Food & Wine ’15: First Impressions – Part I

Good morning, my friends!  I hope the week has started off on a very good note for all of you.  I can tell you one thing … mine did.

Why?  Food & Wine, of course.  I got to spend a lot of time, this past weekend, carving through Epcot’s 2015 menu and had a blast every second of the time!

First things first … have you seen the Epcot International Food & Wine menus for 2015?  No?  Then, stop back here.  You’ll find the whole ‘kit and caboodle’ of descriptions.

What else will you find?  This year, Epcot will be serving 65 entrees and 16 desserts.  Wow!  65?  And, I need to build a Top 25?  Yikes!  And, that doesn’t even touch the desserts!

By the way, the only things I haven’t kept on my 2015 culinary “radar” are the snack-type items being served by Craft Beers and the dishes being sold at Intermissions Café.  All way too mundane and simple fare, in my humble opinion.

Anyway, back to the main point of this post.  I’ve had the time to do some thinking, and I wanted to share with you some of my very-first impressions.  What do I think of Epcot’s 2015 menu?

Let me start with two wonderful words … Buttered Chicken.  Way to go, Africa!

I had been begging Disney to add a Sanaa-quality butter chicken to Singapore’s menu for two years.  I don’t care where it finally ended up.  I’m just glad it has arrived!

And, since I mentioned Singapore … dig back to this old post of mine, published by Kingdom Magic Vacations Blog.

Within, you’ll learn that, if any country deserves a Food & Wine marketplace, it’s Singapore.  After all, their “hawker centers” are buildings housing rows and rows of small food stalls.  Sounds like Food & Wine, doesn’t it?

Excepting its Seared Mahi-Mahi (accompanied by a magnificent Singa Sauce), Singapore has really struggled to deliver a popular annual menu.  Oh, let’s face it.  They have, sadly, been a bit of a laughing stock.  As a result, it is gone, gone, gone!

Most people are glad to see Singapore gone.  I'm going to miss their Singa Sauce!

Most people are glad to see Singapore gone. I’m going to miss their Singa Sauce!

Australia?  THANK YOU for bringing back your Grilled Lamb Chop.  Mint pesto.  Potato crunchies.  Mrs. All in WDW is VERY happy!

In 2012, Canada’s Chicken Chipotle Sausage finished 4th in my Final Top 25.  This is what I said, back then:

“I loved the spice of the sausage and the flavor of the sweet corn polenta.  Bring it back again next year, Canada!  We loved it!”

Unfortunately, in 2013 and 2014, it was replaced by a trout.  A few of you have expressed despair over the loss of that little fish.  I’m very sorry.  I can’t wait for the sausage’s return!

From 2011 to 2014, I “crowned” three All in WDW Food & Wine Festival “champions” (Hawaii’s pork slider won twice). Sadly, the first of those three “winners” has been retired.

Last year, this is what I said about China’s Beijing Roasted Duck in a Steamed Bun:

“Hoisin sauce is WAY too sweet.  Loved the steam bun.  Hated everything else.  Folks, be careful with the duck.  As you can see, it’s chopped.  I got a small bit of bone.”

IMG_6267

Naturally, this dish returns in 2015.  China’s good (no, great) steamed bun – their championship caliber Mongolian Beef – gets left off the table.  Nice job, China.

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You have GOT to be kidding me. You eliminated the Mongolian Beef?!

That’s Part I of my “First Impressions”, my friends.  I’ll be back in a few days with Part II!

In the meantime, tomorrow, we turn our focus back to the WDW Fantasy Parks Draft ’15!  The boys at WDW Main Street and I have drafted Round #3.

What attractions or restaurants have I selected now?  You can catch it tomorrow on the WDW Main Street Podcast!

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