For those (probably older) folks who still use snail mail…

Celebrity Chefs stamps

Celebrity Chefs stamps

you can now get the first celebrity chef stamps!

The backside of Celebrity Chefs

The backside of Celebrity Chefs

Nice photos/portraits of the five chefs (James Beard, Joyce Chen, Julia Child, Edna Lewis and Felipe Rojas-Lombardi) adorn the stamps with the back of the sheet sporting bios of each of them. It’s a nice variety of cuisines represented, and with the tradition that to be depicted on a US stamp a “real” person has to be deceased (even though this is no longer a hard-and-fast rule), this is certainly a good list of some of the first celeb chefs, but I think that Justin Wilson also belongs here…

Despite that little nit-pick on my part, I did scurry down to the local Post Office to get my hands on a sheet of these on the first day they were on sale!

So, keep an eye on your mail, you never know when Julia or Edna may show up in your box!

If you enjoyed this post, please be sure to “like” and “share”!

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This past week saw the opening of the 2014 version of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and not surprisingly, we were there!

Promo filming going on in the new Puerto Rico area early on Thursday

Promo filming going on in the new Puerto Rico area early on Thursday

I was there on Thursday for the soft-opening day along with Papa Harry and Mama Ginny, and Miss Bonnie joined us for the festivities on Friday and Saturday.

New Patagonia booth before the opening

New Patagonia booth before the opening

I thought I’d share a few pics and initial thoughts on some of the new stuff at the festival, so let’s dig in, shall we?

Food & Wine display at Epcot entrance

Food & Wine display at Epcot entrance

The entrance display is much less elaborate this year than it has been in the past. All the elements look to be recycled from prior displays.

No bog here...

No bog here…

And in the area that formerly held the Ocean Spray cranberry bog sits a few more recycled items and a salad-tossing Mickey topiary.

If you need a brewed libation to start your tour of the food booths, you won’t find the craft beer kiosk in it’s usual location at the beginning of the World Showcase…

Craft Beer is located inside the Odyssey building this year

Craft Beer is located inside the Odyssey building this year

you’ll have to take a detour to the left and enter the Odyssey.

Pour me a beer... or four...

Pour me a beer… or four…

Inside the (thankfully!) air-conditioned space you’ll find ample tables and seating…

Beer Flight and Craft Beer Snack Mix

Beer Flight and Craft Beer Snack Mix

and, of course, beer (and there is something different about beer at the festival this year, more on that later…)! And this year some food items as well are being served alongside the brews.

Spicy Pimento Cheese Dip (top) and Muffuletta Pinwheels with House-made Pickles

Spicy Pimento Cheese Dip (top) and Muffuletta Pinwheels with House-made Pickles

I really liked the nicely spicy pimento cheese (must be the Southern Boy in me) while Bonnie loved the snack mix that’s served gratis with any beer purchase (oddly you get one nice size serving with a single 6 ounce brew, and the same amount with a flight…) and she also thought the pickles alongside the Muffuletta Pinwheel were perhaps the Best-Pickle-Ever!

Around the World Showcase there are two expanded/highlighted areas this year…

Main entrance to Puerto Rico area

Main entrance to Puerto Rico area

Puerto Rico sits in the area behind the Desserts and Champagne booth (Promenade Refreshments during the rest of the year)…

Brazil!

Brazil!

while Brazil has taken over the large area that has been home to the Belgium booth in recent years.

Seating area adjacent to the Brazil booth

Seating area adjacent to the Brazil booth

Colorful flags fly over the seating area and the new booth is covered in bright tiles…

Oddly, the sign above the booth says "Introduced 2014"... but there was a Brazil booth in 2013... and even before that...

Oddly, the sign above the booth says “Introduced 2014″… but there was a Brazil booth in 2013… and even before that…

A close-up view of some of the tiles that sure looks like, of all things, a Coelacanth! Would sure be more interesting if they were serving those instead of Tilapia! But then, I guess Coelacanth aren't exactly sustainable (and also from no-where-near Brazil...)...

A close-up view of some of the tiles that sure looks like, of all things, a Coelacanth! Would sure be more interesting if they were serving those instead of Tilapia! But then, I guess Coelacanths aren’t exactly sustainable (and also from no-where-near Brazil…)…

There were live musicians in both Brazil and Puerto Rico during the weekend… a very nice touch…

Guitarist in Brazil area

Guitarist in Brazil area

we’ll see if it lasts past the opening weekend.

Recipe, and a little "health note" posted at the Africa kiosk

Recipe, and a little “health note”, posted at the Africa kiosk

At several of the kiosks, the storage boxes have recipes from Robert Irvine printed on them.

Desserts & Champagne Menu

Desserts & Champagne Menu

For the first time in recent years, not all the bubbly beverages at the Desserts and Champagne booth were from the Moet & Chandon label…

This is what a $32 glass of Dom Perignon looks like

This is what a $32 glass of Dom Perignon looks like

Block & Hans

Block & Hans

In the American Adventure, Block & Hans has forsaken beers sales now for wine.

Block & Hans Menu

Block & Hans Menu

And getting back to beer…

Brewer's Collection Menu from 2013

Brewer’s Collection Menu from 2013

let’s look at the Brewer’s Collection menu from last year…

Brewer's Collection Menu from 2014

Brewer’s Collection Menu from 2014

and compare to this year… notice anything???

Yep, up until this year beer drinkers could chose from a 6 ounce, 12 ounce or even 22 ounce glass (and a 24 ounce flight of four 6 ounce taps), this year all festival beer locations are serving exclusively 6 ounce glasses, and the flights total 16 ounces (four 4 ounce glasses). When I queried a cast member if this was a method to keep the drunks a bit more in line (which it most certainly is), she gave me the well-prepared answer that the festival was intended to be a “sampling” event, and the smaller servings was simply going “back to the roots” of the event. Actually I think this is fine, I liked when they added the 6 ounce servings a few years ago exactly for the reason that it allowed me to sample more beers without getting too bloated or blotto (at least early in the day…). It’s also worth noting that when they first added the smaller servings that didn’t really jack the price for them (only about a quarter extra on average), and somewhat surprisingly they kept prices the same this year. Regular (year-round) beer locations, BTW are still serving 12 ounce beers.

Souvenir Wine Glasses

Souvenir Wine Glasses

Since they don’t now have a vehicle for selling the 22 ounce souvenir beer glasses, Disney has added a souvenir wine glass (for an extra $4) with a wine purchase at the kiosks (or you can just buy the glass if you like). The glasses are heavy plastic and hold about 8 ounces, they are sturdy and a reasonable size for home use, so not a bad price for a Food & Wine remembrance.

Cookbooks, mugs, towels and more...

Cookbooks, mugs, towels and more…

And don’t fall off your chair, but there is a ton of new merch for the 2014 festival! The cookbook this year features recipes from not only the Food & Wine Festival, but also ones from Flower & Garden and the Holidays around the World (so they will get to sell it year-round I imagine…).

The 2014 festival poster

The 2014 festival poster

Beers continue to be a big theme with “Brews Around the World” showing up on several pieces of merchandise, including tee shirts…

Front of "Brews..." Tee

Front of “Brews…” Tee

The backside of "Brews..."

The backside of “Brews…”

there’s even a women’s cut this year.

