'World of Color' at Disney California Adventure Park

This Bitter Storm at Napa Rose Will Warm You Right Up at Disneyland Resort

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


While brisk winter weather blankets much of the country, it’s still pretty balmy here in Southern California – where the only “Bitter Storm” is at Napa Rose restaurant at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.

The bartender layers sweet and sour tastes from bourbon to cherry liqueur, adds a splash of lemon juice and tops the cocktail with a tart sliver of grapefruit peel. It’s a sunny sip of California that can take you away even if you’re shoveling snow.

Bitter Storm
Serves 1

  • ¾ ounce Bulleit Bourbon
  • ¾ ounce Fernet-Branca
  • ½ ounce Cherry Heering liqueur
  • ½ ounce Poire William brandy
  • ½ ounce Orgeat syrup
  • ¾ ounce lemon juice
  • Grapefruit peel, for garnish
  1. Pour all ingredients into a shaker; fill with ice and vigorously shake for 30 seconds.
  2. Strain into a tall chilled glass filled with ice. Garnish with grapefruit peel.

For more about dining at the Napa Rose, read these posts:

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Pick Your Sweet Treat at Market House, Disneyland Resort

posted on January 31st, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Deciding which treat to enjoy may be difficult on your next visit to Market House in Disneyland park and Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe at Disney California Adventure park. Both serve Market House serves Starbucks specialty beverages and a variety of “Disneyland Favorites” as part of its sweet lineup, including the gooey Berliner donut.

Berliner

The Berliner is a type of jelly donut made in Berlin, Germany. Disneyland Executive Chef Christine Weissman, a native of Germany, loves to share the story of the donut’s connection to President John F. Kennedy – so if you see her out and about in the theme parks, stop and ask! (It’s one of her favorite stories and favorite desserts.)

Several delicious La Boulange pastries were recently added to the selection of sweet offerings. Starbucks recently partnered with La Boulange, a San Francisco Bakery and café, rolling out their baked goods in Starbucks nationwide. The new pastries showed up this week in the two locations that serve Starbucks inside our parks at Disneyland Resort, and will be coming to Walt Disney World Resort this spring. There’s everything from a bacon, egg and Gouda artisan sandwich to a chocolate croissant, everything served warm.

Along with the Berliner, Fans of classic Disneyland Resort sweets will still find the cinnamon roll at Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe, and the Mickey Mouse-shaped sugar cookie remains on the menu at Market House. And the popular Mickey Mouse-shaped cookie with chocolate icing is still at both.

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Kicky Ribs from Storyteller’s Café at Disneyland Resort are Perfect for the Big Game

posted on January 30th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


The big game calls for a plate of delicious ribs to share (with plenty of napkins). Grillmasters, however, settle back and enjoy the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos because this recipe comes together on the stovetop and gets finished in the oven.

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The chefs at Storyteller’s Café at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa created this kicky sauce with spicy chipotle and sweet tamarind glaze. We go light on the glaze to let the flavor of the tender, meaty pork shine through.

Serve it with the crunchy red cabbage slaw and some crisp garlic bread. The restaurant adds fresh broccoli and mashed potatoes, but you can save that rendition for another day. With a cold brew, this is down-home deliciousness.

Chipotle and Tamarind-glazed Ribs with Red Cabbage and Golden Raisin Slaw
Serves 4

Chipotle and Tamarind-glazed Ribs

  • 1 (2-pound) rack pork ribs
  • 1 large white onion, peeled and quartered
  • 5 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 5 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons pickling spice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 (28-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup root beer
  • 1/4 cup minced chipotles in adobo
  • 1/4 cup tamarind pulp
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Red Cabbage and Golden Raisin Slaw

  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced shallots
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3 cups thinly shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 tablespoon minced chives

For chipotle and tamarind-glazed ribs:

  1. Place ribs in a large stockpot. (Cut ribs in half widthwise if needed to fit.) Add enough cold water to cover ribs by 1 inch. Add onion, carrots, and celery. Cut a 6-inch square piece of cheesecloth; place pickling spice in the center. Pull edges up and tie into a bundle with a piece of kitchen twine. Add spice bundle to cooking liquid.
  2. Turn stove to medium-high heat. Cover and bring to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 1 1/2 hours, or until ribs are very tender.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion, cooking until golden and very tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, cooking until fragrant and tender, about 2 to 4 minutes more. Add tomato sauce, ketchup, root beer, chipotles, tamarind pulp, 1 teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes, stirring very frequently to prevent burning, until well combined and slightly thickened. Set aside.
  4. Preheat broiler. Remove ribs from cooking liquid and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Coat both sides of ribs with prepared sauce; broil 2 to 3 minutes, until bubbly.

