Saturday, April 3, 2010

Around the World - Hollywood Studios

Some of you I believe will know this park as Disney's Hollywood Studios. Others will know this as MGM Studios. I go back and forth between the two myself... I almost always catch myself calling it MGM when I am in a hurry!

About 3 years ago Disney's contract with Metro Goldwyn Mayer ended and the MGM was taken out of the name, replaced with a bit more generic Hollywood Studios choosing instead to focus on many different types of film genres and how films are made.

There are actually two restaurants here I am not going to be touching upon today. The Brown Derby, which is actually a signature restaurant and will be gone over in that post, and Hollywood and Vine which in the last few years has been a character dining experience for Playhouse Disney. I think it would look odd for 2 grown adults with no children to be at an experience aimed at small ones, so we've avoided it. I'm actually also not going to be touching on the ABC Commissary, because more people get sick from that place than any other on property. I'm so not contributing to that!

But I do have 4 amazing restaurants to cover, which I am very excited for!

So let's get started, shall we?

I cannot tell you about the first restaurant without showing you a bit of inside. You see, Sci-Fi Drive In Restaurant literally looks like a drive in on the inside! The walls and ceiling look like the night sky, the tables are literally giant retro cars, and all facing a giant movie screen playing old B sci-fi movies. Some of the tables are regular tables fit into cars, some of the tables actually have you sitting inside the car seats! It's a restaurant that is just a ton of fun.

Now the food here is as fun as the atmosphere, especially for lunch. Pictured here first is one of my favorites, Spinach and Artichoke Dip for two. This is so creamy and good! And I don't like artichokes on a good day... but I love this dip. It's a blend of Monterey Jack, Swiss and Asiago cheeses with spinach and artichokes and multicolored tortilla chips. And yes it is meant to share!

Next we have the hubby's favorite, BLT Soup. I always have to giggle at how much he loves this soup, as it very basically is a creamy tomato soup topped with an herb crouton, shredded lettuce and bacon. I keep telling him I'm going to make it for him here at home. Whenever we decide to go to Sci-Fi he gets all giddy cause it means he can have his BLT soup again!

Then we have the BBQ Chicken Sandwich which as ultimately now turned into the Italian Grilled Chicken Sandwich. This grilled chicken sandwich had provolone cheeses, BBQ sauce and onion strings on top. When Disney changed a lot of their menus to be a slight healthier it turned into the Italian Grilled Chicken Sandwich which is basically the same thing but with a Bruschetta toping instead of the cheese onions and sauce. Still good, just different.

Finally we have the Angus Chuck Burger. Oh yes! My family always said that my theme song was Cheeseburger in Paradise and for good reason. If there's a good burger on the menu, I'm going to get it. And this one's no exception. You can top this baby with either cheddar or swiss cheese, sauteed onions, mushrooms or even crispy bacon. And they will cook it however you request. I personally like my meat mooing. But I never said I was proper.

You can get the Spinach and Artichoke Dip for Two for $7.99, the BLT Soup for $6.99, the new Italian Grilled Chicken Sandwich for $13.99 and the Angus Chuck Burger for $12.99.

Next we have 50's Prime Time Cafe, and what a restaurant this is! Everything is decked out to look like your home during the 50's, right down to the knick knacks all around the restaurant. Each table even has a small (very small!) TV playing clips from sitcoms in the 50s including Leave it to Beaver and even I Married Joan which is hilarious.

The servers even get into a bit! Okay, more than a bit. Names like Aunt Betty and Cousin Brian come out to serve you, and even scold you for not eating all your vegetable or putting your elbows on the table! In fact, you better eat all those veggies, or you'll get them back for dessert, with whipped cream and a cherry on top!

Pictured first here is what I always get, Aunt Liz's Golden Fried Chicken. This is some delicious chicken and what a plate you get! Served with mashed potatoes, chicken gravy and southern greens (Or Green Beans if you're anything like me) this will actually fill you to the top! There's just so much of it on the plate and every single bite truly is delicious!

Next is the hubby's favorite, Mom's Old Fashioned Pot Roast. This is a bit more like most of us are used to, without the wine braising that you get over at Liberty Tree Tavern in the Magic Kingdom. This is just a simple, slow cooked roast served with mashed potatoes, carrots, celery and onions. As you can see, we kind of have an old fashioned comfort food theme going here!

The desserts here are nothing short of fun though! First we have Dad's Brownie Sundae. Things on a sundae I'd never think to put! Caramel Corn, M&Ms, and depending on the day you might even see a whole host of sprinkles on top! Of course there is also hot fudge, whipped cream and a cherry on top of this vanilla ice cream brownie sundae!

Then we have S'mores. This is one of the more popular desserts in the restaurant to be honest. It's a layer of graham crackers, and a thin layer of chocolate topped with marshmallows and then torched across the top! They then drizzle some chocolate sauce and hand you a spoon. It's like camping without having to pitch a tent!

You can get the Aunt Liz's Golden Fried Chicken for $14.99, Mom's Old Fashioned Pot Roast for $16.99, Dad's Brownie Sundae for $5.99 and S'mores for $4.79. Just don't forget to finish your vegetables!

The hubby and I are suckers for a good Pizza counter service, and I truly think the best one lies in Disney's Hollywood Studios. Have you ever seen Toy Story? Good. Remember when Woody meets the green aliens? They were in a place called Pizza Planet, right? Well Pizza Planet has made it's way to Disney Property and you can now find it right outside of the Muppets 3D show!

You can get a great meal deal, as pictured here with Pepperoni Pizza and a Garden Salad. There are giant bins of dressing to the side as well, so you can choose whatever kind you want! There's also, as pictured some beautiful salads including this Italian one in the 3rd picture!

Not much to say except for yummy to all of it! You can get the Pepperoni Pizza Meal Deal for only $8.29, the Italian Salad for $6.69.

Last but certainly not least is Mama Melrose's. This little restaurant is tucked in a corner of the park, in fact unless you knew what you were looking for you may not even see it as you walk past! I know we didn't the first few times. However once you get in this restaurant is truly massive! It's good Italian food if you're craving it!

This is also home to one of the best Caesar Salads on property in my opinion! Romaine lettuce, a sweet yet savory Caesar dressing and a few crostini's make this salad so beautiful and so delicious. It's definitely worth it as your first course, even though there are a lot of other choices on the menu. I recommend this above all else!

Then we come to what I had. Again, because I'm pretty boring. Oven Baked Chicken alla Parmesan. Pretty straight forward but oh so delicious! The coating on this is light, not heavy at all and the cheese is crispy and melty at the same time. Served over Spaghetti and in a light marinara sauce.

Now I do have to admit I kind of wish I had gotten this next dish like hubby! This is Penne Alla Vodka. With pancetta and sweet onions, this dish is finished with a tomato basil sauce, cream, vodka and pecorino romano cheese. Oh my goodness was this dish to die for! Creamy, smooth, and just hits your nose with delicious smells before it gets anywhere near your mouth. It's definitely worth getting, even if you've never had Vodka Sauce before!

Finally we have Mama's Tiramisu. It's pretty standard as far as tiramisu goes, but I do like that it comes in it's own edible cup! You can tell that it's pretty freshly made too, as every once in a while you get that ladyfinger that is not quite soaked all the way, and it just gives you a nice sweet flavor.

You can get the Caesar Salad for $5.49, the Oven Baked Chicken alla Parmesan for $16.99, the Penne Alla Vodka also for $16.99 and Mama's Tiramisu for $5.99 during dinner. This is also a Fantasmic Dinner Package restaurant, so I do recommend reservations. If you'd like the dinner package there is a Prix Fixe menu, but you will get reserved seating to Fantasmic.

Come on over on Monday as we start our Resorts section, starting with the Deluxe Resorts! I know I can't wait!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Around the World - Animal Kingdom

I have been so looking forward to this post! The hubby and I love Animal Kingdom for some of the more unique attractions there such as the Safari and Expedition Everest, but the food there is some of the most unique and delicious as well!

Animal Kingdom is divided into 4 parts of the park... Camp Minnie Mickey, Africa, Asia and Dinoland USA. Now, Dinoland doesn't really have any restaurants (At least I haven't visited Restauranosaurus since McDonald's pulled out) nor does Camp Minnie Mickey (Though it does have delicious snack booths!) but we're going to do our best to trek through some of the more deliciousness that is Animal Kingdom.

Let's get started, shall we?

Ah Campfire Treats. Located right outside the Festival of the Lion King show at Camp Minnie Mickey you can get some delicious soft serve ice cream, sundaes and even soda floats. Being the purest that I am, I like a good ice cream waffle cone on a hot day! You can get one for $3.79 in traditional soft serve flavors.

If you are looking for some good BBQ, look no further than Flame Tree BBQ located right outside of Dinoland USA and has some of the most delicious food and smells you can partake in!

Pictured here are the Onion Rings basket, which honestly is absolutely delicious and big enough to share with quite a few. They do fresh fry these, and they are just tender as all get out. Worth it!

