From the BlogConnect On Facebook

Archives for November 2012

Orlando, FL: Dining Around the World

The Food and Wine Festival at Epcot combines 2 of my favorite things: food and fun.

Those that dream to fly all around the world to feast on the authentic dishes, you can come to Disney during this festival and you can simply walk all around the world =) It happens every year during the fall and continues for about a month and a half.

Our morning was spent at Hollywood Studios. To read up on those adventures, go here: Horray for Hollywood Studios Part 2 of the day was going to Epcot. Here’s the 3 of us as we’re waiting at the bus stops in front of Hollywood Studios to go to Epcot.

And we’re heeeerrre!! With stomachs slightly grumbling, we excitedly made our way over to the festival. Perhaps the truly overly excited one was me =D  jumping_epcot_orlando_florida_day_with_kaye

My friend had already been to the festival… multiple times. BUT, that was helpful in what food and drink to try at each place. Each country had a small selection of food and beverage to try. Mister and I planned it out that we would share most of the dishes, so at least we would be able to try almost all of them. All the items ranged from about $2.50-$5.00.

For further information, this website was pretty informative about this Festival: Disney Food Blog

We just went clockwise around the entire place starting with Terra.

terra_menu_food_and_wine_festival_epcot_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye

Here we had the Trick’n Chick’n Curry with Basmati Rice. It wasn’t as spicy as I thought the curry would have been, but I guess you need to appease to a large range of palettes. Mister and I gobbled this one up pretty quickly and it was a good kickstart for our stomachs. terra_chicken_curry__food_and_wine_festival_epcot_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye

Next up was Caribbean where all of us had the Bacardi Frozen Dragon Berry Colada. We were already going for something refreshing since we started feasting just a little bit past noon, so it was pretty hot out, which makes this the best idea ever.

caribbean_bacardi_frozen_dragon_berry_colada_food_and_wine_festival_epcot_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye

Onward to Argentina!

argentina_menu_food_and_wine_festival_epcot_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye

Here all 3 of us shared both of the food items on the menu. First up is the empanada and then the skewer with the sauce follows. The chimichurri was AMAZING. Mister and I scraped up every last bit. I’m proud of that =D

argentina_chimichurri_food_and_wine_festival_epcot_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye

argentina_beef_skewer_pesto_food_and_wine_festival_epcot_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye

Mister was on his own on this next dish. Actually, it was more of he didn’t want to share it with me. This is the grilled lamb chop from Australia. Looks a little skimpy on the portions.

australia_lamb_chop_food_and_wine_festival_epcot_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye

We passed by Mexico just because we said we would stop by afterwards to have a margarita to celebrate a “hard day’s work” of eating. We actually didn’t end up going here afterwards. Maybe we were a little too stuffed. But, I did try on the ridiculously large sombrero that I actually saw someone else wandering around the park who actually bought it and wore it.

mexico_sombrero_food_and_wine_festival_epcot_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye

Just look at the amount of people waiting in line here. Yesh. But yes, we were in that line too because who can turn down Lettuce Wraps with Pork and Kimchi slaw… not us!

The other food option at this location was a Mung Bean Pancake with Shrimp and Kimchi Sauce. But I will say that this was was in my top 3 spots for absolute favorite dish. It’s one of the newer locations in the festival since it was introduced/included in 2010. As a tip to you, for a flavorful dish with a slight kick and tang, go for this one.

south_korea_line_food_and_wine_festival_epcot_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye south_korea_shrimp_kimchi_sauce_food_and_wine_festival_epcot_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye

We passed up some of the places because either the items in the menu didn’t appeal to us OR we have had the actual dish in its country. For example, I’ve had Swedish Meatballs and Lingonberries from Scandinavia. If you care to sidetrack for a bit and go on that adventure, check out my blog posts about Stockholm, Sweden. Here are some of the other places that we decided to skip.

cheese_food_and_wine_festival_epcot_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye ireland_food_and_wine_festival_epcot_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye.jpg

Mister actually had a beer in Germany, but didn’t have to wait in this long line. We went to a kiosk where there was no line and we were in the shade. Bonus!

germany_food_and_wine_festival_epcot_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye.jpg

We moved on to Poland where mister and I shared the Zapiekanki – Toasted Mushroom, Caramelized Onion and Cheese Bread with House-Made Ketchup. This was one of the heavier dishes we ate – still delicious though!

poland_zapiekanki_mushroom_onion_cheese_bread_food_and_wine_festival_epcot_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye.jpg

And I didn’t want to, but I couldn’t resist. I had the urge to compare the cannoli I had in Italy versus the one here. It was a sad mistake. For your visual comparison, here is the image of the Sicilian cannoli taken during our honeymoon. Biggest difference… this one was SO TINY! =/ I felt robbed.

italy_cannoli_food_and_wine_festival_epcot_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye.jpg

The disappointment didn’t last long though because we went to the Hops and Barley Market to get a Lobster Roll. Everything cannoli was forgotten.

hops_and_barley_market_lobster_roll_food_and_wine_festival_epcot_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye

We are just over halfway of walking around the world and since we skipped a few countries, we were really 3/4 of the way done. Next top: Japan. Mister and I were both being selfish and we each had our own Spicy Hand Roll – tuna and salmon with chili pepper, soy sauce and sesame oil. All that was topped with Kazan Volcano Sauce. They call it a hand roll for a reason; it’s pretty big! Not to mention amazingly spicy and delicious!

For me, this competes with the lobster roll. But it’s hard to say since they’re both seafood and completely different types of food. They rank up there with the lettuce wrap I ate from Korea.

japan_spicy_hand_roll_food_and_wine_festival_epcot_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye

Once again, we got distracted in the stores. There was a fresh water pearl area and everytime someone picked one, they would do something. It was either ring a bell, or say a phrase in Japanese. Pretty neat.

In Singapore, we had the Beef Rendang with Jasmine Rice. That was a pretty spicy dish. It didn’t go well with the actual weather heat. My face was a bit on fire. Not good. At least it subsided when I had the Sangria from Morocco.

singapore_beef_rendang_food_and_wine_festival_epcot_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye

Mister enjoyed his gyro from Greece… perhaps a little too much as I was unable to get a picture of it. Then I had my own Tuna Poke with Seaweed Salad topped with a Lotus Root Chip (from the  Hawaii booth). That was pretty refreshing to end with before we had dessert to close our experience at the Food and Wine Festival.

hawaii_tuna_poke_seaweed_salad_food_and_wine_festival_epcot_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye

Because we circled clockwise, dessert was last. This is the Dessert Trio – Yogurt Panna Cotta with Orange Cake, Raspberries and Pomegranante / Lemon Custard Verrine with Blueberry Compote / Dark Chocolate Mousse with Chili and Salted Caramel. It was an interesting combo of flavors from sweet to savory to spicy. We started with the mousse first because our friend told us it was pretty spicy. It hits you as an after effect. At least we had the 2 others to eat after.

dessert_trio_food_and_wine_festival_epcot_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye

Anyone hungry after reading and checking out the pictures?

May you have “an open heart and an empty stomach” (-Iron Chef) in your next food adventure. Happy travels friends.

Orlando, FL: Hooray for Hollywood Studios

There are perks to traveling, and then it’s an additional perk if you know someone who lives where you are traveling to. Added bonus points that this next place mister and I went to was Orlando, FL for Disney World =D

It was earlier in the year when my friend who is a Cast Member at Disney told me about the Food and Wine Festival. You get to eat and drink the food of the certain country as you walked your way around Epcot. And if you already didn’t have the idea that we like food, well then, be prepped for lots and lots of food photos in these posts about this trip.

Our friend took care of us and made sure we had an amazing experience, which isn’t that difficult to do, because I’m pretty easy going (definitely Type B personality). We stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and here’s a peek of the lobby and the bed of our room. It’s evident we were at Disney.

animal_kingdom_lodge_disney_orlando_florida_day_with_kaye animal_kingdom_lodge_disney_savannah_room_orlando_florida_day_with_kaye

The best part was the type of room we had. We stayed in the rooms that had the best view of the savannah. Yeah, that’s right. You could walk out on the balcony and have a first row view of the animals roaming around. They aren’t tied up or anything so some days were more plentiful of animals than others.

savannah_animal_kingdom_lodge_disney_orlando_florida_day_with_kaye

In general, go to the parks during the weekday. It’s still going to be busy, but, it’s still less intense than on the weekends. We got to experience Friday and Saturday at the parks. Just as my friend says, “It’s the land of a thousand smiles and a million tears.” There’s truth in that though. For one, there are kids everywhere you turn from infants to our age =P and they’re whining about being hungry, wanting toys, not wanting to wait in line, wanting balloons, excited to meet characters, and being scared of the characters – lots of emotions. It gets a little overwhelming. In a place where imagination is reality, anything is bound to happen.

