Review: Epcot After Hours Wind Down Event at La Cava del Tequila

Welcome to Epcot, After Hours! The Epcot After Hours Wind Down event kicked off on Thursday, April 17, at 9:20 pm (immediately following “IllumiNations”).

Illuminations Torch

Illuminations Torch

This 21-and-over event features small plates and drinks at the guest’s choice of four restaurants on select evenings: Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room, Spice Road Table, Tutto Gusto, and La Cava del Tequila.

When we announced this event a couple of weeks ago, we got a LOT of diverse points of view in the comments from our readers. Many were concerned that the price for the event ($35) was too high. Others were excited for the opportunity to stay in Epcot after hours, enjoying one of their favorite — often crowded — hot spots!

I attended the Wind Down at La Cava del Tequila in Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion. Let’s see how it went!

Mexico Pavilion After Hours

Mexico Pavilion After Hours

I’ll start with a rundown of my food and beverage experience specific to La Cava, and then we’ll talk about the event itself — what’s good and what could use some improvement. There’s a lot to share, so let’s dive in.

La Cava del Tequila

La Cava del Tequila

La Cava del Tequila

A group of about 10-12 guests gathered for the evening. Walking into an adults-only situation was a refreshing experience — granted, that’s something you typically have at La Cava, but there was a bit of a different feel.

Some of that had to do with the settings in front of us: a tequila flight, a small vodka shot (to “open” our senses, as we learned later), and a Mezcal tequila shot, along with a small bottle of water.

Tequila Flight

Tequila Flight

The lights were up a bit, too, for what we were about to experience. With the covers over our glasses, we all knew to wait to begin (which gave us a nice opportunity to meet the folks around us).

Covered Glass of Tequila Blanco

Covered Glass of Tequila Blanco

We soon found out that we were going to experience something truly unique: a tequila tasting led by Hilda Castillo. This is similar to what was done during the first Food and Wine Festival tequila tasting events, for those of you who have been.

Hilda combines knowledge, passion, and fun to help you feel comfortable and appreciate more of what you’re tasting.

Hilda, Tequila Ambassador

Hilda, Tequila Ambassador

The walls of La Cava are a classroom of sorts, and Hilda showed us how the wall mural displays the tequila process.

La Cava Wall Mural

La Cava Wall Mural

La Cava Wall Mural

La Cava Wall Mural

La Cava Wall Mural

La Cava Wall Mural

With her guidance, we experienced the characteristics of each tequila through color, aroma, and taste: an incredibly strong (I mean, WOW!) Blanco (White tequila), a Reposado (Rested tequila), and an Anejo (Aged tequila).

Because I am no Hilda (though I would like to be when I grow up!), I’ll offer these descriptions below that were provided at our settings.

Tequila Blanco description

Tequila Blanco description

Tequila Reposada description

Tequila Reposado description

Tequila Anejo description

Tequila Anejo description

With every visit to La Cava, I feel a little more comfortable with the world of tequila, because someone is always willing to share their knowledge with you. But I am [Read more…]

News!! Epcot Introduces “After Hours Wind Down!” Booking Open Now!

Update: We’ve added some additional menu information for Spice Road Table and Tutto Gusto, in addition to the La Cava del Tequila menu!

We have got BIG news for you today out of Epcot!

We all love sampling and drinking our way around Epcot’s World Showcase, right? Well, things just got a little more interesting on that front, with the introduction of After Hours Wind Down!

Evening at Epcot is Extra Magical!

Evening at Epcot is Extra Magical!

Epcot After Hours Wind Down!

After you enjoy Illuminations over World Showcase Lagoon (yep — AFTER the park closes!), purchase a ticket and choose from four of World Showcase’s hottest spots for drinks and small plates! (We’ve got a sample menu for you at the bottom of this post, so keep reading!)

Tickets are available today for dates starting Thursday, April 17, and running through mid-September on select nights.

Choose from the following spots in Epcot:

Chips and queso at Cava del Tequila

Chips and queso at Cava del Tequila

This is a hard ticketed event. The price for admission to Epcot After Hours Wind Down is [Read more…]

Six Secret Disney Dining Deals

Everyone’s looking to save money and to wring just a little bit more enjoyment out of their Disney dollars. We’re right there with you!

Six Secret Disney Dining Deals

So today, we’re bringing you the details on some of our favorite Disney Dining Deals!

These little-known tricks and tips could save you big on your next Disney World vacation, so let’s get planning!

Prix-Fixe Menus

One of my favorite ways to save a little dough around Disney World is by taking advantage of Prix-Fixe Meals — specialty multi-course menus that let you choose from a variety of the restaurant’s popular dishes for a discounted price.  While you’ll find them here and there in a number of places, lots of Epcot World Showcase restaurants offer them.

For real savings, check out the prix-fixe offering at Les Chefs de France in the France Pavilion.

This beautiful spot is one of my favorite places to dine in all of Disney World anyway, so saving money is a great perk.

Les Chefs de France in Epcot

Les Chefs de France in Epcot

Prix-Fixe Menu at Les Chefs de France -- Click to Enlarge

Prix-Fixe Menu at Les Chefs de France — Click to Enlarge

When you compare the price with the a la carte prices for each item, you can really see the savings!

Appetizers -- Click to Enlarge

Appetizers — Click to Enlarge

Entrees -- Click to Enlarge

Entrees — Click to Enlarge

With desserts set at $8.99, that’s a $7 savings!

Enjoy fan favorites, like Bisque de Homard and the Croque Monsieur. And you have your pick of dessert! We love the Profiteroles here!

Save Room for the Profiteroles!

We Pick Profiteroles!

The savings are a little slimmer at [Read more…]

Top 5 Ways to Get Your Veggies at Walt Disney World

I  know, I know. It’s the new year and you’re really trying to fit in your five servings of fruit and veggies every day, right? Well, I’m here to help you stick to that goal — even when you’re vacationing in Disney World!

Here are my top 5 ways to get my veggie servings in Disney World… . Don’t forget to take notes.

Jalapeño, Avocado, and Cucumber Margaritas at La Cava del Tequila

One of my favorite ways to get my veggies comes with a healthy dose of tequila. That’s right, Friends. We’re heading to Mexico — in Epcot, that is — to La Cava del Tequila.

Seating in La Cava del Tequila

La Cava del Tequila in Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion

Because that’s where you can get some of the green stuff via their Handmade Margaritas. (Yep, that’s right. None of that pre-made, swirling in the slushie machine stuff for you here.)

The Avacado Margarita is one of our favorites!

Avocado Margarita in Epcot's Mexico

Avocado Margarita in Epcot’s Mexico

If you like a teensy bit of zip, go for the Jalapeño Margarita, which features tiny pieces of the peppers right in the mix.

Jalapeno Margarita at La Cava del Tequila

Jalapeño Margarita at La Cava del Tequila

Another refreshing option is the Cucumber Margarita.

cucumber margarita

Cucumber Margarita

Fans of this unusual choice swear by it. It’s like a spa treatment in a glass! With tequila!

Pizza at Via Napoli

Savvy parents have been sneaking veggies into stubborn kids’ food since the dawn of the food pyramid, I figure. And now, I think we should take a page from their book and visit Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion. Because who doesn’t love Pizza?

You guys — you know I think their pizza is totes the BEST. Ever. But hey, who says the best ever can’t have a few healthy benefits?

On our last visit, we tried several pies, including the luxurious Pizza Carciofi. Doesn’t “Artichoke” sound so much more appealing in Italian? This gorgeous pie also features Truffle Oil. So that’s got to count for a serving too, I’m thinking.

Pizza Carciofi

Pizza Carciofi at Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion

Or you can skip the pizza and have your [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Pub Grub!

We just shared our favorite Disney Pub Grub with you on Tuesday, and I thought it would be fun to check in with our DFB reader/photographers to see what they’re snapping these days!

It’s always so fun to flip through the fantastic photos that our members post on the Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza, our Flickr group. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, head over there! We think a virtual trip to Disney is a great way to take a break from your busy day. :-)

Let’s take a trip to some of our favorite Disney watering holes today for our latest installment in our Disney Food Pics of the Week Series!

