Guest Review: Lunch at Disney’s Hollywood Brown Derby

Join us in welcoming Claire Gregory as a DFB guest reviewer.

She brings us to the Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World.

Let’s do lunch…

This signature restaurant celebrates the golden age of Hollywood. And since it’s inside a theme park, there’s no need to dress up!

Main Dining Room

Main Dining Room

Here are some pictures from my recent lunch at Hollywood Brown Derby.

First up: Butternut Squash Soup. Very nice!

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

Then three words that make me smile — Venison Osso Bucco — and it was good as it sounds or even better.

Venison Osso Bucco

Venison Osso Bucco

Followed by pick your own dessert.

Dessert Menu

Dessert Menu

You can pick whatever you want you, so my three choices were: [Read more…]

New Entrees Debut at Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Carnivores — we’ve got some news to sink your teeth into from Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort in Walt Disney World.

Within the last few months, New Dry Age steaks debuted at Yachtsman Steakhouse and have already become quite popular at this signature restaurant.

First up: The Porterhouse for two is 32 ounces of steak! It boasts a 21 day dry age.

Served with Gruyere Potato Gratin and a Trio of Classic Steakhouse sides, this entree is sure to curb your hunger! Check out this picture sent in by a DFB Reader!

Porterhouse for Two!

Porterhouse for Two!

Chef Daniel Sicilia at Yachtsman Steakhouse also introduced a [Read more…]

Review: Lunch at Le Cellier in Epcot’s Canada Pavilion (With the NEW Filet!)

UPDATE: The Mushroom Filet is back at Le Cellier as a seasonal dish. (A photo is provided in the text below.)

We finally got to head over and try the new menu at Le Cellier Steakhouse!

Yep, you heard me right. A new menu. And while the menu changes up regularly here now that it’s a Signature-restaurant-all-the-time-forever-always, we weren’t expecting the news that the beloved filet with mushroom risotto and truffle butter sauce was getting a makeover.

As soon as we found that out, we had to make an ADR. And, yep — we ordered the replacement. Along with a lot of other goodies.

Let’s go see how it all turned out!

Please note: in addition to the “update” notice above, we’re also posting this menu shot confirming the current presence of the Mushroom Filet. Due to its status as a signature restaurant, menu options change here more frequently than most Table Service restaurants, but we’re happy to see this one back on the menu for the time being!

Le Cellier Menu (update)

Le Cellier Menu (update)

Atmosphere

Because we had a busy day and the lunch and dinner menu are now the same, we decided to opt for a lunch advance dining reservation.

Le Cellier Steakhouse -- Outside View

Le Cellier Steakhouse — Outside View

When we arrived, we only had to wait for a bit before we were shown to our table. The very slight delay gave us a chance to check out once more the addition of several paintings by The Group of Seven, which were recently installed to honor this important Canadian school of painters.

Description of Lobby Paintings

Description of Lobby Paintings

The seating in this tiny waiting area is of the outdoor bench type, which makes it not all that comfortable. But, honestly, most of the waiting area seating is usually taken up whenever I get there.

Seating and Paintings in the Lobby

Seating and Paintings in the Lobby

Nameplates beneath each painting give you more information. If you have a few moments, be sure to check them out. They really are beautiful.

Lobby Decor -- Up Close

Lobby Decor — Up Close

As you’re shown to your table, you’ll wave goodbye to sunlight for a little while. Le Cellier really is, well, in a cellar.

Le Cellier Entryway

Le Cellier Entryway

And you get a sense of that as soon as you turn the corner into the restaurant. The feeling is at once warm and cozy, yet elegant.

Le Cellier Dining Room

Le Cellier Dining Room

The rich detail lends itself to the feeling that you’ve stepped into the wine cellar of a grand chateau. Beamed ceilings and stone arches fit right in!

Le Cellier Ceilings and Chandeliers

Le Cellier Ceilings and Chandeliers

The room seems to be lit primarily by candles. These are electric, of course. But they lend a soft light to your surroundings. Bad for reading your menu and photographing your food, but good for setting the right tone. :-)

Wall Sconces

Wall Sconces

En route to your table, you’ll also see

[Read more…]

Review: Carthay Circle Restaurant at Disney California Adventure in Disneyland Resort

We are heading into Carthay Circle Restaurant today for dinner with a healthy dose of Old Hollywood glamour!