The ladies version

The ladies version

And yes, Dear Dedicated Readers, there was some food too…

Kielbasa and Potato Pierogi and an O.K. Beer (I guess not a great beer, just an ok one...) from Poland

Kielbasa and Potato Pierogi and an O.K. Beer (I guess not a great beer, just an ok one…) from Poland

so here’s some pics of some of the new items…

Mocequa de Pescado (Tilapia with Coconut Lime Sauce), Pao de Queijo (Cheese Bread) and a Xingu Black Beer from Brazil

Mocequa de Pescado (Tilapia with Coconut Lime Sauce), Pao de Queijo (Cheese Bread) and a Xingu Black Beer from Brazil

The tasty insides of the Pao de Queijo

The tasty insides of the Pao de Queijo

(you can find the recipe for these goodies in the post Let’s Cook! Pão De Queijo – Brazilian Cheese Puffs)

Florida Grass-Fed Beef Slider with Pimento Cheese and a Sam Adams Octoberfest

Florida Grass-Fed Beef Slider with Pimento Cheese and a Sam Adams Octoberfest from Hops & Barley

Ensalada de Carrucho (Conch Salad) and Medulla Light Beer from Puerto Rico

Ensalada de Carrucho (Conch Salad) and Medulla Light Beer from Puerto Rico

Beijing Roasted Duck in a Steamed Bun with Coppola Su Yuen Reisling and Su Yuen Red Wines from China

Beijing Roasted Duck in a Steamed Bun with Coppola Su Yuen Reisling and Su Yuen Red Wines from China

Griddled "Yard Bird" and Pepper Bacon Hash with an I-4 IPA and Eroica Riesling from the Farm Fresh booth

Griddled “Yard Bird” and Pepper Bacon Hash with an I-4 IPA and Eroica Riesling from the Farm Fresh booth

Potato Pancake with Smoked Salmon and Seared Sea Scallop with Spinach-Cheddar Gratin and Crispy Bacon from Scotland

Potato Pancake with Smoked Salmon and Seared Sea Scallop with Spinach-Cheddar Gratin and Crispy Bacon from Scotland

Escargot Tart in France

Escargot Tart in France

A trio from Japan (top to bottom): Tuna and Salmon Spicy Hand Roll, Chirashizushi (Salmon, Shrimp, Crab and Egg Omelet over Seaweed Salad and Rice), Teriyaki Gyoza Bun

A trio from Japan (top to bottom): Tuna and Salmon Spicy Hand Roll, Chirashizushi (Salmon, Shrimp, Crab and Egg Omelet over Seaweed Salad and Rice), Teriyaki Gyoza Bun

Inside the Teriyaki Gyoza Bun

Inside the Teriyaki Gyoza Bun

Green Lip Mussels and a Kim Crawford Pinot Noir in New Zealand

Green Lip Mussels and a Kim Crawford Pinot Noir in New Zealand

And how was the food? Everything we tried was anywhere from good to great… The Sea Scallop from Ireland and the Bacon Hash from Farm Fresh were definitely our top two of the new dishes we tried this weekend, both rated a wish-I-could-have-more-right-now status. I liked the Slider with Pimento Cheese much more than I expected, and everything in Brazil was a winner… Nothing in Japan was transcendent, but all were good (with the Chirashizushi being the most interesting), and I’d gladly down any one of them again… the Conch Salad in Puetro Rico was very flavorful, but it was a very small portion of the salad atop quite a bit of rice… the small items in Craft Beers were all pretty good, with the Pimento Cheese being my favorite…

All in all, it was a great start to a record-long Epcot Food & Wine Festival! There’s still a lot of dishes to try, and we’ll have many other things to share and discuss over the next several weeks… so…

We’re back to the kitchen, and back soon to the Food & Wine Festival! See you soon!

If you enjoyed this post, please be sure to “like” and “share”!

Finally…

September 22, 2014

fishyrocketboy:

Let’s take one more look at five years ago when the blog began… this time it’s our first real visit to La Cava!

Originally posted on Eating (and Drinking) around the World:

After several weeks of being teased by the new tequila bar in Epcot (see The Tease – Part One and The Tease – Part Two) it was finally time to consummate my budding relationship with La Cava del Tequila…

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The Friday after the second tease, I again made my way back to the World Showcase – it had been another less than wonderful week at the Real Job, so this was going to be (I hoped) an especially sweet end to the week.

