If you love cupcakes as much as we do, we have some exciting news for you! Sprinkles has announced its lineup of August Flavor Feature Cupcakes!
We also love having a bite to eat with our cocktails. If you’re looking for yummy drinks and eats, Jaleo will soon offer a SANGRIA HOUR!
We are excited to be back at Jaleo by Chef José Andrés in Disney Springs!
This new signature restaurant showcasing Chef Andrés’ traditional and contemporary Spanish cuisine began its soft-opening phase last Sunday. (You can check out our first review — including a full tour of the restaurant — by clicking here!) [Read more…]
Pepe is now open on the West Side of Disney Springs!
Pepe by Jose Andres
Pepe is the new counter service component of Jaleo by Chef José Andrés (which will open for its dinner debut this evening). This location in Disney Springs is the first brick-and-mortar location for Pepe, following the Pepe food truck which has been a hit for the last six years in Washington, D.C.
You’ll find Pepe on the front corner adjacent to the main entrance for Jaleo. So, if you’re hoping to catch some of the authentic Spanish cuisine by Chef Andres, but don’t have plans to dine inside Jaleo, we’re going to check out what Pepe has in store for you!
Pepe — just like Jaleo — was designed by Spanish designer Juli Capella. [Read more…]
The theme at Disney Springs right now is Beat the Heat. In the dog days of summer we certainly agree!
We scoured Disney World’s shopping and dining district and found what’s new so you know where to stop the next time you’re at Disney Springs for a cool drink, snack, meal, or air conditioned retail therapy!
What’s New in Disney Springs West Side
With so many new (and not-so-new, but still greatly loved) dining experiences in Disney Springs, it can be tough to decide where to make your precious Advance Dining Reservations.
So on a recent visit to Disney Springs, I checked out Paddlefish — this time in the dining room (as opposed to the top deck bar) to get an overview of some of the menu’s most popular items. And while most of it was good, some of it was great (and one item — spoiler alert! — was just bad).
Paddlefish is a brand new restaurant in an old, established building. You’ll recall that Fulton’s Crab House used to reside here, in the docked, multi-storied Empress Lily on Lake Buena Vista; and actually this spot has been a restaurant since 1977. When Paddlefish opened, guests were greeted with a combination of old and new. Neutral and trendy gray paint gave the restaurant a streamlined look, but some details of old remained, like brass railings and the fabulous sternwheel.
So what do you say? Shall we paddle in?
The first floor bar at Paddlefish is a beautiful space, with its curved, recessed ceiling, wall of windows, and various seating arrangements. Definitely a comfortable place to grab a drink or two! [Read more…]
Those lovable pooches, Lady and the Tramp, will celebrate their 60th Anniversary next week! And they still look so young!
And to kick off the event the right way, D23, the official Disney Fan Club, will be launching their very first Fanniversary, Home Edition.
If it sounds like big fun to you, then head over to [Read more…]
Nestled in Epcot’s Italy pavilion at Walt Disney World, Tutto Italia Ristorante is open for lunch and dinner. Welcome back DFB guest author Rebecca Dolan with a review!
Epcot’s Italy had long been one of our family’s favorite places to dine since we started visiting in the ‘80s. We were huge fans of the pavilion’s original restaurant L’Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante, and were admittedly a little crushed when we heard it was going to be closed and replaced with Tutto Italia. (Yes, this happened like seven years ago, but the wound is still fresh.)
Tutto Italia Ristorante
We’ve been back to Tutto a few times since with mixed experiences, so we ventured back a few months ago to give it another go.
You’ll find Tutto Italia off the Italy pavilion’s central piazza. Enter under the large black awning (that says Tutto Italia, of course). The understated lobby area is small, so be prepared to stand while waiting for a table if it’s crowded. The lobby also connects to the Tutto Gusto wine bar, which makes for a nice place to enjoy an early glass of wine if your wait is long.
Off the front of the building is a patio with some seating (how very Mediterranean of them) which is great for a balmy Florida evening, though probably less so for a scorching July afternoon. In fact, Tutto Italia is one of the few full-service restaurants along the world showcase to offer outside seating.
Inside, the dining room looks much like it did in this building’s previous incarnation as Alfredo’s. Murals still decorate the walls and giant crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling, otherwise it’s lots of dark wood and booths that make the room seem small and crowded.
The menu features a number of familiar Italian classics like fried calamari, antipasto, lasagne, ravioli, and risotto. For those not into carb-loading at lunch, there are a few meat and fish entrees as well.
Each meal starts out with a plate of pillowy focaccia bread plus olive oil for dipping and whole green olives for munching. I’m a big fan of the olive oil here, which always seems to be more fruity and flavorful than what I can get in the store.
I also took this opportunity to order the “tropical blend” iced tea. I’m not sure how Italian that really is, but I’m a sucker for flavored iced teas and this fruity brew did not disappoint. A glass of sangria, however, had a little too much of some alcohol in the mix, which kept its fruitiness from coming out. We kept trying to ask exactly what was in it to no avail.
Being an Italian family, we can never visit Tutto Italia (or any Italian restaurant for that matter) without ordering the antipasto platter. The version here came piled with cured meats, cheeses, farro salad, artichoke hearts, eggplant caponata, marinated mushrooms, and sweet peppers. It was easily enough to feed four, and could be shared by more depending on your appetites.
