Remy on Board the Disney Dream – A Night to Almost Remember

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It’s been exactly a year and a half since our Disney Cruise, and I’ve just realized that I never finished blogging about our trip. Life got in the way a little bit when we got home. (To be clear, I got laid off the day we returned from vacation.) Luckily I found a new job within a few weeks and was fine, but then it was a blur of learning new things, meeting new people, etc. Blogging took a back seat.

Having now realized that I never posted the pics from our amazing evening at Remy, I thought I’d fix that. Problem is, I can’t tell you exactly what it is that we ate. Some of the items are fairly recognizable, and some more memorable than others. But as is often the case with fine dining, the final product doesn’t much resemble the ingredients. And I would be hard-pressed to tell you what these dishes actually tested like.

So rather than a “review” I’ll give you the pics and let you decide for yourself. My memory of the meal was one of impeccable service, far too much very, very good food, and a very romantic evening with my love. I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was probably my favorite experience on our cruise.

On our way to Remy Selfie

All dressed up and no kids in sight.

Full length on our way to Remy

A nice couple saw me taking the selfie and stopped to take our pic

Remy entrance

The entrance to Remy. Very posh and clubby.

Colette cocktail at Remy

The complimentary Colette cocktail. Champagne, pear vodka, dried apricot, mint, blueberry. Lovely. And check that view!

Amuse - Tomato soup at Remy

First, the amuse – tomato soup! This was a Willy Wonka-esque experience. Like a perfect tomato exploding in your mouth.

Foie gras mousse at Remy

A lovely, rich foie gras mousse with pistachios

Pork belly at Remy

I believe this was pork belly. My husband and I had different dishes.

Crab at Remy

These were little crab cigars with I believe a yuzu foam.

Crab gazpacho at Remy

Maybe a crab gazpacho?

Sunset from Remy on the Disney Dream

Let’s take a moment to sip our wine and drink in that sunset…

Black cod at Remy

Maybe black cod? I remember I enjoyed it.

Duck at Remy

I suspect this was duck.

Scallop at Remy

Wow, that’s pretty. Maybe a scallop?

Lobster galette at Remy

On the left is potato. On the right is lobster. I remember the really dense and unique texture of the potato.

Side of Lobster at Remy

And what goes best with lobster? Yes, a side of lobster.

Beef at Remy

I’m not entirely sure what this was. Maybe beef? Duck?

Beef at Remy

I’m almost positive this is beef.

Cheese cart, Remy

Why yes of COURSE we’ll have the cheese course. Roll over the cart. We’re not nearly full enough.

2009 Sancerre at Remy

This wine was delicious.

Chocolate mousse pyramid, Remy

Oooh, pretty! Probably chocolate mousse.

Mondrian dessert, Remy

This was my dessert, but I could not tell you what it was. Just that I loved the Mondrian design.

A rose to end the meal at Remy

Awww…they brought me a rose.

Truffles and desserts to go, Remy

Oh yes, and two more desserts to go, in case we got hungry on our way back to our room.

I forgot how amazing this was. I want to go back!

Dinner in Magellan’s Secret Room at Tokyo DisneySea

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Things have been quiet around the MouseChow blog, mostly because I’ve been busy at work. But ALSO because I was on vacation, in JAPAN! This was easily the most incredible trip I’ve ever taken with my family, and I’m happy to be able to share a few snippets of it with you.

I thought I’d start with a very cool experience that we had at Magellan’s at Tokyo DisneySea. We spent a day and a half in the Japanese Disney parks, and could have stayed a few more. First thing you should know about eating at Tokyo Disney – every table service meal seems to be a huge fixed price, expensive, multi-course affair. Unless you’re an obsessed Disney food blogger, only plan to do one table service if you visit.

A great choice for that one meal is Magellan’s, right next to Mount Prometheus at Tokyo DisneySea. It’s classic European cuisine in a building that looks sort of like a chateau at the base of the mountain.

So let me set the scene for you. We had been walking around cold and drizzly Tokyo for three days and were completely exhausted. We had an 8:15pm reservation at Magellan’s, and if we hadn’t been completely starved would not have left our room at the MiraCosta. But we rallied (read: I forced my family to move) and we ventured out of our hotel into the park just as Fantasmic was beginning. It was getting dark and raining, and about 50 degrees and we were exhausted. We climbed the wide stairs that led up the mountain, and turned to watch the Maleficent dragon breathe fire over the lagoon, then made our way to the restaurant.

After a few seconds of language barrier confusion about our reservation, we were ushered inside, down the elevator, past the main dining room, to a bookcase in the wall. Our hostess instructed our daughter to find the hidden button (it’s not hard to find), and the bookcase swung open to reveal a hidden room designed as a wine cellar in the mountain.

There could not be a cozier spot for three bedraggled, exhausted, cold and wet people to settle into a fantastic meal.