Instead of my standard right turn, I planned to cheat on my usual dear Stella, and made a left towards my current agave desires… I heard my name called and a dear couple of friends came into view – I made small talk for a bit, but it was obvious I was distracted – I was on a mission… I bade them goodbye and continued on……

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The Tease – Part Two

September 11, 2014

fishyrocketboy:

Again looking back five years from today… more La Cava…

Originally posted on Eating (and Drinking) around the World:

Or should that be Part Dos???

I’m fortunate to live close enough to the World that I can go for a day trip – or even an afternoon trip if I so desire – I can leave my house (or work) and usually be inside a park in under an hour and a half.

I have been known to go over for a Friday afternoon, especially if I’ve had a less than wonderful week at the Real Job (I’m done there at about 11 AM on Fridays) and need a little de-stressor. My routine is to go to Epcot, head up to World Showcase, and take a right… just a few yards along you come to the Promenade Refreshments stand which, joy of joys, has Stella on draft! I start my “lunch” with one of those lovely libations, wander a bit, maybe do a Kim Possible Adventure or two (the…

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The Tease – Part One

September 9, 2014

fishyrocketboy:

Let’s go back five years from today and see our first post about LaCava del Tequila…

Originally posted on Eating (and Drinking) around the World:

For the past couple of years there have been rumors of a Tequila Bar opening in the Mexico pavilion in Epcot. It seemed a logical move (adding more alcohol is always a logical move in my mind), and was usually thought to be just around the corner…

And I’ll add now – if you don’t know already – I’m quite fond of the margaritas (and the tequila contained therein)… now back to our narrative…

Finally a few months back it seemed like it was finally happening – one of the shops on the periphery of the pavilion closed and the construction walls went up…

Several weeks ago I was there with Kim Possible and saw the walls for myself – I knew it was finally happening – I had to hug & kiss the wall, knowing what was to come behind them… ahhh… the anticipation…

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Part Two of the Tease…

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Welcome!

2013 Food & Wine Festival display at Epcot main entrance

With the 2014 version of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival just around the corner, I thought we’d take a quick “compare and contrast” of last year’s food items to what’s being offered this year…

New Zealand Booth at the 2013 Festival

New Zealand Booth at the 2013 Festival

To many, if not most, festival-goers the food booths around World Showcase are the main draw. And each year everyone wants to see what’s new to try (and what favorites from the prior year have disappeared), so let’s look at some numbers…

A new item in 2013, the Potato & Leek Waffle with Braised Beef will return this year

A new item in 2013, the Potato & Leek Waffle with Braised Beef will return this year…

I took a look at the items offered in 2013 at the kiosks and the list of what we’ll see in 2014….

but the Youki Tofu, also new in 2013, won't be making a comeback this year (and probably not too many people will be upset...)

but the Youki Tofu, also new in 2013, won’t be making a comeback this year (and probably not too many people will be upset…)

and crunched the numbers…

The Luscious Lamb in the the Australia booth first featured a crunchy potato topping in 2012, and it was the same in 2013 and will be this year as well... no arguments from me...

The Luscious Lamb in the Australia booth first featured a crunchy potato topping in 2012, and it was the same in 2013 and will be this year as well… no arguments from me…

okay, there wasn’t much crunching involved, and I didn’t really double-check the numbers, and I was sampling a new Margarita of the Month while I was doing it…

Hope you didn't like the Scallop with Peppers, Tomatoes and Hearts of Palm that was served in the Brazil booth last year... it's been nixed this go-round...

Hope you didn’t like the Scallop with Peppers, Tomatoes and Hearts of Palm that was served in the Brazil booth last year… it’s been nixed this go-round…

so do hold me to any hard statistical analysis or expect 100% accuracy…

The Cheese Koisk is a no-show this year, but there will be a all-new Cheese Plate at Hops & Barley...

