The S’mores The Better!

smoresIn honor of those Disney fans heading to Tent Fest in Walt Disney World this weekend, I got the great suggestion to chat a bit about Disney s’mores!

S’mores on Demand
There are two restaurants that currently have fun s’mores desserts on the menu; the first is more of a kid-friendly version, while the second will satisfy any of our many grown-up marshmallow cravings:

Le Cellier’s colorful s’mores-on-a-stick has been a go-to kids’ dessert for years, and it never fails to impress. “Built” with a graham cracker, chocolate, and ice cream base, the “wow” factor comes with a sprinkle-y marshmallow topping it all off.

Le Cellier Smores Dessert

Le Cellier Smores Dessert

The 50’s Prime Time Cafe s’mores dessert is a more “gourmet” offering — mostly because they can use a blow torch to make it — but the fun of having those ooey gooey marshmallows arrive on your table [Read more…]

Sanaa Wine List Suggestions

Thanks again to Amanda Tinney for the fantastic Sanaa Review yesterday! To accompany that piece, we’re thrilled that our friends at Cork’d.com have put together a list of highly-recommended wine list suggestions, and have even explained specifically why these wines will complement the unique menu of Indian and African cuisine at Sanaa.

Sanaa Wine Recommendations
The Sanaa wine list has a rich focus on South African wines, but also highlights some great options from around the world, including offerings from Italy, California, and New Zealand.

Sanaa Wine List -- Subject to Change -- Copyright Disney -- Click for Larger Version

Sanaa Wine List -- Subject to Change -- Copyright Disney -- Click for Larger Version

2008 Martin Codax Albarino: A crisp, refreshing, and highly acidic grape varietal, Albarino is most often found in the Northwest of Spain’s *Rias Baixas* region. Because these wines are so aromatic and flavor filled, they pair really well with the intensely flavored, aromatic cuisines, such as Indian. Martin Codax is one of the most recognized wineries in Rias Baixas, producing consistent and well-received Albarino year after year.

2008 Boutari Moschofilero: Moschofilero isn’t your everyday Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio. This grape has made a name [Read more…]

Grapefruit Cake Recipe From the Hollywood Brown Derby

Every Disney restaurant has some great menu items that keep guests coming back over and over again, but there are some dishes that are actually legendary.

Hollywood Brown Derby

The heyday of the original Brown Derby restaurants was the golden age of Hollywood, when Mary Pickford, Clarke Gable, Spencer Tracy, and the young starlet, Lucille Ball, among others, frequented the lush booths in the hat-shaped buildings. Disney World’s Hollywood Brown Derby is fashioned after the Hollywood Brown Derby on Vine Street (there were three other Brown Derby restaurants as well), and bears an incredible resemblance inside and out. But what I find truly fascinating about the restaurant are the stories it’s keeping alive.

One of my favorites is about Louella Parsons, who worked for William Randolph Hearst and was considered one of the most powerful gossip columnists in Hollywood for many years (to the dismay of her colleague and rival, Hedda Hopper, who often held court on the opposite side of the Derby from Parsons).

One day, Parsons complained to Derby owner Robert Cobb that all of his desserts were too fattening and requested something healthier. Cobb quickly told the chef “to put grapefruit on something, because everyone knows it’s slimming.”

Grapefruit Cake at Hollywood Brown Derby

So the chef invented his Grapefruit Cake, a dessert with multiple layers of cream cheese frosting that are anything but slimming, and it’s gone down in the history books along with [Read more…]

More on the Garden Town Breakfast at Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

F&GlogoThe Disney Parks Blog has released some delicious information about the brand new Garden Town Breakfast at the 2010 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival (which started today!).

Held on March 21, April 18 & May 16, in a second-floor dining room at the Garden Town Wonder’s Retreat, the Garden Town Breakfast will provide guests with a delicious meal made partially from ingredients grown at Epcot’s The Land pavilion!

Here are just a few of the potential menu offerings: “Warm caramel baked sweet plaintain coconut crumble…four-cheese quiche with puff pastry and garden peas…chicken sausage with caramelized green apples…” and “Danish pastries, scrambled eggs, oven-roasted potatoes and French toast … orange poppy seed bread with real butter … Sangria … yogurt with fresh fruit and granola … spinach and tomato frittata.”

Throughout the breakfasts, Disney horticulturists will give tips on grow-it-yourself herbs and vegetables; and Disney chefs will explain how to [Read more…]

Sanaa Restaurant Guest Review

Sanaa is almost a year old (!!), and it’s settling in nicely with a couple of new menu items and one of Disney World’s most incredible views. Amanda Tinney from DisneyEveryDay.com dined at the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s newest restaurant recently and was kind enough to share this rockin’ report. Take it away, Amanda!

Sanaa

Sanaa means “Work of Art” in Swahili, which is fitting because the food artists at Disney’s Kidani Village are crafting unique dishes for Disney Guests in their flagship restaurant… Sanaa. As the menu professes, Sanaa is “The Art of African Cooking with Indian Flavors.”

