Liberty Tree Tavern: Design, Decor, and Delicious Dishes

It’s no secret. I love Liberty Tree Tavern. It has one of my favorite burgers, one of my favorite appetizers, and one of my favorite desserts in all of Disney World. The food is great, the service is excellent, and the atmosphere of the restaurant is delightful.

Liberty Tree Tavern

Liberty Tree Tavern

But there is a design aspect of the restaurant that is extremely compelling and that many visitors miss: each room is decorated to honor someone who was instrumental in the creation of The United States of America! The next time you head to Liberty Tree Tavern, ask your “town crier” about the particular room in which you’re being seated. Is it the one dedicated to Betsy Ross, George & Martha Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Paul Jones, or Paul Revere?

Benjamin Franklin Room

Benjamin Franklin Room

Atmosphere
Liberty Tree Tavern is located in Liberty Square in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. The building is white and columned on the outside, but full of rich Revolutionary decor on the inside. Once you’ve left your name with the front podium, you’ll wait in a huge, two-story lobby full of spindly seating, a massive cooking fireplace focal point, spice racks, and kitchen tools. Don’t forget to take a look at [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: February 21, 2010

Eat hereIt’s been a busy week, everyone! Just in case you missed them, here are a couple of headlines from the Disney Food Blog in the past few days: highlights from the Dinner:Impossible visit to Walt Disney World last week, and the options for foodies at the upcoming Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.

Also, check out Touring Plans for an analysis I did on whether Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ restaurants are a good value.

Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide reports that the preliminary list for the James Beard Award in the Best Chef Category includes Victoria and Albert’s Chef Scott Hunnel.

Orlando United shares some photos of WDW’s Crystal Palace with the refurb walls down.

DLRP Today reports that Disneyland Resort Paris’ Pizza Planet will become a Buzz Lightyear Buffet.

The Disney Chick takes you through the creation of one of my favorite Disney World desserts, Liberty Tree Tavern’s Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake.

DisneyShawn gives a peek into the imagineering of Mrs. Potts’ Cupboard and the Friar’s Nook in WDW’s Magic Kingdom.

Disney Parks Blog shares a dessert recipe from the Saratoga Springs’ Turf Club Restaurant.

AllEarsNet has a gorgeous photo-blog from Nine Dragons Restaurant in Epcot’s China.

Main Street Gazette writes about the Yakitori House in Epcot’s Japan.

DisUnplugged brings us to the Troubadour Tavern in Disneyland.

The Daily Disney from Orlando Sentinel shares a Coconut Curried Chicken Stew recipe from Boma at WDW’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Have a great week!

My Three Favorite Desserts in Disney World

You know I like to get consensus before I post a “best of” post on the Disney Food Blog, but every once in a while I have to be completely, utterly biased…and one of those times is now.

Dessert is my thing. I love it. I look forward to it at the end of every meal in Disney World. I can’t get enough of it. And I’ll order it even when I’m not hungry just to take a few bites. As a result, I’ve tried quite a few of ‘em, and want to share with you my very favorites.

By the way, I’d love to hear your favorites as well. In fact, please do comment with your favorite dessert so I don’t feel quite so guilty about monopolizing this post with all of mine.

My Three Favorite Disney Desserts

Third Favorite Dessert in Disney World: Liberty Tree Tavern’s Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake
I’ll admit this stuff looks boring. Get it out of the box, heat it up, put a bunch of sauces on it, and serve. But, friends, I gotta tell ya… it’s spectacular. Order one all for yourself. Tell your kids they can get Mickey bars outside.

Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake

Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake

Second Favorite Dessert in Disney World: ‘Ohana Bananas Foster Bread Pudding
While I miss ‘Ohana’s potatoes, and I feel the meat is often overdone, and the service has been known to be unpredictable…the dessert is always, always [Read more…]

Hidden Mickeys in Disney Restaurants

The research for this blog began when I noticed a hidden Mickey tucked into a chair at Boma during my Animal Kingdom Lodge Culinary Tour; it’s been all downhill from there! Of course, thanks to all of the Facebook fans and twitter followers who responded to my call for “food-related hidden Mickeys” back in October!

