Posts Tagged by wine

Kill, Refurb, Marry: Epcot Food & Wine Booths

Kill-Marry-RefurbThe Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is by far the BEST event at Walt Disney World.  This was my 5th year attending the event and I must say that it just keeps getting better every year.  The chefs are always looking for new ways to bring innovative dishes to the kiosks and explore more of the world through food.

So when I saw that this month’s topic for Kill, Refurb, Marry was Epcot Food & Wine Booths I got very excited, but then immediately was filled with dread.  How could I pick a favorite?!  That’s like a parent picking a favorite child!  After much agonizing and review of my DFB Guide to the Festival, I have narrowed down my choices….with a few honorable mentions for good measure 🙂

Kill – Singapore

I have to be honest, this is a booth I always avoid.  While the Seared Mahi Mahi looks good, everything else at the booth looks completely unappetizing.  My first reaction when I saw the Lemongrass Chicken Curry this year was that it looks like vomit, seriously.  This photo actually makes it look ok, but in person…nope.

Photo Source: Disney Food Blog

Photo Source: Disney Food Blog

Then there is the Singapore Sling.  This just sounds like a tropical version of a Long Island Iced Tea where you mix together a bunch of things and call it a cocktail.  Plus anything with gin immediately heightens my gag reflex.

It is rare that you will find someone that actually enjoys the food at this booth and most people have strong opinions against it.  Take it from my friend Rick who had an interesting review from last year’s festival.  So let’s move on from Singapore and add something a bit more appealing like Thailand!

Refurb – Terra

This was a tough one sine I find something redeeming at most booths.  I decided to go with Terra because I feel like there are so many interesting Vegan dishes out there that don’t have to include “fake meat.”  I was a vegetarian for over 8 years and I never enjoyed any of those products.  The texture was always very strange to me and I always wondered what kind of additives were being used to mimic those flavors. Doesn’t the texture of this year’s CraB’less CraB Cake look odd??

Photo Source: Disney Food Blog

Photo Source: Disney Food Blog

While I haven’t tried anything from Terra yet this year, I did try the Chick’n dish last year and my predictions were correct.  However I really enjoyed the sauces and sides that were served with the Chick’n.  My hope is that the chefs get a little more creative with natural vegan ingredients in the future.

Marry – Scotland

Scotland made it’s Food & Wine Festival debut last year and I loved everything they had to offer.  You can actually see me gushing over everything in this video…even the Vegetarian Haggis which I thought I was going to hate.  Well this year Scotland has outdone themselves.  It’s hard to believe, but they have actually gotten BETTER!


Along with the Vegetarian Haggis, they have added a Seared Sea Scallop with Spinach-Cheddar Gratin with Crispy Bacon AND a Fresh Potato Pancake with Smoked Scottish Salmon and Herb Sour Cream.  OH. MY. Both of these dishes are absolutely amazing.  When I visited they actually ran out of bacon for the scallop (a punishable offense!) and the dish was still outstanding.  I can’t wait to try it again with the bacon…I might actually pass out.  On top of that, all the drinks at the booth are wonderful.

Scotland, you are everything a Food & Wine Booth should be.  I Love You!

So those are my choices…what about you??  What Epcot Food & Wine Booths would you Kill, Refurb & Marry??  Make sure to visit This Happy Place BlogMouse on the Mind and all of the other great blogs participating in Kill, Refurb, Marry today!


Also, make sure to check out the DFB Guide to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival to help plan your visit.  It’s a lifesaver in helping you get the most out of your time at the festival!

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New 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival DFB Guide!

It is hard to believe that the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival starts in less than one week! Once again it is the most wonderful time of year for us Disney foodies.  Bring on the lamb chops and cheese soup and tacos and beer and and and…  Clearly I’m not excited at all.

Because there is so much to see and do during the festival, planning is key!  For the past few years, I have relied on the DFB Guides to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival to help me plan what booths I want to visit, what demonstrations I want to book and help me put together a general plan of attack.  There are over 30 booths to choose from and I want to make sure that I don’t miss anything!


The DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival e-book has everything you need to know before heading to Walt Disney World.  From what’s NEW at the festival, to touring strategies, to detailed menus and an entire FAQ section!  Here’s more of what you will find:

  • In-depth descriptions, prices, dates and times of events, seminars, demonstrations, and tasting options at the festival and how to book them
  • A full, daily schedule of events for every day of the festival
  • Details on how and where to use Disney Dining Plan Snack Credits at the festival
  • A list of the most popular items and events and how to experience them
  • An updated Epcot Food & Wine Festival FAQ section with information on how to make your visit more enjoyable
  • Printable checklist of the World Showcase Booth menus
  • Full index of brand new additions to the festival

Since this will be my 6th year attending the festival (WOW!), my first stop in the guide is always the “What’s NEW!” section.  I have my favorites that I MUST get each year (lamb chops and pork lettuce wraps, I’m talking to you!), but I love to try new things.  This is so helpful in prioritizing what new items to try and some of the new events I might want to attend.

2014-DFB-Food-and-Wine-Guide-Whats-NewOne of my favorite features has to be all of the detailed information on the Marketplace Booths.  Each booth has it’s own page, complete with photos of the booths AND food as well as the full menu.  This gets me so excited for what is to come and makes it easy to plan out the booths I MUST visit.  The photos are also great if you are not familiar with a particular dish or ingredient.  Here’s what you’ll find at one of my favorite booths, South Korea:


Another great feature are the special event listings.  Between the large events, like Party for the Senses, and the smaller culinary demonstrations, there is A LOT to keep track of.  The guide has a full daily schedule of events complete with times.  Are you as excited to see Sister Hazel as my friend Rick is?  No worries, this guide will tell you the dates and times they are performing!


And that’s not all!  There are fun bonus items like:

  • Eleven themed World Showcase Booth Crawls!
  • Customized touring strategies for the festival based on how much time you have to spend, if you have children, what your priorities are to see, and more!
  • Indexes of food, beer, wine, wineries, and chefs – complete with chef bios!
  • A fun playlist of songs featuring artists appearing at the Eat to the Beat Concert Series

So what’s better than having this awesome e-book downloaded to your phone as you walk around the Festival or on your laptop as you’re planning your trip??  A discount of course!  Right now you can receive $3 off your purchase of the DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival e-book by using the discount code CHEFS at checkout.

All books come with a 100% money-back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose!  But trust me, you won’t want to give it back.  Find out more about the DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival e-book here!

Happy eating!!

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Wine & Dine Half Marathon runDisney Meet Up

Photo Courtesy of runDisney

Well the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend definitely lived up to all of my expectations!  This was by far the best race weekend I have attended so far.  The expo was great, the race was exciting, and the after party was a ton of fun!  More to come on all of that later…  Now, let’s start with a recap of the amazing runDisney meetup I was invited to attend on Friday.

The meetup was held in Epcot and it was early.  My roomie (and partner in crime) for the weekend, Amanda from Disney Every Day, and I made our way over to the park just as the sun was coming up and got to see this amazing site…

There were about 40 people in attendance, along with a few runDisney folks and some special guests.  We all checked in, got our awesome runDisney shirts and got to know each other a bit.  It was great to finally meet so many fellow runners that I have been talking to through social media for so long!

runDisney fans ready to run!

Amanda & I
Photo Courtesy of Disney Every Day

Now it was off to run around Epcot!!  Instructions were given out by the runDisney team and we were told that there would be two groups taking off to run the 1.7 loop.  The first would be the super fast runners (clearly not me), who would be  running the entire time at a 9-10 minute per mile pace.  Leading that group would be Anton Van Zyl, two time winner of the Wine & Dine Half Marathon.  The next group would be led by Jeff Galloway and using his run-walk-run method…definitely more my style.

After the first group left, we were off!  It was really neat to have Epcot all to ourselves just as it was waking up.  Our group did a 30 second run/ 30 second walk with Jeff Galloway leading the charge.  And look who we met along the way…

Runner Mickey!

