Review: “Best of the Fest” at the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Marketplace Booths!

It’s here! The 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is officially underway!

We’ve been super busy over the last couple of days, taking in low-cost demonstrations and special events. I can’t wait to share all of it with you (FYI: Parisian Breakfast = AWESOME!)!

But first, while opening weekend was a whirlwind of activity, we made it a point to check out every Marketplace Booth and try it all! It’s always our goal to do this so that YOU know which dishes are not-to-be-missed and can plan accordingly.

2013 Best of the Fest Marketplace Booth Dishes

While this “Best of” list started out a lot longer than this, we wanted to give you a breakdown of the cream of the crop — our very favorite dishes so far from the 2013 Marketplace Booths. Some of these are returning from past years, and some are brand new! Let’s go with the Best of the Fest for 2013!

Belgium: Potato and Leek Waffle with Braised Beef

Belgium features three different waffles in their lineup this year — one savory and two sweet. This Potato Leek Waffle comes with Braised Beef that reminds me of Sunday roasts.

Potato and Leek Waffle with Braised Beef

The waffle is delicious by itself — but top it with the braised beef and MELTED BUTTER!!!! and it’s heavenly!

South Korea: Kimchi Dog

We’ve been raving about the South Korea Kimchi Dog since we first sampled it at the preview event for this year’s festival. The Spicy Hot Dog (which is specially made for Epcot just for the festival!) is topped with a fresh Kimchi Slaw and drizzled with a Spicy Mustard Sauce.

Kimchi Dog with Spicy Mustard Sauce

It has a bit of a kick, but it’s [Read more…]

Snack Series: Meet Mochi in Japan

Remember that cool ice pop freezer we found a while ago in Epcot’s Japan pavilion? (Get it – cool … freezer – oh, never mind.)

Epcot Japan snack stand

The happy freezer has more than just ice pops in it these days. Meet the Mochi.

Japan snack stand freezer

Mochi is actually a Japanese version of a marshmallow, sweet and somewhat bland, but with a smooth texture and easy chew.

The product sold here is mochi ice cream — a golf-ball-sized scoop [Read more…]

New! Star Wars Light Saber Pocky

While Pocky isn’t exclusive to Walt Disney World, many guests first sample these delicious, chocolate-dipped cookie snack sticks during a tour of Epcot’s World Showcase. A stop by Mitsukoshi, the department store in Japan, is a fun diversion!

And we’ve got news! Pocky has finally joined forces with the Dark Side…and the light side. ;-) Yep – light saber Pocky is now available for those of us who need all of our food Star-Wars-ified!

Light Saber Pocky!

I love the idea of [Read more…]

New! Sushi Menu Items at Kabuki Cafe in Epcot’s Japan Pavilion

Popular for the iconic chilly treat, kakigori, the Kabuki Cafe in Epcot’s Japan pavilion has once again added a few new items to the menu!

Epcot's Kabuki Cafe

Now, sushi fans can find Temari Sushi as well as a Sushi Combo. These items replace the Spicy Tuna Roll and Tokyo Sushi at Kabuki.

New Menu

Let’s first take a look at the side items. While the Edamame Beans have survived, the Miso Soup is no longer on the menu (though you should be able to get it up at Katsura Grill, Japan’s counter-service location).

Menu - click image for larger version.

Sushi

But the big story is the updated Sushi list! Kabuki Cafe goes through menu iterations seasonally, removing several items during less busy times. But now that the Summer crowds are coming to Orlando, we all benefit from a stronger menu here — including beer, wine, and sake!

And the Sushi items qualify for a Disney Dining Plan snack credit!

We got a couple of photos from our colleague Andy Jackson at Eating (and Drinking) Around WDW of the menu items. First up, here’s the California Roll. Fresh and flavorful, this is a great one to snag as you’re wandering around the World Showcase.

California Roll at Kabuki Cafe.

Next, the new Temari Sushi. Another great snack-sized portion that will fill you up and keep you going strong on your Epcot adventures! [Read more…]

Review: “Extreme” Japanese Candy in Epcot! (Or, How I Ruined the Hotel Pipes With Pop Rocks)

Just about every veteran Disney World visitor knows to block off at least 30 minutes to wander around the black hole of awesomeness that is Mitsukoshi Department Store in Epcot’s Japan pavilion, right?

