The All in WDW Readers’ 2013 Food & Wine Festival Top 25!

Well, my friends, thanks to our fantastic team of culinary experts, our long task is finally done. The All in WDW Readers’ 2013 Epcot Food & Wine Festival Top 25 is complete! Set the table, and pick up your forks, because the menu is SET!

I want to extend my sincere thanks to the entire team:

Having said that, I thought the best way to introduce the final list to you was to let the experts do it themselves. So, here to tell you what they were thinking as they crunched through our massive list of dishes are Lee, Megan, and KJ. Take it away, folks! You did the work – you get the glory!

Lee Lastovica:

“What I actually did was give each item an initial ranking – all beef and steak items were #1. Other meats I labeled as #2, while “miscellaneous” was #3, and seafood was #4. That gave me four easy to manage categories to rank. In the end, I’m definitely a ‘red meat and potatoes’ kind of guy.”

Megan Lynn Sutton:

“WOW! I didn’t realize how hard this would be! I’m planning on extra funds for my trip this week just because of this exercise! I never guessed how much I would want to eat on this list! We’re tentatively planning to be in Epcot on the 29th for an all-day marathon round of Food & Wine!”

KJ Simpson:

“Here’s a little explanation about how I came to my rankings … I guess you could call me a “recovering vegetarian”! While I am no longer a vegetarian, I was one for about 24 years. My current eating preferences still reflect this, which is why many of the offerings here – even some of the very popular ones – score low for me.

For dishes where the main ingredient doesn’t particularly appeal to me (beef, for example), I used the preparation, spices, sides, and overall composition to decide on my ranking. This was great fun! Thank you for including me!”

This was absolutely great work by all of you, team!  It was an outstanding opportunity for me to see how each person’s tastes differ (something I will likely come back and share with you in the coming weeks) as well as to see a list to which I can compare my Top 25 (to be announced in a few days).

So, without further adieu, here is your All in WDW Readers’ Food & Wine Festival Top 25 as determined by the composite rankings of our culinary team!

  1. “Le Cellier” Filet Mignon – Canada
  2. Beef Empanada – Argentina
  3. Cheddar Cheese Soup – Canada
  4. Kalua Pork Sliders – Hawaii
  5. Shrimp Taco – Mexico
  6. Griddled Lobster Tail – Hops & Barley
  7. Taco de Ribeye – Mexico
  8. Fisherman’s Pie – Ireland
  9. Ravioli – Italy
  10. Grilled Beef Skewer – Argentina
  11. Seared Scallop – Brazil
  12. Garlic Shrimp – Australia
  13. Griddled Greek Cheese – Greece
  14. Roast Pork Lettuce Wrap – South Korea
  15. Grass-Fed Beef Sliders – Florida
  16. Berry Belgian Waffle – Belgium
  17. Braised Beef Short Ribs – France
  18. Crispy Pork Belly – Brazil
  19. Grilled Lamb Chop – Australia
  20. Seared Mahi-Mahi – Singapore
  21. Chicken Gyro – Greece
  22. Seared Trout – Canada
  23. Braised Beef Waffle – Belgium
  24. Berbere-Style Beef – Africa
  25. Taste of Greece – Greece

Like I said, you ALL did a GREAT job!  Personally, I think this is an outstanding list.  Given what I learned about all of your tastes and preferences during the “voting” phases of this exercise, the way this list formed up makes a lot of sense to me.  It should be an excellent guide for any ‘foodie’ to use as they tackle Epcot’s marquee event.

In the end, KJ sums it up best in saying, “It looks like I’ll be able to tick something off my Disney bucket list. I’m fairly certain I’m going to be able to visit Food & Wine for the first time this year! I won’t be there until the very end, Bob, so I look forward to all your reports and photos as I anxiously await my trip!

Well, KJ, it goes without saying … I can’t wait to bring you all those reports and photos! Because I can’t wait to try all of that delicious food!

REMEMBER!  Anytime I publish a post in WordPress, it will automatically appear on my Twitter account and in the All in WDW Facebook group.  If you want to see my Food & Wine pics in “real time” later this week, Follow me on Twitter or join the group on Facebook!

F&W '13 Chef

YOUR Food & Wine Top 25!

Well, you probably saw this one coming from miles away.  Our Top 25 is complete … thanks to Hops & Barley’s “eleventh-hour” entry – a freshly Griddled Lobster Tail with Garlic Herb Butter!  Good work, Hops!  If you would’ve waited one more week to announce, you would’ve missed all of our pre-festival menus!

