Posts Tagged by Disney Dining

Friday Feast: Disneyland Table Service Dining Must Dos!

After the Disneyland Half Marathon last year, I was craving all of the amazing counter service meals I saw people enjoying while out there.  Disneyland counter service blows Walt Disney World out of the water from what I’ve seen…remember, I haven’t even been there yet!

So with my upcoming trip (only a short 2.5 weeks away!!!!!) I obviously have myself looking towards food.  Shocking I know.  I still plan on paying a visit to Rancho del Zocalo, Flo’s V-8 Cafe and Bengal Barbeque, but now I have my sights set on table service restaurants…bring on the goodness!!

First stop of our trip is the Carthay Circle Restaurant.  We have reservations here for the first night we arrive and I couldn’t be more excited.  Ever since I saw the first reviews come out, I knew this restaurant would be right up my alley!

Photo Source: The Disney Food Blog

Photo Source: The Disney Food Blog

From the signature Firecracker Duck Wings to the Bacon Wrapped Shrimp, everything looks amazing!  Oh and of course I can’t wait to try one of their signature cocktails or maybe some of that Lassetter wine (yes, as in John Lassetter!) that Jenn from Eat, Sleep, Run Disney enjoyed when she was there.  It’s 3 days before any races, what can it hurt?!? 🙂

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp Photo Source: The Disney Food Blog

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
Photo Source: The Disney Food Blog

Next on my list is the Blue Bayou.  While the menu at this restaurant really doesn’t appeal to me all that much and it seems WAY over priced, I always hear that this is a must do for every Disneyland first-timer.  Hey, that’s me!  And while the menu isn’t all that appealing, the atmosphere is and from all the photos I’ve seen I’m sure I will plant my butt in one of those waterside tables for quite some time.

Photo Source: Disney

Photo Source: Disney

The atmosphere actually reminds me of San Angel Inn in the Mexico pavilion at Epcot, which is one of my favorite lunch spots!  So we will be visiting Blue Bayou for lunch on our second day in Disneyland…oh boy!  Now as far as menu items are concerned, I know the famous Monte Cristo is a fan favorite, but between the eggs, grains and sugar, that is sure to throw my digestive system into a tailspin!  I’ve been leaning more towards the Jambalya…now that looks delicious!

Photo Source: Yelp

Photo Source: Yelp

Photo Source: The Disney Food Blog

Photo Source: The Disney Food Blog

The last reservation I’ve made is at what I’ve heard is the best Disney restaurant there is by my good friend and dining expert Rick Howard. It’s the one and only Napa Rose.  I was lucky enough to snag a reservation at the Chef’s Counter on the last night of our trip (yes, I called exactly 60 days out like a good WDW veteran does!).  This will be a great way to celebrate my completion of the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge!  I haven’t had a Chef’s Table experience in almost 3 years when we ate at Victoria & Albert’s for our one year anniversary, so I am seriously looking forward to this!  Also, I’ve read AJ’s review on The Disney Food Blog a few times and it is just building up my anticipation of this meal.  Sigh…can I go there right now?!?

These are the only reservations I’ve made so far, but I’m also considering the Wine Country Trattoria, Carnation Cafe, Tortilla Jo’s and Steakhouse 55.  They are all on my maybe list for other potential table service dining locations.

What do you think?  Am I missing any MUST DO Disneyland table service restaurants?!?

 

Friday Feast: Looking Ahead to the 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival!

To say that I’m getting excited for Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival is an understatement.  It is by far my favorite time of year.  I mean really, combining Disney with food is my idea of paradise!

A few weeks ago, Disney Every Day reported on some new food items that will be added to the menu this year and there are a few that I haven’t stopped thinking about.  Then earlier today, The Disney Food Blog announced four more new items…yay!  There are also a few old favorites that I’ve been dying to sink my teeth into again, so let’s take a look…

Old Favorites

Well my number one favorite item at the festival has to be the Lettuce Wrap with Roast Pork and Kimchi Slaw from the South Korea booth.  This dish is so flavorful and is incredibly filling for a small plate.  It’s actually also pretty healthy among all of the items available at the festival.  I’m a little nervous that it won’t be making a return this year because a Kimchi Dog with Spicy Mustard Sauce and Kimchi has been announced as a new item there.  I will be devastated if this is the case…

Lettuce Wraps

Last year I discovered the Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies at the Australia booth and fell in love.  Now I’m not a big lamb fan, but this was out of this world.  The combination of the mint and the salty potato chips was incredible.  I think I probably had at least 6 of these over the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend…they were the perfect post-race snack!!

Lamb Chop

The Florida Local Booth was new last year, but it had two wonderful dishes that I also had multiples of.  First was the Florida Shrimp Ceviche with Fire Roasted Vegetables, Fried Plantains and Cilantro, which was both refreshing and spicy. I also really enjoyed the White Corn Arepa with Mangalitsa Pork Rilette and Zellwood Sweet Corn Salad.  This wasn’t a hit with a lot of people, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I think I’m just a sucker for anything that has pork in it.

Arepa Delicioso!

New Deliciousness

Since they like to change up the menu at the festival, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I might not be able to get all of my favorite dishes again this year 🙁  But thankfully, some of the new items that have been announced look amazing.  First thing I’m dying to try is the Seared Trout with Frisee, Bacon and Maple Minus 8 Vinaigrette from the Canada booth.  Whoa…what is not to love about that?!?

Austraila looks like it’s going to have another winner on its hands with the addition of Garlic Shrimp served with what looks to be broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes.    Well all of that is sure to go very well with the Grilled Lamb Chop and maybe a nice glass of Pinot Noir.

The newly announced Lemongrass Curry Chicken from the Singapore booth sounds very promising, as long as it’s not overpoweringly spicy.  Also, the new for 2013 Scotland booth has a cocktail that I must try.  The Loch Lomond Cocktail which is Scotch, Drambuie and Dry Vermouth sounds delicious!

Well now you know what I’m most looking forward too…can you blame me?  Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival starts in only 77 days, but who’s counting?? 🙂

What is your favorite item at Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival?  What new items are you looking forward to trying?

 

Friday Feast: Lunch at Be Our Guest Restaurant

To say that this restaurant was on the highly anticipated list of places to visit is an understatement.  Ever since the menu was released, I was chomping at the bit to have lunch at the Be Our Guest Restaurant.  Why lunch?  Well there is one menu item that was calling my name and it seriously lived up to all my expectations!

But before we go there, let’s start from the beginning.  Look at the amazing theming at the entrance of the restaurant…

01 BOG_Sign02 BOG_entrance03 BOG_entrance04 BOG_Entrance

When dining for lunch, you are sent to the left of the entrance on on a queue to place your order.  While waiting, you are surrounded by various suits of armor who are having a candid conversation 🙂  Make sure to keep you ears open!

05 BOG_Armour

Hidden Mickey!

Hidden Mickey!

There are digital menus all in the entrance way so you can make  figure out what you want before entering the ordering area…obviously I have cupcakes on the mind…

07 BOG_Menu

When you come to the ordering area, the host explains the RFID Rose you will get after placing your order and directs you to the next available kiosk.

08 BOG_CheckIn

The “rose” is a sort of tracking device that you place on your table that allows the servers to find you and deliver your meal…super cool technology!!  When I visited, it was still soon after the restaurant opened so they had cast members assisting with the ordering process.  It was fairly simple to understand so I’m not sure how necessary this was…

09 BOG_Ordering010 BOG_Ordering011 BOG_Ordering012 BOG_Ordering

After placing our order, we wer directed to find a table in one of the three dining rooms and place our rose in the center of the table.  The first room you enter is the Ballroom which is expansive and elegant.

Ballroom

Ballroom

To the right of the Ballroom is the Rose Gallery.  This area was actually closed when I was there for “technical difficulties” but I was snuck my way in to snap a photo 🙂

The Rose Gallery Gorgeous!

The Rose Gallery
Gorgeous!

But my favorite room has to be The West Wing!  It’s dark, mysterious and has everything that embodies Beauty and the Beast.

The West Wing

The West Wing

015 BOG_West Wing016 BOG_Enchanted Rose

Sadly there was no room in the West Wind so we found a table in the Ballroom, placed our rose in the center of the table and waited for our food to arrive.

018 BOG_RFID Rose

I think my favorite thing about the restaurant (well besides the food) is is how the food arrives!  The servers bring it out on on these fabulously old fashioned rolling carts.  It just fits perfectly within the theming of the restaurant.

019 BOG_Food Cart

So now onto the food…my favorite part!  I’m going to start with the quick service dish to top all quick service dishes: Braised Pork.  YUM!  This is served with veggies, mashed potatoes and bacon…how can you go wrong with that?!  Honestly, this is one of the best dishes I’ve had on WDW property, and you know how I love to eat!!

Braised Pork

I was with a group of about 8 other people so I got to see many of the other dishes they had to offer…they all looked delicious!!

Tuna Nicoise Salad

Tuna Nicoise Salad

Quinoa Salad

Vegetable Quiche

Vegetable Quiche

Chocolate Cupcake

Chocolate Cupcake

But seriously…don’t waste your time on anything else.  Just order the Braised Pork and come back to thank me later….it’s SO good.

Overall, I love the restaurant and can’t wait to go back!  Next time, I hope to have dinner there so I can finally have a glass of wine in the Magic Kingdom!

Have you eaten at Be Our Guest Restaurant?  What’s your favorite dish? 

 

Friday Feast: Jiko

01 Jiko_Sign

I’ve visited Jiko a few times over the years, but I have recently discovered a love for this restaurant. Not only is it located at one of my favorite hotels, the Animal Kingdom Lodge, but the food is just beyond amazing. B and I ate here once and he wasn’t as big a fan as I was, so who better to bring back for an amazing meal than your best girlfriend. Enter Amanda….my foodie partner in crime! We had 2 amazing meals here this year and now Jiko is our favorite dining location in Walt Disney World. In fact, Amanda is celebrating her Mom’s birthday there tonight…Happy Birthday Mom!

Partners in Crime :)

Partners in Food Crime 🙂

Our favorite place to eat at Jiko is the Chef’s Counter. There are six seats here that overlook their partial show kitchen where they make all of the appetizers. This includes the flatbreads which are cooked one of the super hot brick ovens. The ovens get up to 685 degrees and only take 5 minutes to cook the flatbreads! The chefs (most of them) are very friendly and happy to answer any of your questions. If you’re a foodie, this is a great place to become more immersed in your meal.

00 Jiko_Chef's Counter

Chef’s Counter!

00 Jiko_FlatbreadsSo let’s dive in! Many are hesitant about dining at Jiko because of the “exotic” cuisine. But in reality, it’s not all that exotic and just purely delicious. Here are some of the menu options:

Jiko Apps

Jiko Apps

Jiko Soups & Entrees

Jiko Soups & Entrees

Ok, some of the ingredients might be strange and unusual, but just give it a chance. How can you go wrong with this amazing bread and butter to start?! There are two kinds of bread, honey wheat and rye focaccia with flax seeds, and the butter is a sundried tomato butter combined with cilantro, turmeric and ginger. Yes, it’s amazingly delicious. Oh and if you have an egg sensitivity like I do, let them know and they will separate the bread for you…pretty cool!

Honey Wheat Bread includes eggs

Honey Wheat Bread
includes eggs

Rye Bread egg-free

Rye Focaccia
egg-free

On both visits, Amanda and I split the same appetizers. After having the Grilled Wild Boar Tenderloin for the first time, I’ve pretty much been dreaming about it ever since. The meat is insanely tender, the pap (a traditional African corn porridge) is amazingly creamy and the spices are insane. This tiny little appetizer packs a flavorful punch!

06 Jiko_Wild Boar

Amanda and I are cheese addicts…if there’s a cheese plate on the menu, we’re getting it! Jiko has a great one with some interesting accouterments, including a date and mango jam, ground pumpkin seeds, plum gelee and a honey crisp.

Cheese Plate

Cheese Plate

08 Jiko_Cheese MenuMouth watering yet? Let’s move on to the entrees. The most famous entree at Jiko is their Oak-Grilled Filet Mignon. When the restaurant first opened, it came with an amazing Mac & Cheese. The menu was changed to the current Spoonbread Souffle, which I’m sure is good, but no comparison to the Mac & Cheese. Good news, you can still request it and the kitchen is happy to oblige!

011 Jiko_Filet

Oak-Grilled Filet Mignon with Mac & Cheese

If you’re a fan of beef, you might also like the Short Ribs. These are perfectly tender, but beware that they are quite spicy. Amanda ordered this on our first visit and while I thought the beef was good, it was a bit too spicy for me.

013 Jiko_Short Ribs

Spicy Beef Short Rib

On our second visit, we both went the seafood route at the suggestion of our amazing waiter Hassan (who we had both times!). I was ready to get the Filet Mignon again, but was also intrigued by the Yellow Snapper. And I’m so glad he convinced me to go with that! The Pan-seared Yellow Snapper with Tea-smoked Lentils is beyond amazing. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it was probably the best dish I’ve had in WDW. The sauce is a Citrus-Curry Beurre Blanc and if I could put this on everything I would. Basically, order this dish….

Yellow Snapper

Yellow Snapper

Tea-Smoked Lentils with the Yellow Snapper

Tea-Smoked Lentils with the Yellow Snapper

Sigh…I want that right now. Amanda ordered another delicious seafood dish, West African “Jerked” Scallops. Girl likes the spicy stuff! These were very good and I particularly enjoyed the Coconut Curry Sauce. However the baby carrots were very underdone and hard to eat…boo.

012 Jiko_Scallops

Jerked Scallops

Well there’s always room for dessert, right? Jiko has a very interesting dessert and after dinner drink menu, and me, I’m more partial to liquid desserts.

Dessert Menu

Dessert Menu

Dessert Cocktail & Coffee Menu

Dessert Cocktail & Coffee Menu

Most of the desserts have eggs, so I steered clear of those. But Amanda raved about both the Coffee Creme Brûlée and the Chocolate Cake. They look delicious!

Kenyan Coffee Creme Brulee

Kenyan Coffee Creme Brûlée

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Cinnamon-Chocolate Flourless Cake

I did try their sorbets, Coconut and I can’t remember the 2nd flavor!, which were quite good. Great egg-free option!

Sorbet

Sorbet

Now the after dinner drinks…I tried both the Zebratini and the Nutty African. YUM! The Zebratini was a bit too sweet for me, but the Nutty African was right up my alley!

Zebratini

Zebratini

Nutty African

Nutty African

Yowza…that’s a good meal! I wish I was there right now! Look how happy I was after my last meal there…

Pure Contentment

Pure Contentment

Have you eaten at Jiko? What is your favorite dish there?

Friday Feast: The Cobb Salad at Hollywood Brown Derby

Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is one of my favorite restaurants in all of Walt Disney World.  B and I typically will visit the Studios on the last day of our trip to get one last ride on the Tower of Terror and then have lunch at Brown Derby before heading to the airport.  My absolute favorite dish there is the Cobb Salad, a Brown Derby classic!

Cobb Salad_Brown Derby Sign

Legend has it that one night in the 1930s, the owner of the original Hollywood Brown Derby was hungry after a long dinner service.  So he went through the kitchen gathering leftovers, mixed it all with the house French dressing, and alas the Cobb Salad was born.  It is now a staple on the Brown Derby menu and consists of finely chopped greens, turkey breast, bacon, hard-boiled egg, tomatoes, crumbled blue cheese, avocado and chives, all tossed with Cobb Dressing.  YUM!

Cobb Salad Menu

The Cobb Dressing is like a slightly creamy red wine vinaigrette and gives a nice balance to some of the heavier ingredients like avocado and bacon.  The salad comes to the table in separate components and is then tossed by your server table-side.

Pre-Tossed Salad

Pre-Tossed Salad

Final Tossed Salad

Final Tossed Salad

As you can see, all of the ingredients (including the lettuce) are finely chopped so they all blend together perfectly.  Now I can’t eat eggs, so I leave that out, but all of the other components are some of my favorite foods, so it’s obvious I will love this.  It’s a great lunch or appetizer to one of the Brown Derby’s delicious entrees.

Have you had the Cobb Salad at the Hollywood Brown Derby?  Do you love it as much as I do? 

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