Mitsukoshi - Exterior of Store

In addition to everything else under the sun — from plush toys to bamboo to coffee mugs — Mitsukoshi offers a plethora of Japanese packaged food items!

Back in December, our fearless guest author Galloping Gourmand (a.k.a. Eric) wrote up a rad review of some more unique Japanese eats found at the store. And we all love indulging in some Pocky now and again.

But the last time I was there (spending my allotted time wandering through kimonos and Hello Kitty paraphernalia), I picked up a couple of appealing-looking packets of “extreme” candy to sample for you! :-)

Japanese Pop Rocks

The first thing I couldn’t wait to try for this “extreme” candy session was a Japanese version of Pop Rocks!

I originally picked these up to give to Heather‘s kids, but decided that you guys would totally want to experience what would obviously be a truly incredible candy adventure. So I’m doing a review instead. ;-)

Japanese Pop Rocks

For those who haven’t seen Pop Rocks before, they’re basically tiny crystals of candy that have been exposed to carbon dioxide at high pressure and allowed to cool. As a result, when they come into contact with liquid, the carbon dioxide is released making the candy pop and sizzle.

Contrary to popular belief (why?!?), nobody has actually died by eating Pop Rocks and drinking carbonated beverages (I know you were wondering). ;-)

Back of Japanese Pop Rocks

On my excursion, I picked up the Grape version and the Cola version. At least that’s what I understood them to be by looking at the excited pictures on the packets!

The packets contained the pop rocks crystals as well as little pastel candies. The pastel candies weren’t “poppy,” so I’m guessing there were there for an added sweetness? Upon trying the Pop Rocks, there were just as I’d remembered them from my kid-hood: fun and explosive without too much flavor. ;-)

Close Up Look at Contents of Japanese Pop Rocks Packets

BUT, here’s a word to the wise…

If you do have a packet of Pop Rocks (Japanese or otherwise) that you’re reviewing for a food blog about 5 minutes before you have to be checked out of your hotel room and the housekeeper is knocking on your door telling you she has to get the room ready for the next occupant, do not…I repeat DO NOT [Read more…]

Fun Find: Japanese Food Cards in Epcot

We just had an awesome review of some of the Epcot Japan pavilion’s more unique snacks, but today we’ve got something a bit different for you from the Mitsukoshi Department Store!

A while back, Heather and I were exploring the Japan pavilion when the idea struck that we must compile a portfolio of these fun, food-centric greeting cards and postcards!

Fruit Cards

First up, a few fruit-focused cards… the watermelon and pineapple ones have a little move-able, pull-out feature and wish the recipient “Happy Summer”! (Ah… seems so far away right now, doesn’t it?!)

Watermelon

Pineapple

This little monkey with a banana is kind of awesome. Must-share.

Banana

Tofu Cards

Next up — a whole series about what looks like relatively sad tofu cubes. Even the rock-star tofu cubes have a somewhat chagrined look on their faces. From my research, [Read more…]

Review: Tokyo Dining in Epcot’s Japan

Craving sushi or just need a relaxed and elegant spot for lunch or dinner? It’s time to book Tokyo Dining!

Although we have recommended Tokyo Dining a number of times as a decent spot for catching Illuminations, I’ve never posted my own review of this restaurant. So we made it a priority to head over and dig in — for the sake of the blog. ;-)

This spot is located on the second floor of the Mitsukoshi Department Store building in Epcot’s Japan, adjacent to the Hibachi-style Japanese steakhouse, Teppan Edo.

And while we know it’s a terrific place to stop by for sushi (and it’s rarely crowded), they’ve got plenty on the menu for non-seafood palates as well. Let’s take a look!

Atmosphere

Like a growing number of World Showcase restaurants, Tokyo Dining and Teppan Edo now have an outdoor check-in area for busy days. On our visit, it wasn’t that crowded; so the cast member told us to head on upstairs to check in.

Check-in Desk Outside Teppan Edo and Tokyo Dining

We were met by two very gracious Japanese cast members, signed in, and directed to wait in the lobby of the two restaurants.

The quiet, sleek, and spacious waiting area is a welcome respite from the relative activity of the theme parks. It’s very restful.

Waiting Area

Once your name is called to be seated, you’ll be directed to one of two main dining rooms at Tokyo Dining.

The first room features an on-stage sushi kitchen, where you can watch chefs as they prepare dishes for guests.

