Review: Brand New Artisan Macaroni and Cheese (and Caramel Apple Shake) at Min & Bill’s Dockside Diner in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

We’ve got some brand new, hot-off-the-presses food news for you today from Min & Bill’s Dockside Diner in Hollywood Studios!

Longtime home to the Frankfurter in a Pretzel Roll and Italian Sausage in a Bread Roll, there have been a few updates to the menu over the last couple years at Min and Bill’s. There are rotating seasonal shakes, the Jumbo Turkey Leg, and we were even able to get those fun bread cones here for a while.

But now they’ve added even more to the menu with the recent arrival of two brand new artisan Macaroni & Cheese dishes: Barbecued Pulled Pork and Buffalo Chicken Macaroni & Cheese. And I do mean brand new… these just hit the scene yesterday, folks! So, let’s get to it…

Min and Bill's Dockside Diner

Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner

These are very similar to the mac and cheese dishes served at Friar’s Nook in the Magic Kingdom, but they’re not EXACTLY the same. There are two new flavors to try!

Barbecued Pulled Pork Macaroni & Cheese and Buffalo Chicken Macaroni & Cheese

Barbecued Pulled Pork Macaroni & Cheese and Buffalo Chicken Macaroni & Cheese

You’ll spot them on the featured items sign, right under the Frankfurter and Italian Sausage (yep, they’re still on the menu — whew!).

Min and Bill's featured items

Min and Bill’s featured items

Min & Bill's full menu

Min & Bill’s full menu

You all know me well enough by now — it should come as no surprise that I was especially stoked about the combo of two of my very favorite foods on EARTH: Mac and cheese AND Buffalo chicken! If ever anything had “We made this for you, AJ” written on it, it would be this. So I dove into the Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese with Crumbled Blue Cheese right away.

But first, I took a good look at it, and I invite you to do the same…

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

The Buffalo chicken looks really strange, right? Frankly, it’s almost off-putting. And as a result, I wasn’t wild about it from the get-go. T

he blue cheese was VERY blue, and very strong, while the Buffalo chicken was kind of watery and weird.

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

It was spicy, at least, so that was good. But overall, it was not really a winner for this Buffalo, NY-raised girl. It seemed like the mac and cheese and the Buffalo chicken were two dishes that needed to be eaten separately. They didn’t go well together at all. Total bummer.

The Barbecued Pulled Pork Macaroni and Cheese, on the other hand, had everything [Read more…]

Disney Recipe: Macaroni and Cheese from Jiko at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

I have a super special treat for you today!

I know I’m not the only person in love with the Macaroni and Cheese at Jiko, right? This signature restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge — and this dish in particular! — regularly tops my list when I’m visiting Disney World.

And when you run into me having dinner here, chances are better than great that I’ll be enjoying their Oak-Grilled Filet with a side of their amazing Mac and Cheese.

While the filet is a mainstay on their menu, the side dishes that it’s paired with tend to change up regularly. But Jiko created a legend with the filet and cheesy goodness combo; it had legions of fans! So normally, even if the mac and cheese isn’t on the menu, you can request it.

Oak Grilled Filet with Mac and Cheese

Oak Grilled Filet with Mac and Cheese

And now you can make it at home too!

Jiko’s Macaroni and Cheese

Jiko — The Cooking Place, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients: [Read more…]

Review: Seafood Macaroni & Cheese and Chicken Pot Pie at Columbia Harbour House

There are two new menu items at Magic Kingdom’s Columbia Harbour House that I knew I had to check out the minute I heard about them.

Available for dinner only, Seafood Macaroni and Cheese and Chicken Pot Pie are currently available for guests starting at 4:00 p.m. (We know this because we went at 11 to get them, and, alas.)

While Resort Counter Service and Table Service Restaurants often have varying menus for lunch and dinner, it’s pretty rare for Counter Service locations in the parks; so it’s always interesting to see the menu options expand later in the day.

While Columbia Harbour House remains home to many favorites, including the Anchors Aweigh and Lighthouse sandwiches, Vegetarian Chili, and good ol’ Chicken and Fish Platters, it’s great to see these menu additions.