Where possible (and if necessary), I’ve tried to include a photo of the Mickey and a photo of the surrounding area so that it’s easier to find. Not possible with all, unfortunately…

Here we go:

Liberty Tree Tavern in the Magic Kingdom
This was one of my earlier findings, and it’s definitely one of my favorites. You can find it on one of the decorative wooden racks in the lobby of Liberty Tree Tavern — it’s to the right and toward the back as you walk into the lobby.

Blueberry Hidden Mickey at Liberty Tree Tavern

Blueberry Hidden Mickey at Liberty Tree Tavern

Decorative Rack Containing Blueberry Hidden Mickey

Decorative Rack Containing Blueberry Hidden Mickey

Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge
Ah, the original! I’m not sure if this even qualifies as “hidden,” but I liked it! Some chairs have it, and some chairs don’t — cross your fingers that you get a good one!

Boma Hidden Mickey in Chair

Boma Hidden Mickey in Chair

TRex in Downtown Disney
One of Disney’s newer restaurants (stay tuned for my review, coming soon!), TRex includes a moving (yep–moving) Octopus Bar. Look closely at the tentacles, and you’ll see what I saw…

Tentacle Hidden Mickey at TRex

Tentacle Hidden Mickey at TRex

A Wider Shot of the Octopus Bar for Context

A Wider Shot of the Octopus Bar for Context

Beaches and Cream at the Beach Club Resort
My Dad found this one, but was assured that it’s authentic! It was also mentioned on facebook (Thanks, Kristina!) as a fan favorite! Look up and to the right as you enter the restaurant to see this onion ring hidden Mickey in the decorative border.

Onion Ring Hidden Mickey at Beaches and Cream

Onion Ring Hidden Mickey at Beaches and Cream

Context Shot for Beaches and Cream Hidden Mickey

Context Shot for Beaches and Cream Hidden Mickey

Goofy’s Candy Company in Downtown Disney
OK, this isn’t technically a restaurant, but you can get some pretty good noms here anyway! NOTE: You can also spot this hidden Mickey in the decor around the Goofy’s Candy Company section of MouseGears in Epcot! (Psst…look closely and you’ll see even more hidden characters…)

Hidden Mickey at Goofy's Candy Company

Hidden Mickey at Goofy's Candy Company

The Rest of the Hidden Characters at Goofy's Candy Company

The Rest of the Hidden Characters at Goofy's Candy Company

Reader Favorites
Thanks again to those who answered the call! Here are some reader-suggested food-related hidden Mickeys!

@aryssabrooke from Twitter
At Behind the Seeds tour at Epcot, you can see how they make Mickey shaped pumpkins and watermelons.

@ArmandNoUsagi from Twitter
I have to say my favorite is at Teppan Edo, When the chef makes a Mickey volcano out of an onion.

Allison Palmer-Gleicher from Facebook
The bread Mickey head in Tony’s — over by the Lady and the Tramp picture behind the fountain.

Tinker Kell from Facebook
My favorite one is on the dog statue near the check-in desk at Mama Melrose’s.

Calling All Hidden Mickey Spotters!
I know for a fact that I haven’t seen nearly all of the Disney dining hidden Mickeys, so I hope you can help me out! Contact me via twitter, facebook, or email with a photo or remembrance of your favorite food-related hidden Mickey, and I’ll add it to this blog. The blog itself will be placed (with great honor) in the special posts section in the right-hand column so that you can keep tabs on the updates.

Food Post Weekly Round-Up: October 18th

backlot noticeAnother jam-packed week of Disney updates this week, including the good news that Liberty Tree Tavern will be offering character meals during the Crystal Palace refurbishment, January 3 – February 14, 2010!