Additional Seating and Open Sushi Kitchen

The other dining room features some seriously cool indirect lighting, plus plenty of natural lighting and panoramic views of World Showcase.

Here’s a weird tip: the tables by the windows have super cushy padded chairs, while the others are less comfortable. Just an FYI…and one good reason to request a seat by the window.

Another good reason? Illuminations. Yep; you really can see the fireworks from here (albeit they can be slightly obstructed by trees or people standing on the balcony outside).

Dining Room Seating

We were here during the day, however, so I was happy to take in the views from my cushy window seat. ;-)

View From Dining Room

We had lots of items to choose from, so after taking in our surroundings, it was time to settle down and decide [Read more…]

Guest Review: Packaged Snacks at Mitsukoshi in Epcot’s Japan Pavilion

Welcome guest author Eric (aka Galloping Gourmand) with a review of traditional snacks from the Japan Pavilion in Disney World’s Epcot! And let’s give him a round of applause for going beyond our favorite Pocky sticks and trying the more unique eats too!

Tucked way in the back of the Japanese pavilion at Epcot, through the heavy doors, over the bridge, and beyond the display of toys… in the left hand wing of the back of Mitsukoshi Department Store lies a little food shop.

Mitsukoshi - Exterior of Store

Atmosphere

Most Epcot pavilions have these areas. They are often dedicated to regional foods and candies.

Most of the Japanese store is like this. You can find tea and many different candies; but tucked in the very back of the store is some of the more unusual fare.

The shelves are usually surrounded by gawkers walking by and saying “I don’t think I would eat that,” or, as one person said while I was browsing… “ewwwwwwwww.”

They said that after picking up these little guys:

Dried Crabs

Eats

But more about them later. My goal was to buy and sample some of the interesting foods and candies. A young woman who had spent some time in Japan and was browsing the food became my helpful guide. She suggested I try these:

Rice Crackers

The package calls them Iso Maki, although I couldn’t tell you if that was the actual Japanese name.

Maki is a type of sushi roll that includes seaweed nori rolled around rice. Here, it’s a rice cracker rolled with a small piece of seaweed.

The ingredient list is very short and healthy: rice, soy sauce, seaweed, sugar, and tapioca starch. With such a simple list it has to live and die by how well its flavors work together and the quality of the cracker.

You can taste each and every ingredient. The cracker is hearty and quite substantial for a rice cracker. The seaweed wrap gives it a nice light fishy flavor. When you take a bite, the fishy flavor is what you get first, then a light hint of soy sauce, followed by the slightly sweet cracker. Note: This picture was difficult to take because my cat kept trying to lick the cracker! ;-)

Rice Cracker

They were very good, but you have to like the fishy seaweed flavor, which lingers a little on your palate. And I do. In fact I liked them so much they almost derailed my taste test because I couldn’t stop snacking!

Next up was this Rice Candy. Again, a very simple ingredient list: glucose syrup, sugar, sweet rice, lemon flavor, orange flavor, and red no. 40. I’m surprised how few artificial ingredients there are in these foods compared to American ones.

It’s very mushy and sticky; to eat it you unwrap the outer wrapper and eat the inner wrapper.

Botan Rice Candy

At first the cellophane-y feel of the internal wrapper was strange, and I wondered if I had eaten it wrong; but as it dissolved it was very [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: October 28, 2012

Um…how cool are these Darth Vader s’mores?! I know I just posted about the Darth candy mold (and other super fun Star Wars and Marvel gift ideas) on Friday, but I couldn’t help showing it off again!

Darth Vader S'mores

So, in Disney Food News this week we were pleasantly surprised to discover updates to Walt Disney World’s standard bar menu found at the watering holes and restaurants throughout the parks and resorts.

We’ve also got my personal review of the new Frozen Beer in Epcot’s Japan pavilion. But there’s more to Disney than drinks… check it out!

Disney Food News

Disney World has new adult beverages, plus seasonal treats!

We’ve got additional food news (including a souvenir stein at Sleepy Hollow, new name for Fresh A-Peel in Downtown Disney, new Le Cellier dessert item, new menu item at Sci-Fi, restaurant closure updates, and LOTS more) on our Disney Food News Pin Board!

DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2012 Review!

The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2012 is our comprehensive, 300-page e-book packed with Disney Dining tips for your next vacation. Wondering if the book will help with your upcoming trip? Check out our latest review!

