Tasting My Way Around The World … Tomorrow!

The “2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Sneak Preview” special event, “Taste Your Way Around The World” is tomorrow … Yahoo! I cannot wait!  Follow us by subscribing to the All in WDW email feed (look in the right margin) or join our Facebook group. You know the pictures will be flowing!

Anyway, Mrs. All in WDW and I were talking about the event last night and wondering how it will be organized. Is it a buffet? Will servers be walking around with trays and trays of samples? To get a little bit of insight, we took a look back at the menu.

For the “Buffet Reception” (I guess that answers the buffet question!), we’ll be served two new items – Florida Local’s Florida Grass-Fed Beef Slider with White Cheddar and Sweet & Hot Pickles as well as South Korea’s Kimchi Dog with Spicy Mustard Sauce and Kimchi.  As you might gather from the current version of the All in WDW Food & Wine 2013 Pre-Festival Top “25″, I’m really looking forward to the slider.

Next, we’ll experience a “Plated Dinner”.  I guess we’ll be sitting down for that part of the program, eh?  Our “Appetizer” will be Brazil’s Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Onions, Avocado, and Cilantro.  Brazil is returning to the festival after a one-year absence.  If this dish is as good as it sounds, I’ll be very happy that they’re back!

The “Salad” follows the pork belly and is an “Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Rewind”, according to Disney.  Florida Fresh will present their Watermelon Salad with Pickled Red Onions, Baby Arugula, Feta Cheese, and Balsamic Reduction.  This was a tasty and refreshing item, and, although I could do with or without it, I think it will be quite nice to have another helping.  The balsamic reduction had an outstanding flavor!

I can’t even visualize an entree of “Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce and Scottish Salmon with Cauliflower Puree, Watercress, and Malt Vinaigrette with Baby Root Vegetables.  How delicious will that be?  I’ll tell you what it will be … it will be an EPIC surf and turf!

Finally, our desserts, as presented by the “Desserts & Champagne” marketplace, will be a trio of Chocolate Orange Cupcake, Hazelnut Chocolate Cheesecake, and Morello Cherry Pistachio Mousse.  Yikes!  I’ll be on a sugar high!

It’s a great menu, and I have to tell you … I don’t know what to look forward to the most!  Hey, what about you?  Which one of these masterpieces catches your eye?

See you tomorrow, folks!

Le Cellier Filet

Yum! Gimme’ that filet!

Food & Wine ’13 Pre-Festival Top “25″ – Where are the Ribs?!

Yeah, where are the ribs?!

When it comes to the five items that Disney Parks Blog unveiled a few days ago, I think that’s the question to ask.  Where are the ribs?  Where are the ‘Braised Short Ribs in Cabernet with Mashed Potatoes’?  I want some … now!  🙂

First, let’s review the current state of the All in WDW Food & Wine ’13 Pre-Festival Top “25″.  A few days ago, I updated the list and presented:

  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. Seared Mahi-Mahi (Singapore)
  7. Seared Trout (Canada)
  8. Seared Scallop (Brazil)
  9. Scotch Egg (Scotland)
  10. Garlic Shrimp (Australia)
  11. Watermelon Salad (Florida)
  12. Kimchi Dog (South Korea)

But, now, there’s going to be … braised short ribs!  I love braised short ribs!  Almost as much as I love filet.  Or, pork sliders.  In fact, two of my favorite Atlanta restaurants serve fantastic short ribs, and it’s often my ‘go to’ menu item.

France has a new entree for 2013, and it’s their ‘Braised Short Ribs in Cabernet with Mashed Potatoes’.  Call them our “new” #3 and rank them on the list right behind Canada’s filet!  Sorry, Florida.  Your sliders drop a spot.

What in the world is lemongrass?  It is a plant with a lemony scent that grows in many tropical climates – most notably in Southeast Asia.  A common ingredient in Thai cooking, it provides a zesty lemon flavor and aroma to a dish.  Big surprise, eh?

Well, Singapore, leaning on its Thai influences, will offer us ‘Lemongrass Chicken Curry’ in 2013.  Goodbye, beef rendang!  Hello, chicken!  You hit the list right behind Brazil’s seared scallop!

Thai Chicken Curry

Thai Chicken Curry

On Wednesday, when discussing the aforementioned Brazilian ‘Seared Scallop with Hearts of Palm and Tomato Stew’, I asked, “Does this mean that New Zealand’s scallop will be leaving the festival?”  It looks like it is definitely ‘outa here’ as, this year, New Zealand will be plating up ‘Venison Sausage’.

I have to admit that I have tried venison just once … many years ago.  I wasn’t a huge fan, back then, but it’s time to give it another try.  Its pre-festival position puts it just behind Singapore’s lemongrass chicken.

Hops & Barley will be presenting us with ‘New England Clam Chowder with a Side of Tabasco’.  I do like a nice cup of chowder, but, like Australia’s ‘Garlic Shrimp’, isn’t clam chowder a bit on the mundane side?  You can get it most anywhere.

Finally, we now know that Scotland will be offering a third item in its inaugural year – ‘Vegetarian Haggis’.  Hmm.  OK.  Let’s do some research.  We know what we’d get if we got served “regular” haggis, right?  In a few words, a vegetarian haggis is, more or less, a firm and spiced bean and lentil stew that is thickened with oats.  Well, at least it isn’t a bunch of unsavory innards!