Columbia Harbour House dinner menu

Columbia Harbour House dinner menu

Fans of the Lobster Roll should know that it remains on the Lunch Menu.

Atmosphere

My favorite thing to do after receiving my order at Columbia Harbour House is to check out the upstairs seating situation, because it’s usually pretty awesome. While most guests grab a spot downstairs, the upstairs seating is often a haven of sorts. This day was no exception. Check it out…

Columbia Harbour House upstairs

Columbia Harbour House upstairs

I love everything from the cozy wood to the soft lighting, to the windows all around the outer edges looking out over the people below.

Columbia Harbour House upstairs

Columbia Harbour House upstairs

Columbia Harbour House upstairs

Columbia Harbour House upstairs

You can see lots of photos of the Columbia Harbour House atmosphere, ordering areas, and more in this post!

Eats

But there was new food in front of me, and you know the drill… so here we go!

The Seafood Macaroni and Cheese, is a generous portion topped with shrimp and lobster, and sprinkled with panko crumbs.

Seafood Macaroni and Cheese

Seafood Macaroni and Cheese

First off, the portion is GIGANTIC. You can tell this is a hefty dish the minute you pick up your weighty tray – two people could easily make a shared meal out of this.

Though the shrimp appeared a little pallid and underdone, the lobster made up for that for me (I should note, though, that I’m not into shrimp, so the lobster was my main draw).

Closeup of lobster and shrimp

Closeup of lobster and shrimp

The macaroni and cheese reminded me of the way it’s currently served at Friar’s Nook – it’s as though they’ve [Read more…]

Review: Pot Roast Macaroni and Cheese at Friar’s Nook in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

When the menu at Friar’s Nook received a New Year’s makeover, Mac & Cheese-loving hearts went all aflutter over the spins on this classic comfort food.

Bacon Cheeseburger Macaroni and Cheese debuted alongside of Blue Cheese Macaroni and Cheese with Balsamic (and a more traditional take topped with Panko crumbs arrived as well).

So, changes at Friar’s Nook aren’t entirely unexpected, but we have to admit that we were a little surprised to spot another one so soon: The Blue Cheese Macaroni was recently replaced on the menu with Pot Roast Macaroni and Cheese.

So, prepare yourself for a bowl of comfort food topped with hearty helping of… MORE comfort food!

Friar's Nook Menu

Friar’s Nook Menu

Pot Roast Macaroni and Cheese

Pot Roast Macaroni and Cheese

The first thing I noticed was the topping on this dish is less involved than its counterpart, the Bacon Cheeseburger Mac & Cheese. Where the Bacon Cheeseburger Mac is topped with ground beef, bacon, lettuce and tomato, the Pot Roast Mac & Cheese is topped with simply that: a pile of pot roast on top of the macaroni.

Pot Roast on the top

Pot Roast on the top

Things started out great: the pot roast was very well-prepared. Tender and juicy — and mine had very little in the way of fat. OK, not that that’s huge concern when you’re eating beef-covered mac and cheese ;), but my point is, the meat was really good, and actually  tasted homemade.

Pot Roast closeup

Pot Roast closeup

Pot Roast closeup

Pot Roast closeup

The second component is, of course, the Mac & Cheese. There is even more cheese to this mac & cheese than the name implies. For those accustomed to the mac & cheese found at buffets around Disney property, or commonly offered as a Kids’ option, there seems to be more shredded cheese in addition to the melted cheese sauce that we’re used to.

Mac & Cheese underneath Pot Roast

Mac & Cheese underneath Pot Roast

Extra cheesy mac!

Extra cheesy mac!

While the flavor is outstanding, and the cheese tasted great with the pot roast, the extra cheese lends a heaviness to this dish that [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: May 6, 2014

Today we’re talking everything from Mac & Cheese to Mine Trains, and from slushes to steins. Please join us for another trip around the World to see What’s New!

Magic Kingdom

Friar’s Nook made waves around New Year’s when the menu changed to feature some very unique styles of Macaroni and Cheese, while hot dogs remained available as a choice. Well, they’ve been brought together in the form of a Truffle Macaroni & Cheese Dog.

Friar's Nook Menu

Friar’s Nook Menu

Why not, right? They had all the ingredients handy since they introduced all that Mac & Cheese goodness to the menu, and it’s always a lovely thing to find more Mac & Cheese Hot Dogs available at Disney World!

