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Dining Review: The LakeHouse at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

Published February 24, 2016 by Disneyways.com

The next time you are in the Walt Disney World area and need a refreshing break from the Parks – we hope you will consider dining at the newly opened LakeHouse at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress! It is super close to Disney Springs. They specialize in highlighting healthy, locally-sourced, farm-to-table cuisine. You do not have to be staying overnight at the Hyatt to enjoy this restaurant – and you can stop in any day of the year.

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When you enter this glorious space you will realize quickly that the $2.8 million redesign was a wise investment on the part of this resort. During the daytime you are immediately surrounded with light, and the vibrant setting is also very lovely in the evening. The vibe is totally modern and sleek – yet you will still feel very cozy and welcomed at the same time. Just look at this lovely booth where they seated us!

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Chef Max visited with us once we were seated to introduce us to the menu. There was a wide variety of dishes from appetizers, soups & salads, entrees & desserts! There were even several vegan and gluten free options for my friend and dining companion – the fabulous Sarah Norris of Gluten Free Diary Free WDW!

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There is a full bar available too, so we kicked it all off with sipping on some cocktails to get the full experience. Everything we tried was wonderful and The LakeHouse version of the Moscow Mule had a nice presentation in a copper mug.

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I’m not usually a sushi person but the Rainbow Roll and the Caterpillar Roll were gorgeously presented and I am so glad I gave them both a try. We went back and forth trying to decide which was our favorite, as they were both so delicious and fresh!

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Next came the appetizer course. Chef Max and the team brought out Grilled Shrimp Cocktail and French Onion Fondue. Both sounded great but to actually taste them – was incredible. If you’re a fan of shrimp like I am, you will enjoy the grilled shrimp cocktail served with Bloody Mary Cocktail Sauce, shaved horseradish (which added a unique twist), and sliced cucumber. The shrimp was perfectly grilled and was complimented with the Bloody Mary Cocktail Sauce. I loved this unique take on one of my traditionally favorite appetizers.

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The French onion fondue was also a highlight of the evening. Served with warm bread, this rich and decadent fondue combined everything I love about French onion soup in one dish. Warm gooey, savory and even a little sweet – I found it hard not to eat every bite of it! The little cast iron skillet was adorable too.

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For our soup and salad course, our group sampled the Warm Spinach Salad, the Salad Bowl, and the Manhattan Style Shrimp Chowder. Both salads were big hits, and if you’re a beet fan, you’ll love the warm spinach salad served with golden beets.

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If you enjoy a bit of texture in your salad, order the salad bowl with spicy pecans, pecorino cheese, and figs.

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If soup is more your taste, the Manhattan Style Shrimp Chowder is a must order. Normally I enjoy a creamier based soup. But again the LakeHouse rocked my world with this one. It had a hint of spice, lots of shrimp, and before I knew it I had eaten the entire bowl. I will go back just to order this soup alone!

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For entrees, Chef Max brought out 4 dishes. First, the Cauliflower Steak – featuring fresh grilled vegetables and a sun-dried tomato vinaigrette. The grilled cauliflower had tons of flavor, making it the star of this dish. Chef Max noted that you can add chicken or steak to this dish for some added protein.

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The second gluten free entrée was the KC Bone In Strip Steak served with steak fries, grilled tomato, and watercress salad. The steak was expertly cooked and very flavorful.

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My favorite entree of the evening was the filet mignon with herb bread pudding, red wine sauce, mushrooms, and asparagus. The herb bread pudding reminded me of my Mom’s homemade stuffing. Dipping it in the red wine sauce was especially divine. The mushrooms had a delightful meaty flavor and I have never had asparagus that tasted so delicious before. The star of course, was the filet. We cut it with a fork – and the incredible flavor was like a party in my mouth.

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Normally I am not one to order fish – but even I had to admit – another highlight of the entrees was the Sea Bass in citrus butter and served on lemongrass orzo. Everyone agreed the fish was beautifully cooked. There was a very light crunch on the outside and the flaky white fish inside was beautiful, moist and savory. The citrus butter sauce was delightful.

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Finally, Chef Max served a variety of desserts that included: Hot Roasted Apple Tart, Key Lime Cheesecake, Peanut Butter Brownie Sundae, Sticky Toffee Date & Fig Bread Pudding, and Classic Double Fudge Cake. Save room for dessert – you will not want to miss this. Everything we tasted seemed better than the last!

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Overall, those visiting the LakeHouse will find the food delightful and delicious and the ambiance inviting. We loved sipping drinks, enjoying our dinner, and looking at the views of the lake. We timed it just right and got to enjoy a perfect Florida sunset. We hope you’ll give it a try. While you are there say hello to the little pink flamingo for me.

