Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

Easter Sunday, Mother’s Day Extended Hours for Breakfast at Boma – Flavors of Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

posted on March 14th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Easter Sunday, Mother’s Day Extended Hours for Breakfast at Boma – Flavors of Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Looking ahead, it’s not too early to book your breakfast/brunch reservations for one of the most popular restaurants at Walt Disney World ResortBoma – Flavors of Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Easter Sunday, Mother’s Day Extended Hours for Breakfast at Boma – Flavors of Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
The restaurant will be open 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on both holidays (April 20 for Easter, May 11 for Mother’s Day). They reopen for dinner from 4:30-9:30 p.m. But you know how much mom loves a special start to her day, like a cup of Kenyan AA coffee, tropical juice and an expansive brunch buffet that includes fresh fruit, salads, carving stations, smoked salmon, charcuterie, omelets, pastries and all sort of South African-inspired dishes such as bobotie, a kind of South African quiche.

After breakfast, stroll outside for a look at the beautiful savannah, where giraffes, zebras and other African wildlife put on a show sure to make mom smile.
Easter Sunday, Mother’s Day Extended Hours for Breakfast at Boma – Flavors of Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
The generous Boma – Flavors of Africa buffet is one of our favorites, with a little something for everyone, like this easy, refreshing salad that’s a true taste of Florida.

Cost is $21.99, $11.99 ages 3 to 9. For reservations, visit www.disneyworld.com/dine or call 407-WDW-DINE.
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Papaya, Avocado and Grapefruit Salad
Serves 4 to 6

1 small papaya
1 ripe but firm avocado
1 grapefruit
10 mint leaves, julienned
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon honey

  1. Peel papaya, halve, and scoop out seeds. Dice into 1-inch cubes.
  2. Slice avocado lengthwise all the way around to pit. Gently twist sides in opposite directions to separate halves. Remove pit. Slip a large spoon in between the skin and the meat and scoop out flesh. Cut into 1-inch cubes.
  3. In a large bowl, peel and section the grapefruit, letting the pieces fall into a bowl. (Reserve juice for dressing.)
  4. Add papaya, avocado, and mint leaves; set aside.
  5. In a small bowl, stir together yogurt, grapefruit juice, and honey.
  6. Pour dressing over the fruit and toss gently.
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Carthay Circle Lounge at Disney California Adventure Park Named ‘Best Cocktail Bar’

posted on March 4th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Nightclub & Bar Media Group has named Carthay Circle Lounge at Disney California Adventure park “Best Cocktail Bar” in its annual Nightclub & Bar Awards, “the best and brightest movers and shakers in nightlife.”

“Receiving this award means the recipient has demonstrated the skill and innovation needed to succeed and excel in this highly competitive business,” says Jon Taffer, president of Nightclub & Bar Media Group.

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Cocktails at Carthay Circle Lounge are handcrafted by mixologists with attention to detail, from unique glassware, gourmet garnishes to drink-specific ice. Classics like a Manhattan, Pisco Sour and Negroni are the foundation, with inventive Carthay Circle creations like the Tequila Daisy with an edible viola flower and the Sparkling Mare made with Iron Horse sparkling wine. California craft beers and world-class wines round out the drink menu.

And the setting is part of the charm, in a building inspired by the original Carthay Circle Theatre in Hollywood with Spanish Revival architecture and an interior that tells the story of the relationship of Carthay Circle Theatre to the Walt Disney Company, with photos and artifacts from the 1937 premiere of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” Disney’s first feature-length animated film. The interior of the 68-seat bar and wine lounge is reminiscent of the grand palace movie days.

A delicious menu pairs well with the classic cocktails. Divided into Bites and Snacks, Rolls, Small Plates and Desserts, tastes range from Santa Monica deviled eggs with smoked salmon to duck confit sliders with apricot conserve, watercress, crisp onions and Taleggio cheese.

The lounge is open daily from 11:30 a.m. until park closing.

Here’s a recipe for one of our favorite cocktails:

Double Pear Martini

Serves 1

  • 1 ounce Double Cross vodka
  • 1 ounce Absolut Pears vodka
  • 1 ounce Kern’s Pear Nectar
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 ounce Monin agave nectar
  • Garnish: 1 Chilean baby Pear

1. Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass. Add ice and shake for 10 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a Chilean baby Pear.

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Make Your Reservation Beginning March 12 for Mother’s Day at the Disneyland Resort

posted on February 27th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


CORRECTION: Mother’s Day reservations are accepted beginning March 12, not March 11 as previously stated.

Mom’s special day isn’t until May 11, but you can soon begin making plans to pamper her at Disneyland Resort.

If you are looking for brunch options, Storytellers Cafe at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Disney’s PCH Grill at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel make great choices. Highlights at Storytellers Cafe include made-to-order omelets, brioche French toast with blackberry compote, roasted salmon with tangerine vinaigrette and carved beef (we’re partial to the corned beef hash with poached eggs and chipotle orange hollandaise). Disney’s PCH Grill features a smoked Scottish salmon station, parfait yogurt station, roasted chicken and vegetables and all the breakfast fixin’s, from fluffy scrambled eggs to huevos rancheros. Kids get their own buffet, including Mickey Mouse waffles. Cost for both locations is $33.99, $16.99 ages 3 to 9 11. Please note that the Mother’s Day Brunch previously held at the Disneyland Hotel will no longer be available.

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Other restaurants are creating special dishes just for Mother’s Day. In Disneyland park, Carnation Cafe is serving seared mahi mahi with spinach orzo and a shrimp broth. Plaza Inn will serve a spicy glazed salmon with chipotle-pineapple glaze, veggies and mushroom quinoa, and the special at Blue Bayou is crab-stuffed shrimp with tomato-artichoke sauce.

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For a fun treat, you’ll find almost-too-pretty-to-eat Mother’s Day cupcakes at several locations – a concoction of red velvet cake and white chocolate mousse frosting decorated with white chocolate flowers, hearts, strawberry chocolate curls and a flourish of silver “disco dust” ­– you’ll want to take a picture before you dig in! Mother’s Day cupcakes are available at at Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe in Disneyland park and at Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe and Pacific Wharf Cafe in Disney California Adventure park. You can also find the cupcakes at The Coffee House in the Disneyland Hotel and Surfside Lounge at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel.

Reservations are accepted beginning March 12 11, 2014. Visit www.disneyland.com/dine or call 714-781-DINE (3463).

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Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant at Downtown Disney Epicenter of St. Pat’s Celebrations

posted on February 25th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


For the real deal, the celebration at Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant at Downtown Disney West Side begins on March 7, a full 10 days before the official St. Patrick’s Day on March 17. That’s plenty of time to eat, drink, dance and do it all over again.

Nine different bands, pro dancers and some of the best Irish food make every day worth stopping by – the fun goes from 5 p.m. – 1 a.m. March 7 – 14, then cranks from noon – 1 a.m. March 15 – 17 for a weekend of revelry. Check out raglanroad.com for details.

Food is a highlight, so look for one or more of the four Disney Food Trucks (Fantasy Fare, Namaste Café, Superstar Catering and World Showcase of Flavors) serving delicious eats, including a St. Patrick’s Day cupcake, and Fisherman’s Pie, a favorite from the Ireland kiosk at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (at the Superstar Catering truck).

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Raglan Road favorites are on the restaurant’s lunch and dinner menus, along with beers on tap. For a quick bite, stop at Cooke’s of Dublin for fish and chips, battered sausages or deep-fried candy bars. The other Downtown Disney restaurants are joining the fun with St. Pat’s fare too.

On the big day March 17, seating is first-come, first-served basis with a cover charge of $10 for each guest age 18 and older. Reservations can be booked for other festival days by calling 407-938-0300. For more information visit Disneyworld.com/StPatricksDay.

Chef Kevin Dundon’s new Raglan Road cookbook, “I’d Ate the Back Door Buttered Ma” is the perfect souvenir, with classics like this traditional loin of bacon with cabbage and potatoes. That title, by the way, is a Dublin phrase that translates as “hey, mom, I’m starving!”
Happy St. Pat’s!

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Take a Trip to Mediterranean at Paradise Garden Grill at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on February 21st, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


On a recent sunny Southern California afternoon, we had the pleasure of noshing our way through Disney California Adventure park – and marveling at the diversity of quick bites, from Mexican to Asian to all-American. Among our favorite picnic-style meals was the hearty beef gyro at Paradise Garden Grill, found at a walk-up window with a surprising repertoire of robust Mediterranean tastes.

