Review: New Samosas and Naan Dipping Safari at Namaste Café Food Truck in Downtown Disney

When the Namaste Café Food Truck made its debut in Downtown Disney’s West Side last November, we happily sampled the Butter Chicken (BUTTER CHICKEN!!!!!!!!!!), a favorite dish of ours from Sanaa.

The dishes at Namaste Café were chosen to reflect some of the best cuisine to be found in Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Animal Kingdom Lodge, and I remember thinking, “Cool… now, if only we could get a little of Sanaa’s fabulous bread service, we’d be set.”

But I didn’t really think it would happen. I just didn’t think the setting was conducive to it.

Well, apparently I was wrong, because IT HAS ARRIVED… kind of! Introducing, the Namaste Café Samosas and Naan Dipping Safari!!

Namaste Cafe Menu

Namaste Cafe Menu

Samosas and Naan Dipping Safari on Menu

Samosas and Naan Dipping Safari on Menu

Now, we’re talkin’!!!

Before we “dip in,” I should let you know where I found Namaste Café, because the Food Trucks are still moving all around Downtown Disney as they await their ultimate destination in the upcoming Food Truck Park.  On this most recent visit, I found it right outside of the World of Disney Store in the Marketplace.

Namaste Cafe in the Marketplace

Namaste Cafe in the Marketplace

A few [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: July 27, 2014

Wow! We have a plethora of Disney food news to highlight this week. Whether you start by digging into updates on the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival or skip ahead to read about Kouzzina’s replacement, we think you’ll find some interesting tidbits. And don’t forget to check out our photo update of the NEW Club 33 in Disneyland!

33 Mosaic

33 Mosaic

One of our favorite items — the Disneyland Dole Whip new souvenir Tiki Cup or Bowl. Happy Belated Birthday, Disneyland!

You’ll find all the news on Disney food below; happy reading!

Disney Food News

What?! 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 restaurant closures, Chai Cream no longer offered at Sanaa, Napa Rose Refurbishment, Tables in Wonderland Updates, and more!

DFB 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!

Facebook Friend Sharon shared two great pictures from Artist Point in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. First up — Coast to Farm Pan-fired Ahi Tuna Lion and Glazed Pork Belly!

Coast to Farm Pan-fired Ahi Tuna Lion and Glazed Pork Belly

Coast to Farm Pan-fired Ahi Tuna Lion and Glazed Pork Belly

Or opt for the Seared Diver Scallops!

Seared Diver Scallops

Seared Diver Scallops

Thanks for sharing these gorgeous entrees!

DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

We’re thrilled to announce the grand launch of the DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival e-Book! With over 220 pages and multiple bonus items, it’s pretty substantial! And just in time to make your plans — general public booking begins on July 31st!

2014 Food and Wine Guide 3D

In honor of our grand launch, we have a discount option for DFB readers (as always!). You can get the new mini-guide for $3 off the regular price for a limited time — just use code MENUS at the check-out!

The DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book

The DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book features all the info you need to know before you attend the Food and Wine Festival this year, from what’s NEW this year to touring strategies — and a new section with top tips on how to use MyMagic+ at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

And with the Epcot Food & Wine festival rapidly approaching, the time is now! Booking for festival events opens July 31st at 7AM ET, and our exclusive daily schedule of events is the most efficient way to plan your festival strategy. (Did you purchase a pre-order of the DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival and not receive your book? Let us know at Support@DFBGuide.com!)

With a detailed schedule of seminars and events for every single day of the festival, it’s a quick, easy way to decide what activities and events you want to book! Don’t waste time flipping between web pages, PDFs, and websites — just find the date you need and we’ve got it all right there in front of you. Just like that!

Find Everything That’s Going On During Your Visit in our FULL Daily Schedule of Events!

As always, we’ve made this guide instantly downloadable for your convenience, and easily installed on your mobile devices. It’s a PDF guide with [Read more…]

Tip from the DFB Guide: How to Outsmart the Heat and Crowds at Disney World This Summer

We’re coming into the very hot, very crowded summer months at Walt Disney World. And that gives me a chance to share with you one of my favorite tips from the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining!