From Future World, we headed into World Showcase and went clockwise around the lagoon.  We did one full loop and met up with the other group back in Germany.

Approaching China

Good Morning Epcot!

Arriving in Germany

Once we all got to Germany, we went into Biergarten for a continental breakfast and some really great presentations!  I had never been inside Biergarten, so I was stoked about that.  it was also nice to share those big tables with friends and fellow runners instead of with strangers eating sausage…just sayin.

runDisney Presenters: Bob Hitchcock, Faren Kelly, Jeff Galloway & Tara Gidus

Bob Hitchcock and Faren Kelly of runDisney both welcomed us to the event and talked about the evolution of runDisney over the past few years.  Did you know that the brand has only existed for two short years?!  It has become more than just a few races weekends, but it is transforming into a lifestyle.  Can’t I attest to that!!  With the addition of training and dietary consultants, runDisney is giving runners the tools to incorporate healthy changes into their everyday lives.

Jeff Galloway took the stage next to give us some tips to keep in mind for the race the next day.  The most helpful I found were to:

  • Pace yourself out of the starting gate
  • For night races, don’t over eat after noon and focus on foods that digest easily
  • Drink at least 6 glasses of water throughout the day prior to the race
Next up was 2 time (now 3 time!) Wine & Dine Half Marathon winner, Anton Van Zyl, who was quite impressive.  A few weeks prior to this event, he completed the Ironman triathlon in Hawaii, which is one of the world’s most difficult events.  He seems to take a very relaxed approach to racing and doesn’t look at them like a competition.  He advised all of us to enjoy the moment, not run too hard and to find something that motivates you for when times get tough on the course.  Other helpful advice for both races and training was to:
  • Create a mantra
  • Focus on pumping your arms
  • Don’t skip aide stations
  • Use compression for recovery
  • Make sure to take rest days when training
  • Nutrition and hydration is very important – he finds Coke very helpful…interesting!
  • Use caffeine to stay focused, not to increase speed
  • Have fun!  Anton shared that his favorite character to take a photo with at runDisney events is Donald Duck 🙂  (Yes, he wins races AND stops for character photos!)

Anton Van Zyl

We were then treated to some very helpful nutritional advice from the “Diet Diva,” Tara Gidus.  The biggest take away I left with from her presentation was that HOW you eat is just as important as WHAT you eat.  It is very important to eat in the morning before you run and then continue to eat every 2 -4 hours throughout the day.  Before races, it is important to stay away from high fat foods because they don’t digest as quickly.  Also, it is just as important to focus on what you eat after a run.  You want to try to consume carbs within 30 minutes after a run and then protein within 2 hours of that.  Great items to have are antioxidant rich smoothies or chocolate milk.

Tweeting out this great advice!
Next to me are Jenn from Eat, Sleep, Run, Disney, Heather from Running with Sass and Marc (@PlazaAndMainSt)
Photo Courtesy of runDisney

After Tara’s very helpful presentation (you know how I love nutrition!), we were treated to a culinary demonstration by Chef Steff, aka the Sports Chef.  It is the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, so the day wouldn’t be complete without some food!  We were treated to a tasting of Chef’s Famous Spaghetti Pie, which is a great post-run meal.  I’m trying to avoid gluten, but I did have a few bites and it was very good!

Chef Steff’s Spaghetti Pie Demonstration

There was one last surprise in store for us before the program was over.  Mickey had changed from his run and came out to to help Chef Steff cook!  I love Chef Mickey!!

Tara Gidus, Chef Mickey & Chef Steff answering questions

Once the formal program was over, we all headed outside for photos…lots and lots of photos!

Me & Jeff Galloway…too cool!

Me & Chef Mickey!!!