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That gyro had thick slabs of spiced beef wrapped in a warm pita, slathered with cool, creamy tzatziki and a side of taboulleh, the Middle Eastern version of a green salad with bulgur wheat, tomatoes, cucumbers and fresh parsley in a lemony dressing. Enough for two. But we also shared the generous Greek salad, a plate full of greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, spicy pepperoncini, feta cheese and lots of olives with a lemon-oregano dressing and warm pita to scoop it all up.

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If you’re looking for a simpler taste, the skewers are another good bet – pick from grilled steak, chicken, meatball or veggies and tofu, each with a side of rice, cucumber salad and warm pita. Kick it up with one of three sauces: spicy chili with harissa (hot chili pepper paste), chimichurri with a base of fresh citrus and herbs, or mild cucumber yogurt.

The skewers go from savory to sweet with a strawberry-brownie skewer with caramel, chocolate sauce and mini-marshmallows. But we prefer their classic baklava, the sweet Mediterranean desserts with layers of flaky phyllo, honey and nuts. Sit, back, enjoy the sunshine and imagine you’re in Greece, or Turkey – but California Screamin’ awaits!

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Food Competes with Flowers for Top Billing at 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

posted on February 19th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Instead of photos of the gorgeous flowers and topiaries, we want to show off some of the delicious new delights for your taste buds at the 21st annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival that opens March 5 and runs through May 18 – that’s 75 days to take it all in.

Last year was the first year that food starred alongside the flowers, and this year 11 Outdoor Kitchens debut around World Showcase Lagoon, each with an artful produce and herb-raised garden bed that showcases something that you can taste in the dish they’re offering, say, corn at the Florida marketplace, or pineapples in Japan.

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Chef Jens Dahlmann had fun with the new Urban Farm EATS with its sustainable garden featuring tilapia swimming around that help fertilize the veggies. All three dishes are gluten free and two are vegetarian. There’s a pickled beet salad with goat cheese cream, mizuna (greens) and pistachios, eggplant grown at The Land pavilion at Epcot with Romesco (sweet pepper sauce) and spaghetti squash, and a ghost-pepper-dusted tilapia with crisp melon slaw and mint oil – and if you’ve never tried ghost pepper, it’s a kicky treat. They even have a vegan chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon and a gluten-free beer.

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In all there are 16 vegetarian dishes and a dozen gluten-free choices. Each marketplace has three to four dishes, adding up to more than 50 beverages and 40 different food items. It’s your chance to try anything from pulled-duck confit with garlic and parsley potatoes in France to a “piggylicious” bacon cupcake with maple frosting and pretzel crunch at The Smokehouse: Barbecues and Brews. Craft beers abound again this year, from a Tropical Mango Pale Ale from St. John Brewers in the U.S. Virgin Islands to Feast of Flowers Farmhouse Ale brewed right here in Florida just for the festival.

Get a full rundown of what’s being offered at each Urban Kitchen as well as information on all the other fun things to do at epcotinspring.com.

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Edible Art: Exquisite Macarons at Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie at France Pavilion in Epcot

posted on February 18th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


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Almost (almost) too pretty to eat, the dainty macarons at Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie at the France Pavilion at Epcot are lined up like beautiful jewels in the pastry case – edible art, a sophisticated, light-as-a-feather French classic. Fans will fly to Paris for the perfect macaron, but now Epcot World Showcase guests can savor the tiny treats.

Thought to have originated centuries ago – macarons are a delicate, crisp-chewy balance of almond meringue cookies sandwiched with silky centers. They come in various flavors: right now you can find chocolate, raspberry, mixed berries, pistachio and white chocolate, and banana passion, packaged in a pretty box of five for $10.33 plus tax. (For the ultimate macaron decadence, try the rich, creamy chocolate macaron ice cream sandwich next door at L’Artisan Des Glaces.)

Macarons are a complicated sweet to create – take a look at Chef Olivier Saintemarie’s ballet of sweet ingredients.

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Epcot International Food & Wine Festival: An Extra Week This Fall

posted on February 18th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


We’ve already got our culinary plan of attack for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival opening in just about two weeks (March 5 – May 18), and now we can look ahead to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival that’s going to run a record 53 days, from September 19 – November 10. Maybe this year will be the year to sample all of the great tastes.

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That’s a whole extra week to take in the marketplaces, cool concerts and some very special dinners. Stay tuned, we won’t have the lineup of celebrity and Disney chefs until summer, but will share here on the Disney Parks Blog. And keep an eye on epcotfoodfestival.com for updates.