As it is, we, now, have a collection of delicious morsels that we’ve chosen to populate the All in WDW Readers’ 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Pre-Festival Top 25, and here they are:

  • Berbere-Style Beef – Africa
  • Beef Empanada – Argentina
  • Grilled Beef Skewer – Argentina
  • Garlic Shrimp – Australia
  • Grilled Lamb Chop – Australia
  • Berry Belgian Waffle – Belgium
  • Braised Beef Waffle – Belgium
  • Crispy Pork Belly – Brazil
  • Seared Scallop – Brazil
  • Cheddar Cheese Soup – Canada
  • “Le Cellier” Filet Mignon – Canada
  • Seared Trout – Canada
  • Grass-Fed Beef Sliders – Florida
  • Braised Beef Short Ribs – France
  • Chicken Gyro – Greece
  • Griddled Greek Cheese – Greece
  • Taste of Greece – Greece
  • Kalua Pork Sliders – Hawaii
  • Griddled Lobster Tail – Hops & Barley
  • Fisherman’s Pie – Ireland
  • Ravioli – Italy
  • Shrimp Taco – Mexico
  • Taco de Ribeye – Mexico
  • Seared Mahi-Mahi – Singapore
  • Roast Pork Lettuce Wrap – South Korea

Congratulations, friends of All in WDW!  You have done an OUTSTANDING job!

Think about it.  We started with a list of 61 items.  61!  Who can eat 61 plates of food … even if they are small portions?  By working our menu down to a Top 25, you temper the festival’s impact on both your wallet and your waistline!  Yes?

So, what’s next?

My friends, this list needs to be placed into a rank order.  To do that, I have assembled a team of 15 culinary experts who have volunteered to lock themselves into their kitchens for the better part of the next week in order to accomplish just that task.  In other words, by about this time next week (give or take a day or two), we hope to announce your 2013 Food & Wine Pre-Festival Top 25 … in order from 1 to 25!

Have a great day, my friends, and thanks for all your support!  I hope you’ve had fun with this little “project”.

Epcot F&W Logo

Food & Wine “Wild Card” Day!

A funny thing happened on the way to today’s final poll to fill our last spot in the All in WDW Readers’ 2013 Food & Wine Pre-Festival Top 25.  We were hit with a newly-announced dish!

If you “rewind” to yesterday, you’ll remember I said that, “If you’ve done the math – and, I’m sure that some of you have – you’ll have noticed that our selection of eight dishes on Wednesday and yesterday will combine with today’s effort to determine our Top 24.”

That’s right.  We, now, have a Top 24 with the inclusion of:

  • Kalua Pork Sliders – Hawaii
  • Griddled Greek Cheese – Greece
  • Grilled Lamb Chop – Australia
  • Seared Trout – Canada
  • Seared Scallop – Brazil
  • Fisherman’s Pie – Ireland
  • Grass-Fed Beef Sliders – Florida
  • Taste of Greece – Greece

Of course, this leaves us one plate short of our objective – the “infamous” Top 25!

Well, the plan HAD been to take the most-recently eliminated 12 dishes and “wild card” one of them back into the mix in order to complete the menu’s final 25 dishes.  But, then, we found out about Hops & Barley’s Griddled Lobster Tail with Garlic Herb Butter.

Uh, yeah.  Lobster tail.

Giving credit where credit is due, we saw it first (yesterday) on A.J. Wolfe’s Disney Food Blog.  According to DFB, the “fresh lobster tails will be fully cooked within the marketplace”.  To see a pic, visit A.J.’s site at this link.  Anyway, a visit to WDW’s own Food & Wine page confirms the addition of this delight to Epcot’s 2013 offering.

So.  Where does that leave us?

We still have that one opening in the Top 25.  And, we have this delicious new item.  But, we “promised” the just-eliminated 12 dishes one more chance.  What do we do?!

What we’re going to do, my friends, is stick with our plan.  This was meant to be “wild card” day.  It’s going to be “wild card” day … with a tail.

That being said, this is it, folks!  Vote for ONE item.  Which of these 13 dishes will take the last spot in the All in WDW Readers’ 2013 Food & Wine Pre-Festival Top 25?!

F&W '13 Chef

It’s Your Last Chance to Shape the Top 25!

Yep!  Today marks your last chance to shape the All in WDW Readers’ 2013 Food & Wine Pre-Festival Top 25 … or, does it?