For red cabbage and golden raisin slaw:

  1. Whisk together vinegar, oil, honey, shallots, cilantro, garlic, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Add cabbage and carrots, tossing to coat. Stir in raisins and chives. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving.
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New Smokehouse at House of Blues Downtown Disney West Side

posted on January 23rd, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


More fun food at Downtown Disney West SideHouse of Blues opened their new Smokehouse, a quick-service window where it’s easy to grab a generous smoked beef brisket sandwich, pulled pork or chicken sandwich, smoked turkey leg, St. Louis half-rack of ribs or an all-beef hot dog. That’s the menu, short and sweet. And the cole slaw has just the right amount of tang, the baked beans are sweet, the bread is soft and warm, and the meat is smoked right there in the House of Blues kitchen. True Southern-style good eats.

New Smokehouse at House of Blues Downtown Disney West Side New Smokehouse at House of Blues Downtown Disney West Side

Seating is just outside of Crossroads at House of Blues on the “Front Porch,” an expanded area with a stage for live (local) music seven nights a week. And the outdoor cocktail bar is handy – you can order from the bar and Smokehouse, or servers will wait on you in the evenings. Pair a brisket sandwich with a Swamp Water specialty drink (vodka, Blue Curaçao and orange juice) for a quick and casual bite.

New Smokehouse at House of Blues Downtown Disney West Side New Smokehouse at House of Blues Downtown Disney West Side

The Smokehouse opens at 11:30 a.m. daily, with closing around 10 p.m. Prices range from $6.99 to $12.99 (and not on the Disney Dining Plan).

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New Kids’ Meals at Ariel’s Grotto at Disney California Adventure Park

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


Ariel’s Disney Princess Celebration is a magical spot for little ones as they descend the spiral staircase into Ariel’s Grotto at Disney California Adventure park and enter an enchanting restaurant with seaweed-wrapped pillars and glowing sea creature light fixtures — plus their favorite Disney Princesses and Characters.

New Kids’ Meals at Ariel’s Grotto at Disney California Adventure Park, Featuring Sandy Scoop of Sweets New Kids’ Meals at Ariel’s Grotto at Disney California Adventure Park, Featuring Seashell Symphony With Bacon New Kids’ Meals at Ariel’s Grotto at Disney California Adventure Park, Featuring Chocolate Chip Cruise

And now the kids’ meals for breakfast and lunch match the fun with new creations on the menu. For breakfast, there are three new choices. The Sandy Scoop of Sweet features fresh fruit, strawberry yogurt, granola and a seasonal muffin – and it meets the Disney Mickey Check guidelines that limit calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar. Seashell Symphony is a clever stack of turkey bacon, tri-tip or sausage with scrambled eggs topped with a slice of croissant to create the “seashell.” It’s served with hash browns and cereal. And the cute Chocolate Chip Cruise is a sailboat crafted from a waffle with a turkey bacon sail and a side of cereal. Kids are happily digging into these fun creations.

New Kids’ Meals at Ariel’s Grotto at Disney California Adventure Park, Featuring Ursula Octo-Dog New Kids’ Meals at Ariel’s Grotto at Disney California Adventure Park, Featuring Whozits & Whatzits Fries and Nuggets
New Kids’ Meals at Ariel’s Grotto at Disney California Adventure Park, Featuring Clammy Turkey Sammy New Kids’ Meals at Ariel’s Grotto at Disney California Adventure Park, Featuring Dinglehopper Angel Hair Pasta

Lunch has four new dishes. Ursula’s Octo-Dog is a hot dog carved into the shape of an octopus (a good trick to try at home) served with mac-n-cheese and fruit and veggie skewers. Whozits & Whatzits is baked chicken nuggets with fruit and veggie skewers. The Clammy Turkey is a turkey sandwich with a bun that looks like a clam shell served with fruit and veggie skewers. And the Dinglehopper Angel Hair Pasta comes with fruit and veggie skewers, and meets the Mickey Check guidelines.

Grown-ups have delicious options too, such as grilled lobster tail salad, red oak-smoked honey-whiskey barbecue tri-tip, fire-roasted corn cakes, and sustainable fish of the day, citrus-glazed chicken breast and sautéed shrimp with angel hair pasta.

For reservations, visit www.disneyland.com/dine or call 714-781-DINE (3463).