2014 dfb guide 3d cover

So, dining in the theme parks is awesome and convenient, since you’re probably already there. BUT, it can also be a hassle…because you’ll get hungry for lunch, well, just about same time that everyone else does!

So one of my favorite tips for dealing with crowds during lunch at Disney Parks? Escape the Parks for lunch at a nearby resort.

The food is as good (and sometimes it’s better) than what you’ll find in the Parks. And with all of that wonderful air conditioning comes another pleasant surprise. Since most guests are busy running to and fro to attractions, you’ll often find little to no wait at Resort restaurants.

When I’m at Magic Kingdom, I love to hop a boat and head for lunch at Trail’s End Restaurant. Located at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort Campground, getting there by boat is actually a smart move, since the restaurant is located all the way at the back of the resort.

Grab this Sticky Bun Sundae -- or another mouth watering menu item -- at Trail's End on your Magic Kingdom Day

Grab this Sticky Bun Sundae — or another mouth watering menu item — at Trail’s End on your Magic Kingdom Day

ESPN Club is a short walk from both Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and it’s a great place to catch up with what’s going on in the world of sports while you cool down!

Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge has amazing food, and it’s an easy commute from Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

You Just Might View Some Animals While You Take in Lunch at Sanaa

You Just Might View Some Animals While You Take in Lunch at Sanaa

And don’t forget [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: June 4, 2014

For this round of “What’s New,” we’ve got food news (and menu changes galore) from every single Disney World park… and beyond! So settle, in, make yourselves comfy, and join us to see What’s New!

Animal Kingdom

We’ll start with the fact that Dole Whip (with or without rum, y’all) can now be found at Tamu Tamu Refreshments in Animal Kingdom’s Africa! (Yep; we’ve had confirmation from Dole that it IS indeed authentic Dole Whip Pineapple Soft Serve.)

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

Pineapple Soft-serve (Dole Whip!) menu

Pineapple Soft-serve (Dole Whip!) menu

But we don’t want to miss the chance to mention that Tamu Tamu has also brought back some old favorites with a recent menu refresh: The Slow-cooked Pulled Beef Sandwich is back (hooray!), along with the return of the Quinoa Salad. The Roasted Chicken Salad and gorgeous Fresh Fruit Salad made the cut from the previous menu.

Tamu Tamu Menu

Tamu Tamu Menu

Inside the pulled beef sandwich

Inside the pulled beef sandwich

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad

And I’m very happy to say that the Fresh Fruit Bowl is back in time for summer!

Fruit Bowl at Bradley Falls Kiosk

Fruit Bowl Salad

The Fruit Salad has returned to Bradley Falls, too.

Bradley Falls menu

Bradley Falls menu

Remember, Bradley Falls operates seasonally, so if it’s closed during your visit, it’s good to know you can head over to Tamu Tamu for a Fresh Fruit Bowl.

Have you seen (or heard?!) this awesome Musical Tumbler found at various food locations throughout Animal Kingdom? Get the full scoop here!

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

The Royal Anandapur Tea Company is a perfect spot to grab a cup of hot tea (assorted varieties available) or coffee. However, they’re currently offering some flavored Iced Teas in light of the warmer temps.

Royal Anandapur Tea Company Menu

Royal Anandapur Tea Company Menu

Though not food-related, I’d like to offer this next picture as a small tribute. Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade wrapped up its nearly 13-year run as Animal Kingdom makes way for all sorts of new adventures. I don’t think I’m speaking solely for myself when I say this unique, beautiful and fun parade will be missed.

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade

Magic Kingdom

The Lunching Pad has added one more option to its gourmet hot dog selection: the BLT Hot Dog joins the Coney Island Dog and the Philly Cheese Steak Dog.

Lunching Pad Menu

Lunching Pad Menu

Now, here’s something you don’t see everyday… this next bit is not a new item, but rather a new [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: May 5, 2013

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Don’t forget to indulge in our Disney Magarita Gallery today!!

And there’s plenty of fun Disney food news this week, but we hope you’ll check out our FULL review of the incredible, newly re-opened Boardwalk Bakery!