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We can’t wait to go back to the LakeHouse again for another delicious meal and thank the LakeHouse at the Hyatt Grand Cypress for inviting us to experience all that the newly opened restaurant has to offer.

**Disclaimer: The LakeHouse at the Hyatt Grand Cypress invited the team and I to enjoy dinner at no cost to us. This did not influence my honest opinion.

Top 5 Reasons to try American Q ~ by Sharon Judy

Published May 28, 2015 by Disneyways.com

So many people love a great Bar-B-Que restaurant – and there are tons to choose from in the Disney area. So why should you try American Q Restaurant at the B Resort near Disney Springs?  

 

I could probably go on forever, but for now, here are my top 5 reasons!

1. Excellent Guest Service!

Our waitress made sure that we were well taken care of the whole evening. She kept our glasses full and would check back to make sure our food was to our liking. She was great about giving us suggestions on what to order, including letting us know her favorites and why she liked them. Our cowboy carvers were also kind, sweet, and very knowledgeable about what they were carving. 

  

  

 

The meats and chicken you will eat here are locally sourced with no hormones or steroids, and they are all grass fed. Even the eggs they use at American Q come from free range chickens.  

 

Chef Justin let us know that he makes frequent trips to the farms to make sure the food is up to the quality that they expect. When you visit American Q on Swine and Spirits Wednesdays you will enjoy pork from a pig that was chosen very carefully and has come from the same bloodline as the last pig. That way the meat has a consistent quality and taste – every time you visit.

2. Lots of Choices for Picky Eaters!

It all starts with the ’51 Ford F1 Flatbed Truck Buffet. How cool is that?!

There are unlimited soups, salads, baked potato and meat carvings that you can choose from – and it’s all you care to eat. What is especially nice is the cowboy carvers bring the meat to your table to enjoy. Wednesdays at American Q brings the Swine and Spirits menu. Guests can enjoy the buffet and a complimentary beverage that changes out weekly is also included in the price. There is also an additional carving of Tangerine and Whiskey Brined Suckling Pig.

Even if buffets aren’t usually your thing,  there is a regular menu to choose from as well. I had the Texas Bark Beef Brisket. It was so good! It had an excellent smoky beef flavor and was fork tender. 

My daughter Emily had the Q Burger with pepper jack cheese and cross cut fries. This burger was huge – definitely big enough to be shared -and it came out cooked to perfection!

3. They have a wonderful selection of adult beverages!

We sampled the Moscow Mule, Carribbean Passion Picante and Pineapple Mojito.

    

My absolute favorite is the Moscow Mule. It has a very distinct ginger flavor that I love. It is made with vodka, pickled ginger juice and ginger beer, but the ginger flavor was not overpowering. It reminded me of a not so fizzy gingerale with a kick. The other 2 drinks are on the sweeter side.  The Pineapple Mojito is exactly like you would expect it to be, with the flavor of pineapple and mint. The Caribbean Passion was very sweet and fruity – with a spicy flavored finish.

4.Valet parking is free with dinner!

Now who wouldn’t love that? When you are seated, your server stamps your card that the valet driver gives you. After your meal, just hand this back to your valet driver, and he will fetch your car. No need to get caught in the rain.

5. Super cute and elegantly rustic decor!

I love that the buffett is on a flatbed truck!!! It feels like you are right at home on an upscale farm.

   These were my top 5 reasons to visit American Q – but be sure to give them a try so you can come up with your own list! Please visit American Q on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AmericanQ

New Information on the Construction in Morocco at Epcot

Published November 20, 2013 by Disneyways.com

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We got some new information on Spice Road Table, the exciting new waterfront restaurant coming to the Moroccan World Showcase Pavilion in Epcot! I wrote a story for Chip & Company with all the details! You can check it out HERE.  I can’t wait to see the new restaurant, how do you feel about it?  

Revealed! A 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Map You Can Actually Read

Published September 25, 2013 by Disneyways.com

Your 2013 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival map is here! Find all your kiosks, exact locations, menu items and more…all in one place! Just in time!

Maybe I was looking at the wrong websites, or just doing it wrong, but I was having a hard time finding a festival map that was large enough to read. The map I created below is from the official Disney website. You can click here to see it in it’s original format – all I did was make it bigger. I was able to get my printer to PRINT this map as well. It even came out all on one page, STILL large enough to read. I hope it does the same for you!

Thanks for allowing me to share this with you today. Friends don’t let friends go to food and wine without a plan!

