Risotto Around the World

Ah…time to talk about one of my very favorite side dishes EVER!!! Risotto is often overlooked, but the creamy savory goodness that is risotto could easily take center stage in a dish (and does in some of these highlighted below)! Disney chefs have mastered the art of making this slow-cooked yumminess — rice patiently mixed with flavorful broth — and whether it’s mixed with meat, fish, or vegetables, risotto doubles as as a sophisticated recipe and mouth-watering, comfort food.

I was looking through our Disney Food Blog Flickr group and saw so many gorgeous photos of risotto that I simply had to do a post about this dark horse side dish. (Of course, I’ve added a few of my own photos as well…;-D.)

Let’s take a tour around the world…

Butternut Squash Risotto from Artist Point

This butternut squash risotto topped with pork belly is easily in my “top 5″ risottos in Disney World. Offered at Artist Point in the Wilderness Lodge, the hint of sweet from the squash and tartness courtesy of the cranberry drizzle create amazing (and memorable!) flavors. Sigh. I miss it.

butternut squash risotto

Dungeness Crab Risotto with Blood Orange Sauce and Pea Shoots; from Artist Point

This ample portion of risotto is mixed handsomely with crab creating a decadent appetizer. (Looks amazing!!!) Dishes at Artist Point tend to change seasonally, yet Dungeness crab seems to be used in many dishes — like these crab cakes we highlighted earlier this week!
(Photographer: Roger Weeks)

Dungeness Crab Risotto

Mushroom “Risotto” (in reality this is white corn, but I love that they made a “risotto” out of it), served along side Seared Bison with, Turnips, Chestnuts, and Pinot Noir Juniper Emulsion; from California Grill

This striking presentation from the California Grill has a slight [Read more…]

Walt Disney World New Year’s Eve Dining and Special Events

Ringing in New Year 2012 from Walt Disney World? It’s going to be a memorable night! Call 407-WDW-DINE for holiday dining information and reservations! Here are some of your options for dining on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day:

Disney Resorts and Event Spaces

Boardwalk
Atlantic Dance Hall
Dance into the New Year at Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney’s BoardWalk
8 p.m. to 2 a.m., ages 21 and up.

Video DJ Tony Zapulla will play hits on the main dance floor. Beverages will be for sale from three different bars. There will be limited viewing of Epcot’s fireworks.

$37 (gratuity not included) for access to the main floor of the Dance Hall.
$80 for a VIP ticket that allows guests entrance to a private 2nd floor area with guaranteed seating and access to a private upstairs balcony for “limited” viewing of the fireworks. In addition, you’ll be able to indulge at a Dessert Station and private VIP bar. Cocktail service will also be offered.

Dress Attire: Business Casual or Formal

Parking:
Parking passes for the self parking lot will be given with advance purchases. Parking not guaranteed to be available for same day purchase.
Contemporary Resort
Chef Mickey’s (New Year’s Day brunch)
California Grill will host an evening of elegance!
$550 per person.

View of Castle from our California Grill Table

Entertainment will include casino-style games, live music and Disney characters. Enjooy food stations and beverages while watching [Read more…]

Review: Yachtsman Steakhouse

Awesomeness! It’s been a long time since we’ve reviewed Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney World’s Yacht Club Resort, which is a real shame considering how much I like this restaurant! (Meat? Good! Butter? Good! Habanero-Infused Flourless Chocolate Cake? Good!)

But on this visit, I broke away from my standards and tried some new items! Can’t wait to share them with you! Let’s get started…

Atmosphere

Yachtsman Steakhouse has very clean, traditional lines when it comes to decor.

One of the Yachtsman Steakhouse Dining Areas

Guests enter into a foyer where they’ll encounter a large picture window looking into the steak trimming room, then they’ll pass by the open kitchen and into the dining room, which is furnished in light woods and tasteful artwork from top to bottom. Craftsman style chandeliers hang over the white-clothed tables.

Restaurant Entrance

Chandelier in the Two-Story Dining Room

My favorite room in the dining area is a [Read more…]

Disney Food Trend: Savory Beignets

One of the new food trends I noticed on my last visit to Walt Disney World was the use of savory beignets as sides or garnishes in many of the dishes I tried!

I don’t know about you, but beignets have always been sweet and powdered-sugary in my world; I’d never heard or seen a savory version! But it’s always good to sample something new! Here are a few of the versions I saw…

Sweet Potato Beignet: Yachtsman Steakhouse

At Yachtsman Steakhouse in Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, the Sweet Potato Beignet was a rib-eye steak side dish that we thought was a lot of fun!