Carthay Circle Restaurant

Carthay Circle Restaurant

Located on the newly re-imagined Buena Vista Street at the entrance of Disney California Adventure, this is one majestic building. Let’s head in!

Atmosphere

If there is one word that I would use to describe Carthay Circle as I approach, it would be impressive. Disney is in the business of re-creating scenes from film, as well as re-imagining the past and forging the future. And once more, they’ve done an excellent job.

Carthay Circle Premiere!

Carthay Circle Premiere!

I mean, I’ve seen Carthay’s likeness so many times. There’s a gorgeous mural inside Hollywood and Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios depicting the night that Snow White premiered at the famed Tinseltown icon. You’ll find an old framed print of the theatre in one of my favorite Studios haunts, Writer’s Stop (home of the famous carrot cake cookie.) You can also spy it in the relief work of the Studios arch, and there’s a mini version on Hollywood Boulevard, doubling as a gift shop. (For more info, check out this great post.)

Carthay Circle Restaurant Menu

Carthay Circle Restaurant Menu

It’s clear that Carthay Circle holds a special place in the hearts of the Imagineering team. And since we’ll never have the chance to venture into the original theatre, it’s a joy to see it so lovingly recreated as part of the DCA overhaul.

Beautiful Detail on the Tower

Beautiful Detail on the Tower

Two sets of double doors greet you at the entrance of the building. The mirrored doors are great!

Carthay Entrance

Carthay Entrance

Don’t forget — this is a replica of an old Hollywood movie theatre. So naturally, you’ll find ticket windows on either side of the doors. I think it’s fun to see the scale here, don’t you?

Ticket Windows

Ticket Windows

A plaque reminds you of just why Carthay holds such an important place in Disney history.

Plaque Commemorating the Historic Premiere of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Carthay Circle Theatre

Plaque Commemorating the Historic Premiere of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Carthay Circle Theatre

And be sure, if you have the chance, to swing by here at night — if for no other reason than to see this gorgeous view.

Carthay Fountain at Night

Carthay Fountain at Night

As you head in, you’re greeted with separate doors. Two sets lead to Carthay Circle Lounge — and subsequently, onto the restaurant. The other set leads to the exclusive, members-only 1901 Lounge.

Don’t worry! Helpful Cast Members are there to show you the way.

Welcome!

Welcome!

Carthay Circle Restaurant is actually located on the second floor of the building. As you enter, you find yourself in the check in area. Upon confirming your table, you’ll bide your time in a spacious and comfortable waiting area.

Carthay Circle Waiting Area

Carthay Circle Waiting Area

Spend some time taking in the beautiful decor here, as well as all the fun memorabilia. There are tons and tons of photographs and other fascinating pieces. Be sure to check out the collection of Snow White animated cels that are said to have hung in Walt Disney’s home.

Snow White Animation Cels

Snow White Animation Cels

Or you can step into the Carthay Circle Lounge, and enjoy a [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: September 2, 2012

It’s menu-changing season at Walt Disney World!

New Menu Items at Animal Kingdom

This week we got the chance to highlight a few updates in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, where they’ve unveiled new menu items at three counter-service restaurants! (More of this menu change mumbo jumbo coming up tomorrow, by the way…)

Let us know what you think about the new options!

Disney Food News

Catch up on your Disney Food reading!

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Update — Dinners With Cat Cora

Kouzzina by Cat Cora has added two more events to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival signature dining schedule.

Chef Cat Cora and the Kouzzina chefs will host additional dinners on October 2 and October 4 at 8pm. The cost is $170/person. The first signature dinner at Kouzzina will be held on September 27 at 8pm for $160. Note that Chef Cat Cora will only be in attendance at the October dinners.

Spots are extremely limited, and will go fast. Call 407-WDW-DINE to book.


We’ve got more food news (including restaurant closure updates, new dining locations at Aulani, a food truck at ESPN Wide World of Sports, a PCH Grill Passholder Preview in Disneyland, special offer at La Hacienda and San Angel Inn, and LOTS more) on our Disney Food News Pin Board!

A DFB Mini-Guide to the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival e-Book Reviews

Thanks to Disney by Mark for a great review of our DFB Mini-Guide to the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Pick up your copy of the DFB Mini-Guide to the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival today, and get planning. Don’t forget our great DFB Deals of the Week on this Guide!

