Posts Tagged by eat

New 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival DFB Guide!

It is hard to believe that the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival starts in less than one week! Once again it is the most wonderful time of year for us Disney foodies.  Bring on the lamb chops and cheese soup and tacos and beer and and and…  Clearly I’m not excited at all.

Because there is so much to see and do during the festival, planning is key!  For the past few years, I have relied on the DFB Guides to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival to help me plan what booths I want to visit, what demonstrations I want to book and help me put together a general plan of attack.  There are over 30 booths to choose from and I want to make sure that I don’t miss anything!


The DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival e-book has everything you need to know before heading to Walt Disney World.  From what’s NEW at the festival, to touring strategies, to detailed menus and an entire FAQ section!  Here’s more of what you will find:

  • In-depth descriptions, prices, dates and times of events, seminars, demonstrations, and tasting options at the festival and how to book them
  • A full, daily schedule of events for every day of the festival
  • Details on how and where to use Disney Dining Plan Snack Credits at the festival
  • A list of the most popular items and events and how to experience them
  • An updated Epcot Food & Wine Festival FAQ section with information on how to make your visit more enjoyable
  • Printable checklist of the World Showcase Booth menus
  • Full index of brand new additions to the festival

Since this will be my 6th year attending the festival (WOW!), my first stop in the guide is always the “What’s NEW!” section.  I have my favorites that I MUST get each year (lamb chops and pork lettuce wraps, I’m talking to you!), but I love to try new things.  This is so helpful in prioritizing what new items to try and some of the new events I might want to attend.

2014-DFB-Food-and-Wine-Guide-Whats-NewOne of my favorite features has to be all of the detailed information on the Marketplace Booths.  Each booth has it’s own page, complete with photos of the booths AND food as well as the full menu.  This gets me so excited for what is to come and makes it easy to plan out the booths I MUST visit.  The photos are also great if you are not familiar with a particular dish or ingredient.  Here’s what you’ll find at one of my favorite booths, South Korea:


Another great feature are the special event listings.  Between the large events, like Party for the Senses, and the smaller culinary demonstrations, there is A LOT to keep track of.  The guide has a full daily schedule of events complete with times.  Are you as excited to see Sister Hazel as my friend Rick is?  No worries, this guide will tell you the dates and times they are performing!


And that’s not all!  There are fun bonus items like:

  • Eleven themed World Showcase Booth Crawls!
  • Customized touring strategies for the festival based on how much time you have to spend, if you have children, what your priorities are to see, and more!
  • Indexes of food, beer, wine, wineries, and chefs – complete with chef bios!
  • A fun playlist of songs featuring artists appearing at the Eat to the Beat Concert Series

So what’s better than having this awesome e-book downloaded to your phone as you walk around the Festival or on your laptop as you’re planning your trip??  A discount of course!  Right now you can receive $3 off your purchase of the DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival e-book by using the discount code CHEFS at checkout.

All books come with a 100% money-back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose!  But trust me, you won’t want to give it back.  Find out more about the DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival e-book here!

Happy eating!!

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Registration Opens Today for the 2014 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend

UPDATE 3/4/14 @ 12:45 pm: runDisney has confirmed that there will be an all new one-time-only fifth anniversary medal for the 2014 Wine & Dine Half Marathon!!


Registration opens today at noon for the 2014 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend!  This will be the 5th Anniversary of this annual “Runner’s Night Out” and I’m sure will prove to be better than ever!  It’s always a good time when you end a races with a Food & Wine Festival, right?!

All running events take place on Saturday, November 8th beginning with Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K at 7:00 am at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  (Here’s a great review of that race from last year!)  Later that morning at the New Balance Track & Field Complex, located at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (WWOS), are the Kids Races with the dashes starting at 10:00 am and the 1-mile run at 10:45 am.  And if that’s not enough running for one day, the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon starts at 10:00 pm at WWOS.  This nighttime race takes runners through Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and finishes at Epcot…the only Disney Half Marathon to take you through 3 parks!


