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Recipe Just in Time for Holidays from The Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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


‘Tis the season for parties and sharing indulgent bites, from savory to sweet. This is one of our favorites from The Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where Pastry Chef Andreas Born works his magic with chocolate, toffee and bananas – a trifecta of deliciousness.

The Hollywood Brown Derby is tops for dining at the theme park, with an all-day menu featuring original creations such as blue lump crab springs rolls, Scotch maple-glazed Loch Duart Salmon and pan-seared, coriander-crusted black grouper. But you can also get a simple grilled burger (it just happens to be Wagyu beef and topped with a fried egg) and the ever-classic Cobb Salad, made from the same recipe as the original in Hollywood, California.

Watch Chef Andreas create this beautiful and tasty sweet finish – he tops with fancy bites, but you can rest assured it’s just as delicious without. It take a little time to make the mousse, but the result is worth it.

For reservations at The Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant, call 407-WDW-DINE or visit disneyworld.com.

Banana Toffee Mousse on Cocoa Crunch
Serves 12

  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 medium bananas, peeled and mashed
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 12 tablespoons crushed chocolate cookies
  • 1/2 cup chocolate-covered toffee pieces
  1. Place white chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl set over a small saucepan of simmering water, making sure bottom of bowl does not touch water. Melt chocolate, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Place eggs, egg yolks, and sugar in double boiler over simmering water; whisk for 4 minutes and remove from heat.
  3. Sprinkle gelatin over hot water in a small bowl and set aside for 5 minutes. Microwave 10 seconds, stirring gelatin until melted. Set aside.
  4. Beat eggs and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy. Stir in gelatin mixture, then mashed bananas. Fold in melted white chocolate.
  5. Whip heavy cream to soft peaks in a separate large bowl. Gently fold whipped cream into banana mixture to create mousse. Divide mixture in half.
  6. Spoon 1 tablespoon chocolate cookie crumbs in the bottom of 12 1/2-cup ramekins. Evenly top each with half of mousse. Add thin layer of toffee pieces. Repeat process with remaining mousse.
  7. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.
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Hearty Pozole Soup, the Perfect Fall Supper from Paradise Garden Grill at Disney California Adventure Park

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


At Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts, we rejoice in fall’s dip in temperature – nothing dramatic, but the perfect excuse to bring out the soup recipes.

Paradise Garden Grill is offering this classic Mexican soup as part of Disney ¡Viva Navidad! at Disney California Adventure park. It is also offered at Rancho Del Zocalo Restaurante in Disneyland park on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Since it’s not always there, here’s the recipe for you to try at home. And it’s even better the second day. Pozole (or posole) is a hearty hybrid of soup and stew with chewy hominy and tender pork – the fresh garnishes add crunch and freshness.

Pozole
Serves 8 to 10

  • 2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled, and split lengthwise
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons coarse salt, divided
  • 6 dried Guajillo chiles
  • 2 dried ancho or New Mexico chiles
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, cut into large pieces
  • 3 medium or 2 large plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise and cored
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 (15-ounce) can white hominy, drained and rinsed

Garnishes

  • 1/2 small head green cabbage, finely shredded
  • 6 radishes, sliced thinly
  • 3 limes, quartered
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, large stems removed, leaves roughly chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely diced
  1. Rinse diced pork under cold water until water runs clear. Transfer pork to a large stock pot over medium-high heat; add 8 cups cold water. Bring to a simmer; skim off and discard foam and solids that float to surface.
  2. Stir in garlic, bay leaves, onion, cumin, and 1 tablespoon salt. Turn heat to medium to keep soup at a light simmer. Cover and simmer 90 minutes (do not boil). Periodically skim foam from surface.
  3. Meanwhile, remove and discard stems, seeds, and large veins from dried chiles. Break into large pieces in a medium saucepan and add 3 cups water. Top with sweet onion, tomatoes, and garlic cloves, keeping chiles submerged. Cover and simmer 10 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Working in 2 batches, puree chile mixture with cooking liquid in a blender until smooth. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into soup pot, pressing solids with back of spoon to extract liquid.
  5. Simmer soup for 90 minutes, then stir in black pepper, oregano, and hominy. Taste and season with additional salt, if desired.
  6. Remove a piece of pork and taste for doneness. If meat is not tender, simmer 15 to 20 minutes more.
  7. Serve hot soup with garnishes for topping.
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What’s That Amazing Smell – Chocolate! It’s Gingerbread Display Time at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on November 3rd, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Pastry Chef Jeff Barnes, the master of all things sweet at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, is in the kitchen cooking up this year’s gingerbread extravaganza … well, at least we think he is. Take a look at this video – that’s Walt Disney Imagineer Joseph Konopka bringing something “Frozen” for Chef Jeff to work into his creative thinking. Joseph and Chef Jeff teamed up for the masterpiece that debuts November 13 in the fourth floor atrium of Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

More details to come as Chef Jeff builds his sweet concoction – but we can guarantee there will be plenty of chocolate. Any guesses?

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Steakhouse 55 at Disneyland Hotel Debuts New Menu October 29

posted on October 28th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


The spiffing-up began earlier this year at Steakhouse 55, one of the finest restaurants at the Disneyland Resort: new carpet, new chairs, new dishes, new silverware – “It’s almost like opening a new restaurant,” says Chef Marcel St. Pierre.

Chef Marcel took the helm in early 2014 and has been working on the new menu for nearly four months, side-by-side with manager and sommelier Brian Van Amber. And now, with extensive training for the staff complete in everything from guest service to wine pairings, Chef Marcel says they’re ready to launch tomorrow.

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While a handful of dishes may sound familiar (Baltimore crab cake, filet mignon, slow-roasted prime rib), every single dish on the menu has been refined, says Chef Marcel. You’ll still find Tiger Prawns, but they’re served with a new Bloody Mary cocktail sauce, shallot mignonette and lemon gelée. The new pan-roasted pork belly appetizer comes with truffle mascarpone, green apple and pickled black kale. Chef Marcel is especially proud of the new smoked filet mignon tartare, the meat arriving tableside under a crystal dome. When the dome is lifted, there’s the aroma of smoke as the dish is gently tossed tableside with mustard aioli and cage-free egg yolk, then served with shaved rye croutons.

A clever new appetizer is ratatouille “meatballs,” made with finely chopped mushrooms, lentils, carrots, celery, onions and a little bread crumbs. The meatballs are served with zucchini spaghetti, vegan Bolognese and a shave of Parmesan (request no Parmesan for the perfect vegan starter).

Hearts of romaine is the Steakhouse 55 version of the classic Caesar, with Castelvetrano olives from Italy, crispy bacon lardons and Caesar dressing. The new French onion soup gets a hearty seasonal vibe with cream and chicken stock, served with grilled onions and California Muenster cheese focaccia.

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You’ll still see the classic cuts of meat: filet mignon, bone-in ribeye, New York strip, prime rib, Porterhouse. But the classic cuts receive a special twist, like a hickory-molasses rub on the New York strip. King salmon is crusted with fava bean and rye. Lamb chops are roasted with garlic “dust” and peppercorn. Each cut of beef is beautifully garnished with roasted bone marrow (with a tiny fork for scooping out the rich center) topped with lemon gremolata.

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Some of the new sides to share the spotlight are a truffled mac ‘n cheese, flash-fried spinach, and the Delmonico Gruyère Casserole — a decadent, cheesy side made with fingerling potatoes, Applewood smoked bacon and fresh thyme. Duck-fat fries come with blood orange sabayon for dipping; the mashed potatoes have a new mushroom-infused gravy.

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Dessert isn’t an afterthought, and while the legendary 24-Layer Cake stays on the menu, it’s now served with spiced pumpkin gelato and roca (almond butter-crunch toffee). Chef Marcel thinks the new warm apple butter cake will be another home run, served right out of the oven with a scoop of Bourbon ice cream and a side of crème Anglaise. Or try the banana mascarpone cheesecake with caramel glaze, honey-dipped pecans and butterscotch sauce.

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The new, three-course Steakhouse 55 Chef’s Tasting for $55 ($85 with wine pairings) makes it easy to choose: start with the Fifty-Five Salad (ruby beets and feta cheese with apricot granola and citrus vinaigrette); next, the braised short rib Bourguignon with roasted root vegetables, and finish with crème brûlèe served with pear marmalade, candied bacon madeleine and cranberry compote.

The new Steakhouse 55 has been a real team effort,” says Chef Marcel. “We hope we’ve created a fantastic new dining experience for our guests.”

For reservations, call 714-781-DINE or visit disneyland.com.

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More Pumpkin Yum from Disneyland Resort

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


In case you can’t make it to Disneyland Resort to taste all the delectable pumpkin treats we mentioned in last week’s pumpkin cheesecake recipe post, here’s one more recipe we just had to share just in time for National Pumpkin Day (Oct. 26): hearty pumpkin muffins packed with the flavors of sweet golden raisins, nutmeg and cinnamon. A crunch of streusel on top makes them perfect with coffee to start the day.

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You could nosh on more Disneyland Resort pumpkin treats from morning ‘til night: pumpkin beignets (Café Orleans and Mint Julep Bar in Disneyland park); pumpkin twists (Troubadour Tavern and Maurice’s Treats at Disneyland park and Cozy Cone Motel at Disney California Adventure park); pumpkin pie (Plaza Inn and French Market Restaurant in Disneyland park, Flo’s V-8 Cafe at Disney California Adventure park); pumpkin cheesecake muffins (Market House in Disneyland park and Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Café at Disney California Adventure park), and pumpkin cheesecake (Jolly Holiday Bakery Café and French Market Restaurant in Disneyland park, Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta at Disney California Adventure park and White Water Snacks at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa). Beyond the bakery treats at various spots throughout the parks and resorts, there’s pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks and Boudin Bakery’s pumpkin-shaped sourdough at Pacific Wharf Café, Disney California Adventure park bread cart and Mortimer’s Market.

You’ll find these pumpkin muffins in Disneyland park at Jolly Holiday Bakery Café and the Cappuccino Cart in the Hub. At Disney California Adventure park, they’re at Schmoozies and Pacific Wharf Café. You can also find them at White Water Snacks at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Surfside Lounge at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel.

But if you can’t make it to Disneyland Resort, whip up a batch and enjoy – maximum flavor, minimum guilt.

Pumpkin Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

Muffin Recipe
1 cup cake flour
1 cup bread flour (may substitute all-purpose flour)
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 5-ounce can pumpkin purée
1 cup golden raisins

Streusel
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter

For muffins:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F and line a muffin pan with paper liners. Set aside.
  2. Sift together cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Beat together sugar and eggs until pale yellow in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Blend in oil and pumpkin purée until mixture is smooth.
  4. Blend half of flour mixture into egg mixture until just combined. Scrape sides of bowl, then stir in raisins. Add remaining flour mixture to batter, mixing just until combined.
  5. Scoop batter into prepared muffin pan, filling about 3/4 full.

For streusel:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Mash butter with a fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon streusel on each muffin.
  2. Bake 18 minutes, then lower oven temperature to 325°F and bake 5 minutes more or until golden brown.
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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney Dining, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Hotels & Resorts

Only Two More Party for the Senses for This Year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

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


Party for the Senses is a blowout way to end the day at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – an evening of discovery with a roomful of fantastic chefs, good wines, magical entertainment from Cirque du Soleil. All in all, there are nearly two dozen tasting stations with wine, beer and cocktails to pair. You won’t know until you arrive what you’ll be having, but the discovery is part of the fun.

And there are just two parties left in 2014: October 25 and November 1.

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October 25 is an extra-special Party for the Senses, featuring cuisine and chefs from the Disney Parks around the globe – Hong Kong Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Aulani – A Disney Resort & Spa and Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif.

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You can start the evening at the Eat to the Beat concert at America Gardens Theatre and end with a stroll around World Showcase and the IllumiNations fireworks and laser show – it’s a special evening you won’t want to miss. Just come hungry (and leave satisfied).