See some of our favorite new treats here!

Disney Food News

Let’s take a look at a few of the big news items this week…

  • Sanaa at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in Walt Disney World has unveiled a new lunch menu!
  • The Garden Grove at the Disney World Swan and Dolphin will offer a Mother’s Day Brunch this year!
  • The California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort will re-open late summer/early fall 2013 with a new look and a new menu. Here are even more pics from the new California Grill menu!
  • Read our FULL review of the Grand Re-opening of Disney’s BoardWalk Bakery!
  • L’Artisan des Glaces will open in June as the place to stop in Epcot’s France pavilion for ice cream and sorbet. Find out what flavors will be offered!
  • Check out the Jungle Juice at Harambe Popcorn in Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World — and the brand new treat that I dreamed up!!

And 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 Mother’s Day Dining at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen and the CHOC Walk at Disneyland.

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!

From the newly re-opened BoardWalk Bakery, Reader Deanne sends us this delectable photo exclaiming “@disneyfoodblog made me do it! #startmydietmonday”. Awesome!

BoardWalk Bakery Goodies!

And a huge thanks to Andy Jackson from Eating (and Drinking) Around the World for this FUN find. The DFB Team LOVES this new t-shirt at Disney World!

Food Critic Shirt!

Awesome Deal! Pre-Order A 2013 Disney Dining Guide and get the 2012 Edition for FREE!

When you pre-order your copies of the DFB Guide to the 2013 Walt Disney World Holidays and/or the DFB Guide to the 2013 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival for an exclusive discounted rate, you’ll be able to instantly download the 2012 Guides and start your planning — TODAY.

Then you will be automatically emailed the 2013 Guides when they’re published. Get two editions for the price of one and start planning right away.

Pre-Order — DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World® Holidays 2013

The Holiday season in Disney World is packed with magic: Holiday meals and snacks, special events, and seasonal shows, for starters! How will you see all the attractions, save money, AND take in the extra festivities in your already jam-packed vacation?

We’ll guide you through all the holiday events, activities, and dining so that you can get the biggest bang for your buck in Walt Disney World!
List Price: $14.95. This price includes the 2012 Guide as an instant download. You will automatically be sent the 2013 Guide as soon as it’s published.
Enter Discount Code: PreHoliday
DFB Reader Discount: $3! (20% off)
Your Exclusive DFB Price: $11.95 — get the 2012 Guide instantly, and the 2013 Guide as soon as it’s published!

Pre-Order — DFB Guide to the 2013 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

46 days of special events, 29 food and beverage tasting booths, and celebrity chefs to meet? How do you fit it all in without breaking the budget? Make sure you make the most of your time and money at Disney World’s Food & Wine Festival!

List Price: $14.95. This price includes the 2012 Guide as an instant download. You will automatically be sent the 2013 Guide as soon as it’s published.
Enter Discount Code: PreFoodWine
DFB Newsletter Reader Discount: $3! (20% off)
Your Exclusive DFB Price: $11.95 — get the 2012 Guide instantly, and the 2013 Guide as soon as it’s published!

On to the Round-Up!

Mickey Fix tempts us with a fun new Turkey Leg Watch, Mickey Ice Cream Bar Tee

DisneyCaribbeanBeach.com enjoys s’mores on the beach!

Disney Postcards shared this fun 1965 Pepsi commercial from Disneyland. Yep! Pepsi used to sponsor the Golden Horseshoe in Disneyland!

Disney Parks Blog gives delicious ideas for Mother’s Day in Disneyland!

Eating (and Drinking) Around the World noshes around World Showcase at Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival.

Changing Latitudes drinks around World Showcase in Epcot.

Main Street Gazette shares an awesome photo from the 1986 campaign for the cookbook “Cooking with Mickey“!

The Press-Enterprise announces a Mother’s Day brunch with Cinderella at the Disneyland Hotel.

News! Sanaa at the Animal Kingdom Lodge Unveils New Lunch Menu…With Some Surprises!

The Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Sanaa has debuted a new lunch menu! And we have all the details and a few pics courtesy of guest author Julie B.!