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A look inside Spice Road Table at Epcot

posted on January 20th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


With fantastic views of World Showcase Lagoon and IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth from almost every angle of the restaurant, pretty Spice Road Table officially opens today, an authentic taste of the Mediterranean at the Morocco Pavilion in Epcot. Along with the new eatery, there’s live entertainment from Mo Rockin’ Band, henna tattoos, a “juice” bar and a shop stocked with great Mediterranean flavors to carry home (from olives to spicy harissa and mint tea). It’s a lively spot!
Spice Road Table Soft Opens – Official Opening Date Coming Soon


We love the icy blue wall color, beautiful Moroccan lighting, tilework and tapestries, and with 120 outdoor terrace seats, and 60 seats inside, it’s a hot spot for all-day dining and nightly IllumiNations. But we enjoy just relaxing with a cold drink and small plate any time of day. A fun way to sample the cuisine is one of two tapas platters, one with mussels tagine, salted cod croquettes and fried calamari, the other with a lamb slider, harissa chicken roll and merguez sausage. Pair that with organic sangria, a Mediterranean beer or signature cocktail (we like the refreshing pomegranate mimosa).

If you aren’t ready to sit and just want something cold on a hot afternoon, the juice bar is the spot for a Morocarita, Habibi Daiquiri or Sultan’s Colada (there’s also a non-alcoholic drink); ice cream in unusual flavors such as toasted almond and rosewater, plus beer, sangria and wine.

Hours are 11 a.m. until Epcot park closing. There are no reservations, and Disney Dining Plan isn’t accepted.

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Every Day Is Popcorn Day at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on January 17th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


This January 19 is National Popcorn Day, a perfect reason to “pop” by one of the Walt Disney World popcorn wagons for a box of old-fashioned, fluffy deliciousness. The epitome of easy street food, we like to pick up a box in front of City Hall on Main Street, U.S.A, and nosh as we stroll through the park. This all-American snack has been part of Disney since Disneyland Resort opened in 1955.

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An astonishing 5.2 million boxes are sold every year at Walt Disney World Resort – that’s up about a half-a-million boxes from the year prior. In all, park-goers consume about 845,000 pounds of exploding kernels of corn with a splash of buttery flavor and a dash of salt. Vegan and gluten free, it’s pretty simple stuff, popped in a combo of coconut, corn and canola oil. We can always find a good reason to buy a warm box when we smell it popping – especially when it’s National Popcorn Day!

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Favorite Breakfast Finds at the Disneyland Resort

posted on January 17th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


When we’re up and at ‘em in the theme parks at the Disneyland Resort, a hearty breakfast is a great way to start the day – maybe a little brioche French toast or biscuits and gravy with that first cup of coffee.

Carnation-Frittata

In Disneyland park, we often start with the spinach and tomato egg white frittata at Carnation Café on Main Street, U.S.A. With a side of crisp potatoes and fresh fruit ($10.99 plus tax), we’re ready to face the Matterhorn Bobsleds (or maybe just relax on “it’s a small world”).

Cinnamon French Toast At River Belle Terrace In Disneyland Park Biscuits And Gravy At River Belle Terrace In Disneyland Park

Just around the corner, River Belle Terrace is another favorite morning stop – their cinnamon roll French toast drizzled with cream cheese frosting and served with scrambled eggs and bacon or sausage is a vacation indulgence ($8.99 plus tax). The country-style biscuits and gravy is served with eggs and sausage ($7.99).

We have heard raves about the breakfast burrito at Tomorrowland Terrace – scrambled eggs, chorizo, potatoes, queso fresco, black beans, tomatillo sauce, and fresh pico de gallo all wrapped in a wheat tortilla ($7.49).

Muesli

At Disney California Adventure park, Ariel’s Grotto is the only spot where we try to be a little healthy – but that’s because the bircher muesli is such a treat, made with rolled oat, yogurt, granola and fresh fruit and included on the family-style breakfast menu.

Fruit Plate At Flo’s V8 Café In Cars Land Tamale Breakfast At Flo’s V8 Café In Cars Land

Or it’s off to Flo’s V8 Café in Cars Land for delectable favorites such as brioche French toast smothered with salted caramel sauce and topped with fresh bananas ($7.99 plus tax). At the other end of the calorie spectrum is Flo’s seasonal fruit plate with juicy cantaloupe, honeydew, red grapes, strawberry and low-fat yogurt with an oat bran muffin ($5.49). If you love savory, try the hearty chicken tamales with fluffy scrambled eggs, verde sauce and fresh pico de gallo ($8.49). And some mornings just call for the old-fashioned all-American breakfast with scrambled eggs, bacon, roasted potatoes and a buttermilk biscuit ($8.49). If the kids are along, they insist on Flo’s buckwheat waffles with bacon and fresh fruit ($6.49).

