Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Food and Wine Fest 2014: Round One

IT'S HERE IT'S HERE IT'SHEREIT'SHEREIT'SHERE!!

::whispers:: It's here.

And not even the rain was going to stop me. Or the sun that came out after the rain and turned the whole World into the largest open air steam bath known to man.

I took my initial spin around World Showcase -- that's when I scope the scene, and get my kiosk and menu photos -- as quickly as I could (considering the air was so thick, I was practically drowning in it). And then... Bring me the foods!

SINGAPORE


Seared Mahi Mahi with Jasmine Rice and "Singa" Sauce.

I believe this is the third year in a row that they've offered this dish at this Marketplace kiosk. I have to say, this has, by far, been the best serving I've had. The fish was mild and not at all dry or slimy (two issues that are fairly common with mass produced fish, in my experience), and it hasn't been any of the times I've had it in the past, but this time, I got the perfect balance between fish and rice, and a generous portion of that amazing "Singa" sauce, which drooool. I started in Singapore because the line was nearly non-existent. People clearly do not know what they are missing!


Fest officially kicked off on a good note and off in search of another short line...

JAPAN


Teriyaki Gyoza Bun.

Hmmmm...a new menu option! I'm in! So good. *So* good. The steamed bun was so light and airy...

...and filled with deliciousness. The veggies and chicken were nearly swimming in a sweet teriyaki bath that was packed with flavor. Proof not to judge a book by its cover or a dish by its unassuming "wrapper."


Having already made the circuit around the World Showcase lagoon once, and seeing as how I had dressed for cooler, rainy weather and was now sweltering in jeans, I decided the rest of my choices needed to come between where I was (roughly the mid point of the far side of World Showcase) and the walkway where I would be making my way toward the exit. This left me around eleven Marketplace kiosks from which to decide...

BELGIUM


Belgian Waffle with Berry Compote and Whipped Cream.

Being so hot, I was all about lighter foods. Belgium was offering the same three variations on waffles as last Fest. Once again, I just wasn't being enticed by the savory option. And now let this be a testament to that berry compote. 2013 was the first time they offered the option with the chocolate ganache. My love affair with chocolate is well-documented and no secret, and, being a new menu option, I was all over it, especially having had the berry version each year since Belgium made its debut in 2010. Well, here we are in 2014, and I am being offered either berry or chocolate...and I was all about the berries! There is just something about the berries with that airy waffle. Yes, it trumps even the chocolate. I tried to get a little more artistic with my photo, with some berry-drenched waffle and a spot of cream, perched on my fork, but it kept falling off and I was getting impatient to eat this little lovely. So, no creativity for you. Just yumminess for me.


Immediately next to Belgium, actually in the space that Belgium occupied in the past, was a Marketplace that was impossible to miss.

BRAZIL


Pao de Queijo.

What's that, you ask? It is Brazilian cheesy bread. Cheeeeeesy. Like super extra cheesy. There were two pieces -- the one on the fork was about a third of one piece -- and that serving would have been more than enough to share, because did I mention cheesy? One the outside, it was like a biscuit, and I bit into it, expecting that there would just be a cheese mixed into the dough, giving it a flaky texture and a cheesy flavor. Oh, no. That was an ooey-gooey cheesy center, with what amounted to a crust of biscuit on the outside. It was very good, but two made me feel like I was about to burst.

Remember when I mentioned that you couldn't miss the Brazil Marketplace? Well, before I move along, I have to share why. It is decorated with all these colorful banners. The vibrancy, the flutter in the wind, the visual texture...irresistible! Must stop and play with camera while I digest some of that cheesy bread.




Just a tiny bit of room left for some dessert. Creme brulee in France? Too heavy... Line in Ireland? Too long... No dessert options in Canada... or Greece... I know!

SCOTLAND


Cranachan.

This, I learned, is pronounced "cruh-nack-in." And it consists of  whipped cream, raspberries (not whole, but not as liquidy as a sauce), and toasted oats. Light, not too sweet, a little crunch? Perfect. And I was exactly right. My one complaint, and it was minor, because it didn't ruin the dish for me, was due to refrigeration, the toasted oats were a little spongy, so they didn't provide a satisfying crunch, but they did still add a bit of interesting texture. And really? I'm pretty content with raspberries and cream.




Time to waddle my stuffed, sweaty self back to my car, crank up the air, and plan my next round...

1 with their own thoughts:

Giuseppina Lubrano Saturday, September 27, 2014 4:10:00 PM  

I. Love. This.
Now I just have to figure out a way to go with you...

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