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Tag Archives: Disney Restaurants

Spirit Of Aloha Dinner Show at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort – Walt Disney World VIDEO

 

I always say that the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels are vacations within themselves! From the amenities to the details in the resort’s theming, the Walt Disney World Resort can truly immerse you in a whole other vacation destination within your current vacation destination! This is absolutely the case at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort located on the Magic Kingdom Resort monorail loop! At this resort you will be convinced you are in the islands! Just strolling the resort’s grounds you will be in awe by how the lush greenery and tropical plants transport you to a serene paradise!

 

It is here at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort that you will find one of the most popular dinner shows on all of Disney World property, the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show! This authentic Hawaiian luau is so much more than just a great meal and show, it is an entire experience!

 

 

This meal is a true feast, served family style to your table! Your server will keep refilling your plate with whatever you would like to enjoy more of, so you can help yourself to all your favorites! Select alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine are also included for free for guest old enough to enjoy them.

 

 

The show at the luau is so fun and entertaining while also being filled with a ton of heart. You will walk away knowing having learned more about the spirit and culture of Hawaii! You will have a deeper appreciation for the meaning of Ohana, the Hawaiian word for family!

 

 

The first half of the show is filled with exciting dances and even some fun crowd interactions. The second half of the show then really heats up! Literally! One will see an incredible Hawaiian fire dancer! This act is something you have to see to believe! During this section of the show every eye in the the house is just fixated on the stage anticipating what this talented fire performer will do next! During this section of the show there is also some more traditional Hawaiian hula dances and songs. It is a beautiful presentation that is authentic to the Hawaiian culture!

 

 

The Spirit of Aloha Dinner show is sure to be a hit with everyone in your party! This is also a very special experience if you are looking for a unique way to celebrate a milestone at Disney and want to do something extra special. My family and I did this experience to celebrate my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary! Disney made the experience so magical. When cast members heard what we were celebrating they presented my grandparents both with special Hawaiian leis. The entire evening made for a truly incredible family memory!

 

I hope you will check this show out with your own Ohana very soon!

Watch some highlights from the Spirit of Aloha Dinner show in our new YouTube video!

 

Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacations travel planner today to plan your next visit to the Walt Disney World Resort or to any destination that your are dreaming of traveling next!

 

Lunch at Ale & Compass – Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Walt Disney World

 

During my most recent trip to Walt Disney World my family and I experienced a Disney first for all of us! We dined at a restaurant we had never tried before, Ale & Compass at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. We were all filled with so much anticipation to check out a brand new restaurant that none of us had been to yet! I am very excited to tell you that our experience here did not disappoint! I actually proclaimed that our lunch here at Ale & Compass was my favorite meal of that trip!

 

 

The menu features New England style comfort food including many classic seafood dishes! The restaurant’s decor is themed to be reminiscent of a cozy lighthouse. This table-service dining location perfectly fits into the overall atmosphere of Disney’s Yacht Club Resort!

 

 

For my entree I choose the the white clam flatbread! White flatbread pizzas are my favorite variation of flatbreads and I do love clams! However I have to say I was skeptical what the combination of the clams on top of the flatbread would be like. Curiosity got the best of me so I asked our waitress about the dish. She was wonderful and very knowledgable about the menu. She told us that the white clam flatbread was actually her favorite item on the menu! I knew I had to give it a try!

 

 

This meal was incredible! As I said before this ended up becoming my favorite meal of the vacation! I can’t wait to get back here again to this restaurant! Another great thing about Ale & Compass is it is located at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort which is in the Epcot Resort area. The resort can be accessed from Epcot through International Gateway the park’s side entrance! From Epcot’s International Gateway you are just a short walk or boat ride away from the Yacht Club! I would definitely recommend making a reservation here during a day at Epcot. This would be a great way to have a short mid-day break from the park and relax with a nice meal before hitting the theme parks again in the evening!

 

 

I filmed my experience checking out this restaurant for the first time. You can watch the video on our YouTube channel:

 

Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacations Travel Planner today to plan your next visit to Walt Disney World or to whatever destination you may be dreaming of next!

Dinner at Chefs De France in Epcot’s France Pavilion! Walt Disney World Video!

 

On my recent Walt Disney World Vacation my family and I dined at Chefs De France, one of the restaurants in the France Pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase. It had been years since I last dined at this table-service restaurant so I was very excited to experience it again! We choose to make this dining reservation at the last minute, we were in Epcot with a free agenda and wanted to dine somewhere exciting! We were thrilled to see the Chefs De France reservation pop up as available for that evening on the My Disney Experience app!

 

 

We headed to the France Pavilion and were soon escorted to our table. We were so happy to get seated in the front dining room facing the World Showcase Lagoon, as Epcot’s nighttime spectacular IllmiNations – Reflection of Earth was about to begin! Tall panoramic glass windows stretch around the entire perimeter of the restaurant, offering incredible views of the France Pavilion as well as Epcot’s World Showcase. Our location in the restaurant made for the perfect spot to watch the fireworks and lasers of IllmiNations! Due to this first-floor restaurant being slightly elevated we actually had one of the best views of the show I had ever seen! We could see all the fireworks including the lower ones right on the water!

 

 

In addition to the breathtaking views, the restaurants overall ambiance is also gorgeous! The classic French design and décor creates an elegant and romantic atmosphere! This is a very good date night restaurant! You will feel truly immersed in the French culture making this meal a true experience!

 

 

Now let’s talk about the food! The menu offers traditional French Fare while still being approachable. Everyone in your party is sure to find something they will enjoy, from the pickiest eater to the most adventure food connoisseur! There is something for everyone!

 

 

Chefs De France’s menu offers a wide selection of appetizers, entrees and desserts that can all be ordered a la carte. Additionally, the restaurant also offers a prix fixe menu which allows you to choose an appetizer, entrée and dessert all for one fixed price of $39.99. My party and I all choose to do the prix fixe option as we found this to be an incredible value for everything you got!

 

For my appetizer, I went with a French classic, the Soupe à Poignon Gratinée. A.K.A French Onion Soup! This soup was topped with delicious gruyère cheese. It was a winner and a very large portion size for being an appetizer!

 

For my entrée, I went for the Poulet fermier à la Layonnaise, pomme purée – which was Lyon style roasted chicken served with tomatoes and vinegar sauce, mashed potatoes. The chicken was so tender! It melted it my mouth! Very delicious and once again, a very generous portion size!

 

Now for everyone’s favorite part… dessert! I chose the gateau au chocolat –a Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Sauce, and Mint Chocolate Ice Cream! This was SPECTACULAR! The chocolate cake was rich and decadent! The mint flavor from the mint chocolate ice cream enhanced the dish without being too overpowering. I loved everything about this dessert and would order it again in a heartbeat!

 

 

After our meal, Epcot was actually closed for the night so we got to experience an empty park as we made our way out and back to the monorail. We got to enjoy a leisurely stroll and take in the sights of the World Showcase pavilions and Future World all with no crowds! This allowed us to really take in all the details and beauty that Epcot has to offer! This is also the perfect time to take some amazing photos with no one else in the background!

 

 

I filmed my experience dining at Chefs De France. You can watch it on our YouTube Channel:

 

I look forward to my next dining experience at Chefs De France and trying other items from their delicious menu! Be sure to check this restaurant out on your next Walt Disney World Vacation! As always, our knowledgeable team at Kingdom Magic Vacation is ready to help you plan the trip you are dreaming of!

NEW Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill Now Open at Disney Springs! Walt Disney World

I love Disney Springs for all of the wonderful, shopping, dining and entertainment offerings that call Disney Springs home! There is a huge selection of stores and eateries to choose from, giving you endless options for a fun day or night out! And now I am excited to share with you that the list of places to check out at Disney Springs just got even longer! This past week Disney Springs welcomed Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill to their lineup of amazing restaurants!

Chef Wolfgang Puck has a name well known around Disney Springs! Chef Wolfgang Puck’s Counter Service location, Wolfgang Puck Express, located in the Marketplace section of Disney Springs has remained consistently open. In addition to his success at this popular quick-service location, the chef has had other Disney Spring’s eateries! If you visited Disney Springs a few years back or even when the area was known as Downtown Disney, then you may remember his previous restaurant that was located over on the West Side, Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe and Dining Room. Also on the West Side the famous chef also previously had a quick-service location which also closed in August 2017. (Fun Fact: The former location of Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe will soon be home to Jaleo by Chef José Andrés.)

 

Now we are very excited that Wolfgang Puck has a brand-new restaurant in a new location in the Town Center section of Disney Springs, Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill! Here the celebrity chef will be serving up his signature California cuisine with a new twist!

 

The restaurant is located in the Town Center of Disney Springs. You can find it in between the Town Center indoor shopping complex and the Coca-Cola Store. It is directly across from Guy Ferrari’s Chicken Guy. Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill has a much different atmosphere then the previous Wolfgang Puck Café. When you enter the new restaurant you immediately pick up on the very modern, fresh vibe that this new location has! It is very sleek and gives the Wolfgang Puck name a whole new identity.

Once inside Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill you will notice accents of red contrast against a pallet of neutral tones. There is a wide array of different seating arrangements including a space to host large party sizes! In addition to the crisp and clean colors, there are plenty of details that add visual appeal to the restaurant, from exposed wood beams to intricate lighting pieces. The location features many large windows giving the space a very bright and open feel. On the walls of the restaurant you can find many black and white portraits that bring a very personal touch into the space! Some of the black and white art is of fresh produce used to highlight the fresh ingredients you will find in your dishes.

 

All of these touches are great however, the true focal point of the restaurant is the on-stage kitchen where all of the culinary artistry is taking place! When you enter the restaurant to your left-hand side the first thing you are greeted by is the pizza kitchen! Chef Wolfgang Puck is known for his gourmet pizzas, so this is an appropriate welcome to the restaurant! Located in the back of the restaurant you will find the main open kitchen where all of the other wonderful dishes are coming to life!

Now here comes the part that I personally am most excited for, there’s the Gelato Bar! This Gelato bar is connected with the bakery area. You can find it to your right as you enter Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill! Not dining in at the restaurant but in the mode for dessert? Then good news, Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill has you covered! You will also be able to get this gelato from the restaurant’s walk-up window! I will definitely be checking out this gelato bar on my next visit to Disney Springs!

 

So now let’s talk about the restaurant’s food! Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill menu has received a very fresh makeover when compared to the chef’s previous dining location, while still retaining some well-loved classics. This menu of “California cuisine,” offers a wide selection of options. Everyone in your party is sure to find something they will enjoy!

 

I will definitely be making a dining reservation to check out Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill on my next vacation to Walt Disney World this February! Looking at their menu I am looking forward to trying either the Basil and Shrimp Pizza or the Sea Bass! Be sure to check out this great new restaurant yourself next time you are in Disney Springs! Plan your next vacation now by contacting your Kingdom Magic Vacations Travel Planner! Our team is always ready to use their knowledge and expertise to help you plan your perfect vacation!

 

Enjoy a Dinner at the Flying Fish Cafe on Disney’s Boardwalk

We LOVE Dining at Disney! As a matter of fact, after all these years of visiting Walt Disney World and even Disneyland, now the restaurants are as much of an attraction for us as the Theme Parks! I know it sounds hard to believe, but Disney restaurants are an attraction in themselves!

After all, they do have world class chefs, wonderfully themed restaurants and fantastic and diverse wine lists themed to that restaurant, the best example that comes to mind is Jiko at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge has one of the most extensive lists of South African wines than any restaurant in the country.

Dining at the Flying Fish at Disney's Boarkwalk Resort

So along with planning which park we’ll visit and how many FastPasses we can get, we think about which restaurants we’ll be dining in. On a recent trip, we had the opportunity to eat at one of our favorites, the Flying Fish at Disney’s BoardWalk.

Dining at the Flying Fish at Disney's Boarkwalk Resort

At the Flying Fish, guests dine amid parachuting fish, funhouse mirrors, decorative roller coaster tracks and a whimsical, backlit Ferris wheel. The ambiance and décor really are incredible, it’s totally sets the stage for the wonderful meal you will soon be enjoying.

Dining at the Flying Fish at Disney's Boarkwalk Resort

As you walk into the restaurant to be seated, you will pass by and be able to peer into the onstage kitchen, where chefs use uber-fresh ingredients to create such succulent specialties as potato-wrapped red snapper, crispy crab cakes and char-crusted strip steak.

A very popular experience at the Flying Fish is the Chef’s Tasting Wine Dinner for a savory 5-course prix fixe menu with expertly chosen wines.

Take a seat at the chef’s counter, directly in front of the onstage kitchen, and interact with the talented culinary team preparing the evening’s specialties.

Dining at the Flying Fish at Disney's Boarkwalk Resort

The Chef’s Tasting Menu changes daily but may include such delicacies as miso-cured yellowfin tuna with shirred quail egg or ginger-laced Maine lobster ravioli.

Dinner seatings for this experience—which is designed for Guests 10 years of age and up—are at 5:45 PM and 8:15 PM, Sunday through Thursday. Groups of up to 6 can be accommodated and reservations must be made at least one day in advance.

Dining at the Flying Fish at Disney's Boarkwalk Resort

As we were seated, some warm bread arrived at our table and we selected a wine, the Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc. We were parched from a hot day in the parks and this fit our fancy wonderfully!

There we six of us dining, so we chose a variety of appetizers to start off. Actually we chose the three signature appetizers, Crispy Sesame and Togarashi-scented Calamari – with Asian Dipping Sauce, Yellowfin Tuna Tartare and Crispy Tempura Tuna-Vegetable Sushi Roll – with Wasabi Foam, and a Sweet-and-Spicy Sauce and Signature Flying Fish Cafe “Crispy Maine Coast Jonah Crab Cake” – with Vegetable Slaw and Ancho Chile Rémoulade. Each was fantastic, but I think the Calamari was incredible!

Crispy Sesame and Togarashi-scented Calamari

Crispy Sesame and Togarashi-scented Calamari

Yellowfin Tuna Tartare and Crispy Tempura Tuna-Vegetable Sushi Roll

Yellowfin Tuna Tartare and Crispy Tempura Tuna-Vegetable Sushi Roll

"Crispy Maine Coast Jonah Crab Cake" - with Vegetable Slaw and Ancho Chile Rémoulade

“Crispy Maine Coast Jonah Crab Cake” – with Vegetable Slaw and Ancho Chile Rémoulade

For our entrees, one of our friends had the Trio of Heritage Berkshire-Kurobuta Pork, which was incredibly which had a rich pork au jus and was incredibly tasty. Another tried the Fragrantly-spiced “Char-crusted” Yellowfin Tuna, which is one of my favorites and is maybe the best Tuna I’ve had anywhere. Another of our table mates ordered the Mussels appetizer and Roasted Heirloom Beets and Fresh Vermont Goat Cheese which was a great choice. Two signature entrees on the menu are the Idaho Potato-wrapped Red Snapper and the Char-crusted Angus New York Strip Steak always tough for me to choose between these two. Well thanks to the Chef, we don’t have to anymore! Now they have combined the two into a Chefs Thunder Entrée Duo.

Fragrantly-spiced "Char-crusted" Yellowfin Tuna

Fragrantly-spiced “Char-crusted” Yellowfin Tuna

Roasted Heirloom Beets and Fresh Vermont Goat Cheese

Roasted Heirloom Beets and Fresh Vermont Goat Cheese

Idaho Potato-wrapped Red Snapper and the Char-crusted Angus New York Strip Steak

Idaho Potato-wrapped Red Snapper and the Char-crusted Angus New York Strip Steak

The Char-crusted Angus New York Strip Steak comes with a Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Red Bermuda Onions, Young Carrots, and Haricot Verts with Classic Sauce Foyot which tops it off so nicely! The Char on it is perfect while the steak stays juicy and tender on the inside!

The Potato-wrapped Red Snapper is served over a Rich Leek Fondue with a Veal Glace de Viande and Red Wine-Cassis Butter Reduction. The fish is flaky, tender and moist, and the leek fondue just melts in mouth, delicious!

We did manage to save just a bit of room for dessert, I know sounds crazy, right? The Flying Fish is known for its Caramelized Banana Napoleon, Crisp Phyllo, Banana Mousse, Crème Caramel, Exotic Fruit Coulis, and Bitter Chocolate. As one of my friends who recently tried this said, “I’m so mad I just found out about this”!

We also tried the “Nuts about Chocolate” Indulgence, Caramel Chocolate and Hazelnut Praline Mousse, Candied Pecan and Butterscotch-laced Blondie, Chocolate Sorbet, and Candied Marcona Almonds, while the Banana Napoleon was really good, the chocolate sorbet and the almonds was my favorite!

"Nuts about Chocolate" Indulgence,

“Nuts about Chocolate” Indulgence,

Flying Fish Cafe is a Signature Dining location, which means that it is one of the pricier places to eat at Walt Disney World. Expect to spend $36-60 per person, or to use 2 credits per person on the Disney Dining Plan.

The Chef’s Wine Tasting Dinner includes a 4-course prix fixe menu that includes wine pairings for $149 plus tax – groups of up to 6 can be accommodated.

Reservations are highly recommended, and can be made 180 days in advance.  Reservations are required for the Chef’s Wine Tasting Dinner.

Let Your Kingdom Magic Travel Planner
Know that You Want to Add
The Flying Fish Cafe to You Dining Reservations

First Look at 2012 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Merchandise

2012 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Merchandise

I’m counting down the days until the 17th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival arrives. This festival has become one of my favorite things to do in the fall at Walt Disney World Resort. I recently gave you a look at Duffy The Disney Bear’s new chef outfit for this year, so I thought you may enjoy seeing other new merchandise we are “cooking.” I visited with Lindsay Voigt, Product Developer for Event Merchandise, who shared some of her favorite items.

At first glance, I thought the image above was a photograph. It’s not – it’s a painting created by the talented artist Noah, and it will serve as the main “Signature” artwork for merchandise at this year’s festival. You may recall Noah’s artwork from the recent “Storytellers” collection at Disney California Adventure park (which I enjoy even more now after recently visiting Buena Vista Street). Lindsay said she will be using this artwork on items such as a coffee mug, cutting board, trivet, spoon rest, coasters and more.

drinkware items

Lindsay also shared with me two drinkware items – a wine glass with the festival logo and a fun light-up tumbler.

Food & Wine Festival oven mitt and pot holder

In addition to Noah’s “Signature” artwork, there will be a new program called “Sketch” that uses colors found on the oven mitt and pot holder shown above. That program will have an apron, drinkware, towels and dishes.

This year we will also have a limited edition Vinylmation figure featuring Tony from Disney’s animated classic“Lady and the Tramp.” This 3-inch figure has an edition size of 2,500 and was designed by artist Billy Davis.

Food & Wine Festival  limited edition pins

A selection of limited edition pins will return this year to the festival. The adorable Chip and Dale pin will serve as the main logo pin found at locations throughout Epcot. We are also releasing a Minnie Mouse pin for Disney Vacation Club members, while Annual Passholders will find the Figment pin shown above. I’m thinking my fellow Disney Parks Blog author Gary Buchanan will love the limited edition pin with Mickey Mouse in the cranberry bog.

Look for these items and more at the Festival Center and at select locations in Epcot when this annual event returns on September 28.

Blues Traveler, Smash Mouth and More Set for ‘Eat to the Beat’ Concert Series This Fall at Epcot

Even though summer is rapidly approaching us in Florida, we are already starting to plan for fall.

Eat to the Beat Concert series at Epcot

We are excited to announce this year’s lineup for the “Eat to the Beat” Concert Series at the 17th annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival (talent/dates subject to change):

  • 9/28-9/30: Night Ranger
  • 10/1-10/3: Sugar Ray
  • 10/4- 10/7: STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas
  • 10/8-10/10: Boyz II Men
  • 10/11-10/12: Smash Mouth
  • 10/13-10/14: Javier Colon, winner of “The Voice”
  • 10/15-10/17: Air Supply
  • 10/18-10/19: Gin Blossoms
  • 10/20-10/21: Survivor
  • 10/22-10/23: Hanson
  • 10/24-10/25: The Pointer Sisters
  • 10/26-10/28: Sister Hazel
  • 10/29-10/31: Billy Ocean
  • 11/1-11/2: 38 Special
  • 11/3-11/4: Howard Jones LIVE
  • 11/5-11/6: Blues Traveler
  • 11/7-11/8: Dennis DeYoung, original member of the group STYX
  • 11/9-11/12: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival will run from Sept. 28-Nov. 12, 2012.

What’s New for the 17th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

This just in: the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival was named by the Travel Channel as one of the country’s top food and wine festivals. Chefs are cooking up fantastic new experiences for this year’s fest, which open September 28 and runs for a record 46 days through November 12.

There’s no better setting for noshing, sipping and wandering than Epcot’s World Showcase, with a one-of-a-kind backdrop of architectural icons from around the globe.

Fresh for 2012:

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

  • Two new festival marketplaces: TERRA Marketplace offers vegan menu items, including Trick’n Chick’n Curry with Basmati Rice and Chili Colorado with House-Made Chips and Cashew Cheese. The FLORIDA Marketplace introduces fresh twists on regional flavors. There are more than 25 ethnic and regional marketplaces in all.
  • Feel like a VIP with Marketplace Chef Tours. Each Wednesday, festival chefs host a walking-and-tasting tour around World Showcase with stops at several international marketplaces. You get to taste five marketplace dishes and five beverage items, like beer, wine and cocktails – and learn a few culinary secrets.Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

 

  • More kid-friendly tastes. Kids of all ages can try inventive new sips during the family’s marketplace dine-around. Pair with yummy bites like beef empanadas and cheese fondue (new this year).
  • Don’t miss (free) Eat to the Beat! Check out pop acts like Smash Mouth (October 11-12) and Javier Colon, winner of “The Voice” (October 13-14). With 18 different bands, look for Blues Traveler (November 5-6) and Dennis DeYoung, original member of STYX (November 7-8). Night Ranger kicks off the concert series September 28-30, and other returning fan favorites include Boyz II Men, The Pointer Sisters, Sister Hazel and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
  • Back for an encore: look for HGTV designers, celeb chefs, culinary demos and wine seminars, and special culinary programs – more than 270 chefs are showing off for the festival. And, yes, the fab Party for the Senses returns October 6, 13, 20, 27 and November 3.

 

 


A Taste of the Chef’s Menu at CoraNation Room at Kouzzina by Cat Cora at Walt Disney World Resort

What a treat to slip into the private back room at Kouzzina by Cat Cora at Disney’s BoardWalk and spend a few hours sampling delectable bites from Chef Dee Foundoukis and her team, who run the restaurant when Chef Cat Cora can’t be there.

Kouzzina by Cat Cora

The Chef’s Menu at CoraNation Room is relatively new, with five courses of Greek-inspired tastes, which you can pair with wines from Cat’s own label for an extra-special treat. “This kind of evening lets us stretch our culinary muscles,” says Chef Dee. “We create dishes from what is freshest at the market each week.”

Chef Dee is a first-generation American, with parents from Greece – her 106-year-old grandfather still tends to his bees in Greece. “My mother taught me how to cook,” says Dee. “Her influences are in all my dishes.”

Up to 24 guests can dine in the CoraNation Room for just one seating on Friday or Saturday nights – and you can choose a table for two, or join a group. “We find that guests enjoy meeting new friends over the meal,” says Chef Dee. “It’s a communal experience.”

appetizers at Kouzzina

With a well-trained staff and passionate chefs, we started our evening with a single, crisp English pea with a bite of poached lobster, served with an espresso cup of chilled pea soup – perfect for sipping. On the same plate, cherry-glazed slices of duck were fanned over leek stifado, the Greek word for stew. Flat-out superb for a starter.

Salad course at Kouzzina

The salad was a work of art – baby lettuce from The Land Pavilion at Epcot with paper-thin slices of radish, smoked baby beets and a bite-size sphere of fennel-dusted goat cheese. The delicate bowl was crisp and edible, light-as-air shredded wheat wrapping the tender lettuce, with a bracing Banyuls-chive vinaigrette. Don’t fill up on the bread – it’s tempting, with the rich Greek olive oils and rich green and black olives.

chilled watermelon mavrodaphne, a popular Greek red wine

The “palate refresher,” a shot of chilled watermelon mavrodaphne, a popular Greek red wine, topped with a goat cheese-yogurt foam, prepared us for the generous main course of oak-grilled peppered lavender lamb loin and pan-fried red grouper from Florida with a decadent, golden Kalamata olive oil hollandaise.

dessert at Kouzzina

The finale was a quartet of sweets: crispy phyllo with fig honey and farmer’s cheese; phoenika (a Greek honey-dipped spice cookie) with chocolate tahini; Greek yogurt panna cotta with berries, and our favorite, a grapefruit ice with slices of zatar-spiced grapefruit and a delicious sprig of sugary, oven-roasted thyme.

If your preference is vegetarian, or if you have any allergies or dietary restrictions, just let the staff know, says manager Vincent Tai. “We’re happy to accommodate,” he says.

Cost is $65 (plus tax and gratuity), $35 for wine pairing.

Have you tried the Chef’s Menu? Share your favorite tastes!

California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort Gets Ready for a New Look

We recently caught up with  Chef Brian Piasecki from California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort to talk about upcoming plans for one of our favorite Walt Disney World Resort restaurants.


California Grill Chef Brian Piasecki

Chef Brian, when will California Grill temporarily close?
Chef Brian: We’ll close on January 6, 2013, and we’re all so excited about the new look – I can’t wait to share the plans!

And when do you plan to reopen?
Chef Brian: Late summer 2013.

Are you making big changes to the menu?
Chef Brian: We’ll be tweaking the menu, but we’ll still focus on a fresh, seasonal menu with top-of-the-line sushi. You can still look for creative flavors and techniques, and sophisticated cuisine – I’ve got a great group of chefs in my kitchen and a great crew in the dining room, and we all plan to return.

We heard the private dining rooms may go away?
Chef Brian: No, we’ll continue to use the two private dining rooms for personalized catering for groups and parties.

Are you getting a new onstage kitchen?
Chef Brian: We’re so excited about enhancements to the interactive kitchen – we’ll be able to give a fresh spin to California Grill classics, and add some cutting-edge new selections to the menu.

Stay tuned for updates!

 

Chef of Be Our Guest Restaurant in New Fantasyland Shares His Favorites from the Menu

Braised pork for lunch and a grilled strip steak for dinner – Chef Michael Deardorff had a hard time choosing, but says those are two of his favorites from the new menu for Be Our Guest Restaurant in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park.

Guests can start making reservations in late August (we’ll let you know the exact date as soon as we can), with the restaurant to be open for the holidays.

Be Our Guest Restaurant Chef

Chef Deardorff has been at the helm in Disney kitchens for 25 years, most recently as part of the opening of the restaurants at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawai’i. Now he’s back to open Be Our Guest, inspired by “Beauty and the Beast,” with three dining rooms and seats for over 500 guests.

“Lunch is quick service, but not traditional counter service,” says Deardorff. Guest-activated terminals make ordering a snap (there also will be traditional cashiers for cash orders and special dietary requests). You order, take a seat and lunch is delivered to your table – on china, not paper.

Back to the menu. “It’s all about simple, fresh ingredients,” says Deardorff. “Just like your favorite quick-service restaurants across Magic Kingdom Park, you’ll be able to enjoy sandwiches and salads at Be Our Guest Restaurant for lunch, but all with a twist that transports you to the French setting of ‘Beauty and the Beast.’”

There’s a little French bistro flavor with tuna Niçoise salad and a Croque Monsieur sandwich with carved ham, Gruyere cheese, béchamel and pommes frites (a fancy term for French fries). Or go for the carved turkey on a warm baguette with Dijon mayonnaise, or the grilled steak sandwich with garlic butter spread, both with pommes frites. Heartier fare includes braised pork that’s cooked for eight hours, and for vegetarians, there’s a loaded vegetable quiche or quinoa, shallot and chive salad.

Be Our Guest Restaurant in the New Fantasyland

Dinner is table service, with diverse starters such as a charcuterie plate with cured meats and sausages, mussels steamed in white wine, French onion or potato leek soup, and a salad with champagne vinaigrette. We’re intrigued by the salad trio with three mini tastes of roasted beet, raisins and orange; green beans, tomatoes and roasted shallots; and watermelon, radish and mint.

Entrées include a thyme-scented pork rack chop with au gratin pasta, rotisserie rock hen with roasted fingerling potatoes, pan-seared salmon in leek fondue, grilled strip steak with pommes frites, sautéed shrimp and scallops with veggies in puff pastry with creamy lobster sauce, and an oven-baked ratatouille.

Oh, and dessert – we vote for the cupcakes, strawberry cream cheese or triple chocolate. If cupcakes aren’t your favorite sweet ending, there’s a chocolate cream puff and a passion fruit cream puff.

For kids 9 and under, the lunch entrées include a carved turkey sandwich, roasted pulled pork, Mickey meatloaf, seared mahi mahi, or whole-grain macaroni topped with marinara and mozzarella. For dinner, it’s grilled steak, grilled fish of the day, whole-grain macaroni or grilled chicken breast.

“We think guests will be pleasantly surprised with the menu and the value,” says Deardorff.

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