Thursday, November 13, 2014

Food and Wine Fest 2014: Round Eight

Home stretch! We arrived ready to take on the last of the list. The day before, we had started at the entrance to World Showcase and moved clockwise, reaching the halfway point on the other side, so Sunday, we started in the same spot, but worked in the opposite direction.

First stop on the final round...


Ensalada de Carrucho.

I had gone back and forth on this menu. There was a slow-braised beef dish which wasn't speaking to me, a plantain dish but plantains remind me too much of bananas to brave ::shudder::, and a flan dish I almost convinced myself to try even though I never like flan. All because I was a little nervous to jump feet first into the Caribbean conch salad with onion, tomato, and cilantro. I am *so* glad I jumped in!! This was zippy and flavorful. There was a little spice and a vinegary tartness and all these bright flavors, although, interestingly, I couldn't detect the cilantro. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Plus, it came in a fun little paper cone!

I was pumped up now and ready for anything.


Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce. Neige Bubble.

I think this one might qualify as a cult favorite at this point. I almost took it off my list earlier in the Fest, with so much left to try, but then I couldn't resist that truffle butter. Not to mention, I had someone to share with, so I opted to get it after all, and did not regret it. Speaking of unable to resist, I would like to point out that for the first time in Fest history, I doubled up on a beverage. I have *never* duplicated a wine before. A food, sure, when I do my Grand Finale Tour, but never a wine. Well, this one was so delicious the first time I tried it, I just *had* to have it again!

Next up...


Warm Chocolate Pudding with Irish Cream Liqueur Custard.

Less of a pudding with custard, more of a cake with a thin sauce. That's no complaint. It isn't a molten cake, but rather the texture of a cake, warm from the oven, and just slightly underdone. That doesn't do it justice, but swimming in that shallow pool of thin cream? It's a little bite of heaven.

Getting so close to finishing everything I'd hoped to, I can almost (ha) taste it!


Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Tomato, and Cilantro.

Ever since last year's Fest, I have had this love affair with pork belly. For something that doesn't sound that appetizing, it sure is incredibly delicious. It's tender and packed full of flavor, and I love the little fresh garnish and the texture of the black beans as complements. It's such a well composed little dish. When I saw that it was making an encore appearance, I was legitimately excited.

I was actually pretty full at this point (remember, I usually have a week to recover between rounds, not less than 24 hours), so my plan was to just tag along with Daniel, who still had things he wanted to try, until we reached my final destination but...



Daniel offered me a taste, in attempt to get me to help him eat some, so he could still squeeze in a few more dishes. "ONE BITE." I said. Joke was on me. It was so light and tasty, one bite turned into about a third of the dish. The description said it was salmon, shrimp, crab, and egg over seaweed salad and ginger rice. I didn't notice any egg (and we're pretending right now that there was no salmon, because salmon and I are still in a fight, so I'm not sure if I accidentally got any or not), but the crab, shrimp, seaweed, and rice was incredible. There were also cucumbers and...some other stuff (mango, maybe? and those little balls of something unfamiliar), and it was all so very good.

And then, true to my word, I didn't have a bit of anything else until we reached...



The meringue shell made me work (there is *no* good way to cut that thing!) but the vanilla custard (more of a pudding really) and the fresh berries make it so worth the effort. It's light but satisfying and bursting with yumminess. It was a fantastic way to end the final round of Festing. We departed, triumphant.

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