Click on the mini-map below to enlarge it…and start planning you way around the world! Cheers!

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Top Picks for Doing Disney on a Special Diet ~ By Guest Author Laurie

Published April 15, 2013 by Disneyways.com
We LOVE our guest bloggers here at Disneyways. Laurie Smith is no exception. I really appreciate her perspective on not only great restaurants for special diets – but also for guests who have special needs. Thank you Laurie for sharing!
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My top picks for Special Diets at Disney World ~ by Laurie 

Today I wanted to share with you my top picks for Disney restaurants for guests on special diets, and in wheelchairs. You will notice I also prefer quiet and well-lit dining areas so you will see some information on that as well.  I decided to limit my list to those restaurants that can handle special diets beyond the top 8 allergens.

To begin, I had a long informative talk with the manager at Artist’s Point.  He told me Wilderness Lodge has an extensive pantry that can meet almost every diet possible including PKU, diabetes, Atkins, low carb, low fat, no added sodium, allergies and sensitivities, religious, medical and vegan diets.  Sometimes guests will have to call ahead to make sure items are in stock.  I have chosen two restaurants from Wilderness Lodge because of their ability to handle special diets as well as quality of food and service.

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Whispering Canyon Cafe: There are three dining areas that have good lighting and seating.  The main area is where the fun happens.  The middle area is next to the kitchen door and offers a bit of privacy away from the antics.  I was lucky to sit next to the fireplace in this room.  The third room is an indoor patio that overlooks the ramp leading downstairs and the outdoors.  They started me off with gluten and soy free cornbread with real butter then came the buffalo chili, cheese dip, and fresh salsa.  OMG, I have not had chili in a decade, awesome. They give you a choice of 3 meats but you can do vegan if you wish.  The reason this is one of my top restaurants is the cheesecake in a glass. Sheer bliss for me as I never get to eat cheesecake but they make this without the crust.

Artist Point:  The menu is based on what is available in the markets so it changes often.  The seating is in well lit areas overlooking the outdoors.  I like that there is good lighting and that guests are not packed in tight but instead are allowed to quietly savor their food.  I started the night with quail eggs and the Smokey Portobello Soup with chive oil that rivals Napa Rose for the best mushroom soup I have ever had.

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Hoop Dee Doo Review:  Disabled guests can use a side entrance.  I was assigned upstairs which is hard for me so they had to find me a table downstairs in the back.  Seats in the last rows are on stools that may be a bit hard on some guests like sitting on a bar stool   Some guests may find the ending a bit loud as people are encouraged to clang on washboards with their spoons.  Sensitive folks should watch a video and exit if it gets to loud.  This is a top pick for me because of service, lighting and seating as well as ability to handle special diets.  They served me gluten free corn bread with honey butter, tossed salad, baked chicken with side of barbecue sauce, barbecue pork ribs, meaty baked beans, mashed potatoes, and a bowl of whipped cream slathered strawberries.  I have also seen the vegan offerings – which looked delicious.  They have plain items ready for special diet guests like baked chicken, plain ribs, plain corn, salad without cheese and dressing, and vegetarian beans.

Kona Cafe:  Kona offers gluten and soy free sushi, delicious chorizo soup, and chocolate fondue but the one dish that shocked me was the Pan Asian Noodles.  I was served gluten free rice noodles with wok fried vegetables and shrimp. That was a rare treat for me as I rarely can eat Asian food because of the soy and wheat.  The comfortable seating may be is a a bit close together and adjacent to the main walkway. I love this place for the awesome food and staff. Kona Cafe is pictured below.

Kona Cafe

Portobello: Portobello seems like a small store front until you walk inside.  They have good lighting and seating with an outdoor patio. I do not feel the seating is packed in but there have been online complaints online seating being too close for comfort.  I had sambuca shrimp with potato slices that were set on fire at the table-side   They made me gluten free penne pasta with Bolognose sauce and for dessert a heavenly panna cotta.  After talking with the chef I feel that this restaurant can handle most dietary limitations.

Downtown Disney also has two restaurants with patios, good lighting, live nightly entertainment, and comfortable seating.

Bongos: Bongos Cuban Cafe offers Cuban food that is very mild compared to Mexican cuisine.  They other lots of food for the dollar and can easily handle special dietary requests and disabled seating.  I love their Masitas de Puerco which is a milder version of carnitas.  They offer beans and white rice with grilled onions and plantains.  They have a walk up window for quick service meals.

Ragland Road:  Raglan Road has some private booths – but there can be a wait for those.  I love their gluten free/soy free onion rings, scallops, shepherd pie, and fish with chips.  They are very friendly folks who treat you like family.  They have Cookes of Dublin next door for additional allergy friendly dining.

