Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Brown Derby Restaurant, Disney Hollywood Studios #disneydining

The Brown Derby was fantastic. I love the old Hollywood feel of the restaurant and the food is really delicious. I never really thought that Disney World was a place where I could go get gourmet food. You always think about the rides and the fun but never the food.

Tom and I are foodies. Mainly, because I watch way too much Food Network TV. I realized that there was a whole wide world of food I was missing out on. So a few years ago, I decided that finding good food was a must. The first part of my foodie education was to learn to cook more gourmet food. I started replicating recipes I saw on TV and reading a lot of cookbooks. That has worked because I have become quite a good cook.

Although, I am a good cook, I am not a great chef. So there are times we want a gourmet meal by a real chef. When we lived in Santa Fe, we always had good food available. We would also always head over to Vegas, so we started visiting celebrity chef restaurants to get a great meal. We were hooked. Sure, you can spend a lot of money for a good meal but every so often you have to. So now, when we vacation we are always on the hunt for fantastic food.

What I found at Disney this trip is that, for a foodie like me, I can actually get my gourmet fix right here on Disney property. Next time we come, I am going to convince Tom that we need to do a foodie dinner or two or three. As a celebrity chef groupie, I would love to visit Cat Cora's restaurant Kouzzina on Disney's Boardwalk. I also almost died when I saw Todd English has a restaurant here as well! I need to go to to bluezoo at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel. I am a huge Todd English fan!

I digress. Below is the food at the Brown Derby! YUMMY!

Andoullie Crusted Prawn over Black Diamond Cheddar Grits, Wilted Greens and Ancho Chilies. 

Blue Lump Crab Spring Rolls, Snow Crab Claw with an Asian Slaw and Miso Aioli

Crispy Phyllo Napeleon of Bleu Affinee, Wild Mushroom Duxelles, Grilled Portobello, 
Golden Chanterelles and a Fig Reduction

"Famous Cobb Salad" ~ chopped greens, turkey breast, bacon, egg, tomatoes, crumbled bleu cheese, avocados, chives and Cobb dressing

OMG! Love! 

Charred-Glazed Filet of Beef with a Wine reduction, topped with a Cabernet and Roasted Shallot Butter, over White Truffle Oil Wild Forest Mushroom Mashed Potatoes, 
Sauteed Haricot Verts and Golden Beets

I almost got the chicken dish but the Cabernet and roasted shallot butter was calling my name. I think the White Truffle Oil potatoes also tipped the scales. The dish was delicious. There was a subtle hint of white truffle in the potatoes and the flavored butter really made the taste of the beef come out. Yum!

I never had grapefruit cake but I am glad I had this one. There was a subtle taste of the tart grapefruit and the cake was moist and tasty. It was sweet but not too sweet. It was fantastic. 

I loved this!! Chocolate Mousse for my birthday was perfect! 

Disclosure: I’m was invited to attend this all-expenses paid trip by Disney. Thoughts and opinions are 100% my own and are based on my experiences.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday ~ Missing my Garden!

This was the beginning of our garden last year. I am missing it. I want to be out in the sun planting veggies! But I am stuck in the house because it is cold and rainy. Snow is coming tomorrow. Boo! 

I missed it so much I ordered some tomato, carrot, lettuce and cilantro seeds yesterday! 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Day Three at The Taste of Disney Media Event and My Birthday!! #disneydining

The Thursday at the Taste of Disney event was my birthday! I got up and put on my Birthday button I received the day before and headed downstairs to meet up with the group because our first stop was going to be the Disney Hollywood Studios!

Spending my birthday at Disney was a lot of fun. We don't really celebrate our birthdays here at the Salzman-Gonzalez house. We go out to dinner but we don't give gifts or anything else. I am hoping though that next year for my 50th, we do something special like go to Paris, Hawaii or maybe an Alaskan cruise. (hint, hint Tom)

Anyway, I went down to meet the others and the first thing I noticed was that every Disney cast member I passed said Happy Birthday to me. It sort of freaked me out for a few hours and then I got used to it.