Magellan's Secret Room

In the “secret” wine cellar at Magellan’s

We chose one of the set menus and I ordered a Glenmorangie to warm up. We were so tired, and it was so dark and warm, it’s a miracle we stayed awake for the entire meal. There was much discussion about a new invention, the “table bed”.  Sorry for the dark photos. I didn’t have the energy to pull out the real camera, so we’ve got iPhone photos in the dark. And I neglected to take a pic of the best course – a silky and umami-laden cream of cauliflower soup. Even my child who never ever eats cauliflower loved it.

Barrels at Magellan's

Casks on the wall

 

scallops at Magellan's

Scallop dish. I seem to remember it was good. Oh yeah, with a tomato jam.

 

foie mousse at Magellan's

The glass contains a foie gras mousse that was delish. Also prosciutto on a stick, salmon, cress.

 

Beef short rib Magellan's

Melt in your mouth tender beef short rib with lots of tasty accompaniments

 

Creme brulee at Magellan's

Perfectly executed creme brulee

 

tangerine sorbet Magellan's

Fresh and tart tangerine sorbet

Fully satisfied, we stumbled out of our cozy cocoon of a restaurant into the twinkling lights of Tokyo DisneySea at night. It had stopped raining, and everything was glossy and beautiful. We slept pretty well.

Tokyo DisneySea at night

Tokyo DisneySea is gorgeous at night

 

Magellan’s at Tokyo DisneySea: 5 Mice

 

Romance and Refinement at Bistro de Paris in EPCOT – 5 Mice

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Romance, seclusion, refined dining…these are probably not terms you would expect to describe a restaurant within an amusement park. It’s time to discard your preconceived notions of theme park dining, and enter the lovely atmosphere of Bistro de Paris in EPCOT.

Bistro de Paris, EPCOT

Bistro de Paris, EPCOT

Last September, my dear husband and I found ourselves at EPCOT just a few days before our 12th anniversary. We considered the options for an adult evening out to celebrate, and decided on Bistro de Paris because (1) we’d never been there, and (2) it was convenient to the Swan Resort, where we were staying for the weekend. Also, we had our 10-year-old daughter with us, and didn’t want to be too far from Camp Dolphin where she would be hanging out for the evening. As it turned out, we decided to bring her along for dinner. (With only a long weekend to spend in Disney we felt guilty leaving her out of an entire evening of activities in EPCOT.) While Bistro de Paris has recently added a children’s menu, you’ll find very few kids there. We dressed for the evening (no tank tops, swimwear, or cutoffs allowed), and strolled across the bridge to the International Gateway to Paris for dinner. How civilized!

MouseChow family all dressed up

MouseChow family headed to dinner

Somehow, as we strolled the streets of Paris in EPCOT, the light seemed to take on a different quality, and I could almost imagine we were actually in Paris. (One of the keys to truly enjoying the World Showcase is that you have to be willing to suspend disbelief for a little while…) On arrival at Bistro de Paris, we were greeted and asked to wait at the bottom of the grand staircase.

Lobby staircase of Bistro de Paris

Lobby staircase of Bistro de Paris

Soon, our hostess descended the stair and brought us up to the lovely, serene, and very French dining room. We were greeted warmly, and our waiter complimented our daughter on her dress.

The room was elegant but comfortable, not too loud but not hushed, and sparkling with silver, crystal, and belle epoque style. (Hopefully you can glimpse the room around this lovely family.) It was also oddly not full at 8pm on Labor Day weekend.

Bistro de Paris dining room

Bistro de Paris dining room

We perused the creative French/Alsatian menu, and decided on the prix fixe menu with wine pairings. ($95 with wine, $59 sans wine. Obviously the kid got the “sans.”)

First up, a lovely amuse bouche from the chef – a tiny demitasse of mussel soup laced with sherry. My bouche was greatly amused (in a good way.)

Mussel soup with sherry at Bistro de Paris

Mussel soup with sherry at Bistro de Paris

First course! Serrano ham, celery root remoulade and artichoke hearts. As delicious as it was pretty.

Serrano ham, celery root remoulade and beets at Bistro de Paris

Serrano ham, celery root remoulade and beets

Mr. MouseChow went for the marinated tuna with lime and herbs, Mediterranean salad, peppers coulis, in a very symmetrical pattern. Very pretty, and the tuna super-tender.

Marinated tuna with limes and herbs, Mediterranean salad, peppers coulis at Bistro de Paris

Marinated tuna with limes and herbs, Mediterranean salad, peppers coulis

The kid chose a cozy tomato bisque with basil oil and puffed cheese croutons. (For the sake of honesty, I thought she had butternut squash soup, and every menu I can find online has butternut squash soup on it. But my kid SWEARS it was a tomato bisque, she remembers that it was absolutely delicious, except it could have used a little more salt, and that she ate every bit. She has a much better memory than I do, so I’m going with tomato.)

Tomato bisque, Bistro de Paris

Tomato bisque?

Our mains were good, though not as memorable as the starters. I had the Grilled beef tenderloin with mushroom crust, mashed potato, and Bordelaise sauce. It was tender and delish.

