The All in WDW 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Pre-Festival Top 25! – Part I

Finally, we’ve made it!  This is my favorite post of the year!  The “official” All in WDW Food & Wine Pre-Festival Top 25!  Let’s jump right in with the …

Honorable Mentions

Chicken Marsala – Italy

Have I told you how I feel about mushrooms?  It could’ve snagged the bottom end of the Top 25, but I’m still mad at Italy.  They changed MY Ravioli recipe, and it still has me quite cross.

Vegetarian Moussaka – Greece

Let me make myself clear … I respect everyone’s dietary choices.  Mrs. All in WDW will tell you she’d love to see me clean up MY act.  This one fell out of the Top 25 simply because it says it’s vegetarian.  The good news is that it beat out 30 or 40 of Epcot’s other 2014 menu choices.

Sauerkraut Pierogi with Pork Goulash – Poland

Interested in the pork goulash.  Not so much interested in a sauerkraut pierogi.

Fresh Potato Pancake with Smoked Scottish Salmon – Scotland

Of this year’s Honorable Mentions, Scotland’s potato pancake most catches my interest.  I do love me a good potato pancake!  If I feel the need to dip into the Honorable Mentions, it’s likely that this one will be the first off the bench.

Fried Potato Balls and Green Plantains – Puerto Rico

If you’d stop by Disney’s Food & Wine web page, you’d see that this is actually a re-engineered menu item.  Initially, it was presented as “Friturias: Sorullitos (sweet polenta fries) and bolitas de queso (cheese fritter with mayo ketchup)”.

It now reads as “Friturias: Bolitas de papa (crispy fried potato balls) and tostones (fried green plantains with mayo ketchup)”.  Regardless, the change isn’t enough to break into my Top 25.

OK!  Now that the “wanna-be’s” are out of the way, it’s on to this year’s Top 25!

#25 – Nueske’s® Pepper Bacon Hash – Farm Fresh

The bottom spot of my menu was a tough call.  In the end, I decided that I like bacon much more than I like smoked salmon or “mushroomed-up” chicken.  Farm Fresh’s hash hits the bottom of the list, though, because it sounds more like a side than an entree.

#24 – Griddled Greek Cheese – Greece

A sweet and savory ‘fan favorite’, this is one of the items that Mrs. All in WDW and I annually look forward to enjoying.

Griddled Greek Cheese (Greece)

Griddled Greek Cheese (Greece)

Why is it at the tail-end of my list, you ask?  It’s more of a delightful indulgence – merely a simple snack – than a meal-worthy dish. There are simply many more “meaty” items to try.  Like …

#23 – Baked Lobster Alfredo – Hops & Barley

I’m showing my lobster-loving optimism when I admit that I might be starting this dish way too far down our menu.  I will say this … I’ll bet it will be better than Ireland’s Lobster and Seafood Fisherman’s Pie!

#22 – Griddled “Yard Bird” – Farm Fresh

This one grabbed me with its “house-made habanero sauce”.  I just HAVE to try it!

#21 – Seared Rainbow Trout – Canada

So, we talked about Greece’s Griddled Cheese, but now, we finally get into more “hold-overs” from 2013.  “Repeat engagements”, as it were.  This fish clocks in at #21 on 2014’s pre-festival list, but it actually finished at #17 last year. What was my 2013 “take”?

Seared Rainbow Trout (Canada)

Seared Rainbow Trout (Canada)

“Have I mentioned that I was disappointed that Canada’s Chicken Chipotle Sausage with Sweet Corn Polenta was replaced by this trout?  Well, I am.  And, the fish, although well-prepared, wasn’t good enough to make me forget the chipotle sausage.  The bacon was a nice touch, but it was a bit on the “rubbery” side.”

I’m giving you one more chance on this one, Canada. I’m generous that way.

#20 – Braised Short Ribs – France

Another encore from 2013.  My comments last year?  “Beef and ‘gravy’ tasted great.  Wasn’t as, pull-apart, fork tender as I had expected.”

Braised Short Ribs France)

Braised Short Ribs (France)

Look, I know I have high expectations, France, but deliver, OK?  I promise … you’ll move up the charts!

#19 – Beer-braised Beef, Potato, and Leek Waffle – Belgium

“Very good!  Very tasty!”  Yes, my comments last year were short and sweet … but true!  Epcot’s description of the dish is a bit different than in 2013.  See the part about beer?  Hmmm.  OK.  I’ll bite!

#18 – Slow-braised Beef with Puerto Rican-grown Rice – Puerto Rico

A new Marketplace and a new festival menu item, I’m looking forward to seeing if Puerto Rico’s slow-braised beef can measure up to France and Belgium’s recipes.  We’ll see.

#17 – Seared Sea Scallop – Scotland

I love scallops.  The fact that Scotland is going to dress this up with crisp bacon and spinach-cheddar gratin just elevates my interest.  Why doesn’t it “chart in” higher on this list, then?

I said it last year, but it bears repeating … “The only criticism I have of a scallop dish is that you only get one scallop.  Not that I want a full-size entree, but it is kind of a small serving.”

#16 – Kimchi Dog – South Korea

I know.  How can a miniature hot dog covered in slaw and mustard be so impressive?  I don’t know what to tell you.  This dish may drop down the list if it’s “bested” by some of the entrees we discussed above, but it was just so darn tasty!

So, there you have it, my friends!  The first half of MY menu!  Stop back tomorrow to see my Pre-Festival Top 15.  You can enjoy eating (er, reading) it while we’re making our final preparations to “assault” World Showcase!

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