Sunday, September 30, 2012

Food & Wine Booth reviews

The Food & Wine Festival at Epcot officially started on Friday.  In years past, they've done previews on Thursday.

I spent the past week in Puerto Rico for work.  On Thursday my flight landed at an awkward time.  If I went straight home, it would be the end of the work day by the time I got home.  Since the weather was nice, I decided to stop by Epcot and see if they were doing the preview again this year.

Lucky me! They were!
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year <3

Since I was by myself, I knew I wouldn't be trying too much.  So I started by going left towards Mexico.  Of course, since I just came from Puerto Rico, none of the Caribbean/Argentinean/Mexican food sounded exciting to me.  I wound up passing a lot of them by, but checking out the menus and making mental notes for later.

My first stop was at Belgium.  No, not for the waffle (though it did look delicious!)  Instead I opted for the mussels.  2 years ago the mussels were in a wine/butter sauce and they were delicious.  This year they're in a beer sauce, which I thought sounded intriguing.

Mussels in Beer sauce - Belgium
First, I need to talk about the baskets everything was coming in this year.  I don't like them.  They just looked cheap to me.  They didn't feel very sturdy either.  I miss the plates and bowls.  Also: I'm going to rate everything on a scale of 1 through 5.  With 5 being "OMG. This dish is AH-mazing." and 1 being "Ew."

Now that I got that out of my system...the mussels were okay.  The beer sauce was a bit of a let down, it just fell a little flat.  I'd probably give it a 3.  Not offensive, but I probably will skip it for the remainder of the festival.

One thing I noticed along my walk was the lack of tables.  It seemed like there were a lot fewer compared to last year.  I had a hard time finding places to eat...which concerns me since I was just 1 and it was a low-crowd day for the Festival.  I wound up sharing my table at Belgium - which I expected anyway, but the family that was going for the same table at the same time seemed a little taken aback that they would need to share a table (I was the one who invited them to share since I hit the table first...there were plenty of chairs.)

My next stop was all the way around the World Showcase at Canada.  I figured this would be my one chance to try Canada without waiting in line for a half hour!  It was a little too hot for the cheese soup, so I opted for the filet.  At $6.50, it's on the high end for the Festival.

They didn't have any filets ready to go, so I wound up standing for a bit.  I took a picture of the sausages while I was waiting.

Sausage - Canada
Filet with mushrooms and truffle butter sauce - Canada
Not having the beef ready to go?  Turns out that was awesome.  Since they were trying to push them out quickly, it meant the beef was cooked correctly (in my mind anyway.)  It was a good medium-rare.  The sauce was just enough to enhance the dish without over powering it.  And my little plastic knife cut through it like butter.  Definitely a 5.  If I could eat this every day all day without gaining weight...I totally would.  There is a caveat though: part of what made this irresistible was temperature of the meat.  If it were cooked closer to medium-well, it just wouldn't have been as great.  So proceed with caution.

My next stop was just across the way at Greece.  Here's where being just 1 person was a problem...I could have tried just about everything on the menu.  I opted for the griddled cheese though.  (Also - notice the dark clouds in the next picture, I knew I needed to be on my way soon!)


Griddled cheese with honey and pistachios
This was another booth that I had to wait a decent amount of time for my food.  Hopefully they worked through that on Thursday so there won't be any huge delays when it's busy.

I made the mistake of throwing away my knife and forgetting to pick up another one.  I could have used it.  But the cheese was everything you would want it to be.  It was ooey and gooey and delicious.  The honey and pistachios were fantastic with it. I would probably give it a 4.  I could have really used a was just a tad messy.  Also, I can't give everything 5s.  It would then devalue my 5.  It's also a dish that if I don't get to have again for the rest of the festival, that would be okay.  But if I was with someone who suggested it, you wouldn't need to twist my arm.

At this point since the clouds were getting darker, I knew I needed to leave.  I was disappointed that I didn't see the Hawaii booth (I was expecting it to be around the American Pavilion) but I wasn't going to back track and get rained on.  Then, like a beacon of light, there it was on my way out!  As you enter the World Showcase down the middle, it's directly on your right, right next to the beer.  I knew what I wanted when I got in line: the Tuna Poke.

Tuna Poke - Hawaii
This was so delicious.  It had ahi-tuna, sesame seeds, a lotus chip, and seaweed salad.  The tuna was super fresh and the seaweed salad had a nice crunch to it.  I totally loved this.  Since it was a hot day, a dish this light really hit the spot.  Definitely a 5.  When we go back, I might make Geoff get his own so I don't need to share it.

I ate this as I was walking out...I could see the rain approaching.  I had good timing.  About 5 minutes out it started pouring.

So that's all for now.  Look for more as the Festival continues!

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