Light, airy, and savory-sweet, this was an interesting mouth feel for a flavor most of us know well.

Sweet Potato Beignets at Yachtsman Steakhouse

Sweet Potato Beignets at Yachtsman close-up

Mushroom Beignet: Flying Fish Cafe

Over at my beloved Flying Fish Cafe, the “exotic forest mushroom beignets” came as an accompaniment to the [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: April 10, 2011

Casey's New Specialty Hot Dogs

I’ve been having fun sharing my latest restaurant reviews and there’s lots more on the way from our March trip to Disney World.

Plus, stay tuned this week for a 2011 WDW Foodie Fest announcement.

Let’s start with the latest news:

DFB Guide News & One-Day Discount Sale
And there are more stellar reviews of our e-Book, The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining to share this week. Hooray! About.com Theme Parks Guide, Arthur Levine, gave us a shout-out. Read it here. All’s Fare Food Blog also gave the book a thumbs up. Learn why the book is helpful to veteran visitors to WDW here.

You can purchase your own copy here: http://DFBGuide.com. Use code: DFBA11 for a 20% discount today only!

Now, on to the round-up!
Disney History shows a vintage commercial for Baker’s Instant Chocolate with Jiminy Crickett.

Eating (and Drinking) Around WDW creates Korean Lettuce Wraps with Roast Pork and Kimchi Slaw from the 2010 Epcot Food and Wine Festival South Korea booth!

Main Street Gazette taste tests a Mickey’s premium ice cream bar.

Imaginerding shares an early Disney marketing effort for the Globetrotter milk and bread program.

StudiosCentral shares a fun look at some photos with the theme of “drink.”

Disney Parks Blog highlights wine tastings and five-course specialty dinners offered at Jiko.

The Disney Go To Girl: A Luxury Travel Blog takes us to France. Well, Epcot’s France and highlights Les Chefs de France with a beautiful picture tour.

Illuminating Epcot braves the “Battle of the Steaks”.

Disney World and Disneyland Dining for Valentine’s Day

Romance can be found all over Walt Disney World and Disneyland. And at these dining venues, there won’t be a single character in sight! Some restaurants feature special menus for Valentine’s Day.

Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World Sweetheart Dinners
These special meals for two are offered all year-long at Walt Disney World, and Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to splurge on this decadent dining experience.

Enjoy a 3-course, prix-fixe meal that includes an appetizer, entrée and a shared dessert. Toast your love with a selected beverage in etched champagne flutes, then take [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…]

The Five Best Steaks in Disney World

I started out this evening writing a post about the best underrated steaks in Disney World, but then realized that I hadn’t even done the five best steaks in Disney World, yet! So here you go! (Also, please note that this post isn’t about the best steakhouses in Disney World — that’s another post altogether…which Jeff promised me he’d help write…right, Jeff?)

The Five Best Steaks in Walt Disney World

Yachtsman Steakhouse Cowboy Steak

Yachtsman Steakhouse is a tidy little nondescript restaurant churning out some really incredible food. All light woods, white tablecloths, and windows, you really don’t know what to expect when you walk in; but do me a favor and order yourself a steak.

The Cowboy Steak is just about my favorite cut of meat. It’s a ribeye that still has its bones, and it has incredible flavor all on its own. However, I always order it with some melted garlic butter on top, which makes it even better.

Sadly, the Cowboy Steak isn’t on the menu at “press time,” but they change the steaks up quite regularly at Yachtsman Steakhouse, so think happy thoughts and maybe it’ll be there when you are.

Cowboy Steak with Potato Gratin

Le Cellier Filet

Ah, yes. How would I dare do a “best steaks” post without include this darling of the Disney set? Luckily, I’m right there on the bandwagon with everyone else who loves the Le Cellier Filet with Wild Mushroom Risotto and White Truffle-Herb Butter Sauce.

The filet is always tender, and coupled with that superstar mushroom risotto it just can’t go wrong.

Le Cellier Filet — Dinner Portion

Jiko Filet

Found in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Jiko is a bit of a dark horse in the favorite steak category. But anyone who’s tasted it knows that their Oak-grilled Filet Mignon with Macaroni and Cheese and Red Wine Sauce is a force to be reckoned with.

