Recipe Cards from The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney Hollywood Studios

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Today my family and I are having a lazy Sunday – watching TV, arguing with Disney folks on Twitter, drinking coffee, and generally just hanging around. I thought I might bake something, so pulled out my file of beloved recipe clippings that I return to time and time again.

As I was flipping through my file, I came across two recipe cards that I haven’t used in quite a while, and thought you might enjoy.

I picked these up at our first time eating at the Hollywood Brown Derby in 2006, in what was then Disney-MGM Studios.

Hollywood Brown Derby Recipe Cards

So cute!

We were talking with our server about how much we loved the Cobb Salad and Grapefruit cake, so she ran off and brought back these awesome recipe cards. If you know me, you know that my house is a bit of a mess. But somehow, I’ve managed to hang on to these gems through 7 years and a house move.

I’ve made the grapefruit cake several times with excellent results. Here’s the recipe card. It says right on it that it may not be reproduced without express permission…I hope that doesn’t include this picture.

Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake Recipe

Best. Cake. Ever.

And here’s the recipe for the famous Cobb Salad. I’ll admit that I haven’t been able to adequately reproduce this one at home. It’s more about the technique than the recipe, and my knife skills and patience are just not up to the task. I’m also not sure exactly what “1 each Bead Garlic, chopped” means. Maybe a clove?

Cobb Salad Recipe Brown Derby

Best. Salad. Ever.


So there you go. I was going to make bread pudding today, but now I’m thinking grapefruit cake…mmmmm.

So I’ll leave you with images of these awesome dishes as prepared by the Hollywood Brown Derby.

Grapefruit Cake

Grapefruit Cake—Brown Derby Original! Light Layers of Yellow Cake with fresh Grapefruit-Cream Cheese Icing

Famous Cobb Salad

“Our Famous Cobb Salad” with Finely Chopped Greens, Turkey Breast, Bacon, Egg, Tomatoes, Crumbled Blue Cheese, Avocado, Chives, and Cobb Dressing


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.