With only 2 days to explore the parks, we began the day at Hollywood Studios. The bus stop area was a short walk away from the main building at Animal Kingdom. It’s a great alternative to renting a car especially if you’re only going to stay in the Disney area. Besides parking can be a nightmare at the parks. Also, the resort also offered a pickup/dropoff for the airport.

hollywood_studios_bus_animal_kingdom_lodge_pickup_disney_orlando_florida_day_with_kaye

A great bonus of knowing someone who is a Cast Member is their perks, as in HIGHLY discounted entrance fees to the parks! Also meaning, a less expensive trip to Disney!

hollywood_studios_disney_orlando_florida_day_with_kaye“Random people” (Cast Members) would say, “congratulations” or “happy birthday” to us because we were wearing these buttons. We had the ‘Happily Ever After’ to indicate newlyweds. Mister had a ‘First Time’ button for his first time at Disney. I had a ‘Happy Birthday’ one for my belated birthday. Our friend got us the Mr. and Mrs. pins, but we got those buttons from the resort. You could also get them at the parks. There were also other ones too. Just that extra something that makes you feel special while walking around.

anniversary_pin_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye

Another bonus of having our friend there was knowing where to go and what attraction to go on and whether or not waiting a certain amount of time for it was worth it. So our first stop was Toy Story at Pixar Studios!

pixar_studios_hollywood_studios_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye

The ride/game play was awesome! You play 5 mini games and the highest score of the people in your car wins. I beat mister, but my friend beat us. toy_story_midway_games_pixar_studios_hollywood_studios_disney_orlando_florida_day_with_kaye

Because we had an early start, we skipped breakfast and with my grumbling stomachs, it was best to have a snack so people wouldn’t be grumpy (namely, me). It’s a small little shop on this street here on the left.hollywood_studios_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye

Mister and I split a carrot cake cookie. My goodness, it was something else. Really rich and sweet and a big cookie.

carrot_cake_cookie_hollywood_studios_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye

With park food slowly settling into our stomachs, we made our way to the next ride – Star Tours!

We did get to go on an adventure. It was a fun 3-D ride. It’s like a virtual roller coaster, but instead of riding on a coaster, you go on a Star Wars adventure. Very fun. This was one of mister’s favorites, though he’s slightly biased since he is a Star Wars fan.star_wars_3D_ride_hollywood_studios_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye star_wars_hollywood_studios_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye

The next attraction we went to was a thriller at the Hollywood Tower Hotel.

hollywood_towers_hollywood_studios_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye hollywood_tower_orlando_disney_day_with_kaye

For more of a history of the Hollywood Tower itself, check this out: The Story of the Hollywood Tower Hotel

Still curious? Check this out: Disney World Storytelling: The Hollywood Tower Hotel

We made our way back to Pixar Studios so we could meet more Toy Story characters, namely, Buzz and Woody. We found this green guy though!!

toy_story_army_man_pixar_studios_character_orlando_day_with_kaye

Waiting in this line took some time, but at least we were able to entertain ourselves. It’s good to know that our inner child self is still there!

  toy_story_character_meet_and_greet_orlando_disney_day_with_kaye toy_story_character_meet_and_greet_line_disney_day_with_kaye

Then we got to meet them!!

toy_story_buzz_woody_meet_and_greet_disney_orlando_day_with_kaye toy_story_woody_disney_day_with_kaye

It’s in the nature for the characters to be ‘playful’ with everyone they meet. Woody was acting flirtatious only when Mister wasn’t looking, (ie: taking my hand and kissing it). The one time Mister was looking, he tried to pull me away as my friend was taking this picture here and apparently Buzz was shaking his head in his hand. Haha. Going along with it just makes the entire thing extra hilarious. =)

So ends our stay at Hollywood Studios and next week we’ll make our way to Epcot. Be prepared for a lot of food pictures, food descriptions and a lot of things food =)

And speaking of, have a great Thanksgiving holiday (not that it’s solely about food) and happy travels friends!