Review: A Taste of Disney’s Hollywood Studios Sampler from Superstar Catering Food Truck

We’re back today with another fun stop in to the Disney Food Truck scene at Disney World’s (soon-to-be) Disney Springs!

Even with all the crazy happening in this corner of the World (and maybe because of it), the Food Trucks are going gangbusters.

You’ll usually find them tucked neatly into their homebase at Exposition Park beside Starbucks, although occasionally they’re dispatched to other spots. Sometimes, you’ll even find them at resorts.

But I found them right where I expected to the day we visited to check out some new eats. [Read more…]

Review: The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge

Cheers from The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge!

The Brown Derby Lounge sits just outside The Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Its reputation stems from that of the original Brown Derby Restaurant in the City of Lights — a hot spot of the 1930s and 40s where stars of the Golden Age of film came to “see and be seen.” The outdoor lounge (which was added to the Disney World location in 2013) offers a spot for walk-ups without Advance Dining Reservations to enjoy a taste along with a bit of the ambience of the signature restaurant.

The Lounge serves food along with cocktails and bar service. And with some new items added to the menu this summer, we thought it was a good time to travel back to Hollywood’s heyday with a visit to the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge.

Atmosphere

For a newer location, The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge blends so seamlessly within its surroundings that its hard to remember that it hasn’t been here all along. And, to be fair, the patio and tables HAVE been here all along, but they weren’t functioning as a lounge at the time.

Below is a shot from its opening day in October 2013.

Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge

Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge

Not much has changed in the past almost-two years, except for [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: April 5, 2015

Happy Easter! Whether you’re celebrating the beautiful Spring holiday with a luxurious meal, or you’re hunting up eggs hidden by the Easter Bunny, I hope that you’re having a relaxing Sunday.

Cinderella's Coach Egg

Cinderella’s Coach Egg

After a couple of weeks jam-packed with exciting Disney news, this week was a little more relaxed on the information front, as guests enjoyed the Spring Break Season in the Parks. Lines have been long, and we’ve seen all kinds of pop up food spots to feed hungry vacationers.

The Polynesian Village Resort has continued to take center stage at Walt Disney World this week, as the classic hotel celebrated its official grand re-opening. And of course, lines continue to be long at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto during its first preview days.

Let’s kick off this holiday Sunday by re-capping the Disney Food News from this week.

Disney Food News

Check out all the latest Disney Food News — even the stuff we don’t mention in posts on the blog! — on our Disney Food News Pin Board, including Special Holiday Events, Menu Changes, Restaurant Closure Updates, and more!

We’ve got all the latest for you, so check it out before you go.

DFB Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food — or other edible awesomeness — in or about Disney, share a photo with us on facebook or twitter so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds each Sunday!

Today, we’re featuring treats that YOU make at home!

Julia Scillieri Blake has created this beautiful Frozen-inspired cake for one lucky birthday girl!

"Frozen" Birthday Cake by Reader !

“Frozen” Birthday Cake by Reader Julia Scillieri Blake!

Kay Ray has made my mouth water with her homemade rendition of the famous Hollywood Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake! (Make your own with this handy recipe.)

A Homemade Version of the Famed Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake -- Perfect for Spring!

A Homemade Version of the Famed Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake — Perfect for Spring!

Do you have a favorite Disney Food find? Share your photos with us!

Deal of the Week: The FULLY UPDATED DFB Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks e-Book, 2015-16 Edition

Magic Kingdom Snacks are some of our favorite treats in all the World! And in fact, many of them can just about amount to a meal. And those are just a couple of the reasons we are so excited to announce that the 2015-16 Edition of The DFB Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks e-Book is now available!

To celebrate the 2015-16 launch of this important book, we have a great discount for you! Our readers can get the new guide for $3 off the purchase price for a limited time — just use code MK15 at the check-out!

It’s time to snag your copy! Here are the details.

The Disney Food Blog Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks e-Book

The DFB Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks e-Book is one of the many fun and informative Disney Dining e-Books offered by Disney Food Blog!

Now we’ve updated our best-selling DFB Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks e-Book for 2015-16 with even more great information, photos, and…yep!…snacks (about 30 more than the 2014 edition)!

