Category: Friday Feast

Friday Feast: Culinary Demonstrations at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival

Reservations for the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Culinary Demonstrations opened this week and I can’t decide what to go to!!!!   Last year I attended two demonstrations and had an amazing time.  The first demo I attended was with Iron Chef Cat Cora of Kouzzina at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort (best breakfast on property!) and then Chef Kevin Dundon of Raglan Road, one of my fav restaurants!

Iron Chef Cat Cora

Iron Chef Cat Cora

Chef Kevin Dundon

Chef Kevin Dundon

I will be in the World twice this year during the Food & Wine Festival and I’m hoping I will have time to attend at least one demonstrations.  So here are the options for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend:

Thursday, October 03, 2013
1:00 PM Bruno Vrignon, Monsieur Paul, France Pavilion, Epcot®, WDW Snails
3:00 PM Bob Getchell, T Rex Café, Downtown Disney® Area, WDW Pork
5:00 PM Kevin Fonzo, K Restaurant, Orlando, FL Shrimp
Friday, October 04, 2013
1:00 PM Ruth Van Waerebeek, Concha y Toro, Santiago, Chile Scallops
3:00 PM Noah French, HoneyCrisp, Denver, CO Pastry
5:00 PM Rock Harper, FatShorty’s, Arlington, VA Mussels- contains Pork
Saturday, October 05, 2013
1:00 PM Kenneth Gilbert, Cook Like the Big Dogs LLC, Jacksonville, FL Seafood
3:00 PM Jerome Brown “Chef Rome”, Hot Grits LLC, Knightdale, NC Bison
5:00 PM Alisa Malavenda, POSH salt, Cliffside Park, NJ Scallop
Sunday, October 06, 2013
1:00 PM Noah French, HoneyCrisp, Denver, CO Pastry
3:00 PM Tim Hockett, Nacional 27, Chicago, IL Beef
5:00 PM Alisa Malavenda, POSH salt, Cliffside Park, NJ Shellfish
Monday, October 07, 2013
1:00 PM Jason Stefanko, Gardein, Richmond, Canada Vegan
3:00 PM Dr. Wendy Bazilian, RD & Pam Smith, RD and Author of The Energy Edge Pastry
presented by Driscoll’s® Only the Finest Berries™
5:00 PM Joe Bonanno and Damon Lauder, Park Event Operations, Epcot®, WDW Duck

I think my top pick out of this group is the demo with Alisa Malavenda.  As a Jersey girl and a shellfish fan, this might be the perfect way to celebrate finishing the race!

And then at the tail end of the festival, I will be down for the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon (my favorite!) and here are the demos for that weekend:

Thursday, November 07, 2013
1:00 PM Bill Clark, Grand Floridian Bakery, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, WDW Pastry
presented by Ocean Spray® Craisins® Brand Dried Cranberries
3:00 PM Thomas Massey, Sunshine Seasons, Epcot®, WDW Mahi Mahi
5:00 PM Mike Dillard, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, WDW Rabbit
Friday, November 08, 2013
1:00 PM Ingrid Hoffmann Presented by Coca-Cola® Savory
3:00 PM John Hardman, Tony’s Town Square Restaurant, Magic Kingdom® Park, WDW Chicken
5:00 PM Phillip Ponticelli, Cítricos, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, WDW Shrimp
Saturday, November 09, 2013
1:00 PM Ben Sargent, Author, The Catch: Sea-to-Table, Stories and Secrets, New York, NY Lobster
3:00 PM TJ Sudiswa, Grand Floridian Café, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, WDW Turkey presented by Ocean Spray® Craisins® Brand Dried Cranberries
5:00 PM Pam Smith, RD, Author of The Energy Edge Savory
presented by Driscoll’s® Only the Finest Berries™
Sunday, November 10, 2013
1:00 PM Michael Klinger, Pioneer Hall, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, WDW Oysters-Contains Pork
3:00 PM Javier Pareja, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, WDW Vegetarian
5:00 PM Michael Gonsalves, Golden Oak Club, WDW Sausage-Contains Pork
presented by Ocean Spray® Craisins® Brand Dried Cranberries
Monday, November 11, 2013
1:00 PM Geraldine Randlesome, Creative Cutters, Ontario, Canada Pastry
3:00 PM Dylan Schauwecker, The Wave… of American Flavors, Crab & Shrimp
Disney’s Contemporary Resort, WDW
5:00 PM Michael Gonsalves, Golden Oak Club, WDW Sausage-Contains Pork
presented by Ocean Spray® Craisins® Brand Dried Cranberries

