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…]

Mickey’s Toontown “Restaurant Tour” at Disneyland!

Mickey’s Toontown is the perfect place to visit when you want to feel like a kid again. It’s easy to believe that you’ve been dropped right into a cartoon as you venture into this land based on Toontown in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Exploring Mickey’s and Minnie’s houses, and seeing all the cool detail, is one of my favorite things to do here!

And it’s great knowing that Toontown is still alive and kicking in Disneyland, since it went by the wayside to make room for New Fantasyland expansion in Walt Disney World.

But what if you’re looking for a bite to eat in the land of ‘toons? You’re in luck! There ain’t much to eat in Mickey’s Toontown, but what’s there sure is fun!

Toon Town Restaurants

Toon Town Restaurants

Among the wonky architecture and interactive attractions in Toontown, you’ll find an assortment of stands for grabbing a bite to eat between rides. And no worries about picky eaters — everything here is sure to please even the littlest members of your crew!

Let’s take a little tour of the counter services spots and see what they have to offer. Fortunately, they’re all nestled close together, similar to a food court – great for a family or group whose members all want something different for lunch!

Counter Service Eats in Disneyland’s Toontown

The first stop on Toontown’s Restaurant Row is Daisy’s Diner. Donald’s girlfriend serves up Pizza in two varieties — Cheese or Pepperoni. Pizzas are individually sized, and are pretty standard Disney pizzas. If you’ve eaten Disney counter service pizza anywhere else, you’ll know what to expect.

You can also get a limited assortment of drinks here — Soda-Pop, Milk, or Juice. The Souvenir Sipper is also available. We’ll see a pic of that in a sec. There are also a few desserts available as well.

Daisy's Diner

Daisy’s Diner

The next stop is Pluto’s Dog House. CUUUUUTE! ;-) I have serious love for that hotdog skewered on the fork above the window. Even the road signage out front lets you know what’s happening in this part of town.

Pluto's Dog House

Pluto’s Dog House

It probably won’t surprise you to find out that Pluto serves up Hot Dogs. Get a basket with a side of Apple Slices or Chips.

Pluto’s also features a few Kid’s Meal options, including a Kid’s Hot Dog or Turkey Sandwich, which both come with sides. There’s also a Toddler Meal featuring Macaroni and Cheese. Assorted desserts are available here, too.

In the drink department, Souvenir Sippers are also for sale here, along with the same beverage options that Daisy’s Diner features. However, you can also get Coffee, Hot Tea, and Hot Chocolate at Pluto’s — which are available in a Travel Mug.

Pluto's Dog House Menu

Pluto’s Dog House Menu

Our next stop is Clarabelle’s! Head to the awning with the cute cow spots if you’re looking for something a little fresher for lunch or dinner.

Clarabelle's

Clarabelle’s

Options include “Moo” Plate Specials (bahahahahahaha!), and you see the word [Read more…]

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Recipe: Mac n’ Cheese Bundles from Chef Carla Hall

The Epcot Food and Wine Festival has come to close, but there was one recipe that I simply couldn’t get out of my head!

DFB reporter James Armstrong had the opportunity to attend a special event — Sweet Sundays with Chef Carla Hall

Carla Hall Demonstrating Mac n' Cheese Bundles

…and she made THESE! Mac n’ Cheese Bundles!

Mac and Cheese Bundles

I’ve been dreaming of the dish ever since I read about it! And just in case you have been as well, here’s the recipe!

Mac n’ Cheese Bundles

Serves 4

Ingredients: [Read more…]

Review: 1900 Park Fare Dinner at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

Today, we’re back at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa to take in dinner at 1900 Park Fare!

You  may remember that the last time we were here, we were…nonplussed…unimpressed…frustrated…should I go on? Basically, we really didn’t have a great experience. But, as I always say, the only consistent thing about Disney restaurants is that they’re inconsistent. And some guests think this restaurant is fantastic — a great alternative to hard-to-get advance dining reservations like Cinderella’s Royal Table.

