus, you’ll have to transfer to the Fort Wilderness internal bus system to get to Trail’s End. (DFB recommends taking a boat if possible — so much easier.)

Trail's End Sign

Atmosphere

Trail’s End is a cute little restaurant, featuring the theme of a cabin in the woods. It blends perfectly with the campground!

Welcome Mat

The walls are adorned with the best of the outdoors and the back country. Large wooden beams finish setting the scene for your meal in the wilderness.

Holiday Decor

Dining Room

On the lower level (just down a small half-flight of stairs), Trail’s End is also home to Crockett’s Tavern.

The bar is themed the same way as the restaurant and even features a [Read more…]

Review: Pollo Campero at Downtown Disney Orlando

We’ve got a review of a slightly under-the-radar spot in Disney World’s Downtown Disney today!

So far, you’ve heard about both breakfast, lunch and fun beverage options at Pollo Campero, but I haven’t ever posted my own personal review! It’s about time, don’t you think?

Join me for a visit to the Latin-inspired chicken restaurant that provides an interesting change of pace for Downtown Disney Guests!

Atmosphere

Located in what used to be the cavernous McDonald’s at the end of Downtown Disney’s Marketplace, counter-service location Pollo Campero shares space with two other foodstops: Bodie’s All-American (formerly Fresh A-Peel) and Babycakes NYC. On this visit, we were in the mood for chicken, so Pollo Campero it was.

Outside Pollo Campero

Once inside, you’ll approach the restaurant like most other counter service stops. Choose your food at the counter, and then proceed to a central bank of registers that’s shared with Bodie’s All-American.

Ordering Area

The general set up here is a bit “food-courtish,” but it does [Read more…]

Review: 50s Prime Time Cafe (The Cheese is Back!!)

I never say no to a meal at 50s Prime Time Cafe, but I hadn’t been in WAY too long. So when I got a little email tip from a reader last week (thanks, Courtney!!) I knew I had to head over there…and quick! A menu change was about to make my dreams come true!

Located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this place is pure nostalgia. You really feel like you’ve stumbled into the 1950s when you enter this eatery — from the decor to the menu, everything screams mid 20th Century Americana.

Fancy meatloaf and mashed potatoes or fried chicken? Then you’re in the right place! Grab a napkin and set of silverware, remember to keep your elbows off the table, and join me for a fun, interactive helping of comfort food in this well-loved table service spot.

Atmosphere

Stepping into this restaurant truly is like stepping back in time.

50s Prime Time Sign - Outside

I never cease to be amazed at the way this restaurant immerses guests in the 1950s home atmosphere. You begin your meal by waiting in Dad’s Living Room. Be sure to take a moment and look around; I bet you’ll find something you’ll remember from your parents’ (or grandparents’!) house — I always do!

Dad's Living Room - The Waiting Area

Fancy a drink from Dad’s Liquor Cabinet? Then sidle up to the Tune-In Lounge Bar for a house specialty, or order something once you arrive at your table.

Full Bar at Tune In Lounge

Here’s a tip: If you can’t get an Advanced Dining Reservation here, hang out at the bar. You can order food there, too.

Another of Dad's Living Rooms - Seating for the Tune-In Lounge

When it’s time to [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: April 29, 2012

It’s official, everyone! The big news this week: Starbucks is coming to Disney Parks! Whether you love it or hate it, the coffee king will be opening six locations soon — one in each domestic Disney park.

Later today, stay tuned for pictures of the new Art of Animation Food Court and Menus! We’re reporting live from Disney World this week!

Disney Food News

We’ve got more food news (including a new chef at Mama Melrose’s, opening date for Disneyland’s Candy Palace and Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor, plus a new confectionery, Trolley Treats, coming to Disney California Adventure) on our Disney Food News Pin Board, where Disney Food News is updated on a regular basis!

DFB Podcast Episode 3

We’re excited to finally announce the third episode of the DFB Podcast, which you can download now!

Thanks to everyone who’s listening for being so generous with your time, comments, and support!

In this episode, we share Disney Food News, answer listener questions, reveal our trivia winner from last week (and ask a new trivia question), and discuss non-buffet character meals in Disney World and Disneyland!

Click here to go to the Podcast page for Episode 3. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSS or on iTunes!

On To The Round-Up

DisneyCaribbeanBeach.com shares the recipe for Poolside Lemonade – a fave cocktail at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.

disZine shares how to get free cupcakes when Sprinkle Cupcakes helps promote DreamWorks’ upcoming dramedy, People Like Us!

Main Street Gazette enjoys the groovy Tie Dye cheesecake at Pop Century’s Everything Pop food court.

Daveland goes back to Disneyland’s Plantation House where fried chicken was the specialty.

Walt Disney World for Grown-Ups finds beer, wine, and mixers at the WDW value resorts.

Studios Central previews snacks in R2-D2 containers for the 2012 Star Wars Weekends.