Price is $149 per person, plus tax. Epcot admission is required. Call 407-WDW-FEST for reservations.

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Another fun way to end the evening at the festival – Thursdays only – is Late Nights LIVE! This after-hours street party. between the United Kingdom and World Showcase Plaza starts at 9:45 p.m. and ends at 1 a.m. Food and beverages from select marketplaces, live music, a DJ and entertainment keep the party going strong. Cost is $79 per person plus tax. Epcot admission required.

This year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival ends on November. 10.

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First Look at Menu for New Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk — Reservations Open October 21

posted on October 15th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Opening day is set for December 18 for Trattoria al Forno, the new restaurant at Disney’s BoardWalk that will showcase classic Italian cuisine including handcrafted mozzarella made daily, fresh cavatelli pasta and pizzas baked in wood-burning ovens.

Uncle Pats Pickled Peppers at New Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk Meatball Cannelloni Basil at New Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk
Lasagna Bolognese at New Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk Chicken Parmesan at New Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk

Open daily for breakfast and dinner, with reservations starting October 21, Chef Dee Foundoukis and her team in Trattoria al Forno’s kitchen are creating a true taste of all of Italy’s diverse regions.

We’re so excited to finally share the menu with you – in upcoming posts we’ll be sharing details from Walt Disney Imagineering about the décor and more as we get closer to opening. And some delicious recipes for you to try at home!

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Trattoria al Forno will be open 7:30-11 a.m. for breakfast, 5-10 p.m. for dinner, and accepts the Disney Dining Plan. For reservations, call 407-WDW-DINE or www.disneyworld.com/dine.

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Disneyland Resort Gets in the Spirit of Halloween Time with Bewitching Bites

posted on October 13th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


The fun is underway with Halloween Time at the Disneyland ResortHaunted Mansion Holiday, Dia de los Muertos and the Halloween Carnival at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree – all running through October 31, with festive food a big part of the fun through November 2.

Let’s start with the squiggly, wiggly zinfandel spaghetti with roasted golden beets, pine nuts and golden raisins at Storytellers Café at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. It looks a little fiendish, but the pasta gets its “seasonal” color from wine and it’s only available the week of Halloween.

Head to Disneyland park, where Café Orleans is featuring devilishly delicious braised short ribs with purple mashed potatoes, sautéed baby carrots, red wine mushroom sauce and fried shoestring onions. Nearby, Blue Bayou serves a hearty Creole-brined, bone-in pork chop with roasted garlic Boursin mashed potatoes, sautéed baby spinach, Champagne pear coulis and tomato relish.

Pork Tamales from Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante Fire-Breathing Dragon Flatbread from Village Haus Restaurant

Bewitching quick bites include pork tamales at Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante (in honor of Dia de los Muertos), and a blue cheese and onion marmalade burger at Hungry Bear Restaurant. Head to Village Haus Restaurant for Fire-Breathing Dragon Flatbread with buffalo chicken, serrano chile slices and chipotle aioli (definitely a treat, if you love hot stuff). A little more subdued is the “Munster” chicken sausage sandwich with onions, red bell peppers, mushrooms, Muenster cheese and chicken sausage on a baguette with a side of roasted purple potatoes.

At French Market Restaurant, try the traditional shrimp po boy with deep-fried popcorn shrimp, lettuce, tomato, vinegar dressing and Cajun remoulade sauce on a toasted potato roll. Tomorrowland Terrace has a “Monsters U” cheeseburger with special sauce, lettuce, tomato, pickles and grilled onion – with a side of fries covered in Parmesan Ranch “Ooze.” Or check out the mac & cheese pizza at Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port – yes, it’s pizza crust with mac ‘n cheese topped with mozzarella and Romano cheeses and seasoned bread crumbs.

Disney California Adventure park has some haunting hits as well: a burger or grilled chicken at Taste Pilots’ Grill topped with a “cobweb” of Swiss cheese, grilled onions and mushrooms, and the Anti-Vampire Chicken Pizza at Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta with roasted garlic sauce, marinated chicken, smoked Gouda, roasted red peppers and a tomato-spicy harissa drizzle.

Ghoulishly good!

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Pumpkin Mania at Disneyland Resort

posted on October 10th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


‘Tis the season – for pumpkin, that is. The ubiquitous gourd takes center stage at Disneyland Resort this time of year, flavoring everything from coffee to soups, and yes, even old-school pumpkin pie.

Disneyland Resort Bakery gets in on the fun with pumpkin beignets, pumpkins twists, pumpkin muffins and pumpkin cream cheese muffins sold throughout the parks and hotels. We got hooked on this pumpkin cheesecake that you’ll find at Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta at Disney California Adventure park, Jolly Holiday Bakery Café and French Market in Disneyland park and White Water Snacks at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. The graham cracker crust with a pinch of ginger, classic cheesecake filling and a drizzle of chocolate on top create a trifecta of yum.

Beyond the bakery, there’s pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks, and Boudin Bakery’s pumpkin-shaped sourdough at Pacific Wharf Café, the Pacific Wharf bread cart and Mortimer’s Market, all at Disney California Adventure park.

And if you’re in search of that good ol’ pumpkin pie, you’ll find it at Plaza Inn, Carnation Cafe, Village Haus Restaurant, River Belle Terrace and French Market Restaurant in Disneyland park, and at Flo’s V-8 Café and Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta at Disney California Adventure park.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake
Makes 9-inch cheesecake

Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup butter-melted

Cheesecake Filling

  • 3 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 15-ounce can pumpkin purée
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 5-ounce can evaporated milk
  • Chocolate syrup, for drizzling

For crust:

  1. In a bowl combine the crushed graham cracker, sugar and ginger. Melt the butter and stir into mixture.
  2. Spray bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Press crust mixture into bottom of pan using your hands.
  3. Place pan on a large piece of foil and wrap foil tightly up sides and around pan.

For cheesecake filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Beat cream cheese, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Scrape down sides of bowl.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl.
  4. Whisk together pumpkin purée, cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl until well combined. Add pumpkin mixture to cream cheese mixture, beating until well combined. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add evaporated milk, mixing well.
  5. Slowly pour cheesecake filling onto crust mixture in prepared pan. Drizzle with chocolate syrup.
  6. Place foil-wrapped pan inside a larger roasting pan. Place oven rack and carefully add enough hot water to reach halfway up sides of springform pan.
  7. Bake 1 hour, or until center moves only slightly when shaken.
  8. Turn oven off. Crack open oven door, and allow cheesecake to cool inside oven 1 hour.
  9. Remove pan from water bath and set on a wire rack to cool completely. Cover top of pan with foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Cook’s Notes: Wrapping foil around springform pan prevents water from the water bath from getting into the cheesecake. The slow cooling inside the oven prevents cheesecake top from cracking.

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2014 Travelers’ Choice: TripAdvisor Names Victoria & Albert’s One of Top 5 Restaurants in U.S.

posted on October 10th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa was honored as one of the Top 5 restaurants in the United States in TripAdvisor’s 2014 Travelers’ Choice awards.

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The Walt Disney World Resort restaurant is the only Florida restaurant on the illustrious list. “One-of-a-kind dining experience in Orlando – worth it!” and “A special meal in a special place,” reads the TripAdvisor website.

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Victoria & Albert’s also is a AAA Five-Diamond Award winner, one of just two in Florida. Under the helm of Chef Scott Hunnel, maître d hotel Israel Perez and Pastry Chef Erich Herbitschek, the restaurant features some of the very best seasonal ingredients from local markets, as well as from around the world.

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TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, according to the website, reaching nearly 280 million unique monthly visitors and more than 170 million reviews and opinions covering more than 4 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions.

The awards honor top travel spots worldwide based on millions of reviews and opinions from TripAdvisor travelers. Award winners were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews for restaurants worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period.

Congrats to Chef Scott, Israel, Chef Erich and the entire Victoria & Albert’s team!

For more on Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, visit the posts below:

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