Other events taking place over the weekend are the Pre-Race Taste and the Finish Line Party.  The Pre-Race Taste is a 2-hour event on Friday, November 7th located at Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios and features food from the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and tons of entertainment.  The Finish Line Party has turned into a great event for runners and their supporters.  It takes place at Epcot following the Wine & Dine Half Marathon where select attractions including Soarin’, Test Track, Mission: SPACE, and Maelstrom are open until 4:00 am for those attending the party.  Another added bonus is that all of the Food & Wine Festival kiosks are open during the party!!

Pricing for the events are as follows:

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon

  • $185 by April 1, 2014
  • $200 between April 2 and May 13, 2014
  • $215 on or after May 14, 2014

Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K

  • $55 by August 19, 2014
  • $65 on or after August 20, 2014

runDisney Kids’ Races

  • $15 by August 19, 2014
  • $20 on or after August 20, 2014

runDisney 1-Mile Run

  • $30 by August 19, 2014
  • $35 on or after August 20, 2014

Disney Wine & Dine Pre-Race Taste Tickets

  • $79 for Adults (ages3 and up)
  • Children under 3 do not need a ticket

Finish Line Party Tickets

  • $75 by August 12, 2014
  • $85 between August 13 and October 28, 2014
  • $95 on or after October 29, 2014

The price tag for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon is a bit higher than other Disney races, but it includes a few extra perks.  You get the usual amazing Disney entertainment on the course, a long sleeve tech shirt, and race medal, but also included is admission to the Finish Line Party at Epcot and a $10 gift card to use at the Food & Wine Festival kiosks!

Packet pick-up will be required at the Health & Fitness Expo held at WWOS beginning November 7, 2014.  Visit the runDisney event page for more information on all of the events taking place that weekend and click here to register for any (or all!) of the events beginning at noon today.

You can also check out some of my recaps for more info on what the events are like:



This is such a fun race and I can’t say enough good things about it.  I’m already registered for this year, so I hope to see you there in November!!!

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Marathon Weekend Eats in Walt Disney World

It’s no secret that I LOVE food and I especially LOVE food in Walt Disney World.  One of the hardest things about running at Disney is trying to figure out what to eat around the race.  Well Vilay is here with some great meal suggestions during a race weekend and tips on how to stay healthy while being tempted by some not so healthy options.  Try not to drool will reading this post!

This being my first marathon, I was nervous about everything, including my food. I’m here to share with you what I found to eat before and after the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon.

Pre-Marathon Day

I arrived at the Pop Century Resort on Saturday, which was also my family’s day at the Magic Kingdom. I ate breakfast on the road, which was just a coffee and pastry. After arriving at the park and a few rides, I was ready for lunch and chose Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Café. I wanted the Deluxe Cheeseburger which comes with bacon and onion rings on top, but maybe I spoke my order wrong and received just a plain cheeseburger.  My table also shared some chili cheese fries but I was careful not to eat too many.


Chili Cheese Fries
Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe

One thing I love about some of the Magic Kingdom counter service places is the amazing toppings bar. Somehow my photo got lost but I piled that burger high with mushrooms, tomatoes, lettuce, and banana peppers. If I weren’t running the marathon, I would have just made a burger salad without the bun so that’s an option for you low-carb eaters.


Burger & Fixins
Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe

A few hours later, the sun was starting to beat down and we found ourselves in Adventureland so I waited in a very long line for a Dole Whip Float. My sister chose Pineapple ice cream while I chose Vanilla. We both agreed that vanilla is the best.


Vanilla Dole Whip

Of course, I couldn’t help but think that a splash of coconut vodka would take this dessert over the top.  I hate that I have to wait for another Disney trip to eat another Dole Whip. I’ll miss you, Dole Whip!


Dole Whip Dreaming!

After that afternoon snack, I counted down the hours until my dinner reservation at Be Our Guest. After the fun introduction to the restaurant and gawking at the ballroom where we sat, I was very excited to finally be able to partake in the bread basket, which I normally don’t do. The rolls were warm and served with a pat butter sprinkled with sea salt.


Warm Rolls
Be Our Guest Restaurant

My sister ordered the braised pork. The online menu for Be Our Guest stated that the slow cooked pork was served with green beans and mashed potatoes but the menu that day was slightly different. The pork came with a good amount of vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, carrots, and a tiny salad, with cauliflower purée instead of potatoes. I blog about health and fitness, and I normally try to limit my carb intake. This meal would be perfect for someone trying to limit carbs and I would have ordered it under other circumstances.


Braised Pork
Be Our Guest Restaurant

I didn’t want to eat too much fiber or have too large of a meal as my last meal before the race so I skipped a salad or appetizer and just ordered the salmon entree. I was I informed that the salmon was served cooked medium, which I love. It came perfectly cooked – very fresh, incredibly moist, and with a thin crispy crust. The whipped potatoes and creamy sauce sauce were not too heavy so they complimented the lightness of the salmon. Be Our Guest is the only restaurant at Magic Kingdom that serves alcohol. Oh how I wanted a glass of wine with this meal! Alas, I had to think of the marathon and skipped that too.


Pan Seared Salmon with Leek Fondue
Be Our Guest Restaurant

After seeing the dessert cart, I am so glad that I saved room for dessert. Hey, this counts ad carb loading right? There was no question that I would get the Grey Stuff dessert. This stuff was amazing! The mousse was so light and airy and I loved the crumbly cookie crust. It also wasn’t as sweet as I thought it would be. I wish it were twice as large!


The Grey Stuff!
Be Our Guest Restaurant

My five year old niece chose the chocolate cupcake as her kids’ meal dessert. This was a very adult cupcake – it was a very dark, almost bittersweet chocolate. I loved it but I can see how it might not appeal to a young kid. My little munchkin liked it though. Oh, and how cute is the rose decoration on each plate? The server did that tableside.

Chocolate Cupcake Be Our Guest Restaurant

Chocolate Cupcake
Be Our Guest Restaurant

We also got the strawberry cream cheese cupcake. This was the only thing I didn’t like very much and my sister agreed. I thought it was too sugary and didn’t have enough cream cheese flavor.

Strawberry Cupcake Be Our Guest Restaurant

Strawberry Cupcake
Be Our Guest Restaurant

The whole Be Our Guest experience really was special and the food was much better than I expected. At around $25 per entrée, the quality of food truly did match “real world” restaurants in the same price range.

Marathon Day

On the morning of the big race, I didn’t leave enough time to stop for breakfast at the Pop Century food court, so I just ate a Luna bar and a packet of peanut butter while on the bus.

Breakfast on the Bus!

Breakfast on the Bus!

Post-race, my family met me with some Pepperoni Pizza Bread from Everything Pop. It felt so good to be have real food immediately after my long race. I’m holding the pizza in this post-race photo.

Post Race Pizza

Post Race Pizza

With the exception of a few pretzels, I had been eating only sweet things (Powerade and gels) for the past few hours so it was especially great to taste something salty. I also got the snack box and a banana, and there were a few food trucks parked there but as a runner, I was grateful not to have to wait in line for food. I only managed to eat one of the two pieces of pizza though. By the way, I think Disney should consider getting a Dole Whip truck for post-Marathon party. An ice cold Dole Whip after the race sounds amazing. (Sarah’s Note: LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea!)

I went back to Pop Century to get cleaned up and cat-nap by the pool while drinking lots of water and Powerade. I was surprised that I wasn’t ravenously hungry. My body seemed to be only wanting small meals. For example, I ate one piece of pizza and felt satisfied. Then an hour later I was hungry so I ate the banana they gave me, and didn’t want any more food. Around 4:00 I was hungry again so I decided to eat a mini dinner. We headed to the Art of Animation resort, home of Landscape of Flavors which everyone told me was the best food court. I ordered the children’s size chicken parmesan meal with whole wheat pasta and a side of grapes. And of course, more water and Powerade.

Chicken Parmesan Kids Meal Landscape of Flavors

Chicken Parmesan Kids Meal
Landscape of Flavors

With rest and sustenance in me, I was finally ready to go to the Cool Down Party at Downtown Disney. Because I ate early mini-dinner, I cancelled dinner plans and we agreed to eat whatever small bites and snacks that caught our fancy. I ate two churros – one caramel and one cinnamon-sugar. That was my first time eating churros since I was a small child and though it was a little stale, it hit the spot. Then I was in the mood for something from Babycakes – like their tiny donuts however by then it was 8:00 pm and they were sold out of everything except for banana bread and the thinnest chocolate chip cookies I had ever seen. Then I turned around and decided to try out Pollo Camparo. While their chicken looked really good and I’d like to try it sometime, I wasn’t hungry enough for a full chicken dinner. I ordered an empanada and yucca fries. The chicken empanada was a little soggy and bland. I didn’t enjoy it very much. I did enjoy the yuca fries. Yuca, also known as cassava, is a root vegetable. It’s denser and more fibrous than potatoes, so I felt the fries were more filling than regular potato fries.

Yuca Fries & Chicken Empanada Pollo Camparo

Yuca Fries & Chicken Empanada
Pollo Camparo

The Day After

The next morning, I think I finally had my appetite back. I got to the Everything Pop food court and suddenly I wanted to eat EVERYTHING. I figured out that I could achieve that goal by ordering two kids meals instead of one adult platter. I got one platter of Mickey Waffles with fruit, bacon, and sausage plus another kids platter of scrambled eggs, a biscuit, and gravy. Protein, carbs, fruit, and salty meats. Could you want anything else? After breakfast I had to hop on the Magical Express back to real life.


Even though my eating preferences turned out a little strange after the marathon, I hope that my experiences give you some ideas on how you can fuel up before and after a big Disney race. One thing I learned just from observing the dining menus is that although a lot of the food on the Quick Service menus offer fried or greasy foods, you can look beyond that and look closely for healthy alternatives.  Mickeycheck_0Avoid getting fries just because the meal says that it includes fries, and consider the vegetarian meals. Look for items with the Mickey Check symbol, which indicates that the meal meets federal nutrition guidelines for what is considered a healthy meal. Foods with the Mickey Check symbol are also minimally processed, which is a great way to eat in general.

Another tip if you’re like me and want to avoid overeating before or after an event is to order from the kids menu when you are at counter service locations. One of the unexpectedly great things about being at WDW for a strenuous race is that there were so many food options within easy reach. In one evening, I was able to eat multiple mini meals of varying types because that’s what my stomach wanted. If I had been on vacation somewhere else, I might be limited to a few restaurants or I might have been too tired to go through the effort of restaurant-hopping.

Overall, finding the right foods to eat was much easier than I thought it would be. I hope your next runDisney race is as nutritious and delicious as mine.


Having never played sports as a kid, Vilay Connor started running 2 years ago which empowered her to make healthy changes to her life until finally completing her first marathon. She is inspired by other “back of the pack” runners and women who find empowerment in exercise no matter what their size or ability. Follow her blog, Everyday Asian, where she shares her love of fitness, food, organic living, and travel.
Find Vilay here:  Website   Twitter   Instagram

Friday Feast: New Lunch Menu at the Green Cabin Room

I’ve spent the past week at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort having what was probably the best vacation I’ve ever been on.  It was our 2nd annual Disney Beach House vacation full of fun adventures, some sun, great friends, laughs and good food.  That’s what life is all about right?


One of my favorite places to eat while at the resort is The Green Cabin Room.  The food is pretty good, but it’s this view that makes it one of my favorite locations. Stunning…


We had eaten there on our last visit (read my review here) and gotten a few appetizers to share with the group.  My friend Rick had mentioned that they recently changed the menu, so B and I decided to check it out for lunch.  Here’s the new menu:



The draft beer selection is pretty limited there with Miller Light and Yuengling being the only two options.  I went with the Yuengling and a glass of water.  Check out the paper straws they use here, just like the ones at Animal Kingdom.  Conservation is huge at this resort and I like that!


I had been craving a turkey club sandwich that day and was beside myself with excitement when I saw it on the menu.  YES PLEASE!  B decided to go with the Fish & Chips which I was happy about because that would’ve been my next choice.  I opted for the House-made Kettle Chips with my sandwich and also ate B’s Crunchy Slaw…win-win.



That is one good Turkey Club!!  I highly recommend it and I even went back the next day for another one! B liked his Fish & Chips, but thought the breading was too thick.  It was actually still a bit raw in some parts, but the fish was cooked through and tasted great.

I really like the changes they made to the menu, but the one thing I was disappointed they took off were the Crispy Pork Wings.  I was looking forward to trying those.  No matter what the menu is, I will always eat there or at least have a cocktail when I’m at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort.

Have you eaten at The Green Cabin Room?   What do you think?

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

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!



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!



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?

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