Category: Friday Feast

Friday Feast: Epcot Food & Wine Festival with Friends

Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival is by far my favorite time of year in Walt Disney World.  Wait…have I said that before?? 🙂  So of course I was incredibly excited when my good friend Rick asked me to join him at some of the booths to film a few episodes of his series Travel With Rick.  Food, wine, beer, Disney and friends…um YES PLEASE!

TWR-F&W-Logo

So here is where I got to visit (I’ve highlighted everything I tried):

Cheese

This was the 2nd year that I was able to review this booth and this year I have mixed feelings.  While I really enjoyed the selection of cheeses, the blue cheese souffle was odd and now very appetizing.  Here are all of the offerings:

  • Almond Crusted Blue Cheese Soufflé with Fig Jam
  • Artisan Cheese Selection: Flagship Reserve Cheddar, La Bonne Vie Triple Crème Brie, Wijngaard Goats Gouda
  • Once Upon a Vine’s The Lost Slipper Sauvignon Blanc 
  • Once Upon a Vine’s The Fairest Chardonnay
  • Once Upon a Vine’s The Big Bad Red Blend
  • Once Upon a Vine’s A Charming Pinot 

France

You can rarely go wrong with France and this year was no exception.  I was a big fan of almost everything…Rick even got me to try the escargot!  Here’s what they have:

  • Escargots Persillade en Brioche (Garlic and Parsley Snails in Brioche)
  • Boeuf Bourguignon (Braised Short Ribs in Cabernet with Mashed Potatoes) 
  • Crème Brûlée au Chocolat au Lait (Chocolate Milk Crème Brûlée topped with Caramelized Sugar)
  • Beer Kronenbourg Blanc
  • Chardonnay, Macon-Villages, La Côte Blanche
  • Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, Château Bonnet
  • Sparkling Pomegranate Kir
  • Eiffel Sour Cosmo Slush (Vodka, Grey Goose Cherry Noir, Grand Marnier, Cranberry Juice)

Scotland

This booth is new this year and is definitely one of my favorites.  There wasn’t one thing that I didn’t enjoy here and really, how can you go wrong with Scotch?!  Get all of these things:

  • Seared Scottish Salmon with Cauliflower Puree, Watercress and Malt Vinaigrette 
  • Vegetarian Haggis with Neeps and Tatties-Griddled Vegetable Cake with Rutabaga and Mashed Potatoes 
  • Scottish Banoffee Tart with Bananas, Scottish Whisky Toffee, Walkers Shortbread Crumbles and Sweet Cream
  • Innis & Gunn® Original 
  • Loch Lomond featuring Glenfiddich® 12 year
  • Glenfiddich® Scotch Flight (12, 15 and 18 year)

Craft Beers

Always a winner in my book and it’s even more fun when I get to share beer flights with my girl Amanda.  We tried all the beers!

  • Beer Flight 1: Dogfish Head Brewery Namaste, Abita Brewing Company Fall Fest, Leinenkugel’s® Seasonal Shandy, Florida Beer Company Devil’s Triangle 
  • Beer Flight 2: New Belgium Brewing Company Fat Tire, Widmer Brother s Brewing Alchemy Ale, Red Hook Audible Ale, Sierra Nevada Torpedo® 

After sampling all of the awesomeness that Food & Wine had to offer, we all met at our favorite spot, the Top of the World Lounge, to review our favorite and not so favorite items from the festival.  Don’t mind the blender in the background!

There are still 11 days to enjoy Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival and eat all the food you can!  What do you want to try most at this year’s Food & Wine Festival?

Friday Feast: Epcot Food & Wine Favs

It’s no secret that Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival is my favorite time of year….seriously, my FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR!  How can you go wrong with food, drinks, friends and Disney?  You can’t.  Period.

Last weekend when I was in WDW for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend, I spent quite amount of time at the festival enjoying my old favorites and some awesome new dishes.  Come on, let’s look at some awesome food porn together…

Old Favorites

There are two dishes that I MUST always get or else my trip to Food & Wine will not be complete.  First is my all time favorite Lettuce Wrap with Roast Pork and Kimchi Slaw from South Korea.  Yum, Yum and Yum!  It’s such a simple dish, yet full of flavor and probably one of the healthiest dishes at the festival.

2013-F&W-South-Korea-Pork

Last year I became obsessed with the Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies from Australia.  I think I ate about six of them.  Well I was beyond happy to see that they hadn’t changed it this year and it was better than ever!

2013-F&W-Austrailia-Lamb

New Discoveries

One thing I love about the Food & Wine Festival are all the new dishes that are introduced every year.  Executive Chef Jens Dahlmann takes great pride in creating innovative dishes and bringing the flavors of the world direct to Epcot.  I had the pleasure of meeting him and picking his brain a bit last weekend…what a treat!