Ooohh doesn’t that Ben Sargent demo look good?!  The Catch: Sea-to-Table, Stories and Secrets with NY Lobster…yes please!  That sounds like a good pre-race meal right??

These demos are a great bargain at $14 a piece.  You get a fun demonstration PLUS a tasting of what they are cooking!  Win-win in my book.  You can find all of the demonstrations listed on the Disney Food Blog.

What are demonstrations are you looking forward to at the 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival?? 

Friday Feast: Disneyland Table Service Dining Must Dos!

After the Disneyland Half Marathon last year, I was craving all of the amazing counter service meals I saw people enjoying while out there.  Disneyland counter service blows Walt Disney World out of the water from what I’ve seen…remember, I haven’t even been there yet!

So with my upcoming trip (only a short 2.5 weeks away!!!!!) I obviously have myself looking towards food.  Shocking I know.  I still plan on paying a visit to Rancho del Zocalo, Flo’s V-8 Cafe and Bengal Barbeque, but now I have my sights set on table service restaurants…bring on the goodness!!

First stop of our trip is the Carthay Circle Restaurant.  We have reservations here for the first night we arrive and I couldn’t be more excited.  Ever since I saw the first reviews come out, I knew this restaurant would be right up my alley!

Photo Source: The Disney Food Blog

Photo Source: The Disney Food Blog

From the signature Firecracker Duck Wings to the Bacon Wrapped Shrimp, everything looks amazing!  Oh and of course I can’t wait to try one of their signature cocktails or maybe some of that Lassetter wine (yes, as in John Lassetter!) that Jenn from Eat, Sleep, Run Disney enjoyed when she was there.  It’s 3 days before any races, what can it hurt?!? 🙂

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp Photo Source: The Disney Food Blog

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
Photo Source: The Disney Food Blog

Next on my list is the Blue Bayou.  While the menu at this restaurant really doesn’t appeal to me all that much and it seems WAY over priced, I always hear that this is a must do for every Disneyland first-timer.  Hey, that’s me!  And while the menu isn’t all that appealing, the atmosphere is and from all the photos I’ve seen I’m sure I will plant my butt in one of those waterside tables for quite some time.

Photo Source: Disney

Photo Source: Disney

The atmosphere actually reminds me of San Angel Inn in the Mexico pavilion at Epcot, which is one of my favorite lunch spots!  So we will be visiting Blue Bayou for lunch on our second day in Disneyland…oh boy!  Now as far as menu items are concerned, I know the famous Monte Cristo is a fan favorite, but between the eggs, grains and sugar, that is sure to throw my digestive system into a tailspin!  I’ve been leaning more towards the Jambalya…now that looks delicious!

Photo Source: Yelp

Photo Source: Yelp

Photo Source: The Disney Food Blog

Photo Source: The Disney Food Blog

The last reservation I’ve made is at what I’ve heard is the best Disney restaurant there is by my good friend and dining expert Rick Howard. It’s the one and only Napa Rose.  I was lucky enough to snag a reservation at the Chef’s Counter on the last night of our trip (yes, I called exactly 60 days out like a good WDW veteran does!).  This will be a great way to celebrate my completion of the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge!  I haven’t had a Chef’s Table experience in almost 3 years when we ate at Victoria & Albert’s for our one year anniversary, so I am seriously looking forward to this!  Also, I’ve read AJ’s review on The Disney Food Blog a few times and it is just building up my anticipation of this meal.  Sigh…can I go there right now?!?