So we’re back at this character buffet for another try… . While breakfast at 1900 Park Fare left us flat, this time around we’re checking out the dinner spread and hoping for the best!

Atmosphere

You’ll find 1900 Park Fare off of the ground floor lobby of the Grand Floridian Resort. As you walk in the hotel’s front doors, the restaurant is located to your left, just past the Concierge desk.

1900 Park Fare Sign

The antique carousel decor flows with the Victorian feel that you encounter throughout the resort. While you can’t see the individual items on this menu board that’s displayed out front of the restaurant, you can definitely see the attention to detail when it comes to theme.

Menu Board Outside of 1900 Park Fare

When you first arrive and check in for your reservation (you DID make a reservation, right?), you’ll be given a pager and told to wait in the Grand Floridian lobby to be called when your table is ready. Note: this often takes A. LONG. TIME. In my experience, I’ve never been seated at this restaurant within 10 minutes of my reservation time. I’m always waiting quite a while to be called to the table. So if you’ve got little ones who are starving, bring some snacks to tide them over just in case.

Once you’re called, you’ll be told to get in line to have your picture taken with this mural. No…you’re not getting your photo taken with a character. Just with the mural. This can be a fun memory for families, but you might want to skip the pic and head straight in for your meal. Be persistent and make sure they know you don’t want to take the photo. They’re pretty serious about getting you into that line.

Trompe l'Oeil Mural Outside of 1900 Park Fare

Once you head into the massive dining room, you’re greeted with more Victorian charm in pastel shades. Even without windows, the sheer size of the dining room makes it feel airy.

There is a main area with high ceilings in front of the buffet, and some smaller dining rooms surrounding it with lower ceilings. I prefer these areas for seating, since they tend to be slightly quieter.

Dining Area

Seating itself is fairly standard, with cushioned chairs and nondescript tables.

Seating

The main dining room makes the best use of the carousel theme. There are several large statues of fantasy carousel animals situated atop half walls and surrounded by plants. You should take a moment to look at these, because they’re really beautiful.

Calliope in the Background and Carousel Horse Statue

The wall overtop the entrance to the restaurant plays host to an enormous calliope, reminiscent of the intricate musical instruments that you find on antique carousels. This [Read more…]

Guest Review: Trail’s End Restaurant at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Join me in welcoming back guest author Julie B.!

She returns with a review of Trail’s End Restaurant in the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. The journey to this restaurant is part of the experience, right?!

Howdy folks! Even though we’re on vacation, sometimes you just want the comforts of a home-cooked meal. Trail’s End Restaurant at Fort Wilderness Campground brings all the happiness of home to its dinner buffet.

Remember, this spot is a little distant from some parks and resorts. You can reach Trail’s End at Fort Wilderness by taking a boat from Magic Kingdom, Contemporary Resort, or Wilderness Lodge; or by taking a bus from any park or Downtown Disney to Fort Wilderness. Note that if you take a bus, you’ll have to transfer to the Fort Wilderness internal bus system to get to Trail’s End. (DFB recommends taking a boat if possible — so much easier.)

Trail's End Sign

Atmosphere

Trail’s End is a cute little restaurant, featuring the theme of a cabin in the woods. It blends perfectly with the campground!

Welcome Mat

The walls are adorned with the best of the outdoors and the back country. Large wooden beams finish setting the scene for your meal in the wilderness.

Holiday Decor

Dining Room

On the lower level (just down a small half-flight of stairs), Trail’s End is also home to Crockett’s Tavern.

The bar is themed the same way as the restaurant and even features a [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…]

Review: Liberty Tree Tavern Dinner

If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you’ll know how much I love Liberty Tree Tavern in the Magic Kingdom. This is one of my veeeeeeery favorite restaurants to visit for lunch, because it’s simple, good food; usually great service; quick; easy; and relatively inexpensive. It’s consistently in our top 5 Disney restaurants at our house!