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Raglan Road

Inside the theme parks, Tusker House and Crystal Palace are outstanding buffets that have good lighting and seating with dedicated chefs who work hard to meet the special dietary needs of guests.  They will make special dishes like plain meat and potatoes, batter free fish, and allergy free baked goods.  These are family restaurants so talk with staff if you need a bit of privacy.  They will go backstage and make dishes from scratch or get a freshly made batch of food that the public has not touched.  They both have chefs that try hard to handle a wide variety of special dietary requests and both have friendly staff.

Sunshine Seasons is in the Land pavilion in Epcot – and Landscape of Flavors at the Art of Animation resort.  Both are well lit, have helpful staff, and can deal with vegan, allergies, and other dietary requests.  There are a few nooks but overall you will at times be packed in tight.  I would never try to take my scooter to a table at either restaurant.  Art of Animation carries babycakes gluten/vegan/nut/soy free cupcakes in the refrigerator section.  I could spend my life eating Mongolian beef at Landscape and the pork chops with rice and beans at Sunshine Seasons.

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I hope you have enjoyed my top restaurant picks for special dietary needs at Walt Disney World. What are some of yours?

About Laurie: I have lived in Kissimmee, FL since March, 2012, so that I could learn about WDW and help people enjoy WDW.  I love to watch cooking shows so I can learn about food.  I love exploring new places, eating out, cooking, helping people, and playing online games.  I have been going to Disney parks since 1960.  I cannot have wheat/gluten and soy at all.  I am familiar with disabilities in Disney parks since I am disabled and I used to take my mother to Disneyland in a wheelchair.

A note from Krista – unrelated to this particular blog post – if you or someone you love has special dietary needs at Disney you may also want to check out Gluten Free and Dairy Free WDW!

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Disneyways, Theme Park Concierges and Mouskejournals are proud sponsors of the 2nd Annual Special Diets Illuminations party coming October 13, 2013!

Click here for your very special invitation!

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Food and Wine Festival 2013 Dates Announced

Published January 15, 2013 by Disneyways.com

2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival will take place from September 27 – November 10, 2013, in Epcot, Walt Disney World. 

Just like in previous years, we can look forward to fantastic special events, culinary and beverage demonstrations, celebrity chefs, and, of course, World Showcase Marketplace tasting booths.

Photo ©DisneyFoodBlog.com

Remember Disney always reserves the right to change dates at any time.

Click here to read our blog from last year about how to save time and money at the festival.

Click here to read a review of the 3D Dessert Discovery Party and a few more fun facts about Food and Wine.

 

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Quick Tips for Saving time at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival

Published October 9, 2012 by Disneyways.com

Food and Wine is here and if you’re like me, you want to make the most of every precious minute you have to spend in Epcot!

To help you with your Food and Wine plans here is a link to the Disney Food Blog’s page. This will show  you where each World Showcase tasting station is located, the menu items from each one, prices, and some even with pictures and reviews of the food and libations! Click HERE to check out all of their guides.

Before you head to World Showcase, I want to recommend that you find the top 5 items that you really have your heart set on trying. Sometimes the lines are long and people are blocking the menu boards – so just knowing where you want to go and what you want to get when you get there can save you a ton of time!

Another time saver is to get a Disney gift card before you go. You don’t even have to wait until you get here, you can get them online! It’s fun just to check out all the different designs there are! This will help you stick to your budget and there’s no fumbling with cash or change at the kiosks. They do have special gift cards at the festival that you can attach to your wrist with a rubber band – but other then that – they don’t do anything that a regular old Disney gift card can’t do. You can reload them as many times as you want. Below is a video showing the gift cards that attach to your wrist – only these were at the Flower and Garden Festival.

If you do have extra time (and money) however, you will want to read up on the special events and possibly make a reservation or two for those. There are wonderful low cost seminars and food demos too!

One other tip. If you can spare the time, take a minute to find the festival welcome center and grab a free passport. It’s a wonderful (FREE!) souvenir and you can get each country stamped by a cast member when you visit the kiosks! These have menus but not pricing, so doing your homework if your on a budget is still a good idea.  If you take just a few minutes to check out the festival welcome center while you’re there – you could meet a TV star from HGTV, get a free chocolate or wine sample, do some shopping, and definitely enjoy the air-conditioning.

Do a little planning before you go and you will find there is so much more to the festival that you may not have gotten a chance to experience otherwise. If you have any questions or maybe your own tips for saving time at food and wine please post them in the comments section.

Have a magical day and CHEERS everyone!

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