You all know how much I LURVE Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village (BUTTER CHICKEN!!!). And I’m excited to share that there have been some interesting changes made to the lunch offerings since our recent Sanaa lunch review.

In fact, it’s the most dramatic menu makeover since the restaurant opened.

Let’s take a look at what’s been updated…

Bread Service

The Sanaa bread service has been a major fan favorite for years. Basically, you’ve always been able to get a choice of three breads (including the gorgeous and buttery Naan bread) and three accompaniments for $8.99.

A Few Bread Service Choices -- Naan - Onion Kulcha - Paneer Paratha

Now, Sanaa diners can pay an additional $2 to receive all nine accompaniments with the bread service! Just two bucks and NO MORE CHOOSING!

Bread Service Menu.

You’ll get all those delicious sauces and chutneys for $10.99! Seriously good deal.

All nine bread service accompaniments!

Appetizers and Salad Sampler

The Appetizer Sampler for Two has changed its offerings.

OLD Appetizer Sampler for Two -- Potato and Pea Samosas - Lamb Kefta - Roasted Cauliflower

NOW, instead of samosas, lamb kefta kabobs, and roasted cauliflower, it features samosas, lamb kefta sliders, and a choice of Seasonal Soup or Chana Tikki (a new appetizer described as Spiced Chickpea Cakes with Tomato Chutney).

Appetizers and Salad Sampler.

The Lamb Kefta Sliders have replaced the former kabobs, and a seasonal soup is now a regular feature on the menu.

Never fear, the totally awesome Tomato Soup with Paneer Cheese is still there!

Tomato Soup with Paneer Cheese is safe on the menu!

Two new salads have appeared on the salad sampler – Kachumbari (didn’t get a detailed description, the Cast are still getting used to everything, too) and Mango salad. These replace the Golden Lentils and Tomato Salad, and the Roasted Beets salad.

Slow-cooked in Gravy

Another menu change Julie got to sample personally was the different variety of “Slow-cooked in Gravy.”  She says:

You can sleep soundly tonight knowing your beloved [Read more…]

Review: Sanaa at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

On a recent whirlwind trip to Disney World, I planned to get together with friends for lunch. I had a hankering for the totally incredible Butter Chicken at Sanaa, so I couldn’t wait to head over there for lunch!

This wonderful restaurant, located at Animal Kingdom Lodge‘s Kidani Village, still flies under the radar. However, in the past, it has been the location of some of my very favorite meals.

And, let me tell you dear DFB readers, it is going to be VERY difficult to edit this review considering how much I want a big ol’ plate of that Butter Chicken right now. I had half a twix bar in preparation, but I don’t think it’s going to do the trick.

That said…we’re off to the races!

Atmosphere

You’ll find Sanaa at Kidani Village, the portion of Animal Kingdom Lodge that’s a Disney Vacation Club property.

Outside of Sanaa

The same care and attention to detail that went into the decor of Animal Kingdom Lodge is at play here as well. The soaring lobby greets you with colorful African decor and a thatched roof! I love it!

Kidani Village Lobby

Once you get to the restaurant downstairs, you’ll see why they chose the name. The word “sanaa” is Swahili for art, and is the perfect description of this beautiful spot that marries handcrafted artisan touches with food that’s prepared with care and tradition.

Sanaa is open for lunch and dinner. We suggest lunch or an early dinner for first timers — more about that in a minute.

Sanaa Hours

The entrance features some beautiful, handcrafted African artwork. The beads that line the podium are gorgeous.

Entrance

Look closely at the mats on the wall and you’ll likely spy a Hidden Mickey! We have two more hidden mickeys for you in this post — can you find [Read more…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: How to Avoid Crowds When Dining in Disney World

If you’ve ever eaten at a crowded Disney World restaurant, you KNOW it’s not something you want to repeat.

Endless lines, deafening volume, long waits for tables (or sometimes even having to sit on the floor at counter-service restaurants)…it’s definitely not a “magical moment.” After all, vacations are for relaxing — especially at meal times!

We know that you want to make the most of every moment of your trip, and that means eating when the restaurants aren’t crowded — and taking advantage of rides and attractions when restaurants are busy. You need stress-free Disney Dining!