The Omnipresent Macaroni and Cheese Hot Dog

The Omnipresent Macaroni and Cheese Hot Dog

But something a bit more unexpected has also arrived: Pot Roast Macaroni & Cheese has replaced the Blue Cheese Macaroni and Cheese with Balsamic (whaaaat…?!?).

Pot Roast Mac & Cheese at Friar's Nook

Pot Roast Mac & Cheese at Friar’s Nook

Soooo, what’s it like? Stay tuned for our review!

Pinocchio Village Haus has reopened since its refurbishment. This Magic Kingdom Counter Service restaurant is known for its many rooms with beautiful artwork honoring the film Pinocchio, and it appears the refurbishment was just a general spruce-up with no major changes.

Pinocchio Village Haus

Pinocchio Village Haus

The entrée menu continues to feature flatbreads, and there are only small changes to report.

Pinocchio Village Haus Menu

Pinocchio Village Haus Menu

Those changes are found on the back of the menu: Lemonade Slush and Blue Raspberry Slush have replaced Pinocchio Punch (though you can find the same beverage at Sunshine Tree Terrace: All-Natural Lemonade with Wildberry Foam).

Lemonade and Blue Raspberry Slush

Lemonade and Blue Raspberry Slush

No sign of that Jiminy Cricket’s Slush, either, but the Slushes here do tend to change with some frequency, so we’ll see if Pinocchio’s conscience makes a return one of these days…

Liberty Square Market often reveals some surprises in the small signs around the registers in addition to the more permanent offerings listed on the hanging menu. While this snack stand has had Slushes available for a long time, on my most recent visit they were also offered in the souvenir Horseman’s Stein.

Additional items available at Liberty Square Market

Additional items available at Liberty Square Market

The stein itself has been available at Sleepy Hollow, but this was the first time I’d noticed it here. I adore anything to do with the old Ichabod Crane and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow film, so seeing this piece in other places makes me smile.

Horseman's Stein

Horseman’s Stein

Sing it with me! “He’s the new school master! What’s his name? Ichabod! Ichabo-od Craaaaaane!”

Horseman's Stein

Horseman’s Stein

There’s one more spot where you can grab a Mickey Kitchen Sink Sundae (affectionately known here on the DFB as the “Mickey Pants Sundae”). This sign was spotted at the check-in counter for the Plaza Restaurant.

Mickey Kitchen Sink Sundae

Mickey Kitchen Sink Sundae

While these aren’t limited to the Magic Kingdom, the Main Street Emporium is the first place we first got to see the new line Princess and Villain mugs. On a more recent visit, we spied the remainder of the collection! Here is the Cinderella mug

Cinderella Mug

Cinderella Mug

Cinderella Mug

Cinderella Mug

… and while the general design differs, we thought you might like to see the new Maleficent and Evil Queen mugs, too!

Front AND Back of Maleficent mug

Front AND Back of Maleficent mug

Evil Queen Mug

Evil Queen Mug

And among all these small changes, we sure can’t ignore the biggest change of all! The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Roller Coaster was dedicated in New Fantasyland on May 2nd, with the official opening date for the public announced for May 28th.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios is preparing for Star Wars Weekends 2014 beginning on May 16, and two all-new Star Wars Character Meals have already made their debut in advance of the celebration!

Breakfast is being served at Sci-Fi Dine-In with Darth Vader and some of his fellow Dark Siders at the Star Wars Galactic Dine In.

Star Wars Galactic Dine In sign

Star Wars Galactic Dine In sign

While over at Hollywood and Vine, Jedi Mickey and pals joined guests for dinner at Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine! Check out our full review of this special event!

Jedi Mickey!!!!

Jedi Mickey!!!!

Ewok Chip and Dale welcome you!

Ewok Chip and Dale welcome you!

Even with all this going on, Hollywood Studios has still managed to remember [Read more…]

Disney Recipe: Gratin de Macaroni from Les Chefs de France in Epcot

Macaroni and Cheese — that glorious food that is both side dish and main dish.

But one of my favorite grown up versions is the baked Gratin de Macaroni at Les Chefs de France in Epcot’s France Pavilion.