Disney Wedding Podcast chats with AJ about incorporating Disney food into a wedding reception or other catered event.

Wesh.com shares DFB tips on celebrating your special occasions at a Disney restaurant.

All Fare’s Food Blog reviews the Animal Kingdom’s Flame Tree Barbecue!

Best Disney Fried Chicken

I can’t believe I haven’t done a best fried chicken post, yet, but maybe that’s because I was subconsciously waiting until I got the chance to try the fried chicken wonderfulness at The Plaza Inn in Disneyland!

Whatever the reason, it’s time to jump into a big vat of fatty, greasy flavor today on the DFB!!!! Let’s talk chicken-that-is-fried!!! Here are three of my very favorite Disney fried chicken versions. Let me know your favorites in the comments section so I can try ‘em!

The Best Fried Chicken at Walt Disney World

50’s Prime Time Cafe Fried Chicken, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney World

Aunt Liz’s Golden Fried Chicken at 50’s Prime Time Cafe has always been one of my favorite meals in Disney World.

It’s served with mashed potatoes, gravy, and southern greens, but if you’re like me and know you won’t eat the greens, it’s best to substitute beans or something else you will eat. Don’t want to end up standing in the corner for not eating your veggies, do you? ;-)

Aunt Liz’s Golden Fried chicken

A large portion, this one, so don’t forget to come prepared with an empty stomach! And if you’d rather try a bit of this along with some of the restaurant’s other two signature dishes — pot roast and meatloaf — get the 50’s Prime Time Cafe sampler platter!

Plaza Inn Fried Chicken, Disneyland Park

Yep, I’ve been told that the Plaza Inn Fried Chicken is wonderful and indeed it is! The Plaza Inn has been touting this chicken as its specialty for years, and there’s good reason.

Plaza Inn Fried Chicken

Plaza Inn is a table-service character restaurant for breakfast, but turns into a counter-service “cafeteria” spot for lunch and dinner. Just walk in and find the fried chicken station, then [Read more…]

Review: Disneyland’s Plaza Inn (Fried Chicken!)

One of Disneyland’s most coveted meals is the fantastic fried chicken at the Plaza Inn on the corner of Main Street and Tomorrowland!

Atmosphere

While this location is a table-service character buffet (serving Breakfast With Minnie and Friends) in the morning, it switches to a counter service buffet in the afternoon and evening.

entrance sign

Plaza Inn entrance

Guests are greeted at the door by a large buffet and an ornate dining room full of velvet curtains, crystal chandeliers, and the kind of opulence you’re not used to seeing at a [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: October 30, 2011

Halloween Themed Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich

Happy Halloween weekend! Let’s skip the tricks and get right to the treats — beer, food, wine, candy, and appetizers are all in the news this week.

And don’t forget to stop by the Main Street Bakery to get your homemade ice cream cookie sandwich on their specialty Halloween cookies! :-) Here we go…

Latest Disney Food News

Read on for this week’s Disney Food news highlights!

Find more Disney news on our Disney News Pin Board, updated regularly with Disney Food News both big and small!

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Updates

We’ve passed the midway point of the festival, but there’s still a LOT of eating to do! Here are a few ways to stay up to date:

Stay tuned to our continuing coverage of the Epcot Food & Wine Festival over on our Epcot Food & Wine Festival Pages!

Review of The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining e-Book

The Disney Food Blog’s Guide to Dining in Walt Disney World features 250 full-color pages of information, planning suggestions, tips, and details about eating in Disney World.

According to The Clothspring, “The money saving advice in this book pays for itself! You get insider tips and expert advice on food in Disney. Author AJ Wolfe, also author of the Disney Food Blog, has compiled the best, easiest to follow guide on Disney food you will find on the market.”

Read the rest of the review here!

Before planning YOUR Disney World trip, order your copy here!

On to the Round-Up!

DisZine features an awesome Halloween sale at the Swan and Dolphin Resort in Walt Disney World! Book now for several months out and get an added “treat!”

WESH.com features some delicious pumpkin-y goodness in an article about Disney World Halloween Treats and Tips (by yours truly!!)

Eating (and Drinking) Around the World takes us on a fun tour of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

Cinderella's Carriage at Dallas Arboretum Pumpkin Patch

The Dallas Arboretum highlights their 2011 fairytale theme in the pumpkin patch. Check out the amazing Cinderella’s Pumpkin Village.

Main Street Gazette samples an old-fashioned candy apple at Candy Cauldron in Downtown Disney!

AllEars.Net shares Deb’s bits and bites from her last WDW trip! Find out Deb’s faves and not so favorite eats! Don’t forget to take the AllEars 2011 Food and Wine Festival survey here.

WDWRadio has us craving fried chicken with this recipe for Buttermilk Fried Chicken from the Pop Century Resort!

Disney by Mark reviews the September 30 Xante Mixology seminar at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

Disney Parks Blog has a great video about a new dish at Remy on the Disney Dream: