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Sunday Brunch!

Sunday Brunch


December 9, 2018

Sunday Brunch: Great Moments with Fine Disney Dining

by Reuben Gutierrez

Originally published 12 May 2013

This past April has by chance become a month of fine dining as I've had the great fortune of eating at a different table service restaurant within the Walt Disney World Resort! Luckily I've been working a lot of overtime, so it's been an affordable and lucky month of adventures in food. I may use it more often than I should, but adventures are really what happen when you sample food in this wonderful resort. Not only are you enjoying food from around the world, you're enjoying food in places from all different places, time periods, and cultures.

Mama Melrose's
The half curtain window treatments simulate those found in restaurants in NYC

Our first dining adventure takes us to an elegant, yet humble, Italian restaurant that looks as if it's been plucked from the streets of New York City and placed in Hollywood. With dozens of celebrity food fans decorating the lobby and dining room, this mama and papa run restaurant is Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano at Disney's Hollywood Studios. I've had some excellent Italian food here, but by far my most favorite item was the Spaghetti and Meatball Cupcake.

Spaghetti and Meatball Cupcake

While not the best tasting cupcake I've had, it certainly is one of the most creatively deceptive. It looks a lot like a small cup of spaghetti with a single meatball on top. The base is a chocolate cupcake topped with white buttercream. Long strands of 'spaghetti' are actually piped buttercream (probably created with a size 3 or 4 round tip for all you pastry chefs out there) that seemed to be tinged with a faint yellow. The 'meatball' is a chocolate cake ball (though my friend Randi and I debated whether or not it was a brownie or cake) rolled in a chocolate sprinkle flake coating. The 'spaghetti sauce' is a delicious strawberry sauce with white chocolate shavings playing the part of parmesan cheese. In Hollywood, actors pretend to be someone else, and at Mama Melrose's, the dessert does just that!

Cinderella's Royal Table

After the previous week's star studded tour of Italy, my friends and I stormed the castle and dined with Disney's finest royalty at the most regal of tables in the land: Cinderella's Royal Table. In celebration of my friend's book launch, our trio schmoozed with princesses, feasted like kings and queens, and ended our meal happily with a trio of desserts. The dessert trio was my favorite part of our meal.

Cinderella's Royal Table Dessert Trio

The Chef's Dessert Trio allows Cinderella's guests to enjoy small samples of each of the desserts the chefs have whipped up. Cinderella seems to think her guests need to have a more worldly palate so she 'sent her Chefs around the world to discover new desserts.' While around the world is quite a broad term, it seems that her Chefs only made it around the country. The three desserts are a Strawberry Jam and Key Lime Cheesecake, White Chocolate Custard, and a Flourless Chocolate Cake. The chocolate cake was just okay. For a flourless cake though it was pretty dry, probably due to an excess of cocoa powder that may have been used in its place. The White Chocolate Custard was great, very similar to a mousse, but a little more like ice cream in flavor and consistency. The Strawberry Jam and Key Lime Cheesecake was by far the best. A small cup of graham crust was lined with the strawberry jam and the cheesecake baked on top. I wish I had ordered the full version for my dessert as the tiny two bite sample was not enough. Overall, the dessert was a terrific fairy tale finale to a fine meal.

Artist Point

Leaving the Castle in the Enchanted Forest, we journey to another kind of forest, one that is nationally protected to conserve nature's beauty. Artist's Point at the Wilderness Lodge takes guests to the Pacific Northwest to a restaurant decorated with incredible murals painted by artists who captured the elegance and majesty of America's National Forests. Additionally, Artist's Point's atmosphere is further enhanced by its excellent food.

Artist Point

The Cedar Plank roasted King Salmon is the restaurant's signature dish, with fresh caught Salmon all the way from Alaska. They actually deliver your filet of salmon on the cedar plank it was cooked on, proving that the smoky rustic flavor of the cedar is true. Of all the fish in the sea, salmon is my favorite, and no cuisine does it better than the culinarians of the Pacific Northwest.

Yachtsman Steakhouse

Being surrounded by forests, I found myself pining for the sea, so the following week brought me across the country and to the shores of New England at Yachtsman Steakhouse in the Yacht Club Resort. An elegant dining room with nautical elements in both d'cor and architecture, Yachtsman Steakhouse offers an incredible selection of beef. Though today, we'll be looking at another offering: the Artisanal Cheeses.

Yachtsman Steakhouse  Yachtsman Steakhoues

This week I was joined by our favourite Canadian Dining Companion Alex, whose favourite food is cheese. Naturally the cheese plate had to be ordered, and after all my cheese sharing meals with Alex, I think this one has to be the best of them all. Five different seasonal cheeses were each paired harmoniously with five different accompaniments ranging from breads, spreads, and pickled fruits. My favorite was the Vermont Creamery Bonne Bouche, a 'good mouthful' of creamy young cheese, highlighted with a citrusy flavor, which was enhanced with pickled blueberries. Blueberries and dairy are always a perfect pair and the characteristics of the Bonne Bouche and the blueberry complement each other very well.

Kona Cafe
Family and Friends share a meal at Kona

From the shores of North Atlantic we sail around the world to the tropical seas of Polynesia where we end our month of fine dining at the incredible, delectable Kona Caf' at the Polynesian Resort. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I love the Kona Caf'. It is the underdog restaurants of the Polynesian as most guests flock to the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show or the popular family style buffet 'Ohana. The night we ate here, we actually tried to get a walk-up reservation at 'Ohana for my friend John's birthday dinner, but alas its popularity changed our plans and we journeyed to the greatest consolation prize of them all: Kona.

Yachtsman Steakhouse

Kona boasts delicious entrees with Asian and Pacific Island influences. I ordered the Pan-Asian Noodles, a blend of Yakisoba Noodles in a ginger-garlic sauce with chicken and Wok-seared vegetables. This is a rich man's Ramen. While not expensive by any means, Kona's Pan-Asian noodles were the freshest stir fry and noodles I've had in a long time. The tangy ginger and strong savory garlic accent the vegetables and chicken with a strong contrast to each ingredient's natural flavor. While we didn't get a chance to share a seemingly endless meal at 'Ohana, my friends and I were completely satisfied with the surprise Polynesian meal we didn't expect to have.

Cinderella Castle

April is the absolute perfect time to visit Walt Disney World. The weather is beautiful as the humidity has not yet set in, but the ocean breezes continue to sweep the state under the cheery Florida sun. Though the best part of this season is the crowds of Spring Break have already gone and the ones for the summer season are no where in site. Low crowds means it is quite easy to get into restaurants (except for'Ohana) without having a months in advance reservation. For each restaurant my various friends and I had dined at this past month, the reservation was made either a few days in advance if not the day of, aside from Cinderella's. Even still, Cinderella's Royal Table requires months to almost a year in advance reservation, and we were quite lucky to snag one merely two months before. April has proven to be an incredible opportunity to try delicious food and venture to places around the country, the world, and our imaginations.


Past Sunday Brunch

     - Disney Theme Park Cookbook

     - Boardwalk's Chocolate Chip Crumbcake
     - Chef Mickey's Breakfast Pizza
     - Hamm Cupcakes
     - Honeydoodles
     - Kermit Cupcakes
     - Tonga Toast

Restaurant Reviews
     - 1900 Park Fare
     - 50's Prime Time
     - Be Our Guest Restaurant (Part 1)
     - Be Our Guest Restaurant (Part 2)

     - Be Our Guest Restaurant (Part 3)
     - Be Our Guest Restaurant (Part 4)
     - Beaches and Cream
     - Bengal Barbecue (Disneyland)
     - Boardwalk Bakery (pre Refurbishment)

     - Boardwalk Bakery Post Refurbishment (Part 1/2)
     - Boulangerie Patisserie (France Bakery)
     - Captain Cook's (Polynesian)
     - Casey's Corner
     - Club 33

     - Columbia Harbour House
     - Coral Reef
     - Cozy Cone
     - Disney's Soda Fountain and Studio Store
     - Earl of Sandwich
     - El Pirata y el Perico
     - Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Cafe (DCA)
     - Flame Tree Barbeque (part 1)

     - Flame Tree Barbeque (part 2)
     - Friar's Nook (Magic Kingdom)
     - Golden Oak Outpost
     - Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe (Disneyland)
     - Katsura Grill

     - Kona Cafe
     - Kouzzina
     - Kringla Bakeri og Kafe
     - Kringla Bakeri og Kafe (more snacks!)
     - Kusafiri Bakery

     - Landscape of Flavors (Art of Animation)
     - L'Artisan Des Glaces (France Pavilion)
     - Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie (France Pavilion)
     - Liberty Tree Tavern
     - Lotus Blossom
     - Main Street Bakery Starbucks
     - Main Street Bakery Starbucks (Part 2)

     - Min and Bill's Dockside Diner
     - Min and Bill's Dockside Diner Cones
     - 'Ohana
     - 'Ohana Revisted
     - Pepper Market (Coronado Springs)
     - Pinocchio's Village Haus

     - Pizza PlaNOT
     - Port Orleans Riverside Food Court
     - Prince Eric's Village Market
     - Rose and Crown
     - Sanaa
     - Sci-Fi Dine In

     - Tangaroa Terrace
     - Tangierene Cafe
     - Tokyo Dining
     - Trail's End
     - Tusker House
     - Tutto Gusto
     - Via Napoli
     - The Wave (Breakfast)

Tasty Treats
     - 4th of July Cupcake
     - Beignets (Port Orleans French Quarter)
     - Big Thunder Ranch dessert
     - Boardwalk Bakery Boxed Lunch
     - Caramel Apples (Karamell-Kuche)
     - Chicken and Waffles (Sleepy Hollow)
     - Chicken and Waffles (Trail's End)

     - Wolfgang Puck's Chinois Chicken Salad
     - Cinnamon Rolls (Main Street Bakery)
     - Crispy Cornflake French Toast (Wolfgang Puck)
     - Darth Vadar Cupcake
     - Disney Cruise Line Chocolate
     - Dole Whip
     - Dole Whips inside the Enchanted Tiki Room

     - Fish and Chips (United Kingdom)
     - Grilled Chicken Flatbread (Mama Melrose)
     - Guava Cupcake
     - Holiday Cupcakes
     - Holiday Sandwich at Earl
     - Japanese Disney Snack
     - LeFou's Brew

     - Mac and Cheese Hot Dog
     - Maurice's Amazing Popping Machine
     - Mexico Pavilion Tacos
     - Mickey's Magix
     - Mickey Fun Bar

     - Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Bar
     - Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Bar: Time for Seconds
     - Mickey Mouse Peanut Butter Cup
     - Mickey Mouse Pretzel
     - Milkshake (Whispering Canyon)
     - Mini Corn Dogs (Casey's Corner)
     - Peanut Butter Cupcake
     - Peanut Butter, Bacon, and Banana Pie (Boardwalk Bakery)
     - Pina Colada Bread Pudding (Disney Cruise Line)

     - Pineapple Cupcake (Sunshine Seasons)
     - Quiche of the Day (Boardwalk Bakery)
     - S'mores Brownie
     - S'mores Cupcake
     - Sacristain from France
     - Sunshine Tree Terrace Cup
     - Disney Parks Shortbread Rounds

     - Summer Delight cupcake (Hollywood Studios)
     - Sweet Cream Cheese Pretzel
     - Teriyaki Chicken Handroll (2013 Food and Wine)
     - Marshmallow Kabob
     - Waffles around Walt Disney World
     - Yule Log (Sunshine Seasons)
     - Zebra Cupcakes and Zebra Domes

Forgotten Favorites
     - Mickey's Kitchen
     - Odyssey
     - The Odyssey of the Odyssey

Disney Food History
     - Cheshire Cafe
     - Village Fry Shoppe

Interesting Interviews
     - The World's Biggest Earl Fan?

     - Ratatouille Bonus Feature

     - Art of Animation Food Cart
     - Battle Gingerbread
     - Celebration, FL's Main Street Cafe
     - Culinary Adventures
     - Disney Mothers
     - Disney "Flower" Arrangements
     - Disneyland Popcorn Cart Avatars
     - Egg-celent adventure at Grand Floridian

     - Five Disney Restaurants
     - Pizza Planet's Easter Pineapple Coconut Cupcake
     - First French Toast ever served at Art of Animation
     - First Tonga Toast Experience
     - Food and Wine 2013
     - Food and Wine Part 1
     - Food and Wine Part 2
     - Food and Wine Part 3

     - Food and Wine Part 4
     - Grand Floridian Gingerbread House
     - Halloween Snacks around Disney
     - Holiday Homes Good Enough to Eat
     - Mama Melrose's Back Story
     - My Time at the Confectionary
     - Ode to Club Cool's Beverly

     - Sleepy Hollow Story
     - Snow White's Wishing Apple
     - Super Foods
     - Tales of a Magic Kingdom Nut Wagon Cast Member

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