The dish is so well loved that it’s even made its way onto the menu over the years for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival in the France Marketplace Booth. Will it make the cut for the 2014 Food and Wine Festival? Only time will tell!

But for the mac and cheese lover, this dish has everything! Sharp, tangy Gruyère cheese, golden crust, and it’s plenty big enough to share — if you want to! (Confession: Usually I don’t want to.)

But what are you to do if your next advance dining reservation for this wonderful spot is months off, and you’re craving some of this awesomeness, like, yesterday???

Gratin de Macaroni at Les Chefs de France

Gratin de Macaroni at Les Chefs de France

Why, make it at home, of course! Because with this recipe, the cheesy power is in your hands.

Gratin de Macaroni

Les Chefs de France

Ingredients: [Read more…]

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…]

Guest Review: New Earl of Sandwich Macaroni and Cheese!

Welcome DFB guest author Jenna G. as she tells us all about the brand new Winter Special at Earl of Sandwich in Disney World’s Downtown Disney — Mac and Cheese!

For those of us braving the wintry weather in most of the country, there are some new cozy comfort foods at Earl of Sandwich that may make us all feel better!

Check out these Earl of Sandwich Winter Time Specials, available for a limited time only.

We tried the macaroni and cheese, which was medium in size and was a sharable snack between two.

Winter Time Specials -- Get 'Em While You Can!

As a connoisseur of great Walt Disney World macaroni and cheese (my favorite being the Truffle Mac & Cheese from Yachtsman Steakhouse) I will say that this wasn’t the best mac ‘n’ cheese. But I can easily see it being a favorite with children.

Macaroni and Cheese

For the price of $3.99, it provides great value and [Read more…]

Guest Review: Sunshine Seasons in Epcot

Please welcome guest author Sarah Gurung as she explores Sunshine Seasons in Epcot’s Future World.

When touring the Disney parks, my family tends to gravitate to the same dining locations. But over the years, I’ve come to crave foods that are a little more unusual than the hamburgers and chicken fingers we have always enjoyed.

At Epcot, Sunshine Seasons offers fresh and unique dishes that appeal to a wide range of palates. For this reason, I all but insisted that we stop for lunch at Sunshine Seasons food court during our visit last month.

Atmosphere

Sunshine Seasons is a quick service dining location in The Land pavilion beneath a massive glass roof where sunshine streams through (and, as we found, thunderstorms roar through!).

Here you also find the Living With the Land, and Soarin’ attractions as well as Garden Grill restaurant. Many of the foods grown in the gardens featured in Living With the Land end up in Sunshine Seasons and Garden Grill dishes!

Sunshine Seasons

Sunshine Seasons is organized like a typical food court with different food stations specializing in a variety of foods, a beverage bar, and grab-and-go options.

The food stations include The Grill, Soup & Salad, Asian Noodles, Sandwiches, The Bakery, and Breakfast.

Menu Board

Beverage Area

Each food station features creative flavor combinations [Read more…]

Review: Disney World’s Flying Fish Cafe

Ah, yes — I get to write about one of my very favorite restaurants in Disney World today!! Flying Fish Cafe is located on Disney’s Boardwalk in Walt Disney World, right next to the back entrance of the Boardwalk Inn.

The entrance is adorned with a giant neon sign complete with flying fish! You can’t miss it. ;-) And once inside, you’ll be treated to whimsical decor, an incredible seasonal menu, and an awesome view of Chef Tim Keating’s open kitchen.

Atmosphere

I think this restaurant is the perfect mix of Disney magic and star-quality food. Plus, the place is just fun to look at. There are shiny things and smooth things and fun things and colorful things all around you when you walk in. Don’t miss the jumping fire at the grills in the open kitchen!

Flying Fish Chef's Counter

From the parachuting fish on the ceiling to the colorful circus-themed mural on the walls there’s always something you missed the last time you were there. And let’s not even start talking about the draped “circus-tent” room in the back of the restaurant where you get to eat if you’re really, really lucky!

Flying Fish Cafe Tables and Murals

Parachutes and Flying Fish

Can you see the hidden Mickey in this mural? I know, I know — I point it out all the time, but I [Read more…]