Photo of the day goes to my friend Daniel & Chef Mickey
Photo Courtesy of runDisney

Photo Courtesy of runDisney

Before we left the park, the group made one last stop at the Norway pavilion.  Next to the Stave Church, there is a beautiful bronze statue of Grete Waitz.  Grete was a marathon runner who won many races, including nine New York City Marathons.  She held numerous other world records during her career in almost every race distance.  She sadly passed away last year from cancer at the age of 57.  As fellow runners, we all stopped to pay our respects and take a group photo in tribute to this amazing athlete.

Photo Courtesy of runDisney

What an amazing morning!  I have never had more fun getting up at 5:30 am!!  It’s events like this that make runDisney race weekends stand out from other races and why I keep coming back.  Have you ever been to a runDisney meet up?


Disclosure: I was invited to attend the entire weekend as media.  My hotel expenses, meals and park admission were provided by Disney.  As always, all opinions are 100% my own and I am 100% obsessed with runDisney events.

Getting Ready for the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon

My second half marathon is coming up this Saturday, and I must admit I’m a little nervous.  I haven’t been feeling myself lately.  Work is hectic, my allergies are at full blast, and I’m not sleeping well.  Not the best start to a half marathon week.

Oh did I mention work was hectic?  This morning I leave for the MGM Grand at Foxwoods for a large conference I have been working on for just about a year.  I’m there for the next 2 days prepping and then managing parts of the conference.  We have close to 400 people attending, 72 exhibitors, breakout sessions, cocktail parties…you name it!  If all goes as planned, I will be leaving early on Friday by 10:00 am.  Big thanks to my colleagues for covering me.  This is because on Friday, I will be driving (actually Barry will be driving) 7+ hours to Leesburg, VA for the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon.

So let’s see, I will be sleeping in a strange bed for 3 nights before the race, eating foods that probably aren’t the best for me, and partaking in a few cocktails here and there.  I’ve been hydrating for a few days already and I will try to make the best food choices as possible, but my will power is lacking when good restaurants are in view.  All in all, this is not the ideal situation for a race week, hence my nervous stomach.  And then there all my AMAZING friends and family who donated over $3,100 to help me run this race for Team Challenge.  No pressure there… :O

Ok let’s stop looking at the negatives and focus on some positives for the weekend that I’m really excited about.  Wine, wine and more wine.  I’ve never been to the Virginia wine country, but from what I’ve seen it’s beautiful.  Check out some pics from last year’s race.

Absolutely beautiful.  So not only is the wine country nice to look at, but there is plenty of wine to be had.  The weekend starts out with a wine tasting at the host hotel, which I will sadly not be able to make due to my late arrival on Friday.  Then there will be plenty of wine during and after the race.  That’s right, I said during the race.  I just received this in an email today about the weekend:

Wine and Music on-course? Yes, it’s true! Runners will deviate from the course at mile 6 to visit Hiddencroft Vineyards for water station #4.  Not just any water stop, there will also be a band (the Shorthill Mountain Boys) and small sample of white wine offered (Traminette, an east coast hybrid of Gewurtraminer).  

I’m not sure if I’ll partake in this, but I think it’s pretty cool that they are offering it.  Then after the race, there is a post-race wine and music festival.  All runners will get a wine glass after crossing the finish line and be able to have a glass from the hosting winery, Doukenie.  Family and friends are invited to join us for wine, food and music from two live bands!  How fun?!!

Prior to the race on Friday evening, there is a pasta dinner with Jeff Galloway.  As a Disney runner, I am very excited to get to meet Jeff Galloway since he is the official runDisney training consultant.  I also use Jeff’s run/walk method of training and it has really helped me increase my speed.  I have a lot to thank him for!  Plus I will be able to catch up with my Team Challenge teammates during the dinner, many of whom I have not spoken to in a while since I’ve missed a lot of trainings.

So it’s not all bad.  I have a lot to look forward to and I VERY excited to run my second half marathon.  My goal is to complete it in under 3 hours and I’m feeling confident I can accomplish this goal.  I just need to get through the next few days with minimal stress.  Wish me luck and hopefully I will have good news to report on Saturday afternoon!  I don’t think there is runner tracking for this race, but my bib # is 2831 if you’re interested 🙂