New Menu Item: Appetizer Trio at Epcot’s Rose & Crown Restaurant

So, we chatted a few weeks ago about a food trend that seems to be taking Disney World by storm — trios! And we’ve found another new menu trio over at the Rose & Crown Restaurant that we thought was pretty great — almost as good as the English Bulldog!!

While the Yorkshire Dales was definitely on the tip of my tongue to order, that appetizer trio is new on the menu since my last visit, and I couldn’t wait to try it. It included Rose & Crown’s delicious Potato & Leek Soup — a strong contender for my favorite soup on property, scotch eggs, and Beef Pasties. The trio comes “to share,” so there’s two of everything — perfect when you don’t want someone stealing any of your soup!!!

Rose & Crown Appetizer Trio

First, I dug into that delectable soup. That stuff is cream + butter + salt + cream + [Read more…]

Menu Spotlight: English Bulldog at Rose & Crown Pub

Editor’s Note: As of 2013, the English Bulldog is no longer on the Rose & Crown pub menu.

So, I was looking at the Rose & Crown pub menu one day and I saw this:

Yes, PLEASE!

It took a while for me to get back to the World and get my hands on one, but I was thrilled when my buddy Lisa from Babes in Disneyland agreed to head to the pub with me to try one last month!

Rose and Crown

Atmosphere
We arrived right at opening to a nearly deserted pub and quickly [Read more…]

Carl the Croc-Wrestling Bartender and the Magical Pint of Guinness

If you’re lucky, you’ve found yourself once or twice squeezed into the fun little Rose and Crown pub in Epcot’s UK pavilion. If you’re really lucky, you’ve found yourself there with wonderful friends and a nourishing pint of Guinness. And if you’re REALLY, really lucky, you’ve found yourself a guest of Carl the Bartender — the most dynamic entertainer this side of the pond!

So, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, let’s talk about Carl the bartender and his famous balancing pint of Guinness.

Rose and Crown Carl the Bartender

I wandered into the pub one day, snapping pics as I’m wont to do in Disney World dining establishments, and Carl, who was filling a pint glass with Guinness for a guest, struck up a conversation. I quickly noticed his handiwork on the head of the pint (a lovely and ever-so-appropriate shamrock) and asked the guest if I could take a photo of his beer. He obliged, and I soon found out that Carl happens to be well known for his “Glass-Balanced-On-A-Dime” trick, which of course I needed to see!

Shamrock Design on Top of Guinness

Shamrock Design on Top of Guinness

First, Carl did his impressive trick of balancing an empty glass on a dime…

One glass...

One glass...

…then he decided to top himself by balancing two glasses on [Read more…]

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!

Best Disney World Restaurants for Fireworks Viewing: Part II

World Showcase

World Showcase

Here’s the second in our series of Best Disney World Restaurants for Fireworks Viewing! Today, we’ll discuss the restaurants with the best views for Illuminations fireworks viewing. (The previous blog post, Part I, has information about Wishes fireworks viewing.)

Illuminations, Reflections of Earth, is shown at Epcot at 9:00PM every night, Saturday-Thursday. Friday nights vary between 9:00PM and 8:00PM depending on Epcot’s schedule.

Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room, patio table
Rose and Crown in Epcot’s United Kingdom pavilion is the quintessential dining and viewing spot for Illuminations. If you’re lucky enough to get one of the coveted tables out on the covered patio, Rose and Crown’s view of Illuminations will offer you one of best experiences in Walt Disney World. There’s simply nothing like it.

Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room

That said, the fierce competition for these tables has made me forego even making a reservation for dinner at Rose and Crown over the past few visits to Disney World. While Rose and Crown cannot guarantee their ability to grant requests for patio tables, hopefuls begin crowding the podium before 7:00PM each night, willing to wait as long as it takes. The line of patrons waiting to check in can stretch all the way to Tudor Lane. As a result, Rose and Crown has instituted a policy (in my experience) that those checking in at the podium may wait only one hour for a table request; after an hour, they must take the table offered, or choose not to dine at Rose and Crown.