Tri-Tip Sliders from Cove Bar in California Adventure Park

Cove Bar in Disney California Adventure is a great place to take a load off while you enjoy water views and a spot of shade. And while you quench your thirst with specialty cocktails or craft beers, you can also answer your hunger with some fancy apps, like Tri-Tip Sliders. Yum!

Photographer: Hilary_JW

Tri-Tip Sliders from Cove Bar

Tri-Tip Sliders from Cove Bar

Breads and Dips from Tambu Lounge in Disney’s Polynesian Resort

Who can resist ducking into Tambu Lounge at Disney’s Polynesian Resort? This open airy lounge is a terrific spot to wait for your table at nearby ‘Ohana while you nurse a world-famous Lapu Lapu! It’s one of my favorite First Day Traditions.

And don’t forget — it’s just a monorail ride away from Magic Kingdom, so it’s a great place to relax with a basket of Breads and Dips with your island-inspired drinks.

Photographer: DVC Mom

Breads and Dips from Tambu Lounge

Breads and Dips from Tambu Lounge

Chips and Queso Blanco at La Cava Del Tequila in Epcot

But no Disney pub crawl is complete without [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…]

What Should I Do in Epcot on a Kid-Free Night?

Check out this great DFB reader question we received a while back!:

I am traveling to Orlando on business and will be in Epcot for one evening. What would you suggest that I do with this rare dining opportunity? Normally, my family accompanies me on this trip, but this year, I’m looking forward to a kid-free night in the park!

There are TONS of great options for a kid-free night in Epcot. I’ve got a couple in mind, but I can’t wait to hear what YOU would do!

Evening at Epcot is Extra Magical!

But also, as much as we all love our families, it’s fun sometimes to have a little grown up time in the parks.

And if you’re a parent who hasn’t had a chance to do that, we still bet that you’ve got a couple of great suggestions dreamed up just in case! So share your suggestions for a dream night in Epcot in the comments section below!

As for what I would do? After about six rides in a row on Maelstrom, Spaceship Earth, Soarin’, and Test Track in a row, here’s what I’m thinking food-wise…

Tutto Gusto for Dinner

For dinner, I would choose Tutto Gusto. The wine bar, one of the newer additions to World Showcase’s Italy Pavilion, features a wonderful menu of tempting small plates — and you don’t need a reservation to dine there! Also, it’s very solo-diner friendly.

You can see a recent Tutto Gusto review right here!

One of Tutto Gusto's Cheese Boards

The atmosphere is cozy, and the [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: May 19, 2013

Woo!! We’re starting to get real details about this year’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

The Brazil Booth Returns for the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

First, we have the full line-up of Eat to the Beat Concerts (new this year — The Go-Go’s, Manhattan Transfer, Spin Doctors, and more!); AND we also know that the Scotland booth will be a new addition to the festival!

Finally, we’ve got details on a few returning Epcot Food and Wine Festival booths, like Brazil!

Here’s more news!

Disney Food News

Here’s the Disney Food News this week…

Of course, there’s more! 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 End Zone Food Court Refurbishment at All-Star Sports, the return of ‘Ohana’s sweet and sour dipping sauce at the Polynesian Resort, and Woody’s All-American Roundup at Disneyland’s Big Thunder Ranch.

Reader Finds

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

This week we’re featuring the iconic Mickey! Like this Mickey Ice Cream Bar antenna topper we got from Stacie via Instagram.

Mickey Ice Cream Bar Antenna Topper!

And Stephanie tweeted “Just tried the chocolate ganache at our hotel! Soo rich and creamy! Thx for the tip, AJ :).” You are welcome!!

Mickey Ganache Tart!

Thanks for sharing these Mickey goodies with us!

Deal of the Week! Bundle DFB Disney Dining Guides for More Savings

Check out how you can have the best Disney vacation ever…and pay even less!

DFB Guide + Snacks Bundle:
With our popular DFB Guide + Snacks Bundle, you’ll get our:

Three Great e-Books: Over 30% Off!

  • DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2013 Edition, our
  • DFB Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks, 2013 Edition, AND our
  • DFB Guide to Epcot Snacks, 2013 Edition

All for a significant discount! Learn more about the DFB Guide + Snacks Bundle here!

DFB Snack Bundle:
Already have the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining? You can still bundle for savings! Pick up our bundle of two DFB Snack Guides — Magic Kingdom and Epcot — for less.

With the DFB Snack Bundle, you’ll receive the DFB Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks e-Book and the DFB Mini-Guide to Epcot Snacks e-Book for one super-discounted price. Purchase the DFB Snack Bundle here!

Did You Purchase a Previous Edition of the DFB Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks?
Read more about our extra discounts for previous purchasers here!

For more detailed information and sample pages from The DFB Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks, head over to DFBMiniGuides.com!

On to the Round-Up!

Mickey Fix celebrates summer with a Disney California Adventure candy and cookie jar.

Cake Wrecks shares some fun sweets with characters from The Lion King, Monsters, Inc., and more!

Studios Central re-visits the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Walt Disney World for Grown Ups reviews Disney’s Magical Star cocktail.

disZine features new Vinylmation including the beloved Orange Bird!

Main Street Gazette leads us to a great cup of Kasbah coffee at the Tangierine Cafe in Epcot.

All Ears features Disney World Publishing Worldwide’s announcement for a diabetes-focused series for children. Hooray Mickey!

Disney Parks Blog highlights Woody’s All-American Roundup at Disneyland.

Coming Soon?? Personalized Glasses at La Cava del Tequila in Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion

We’ve got a fun update for you tequila fans out there!

Nestled inside the pyramid at the Mexico Pavilion in Epcot, La Cava del Tequila is one of our favorite hang-outs in Walt Disney World.

This place is well known for awesome margaritas, a relaxing atmosphere, and my very favorite queso in all the land!

And it looks like more unique fun may be on the horizon at La Cava.

This tweet from the uber-popular Epcot bar hints at a new merchandise option…

Tweet from La Cava.

Check it out!

Cheers!

Me personally? I’d rather have my personalized margarita glass, but maybe we can make this do double duty.

We’ve emailed for more info and will keep you updated on what we find out…

What do you think about purchasing a personalized glass at La Cava?

News! Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion Celebrates Cinco de Mayo with Special Menu Items

Don’t forget to swing by Epcot this week to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the Mexico pavilion. Special menu items will be offered throughout the pavilion’s restaurants from May 5-11, 2013!

Epcot's Mexico Pavilion

La Hacienda de San Angel and San Angel Inn

Menu items offered for Cinco de Mayo at La Hacienda de San Angel and San Angel Inn are noted below.

Appetizers
Cream of Chile Poblano — Chile Poblano, cilantro, onion, garlic, and Mexican cream. Garnished with tortilla strips, poblano peppers, and cream.

Chalupas de Chicharron — Corn dough topped with roasted chipotle sauce, shredded chicken, pork rind in green tomatillo sauce, fresh cheese, sour cream, and avocado.

San Angel Inn Dining Room

Entrees
Chile en Nogada — Egg battered stuffed poblano pepper with pork, almonds, raisins, apple, pineapple, cinnamon, roasted tomato, and garlic. Topped with a walnut cream sauce.

Enchiladas de Mole Poblano — Corn tortillas filled with marinated chicken. Topped with Mole Poblano sauce, sesame seeds, and Mexican cream.

Pollo Rostizado en Salsa de Mercado — Slow roasted French-chicken breast. Topped with a roasted green tomato, pine nuts, garlic, onion, and saffron sauce.

Carved Wood Tables at Hacienda de San Angel

Dessert
Camotes en Leche Condensada — Sweet potato dessert topped condensed milk. Garnished with almond brittle.

Drinks
Horchata Margarita — Horchata, a traditional Mexican beverage, is water infused with ground up rice and flavored with lime, cinnamon, and sugar. Try this unique Horchata Margarita and let us know what you think!

La Cava del Tequila

Stop by La Cava del Tequila [Read more…]