Check out the links below to see more about Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival Party for the Senses, the Children’s Miracle Network Classic Wine and Dine Walk, a fun Portobello Restaurant promotion, the brand new Wine and Dine Half-Marathon, and more!

Orlando Sentinel reminds us why this year is a great year to try the Epcot Food and Wine Festival Party for the Senses. Scott Joseph Orlando also might be able to convince you with his review of a recent Party for the Senses.

The Disney Blog shares a fun promotion at Portobello Restaurant in Downtown Disney.

Disney Geek Dad highlights one of my favorite counter service restaurants, Casey’s Corner.

WDW Daily News shares the good news that the audioanimatronic of Ratatouille’s Remy will remain at Epcot’s Chefs de France.

The Disney Parks Blog shares the announcement of the new Wine & Dine Half Marathon, debuting October 1-2, 2010.

The Disney Chick walks you step-by-step through the Liberty Tree Tavern Apple Cobbler Recipe! Yum!

Theme Park Insider shares some deeelicious-looking pics of theme park barbecue, including Disneyland’s Celebration Barbecue at Big Thunder Ranch.

MousePlanet shares the details and menu for the upcoming Children’s Miracle Network Classic Wine and Dine Walk along the fairways of Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course from November 12-15, 2009. Remember that if you’re a Disney Visa Cardholder, you can get free admission to the tournament!

Liberty Tree Tavern Character Meals Available January 3-February 14, 2010

Liberty Tree TavernWDWMagic is reporting that Liberty Tree Tavern will open as a character meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner during the Crystal Palace refurbishment closure.

Character meals will be available from January 3, 2010, through February 14, 2010. Meals will be family style. Update: The characters at the meals will be Minnie, Pluto, Chip and Dale (thanks Dan!). All characters are subject to change, of course.

You can book online at DisneyWorld.com or by calling 407-WDW-DINE.

Enjoy!

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!

New Dishes at Liberty Tree Tavern (And We Tried One!)

We were over at Liberty Tree Tavern for lunch today and found out about two brand new dishes: 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, 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.

Best Restaurants for Thanksgiving at Disney World

It’s time to talk turkey!

A reader comment recently prompted me to put out the feelers for the best spots to celebrate Thanksgiving in Disney World. Not surprisingly, Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Tree Tavern was suggested by most folks who responded.

Liberty Tree Tavern, in the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square, is set up to resemble a fine patriot’s home in the 18th century.

With dark woods, vintage paintings, and even a coat and tri-cornered hat hanging by the door, you’ll feel right at home!

Liberty Tree Tavern

Now that setting might be enough to spur people to suggest Liberty Tree Tavern for Thanksgiving dinner — the atmosphere is certainly ideal for celebrating that holiday.

The (false) doorway to the Liberty Tree Tavern Home

Seating and Waiting Areas

Seating and Waiting Areas

But, the better reason to recommend it is that Liberty Tree Tavern essentially serves Thanksgiving Dinner every night! With all-you-can-eat platters of turkey, brisket, pork, mashed potatoes, stuffing, veggies, and macaroni and cheese served family style, you certainly can’t go wrong here.

Rolls and Honey Butter

Salad

Roast Pork, Turkey and Beef with Cornbread Stuffing and Chutney

Close-up - Roast Pork, Turkey and Beef

Mashed Potatoes

Carrots

Beans

Mac and Cheese

Johnny Appleseed Cake with Craisins and Ice Cream

And although the Thanksgiving-specific offerings change each year at Disney World, here’s a photo of one reader’s Liberty Tree Tavern Thanksgiving meal:

Thanksgiving Meal

Thanksgiving Meal

You can book now for Thanksgiving evening, but I haven’t yet seen any specifics of the Thanksgiving offerings at Disney World come over the airwaves. Most table-service restaurants do offer some sort of special Thanksgiving meal.