Patio View

Patio View

How can you improve your chances? Visit Disney World during a slow season (e.g. Winter or early Fall), book your reservation for around 7:30-7:45pm (it’s simply not fair to the servers to book earlier; unless, of course, you’re willing to pay three times the tip!), and tell the cast members when you check in that you’re willing to wait the hour for a fireworks-view, patio table.

Back Patio

Back Patio

Note that the Rose and Crown patio stretches around the Rose and Crown, meaning you might be seated at the side of the restaurant. You can still see the fireworks here, but the view will not be as good as from the back patio, directly next to the lagoon. You can specify that you’re requesting a back-patio, fireworks-view table, but patio is patio… .

Side Patio

Side Patio

Rose and Crown is a casual restaurant; park-wear is acceptable. No reason to dress up. By the way, the potato and leek soup is to die for!

La Hacienda de San Angel
One of Epcot’s newest restaurants, La Hacienda de San Angel, offers — for the first time in Epcot history — an Illuminations view rivaling that at Rose & Crown! While many of the tables offer excellent views (the windows are expansive), those that are right up against the windows will be highly prized.

View from Our La Hacienda de San Angel Window Table

One of the Main Dining Rooms at La Hacienda

Bistro de Paris
This high-end restaurant located on the second floor of the building housing Les Chefs de France in Epcot’s France pavilion has excellent Illuminations viewing. Again, you’ll want to arrive early and request a window table, but a steep price and nearly hidden entrance (the entrance to Bistro de Paris is hidden around the back of the Le Chefs de France building) mean that competition for seating is limited compared to Rose and Crown.

Fireworks from Bistro de Paris Window

The dining here is top-notch, but the view from the second story windows can’t be beat. Dress up for this one and make it a celebration.

Cantina de San Angel
The Mexico pavilion’s counter service dining option has been touted by some, panned by others, but everyone agrees that it’s a good option for watching Illuminations…assuming you can commandeer a table and stand your ground!

Cantina de San Angel

Because the tables are lined up along the World Showcase Lagoon, patrons have complained about kiddos squeezing themselves between tables and fence to get a better view. Also, folks who might not have as much need for personal space as you do may invite themselves to infringe upon yours by “sharing” your table.

This spot might be more hassle than it’s worth, but it’s an inexpensive way to get one of the best views in the park. And the food’s tasty, too!

Tokyo Dining
Tokyo Dining, in Epcot’s Japan pavilion, was recently renovated and re-opened in 2007. Specializing in sushi and tempura, the restaurant shares the second floor of the Mitsukoshi Department Store building with Japan’s other table-service restaurant, Teppan Edo.

Tokyo Dining

This might be your best bet for getting an advanced dining reservation less than 90 days out, as many folks don’t yet know about Tokyo Dining, aren’t sure where it is, or simply don’t want to try the food. Luckily, this means that the floor-to-ceiling window views are up for grabs!

Dining Room

Dining Room

As with the other restaurants, make a reservation for an hour or so before Illuminations and arrive early. Request a window table (tell them you’ll wait if necessary). Once seated, enjoy your meal leisurely until the show begins.

View of World Showcase Lagoon

View of World Showcase Lagoon

Note that there is an outdoor, public walkway along the windows at Tokyo Dining. If people notice it’s there, they may crowd it before the show. You’ll still be able to see the fireworks, but this could possibly block the view a bit.

Outdoor Walkway

Outdoor Walkway

Tokyo Dining is a more casual restaurant; park-wear is acceptable.

Other Potential Viewing Spots With Dining
While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend either of these spots for Illuminations viewing, Tangerine Cafe in Morocco and Liberty Inn at the American Adventure might offer a decent place to sit to see the higher-up fireworks. At Tangerine Cafe, even if you’re sitting outside (the windows are too opaque to see from the inside), the crowds will likely mar your view of the action on the water. At Liberty Inn, the American Gardens Theater tends to block out the lagoon view. But both offer spots to sit, take a load off, and nosh a bit while you listen to the music and enjoy at least some of the show.

If you have other ideas and options, be sure to let me know in the comments section below!

Check out the other “Best Disney World Restaurants” in our series!