The macaroni and cheese adds a sharp taste while the red wine sauce adds a tangy accompaniment to the smooth Filet. It really is an orchestration of flavors that anyone can enjoy. I mean, just look at that picture! Don’t you want to dive in?!?

Filet and Mac and Cheese at Jiko

Shula’s Steak House Cowboy Steak

What can I say — another cowboy (did you know I currently live in Texas?). Shula’s Steak House is a fascinating place for so many reasons — Don Shula himself, the 48-ounce eat-it-all-and-you-get-your-name-on-a-plaque steak, the menu on a football, and so much more. But today we’re just talking about steak, and the steak is luxurious. Shula raises his own cattle, and there is a bit of a “Dolphin Difference” at this place. The meat isn’t dressed in any special way, but the taste is out of this world.

Cowboy Ribeye

Flying Fish New York Strip Steak

While there are several restaurants that I could slide into this final spot, Flying Fish Cafe wins the slot because it’s innovative and eager-to-please. It’s an incredible steak at a seafood place — pretty hard to come by, yet I’m always hearing recommendations about it! When I finally tried their signature Char-crusted Certified Black Angus New York Strip Steak with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Root Vegetables, and Pole Beans with Classic Sauce Foyot, I understood what all the shouting was about.

It has a different taste to it than any other steak I’ve eaten in Disney restaurants. The char-crusting gives it a depth that might be a bit too much for some folks, but for a steak-lover like me makes it just unique enough to edge out other favorites.

Flying Fish New York Strip Steak

By the way, I didn’t know what Pole Beans were, either. Apparently they’re just beans that are grown on poles or trellises. See, I learn so much by writing this blog.

Let the Discussion Begin

I know that there are a lot of you meat-heads (ha ha) out there who have different ideas about the best steaks in Disney World, so let’s hear ‘em! Like I said, I’m putting together a post about the most underrated steaks in Disney World, and I can always use suggestions!

Let me know your favorites in the comments section below :-)

“The Best Thing I Ever Ate in Disney!”: Appetizers & Sides

We’ve just started a fun new series based on the Food Network’s (very cool) show, The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Due to some keen suggestions from readers, we’re splitting our series up into different sections: breakfast, appetizers & side dishes, snacks, entrees (lunch & dinner), and desserts & drinks.

Today, we’re taking a look at Appetizers and Side Dishes! I’ve done my favorite brand of informal polling (i.e. posted questions on twitter and facebook ;) ) to find out others’ experiences of the “Best Thing They Ever Ate” as far as appetizers and side dishes at Disney.

Soups

Soups were by far the #1 mentioned appetizer/side when I reached out to facebook and twitter folks for their favorites.

Portobello Soup at Artist Point

  • Most beloved are the soups found at Boma in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. These vary every day, but the varieties specifically mentioned by readers as the Best Thing They Ever Ate! were: Mushroom Soup, Mulligatawny Soup, and Butternut Squash Soup. (Personally, the chicken corn chowder is my favorite!).
  • Of course, you can’t post a series like this without a few votes for Le Cellier Steakhouse‘s famous Cheddar Cheese Soup! This comes heartily recommended by Disney Food Blog readers — and yours truly, of course!
  • The Grand Floridian also racked up a couple of votes from our readers! The cashew cream soup from Victoria and Albert’s comes was noted, as was the cheesy tomato soup at the Grand Floridian Cafe (yum — doesn’t that sound good?!?).
  • Finally, that delicious Mushroom-Soup-That-Doesn’t-Taste-Like-Mushrooms was voted [Read more…]

The Most Popular Disney World Restaurants (And Alternatives When They’re Full)

Chef Donald

You guys remember when we covered the Top Ten Disney Dining Tips, right? Overwhelmingly, the tip that was mentioned the most by Disney Food Blog readers was making Advanced Dining Reservations for high priority meals at Disney parks and resorts.

While this might be obvious to many, not everyone knows which Disney restaurants fill up the fastest when it comes to reservations. Having a little frame of reference on this might be extremely helpful as you’re planning your Disney dining and trying to determine what meals are high priority for you. So, I’ve prepared a little primer on which Disney restaurants are the toughest to book, along with great alternatives if you don’t happen to get your favorites!:

1. Le Cellier

Le Cellier Steakhouse has been, for years, one of the toughest tickets in Disney World for both lunch and dinner. Seriously, I have heard Le Cellier cast members mention more than once that they’re continuously booked up for lunch and dinner 6 months in advance, with walk-up reservations rarely an option. In my opinion, this is due to three things: [Read more…]