Don’t Miss Out on the Best Snacks in the Magic Kingdom!

This guide is guaranteed to help you find the best snacks and treats (even mini-meals!) for your family while visiting the Magic Kingdom — or we’ll refund the purchase price. We all know that treats at Magic Kingdom are just as nostalgic as our first flight on Dumbo!

The DFB Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks e-Book includes: [Read more…]

Guest Review: The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Guest author Rebecca Dolan returns today with a restaurant review from Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Let’s join her at The Hollywood Brown Derby!

Recalling the golden days of Tinseltown, The Hollywood Brown Derby sits just beyond where Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards converge.

A replica of the once iconic California restaurant, where famous faces of the day met to see and be seen, it exudes ‘30s/’40s style. “Meet me at the Derby” and let your inner star or starlet shine.

Meet me at the Derby

Atmosphere

The restaurant is located in a Mission-style building complete with tile roof and crawling bougainvillea. The building is fairly understated, but a neon Derby sign on the roof gives it away. A long awning-covered walkway leads the way into the small check in area. It’s in here that guests get their first glimpse of the Derby’s iconic caricatures. Everyone who was anyone was represented on the walls – see how many stars you can spot.

Dining Room

Beyond the hostess desk, guests emerge from the unassuming lobby into the cavernous dining room, which feels like entering into a glamorous Hollywood club. The main floor is flanked on two sides by double rows of booths, the outer two being raised above the rest of the room.

Large art deco-esque chandeliers light the room and rich wood accents the walls. Entrants step first onto one of the overlooks, allowing a full view of their dining companions – famous or otherwise.

View of Dining Room

The constellation of stars’ caricatures continues onto these walls, from which bronze derby lamps hang over tables.

Brown Derby Decor

If you can, try to take a seat in one of the rounded booths – perfect for canoodling with your Hollywood heartthrob or generally enjoying a touch of seclusion.

Eats

The Brown Derby’s contemporary American menu isn’t lengthy, but provides a nice amount of variety. Don’t be put off by the level of detail when it comes to its descriptions; the food’s not too hoity toity. (Note: This is a two-credit restaurant on the Disney Dining Plan.)

Menu — click image for larger version

Bread service, with sea salted butter

As this is the birthplace of the Cobb salad, it felt like a must to order the appetizer size as one of our starters. It won’t look like a typical salad, however, since the lettuce and the toppings are all chopped so finely you could, no kidding, eat this salad with a spoon. The kitchen is generous with said toppings; so two people could eat this comfortably.

Cobb Salad

The lobster bisque was a bit on the salty side, and nothing too exciting. I’ll give it points for being the thickest lobster bisque I’ve ever had. Don’t expect true ravioli to be floating on top, the “ravioli” were more like little dumplings.

Lobster Bisque

The clear winner in the appetizer category was the andouille-crusted prawn, which sat on a bed of greens and grits. This dish stole this Southern gal’s heart, and I would like to lobby the restaurant for an entrée version.

The large shrimp was perfectly cooked, the greens tender, and the grits creamy. There’s only enough here for one, so don’t plan on sharing!

Andouille-crusted prawn

For the next course: [Read more…]

Our Favorite, Must-Eat Disney Cakes!

Oooooh, we’re talkin’ CAKE TODAY!!!!!

must eat disney cake

Okay, okay — so technically, National Cake Day was yesterday, apparently. But since we had so much fun with National Pie Day last week, I thought it would be awesome to start sharing some of my favorite Disney cakes. (I’m pretty shocked I haven’t done a cake post before — so much goodness to talk about!)

So here’s the deal with cake at Disney. It can take many forms… . And we’re going to include a bunch of ‘em! In honor of National Cake Day, let’s take a look at some of our favorite entries into the category of cake!

Gourmet Cake Cups at Cheshire Cafe

I recently discovered Cake Nirvana at Disney. Because, in my universe, eating cake is usually a thinly-disguised, socially acceptable way to consume as much frosting as possible.

If you’re giving me a piece of cake, I’m getting a corner piece, with as many frosting roses as possible. That’s just how I roll.