We also ordered the Fior de Latte mozzarella, which was accompanied by roasted sweet peppers. It was indeed creamy and delicious, but both, as it turned out, were components of the antipasto platter. So, it was unnecessary repetition.
After finishing our appetizers we put in our entree orders. Curiously, the orders came out less than 10 minutes after we ordered. Sure pasta isn’t exactly time intensive, but the quick turn around made us wonder how much of the meal was pre-prepared. That might have accounted for the fact that much of it was cold. So, you may want to take a bite before your server walks away.
I went for the spaghetti, which came topped with beef and veal meatballs and pomodoro sauce. I rarely order spaghetti and meatballs out since they almost always fail to live up to expectations. And, while this was definitely not my grandmother’s spaghetti, it was better than most restaurant versions I’ve encountered. The sauce was thick and low on chunks (there are few things I hate more than chunky sauce) and the pasta was just firm enough. The meatballs were ok, if a little dense.
The penne caprese, topped with tomato sauce and cubes of mozzarella, is similar to the spaghetti. The big difference (aside from the pasta shape, of course) is the sauce that’s lighter tasting and flecked with bits of cherry tomato and basil. Nothing mind blowing, but nothing to complain about.
The lasagna was pretty standard, with layers of pasta, chunky meat ragu, and creamy bechamel sauce. Carnivores will appreciate the generous amount of meat tucked between those pasta sheets, but as a cheese lover, I was disappointed that the ricotta and mozzarella cheese I’m used to weren’t there. The flavor was fine, even without the cheese, but between the too-soft pasta and too-much bechamel, the texture was mushy.
The Polenta Valsugana was a big [Read more…]
Happy (almost) First Birthday, Spice Road Table!
Spice Road Table
Spice Road Table hit the scene in Epcot’s Morocco Pavilion almost one year ago now, so we thought it would be a great time to pay another visit to this beautiful restaurant and see how things are going.
Since it’s opening, this Table Service location has offered Mediterranean tapas (small plates) and a unique wine and beer list. However, Spice Road Table recently changed its approach a bit with the addition of Advance Dining Reservations and acceptance of the Disney Dining Plan, as well as a new focus on entree-sized menu options.
So now is a great time to show you what’s evolved, and what’s remained the same at Spice Road Table!
While we will be discussing some of the recent changes at Spice Road Table, the atmosphere definitely falls under the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” category.
The decor remains stunning, from the restaurant itself to the waterfront views it provides of World Showcase Lagoon. You can get an idea of those views as you approach Morocco from the bridge that connects Epcot’s France and UK Pavilions.
The first thing to greet you as you step inside is the bar area, made remarkable by bold blue on the walls and the view of the water wheel outside.
From here, you’ll be seated either indoors or outside (preferences can be stated at the check-in podium, and are honored as availability permits). While the indoor seating area is small and narrow, it is beautiful, featuring intricate woodwork surrounding the booths.
Gorgeous — there’s no other word for them — Moroccan lanterns and decorative items are on display near the ceiling.
But the most striking decorative element is the view of the water from the large windows lining the inside of the restaurant. (It’s worth noting that most of the indoor booths, with a few exceptions, are situated facing the windows for great water views from just about anywhere in the space).
But Spice Road Table might be best known for it’s outdoor seating area, offering prime views for the nightly IllumiNations fireworks spectacular (and likely the very reason Spice Road Table began offering Advance Dining Reservations, since the spot is in higher demand in the hour before IllumiNations begins).
Beautiful lighting fixtures are key decorative elements outside as well.
And it’s a cool fact that the [Read more…]
We’re back today with another delicious look at the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!
It’s always exciting to see what new Marketplaces and other experiences pop up each year at the Festival, but I’m always eager to indulge in my tried and true favorites as well!
The France Marketplace Booth
When you visit the France Marketplace, you’re participating in Food and Wine Festival Heritage! That’s right — it’s one of the original spots from the very first event, which was held in 1996.
And though the menu has changed a bit from year to year, it’s always a favorite stop for guests.
You’ll notice that the France booth has a very robust menu. With three different savory items, plus dessert, you could easily make a meal out of the offerings here. Add to that wines and cocktails, and you would definitely want to visit the Marketplace more than once to try everything.
The big news at the France booth this year was a change to the classic Escargot offering. In the past, guests have enjoyed Escargots en Persillade in the perfect stroll-and-eat version; the escargots were nestled in rounds of Brioche.
But in 2014, escargot became an ingredient in a savory tart. The Tartelette aux Escargots combined the Snails with Spinach, Garlic, Bacon, and Parmesan, presented in a deep, rectangular savory tart.
This one has probably been one of the biggest controversies of the festival this year! We’ve heard from guests who love it, and from guests who hate it.
Me? While I’m not a huge fan of spinach or snails on their own, the combo of flavors is an absolute win here. But really, is there a way to go wrong when Bacon and Garlic are involved??
Also joining the line up this year is Gratin de Crozets de Savoie. The savory combination of Gruyere and Mushrooms makes this rich vegetarian dish a hit.
The pasta used in the dish, Crozet, comes to us from Savoie. It’s a uniquely French version of pasta, customarily a whole wheat variety.
Also on the menu is another popular option from years past: [Read more…]