These are the only reservations I’ve made so far, but I’m also considering the Wine Country Trattoria, Carnation Cafe, Tortilla Jo’s and Steakhouse 55.  They are all on my maybe list for other potential table service dining locations.

What do you think?  Am I missing any MUST DO Disneyland table service restaurants?!?


Friday Feast: Gatorade, Coconut Water & Replacing Electrolytes

Last week on RAD Living I talked about how I need to better listen to my body and keep myself hydrated.  I thought I was being smart about my hydration this summer, but boy was I wrong.  Water alone was not keeping me hydrated enough for the July heat or to push me through strenuous workouts.

So recently I’ve been trying to to stay away from sugars, which means avoiding any kind of sports drinks.  I turned to coconut water for extra hydration and electrolytes, but it didn’t seem to be doing the trick.  Plus, I find myself struggling with the taste.


After a tough workout, I felt drained.  Also, my left calf muscle seriously cramped up on the last run, which is something that has never happened to me before.  I had drank about 50 oz of water and a coconut water earlier in the day so I thought I would be fine.  Well I guess the heat and humidity that day and the whole week prior with the heatwave we were having had caught up with me.  That night I went to bed with a headache and woke up with one the next morning.  I was very thirsty and was also feeling very dizzy and lightheaded.  Clearly my body was craving something more… electrolytes, sodium in particular.

So what are electrolytes?  They are a variety of minerals in the body that regulate how much water is in our system, as well as how our muscles function.  So they are VERY important when you exercise on a regular basis.  We lose electrolytes when we sweat making it even more important to replenish them after a difficult workout. Some of the most common electrolytes are sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium.  If you’re a “salty sweater” like I am, getting that sodium back in crucial.

Gatorade is probably the most commonly known “thirst quencher” that athletes use to re-hydrate.  I actually had to turn to this to get myself properly hydrated in these past few weeks.  It really does work well.  With double the amount of sodium than coconut water, it’s a quick way to replenish those electrolytes.  However, you are putting a TON of other crap in your system along with it, particularly the sugar, yellow 6 (wtf is that?!?) and the brominated vegetable oil.  YUK! So it’s working to keep me hydrated, but what else is it doing to my body???


Because I don’t want to make drinking Gatorade a habit, I started researching other electrolyte replacements and found some great resources on one of my favorite sites, Organic Authority.  Just this week there was a post on healthy electrolyte replacements and I also found one on delicious ways to re-hydrate. Guess what the number one item was in both articles?  Coconut water.  Sigh.

So I decided I need to give this another try.  I’ve sampled a few different brands and I found that I like Vita Coco the best. It has the most mellow coconut flavor and also comes in a variety of different flavors to cut that coconut water taste, which I still don’t love.  I’ve also found that it is much better when served over ice instead of straight from the container.  I actually brought some out to a restaurant the other night to re-hydrate after a tough CrossFit WOD.  I hope my friends weren’t too embarrassed by me 🙂

I also like the idea of adding salt and fruit to plain water as a way of making your own “sports drink.”  I know I need more sodium so I will have to try that going forward.  I have also heard Nuun is really great and I need to try that as well.  I will probably still drink Gatorade on occasion during very hot days or tough workouts, but I’m hoping that some of these alternative will do the trick in the future so I can stay away from some of this artificial junk.

How do you re-hydrate?  Do you like the taste of coconut water?

Friday Feast: Dole Whip Dreaming

Have you heard that it’s HOT here in the Northeast??  No??  I think everyone is complaining about this heatwave we’re having, but honestly I’ll take this any day over the winter…remember Nemo??

However, this heat has had me wanting something cool and delicious.  So of course my mind turns to Dole Whips!  Now I’m a relative newbie when it comes to Dole Whips.  I only had my first one a few years ago.  It was my friend Don, a self-proclaimed Dole Whip addict, who convinced me that I had to try one.