Ah, for us, a zesty breakfast tamale or gooey French toast are just as much a part of the theme park experience as any thrill ride. Do you have a favorite (edible) way to start your day at the Disneyland Resort?

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Décor, Menu Makeovers for Captain’s Grille at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

posted on January 16th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


We’ve long been a fan of bright, airy Captain’s Grille, a getaway of sorts where you often can grab a table in a quiet corner for breakfast, lunch or dinner and enjoy some of the best seafood-centric food at Walt Disney World Resort.

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Now this classic American grill just off the lobby at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort has a new look, says area leader Ashley Call – with new tables and chairs, wallpaper and paint, and a redesigned menu that still features longtime favorites but adds more than three dozen new dishes to the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.

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“Guests tell us we’re a hidden gem,” says Ashley. For years, we’ve headed to Captain’s Grille for lunch, and recently tried the new hand-cut salt and vinegars fries with roasted shallot mayo – good enough for a stand-alone treat, though delicious paired with the recently added lump crab cake with fire-roasted corn succotash and lemon emulsion. The kitchen, under Chef David Hutnick, turns out solid fare with a sophisticated touch, like house-made potato-cheese gnocchi with toasted walnuts, julienne pears and truffle butter, or rosemary-brined pork tenderloin with braised pork belly, pears and apples. And you’ll find one of the best sandwiches at Walt Disney World Resort here: the simple New England-style lobster roll on a butter-toasted Parker House roll.

One of the most-requested breakfast dishes is the butter-poached lobster omelet with asparagus, chive cream and hash browns. At dinner, the hottest sellers are the classic New York strip steak and snow crab legs with new potatoes and corn on the cob, but Chef David says the cabernet-braised short ribs are tops (braised for six hours to buttery perfection).

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And guests love their sweets, like the hazelnut gianduja chocolate cake with salted caramel sauce and chocolate crispies or the gluten-free angel food cake with berry compote and almond croutons, served with lavender-infused panna cotta.

Other standouts added to the menu over the last several months:


For breakfast:

  • Citrus-scented French toast made with challah bread with lavender-infused strawberry compote and white chocolate ganache
  • Dark chocolate waffles with dried cherry compote, espresso-mascarpone cream and chocolate shavings
  • Lemon-ricotta hotcakes with blueberry compote, lemon curd and hash browns

For lunch:

  • New England clam chowder served with bacon and chive biscuits
  • Salad of arugula and frisée with celery-almond purée, roasted grapes, crumbled chèvre, endive, and shallot vinaigrette
  • Seared tuna salad with cucumber, tomato, haricots verts, pickled watermelon, greens, red pepper coulis, and verde sauce
  • Fresh mozzarella and tomato sandwich with chopped arugula vinaigrette on toasted sea salt focaccia

For dinner:

  • Buttermilk-fried rock shrimp with chipotle rémoulade, citrus cream, and chilled cucumber salad
  • Chef’s “vegetarian inspiration” – right now its sweet potato tortellini with cranberry relish, spice almonds and brown butter rosemary beurre blanc
  • Desserts such as no sugar added and gluten-free angel food cake and s’mores tart with graham cracker crust and chocolate sauce

Wine flights are now offered with lunch and dinners, says Ashley, and guests say they enjoy sampling new tastes like a sparkling wine and a merlot both from North Fork of Long Island. And the Captain’s Grille teams says to watch for even more changes in 2014.

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Spice Road Table Soft Opens – Official Opening Date Coming Soon

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


The doors are quietly opening tomorrow at Spice Road Table at the Morocco Pavilion at Epcot, giving the staff time to ease into the new kitchen and iron out details.

The official opening with lively fanfare will be announced soon, and we’ll have details on the blog for the all-new food offerings located along World Showcase Lagoon, featuring Mediterranean small plates, specialty wines, beers and aperitifs from the region.
Spice Road Table Soft Opens – Official Opening Date Coming Soon

Inspired by the outdoor cafés along the Mediterranean, the whitewashed façade of Spice Road Table is accented in icy shades of blue from the famous “Blue City” of Chefchaouen in Morocco’s Rif Mountains. With 120 outdoor terrace seats, the inside will seat 60 with cozy booths, Moroccan light fixtures, tilework, tapestries and art representing Morocco’s indigenous Berber tribes is showcased.

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