2013-F&W-Sarah-Chef-Jens

Chef Jens’ favorite dish of the festival and one that he takes the most pride in is the Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Onions, Avocado and Cilantro from Brazil.  This dish takes 3 days to make and really is delicious.  But I may be biased because pork belly is by far my favorite food ever!

2013-F&W-Brazil-Pork-Belly

There was a new addition to the Canada booth this year and that was a Seared Rainbow Trout with Bacon, Frisee and Maple Minus 8 Vinaigrette.  Ever since this was announced I was looking forward to trying it.  Top something with bacon and I’m sold! As expected, this dish was wonderful and the bacon combined with the maple vinaigrette was the perfect salty, sweet combo.

2013-F&W-Canada-Trout

New Zealand added quite a few new dishes this year.  After Sarah from Eating WDW raved about the Gratinated Green Lip Mussels with Garlic and Herbs I had to give them a try, along with the Venison Sausage with Pickled Mushrooms, Baby Arugula and Black Currant Reduction that had caught my eye immediately.  Both were great, but that sausage was out of this world.  I am definitely going back for another one of those over Wine & Dine Weekend!

2013-F&W-New-Zealand

A new addition to the festival this year was Scotland.  Being a Scotch lover, I couldn’t wait to try the beverages.  I was actually more excited about that than the food there. The Loch Lomond featuring Glenfiddich 12 year was delicious as expected and has the potential to be very dangerous.  The Glenfiddich Scotch Flight was a really fun way to experience the flavors of the different ages as you experience the 12, 15 and 18 year varieties.  It was a tough choice, but I think the 15 year won for me.  But the surprising favorite was the Innis & Gunn  Original.  Oh. My.  Chef Jens filled me in that this beer is matured in scotch barrels, giving it a very unique flavor.  I think this might be my favorite new beer!

2013-F&W-Scotland-Drinks

So the drinks held up to my expectations, but surprisingly the food in Scotland greatly surpassed them!  I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word haggis I’m instantly nauseous.  Too much offal for my taste.  But here they have Vegetarian Haggis with Neeps and Tatties translated to a Griddled Vegetable Cake with Rutabaga and Mashed Potatoes.  This was surprisingly delicious and I actually went back and got it a second time.  I was also surprised that I actually enjoyed the Seared Scottish Salmon with Cauliflower Puree, Watercress and Malt Vinaigrette considering I don’t like cooked salmon.  Although the highlight of the dish was the cauliflower puree…just give me a big plate of that please!  And then the dessert, Scottish Banoffee Tart with Bananas, Scottish Whisky Toffee, Walkers Shortbread Crumbles and Sweet Cream…chocolate, shortbread, bananas and whiskey, really?!  It’s like heaven on a plate!  Overall, Scotland NAILED IT!

2013-F&W-Scotland-Food

There are still a TON of new dishes I’m dying to try, so be sure I will be stuffing my face over Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend in November!  Is it November yet??

What are your Food & Wine favs??  What new items are you looking forward to trying??

Friday Feast: Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Snack Box

The runDisney post-race snack has gone through a few transformations over the past few years.  When I ran my first Disney 5K in 2010, we received a bag with a bagel, banana and Powerade.  Now the snacks come in a neat little box and include items for various dietary restrictions.  Over Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, a fun new handle appeared on the box…how convenient!

DL10K-Snak-Box1

Let’s take a look inside…

DL10K-Snack-Box2

DL10K-Snack-Box3

Well this had a bunch of new stuff!  I loved the addition of the peanut butter and the Craisins.  Clif Bars don’t sit well with me but that is a great post-race refuel, and the Skittles didn’t seem like the healthiest choice so I passed on those.

In the bags were two gluten-free snacks.  First, my favorite Crunchmaster Multi-Seed Crackers, which I quickly devoured, and a new item from 180 Snacks, Almond Pops with Blueberries.  Those were pretty tasty!

DL10K-Snack-Box4

These boxes seem to get better every race weekend!  Here you can see what was in the boxes from the 2012 Princess Half Marathon and Tower of Terror 10-Miler and how they’ve improved.

What item(s) would you like to see in the post-race snack box?

 

Friday Feast: New Lunch Menu at the Green Cabin Room

I’ve spent the past week at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort having what was probably the best vacation I’ve ever been on.  It was our 2nd annual Disney Beach House vacation full of fun adventures, some sun, great friends, laughs and good food.  That’s what life is all about right?

Green-Cabin-Room

One of my favorite places to eat while at the resort is The Green Cabin Room.  The food is pretty good, but it’s this view that makes it one of my favorite locations. Stunning…

Green-Cabin-Room-View

We had eaten there on our last visit (read my review here) and gotten a few appetizers to share with the group.  My friend Rick had mentioned that they recently changed the menu, so B and I decided to check it out for lunch.  Here’s the new menu:

Green-Cabin-Room-Menu1

Green-Cabin-Room-Menu2

The draft beer selection is pretty limited there with Miller Light and Yuengling being the only two options.  I went with the Yuengling and a glass of water.  Check out the paper straws they use here, just like the ones at Animal Kingdom.  Conservation is huge at this resort and I like that!

Green-Cabin-Room-Drinks

I had been craving a turkey club sandwich that day and was beside myself with excitement when I saw it on the menu.  YES PLEASE!  B decided to go with the Fish & Chips which I was happy about because that would’ve been my next choice.  I opted for the House-made Kettle Chips with my sandwich and also ate B’s Crunchy Slaw…win-win.

Green-Cabin-Room-Turkey-Club

Green-Cabin-Room-Fish&Chips

That is one good Turkey Club!!  I highly recommend it and I even went back the next day for another one! B liked his Fish & Chips, but thought the breading was too thick.  It was actually still a bit raw in some parts, but the fish was cooked through and tasted great.

I really like the changes they made to the menu, but the one thing I was disappointed they took off were the Crispy Pork Wings.  I was looking forward to trying those.  No matter what the menu is, I will always eat there or at least have a cocktail when I’m at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort.

Have you eaten at The Green Cabin Room?   What do you think?

Friday Feast: Pre-Race Meal at Tortilla Joe’s

It’s no secret that I’m a Mexican food addict.  I could eat chips, salsa and guac everyday without getting tired of it.  Some might think that it is a strange cuisine for a pre-race meal, but it is my go to!  As seen by my pre-race recommendations for Walt Disney World, I’ve eaten at San Angel Inn prior to the WDW Marathon and Maya Grill prior to the 2013 Princess Half, both of which worked out very well!

So it’s probably no surprise that I went with Mexican prior to the 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon!  My friend Amanda (a fellow Mexican food junkie) has raved about Tortilla Jo’s in Downtown Disney ever since eating there of Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekend and we knew that was going to be the place to go!

01 Tortilla-Jos

Tortilla Jo’s is part of the Patina Restaurant Group, which also runs one of my favorite spots in Walt Disney World, Tutto Gusto, as well as a few other Disney restaurants.  Since we had an early morning that day from the Disneyland 10K and knew we were hitting the sack early for the half marathon, an early dinner was in order.  B, Amanda and I headed over there around 4:45 pm and there was already a 20 minute wait…you should’ve seen it when we left!  The restaurant was massive and can probably hold over 400 people, so having it be that busy was a good sign 😉  I mean look at this menu…YUM!  Click the image for a larger version.

TortillaJos_MainMenu

TortillaJos_Margarita-SpecialDrinks

Once seated, we were brought some chips and salsa and we promptly ordered the table side guacamole we saw being prepared at the table next to us.  Now Tara Gidus advised against fats pre-race in the runDisney meet up earlier that week, but I just couldn’t pass up the guac.  Avocado is a healthy fat, right??

02 Tortilla-Jos-Chips

04 Tortilla-Jos-Guac

05 Tortilla-Jos-Guac

I also ordered another pre-race no-no…a margarita.  Look I had just ran a 10K that morning and it was still early enough in the day that it wouldn’t effect my sleep or the race.  What is Mexican food without a margarita??  Are my excuses convincing??

03 Tortilla-Jos-Margarita

Jo’s Super Gold Margarita

I didn’t want to order something too heavy for my meal and I definitely didn’t want to be weighed down with tons of dairy.  Jo’s Carnitas seemed to be the obvious choice.  Braised pork with some rice and beans for carbs…perfect!  Oh and was it oh so delicious!

Jo's Carnitas

Jo’s Carnitas

Crispy Pork Goodness!

Crispy Pork Goodness!

The pork came with freshly made corn tortillas and extra bonus, the waitress was nice enough to give me a few extra to bring back to the hotel for a morning snack.  You can bet that I loaded those up with some peanut butter the next morning 😉

Amanda ordered the same dish and B went with his favorite Enchiladas Suizas.  I didn’t try them, but they looked great and he said they were really good.  He particularly liked the corn that came with it which had a bit of a kick to it.

08 Tortilla-Jos-Enchiladas

We left there stuffed to the gills and very satisfied.  Probably one of the best Mexican dishes I’ve ever had.  Hey Patina Restaurant Group…can you PLEASE open one of these in Downtown Disney in Orlando so I can eat there more often??  That would rule!

Have you eaten at Tortilla Jo’s?  What is your go to pre-race meal?

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