So it’s always pretty great when a bakery can get on board with the “Frosting is the Whole Point!!” perspective. And Cheshire Cafe at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom has done just exactly that.

With their beautifully themed Gourmet Cake Cups, you can choose from a Vanilla Cheshire Cake Cup or a Mad Hatter Mocha Cake Cup. Characters from Alice in Wonderland are silk-screened onto a sweet round of white fondant and top each of the cake cups. (Sometimes. Sometimes you don’t get the characters. But who cares.)

Themed Cake Cups at Cheshire Cafe

Themed Cake Cups at Cheshire Cafe

THIS is what you get when you order. Confetti cake. FROSTING. Confetti cake. FROSTING. Confetti cake. F R O S T I N G!!!!!!

Cheshire Cake Cup at Cheshire Cafe

Cheshire Cake Cup at Cheshire Cafe

Yep. That’s all frosting on top. There’s no cake there my friends. And it’s glorious. Thick, bakery buttercream that’s so sugary it’ll make you sick. LOVE!

Frosting!!

Frosting!!

I know a lot of you don’t have the love affair with frosting that I do, but for those who feel the same — you’re welcome! :-D

Butterfinger Cupcake at Starring Rolls

And how could we pay homage to cake without mentioning the original single serving cake? We are talking Disney Cupcakes, of course!

One of my favorites from way back at the beginning of the Cupcake Renaissance is still around and garnering rave reviews — the Butterfinger Cupcake at Starring Rolls Cafe!

Butterfinger Cupcake at Starring Rolls Cafe in Disney's Hollywood Studios!

Butterfinger Cupcake at Starring Rolls Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

This is one monster chocolate cupcake that you must experience to believe. Well, the cake is chocolate. And so is that incredible fudgy middle. But the pile of frosting on top is pure heavenly vanilla, topped with a crown of [Read more…]

Review: The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a little gem in the middle of a busy theme park.

When it was time to meet up with friends recently for a quiet dinner during our otherwise frenzied Epcot Food and Wine Festival trip to Disney World, I was happy when we all agreed to head there for a late night bite. While the restaurant can be a bit inconsistent (I tend to hear both good and bad reviews of this place), I’ve had good experiences on my visits.

I hoped that it would continue to measure up to the pedestal I have it on! Let’s head into that fabled dining room, home to Hollywood’s Golden Age elite, and see if it does…

Atmosphere

If you haven’t had a meal at The Brown Derby, it’s time to head on over. I waited a long time before I took in my first meal there, and once I did, I was sorry I hadn’t tried it sooner.

Your journey back in time to the Golden Age of Hollywood begins before you enter the restaurant. The grand entrance beneath the classic red awning looks like something right out of early 20th century Hollywood.

Brown Derby Entryway and Awning

And that is, of course, intentional. The Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios was inspired by the restaurant located at the famous corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street.

Sign Outside of Building

Inside the waiting area, the decor is tasteful and clean Spanish Mission, with light walls and dark wood accents. A few comfy leather club chairs might be available for your wait if you’re lucky.

You also start to glimpse the famous collection of caricatures that line walls throughout the restaurant.

Brown Derby Lobby

If you need [Read more…]

Review: “Dine with an Imagineer” Opportunity at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Finally! One of my Disney dining bucket list items has been crossed off of the list! Along with some wonderful friends, I got the chance to attend a “Dine With an Imagineer” lunch at Disney Hollywood Studios’ Hollywood Brown Derby earlier this month.

Details About Dine With an Imagineer

In case you haven’t heard of it, Dine With an Imagineer is a spectacular opportunity offered for lunch at the Hollywood Brown Derby, and for dinner (on select nights) at the Flying Fish Cafe.

Up to 10 guests get the chance to dine with a real live Walt Disney Imagineer. Your Imagineer will tell you about the work that he or she does, then answer any questions you might have about that work…or anything else that has to do with Disney Imagineering!

Place Setting and Personalized Menu

Cost per person is $60 (taxes and gratuity are added at the table), and the experience has been designed for guests aged 10 and older. You can book this event 180 days in advance, and it’s suggested that you do. It sells out quickly.