Our recommendations will give you a chance to unwind, enjoy a great meal (or quick and tasty pick-me-up), and get you back to the Walt Disney World attractions! We’ve done the meal time research for you! After years of touring the parks and countless meals at Disney World, we’ve gathered tips to avoid the crowds!

Book an early ADR to get a great table without the crowds!

In our The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2013 e-Book, we have a whole section dedicated to avoiding crowds in Disney World. Pick up your copy here for an extra $4 off using code 2013 for a limited time!

With our in-depth DFB Guide, you’ll learn tips for avoiding the crazy in Disney World — and ensure  you have a relaxing and nourishing meal so you’re ready to get back out to the parks. Don’t go on your vacation without these tips for stress-free dining!

3 Awesome Tips to Avoid Disney World Dining Crowds

Let’s get right to our meal time strategies that we’ve included in the DFB Guide to make the most of your Disney Dining without the crowds.

We found Tortuga Tavern empty at 11am during a June visit! An hour later, there were no seats available!

1. Dine at “Off-Times”

If you’re visiting Disney World during a busy time (yes, Spring Breakers, Summer visitors, Christmas Folks, that includes you!), finding a restaurant without a wait will be difficult.

Still, crowds thin after the throngs depart during major meal rushes. We suggest avoiding 8-9AM, noon-1:30PM, and 6-7PM. We’ve found that booking meals for “brunch” at 10:30 or 11AM, late lunch at 3 or 4PM, or late dinner at 8 or 9PM works well for avoiding the crowd crunch. For counter-service restaurants, we [Read more…]

Disney Food for Families: Getting Kids to Try New Foods at Walt Disney World

It’s no secret that my daughter Louisa is more than a little produce averse. There was a period of about four years when NO fruit or vegetable crossed her lips, and even now at age 12 she still has to be cajoled into having more than a bite or two of something as innocuous as sweet potato or banana.

Frozen bananas, a gateway fruit.

So you can imagine my surprise when, on a recent trip to the Animal Kingdom’s Yak & Yeti restaurant, she consumed nearly the entire plate of wok-fried green beans we had ordered for the table. It was one of those parenting moments where you hold your breath and move slowly so as to avoid breaking the spell.

Yak & Yeti wok-fried green beans. My hero!

Those Yak & Yeti yummies didn’t turn Louisa into an inveterate bean eater, but she is now occasionally willing to nibble on a tempura string bean if we’re out for Japanese. Based on our prior track record with legumes, I’m going to count that solidly in the win column.

The Theme Park Food Effect

What was it about the Yak & Yeti beans that made Louisa such a fan? Yes, they were quite tasty, and yes, the green part was handily obfuscated by a crunchy, yumtastic fried breading coating; but we had tried similar ploys in the past to no avail. My theory is that the Yak & Yeti beans were flavored by the spice of (cue the orchestra) The Theme Park Food Effect.

Much like campers will say that meals eaten on the trail are the BEST, you know that their experience is colored by the fact that their senses are overwhelmed and they’re starving from an [Read more…]

Disney Food for Families: Great Disney World Restaurants for Boys

Much fuss is made about the ballyhooed princess dining experiences at Disney World. So much fuss, that parents of young boys sometimes find themselves wondering, “What does Disney have that’s special for me?”

The down and dirty dino loving boy will be right at home at the T-Rex Cafe.

Well, never fear sports fans; I’m here to tell you that while, yes, the girly girls are pretty visible in the parks (it’s hard to miss the Florida sun glinting off a tiara), there are plenty of Disney dining experiences where the men in your family will feel right at home.

Let’s break it down …

Character Meals

There are 10 different character dining venues at Walt Disney World proper. Of these, only three and a half of them have princess themeing. The rest are totally gender-neutral.

Boys are certainly welcome at any of the princess meals, and many boys love them just as much as the other character meals (PLUS they’re given a neato plastic sword at the Royal Table); but honestly, they do skew more heavily toward girl interests.

All of the other character dining restaurants appeal equally to boys and girls. Your best options for boys in the character dining department are the following (characters are always subject to change): [Read more…]