We’d like to thank Richard Bernato at WDW Radio for the glowing review:

I bet that no one, in or out of Walt Disney World has researched and constructed such a study as her Guide to Walt Disney World Dining.

There is virtually no aspect about Disney Dining, planning for it, paying for it, and oh by the way enjoying it, that you will be unable to find in the guide. And having the book for its advice and information will certainly be a major contributor to you and your family’s very happy and satisfying vacation.

You can read the rest of the review here, and don’t miss the DISCOUNT with code WDW Radio!

Learn more about the DFB Guide here!

DFB Food Finds

If you find a fun new food in or from Disney, share a photo with us so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds!

This week, our colleagues at Disney Hipsters shared this spooky pic of a skeleton brownie at The Mara in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge! I haven’t seen this one anywhere else!

Skeleton Brownie at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Updates

The 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is still going strong, and we’re updating our coverage daily with World Showcase booth and special event reviews, new photos, and other Festival updates!

Rose Margarita, The Opening Cocktail at Tequila Lunch

Here’s some of the latest…

Find all of the latest Epcot Food and Wine Festival News and Reviews here, and stay tuned for our take on several seminars and events around the festival.

On to the Round-Up

David Lebovitz shares his perspective on Disneyland Paris eats (including some long-awaited macarons)!

Daveland takes a look at vintage photos of coffee locations in Disneyland before there was Starbucks.

Disney History Institute visits backstage at the vintage Golden Horseshoe in Disneyland.

AKL Resort orders room service at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Main Street Gazette re-visits the 2012 Epcot Food & Wine Festival with an at-home recipe for Frozen Jim Beam Red Stag Lemonade.

Eating (and Drinking) Around the World visits the 2012 Food & Wine Classic at the WDW Swan and Dolphin.

Disney Parks Blog takes us on a behind the scenes look at the Haunted Mansion’s gingerbread house in Disneyland.

Disney Food Post Round-Up: March 4, 2012

Have you all recovered from One More Disney Day?? I hope so, as we’ve got some great food news and articles this week!

We love Disney Food news filled with the words “Free Dining!” Throw in a wine dinner (or two) and we’re really happy! ;-)

Disney Food News

Another busy news week! Here’s the latest…

  • Disney World Free Dining has been announced for dates in Fall 2012 — August and September. Currently for Disney Visa Cardholders only, but should open up to the public on Monday.
  • We’ve got a peek at some of the Cars Land food that will be available in Disneyland come this summer!
  • We’ve got the skinny on some new, exclusive Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship cocktails!
  • La Luce by Donna Scala at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort near Walt Disney World has announced a Wine Dinner for March 10, 2012.
  • Jiko at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge has announced a Wine Dinner for April 2012!
  • La Cava del Tequila is THE place for margaritas in Epcot. Stop by the Mexico pavilion bar for Margarita Mondays and other great deals! Also, we’ve got some other fun news from La Cava later today!

For more scrumptious food news, stop by our Disney Food News Pin Board, where Disney Food News is updated on a regular basis!

The DFB Mini-Guide to Epcot Snacks e-Book is Now Available!

The DFB Mini-Guide to Epcot Snacks e-Book is the fourth in our Disney Food Blog mini-guide series, created to supplement our Disney Food Blog Guide to Walt Disney World Dining e-Book.

Here you’ll find in-depth information, HUGE color photos, and first-hand reviews about classic and new-to-you Epcot snacks — in great detail!

The DFB Mini-Guide to Epcot Snacks is an instantly downloadable PDF guide with over 180 pages of information and advice on over 150 delicious snacks that you can savor in Disney World’s Epcot.

Get your copy today!

On to the Round-Up

Kevin Kidney takes us back in time to 1955 to look at the story boards for the Kelvinator — a dream kitchen with a banana bin. ;-)

Progress City USA has the latest news about a beloved snack that looks like it’s returning to Walt Disney World — the Citrus Swirl!

AllEars.Net tours Epcot’s Japan pavilion!

Main Street Gazette reviews the wines crafted for the 2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

Mousejunkies shares what it’s like to eat at WDW with a food allergy from a kid’s perspective.

Daveland gives us a glimpse of the vintage Hills Brothers Coffee House and Coffee Garden in Disneyland.

PopCenturySite.com orders room service at the Pop Century Resort.