Don enjoying a Dole Whip Float!

Don enjoying a Dole Whip Float!

So back in 2010, Don took me to Aloha Isle during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and I tried my first Dole Whip.  I actually opted for the Swirl with vanilla ice cream and it was amazingly delicious.  The fun thing about trying this during the Halloween party was that the vanilla ice cream was green!

Halloweenie Dole Whip Swirl!

Halloweenie Dole Whip Swirl!

Since then, it has been a must stop for a sweet treat while in the Magic Kingdom.  I’ve stuck with the Swirl as my go-to flavor since it’s not as “pineappley” as the straight up Dole Whip.

Regular Dole Whip Swirl

Regular Dole Whip Swirl

One of my favorite variations of the Dole Whip debuted this year at Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival – Dole Whip with Spiced Rum!  Of course I had to try this!  While it was delicious, it was basically just a Dole Whip and the rum didn’t add or detract anything from it.  Would I get it again?  Um…yes!


Dole Whip with Spiced Rum

Sigh…I wish I had any one of these variations in my hand right now while the temps are 100 degrees outside.

Do you like Dole Whips?  What is your favorite kind…Original, Float, Swirl, Spiced Rum?

Friday Feast: Looking Ahead to the 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival!

To say that I’m getting excited for Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival is an understatement.  It is by far my favorite time of year.  I mean really, combining Disney with food is my idea of paradise!

A few weeks ago, Disney Every Day reported on some new food items that will be added to the menu this year and there are a few that I haven’t stopped thinking about.  Then earlier today, The Disney Food Blog announced four more new items…yay!  There are also a few old favorites that I’ve been dying to sink my teeth into again, so let’s take a look…

Old Favorites

Well my number one favorite item at the festival has to be the Lettuce Wrap with Roast Pork and Kimchi Slaw from the South Korea booth.  This dish is so flavorful and is incredibly filling for a small plate.  It’s actually also pretty healthy among all of the items available at the festival.  I’m a little nervous that it won’t be making a return this year because a Kimchi Dog with Spicy Mustard Sauce and Kimchi has been announced as a new item there.  I will be devastated if this is the case…

Lettuce Wraps

Last year I discovered the Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies at the Australia booth and fell in love.  Now I’m not a big lamb fan, but this was out of this world.  The combination of the mint and the salty potato chips was incredible.  I think I probably had at least 6 of these over the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend…they were the perfect post-race snack!!

Lamb Chop

The Florida Local Booth was new last year, but it had two wonderful dishes that I also had multiples of.  First was the Florida Shrimp Ceviche with Fire Roasted Vegetables, Fried Plantains and Cilantro, which was both refreshing and spicy. I also really enjoyed the White Corn Arepa with Mangalitsa Pork Rilette and Zellwood Sweet Corn Salad.  This wasn’t a hit with a lot of people, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I think I’m just a sucker for anything that has pork in it.

Arepa Delicioso!

New Deliciousness

Since they like to change up the menu at the festival, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I might not be able to get all of my favorite dishes again this year 🙁  But thankfully, some of the new items that have been announced look amazing.  First thing I’m dying to try is the Seared Trout with Frisee, Bacon and Maple Minus 8 Vinaigrette from the Canada booth.  Whoa…what is not to love about that?!?

Austraila looks like it’s going to have another winner on its hands with the addition of Garlic Shrimp served with what looks to be broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes.    Well all of that is sure to go very well with the Grilled Lamb Chop and maybe a nice glass of Pinot Noir.

The newly announced Lemongrass Curry Chicken from the Singapore booth sounds very promising, as long as it’s not overpoweringly spicy.  Also, the new for 2013 Scotland booth has a cocktail that I must try.  The Loch Lomond Cocktail which is Scotch, Drambuie and Dry Vermouth sounds delicious!

Well now you know what I’m most looking forward too…can you blame me?  Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival starts in only 77 days, but who’s counting?? 🙂

What is your favorite item at Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival?  What new items are you looking forward to trying?


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