Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Food and Wine Fest 2014: Round Seven

When in a time crunch, delegate! Wait...no...that's not right. When you have too many dishes left to try at Food and Wine Fest and you're running out of time to try them, bring a friend and tag team! More specifically, if you each tackle the list, you can split each item, thus leaving room to try more things. Brilliant, yes? So Daniel flew in from California for the weekend, and we went to town on that Fest. Two days, two friends, too many dishes for one person but not for two!


Fresh Watermelon Juice.

I flat refuse to try any more of the fake foods in this booth. I've been fooled too many times by chick'n that ain't trick'n nobody. (Pardon my poor grammar.) I'll stick to whetting (wetting?) my palate with this cup of watermelon juice. It's vaguely sweet and very refreshing and it's made from REAL watermelons. (I wonder how many watermelons it takes to make all the juice for the Fest...?)

Moving along to some actual food in...


Shrimp Taco.

I'll 'fess up. I was a mite skeptical about this one, going in. Mostly because I loved (loved loved) the original shrimp taco they've offered at this kiosk the last several years. Loved as in anticipated with much salivation and impatience and (perhaps) excessive excitement. And they went and (gasp!) *changed* it for this year. No more red cabbage and a lime wedge and a drizzle of zesty green sauce (sad, so sad). But at least they kept the shrimps crispy. This re-imagination lacked the colorful punch of its predecessor (though this one is not ugly), so I snapped my photo (an ordeal in itself because it was approaching Dorothy-in-Kansas levels of windy, which meant the swaying palms were totally messing with the light-and-shadow situation that is, ya know, critical to taking a photo), and then settled in to give this one a try, with its pickled habanero pepper and onion, and a new orange sauce. Begrudgingly, I will admit that this was tasty. Not as tasty as the old version, but far from disappointing. It was zesty and tangy, crispy and chewy, and I think if I had nothing to compare it to, I would have raved about it. Take that as you will. (I'm still a little sulky though.)

Full speed ahead!


Pepper Bacon Hash with Sweet Corn, Potatoes, Hollandaise, and Pickled Jalapenos. Chateau St Michelle and Dr Loosen Eroica Riesling.

After being vastly disappointed by the last dish I tried from this kiosk (that Griddled Yard Bird still annoys me), I was a combination of hopeful and cautiously optimistic about this one. Redemption for you, Farm Fresh kiosk! This was uh-maze-ing. Savory and spicy and creamy, a little bit of heat, lots of tasty veggies. It was honestly delicious. Paired with that perfectly sweet-and-dry Riesling to cool the jalapeno heat, I was thrilled that I hadn't merely given up on this menu all together. And the portion was so generous, there was more than enough to split. (The hash, not the wine. That was all mine!)

As we approached the very next booth, I realized I had yet to make a stop in...


Beijing Roasted Duck in a Steamed Bun with Hoisin Sauce.

Things I liked about this dish: 1. It was a departure from chicken, beef, and pork. Duck! I'm in! 2. There is something about the contrast of tangy red onion and sweet hoisin sauce that just speaks to me. 3. I am endlessly entertained by the airy stickiness of the steamed bun.

Making some considerable progress, but there's no time to waste. Next country, ahoy.


South African Bobotie with Turkey and Mushrooms.

I wanted to be a big girl with expanded culinary horizons. This dish just messed with my head though. It was like quiche...but not. It was turkey and mushrooms, but all I could taste was...something spicy. As in cinnamon or nutmeg sort of spicy. And while I like raisins in my trail mix and raisins in certain desserts, I do *not* like raisins cooked into a savory dish. Nope, nope, nope. That one bite you see? That was it for me. The rest was unloaded onto Daniel...

...who ate it while I made a beeline for...


Ravioli alla Caprese.

Now *this* was more my speed. Not that it was terribly adventurous. But the layers of pasta and cheese, served with a healthy serving of tomato basil sauce, and then a nice gooey melted mozzarella topping? You can't argue with that. Fun fact: if there is any sort of reference to caprese, I am powerless to resist.

At this point, we were waddling, so we chose our final destination for the day...


Artisan Cheese Plate: (left to right top to bottom) Cave Man Blue Cheese. Cabot Cloth-Wrapped Cheddar. Purple Haze Chevre Goat Cheese.

Funny story, actually. As I was trying to take this photo, Daniel was being a wiseguy, moving the cheese all around so I couldn't focus. I warned him that his shenanigans were going to lead to an accident and he laughed me off. And then a gust of wind blew that cracker away. Ahem. Don't play with your food. Anyway, the cheese. I like the blue cheese paired with the dried cranberries, but less with the cashews. The cheddar was sharp but mild and while I liked it with the honey, I felt like some kind of chutney would have suited it better. The goat cheese was pretty unexciting. I usually enjoy goat cheese, but the only flavor I got from it at all was the rosemary it was herbed with. I'm not sure even the loss of the cracker made any real difference.

And then we departed and vowed not to eat anything else until we arrived back at Epcot the next day.

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