To quote another company's property, "Food, glorious food!" I am a complete sucker for anything food related. My family even plans vacations around food. So it should come as no surprise that I adore the food booths at the Flower & Garden Festival. Even with 4 visits to the festival it still takes a lot of planning and budgeting of stomach space. Even with less than half the food booths of the Food & Wine Festival, there is still a lot to taste.
Pineapple Promenade(right side of the entrance to the World Showcase)
One of the main draws for this booth is the Pineapple Dog, which is a spicy hot dog, pineapple chutney, and sriracha mayo with crushed banana chips (bad picture above and better picture below). They are not kidding when they say "spicy hot dog." It will leave a tingle on your tongue for 10 minutes after eating it. The pineapple chutney is not overwhelmingly sweet and the sriracha mayo has a bit of a kick. Grab a fork or spoon when you get the dog because part of the chutney will fall off as you eat and you want to get all of that goodness. This is by far my favorite food of the festival. I've eaten it twice so far and will get another when I go back next week.
Also in the picture are the Ace Pineapple Hard Cider, which my sister and I found only so-so, and the Frozen Desert Violet Lemonade (nonalcoholic) which I loved and she just liked. I plan to get this again as well.
Not tried at the booth: pineapple soft serve (either plain, or with macadamia or coconut rum), Berry Tea Cocktail, and Sparkling Pineapple Wine from Florida Orange Groves Winery.
Here's a better picture of the Pineapple Dog from the Pineapple Promenade as well as the Blackberry Pear Cider from Urban Farm Eats. It tastes more of blackberry than pear but is refreshing and doesn't have much of an alcohol aftertaste. I haven't tried anything else at this booth yet but a co-worker raved over the Kale Salad (Kale, dried cherries, almonds and goat cheese with white balsamic vinaigrette).
Not tried at the booth: Quinoa vegetable "naanwich" (which sounds interesting), Ghost Pepper dusted Tilapia, Cucumber Lemon Spa water, Hess Shirtail Creek Vineyard Chardonnay, King Estate Acrobat Pinot Noir, and a Urban Mary (I'm presuming that is their version of a bloody mary).
Botanas Botanico (between France and Morocco)
Cachapa con Queso (sweet corn pancake with farmers cheese) or in Southern speak a hoe cake with a mild cheese. I was only so-so on this dish. It was a little bland for my taste, but when I had it I was also hitting my almost-painfully-full point. The cake was just slightly sweet with a mild corn flavor and a texture of pan fried polenta and the cheese was gooey and mild.
My sister and I shared the White Corn Arepa with Braised Beef and Chayote Slaw and La Tizana (classic Venezuelan Fruit Drink). The arepa had a great texture, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside and the beef was flavorful. We'd never had chayote before and liked it as well. The cool crispness was a nice contrast to the hot insides of the arepa. I have no idea what was in the drink beyond the noticable chunks of pineapple, but it was very refreshing on a hot Florida afternoon (over 85F with 75%+ humidity). I would be willing to eat both again.
Not tried at this booth: Seafood Ceviche, Coconut Tres Leches, La Tizana with Santa Teresa RHUM Orange Liqueur, Monte Paschoal Reserve Tannat, and Monte Paschoal Natural Brut White Sparkling Wine.
Fleur de Lys(French Pavilion)
First there is the Gnocchi Parisian a la Provencal (Parisian-style dumplings with vegetables and mushrooms). I know. I know. Gnocchi isn't French. It was still tasty and fluffy, if scalding hot. I have no critical tastes when it comes to gnocchi though. I love it anyway I can get it. Next is La Vie en Rose Frozen Slush (Grey Goose Vodka Orange, St. Germain liqueur, white and red cranberry juice). This was my sister's purchase. While I like vodka, if I buy alcohol it's generally cider. I'm still the one that ended up drinking the most of it. There was almost no alcohol aftertaste and it was fantastically refreshing on such a hot day. I hope they have it next year too.
We also tried Confit de Canard, Pommes de Terre Sarladaise (pulled duck confit with garlic and parsley potatoes). As you can tell from the fork reaching in, I had to race my sister to be able to get a photo. The potatoes had a nice crust to the outer edged which was tasty but made it hard to pull apart. The duck was tender and beautifully cooked. Though the entire dish was slightly greasy.
Not tried at this booth: Macron Guimauve a la Fraise (large strawberry marshmallow macaroon), Ice Pop (Grand Marnier peach raspberry, vodka iced tea), Kir Imperial (sparkling wine, Chambord black raspberry liqueur), Kronenbourg Blanc 1664
Expresso, Coffee and Pastries at the American Adventure
I just cannot do coffee and alcohol anymore. It's like taking a shot of adrenaline; I get high as a kite and then crash an hour later.
Booth offerings: Chocolate Stout Latte featuring Monin chocolate, caramel and hazelnut with milk and espresso, Iced Bailey's Latte featuring Bailey's Irish Cream liqueur with milk and espresso over ice
Taste of Marrakesh (Moroccan Pavilion)
Dear heavens I loved the Mint iced tea and had a glass at each visit. I'm a tea drinker by nature (and have blends up at Adagio) and mint is a favorite. It is also very useful. Mint tea relaxes the muscles of the stomach and increases bile production both of which will ease digestion. That makes this offering perfect for being half way through the countries. Eat yourself stupid to this point, sip a cup while wandering around Morocco, and then eat yourself stupid the rest of the way around. Also, pistachio baklava which was fine. I prefer walnut to pistachio and room temperature to cold (I understand why they serve it that way though). The cold makes the top layers of phyllo soggy.
Harissa Chicken Kebob with Sweet Couscous Salad and Falefel Pocket with cucumber tomato salad and tahini sauce
Not tried at this booth: Desert Rose (sparkling wine topped with pomegranate liqueur), White Sangria, Guerrouane Red, Casa Beer
Hanami (Japanese Pavilion)
Frushi (pineapple, strawberry, and cantaloupe with raspberry coconut rice with toasted coconut and whipped cream). Fruit sushi. How cool is that? I tried this on a day I started in Canada and worked my way around. By the time I reached Morocco, I was getting painfully full. The mint tea helped settle things, but I knew I wasn't going to be able to have much else. The Frushi proved to be just the thing. It was light, sweet and not too filling. I also somehow remembered how to use chopsticks.
The picture shows a third of the Teriyaki Curry Bun (steamed bun filled with chicken, vegetables, curry and sweet sauce). I split it with both of my parents because we were getting full (too much good food). I love steamed buns by themselves and this didn't disappoint. The filling was packed with interesting flavors and the curry had a hint of sweet to it. I'd love to know what curry powder they were using.
Not tried at this booth: Osaka Salmon Sushi ("Hako-sushi" box style sushi with salmon and rice, topped with dynamite, volcano and eel sauce), Kirin Draft Beer, Yuzu Plum Wine Slushie (sweet refreshing taste infused with the tangy flavor of citrus), Strawberry Nigori (mild creamy sake infused with sweet-tangy strawberry), Karatamba Honjozo Sake
The Smokehouse: Barbecue & Brews (American Pavilion)
Getting so tired of typing. Why did I eat so many things?
Above is the Burnt ends hash with white cheddar fondue and pickled jalapenos. I was only so-so on this. The white cheddar fondue was creamy and rich, but the burnt ends were fattier than I liked. Of course, I don't generally care for burnt ends. A coworker who tried it loved it.
"Piggylicious" bacon cupcake with maple frosting and pretzel bits. This might be the sexiest statement in this entire post. I love me some sweet and salty. (Disclaimer: I am not a cake or cupcake person. It's a texture thing.) The cake part had nice flavor and was more on the savory side. According to the recipe (included in the Epcot Festival cookbook), it is boxed yellow cake mix with bacon fat instead of the oil and then the cooked, chopped bacon is stirred in. The frosting though. I could go into rhapsodies about the frosting. It was smooth and just the right amount of sweet with a pronounced maple flavor. You know they had to have used real maple syrup. The crunch of the pretzel added nice texture and just a bit of salt. I could have eaten a bowl of the frosting with pretzel bits all on its own.
Pulled pig slider with cole slaw (and added sweet and hot bbq sauces). This item was misnamed. Look at the name "slider" and then look at the size of the bun. There is no way those match up. It was a full sized BBQ sandwich. And bless the pitmasters at Disney because they know what they are doing. I could eat that pulled pork all weekend, every weekend and never miss having anything else. The meat was tender with a nice smoke taste. The cole slaw was crisp and mild. The sauce doesn't top The Shedd's, but was still good. The bun had a good texture with a not too hard crunch.
Smoked Debreziner sausage with house-made kraut and mustard. I have no idea what Debreziner indicates, but it has to stand for "rocking." The sausage was smoky with medium heat and a great snap to casing. I normally wouldn't get near kraut. It is just not my thing, but this one was slightly sweet with a smoky aftertaste. The mustard was probably German and good.
Not tried at this booth (i.e. the alcohol): Funky Buddha Brewery Floridian Hefeweizen, Due South Brewing Company Category 3 IPA, Shipyard Brewing Company Maple Bacon Stout, Twisted Pine Brewing Company Billy's Chilies, The Original Rib Shack Red Wine, Beer Flight, Frozen Lemonade, Frozen Lemonade with Palm Ridge Reserve Whiskey, R.C. Sweet Tea made with Twinings Cold-Brewed English Classic Tea
Primavera Kitchen (Italian Pavilion)
None of the food here sparked my fancy, and since I was budgeting stomach space, I avoided it.
Offerings: Fior di Latte, Prosciutto e Pane di Casa (pinwheel of mozzarella, prosciutton, Olio Toscana, Ciabatta bread), Cheese Manicotti, Limoncello Pana Cotta, Placido Pino Grigio, Placido Chianti, Bosco del Merlo Prosecco, Corbinello (a spumante), Montegrande Moscato Fior d'Arnico, Bellini, Rossini, Forzen Italian Primavera (lemoncello and vodka fruit slush), Moretti Lager, and Moretti La Rossa
Florida Fresh (near German Pavilion)
Florida Blueberry and Lemon Curd tart. I love lemon curd and hate blueberries (and crust) so I didn't have high expectations of this. The crust was overly cold and dense and the gel around the blueberries (below the curd) had a odd, thick texture. It was packed with blueberries though. The positive points were the glorious tart sweetness of the lemon curd and, surprisingly, the blueberry whipped cream on top.
Not tried at this booth: Watermelon salad with pickled onions, B&W Gourmet Farms baby arugula, feta cheese and balsamic reduction; Shrimp and stone ground grits with Andouille sausage, sweet corn, tomatoes and cilantro; Watermelon Passion Fruit Slush (both non alcoholic and with Tamiami Florida Gin), Florida Orange Groves Key Lime Sparkling Wine, Orlando Brewing Company Blonde Ale, 3 Daughters Brewing Channel Marker Red Ale, Florida Beer Company Feast of Flowers Farmhouse Ale, Cigar City Brewing Jai Alai
The group ahead of me purchased the Watermelon Slush and raved over it.
Lotus House (China Pavilion)
I've gotten food from Lotus House twice and each time forgotten to take pictures. The Kung Pao Chicken Bun is nice. The meat and sauce were flavorful and the steamed buns they make at Epcot are always good. The bland, but slightly sweet, taste of the bun temper the flavors of the Kung Pao. BISis and I also tried the Beijing-Style Candied Strawberries, which are strawberries dipped in a sugar syrup with sesame seeds and the syrup is allowed to harden. My sister is the strawberry connoisseur in the family and says it was good, but she could have done with just the strawberries. (It is prime Florida strawberry season in the spring.)
Not tried at this booth: Vegetable Spring Roll, Oolong Peach Bubble Tea, Kung Fu Punch (vodka and triple sec with mango and orange juice), South Sea Storm (guava with light and dark rum), Honey Mango Wine Cooler, Tsingtao beer, and Plum wine.
Jardin de Fiestas (Mexican Pavilion)
Again I forgot to take a picture. Mom and I split the Taco al Pastor (corn tortilla filled with achiote marinated pork garnished with grilled diced pineapple, onions, cilantro and salsa verde). Neither of us were very impressed. It had heat while still being kind of bland and the meat was fatty.
Not tried at this booth: Veggie Quesadilla (flour tortilla filled with Monterey Jack cheese and mixed veggies), Flan de Queso con Chocolate Abuelita (Mexican chocolate custard with whipped cream and cinnamon), Blueberry Pomegranate Margarita on the rocks, Tecate Draft Beer with Patron Citronge, Mexican Sangria, Flavored Beer Flight
Thanksgiving has arrived once again. The turkey is stuffed and in the oven (well, ok, it's a chicken since my sister and mom don't like turkey), the dough for honey rolls is rising on the counter, the pie is in the fridge cooling, and the sides don't need to go in for another few hours.
It's time for the Bad Influence Speaks (or BIS if you prefer) to pause and give thanks for what I have in my life. I am thankful for:
My interesting, if somewhat insane, family
My spectacular Heffas who help keep me sane
Being employed and earning a paycheck (no matter how dainty it may be)
Having health insurance (even though I'm having to pay out of pocket to get it myself and don't get me started on that)
All the well done, and entertaining shows available on television such as Supernatural (CW), NCIS, NCIS: LA, The Big Bang Theory, Criminal Minds, CSI: NY (CBS), Ace of Cakes (Food Network), Being Human, Doctor Who (BBCA), Sanctuary, Eureka (SyFy), White Collar (USA) and V (ABC) that bring so many laughs and thoughtful moments (and really are the main point of this blog)
My favorite authors (whether or not they're still publishing the series) such as Sherrilyn Kenyon, Laurell K Hamilton, Kim Harrison, Charlaine Harris, Janet Evanovich, and Elizabeth Peters. I promise I will start adding my reviews of books and series soon.
Dungeons and Dragons Online which provides regular hours of stress relief
And, last but not least, all the good readers who keep up with BIS blog
Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you have much to be thankful for as well.