Here’s some great advice from the Disney by Mark review:

Last year was my first at the festival and I found myself overwhelmed with choices and decisions to make. There was so much I wanted to do but I only had a limited time at Epcot…and Epcot is BIG. I found that in just one reading this guide has helped me plan my entire visit so I don’t collapse from exhaustion!

See? No exhaustion! ;-) Read the full review here! And, check out another great review at Jackie’s Magical Moments this week!

Now it’s your turn! Download your copy of the DFB Mini-Guide to the 2012 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book here! Get $3 off with our Deal of the Week!

On to the Round-Up

DisZine highlights the Great Irish Hooley event at Raglan Road in Downtown Disney this weekend.

Cookie Madness enjoys a treat from Epcot’s Biergarten – Bavarian Cheesecake.

Walt Disney World for Grown Ups hides out with a snack at the Writer’s Stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

A Wedding Cake Blog shares an adorable Minnie Mouse cake!

Mouse on the Mind dines at the California Grill overlooking the Magic Kingdom!

Main Street Gazette reviews the changes taking place with the restaurants in Epcot’s France pavilion.

AllEars takes a close-up look at the Pinocchio Village Haus.

DisneyParks looks back at the opening of Hollywood Scoops in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Review: Citricos at Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort

Come along with us on a great date night destination at Walt Disney World — Citricos at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa!

If you haven’t had the pleasure, there are so many reasons to give this wonderful restaurant a try. It’s a little easier to get an Advance Dining Reservation here than other, more popular spots in the Magic Kingdom area.

But with food that rivals the hottest spots at Disney World — and a quiet, comfortable atmosphere — this has become a restaurant we return to again and again. Does it continue to wow? We shall see…

Atmosphere

Citricos is tucked back behind Victoria & Albert’s (another review we’ll be treating you to soon!) on the Grand Floridian’s second floor. And with that “hidden” location, Citricos is often the overlooked signature dining spot here in the Magic Kingdom resort area. Diners often gravitate to California Grill or Narcoossee’s over Citricos in favor of spectacular fireworks views.

But don’t underestimate this place. While the fireworks viewing potential is pretty small here, sometimes being the “odd man out” can make a restaurant even more compelling. Citricos’ strengths come in the form of warmth, elegance, and a very quiet, comfortable atmosphere. I keep saying “comfortable” over and over again, and I’m pretty sure it’s because these dining chairs are some of the best on property! No kidding!

Seating Area

Warm light, sunny colors, and copper details make this an inviting space. (And did I mention the chairs? They’re comfortable.) A full bank of floor-to-ceiling windows lets in plenty of natural light during daytime hours.

Seating Area Near Windows

I like the whimsical, colorful glass touches on the tables. The candle holder and bread plates really add a pop of color to the formal place settings.

Table Setting

It’s always fun to watch the action in the open kitchen. The setting is beautiful, and the staff is poised and professional as they go about dinner service. (Don’t forget to take a peek as you walk to your table to see what items you might want to try!)

Exhibition Kitchen and Expediting Station

Off to the side of the restaurant — just next to the kitchen — is the Chef’s Domain. I’ve had the pleasure of eating in this private dining room recently for a good friend’s birthday dinner, and it’s very nice. You can order from a specialized menu or stick with the regular offerings. For events ranging from a private dinner party to a more elaborate affair, this is a great spot. This must be booked well ahead of time, and there’s a food and beverage minimum cost.

And as a bonus, you can get a really good view of the pastry specialists working at their craft – yum!

Pastry Chef Preparing Desserts

Now, back to our regular old dining room experience! Just walking to our table was enough to excite us about the meal! We were ready to get started.

Eats

The menu at Citricos focuses on [Read more…]

The Most Expensive Meals in the “World”

On the Walt Disney World Moms Panel, we field several questions every day from guests looking for ways to economize on their Disney food budget. These are meaningful and important questions, and we’re happy to help.

But every once in a while I find myself wishing that someone would send in a question like, “My rich uncle has died and left me a gazillion dollars. What’s the most expensive meal I can buy at Walt Disney World?” (Or maybe I’m just wishing that I had rich uncle in poor health :-).)

V&A's caviar. Yummy (and expensive).

The quick answer to the expensive meal question is Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian. This posh-beyond-posh restaurant will set you back at least $125 in the main dining room, or at least $200 in the even-more-posh-beyond-posh Queen Victoria Room or Chef’s Table.

And that’s not including tax, tip, booze, and supplementary extra caviar. I’m sure Uncle Moneybags would approve.