But I hadn’t been for dinner in a long time. A really long time. Like, “not in over three years” kind of a long time. So one night during our recent trip to Disney World, we decided on a whim to cancel our current dinner reservation and go to Liberty Tree Tavern. My husband had never been, and I was craving some mac and cheese, so… off to Liberty Square!

Liberty Tree Tavern

Atmosphere

When you walk into Liberty Tree Tavern, you can immediately tell that it’s meant to represent colonial days. The wood paneling, candlestick sconces and chandeliers, and thick glass windows along with the absolutely massive cooking fireplace in the lobby make you feel as though you might be in Colonial Williamsburg!

Liberty Tree Tavern Lobby

Table Setting at Liberty Tree Tavern

What you don’t immediately see is some of the best restaurant Imagineering in Disney World as far as I’m concerned. I’ve done an entire post previously about this, but I’ll [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Comfort Food

We love the new pictures we’ve been receiving in the Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza! Warning: Don’t try looking at them when you’re hungry! ;-)

The Disney Food Pics of the Week this week feature Comfort Food. For a taste of home, try one of these comforting menu items!

Mom loves an excuse not to cook! This Mom’s Night Out tray from Pop Century’s Everything Pop Food Court makes a hearty meal of Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans & corn bread.
Photographer: Chrissy Field/siriusthinking

Mom's Night Out Special

Home-style meals such as Mom’s Chicken Pot Pie are available at the 50’s Prime Time Cafe in [Read more…]

Review: Jiko…A Cooking Place

Well, my food-loving friends, it’s finally time to talk about one of my very favorite restaurants in all of Walt Disney World. My husband and I spent our first Valentine’s Day at Jiko, and we’ve returned time and time again to enjoy consistently delicious meals.

Now, a few of you might be concerned that you won’t find anything on the menu that suits your taste in a restaurant that touts “African” food, but fear not; there really is something for everyone here.

Atmosphere

Jiko is located on Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge’s ground floor and features floor to ceiling windows that look out onto a beautiful and peaceful water feature. But the windows are probably the least interesting thing about this restaurant’s design, which was developed by Jeffrey Beers.

Walking into the restaurant you’ll pass a bar area to your left and see the Cape Town Wine Room directly in front of you. (Yep, that’s it behind the glass walls of wine!) Jiko serves exclusively [Read more…]

Disney Food Trends: Gourmet Mac and Cheese

Even Chef Mickey is in on the trend...

I’ve been noticing a few food trends while traipsing through Disney parks, and I think they’re important to mention — especially since they seem to be popping up on every menu re-vamp out there.

First, we gotta take a gander at good old macaroni and cheese. When I asked Disney World’s Sanaa Chef Bob Getchell about the gourmet mac and cheese trend that seems to be taking over Disney restaurants, he mentioned that chefs like to make food they themselves love; many have fond memories of mac and cheese while they were growing up, and they want to create new and improved contemporary recipes for the dish. Here are a few of our favorite versions on and around Disney property:

Yachtsman Steakhouse
Yacht Club Resort’s Yachtsman Steakhouse gets a nod due to a relatively new mac and cheese dish I found on the menu in October. Their truffle mac and cheese uses huge orecchiette noodles and Reypenaer cheese with a touch of truffle oil and a topping of crunchy onions. It’s served in a cast iron baking dish that lends a rustic look — very fun! The best part — it tastes amazing. Rich, tangy, creamy sauce nestles into those pasta pieces and serves as the perfect accompaniment to the meal. This is sold as a side dish only, so be sure to look for it at the bottom of the menu.

Yachtsman Steakhouse Mac and Cheese Side Dish

Le Cellier
Not to be outdone, Epcot’s Le Cellier Steakhouse has also introduced some mac and cheese on the menu. Served in a cast iron skillet, elbow macaroni is [Read more…]