For me, it’s a dogfight between South Korea’s ‘Kimchi Dog’ and Scotland’s haggis for this list’s “cellar”, and I have to tell you … beans, lentils, and oats.  I like all of those ingredients.  I should like the haggis, right?  I mean, I already know that I’m not a big fan of kimchi.  So, maybe the haggis takes a slight edge over the ‘dog’?

Nope.  I just can’t get my brain past the word “haggis”.  For now, it hits the bottom of the list.  I would rather have the fermented vegetables.

So, here we are:

  1. Kalua Pork Sliders (Hawaii)
  2. “Le Cellier” Filet Mignon (Canada)
  3. Braised Short Ribs (France)
  4. Grass-Fed Beef Sliders (Florida)
  5. Crispy Pork Belly (Brazil)
  6. Scottish Salmon (Scotland)
  7. Seared Mahi-Mahi (Singapore)
  8. Seared Trout (Canada)
  9. Seared Scallop (Brazil)
  10. Lemongrass Chicken Curry (Singapore)
  11. Venison Sausage (New Zealand)
  12. Garlic Shrimp (Australia)
  13. Clam Chowder (Hops & Barley)
  14. Scotch Egg (Scotland)
  15. Kimchi Dog (South Korea)
  16. Vegetarian Haggis (Scotland)

You might notice some other adjustments from last time’s edition of the list.  I dropped the Scotch Egg down a few spots.  After seeing the Disney Parks Blog post from the other day, I decided that I hadn’t given Australia’s Garlic Shrimp a fair shake.  Did you see the picture?  Yum!  Plus, I slotted in the Clam Chowder.

Garlic Shrimp

Garlic Shrimp

In addition, I dropped Florida’s Watermelon Salad out of the picture … for now.  Until it is a confirmed item for this year’s Food & Wine, we’ll keep it in the background.

That’s the beautiful thing about a pre-festival ranking.  It can be tweaked as much as you want and as you put more thought into the items.  And, of course, you need to add the newly announced dishes from time to time.  What’s next, Chef Jens!  We’re waiting!

Have a great day, everyone!

Update: Food & Wine ’13 Pre-Festival Top “25”!

The Food & Wine “goodies” (er, morsels of information) are trickling out to us, folks!  Thanks to A.J. Wolfe of Disney Food Blog, that is.

A.J. just unveiled 15 more beverages, desserts, and entrees that we’re going to be able to find and devour at this year’s “most wonderful festival in The World”.  Five of them have hit the All in WDW “radar”.

First, let’s quickly re-cap the current state of our Food & Wine 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)

Now, here are the interesting items that have been, newly, introduced!

Scotland – Scotch Egg dipped in Mustard Sauce

For those that don’t know, a scotch egg consists of a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat, coated in bread crumbs, and baked.

Scotch Egg

Brazil – Seared Scallop with Hearts of Palm and Tomato Stew

Does this mean that New Zealand’s scallop will be leaving the festival?  It hit my list at #14 in 2012.

Canada – Seared Trout with Frisee, Bacon, and Maple Minus 8 Vinaigrette

Please say it ain’t so!  I am SO going to miss Canada’s Chicken Chipotle Sausage!  It was in my Top 5 dishes last year at #4.  But, with this trout accompanying Le Cellier’s filet, will there be room for a third entree?

Australia – Garlic Shrimp

According to A.J., the garlic shrimp will replace Australia’s rather mundane shrimp-on-the-barbie.

Singapore – Seared Mahi-Mahi with Jasmine Rice and “Singa” Sauce

This dish debuted in 2012 and was rather tasty, in my opinion.  It hit last year’s All in WDW Top 25 at #8, and, as I said in yesterday’s post – “Imagineering Food & Wine: Singapore” – it was good enough to keep on this year’s menu.

So, where do these five ‘masterpieces’ fit into this year’s picture?

The mahi-mahi is first amongst this “new” bunch.  I have had it before, and I know that it’s good.

In comparison to the scallop, the trout reads as a more complete plate.  I’ll have to give it an early and slight edge over Brazil’s entry.  It’s a slim margin, however.

Australia’s garlic shrimp sounds just about as mundane as its predecessor – “shrimp-on-the-barbie”.  Can’t we get garlic shrimp just about anywhere?

Finally, I am intrigued by the Scotch Egg.  When I wrote “Imagineering Food & Wine: Scotland” a few weeks back, I almost added it to my menu.  Then, I started to wonder if Chef would really offer us a hard-boiled egg.  I figured ‘no’.  Well, I was clearly wrong.

I do like eggs, sausage, and things that are breaded, but I’m going to be conservative with this one’s initial ranking.  Having said that, I won’t be surprised to see it skyrocket up the chart after it is sampled.

So, our updated Top “25” looks like this:

  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. Seared Mahi-Mahi (Singapore)
  7. Seared Trout (Canada)
  8. Seared Scallop (Brazil)
  9. Scotch Egg (Scotland)
  10. Garlic Shrimp (Australia)
  11. Watermelon Salad (Florida)
  12. Kimchi Dog (South Korea)

Cheers, folks!  Is it time to eat yet?

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 –

Appetizer

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

Salad

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

Entrée

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.

20130308-111440.jpg

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!