Earlier this year, we took a tour of the new Holiday Inn at Downtown Disney. Formerly a Courtyard by Marriott, it was rebuilt from the ground up (with some of the same structure), and has quickly become popular for it's great service and amenities. The hotel currently stands at #7 of Orlando hotels on Trip Advisor, something the management is very proud of.
We were invited to revisit the hotel, where we took part in a sampling of food created in Executive Chef Leon Teow's kitchen. Many of the items we tried are not currently on the menu, but the menu does change occasionally – so don't be surprised to see any of these items at the Palm Breezes restaurant in the future! The hotel has not changed greatly since we visited in February – though the Grab and Go is now fully open.
Chef Teow talked with us about his career and love of creating food – and his enjoyment of people. Teow considers the kitchen staff his family. Chef Teow also appreciates and values everyone in his kitchen (he mentioned how he told the dish washer how valuable he was to the process). Teow graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, and spent many years working for top hotels such as the Ritz-Carlton before settling in at the Holiday Inn. He spent quite a bit of time talking with us, and I even learned a few cooking tips along the way (I never realized that ginger was a tenderizer, so I need to try that in my own kitchen!)
Coconut Milk Risotto with Seared Scallop:
Cardamom Cloves Marinated Lamb Chop with Fennel Ponzu Salad:
Pulled Pork and Goat Cheese Spring Roll with Sweet Chili Sauce (I am not a big fan of pork dishes, but this one was wonderful – lightly crispy outside with a very delicious filling!)
My favorite item of the day was the Crispy Avocado – it came with Grilled Lemon Grass Shrimp, which I don't eat – but the avocado was so wonderful, crispy on the outside and soft inside. We were told that this may be on the upcoming menu:
The staff who prepared our wonderful food:
Prepared food items:
Steamed Edamame Peas:
And we took another tour of the hotel, this time I was able to see the Downtown Disney view. Some photos from the 8th floor balcony – you can even see Everest!:
Not every room has a balcony, but most do (the only ones that don't are facing the Hotel Royal Plaza).
If you read my original article, you'll find more information on the hotel itself – including photos of some of the food items we sampled from the Palm Breezes restaurant. There is no question that the quality of the food is higher than I'd have ever expected from a Holiday Inn (though the Holiday Inn brand has come a long way over the last few years). Thank you again to Chef Teow for being so generous with his time!
If you are looking for a hotel in the Walt Disney World area – you don't have to look any further than this new Holiday Inn at the Walt Disney World Resort!