If you’ve done the math – and, I’m sure that some of you have – you’ll have noticed that our selection of eight dishes on Wednesday and yesterday will combine with today’s effort to determine our Top 24.  What?!

Don’t panic!  The solution to this little dilemma will be revealed tomorrow.

For now, we welcome these items onto your menu:

  • Grilled Beef Skewer – Argentina
  • Garlic Shrimp – Australia
  • Chicken Gyro – Greece
  • Cheddar Cheese Soup – Canada
  • “Le Cellier” Filet Mignon – Canada
  • Taco de Ribeye – Mexico
  • Braised Beef Waffle – Belgium
  • Ravioli – Italy

Moving on, the “drill” remains the same.  You need to choose FOUR items from each of the two groups below. The remaining two dishes in each poll – the ones you like the least – will face elimination. Here are your choices:

  • Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies
  • Griddled Greek Cheese smothered with Pistachios and Honey
  • Black Pepper Shrimp served with Sichuan noodles
  • Kalua Pork Sliders prepared with a sweet and sour Dole pineapple chutney and a drizzle of spicy mayo
  • Chocolate Belgian Waffle with Whipped Cream
  • Seared Rainbow Trout with Bacon, Frisee (curly endive) and Maple Minus 8 Vinaigrette
  • Seared Scallop with a Ragout of Tomatoes, Peppers, and Hearts of Palm plus Steamed Rice
  • Lobster and Seafood Fisherman’s Pie
  • Grass-Fed Beef Sliders prepared with Monterey Jack Cheese and Sweet & Hot Pickles
  • A Cheese Selection from Ireland described as being a trio of (a sharp, strong flavored) cheddar, a Dubliner with Irish Stout (a sweet mature cheese combining the sharpness of mature cheddar, the nuttiness of Swiss cheese, and the bite of Parmesan), and Skellig (a sweet cheddar cheese)
  • Chicken Potstickers
  • A Taste of Greece in the form of a plate of marinated and grilled calamari, htipiti (a dip of feta cheese and roasted red peppers), eggplant dip, olives, and pita bread

Remember! Vote for the four dishes that you want to “save”!

Sliders!

Grass-Fed Beef Sliders!

The Second Course: Food & Wine Voting Booths Still Open!

Great response to our initial “Round 2” polls, everyone! Thank you VERY MUCH for your continued support!

Yesterday, we welcomed eight dishes into the All in WDW Readers’ 2013 Food & Wine Pre-Festival Top 25. They are:

  • Braised Beef Short Ribs – France
  • Berry Belgian Waffle – Belgium
  • Roast Pork Lettuce Wrap – South Korea
  • Berbere-Style Beef – Africa
  • Beef Empanada – Argentina
  • Crispy Pork Belly – Brazil
  • Shrimp Taco – Mexico
  • Seared Mahi-Mahi – Singapore

All great choices, my friends, but, boy, you guys sure LOVE your Belgian waffles, don’t you! I have to confess … this version of Belgium’s “best” did not make my final menu.

Day #2 of our second round of “voting” takes us straight into the challenge of choosing the next eight plates that will make it onto your final menu.

As with yesterday, you need to choose FOUR items from each of the two groups below. The remaining two dishes in each poll – the ones you like the least – will face elimination. Here are your choices:

  • Garlic Shrimp with Roasted Tomatoes, Lemon Myrtle (a lemon herb native to Australia), and Rapini (broccoli rabe)
  • Scottish Salmon served on a bed of cauliflower puree and dressed with watercress and a malt vinaigrette
  • Chicken Gyro (a Greek dish of moist but crisp meat roasted on a vertical spit) with Tzatziki Sauce (made of strained yogurt from sheep or goat’s milk that is mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, and sometimes lemon juice, dill, mint and/or parsley)
  • Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce and a Boniato (tropical sweet potato or white yam) Purée
  • Cheddar Cheese Soup
  • Spicy Hand Roll
  • Potato and Leek Waffle with Braised Beef
  • Tuna Poke (cubed and marinated tuna sashimi)
  • Almond Crusted Blue Cheese Soufflé with Fig Jam
  • Ravioli
  • “Le Cellier” Filet Mignon presented with wild mushrooms and draped in a truffle butter sauce
  • Taco de Ribeye

Remember! Vote for the four dishes that you want to “save”!

2012's "Le Cellier" Filet

2012’s “Le Cellier” Filet