At Hollywood Studios, we hit the as many rides as we could before we had to meet the group for lunch at The Brown Derby. My favorite is the Rock 'n' Roll Roller Coaster and I made sure to ride that. Jeannette and Diego hit the Tower of terror but I didn't. I do not like that ride. We went over to Star Wars, which was great because they have updated the ride and it was so much better than before.

The only ride we didn't get to was Toy Story Mania. Word of advice if you are going to the Hollywood Studios, the first thing you need to do is run to Toy Story Mania and get a Fast Pass if you want to get on the ride because the Fast Passes go immediately. We didn't get on in the morning but, luckily, later on in the afternoon we were able to get on Toy Story Mania thanks to a little Disney PR magic! YAY!

The Brown Derby was wonderful. I will have a post tomorrow just highlighting the food we had because it was that good. So come back and check it out. I love the food there. I loved that they gave us a taste of all the appetizers! That was fantastic because we were able to sample so many different dishes! My favorite was the Cobb Salad.

After appetizers, we ordered an entree and dessert. I had the beef (pictures tomorrow). I also ordered the Grapefruit Cake but then also got a Birthday Chocolate Mousse that was to die for.

Now on my regular birthday, I usually get cash from my mom and mother-in-law - Thank you mami and Jeanne. Then Tom takes me out to dinner. Usually that is it because we aren't big on birthdays. This year  I got gifts! Laura from Disney gave me the coolest ears ever! I have couture ears.** These are so pretty that they might replace my tiara! Gasp! She also gave me the most beautiful pen ever. I don't even want to use it.

Jeannette gave me a spoon rest and cutting board. The perfect gift for a foodie like me. Then she got me a little Piglet because she was listening when I told her of my love for the little pink pig! Manuel, from Argentina, gave me a La Nouba cup. That was very sweet of him.

After lunch we headed off to have more fun at Hollywood Studios then we all met up to go over to Downtown Disney. We all were invited to watch La Nouba, the Cirque du Soleil show. The Disney peeps were wonderful and gave us La Nouba commemorative popcorn buckets and drink cups. And yes, they were filled!

The show is fantastic. If you never have gone to see a Cirque du Soleil show, I am sad for you. But go. Shows are all over the country and they travel as well. They are amazing!

After the show, we all headed to Splitsville to bowl. I haven't been bowling in forever. I even think it's BT (before Tom) that I had gone. I wasn't sure about bowling but it was a blast. I had forgotten that bowling is actually quite fun.

What I loved about Splitsville is that it is very retro but upscale as well. It has two floors and 30 lanes for bowling. Splitsville also had some really good food. They even had sushi! My thoughts of eating healthy went out the window when I saw beef sliders and pizza. I only had one of each although I could have had 3 or 4 more sliders because they were that good!

I also had a couple of watermelon martinis to celebrate my birthday.  We bowled, ate and drank and it was a good time. By the time we got back to the Grand Floridian after this wonderful day, I was exhausted.  But spending my birthday at Disney was fantastic!!!

Below are some of the Splitsville photos for your enjoyment. As you see, I am getting lazier about writing and photos! LOL

** These ears are part of Disney Park "Year of the Ear". Disney Parks will be releasing Disney Couture Collection Ear Hats for a limited time, each month. You can find these cool ears/hats but only for a limited time in each park. I am glad I got mine!!

Disclosure: I’m was invited to attend this all-expenses paid trip by Disney. Thoughts and opinions are 100% my own and are based on my experiences.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Day Two at The Taste of Disney Media Event #disneydining

The Disney Fest continues. I am going to try to make my posts more concise so I don't have a billion posts. And I am also going to try and tell the stories with photos.

Day two began with us meeting up early in the lobby. Our first stop was the Polynesian Resort and for the "Ohana's Best Friends Breakfast featuring Lilo and Stitch". Once at the Polynesian, we took a group photo and headed to breakfast.

It was a lot of fun. I have to say that even at the age of 49, I love seeing the characters. Yes, that's sort of immature and childish but it's always a thrill and that's how I roll. We saw some good characters!

Breakfast was served family style and it was delicious. I don't like eating breakfast but I ate this breakfast. At one point, the servers grab maracas and then a character parade started. That's when Lilo, Stitch, Pluto and Mickey came out to dance around the room.

Okay, you all know I am not kid friendly but it was really cute seeing the little guys dancing around and enjoying themselves with the characters. It made me smile. Don't judge people, don't judge.

This happened a few times during the meal and I actually didn't mind it. Besides myself, there were two other members of our group who had birthdays. So at one point, we all had to stand up and they sang Happy Birthday to us. We got to pose with Mickey, Lilo and Stitch. We also received a birthday cupcake, card and birthday button. Again, it was a lot of fun! If I had kids, I would do this breakfast with them.

After breakfast, we headed off to Animal Kingdom for a few hours of fun. I could detail every minute of our time there but I won't because soon you will go weary of me! So I will tell the stories with photos!!

After Animal Kingdom, we headed back to the Grand Floridian where we had Afternoon Tea at the Grand View Lounge. Okay, I love High Tea!! I don't know why. I think part of it is that I love having afternoon snacks. When I am home sometimes, I make myself a little tea and have a snack. And it is my dream to one day have a little tea house where I can serve little sandwiches and sweets. Yes, that's really a crazy idea but a girl can dream, right?

It was wonderful! I had always wanted to do tea at the Grand Floridian but Tom wouldn't go for it. But I finally got my chance and loved it! Below are some picture of the afternoon.

We had to wear hats. It was fun. The good thing is everyone was wearing hats so I didn't 
feel like a total doofus.  

The sandwiches were good and so was the company! 

After tea, we had a little break and for dinner we headed to Citricos for dinner. I sat with Raisa, Gregorio, Jeannette and Laura and Xavier from Disney. It was a great evening of great conversation and great food! It was such an enjoyable evening, that I barely took photos!

Cheese Course Trio - Murcia al Vino from Spain, Fourme d'Ambert from France and Petit Agour from the Basque region of France

Delicious. I could eat cheese all day and these were so good. 

Madiera Braised short ribs - Trofie Pasta, Wild Mushroom ragout, and truffle creme fraiche

This was absolute heaven. The short ribs were tender. The pasta was perfectly cooked and the mushrooms had all that yummy flavor from the sauce. 

I don't have the name of this dessert but it was like a chocolate torte that was creamy in the middle served with vanilla ice cream and this wonderful dark chocolate tiara! All I can say is that it was so good. I could have hoarked this down in one bite but I had to behave like I had a little class. Hello! But it was so good. 

Disclosure: I’m was invited to attend this all-expenses paid trip by Disney. Thoughts and opinions are 100% my own and are based on my experiences.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Dinner at Artist Point - Wilderness Lodge, Disney World #disneydining

Dinner at Artist Point was wonderful. I had food I had never eaten. I was very adventurous and I am so glad I was!!

Our menu for the night! 


Our appetizer (left to right) Confit Natural Bacon, Salt Roasted Heirloom Beets and 
Artisanal Cheese Selection. 

The pork belly had a maple taste and was one of the most delicious pieces of pork belly I have ever had in my entire life. It melted in my mouth. I wanted more. The beets were so good. There is nothing better than beets and goat cheese. I am a sucker for any cheese and honeycomb! YUM!

Seared Diver Scallops and Slow Roasted 64 degree Buffalo Strip Steak

I had never ever eaten scallops in my life but I knew I had to try them. I loved them! Who knew? I know that I will definitely have scallops again. I want to say they were perfectly cooked but I have no idea because I never had them. The buffalo was exquisite. I wouldn't have known it was buffalo if I wasn't told. It was perfectly cooked and seasoned well. The wine reduction was so good. And the chard and truffle mac and cheese were divine. 

Disclosure: I’m was invited to attend this all-expenses paid trip by Disney. Thoughts and opinions are 100% my own and are based on my experiences.