Next we have the 1/2 Slab of St. Louis Ribs. This is served with a corn muffin and baked beans and let me tell you folks, I don't like baked beans and the hubby doesn't like ribs. We both gobbled every part of this plate up!! The ribs are just fall off the bone and the baked beans are actually kind of smoky sweet. So delicious!
Then we have the shredded brisket (or pork) sandwich. I thought the hubby was going to be in heaven the rest of the day. This man loves brisket. Probably more than me. And this was just delicious to him! And again, those baked beans were the bomb!

And finally, if you're looking for something refreshing but still healthy on a really hot day, try out the seasonal Fruit Plate! These fruits are so delicious and will actually quench that sweet tooth, especially in the middle of a hot Florida summer, much better than ice cream will.

The Onion Ring plate is $3.79, the 1/2 slab of St. Louis Ribs is $10.49, the Shredded Brisket or Pork sandwich is $8.49 and the Seasonal Fresh Fruit plate is $6.99.

Before we found Flame Tree BBQ we absolutely loved (and still do) Pizzafari. The theming really inside the restaurant in beautiful, each room having a different theme.

Pictured here, well there's a lot in the first picture! We have the Pizzafari Cheese Pizza, which in and of itself is just delicious. Then we also have a Chicken Caesar Salad which makes eating healthy taste sooooo good. And generally I don't eat healthy during vacation! Last we have the Breadsticks. Oh my goodness I would eat a meal just of these breadsticks! They are so warm and soft and delicious with the melted cheese and marinara sauce... oh god.

The second picture is a sandwich that is actually no longer carried. I post it here in the everlasting hope that they put it back on the menu or hubby will never ever go back to this restaurant. This the Chicken Parmesan sandwich. It's basically chicken parmesan on a bun. And it is delicious! The removal was recent, so we're hoping it does come back by summer.

You can get the Cheese Pizza for $7.99 or add Pepperoni for $8.29, the Chicken Caesar Salad for $7.79 and the Breadsticks for $3.99, but you may want to get 2 orders of this!

Tusker House is a restaurant situated in the heart of Africa, and it actually long ago used to be a Counter Service restaurant as it was the first time the hubby and I ever went to the world. However in about 2007/2008 they turned this one into a Table Service, being a character breakfast in the morning and a full African Buffet for lunch and dinner.

I unfortunately haven't been to Lunch or Dinner here but I have been to the breakfast and it really is delicious! Combining American breakfast with traditional African breakfast favorites it's a great buffet with some pretty interesting selections! You can see here some traditional potatoes, bacon, cheese blintzes, even some veggie frittata. But then we also have some Beef Bobtie Quiche, Yam Casserole and Spiced Beef Hash. And it all is delicious!

And also... you know...

Mickey Mouse.

You can visit Tusker House for Donald's Safari Breakfast for $20.99 for adults and $11.99 for children. Non-alcoholic drinks are included, and peak times may be subject to holiday pricing. You'll meet Mickey, Donald, Daisy and Goofy all dressed for Safari!

I was so so so so so glad to see them build this restaurant! This is Yak and Yeti, located in Asia and went up around the same time that Tusker House was converted to a Table Service Restaurant. You see, for years Animal Kingdom didn't really have a table service (other than the Rainforest Cafe outside the park) so Disney finally realized that table services were needed!

This little restaurant is a great Asian inspired one, with some delicious dishes. I would go back here several times a day if I could, but the hubby won't let me.

Here was have in the first picture both Pork Pot Stickers, which are either pan seared or steamed and served with a soy lime dipping sauce and Pork Egg Rolls served with a chili plum dipping sauce. Generally I get the egg rolls and hubby gets the pot stickers. We're pretty much creatures of habit in that way.

Next is my favorite, the Sweet and Sour Chicken, which you can also get as pork. These pieces of meat are tempura battered and fried with ginger, garlic, bell peppers and pineapple and tossed in a red sweet and sour sauce. You can choose brown or jasmine rice here and I really like either or, depending on my mood.

The Crispy Honey Chicken seems to be a favorite of those who aren't real sure about Chinese yet, or even if you're craving something sweet. This is tempura battered chicken with broccoli, carrots and tossed in a sweet honey sauce and served with the brown rice or jasmine rice. Now for this one I do recommend the jasmine rice as I've found it balances the flavors just a bit more than the brown rice.

Finally we have dessert, my favorite part of here! This unique dessert is simply called Fried Wontons. This is skewers of fresh pineapple and cream cheese wontons, with vanilla ice cream on the side all drizzled with a honey vanilla sauce. Talk about delicious! It's so unique yet so simple, I may have to try making it at home sometime!

You can get the Pork Pot Stickers for $7.99, the Pork Egg Rolls also for $7.99. The Sweet and Sour Chicken or Pork will run $17.49 as well as the Crispy Honey Chicken. The Fried Wontons are also $7.99.

Now attached to Yak and Yeti outside is a counter service serving similar dishes that you can find the restaurant. The portions are not quite as big and you don't get the full desserts or appetizers but it's a great lunch option or a light dinner.

First here is the Honey Glazed Chicken again, and it does look a little different I know. It's served in a traditional Chinese takeout box, and actually does not come with rice (as far as I know, it has been a few months and it could have changed as the dining is constantly evolving). It really is the same Honey Glazed Chicken as is in the restaurant.

Next we have some Shrimp Lo Main. This is actually an excellent dish. It is again, exactly as it is inside, just smaller in portion.

Most of the dishes inside for main courses run between $17.49 and $22.99 depending on what you are ordering. However the Honey Glazed Chicken at the counter service will run $9.99 and the Shrimp Lo Main is $10.99. Definitely worth giving a try!

Join me tomorrow for our final Theme Park, Disney's Hollywood Studios. It will be up tomorrow to... I already have the post done! Then it's off to resorts and signatures!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Around the World - Epcot World Showcase #2

Welcome to the other half of World Showcase! Yesterday we touched on some delicious food around one half of the World Showcase, and today we'll be exploring the other half. And trust me there are some really delicious stuff on this side too!

From Italy to Norway get ready for some great treats!

Also, sorry this post is so late! I actually spent the day at Sea World! And tomorrow we'll be there too... so tomorrow's post may be a bit late as well.

So let's get started shall we?

Mmmm Italy. A few years ago this restaurant was Alfredos before it got changed to Tutto Italia which it remains to this day. It got off to a bit of a shaky start, but it's grown into it's own!! It's a bit on the pricy side but it's worth it for a special dinner!

Pictured first here is the Calamari Fritti with a spicy and delicious marinara sauce, and there truly is enough here to share! The coating is delicious and not too heavy at all, which is something that is a bit of a downfall with most calamari I have had when it's been deep fried.

Next is the Spaghetti with Veal Meatballs. One because I'm a boring person and I like spaghetti, and two because I love veal! And it's a bit rare here on property, so seeing it here just made me very excited! And these are probably the beat meatballs ever!

Finally here we have a version of Farfalle, made with spaghetti noodles instead of the usual bowtie pasta. This was special ordered though, so you will get bowtie pasta if you order it usually. This also has Italian prosciutto ham, peas and delicous parmesan cream! Delicious!

The Calamari Fritti is $13.00 while both of the main dishes can be gotten for $24.00!

Oh yum... now we're off to Japan and this is Kaki Gori. Oh dear is this delicious! You can find this little cart just outside of Japan.

Is this a snow cone? Well yeah it kind of is. More like what many of us consider hawaiian shaved ice. But this is not the traditional sugary syrup. You can get some real fruit syrup on top of this in choices of strawberry, honeydew melon, tangerine or rainbow. Hits the spot on a hot day!

You can get one of these delicious treats for $3.28 at the Kaki Gori cart in Japan.

Feeling like dinner and a show? Head upstairs to Japan's own Teppan Edo, a great Teppan style restaurant where they cook your dinner right in front of you on giant grills.

And trust me this is no throw the steak on and let it cook. These chefs train for quite a while to get the knife skills and throwing (yes I said throwing) skills required to do this job. From onion volcanos to tossing shrimp tails in their pocket with just a flick of the spatula, these guys know what they are doing!

Pictured here is the beautiful Sushi Sampler first, featuring Tuna, Yellow Tail, Shrimp Nigiri and 2 California Roll pieces. Rolled fresh when you order and absolutely delicious this one is definitely worth a try, even if you never thought you liked sushi! So fresh you may change your mind.

Next we have the Assorted Tempura appetizer. Tempura style is a special type of batter which is extremely light and crispy when deep fried. In this appetizer you get shrimp, chicken breast and seasoned vegetables all ready to dip with a delicious Japanese dipping sauce! And this appetizer is definitely big enough to share!

Pictured next you have an example of how amazing these chefs really are, and your own little onion volcano to enjoy! This is the New York Strip steak, and yes you will get assorted veggies served up and white rice as well!

You can get the sushi sampler for $9.50, the assorted tempura for $7.85 and the New York strip steak for $26.95. Recommendations are very much recommended and you will be sitting at shared tables for parties less than 8.

Craving some Mexican food? The hubby always is! Right outside of the building which is basically all of the country of Mexico we have Cantina de San Angel. It's a great little counter service situated right on the water. Actually a great place to sit and watch fireworks while eating some delicious food that you may regret at 3 in the morning if you're anything like me.

What can I say, Mexican never agrees with me.

Pictured here is the "Plato Combinacion" or the combo plate. You get a chicken taco, beef burrito and a quesadilla served with black refried beans and mexican salsa. It's a great way to try a little bit of everything! And hey, you can always get a frozen margarita to go with it!

You can get this fancy little combination plate for only $9.25 outside of the Mexico pavilion.

This little restaurant in Mexico is truly one of the most beautiful. Set deep inside Mexico under what looks like a starry sky next to a beautiful river you'll have some great Mexican food and service while being serenaded by a Mariachi band. Man what a great way to end a day!

Pictured here is a classic starter in my opinion. A great frozen margarita and some good chips and salsa! This particular margarita is a strawberry with some mango on top. Delicious!

Next we have Pollo A Las Rajas. Hubby has to order for me here cause I know very little Spanish but I do know that Pollo is chicken! So what that roughly translates to here is Grilled Chicken breast served over red peppers, onion strips, cream sauce and fresh cheese. This is generally what hubby and I get, but I'm not very creative!

Finally an absolutely delicious dessert! I never had Flan before coming here but now I absoultely adore it! This is Flan de Vainilla, or vanilla custard in syrup, topped with roasted almonds. Ooooooo yeah.

You can get the Frozen Margarita in Lime, Strawberry, Mango or Fiesta Mix for $9.25, the Pollo A Las Rajas for $24.00 and Flan de Vainilla for $5.75

On to Morocco! Now Restaurant Marrakesh isn't exactly what I would call the most kid friendly restaurant on property... mainly due to the entertainment. Not that I don't like it, I actually find it beautiful!

See, Restaurant Marrakesh, being in Morocco entertains you with belly dancers, directly at your table.

Now before you go making your reservations now now now, let's talk about the delicious food first!

First here we have pictured the Shish Kebab, with grilled tenderloin of beef served with hummus and this is one of the most tender shish kebab's I've ever had! Delicious, and not tough in any way, just slides beautifully off it's skewer and melts in your mouth.

Next is the Roast Lamb Meshoui and let me say for someone who isn't the biggest lamb fan, this was delicious! This is a roasted lamb shank in natural juices served with couscous. Even if you're not a big lamb fan give this one a try!!

You can get the Shish Kebab for $27.95 for dinner and the Roast Lamb Meshoui for $26.95, also for dinner.

Right outside of Marrakesh is Tangerine Cafe, if you're looking for something quick but still delicious... oooooor if you're not really in the mood to see belly dancers this is the restaurant for you!

Pictured first is a delicious Falafel Wrap, which I first discovered during the food and wine festival and is absolutely delicious. Crunchy yet soft, and so so flavorful! There's also a choice of Lamb and Chicken but I definitely recommend the falafel. You will also get couscous and lentel salad.

Next we have some great baklava! There are actually so many different varieties of this it's hard to list them. And it's baked fresh daily! I definitely recommend going in and at least trying this.

You can get the Falafel Wrap for $7.95, chicken and lamb selections are $9.95 each. The Baklava varies in price from $2.95 to $4.95 a piece.

Oh Norway. With your delicious pastries, giant viking ship and huge wood troll in the shop, I never want to leave you.

Pictured above is a Kringla Bakeri og Cafe specialty, school bread. This is the favorite of many message boards, and everyone has to try it at least once! A great pastry filled with cream, topped with a delicious caramel and toasted coconut it's big enough to share! And the great part? It's only $1.99!!

Now Akershus is one of the most popular restaurants in Epcot, and there's 6 little reasons why.

Ariel, Sleeping Beauty, Jasmine, Belle, Snow White and Mulan.

Oh yes, this is a Princess Character meal! Now I can't attest to the lunch and dinner, so we're going to talk about the breakfast here.

You first take a picture with the Princess out front, which is good because the price of this buffet actually includes the picture package. Then you go in, and a buffet of cold items and pastries await you! And soon to your table comes a family shared style plate of hot items, including eggs, bacon, sausage and a great cheesy potato!

Yummy!! If you have a little princess lover in your family, definitely book this one!

It's $28.99 per adult and $17.99 per child and does include that picture package. And oh, almost every little girl has a princess dress on so don't be afraid to dress up your little ones too!

That's all until next time, when we touch on Animal Kingdom! This one's gonna be a little late, so look for it around midnight or so tomorrow, as well as the following post the next afternoon. It's Sea World after Dark time around here!

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