I had the privilege of dining here last week during a lunch meeting. I consider myself an adventurous eater, but I had my doubts once seated and presented with the menu. Luckily, I was dining with friends who had experienced Sanaa previously, and I let them take the lead when ordering appetizers.

We started with the Indian Style Bread Service ($8.99), which gave us a choice of three breads and three accompaniments. For the bread, we selected Naan, Onion Kulcha, and Paneer Paratha. [Read more…]

Review: Villa de Flora at Gaylord Palms Resort

Today we’re reviewing another of the Gaylord Palms Resort restaurants — Villa de Flora!

Gaylord Palms' Villa de Flora Restaurant

Gaylord Palms' Villa de Flora Restaurant

As you know, I was kindly invited to a complimentary dine-around at the restaurants at Gaylord Palms the last time I was in Orlando, Florida (you can see my photos and descriptions of the Sora Sushi Bar and the Old Hickory Steakhouse here). Gaylord Palms Resort is just a few miles away from Disney World’s main gate, and is a quick taxi ride or drive away from any Disney park or resort.

Villa de Flora Atmosphere
Gaylord Palms Resort is built around a massive indoor courtyard, which is separated into three Florida-specific sections: Key West, St. Augustine, and the Everglades. Villa de Flora is located in the St. Augustine area of the courtyard, directly across from this rustic Spanish castle where the resort holds special events:

Courtyard Castle

Courtyard Castle

The castle could be just one part of your view from this Mediterranean villa-themed restaurant. There are dining rooms inside the main villa area, affording surroundings of Spanish tile, heavy dark wood furniture, and massive fireplaces…

Gaylord Palms Inside Dining room

…or “outdoor” dining rooms (of course, the entire courtyard is covered, so you have no elements to worry about) strewn with lights and decorated casually with potted trees and wicker furniture.

Set Table in the Courtyard

Set Table in the Courtyard

No matter where you choose to dine, the restaurant has made the guest experience even more individualized by placing potted herbs on each table. Guests are encouraged to use the herbs as desired to add even more flavor to their meals.

Herbs and Olive Oil

Herbs and Olive Oil

Eats
Villa de Flora’s buffet offerings are set up as a Mediterranean market highlighting seasonal cuisine from several countries. In fact, the menu here has a twist. Although the service is buffet, each day the restaurant highlights a different Mediterranean country with its dishes, rotating between Spain, Italy, France, and Greece. When we were there, we were treated to specialties like seafood paella, tortilla salad, coconut shrimp, a gorgeous antipasto display, and some amazing desserts. But your choices might vary — it all depends on the day you dine.

Seafood Paella

Seafood Paella

Coconut Shrimp

Coconut Shrimp

Tortilla Salad

Tortilla Salad

Sundried tomatoes, various cheeses, hearts of palm, mandarin orange and dates salad, various breads

Sundried tomatoes, various cheeses, hearts of palm, mandarin orange and dates salad, various breads

Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding

Cake, Tiramisu, Baklava, and Cheesecake

Cake, Tiramisu, Baklava, and Cheesecake

Chocolate Desserts

Chocolate Desserts

Once we had made the rounds of the buffet, we were greeted at our table by our server preparing the house-made Sangria! Although the buffet variety might keep other restaurants from developing house dishes, Villa de Flora has made its mark with a delicious tomato-basil soup and this Sangria, made from a variety of apples, oranges, lemons, cinnamon sticks, fruit juices, brandy, and Réné Barbier Mediterranean wines. The strong cinnamon taste made it stand out from any other Sangria I’ve sampled, and it was delicious.

Preparations for Sangria

Preparations for Sangria

Making the Sangria

Making the Sangria

House Tomato Basil Soup

House Tomato Basil Soup

A Sample Salad Plate of Mine

A Sample Salad Plate of Mine

So how was it?
We were very impressed with this restaurant! How do you make a standard resort buffet into something special? In my opinion, you create beautiful and changing surroundings; keep the menu season-inspired and innovative; focus on taste and presentation; and stay true to the dishes that make your restaurant special. We’re usually not big buffet fans, but the house-made Sangria mixed at the table and fresh, not-too-fussy dishes won us over. (I can still taste that Sangria!!) I was truly sorry we were anticipating the next restaurant, because I couldn’t dig into that line of incredible desserts…!

From my experience there, I think Villa de Flora would be ideal for a business lunch, a family brunch (think Mother’s Day!), or an evening excursion with friends for a few pitchers of Sangria and some delicious Mediterranean homestyle eats. (We actually passed Villa de Flora on our way out of the resort later that evening and it was very lively with groups of people at the courtyard tables having a great time!)