Disney World’s Priciest Meals

But I found myself wondering if there were any “regular” restaurant meals that would inflict nearly this much damage to my shiny red Disney Visa. I decided to figure out the most expensive non-V&A’s meal you could find at Walt Disney World (not counting special event or private event meals).

And as an added bonus, I realized that this would be a good tool for a guest on the Disney Dining Plan who was REEEEALLY looking to get his money’s worth.

So in order to compare apples to apples, or more accurately steak to steak, I decided to construct the most expensive standard three course meal at each Disney World signature restaurant: one appetizer/starter course, one single-serving entree, and one dessert.

Flying Fish, Boardwalk (DDP = Yes)

  • Chardonnay-steamed Mussels, $18
  • Black Angus New York Strip Steak, $42
  • Trio of Concession Sweets, $9

TOTAL: $69

Bistro de Paris, Epcot (DDP = Yes)

Review: California Grill

When planning meals for our October trip to Walt Disney World, I realized it had been a LONG time since we’d visited California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort! And I haven’t reported on it here on the blog for over a year, so I figured it was time to get a little updating in!

Let’s head over to the check-in desk, shall we…?

Atmosphere

To access California Grill, guests need to head to the 2nd floor of the Contemporary Resort and visit the restaurant’s check-in desk (you can get here by elevator, or by taking the stairs/from the back of the lobby).

Once you’re checked in, you’ll be waved over to a special elevator — one used only for California Grill guests — and taken up to the restaurant itself on the 15th floor of the hotel!

Entry from Elevators

I’m always immediately impressed by the nearly 360-degree view of Walt Disney World. The gorgeous, sprawling Grand Floridian Resort in front of you; the spires of Cinderella Castle, Big Thunder mountain, and Space Mountain to your right; and the Wilderness Lodge and Epcot to your left will make it difficult for most folks to tear themselves away from the walls of windows to take a look at the menu!

When you walk in, you’ll be greeted at the podium and (likely) handed a pager. No worries; there’s lots to do while you’re waiting. Start walking toward the windows and you’ll pass the California Grill Bar and head into the lounge area.

California Grill Bar

California Grill Bar

California Grill Lounge

Here’s a tip! If you don’t have a [Read more…]

Guest Review: ‘AMA ‘AMA Beachside Restaurant at Disney’s Aulani Resort

We’re so excited to have a review of Disney’s Aulani Resort’s premier restaurant just a few days after its opening! Mark Hickson is a Disney fan, a former Disney Imagineer, and a Hawai’i resident and food blogger (among many other things). We’re honored to share this article with our readers. Thanks, Mark!

'Ama 'Ama Beachside Restaurant

So the resort has been open for five days now and I thought it would be the perfect time to dine in the resort’s signature restaurant, ‘AMA ‘AMA. The restaurant is named after the tasty mullet fish ʻamaʻama that us locals enjoy.

Atmosphere

The setting is an open air thatched roof fishing shack and a minimalist fishing factory with concrete pillars and a large fish holding tanks complete with pipeline and spigot. Of all the beautiful facilities at Aulani Resort this place’s theme is the only one that doesn’t work.

Our reservations were for 5:30pm and my wife and I were seated directly. Unfortunately since it is an open air dining area (no walls), the sun was low enough to shine in so it was very bright and hot at our table. In retrospect I would wait until sunset to be seated.

Eats

Take a look at the official ‘AMA ‘AMA menus below:

click image for larger version

click image for larger version

For drinks I ordered a Pineapple Papaya Cosmo. It was fun, tropical and fresh with a light foam on top. Good enough to order a second, which I did! My wife’s coffee was [Read more…]

Disney’s Victoria & Albert’s Restaurant Earns AAA Five Diamond Award

The Disney Food Blog congratulates Victoria & Albert’s on receiving the AAA Five-Diamond for the 11th year in a row!

Located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Victoria & Albert’s well deserves this honor – the highest awarded by AAA. Fifty-five restaurants were distinguished on the 2011 list, with V&A’s being the sole recipient from Central Florida.

The memorable meals are due to the fine talents of Chef Scott Hunnel, manager and sommelier Israel Perez, and Master Pastry Chef Erich Herbitschek.

Chef Scott Hunnel

Check out some of the gorgeous cuisine Chef Hunnel creates at the Victoria & Albert’s Chef’s Table in this guest review from our [Read more…]