In the meantime, check out the Outdoor Kitchen and raised garden beds at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, a completely different culinary experience from fall’s Food & Wine Fest. Between the two, we have 128 days of yum.

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Valentine’s Day Is All About Chocolate at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

posted on February 11th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Imagine a 6-foot-long, chocolate-coated table (it takes 10 pounds of chocolate just to top) with edible chocolate signs (white, dark and milk chocolate plus fondant), showcasing everything from African hot chocolate to fondue for two and a bottle of bubbly.

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It’s a Valentine’s dream come true in the Jambo House lobby of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge from 4-9 p.m. February 9 – 15. Surprise your sweetheart with a trip to see the animals on the savanna, but start with a stop in the lobby to pick out your indulgence.

Here’s what you’ll find:

  • Graham Beck sparkling wine ($23.95)
  • Godiva caramel, white chocolate and dark chocolate cordials ($8.50)
  • African hot chocolate ($2.99)
  • Fondue for two with orange-chocolate fondue in an edible white chocolate cup with chocolate brownie bits, pineapple, strawberries and yogurt-covered pretzels ($6.49)
  • Chocolate-dipped tuxedo strawberries ($5.99 for two)
  • Five white-chocolate-covered sandwich cookies ($14.99)
  • 5 mini-cupcakes ($4.59)

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your sweetheart.

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Warm Chocolate Truffle Cake from Napa Rose at the Disneyland Resort

posted on February 5th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Red roses are nice, but a home-baked sweet says love in a special way. Pastry Chef Jorge Sotelo from Napa Rose at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa artfully shows us the way it’s done with his mini-chocolate truffle cakes, and we share his recipe below.

Just give yourself plenty of time to wow your Valentine. You can make the ganache a day ahead, as it needs plenty of time to cool. The truffle cakes are best straight from the oven, served warm with your favorite ice cream (they serve it with cherry vanilla at Napa Rose). Just make sure you use a good-quality dark chocolate for a taste to remember.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Chocolate Truffle Cakes with Ganache
Serves 8

Ganache

  • 4 ounces Scharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Truffle Cakes

  • 1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (extra for ramekins)
  • 6 1/2 ounces Scharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature, separated
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided (extra for ramekins)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, sifted
  • Favorite ice cream, for serving

For ganache:

  1. Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour boiling cream over chopped chocolate. Slowly stir in a circular motion with a rubber spatula until all chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes.
  2. Let sit at room temperature until ganache cools to 70°F. Meanwhile, make truffles cakes.

For chocolate truffle cakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Lightly butter bottom and sides of 8 individual (3/4 cup) ramekins. Coat thinly with sugar and shake out excess. Set aside.
  2. Prepare a double boiler and bring water to a simmer over low heat. Place butter and 6 1/2 ounces chocolate in the top of the double boiler and gently stir until melted.
  3. Whisk egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar in a large mixing bowl for 3 to 4 minutes or until smooth and slightly thickened. Stir in flour.
  4. Ladle a small amount of melted chocolate into egg yolk mixture and whisk to combine. Add another ladle of chocolate into egg yolk mixture and continue to whisk. Once the temperature of the egg yolk mixture has been warmed, add remaining chocolate to egg yolks and vigorously whisk. Set aside.
  5. Combine egg whites and 1 tablespoon sugar in stand mixer; whip on medium speed until soft peaks form.
  6. Slowly add an additional 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar while continuing to whip egg whites. Increase speed to high and slowly add remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar. Whip another 3 to 4 minutes or until stiff peaks form.
  7. Gently fold egg whites into chocolate mixture, being careful not to overwork mixture.
  8. Divide batter equally among prepared ramekins, filling 3/4 full. Place on baking sheet and bake for 9 to 10 minutes or until tops are puffy, but center still soft. Do not overbake.
  9. While cakes are baking, make the ganache: Finely chop remaining 4 ounces of chocolate.
  10. Cut around edges of cakes using a small knife to loosen. Carefully invert cakes onto a serving plate. Top each with 1 generous tablespoon of ganache and serve immediately with favorite ice cream.

Cook’s Notes:

  • If you cannot find Scharffen Berger Chocolate, you may substitute Valrhona Manjari chocolate or a high quality 58 percent bittersweet chocolate.
  • Make sure your small metal bowl is very clean and dry before attempting to whip egg whites to stiff peaks.
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