Sunday, October 6, 2013

Food and Wine Fest 2013: Round One

Guess what time it is! Guess what. time. it. is.

Commence squealing and bouncing around with glee.

I made my initial circuit around World Showcase, eyeballing the line lengths, peeking at dishes, smelling all the enticing foods, and getting my booth and menu images on file. I like to get that out of the way before I get down to business. After that, all bets are off!

I noticed the far side of World Showcase Lagoon had the lightest crowds, so off I went in the direction of...


Venison Sausage with Pickled Mushrooms, Baby Arugula and Black Currant Reduction.

I cannot even begin to describe the perfect balance of this dish. The flavors were so complimentary that, somehow, they all could shine without drowning one another out. (Full disclosure: I didn't eat the mushrooms though.) The sausage had just the right spices and was flavorful without being heavy or greasy. The baby arugula was fresh, green and peppery. And the reduction added just the tiniest hint of sweetness without seeming out of place on the palate. Being a brand new menu item for 2013, I had no idea what to expect. I don't often take a chance on an unknown to kick off a Food and Wine Fest, but this? Was a sure winner.

From New Zealand, I headed right? East? I don't know. I know I landed in...


Teriyaki Chicken Hand Roll.

Hmmm...sushi but with chicken? Intrigued! Well. Yum. So much deliciousness! The flavors were mild but tasty. The chicken-to-rice ratio was exactly right. And I gobbled this up in no time flat. (I did do a dab of wasabi, but I cannot handle the ginger. It comes on the plate and it looks pretty, but I am too wimpy. The ginger wins.) Another new dish for 2013 and another winner!

I was feeling like I was on a roll as I made my way to...


I'd like to pause here and express my disappointment that they can't do better with the name of this booth. Cheese? Seriously? Once upon a time, they called this booth "Mouse Trap." At least that showed some creativity. Step up your game there, Disney event planners!

Almond Crusted Blue Cheese Souffle with Fig Jam. Once Upon a Vine's The Big Bad Red Blend.

Well, maybe my expectations were ill-conceived, but I was anticipating more of a...I don't know...lighter, more bread-like or airy texture? Instead, this was heavy and slimy, like an under-cooked quiche. The blue cheese had a nice flavor, but that was its only redeeming quality. The almonds were not toasted and they were sliced, adding a completely incongruous layer of texture to an already questionable dish. I took about three bites, but even the addition of the fig jam couldn't save it. For the first time since 2011's Great Flan Debacle, I had to chalk this one up as a loss. The wine, on the other hand, was fabulous. I am not a fan of many reds. The earthiness just doesn't appeal to me. This one, though, was a blend of Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and several other grapes in smaller percentages. It was berry-berry-berry, which is right up my alley, with a hint of spice. I read, later, that there is also supposed to be notes of black plum and rootbeer, and now I am kind of wanting to have another glass to see if I can detect those as well!

It was getting warm and I was on my second lap, so I was mostly done. Not before getting some dessert in...


Pavlova (crispy meringue shell with vanilla custard and fresh berries).

I didn't want my final "new dish experiment" to end on a failure, so I decided to make my dessert selection a new menu item as well. My one and only complaint: the meringue was a challenge to cut/break with the spoon! I was afraid I was going to send the whole thing flying out of the dish and onto the ground. I finally worked out a system, though, and this was, indeed, a good choice. The meringue was light and crispy, the vanilla custard (which was more of a pudding, in my opinion), with its creaminess, was a great contrast to the bright flavors of the fresh berries, and the whole thing was delicious and not at all heavy--a great way to wind up the first round of 2013.

Four new dishes and a red wine tried with only one disappointment. Already looking forward to Round Two!

2 with their own thoughts:

Desert Songbird Tuesday, October 08, 2013 12:29:00 PM  

What is this Great Flan Debacle of which you allude? I must investigate further.

Your food descriptions are wonderfully amusing at times. :)

penuttpie Saturday, October 12, 2013 3:23:00 PM  

Boy do I wish I could join you!!!

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP