Posts Tagged ‘dining’

Maria & Enzo’s Takes Flight with Fine Fare

by on January 19, 2018

Maria & Enzo's RistoranteWithin the last few weeks, several new Italian eateries have opened their doors at Disney Springs; among them, Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante, a table service location situated in The Landing, just adjacent to The Edison and Aerophile (formerly Characters in Flight). The restaurant’s story claims that it’s run by Maria and Enzo, and occupies an abandoned airport terminal from the 1930s, lending theme to the various retro travel posters adorning the walls of the massive main dining room. Every guest gets a dramatic entrance here, with a large sweeping staircase leading down from the lobby and check-in area of the restaurant to the central dining area (and adjacent “private” dining room, with a few tables tucked away in a quiet corner).

Atmosphere

The main dining room of Maria & Enzo'sVisually, the restaurant is colorful and striking – almost too much so, reminiscent at times of the old Wolfgang Puck dining room. The atmosphere is loud, with the open ceilings echoing the comings and goings of the many diners all around. Daylight floods the back of the dining room, full of windows, which offers guests a great view of the Aerophile balloon rising and falling periodically. Overall, it’s a welcoming space for families, but not terribly intimate.

The menu is enormous (both literally and figuratively), populated largely with an extensive wine and cocktail list highlighting Italian specialties like various red wine varietals, sangrias, and an entire section of negronis (a step up from most Disney cocktail offerings). For food, expect to find moderate to upscale Italian staples, not dissimilar from the pasta and entrée menus at Via Napoli or Tutto Italia, priced similarly to Tutto Italia (read: on the higher end of the “acceptable” price range for Italian food).

Appetizers

Bread serviceTo start off our meal, our server brought over the obligatory bread and olive oil service, which was fine, but nothing you wouldn’t find at your local Italian chain eatery. We settled on two appetizers, both recommended by our server, the Arancini di Carne (meat ragu stuffed risotto balls, $14) and the Caciocavallo Fritto (fried Sicilian cheese with spicy Pomodoro sauce, $13). Both arrived in short order, and we were off to the races.

I’m a big fan of the arancini available at Via Napoli, so I had high hopes for these, but ultimately, they disappointed a tad bit. For $14, you receive two golf-ball sized arancini (a small portion, in my opinion, for the price), and while the fry on the exterior was perfectly crisp, the interior was a bit too gummy for my taste, and completely lacking in the promised meat ragu filling. There couldn’t have been more than one piece of ground meat in each arancini, unfortunately. Flavor-wise, they felt a little one note, but the spicy Pomodoro sauce really Caciocavallo Fritta and Arancini di Carnemade for a great accompaniment, lending an acidic and spicy punch to the party without overwhelming the rich and cheesy risotto.

The Caciocavallo Fritto sounds a lot like fried mozzarella on paper, but fair warning, this Sicilian cheese has a completely different flavor and texture than what you would expect. Six small balls, each also perfectly fried, come in one order (again, a bit small for $13, based on my expectations). The cheese inside is tangy and sharp, akin almost to an aged provolone in flavor, but the texture is less stretchy than you’d expect, and more custard-like. The flavor was a surprise, intriguing and new for me, and I enjoyed the few bites I had, but I really did wish for a few more balls to complete the plate.

Pugliese saladSeveral fresh salads also feature on the menu, so I wanted to give one a try to see whether their $12-14 price tags were justified. Ultimately, I decided on the Pugliese, composed of a handful of frisee, tiny bits of crisp pancetta, caciotta cheese, a soft poached egg, and dressed in mustard-white balsamic dressing. This salad is relatively decently sized, slightly larger than a typical side salad, but a bit smaller than what I’d expect from an appetizer (a trend, it seems). Well-dressed and seasoned, the caciotta cheese was really the star of the plate (aside from the oozing poached egg, of course), flavored similarly to the caciocavallo and punchy enough to stand on its own against the zippy dressing. Overall, I’d order this salad again, with only a bit of hesitation because of the price.

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Select Walt Disney World Resort Restaurants Available on OpenTable

by on December 28, 2017

One of the news pieces that popped up all over Twitter over the holiday weekend was that select Walt Disney World Resort Restaurants are now going to be available for Guests to book via the popular reservation site, OpenTable. It seems that several Disney Springs and Walt Disney Swan & Dolphin dining establishments had been on the site for a while, but actual Walt Disney World owned and operated restaurants are now popping up for Guests to be able to make reservations.

OpenTable

 

 

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Disney Breakfast Beyond the Mickey Waffle

by on November 27, 2017

Before people flood the inbox with comments, I want to state on the record that I love Mickey Waffles. They are a quintessential Disney breakfast food, and I hope that they last for at least my lifetime without any changes to that amazing flavor and style. That said, sometimes it is nice to have a breakfast that goes beyond the Mickey Waffle and the standard breakfast fare (eggs, some sort of pork product, etc.). Here are five choices for breakfast options at Walt Disney World that go beyond normal breakfast offerings.

The Wave

Chances are, if you end up on the weekend at The Wave for breakfast, you’ll find a large number of locals dining here. The fresh, seasonal flavors and largely reasonable (for Disney) prices, plus relative ease in securing last-minute reservations, make it a solid choice. The buffet tends to get most of the attention, with items like seasonal yogurt parfaits and fruit salad with popping boba, but you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who skips the sweet potato pancakes with local honey butter. And for the Mickey Waffle crowd, you can get those here as well–but in a multigrain format. It doesn’t quite taste the same as the “normal ones”, but then you can always eat two because it’s healthy…right?

 

Boma and The Mara

Depending on whether you’re looking for a quick bite before heading to the parks or a more laid back meal, and depending on your budget, both Boma (the table service buffet) and The Mara (the quick service option) at Animal Kingdom Lodge are wonderful options for unique offerings. Some of the more unique dishes found at breakfast include bobotie (an African-style meatloaf with an egg custard on top) and pap and chakalaka (think grits with a tomato stew). Although these dishes may seem exotic, the flavors are not so unusual that they would turn off even the slightly adventurous eater.

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Wine Country Trattoria – A Disneyland Dining Review

by on November 20, 2017

If you’ve been following along with my last couple of articles, you know by now that a few weeks ago I headed out to LA for a quick weekend getaway to the Disneyland Resort. While I was there I thought I would break out of my comfort zone and try some new dining locations. I had a fantastic dinner on my first evening at the Uva Bar in the Downtown Disney District,  I also enjoyed a delicious lunch at Café Orleans in Disneyland Park, and my final Disneyland Resort dining experience I have to share with you was my favorite…lunch at Wine Country Trattoria in the Disney California Adventure Park.

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Café Orleans – A Disneyland Dining Review

by on November 14, 2017

Cafe Orleans Graphic

During my recent trip to Disneyland, I thought I would check out some restaurants that I’ve never tried before. One such place was Café Orleans, located in New Orleans Square in Disneyland Park. I, like so many other Disneyland visitors, have always opted to dine at Blue Bayou. Often touted as the best restaurant in Disneyland, how could I possibly go anywhere else? But on this vacation, I decided to expand my horizons and try something different, but similar to my old favorite.

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Uva Bar – A Disneyland Dining Review

by on November 6, 2017

Uva Bar Review

Uva Bar, located in the heart of the Downtown Disney District, is one of Disneyland’s many hidden gems and a perfect place to hit when you’re looking for a quick bite to eat. A few weeks ago I headed out for a last-minute weekend getaway to the Disneyland Resort and was looking for an exciting late-night spot to check out on my first evening in LA. After taking the car service from the airport to my friendly Disneyland Good Neighbor hotel, I quickly dropped my bag in my room before enjoying the short walk to the Downtown Disney District in search of a tasty dinner.

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Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast – A Review

by on October 24, 2017

Bon Voyage

Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast (Photo courtesy of Disney)

I can’t begin to tell you the excitement I felt back when it was originally announced that Trattoria al Forno was going to start hosting the Bon Voyage Adventure character breakfast. Bon Voyage Adventure isn’t your run-of-the-mill character breakfast where you get to meet some of the Fab Five. (Not that they don’t rock as well, but some variety is nice!) At this particular meal you’ll get to meet none other than Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Ariel, and Prince Eric. That was the big draw for me! (Don’t forget, the only other places you can usually meet Flynn and Eric are at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas parties.)

I’m a ridiculously huge fan of Rapunzel, so I knew as soon as this character meal was announced that I’d be doing my best to book it! In fact, since they started offering the Bon Voyage Adventure breakfast I’ve made two trips to Disney World. I’ve eaten there both times.

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Tokyo Dining: A Hidden Jewel in Epcot Dining

by on October 3, 2017

One of my favorite places in Epcot to dine is one of the places that I don’t hear people talk about very often – Tokyo Dining. Located on the second floor of Mitsukoshi in the Japan pavilion, Tokyo Dining offers interesting food options, and you can often snag a dining reservation at the last minute. I’ve never had a disappointing meal here. So, what makes Tokyo Dining so special?

Tokyo Dining menu

Tokyo Dining is a great restaurant for a last-minute ADR.

First, the atmosphere in Tokyo Dining is top-notch. The décor is sleek and contemporary, yet comfortable. The restaurant also offers fantastic views of World Showcase with gigantic floor to ceiling windows on one side. Don’t feel like gazing out at the torii gate? Request a table next to the sushi counter and watch the chefs work their magic. Another thing that I really love about this location is that, since it is on the second floor, I feel much more removed from the chaos of World Showcase. To me it is a nice, quiet(er), getaway from the hubbub of people.

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Walt Disney World Ice Cream Crawl

by on August 28, 2017

ice cream crawl passport cover

Leave it to artist Donna Yan’s adorable Dole Whip couple to make us simultaneously want Dole Whip and a Mickey Bar!

I don’t know about you, but one of my absolute must-have indulgences at Walt Disney World is ice cream. Add into that my love of coming up with themes or challenges for our Disney trips, and you get a recipe for success. (Specifically, you get a Walt Disney World Ice Cream Crawl!) My husband and I are apt to try a variety of challenges on our trips. We might focus on only getting snacks from places we’ve never been to before. Or we might make all of our table service reservations for restaurants we’ve never visited. Or we’ll do a trip dedicated to resort dining. (I’m just now noticing the theme of food in a lot of our planning…) For our upcoming trek, we decided to crank it up a bit and focus on ice cream.

I knew from the very beginning that not only did I want to do an ice cream crawl, but I wanted it to have its very own passport. I was inspired by the Epcot festival passports that detail out what food items you can find where. Seriously, what better way to keep track of all the amazing ice cream options than to have a dedicated ice cream passport?! (You can download your very own passport later in the article.) Let’s back things up a bit and discuss how the ice cream crawl was formed.

Simply put, the ice cream crawl was born out of an intense desire for ice cream. (Okay, it was actually as a result of the Whole30 we were in the middle of, but don’t tell anyone else that. It’s not like we were dying for sugar or anything…) First, I needed to decide what locations would be fair game for inclusion in the passport. All four theme parks were obvious, but what about resorts? Water parks? Disney Springs? At the end of the day, I went with locations that we would be reasonably likely to frequent. This included all four theme parks, Disney Springs, and the area around Crescent Lake. It’s so easy to pop out of Epcot and over to the Crescent Lake resorts that including those seemed appropriate. (And we really needed Ample Hills Creamery in there!)

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Disney Tests Disney Dine-on-the-Go at Magic Kingdom

by on January 12, 2017

Disney Dine-on-the-Go at Cosmic Ray's Beginning today, a brand new test is taking place until February 22 at the Magic Kingdom called Disney Dine-on-the-Go. Guests can purchase Disney Dine on-the-Go, which provides each Guest with two one-day, quick-service meals.

This new meal deal includes one lunch quick-service entrée and one non-alcoholic beverage that’s good until 4:00 p.m., and one dinner quick-service entrée and one non-alcoholic beverage that’s good after 4:00 p.m. (Keep in mind that with both meals, dessert is not included). Lunch certificates may only be used before 4:00 p.m. and dinner certificates may only be used after 4:00 p.m.

Participating restaurants include:

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