Grilled beef tenderloin with mushroom crust, mashed potato, Bordelaise sauce at Bistro de Paris

Grilled beef tenderloin with mushroom crust

Hubby ordered the chicken breast stuffed with tapenade, roasted bell peppers, and artichoke confit. I’m not a huge fan of chicken roulade or roasted peppers, but he enjoyed it.

Chicken Breast Stuffed with tapenade, roasted bell peppers, artichoke confit at Bistro de Paris

Chicken Breast Stuffed with tapenade, peppers, artichokes

Our daughter once again chose the most interesting dish. The almost florescent spring green of her basil risotto (with pan roasted scallops) was just gorgeous, and tasted as fresh and bright as it looks.

Seared scallops with basil risotto at Bistro de Paris

Seared scallops with basil risotto

Sadly, the desserts were a little bit of a letdown. The warm chocolate cake was fine, but I’m sort of sick of seeing this on every single menu, and this version was nothing special.

Warm chocolate and almond cake, feuilletine, vanilla ice cream, praline sauce at Bistro de Paris

Warm chocolate and almond cake

My peach “upside down” cake was good, but not at the same level as the rest of the meal.

Peach tarte tatin at Bistro de Paris

Peach upside down cake

We did see a table-side flambe of crepes Suzette which looked lovely, but sadly it wasn’t an option with the prix fixe menu. What else was on the dessert menu? Illuminations! The room lights dimmed, and we were treated to a spectacular view of the fireworks.

View of Illuminations from Bistro de Paris

View of Illuminations from Bistro de Paris

This random couple with the window seat seemed to have a very romantic dinner. We got to enjoy the family and life we’ve built together over the past 12 years, even if it wasn’t terribly romantic. But next time, we’re fitting in a date night! Have you been to Bistro de Paris? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

Thinking of visiting EPCOT for the Food & Wine Festival this fall? Join our mailing list and be among the first to know about our fabulous fall package!

A civilized escape – Hollywood Brown Derby, 5 Mice

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OK, so it’s not exactly like stepping back in time.  But from the moment we walk through the double doors, and on to the cool, black and white tile floors at the Brown Derby in Disney Hollywood Studios, the heat, humidity, crowds, and chaos seem to disappear. 

Now, I know that plenty of people never experience the Brown Derby.  They’re deterred by the higher-than-average prices, or the double charge on the Deluxe dining plan.  But rest assured, it is possible to have a lovely, relaxing, delicious experience at the Brown Derby, without breaking the bank.  Or, you can take advantage of the spectacular Fantasmic! Meal Package, which includes either lunch or dinner and preferred seating to what is possibly the best show in the parks, and call it a splurge.

My favorite way to start my mini vacation-within-a-vacation, is with a Brown Derby signature cocktail.  Specifically, the Jack Diamond Manhattan – Maker’s Mark, Sweet Vermouth, and Bitters, on the rocks.

On this particular day, my super-fun drinking dining companion chose a well-made Cape Codder.

If cocktails aren’t your thing, the wine list is filled with a nice range of bottles with a distinct California emphasis, by the bottle, half bottle or glass.  There are even a handful of pre-selected wine flights, and a wine pairing option.

So here comes the money-saving part.  (Because admittedly, $10 cocktails at lunch isn’t saving anyone any cash.)  There are exactly TWO items that every visitor to the Brown Derby is required* to order. 

Requirement #1 – The Cobb Salad.  It’s big enough for one person as a complete meal, two as a light lunch, or four as an appetizer.  And unless you’ve been to the original Brown Derby, I will wager that this will be the best Cobb Salad you have ever tasted.  Seriously.  Plus, doesn’t everyone want their salad tossed, tableside?  (Warning:  bourbon and vodka on an empty, dehydrated stomach may lead to bad jokes.)

The perfectly mixed salad is served.  There is magic in that mixing.  Each bite is a perfect combination of egg, avocado, bacon, and blue cheese goodness.  For $15, it’s one of the best dining bargains in the parks.

Even though we were pretty much full after the salad, we had ordered a couple of appetizers as our main course.  The blue lump crab cake was good, but not outstanding on this visit.  In past visits it was one of the highlights of the meal, but this time it was a little cold in the center.  Still, very tasty.

The tortelloni was more successful.  Lovely thin pasta, lucious tomato sauce, and creamy goat cheese and crimini mushroom filling.

 
Which brings us to…

Requirement #2 – The Grapefruit Cake.  Another Brown Derby original, this is simply my favorite cake on the planet.  I’m not a huge dessert fan, and this sweet, tart, slightly bitter, ethereally light cake hits all the right notes.  The frosting is cream cheese with grapefruit juice…mmm… Ask them for the recipe card before you leave.  If you are at all inclined to bake, you will want to make this at home.

I’m curious – am I the only one who is in love with this cake?  If you’ve tried it, let me know what you thought!  I also like Beverly soda – but that’s a post for another day.

And any concerns about whether kids like the Brown Derby should be alleviated by mini-MouseChow’s review.

*And by required, of course I mean by me.