Tasting My Way Around The World!

I’m in, folks! I’m in!

The Tables in Wonderland “2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Sneak Preview” special event – “Taste Your Way Around The World” – sold out in, get this, three minutes!! The waiting list sold out after seven minutes! Wow!

But, I’m in!

I had occasion to speak with a very friendly Tables in Wonderland representative late last week. I needed to renew my membership in preparation for yesterday’s frenzied chase.

As I expressed my excitement over the prospect of securing one of the 150 available tickets to this fabulous event, she described the “sneak preview” as not just a sampling of food but an opportunity to hear speakers talk about all of the new and exciting ‘Food & Wine related’ things that Epcot has in store for us this year. I spoke with her again yesterday, after the event had sold out and on another topic, and she raved about how the tickets literally “flew off of the shelves”!

What’s the big draw? What’s on the agenda? Check it out …

In their own words, “The menu for this event is inspired by the International Marketplaces:

Buffet Reception –

Florida Local: Florida Grass Fed Beef Slider with White Cheddar and Sweet & Hot Pickles
South Korea: Kimchi Dog with Spicy Mustard Sauce and Kimchi
Terra: The Vegan Vine Red Blend
Cheese: Once Upon a Vine’s The Fairest Chardonnay
Brazil: Carnaval Moscato White Sparkling
Craft Beers: Sierra Nevada, Torpedo Extra IPA
Poland: Frozen Szarlotka featuring Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka (Polish Frozen Apple Pie Cocktail)

Plated Dinner –


Brazil: Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Onions, Avocado and Cilantro
Brazil: Cerveharias Kaiser Brewery, Xingu Black Beer


Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Rewind – Florida Fresh: Watermelon Salad with Pickled Red Onions, Baby Arugula, Feta Cheese and Balsamic Reduction
Florida Local: Florida Orange Groves Hurricane Class 5, Florida White Sangria


Canada: “Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce
Scotland: Scottish Salmon with Cauliflower Puree, Watercress and Malt Vinaigrette With Baby Root Vegetables
Africa: The Wolftrap Red (Syrah, Mourvèdre, Viognier)
New Zealand: Mohua Sauvignon Blanc

Dessert from Desserts & Champagne

Chocolate Orange Cupcake
Hazelnut Chocolate Cheesecake
Morello Cherry Pistachio Mousse
Nicolas Feuillatte Rosé

Soft Drinks, Water, Coffee, Tea”

What a collection of great dishes! And, we get to hear guest speakers as well?! I can’t wait … and, more importantly, I can’t wait to bring it ALL to you!!

See you tomorrow, my friends!

Food & Wine Sign

Food & Wine ’13 “Scouting Report”!

88 days.  I meant to mention that yesterday, but I forgot.  88 days until Food & Wine officially begins!  Less than three months away, now!  Yahoo!

I did mention the phrase “party-crasher” yesterday.  Is that what we should call Brazil’s return to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival?  Party crashing?  No, not in my opinion.  In fact, when it came to Brazil’s absence at the 2012 event, I was among the disappointed.

In 2011, Brazil hit our list at #4 with its Seared Mahi-Mahi.  Served with with steamed rice, hearts of palm, and a coconut-lime sauce, it was, as I recall, quite tasty.

Their other offering was a rendition of Brazil’s National dish – Feijoada.  Feijoada, according to Wikipedia, has been described as a stew of black beans, salted pork or beef, bacon, smoked pork ribs, and at least two types of smoked sausage and jerked beef.  To be honest, I wasn’t adventurous enough to try it but, looking back, I wish I had.

For 2013, our South American friends are going to serve us Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Onions, Avocado, and Cilantro.  Yum!

Pork Belly

Although I’m not quite ready to put this one at the very top of the pre-festival chart, I can’t wait to give it a try!  I do like pork and black beans.  Only the avocado, undoubtedly a minor ingredient in this masterpiece, gives me reason to pause.  I’m not a huge fan.  For the time being, however, our crispy pork belly will hit the list at #3 – right behind Hawaii’s pork sliders and Canada’s filet and ahead of Scotland’s salmon.

Then again, Florida Local will be presenting Florida Grass-Fed Beef Sliders accompanied by White Cheddar and Sweet & Hot Pickles.  Oh, this one has got to be good!  Sorry, pork belly.  You didn’t last at #3 for long.  Slot these sliders in there instead!  I mean, this dish has three of my favorite ingredients – beef, cheese, and sweet-hot pickles!

It’s hard for me to imagine that these morsels might be able to “take out” Hawaii’s Kalua pork and Canada’s filet, but who’s to say?  Last year, Florida offered, what was for me, a very disappointing White Corn Arepa.  This year, they’re clearly ‘stepping their game up’!

One word makes me avoid the South Korea marketplace.  Kimchi.  Yes, I have tried kimchi.  I don’t like it.  So, I hesitate to imagine what a ‘Kimchi Dog (??!) with Spicy Mustard Sauce and Kimchi’ will be.  I’m afraid I’m going to need to see it before I can even think about eating it.  Sorry, South Korea.  You’re last on the list, at this point.

Finally, in what’s being labeled as an “Epcot International Flower & Garden (er, “Food” & Garden) Festival Rewind”, we’re going to see Florida Fresh’s Watermelon Salad with Pickled Red Onions, Baby Arugula, Feta Cheese, and Balsamic Reduction.  It’s being served at the Tables in Wonderland “Taste Your Way Around The World” event.  Will it also be available at the festival?  I hope so.  For “Food” & Garden, I ranked this salad a very solid, and “Recommended”, #11.  It was a very refreshing dish.


So, where are we at?  Here’s the very first installment of All in WDW’s 2013 Pre-Festival Top “25”:

  1. Kalua Pork Sliders (Hawaii)
  2. “Le Cellier” Filet Mignon (Canada)
  3. Grass-Fed Beef Sliders (Florida)
  4. Crispy Pork Belly (Brazil)
  5. Scottish Salmon (Scotland)
  6. Watermelon Salad (Florida)
  7. Kimchi Dog (South Korea)

OK, I know we’re not at “25” as yet, but give it time.  I can’t wait to see what’s coming next either.  Stay tuned, folks!

Food & Wine ’13 “Scouting Report”!

Good morning, my friends!  So, what do we know about this year’s installment of the “king of all food festivals”?

Well, right from the earliest reports, we were told that Hawaii’s delicious Kalua Pork Sliders would make their triumphant return.

Pork Sliders

The “champ” is in da’ house!

On the other hand, we were left to wonder – until just last week – whether or not we would be able to dine on Le Cellier’s signature filet mignon.

Le Cellier Filet

Oh, so delicious!

As it turns out, both Hawaii and Canada are bringing their “A” games!  Hey, assigning the ‘Top 2’ spots in this year’s “Much Too Preliminary” Pre-Festival Top 25 is going to be VERY easy!

Let’s take a quick step back to review.  The best place to start any journey is to study a “road map”, eh?  Crowned by the aforementioned examples of culinary delight, here is a summary recap of the  All in WDW 2012 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Final Top 25!

“Highly Recommended” and “Recommended” speak for themselves.

“Just OK” is worth a try.  Hey, who knows?  If it’s back in 2013, you might like it much better than I did.

“Nope!” means that this item is ‘outa here’!  It won’t make the All in WDW 2013 Pre-Festival list, Chef, so don’t bother bringing it back!

Finally, “How did these get on the ‘Top 25’ list” are the ‘bottom-feeders’.  We snuck in three extra tastings last year, and these were the three items that weren’t good enough to crack the Final Top 25.

Highly Recommended

  • 1 – Pork Slider (Hawaii)
  • 2 – “Le Cellier” Filet Mignon (Canada)
  • 3- Ravioli (Italy)
  • 4 – Chicken Chipotle Sausage (Canada)
  • 5 – Shrimp Taco (Mexico)
  • 6 – Mongolian Beef (China)


  • 7 – Coq au Vin (France)
  • 8 – Seared Mahi Mahi (Singapore)
  • 9 – Ropa Vieja (Caribbean)
  • 10 – Lamb Meatball (New Zealand)
  • 11 – Lamb Chop (Australia)

Just OK

  • 12 – Chicken Satay (China)
  • 13 – Sweet Sausage (Italy)
  • 14 – Seared Sea Scallop (New Zealand)
  • 15 – Seared Filet of Beef (South Africa)
  • 16 – Taco de Filete (Mexico)
  • 17 – Griddled Greek Cheese (Greece)
  • 18 – Pierogies (Poland)
  • 19 – Chicken Souvlaki (Greece)
  • 20 – Merguez Sausage (Morocco)


  • 21 – Schinken Nudel (Germany)
  • 22 – White Corn Arepa (Florida)
  • 23 – Sukiyaki Beef Pan (Japan)
  • 24 – Roast Bratwurst (Germany)
  • 25 – Pork Pot Stickers (China)

How did these get on the “Top 25” list?

  • 26 – Chicken Drumstick (Caribbean)
  • 27 – Kefta Pocket (Morocco)
  • 28 – Taste of Scandinavia (Scandinavia)

Needless to say, it is a fact that this year’s pre-festival list will start with the pork sliders at #1 and the filet at #2.  I am a firm believer in “you have to beat the champ in order to be the champ”, and, in All in WDW’s view, Hawaii’s Kalua Pork Sliders are Food & Wine’s two-time champ!  It was an “oh so close” and excruciatingly tough decision last year, but if Canada’s outstanding filet couldn’t knock the crown off those tasty meat-filled buns, I don’t know that anything can.

Having said this, where does Scotland’s salmon fit in?  After all, it’s a brand new ‘party-crasher’.

In 2011, Canada’s Glazed Salmon finished at #8 on my final list.  Brazil’s Seared Mahi-Mahi finished at #4.  In 2012, Singapore’s Seared Mahi-Mahi also finished at #8.

I’m going to have to tentatively slot Scotland’s “yet-to-be-tasted” offering in at about the same place – somewhere around #8.  Of course, it is ridiculous to assign a slot at this point.  We haven’t even seen the whole menu yet!  Suffice it to say, however, that the salmon will, at best, be set at #3 – behind those yummy sliders and that succulent filet.

Tomorrow?  We know that Brazil is ba-a-a-ack!  What new morsels do our friends from South America, as well as Florida Local, have to offer us this year?  Where will they fit into 2013’s Pre-Festival Top 25?  Stop back on Monday to see!