Specs and Info
You can check out the current Gaylord Palms Resort Villa de Flora menu here. Breakfast at Villa de Flora is served weekdays from 6:30 to 10:30 a.m., and until 11:00 a.m. on weekends. Sunday brunch is served from noon until 3:00 p.m.; lunch is served weekdays from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and Saturdays from noon until 2:30 p.m.; and dinner is served nightly from 5:00 until 10:00 p.m. Bar service (with occasional entertainment) is available from 11:30 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.

Villa de Flora is located in the St. Augustine Atrium, and attire is casual. You can make a reservation online, or call (407) 586-1114.

Victoria & Albert’s Chef’s Table Review

I am truly thrilled to bring you this guest review from Disney World Moms Panelist Erin Foster and her family of their trip to the Victoria & Albert’s Chef’s Table a couple of weeks ago. The photos alone are breathtaking food art, but this is also an incredibly detailed description of what you can expect as a guest at Disney World’s most exclusive dining experience. Take it away, Erin!

Victoria and Alberts

Victoria and Alberts

Victoria and Albert’s Chef’s Table: The Perfect Place for Children

Wait, wait, I know what you’re thinking, “They don’t even allow children at Victoria and Albert’s.” This is true; the youngest guests are not permitted at Disney’s premier restaurant, but children age 10 and up are welcome to experience V&A’s. And that’s just what we did, brought our three girls, 13-year-old Charlie and 10 year-old twins Josie and Louisa to the most elegant restaurant in Central Florida.

(More amazing pictures and review after the break) [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Weekly Round-Up: February 28th, 2010

lorelaybovequeenofheartsWelcome to the weekly round-up! You’ll see we have a different photo on the blog this week: it’s a painting by Disney animator Lorelay Bove being featured in an exhibit called Curiouser and Curiouser: Inspired by ‘Alice in Wonderland’ at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, CA. I absolutely love Bove’s art and thought there might be a few fans out there. If you happen to get to the exhibit, let me know how it is! Now…on to the round-up!

Firstly, I’d like to send a thanks to Jeannie Kim and Redbook Magazine for recommending The Disney Food Blog in a recent article about Walt Disney World planning.

Tables in Wonderland events for March are now available for booking!

The OC Register reports that Philippe Tosques comes from the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas to join the Napa Rose team as General Manager, replacing Michael Jordan.

Yesterland‘s Werner Weiss reviews Wally Boag: Clown Prince of Disneyland, highlighting one of The Golden Horseshoe Revue’s finest performers.

Samland’s Disney Adventures posts incredible historical information about and concept art of Disneyland’s Club 33.

AllEarsNet‘s Jack Spence brings us to the Yacht Club’s Crew’s Cup Lounge.

Progress City U.S.A. posts about a 1977 Gourmet Pantry cast-member-only sale on frozen meat. This is hilarious. Pls read.

Bluebonnets and Brownies developed a new Schoolbread cupcake based on the recipe for Epcot’s Norway pavilion’s famous pastry!

Etckt has shared a Disney Photo Challenge on flickr seeking out the most beautifully plated dishes (gorgeous!). Go join in and/or vote!

The Disney Chick is back with another great Boma recipe walk-through — Curry Butternut Soup.

Only WDWorld posts a review of Epcot’s Les Chefs de France.

Tim Maughan Books shares some Ponyo Cupcakes! (Thanks to Imaginerding for the link.)

Cooking With Mickey shares a review of Disneyland’s Goofy’s Kitchen.

Watch Me Eat heads to Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe.

Can-Can

One of the most visually interesting things about the Celebrate Volunteers! event at Walt Disney World a couple of weeks ago was the prevalence of “canned goods props” throughout the grounds.

These giant-sized cans had fun cartoon images on them of your fab five Disney friends, but what was really intriguing were the different mottos written on the cans, highlighting the sheer magnitude and benefits of the Give a Day, Get a Disney Day promotion. Here are just a few examples:

Net Wt 1lb (16 oz) Heroism
Concentrated Generosity
Be a Hero in your Community
Made With Pure Disney Magic

I spent an hour or so wandering around the park with my camera capturing the different mottos, designs, and thoughts displayed on these very cool, but also pretty inspiring, Disney event props.

Don’t forget to look for the hidden Mickey in the UPC symbol — you’ll see him about 3/4 of the way through the video! Oh yeah, there’s a pic of Ty Pennington in there, too.

For more information about how you can volunteer and get a free day at Disney World, click here. For more about the world’s largest canned goods sculpture, see this post.

Food Photos From the WDW ESPN Wide World of Sports Event

Matt Hochberg from StudiosCentral.com kindly forwarded his pics of the event’s food line-up from last night! Not everyone gets to rub elbows and dine with the Atlanta Braves! :)

ESPN Wide World of Sports Event seating and setup

ESPN Wide World of Sports Event seating and setup

ESPN Wide World of Sports Playing Fields and Event Tables

ESPN Wide World of Sports Playing Fields and Event Tables

More photos after the break… [Read more…]