Other Suggestions
While Liberty Tree Tavern was the most-suggested restaurant, the two runners-up were Artist Point, at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort, and Germany’s Biergarten, at Epcot’s World Showcase.

Other restaurants that were mentioned include: California Grill, Crystal Palace, ‘Ohana, Le Cellier, Jiko, Cinderella’s Royal Table, Garden Grill, ESPN Zone (for the Game!), and Akershus.

Be sure to check out the other “Best Disney World Restaurants” posts in this series!

Thanks to T Holland for sharing her photo!

7 Underrated Disney World Appetizers (You’ve Gotta Try These!)

We were chatting in my house about some of our favorite Disney World appetizers and realized that we don’t hear people talk about these seven very often! Are they underrated? Simply unknown? Who knows. Either way, I want YOU to know about them, because they’re quite yummy indeed.

1. Citricos: Arancini-Crispy Risotto
This appetizer, with Italian Sausage, Quattro Formaggi, and White Truffle Aïoli, is different. And that’s what I love about it. Fried risotto. Cheese. Sausage. It’s like a little ball of comfort. I love that this is the way I begin my slow, relaxing meals at Citricos.

Citricos Arancini-Crispy Risotto

Citricos Arancini-Crispy Risotto

2. Beaches and Cream: Chili
Simple. Straightforward. The best chili on property. If you disagree, let me know your favorite!

3. Liberty Tree Tavern: Tavern Fried Cheese with Marinara Sauce
You may think these are just cheese sticks. But you’d be wrong. See those little pudgy ones on the side? Curds. Curds! DeeeLISH! There’s a completely different flavor here than your standard chain restaurant cheese sticks; at least WE think so!

Liberty Tree Tavern Fried Cheese

Liberty Tree Tavern Fried Cheese

4. Le Cellier: Spicy Chicken and Chipotle Sausage with Roasted Corn Polenta and Sweet Onion Jam
While patrons (including me!) rave about Le Cellier’s cheddar cheese soup and trio of breadsticks, we were blown away when we tried this chicken and chipotle sausage. The corn polenta adds just the right texture to compliment the sausage. It’s a meal in itself, but don’t forget you’ve still got steak coming!

Le Cellier Spicy Chicken and Chipotle Sausage with Roasted Corn Polenta

Le Cellier Spicy Chicken and Chipotle Sausage with Roasted Corn Polenta

5. Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room: Meat and Cheese Selection for Two
All you have to do is take one look at this beautiful board and you know it’s delicious. Black pudding, Stilton baked into a flaky pastry, sharp Cheddar, mushroom-infused Brie, candied walnuts, gherkin, a little pot of onions — it’s a little bit of everything. Truly, the best “cheese plate” I’ve found in Disney World to date. Pair this with a cup of the potato and leek soup, and you have an unforgettable meal. Thanks to WDWforGrownups.com for the photo!

Rose and Crown Dining Room Cheese and Meat Plate

Rose and Crown Dining Room Cheese and Meat Plate

6. ESPN Club: Patriot Clam Chowder
Liberty Tree Tavern has great clam chowder, too, but as they’re already on the list we wanted to mention our runner-up clam chowder at the ESPN Club! Brimming with clams and potatoes, we always order it with LOTS of oyster crackers…

7. California Grill: Potato Celery Soup
Unfortunately, this is seasonal. But I’m hoping it’s back next Winter! We were skeptical about California Grill until we dipped our soup spoons into this rich, flavorful, creamy soup. I wish words could explain how decadent this stuff is, but, alas, we’ll just have to hope we can fit all of the Disney Food Blog readers into a meet-and-greet at Cali Grill next February. For a hint of the recipe, check our California Grill review post.

California Grill Potato Celery Soup

California Grill Potato Celery Soup

There you have it! Our favorites, so far! Clearly we haven’t tried everything on every menu, so if you’ve got a contender, let me know by posting a comment. Thanks in advance!