We had a gaggle of about 9 Disney fans who attended the lunch, including one VERY smart 11-year-old who had some great questions for the Imagineer. Don’t worry if your group can’t fill the room; Disney will keep taking reservations until the event is at capacity. That means you might have the chance to meet a few new Disney fans!

Now, the first question everyone asks about Dine With an Imagineer is… [Read more…]

“The Best Thing I Ever Ate at Disney!”: Desserts

I am SO excited!! Dessert!!!

Here’s the final post in our series based on the Food Network’s (very cool) show, The Best Thing I Ever Ate. As many of you know, due to some keen suggestions from readers we’re splitting our series up into different sections: breakfast, appetizers & side dishes, snacks & drinks, entrees (lunch & dinner), and desserts.

Today, we’re finallly taking a look at desserts! I’ve done my favorite brand of informal polling (i.e. posted questions on twitter and facebook ;) ) to find out others’ experiences of the “Best Thing They Ever Ate” in Disney parks and resorts.

The following are the answers received from our readers about their favorite desserts! If your favorites aren’t here, please add them in the comments section below!

Yak and Yeti Cream Cheese and Pineapple Fried Won-tons: While I haven’t had the pleasure of trying these myself, you can bet Yak and Yeti is the first place I’m going when I arrive in September! (No kidding…it’s my first ADR…even before Liberty Tree Tavern lunch, and you guys KNOW how we feel about Liberty Tree Tavern lunch!)

Yak and Yeti Fried Cream Cheese Wontons.

Dole Whip: What better dessert [Read more…]

Disney’s Hollywood Brown Derby

Note: See answers to last week’s photo quiz at the bottom of this post!

One of my new favorite restaurants on Walt Disney World property is one I’d never set foot in during all my trips to Disney World: the Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

I’d always looked at the menu and figured, “Too expensive. Too hoity-toity,” and never gave it a second thought. But since starting the Food Blog — and embarking on an adventure of eating in every Disney restaurant I could — I was excited to finally have a reason to try this place out. After all, I’ve always heard glowing reviews. And, let me tell you, they’re deserved.

Atmosphere
Disney’s Hollywood Brown Derby is a replica of the famous Vine Street Brown Derby, originally built in 1928 and home to dozens of famous Hollywood rumors and stories, including Clark Gable’s proposal to Carole Lombard in booth #5 and Lucille Ball’s dinner roll food fight. Disney World’s Brown Derby is an officially licensed Brown Derby Restaurant, and is the fifth Brown Derby Restaurant to be built.

Brown Derby History -- Click Image for Larger View

The likeness to the original restaurant is uncanny — the covered entryway, signage, dining room, and even decor are identical to the namesake. And those well-known caricatures grace [Read more…]

Grapefruit Cake Recipe From the Hollywood Brown Derby

Every Disney restaurant has some great menu items that keep guests coming back over and over again, but there are some dishes that are actually legendary.

Hollywood Brown Derby

The heyday of the original Brown Derby restaurants was the golden age of Hollywood, when Mary Pickford, Clarke Gable, Spencer Tracy, and the young starlet, Lucille Ball, among others, frequented the lush booths in the hat-shaped buildings. Disney World’s Hollywood Brown Derby is fashioned after the Hollywood Brown Derby on Vine Street (there were three other Brown Derby restaurants as well), and bears an incredible resemblance inside and out. But what I find truly fascinating about the restaurant are the stories it’s keeping alive.

One of my favorites is about Louella Parsons, who worked for William Randolph Hearst and was considered one of the most powerful gossip columnists in Hollywood for many years (to the dismay of her colleague and rival, Hedda Hopper, who often held court on the opposite side of the Derby from Parsons).

One day, Parsons complained to Derby owner Robert Cobb that all of his desserts were too fattening and requested something healthier. Cobb quickly told the chef “to put grapefruit on something, because everyone knows it’s slimming.”

Grapefruit Cake at Hollywood Brown Derby

So the chef invented his Grapefruit Cake, a dessert with multiple layers of cream cheese frosting that are anything but slimming, and it’s gone down in the history books along with [Read more…]