The Cheese Koisk is a no-show this year, but there will be an all new Cheese Plate at Hops & Barley…

I looked strictly at the food booths around World Showcase (not the Festival Center, Coffee Carts, etc.) and what I counted was: items that stayed exactly the same; items that will be 100% new (which should roughly equal the number of items that disappeared from last year); and items that are basically the same, but have had changes made to the sauce, side, etc. (admittedly there were a few “judgement” calls here…).

Don't cry for Argentina... even though the kiosk will be gone, you can still get yourself an empanada at the new Patagonia booth

Don’t cry for Argentina… even though the kiosk will be gone, you can still get yourself an empanada at the new Patagonia booth

And what did I come up with?

There are 37 items that will be the same as last year, 4 that have had some change made to them and 32 totally new food offerings at the kiosks in 2014…

And I'm still a bit bitter about the "Shrimp on a Stick" being dropped from Singapore last year...

And I’m still a bit bitter about the “Shrimp on a Stick” being dropped from Singapore last year…

To me that’s a pretty good turnover – you have to have plenty of old favorites from year-to-year (think of the riot that would ensue if the Cheddar Cheese Soup went away in Canada, even though everyone seems to complain about the portion size each year…) and a certain amount of items that probably were liked well enough to keep on for at least another year… getting over 40% new items to try sounds like a pretty good mix to me (your thoughts?). And with 73 food items (even though 2 or 3 are simply a candy of some sort), there should be plenty of things to spend time in line for!

Not to mention the booze…

Block & Hans, which has been featuring craft beers year 'round, will be serving wines during the Food & Wine Festival

Block & Hans, which opened during the 2013 festival, and has been featuring craft beers year ’round, will be serving wines during the 2014 Food & Wine Festival

And speaking of the booze, no, I didn’t try to count all the changes there as it started getting into a lot more judgement calls (some booths had basically the same wine varietals being offered, but from different producers… it started to give me a headache… I’m expecting a big enough headache as it is from trying all the drinks!), but overall there does look to be lots of new adult beverages to try.

Don't spill!

Don’t spill!

And yes, there are plenty of flights (multiple beer combos of course, as well as tequila and Scotch) to be found this year, and there does look to be a few more mixed drinks than in the past (can you say Tzatziki Martini in Greece?).

If you want to peruse the booth menus for this year, you can see them over at the Disney Food Blog.

The new things I’m especially intrigued by include the Duck in China (as well as the Coppola wines there), the Bacon Hash at Farm Fresh, the Fish with Coconut Lime Sauce in Brazil and pretty much everything in Puerto Rico!

Hope we'll see you there!

Hope we’ll see you there!

Anything you’re particularly looking forward to trying? Put your Food & Wine Wish List in the comments!

As always, we’re back to the kitchen, and soon we’ll back at Epcot!

See you soon!

 

If you enjoyed this post, please be sure to “like” and “share”!

 

 

Five Years…

September 7, 2014

No, I’m not referring to the opening song on my favorite album…

220px-ZiggyStardust

but how long ago the first tentative post showed up on Eating (and Drinking) Around the World…

I had decided to stick my virtual toe into the water of the already overcrowded blogosphere, and on this day five years ago I announced it to the World, or at least the tiny numbers of people contained in the world who stumbled across it. And actually when I began I didn’t really think I’d still be at it five years later…

Certainly the blog has changed a bit over the years from my original idea, and will no doubt continue to do so, and you may even see it spin off into something (or somethings?) Completely Different… time (and my time) will tell…

I’ll admit I don’t have the largest number page views out there, but I do have some Dedicated Readers that have been with me from pretty much Day One… and I want to thank those people, and also the ones that just pop in from time to time, and even those that have just happened on a random post via a search engine or link… that even a relatively small number of people out there in the Real World read this humbles me, and as long as you do, I’ll do my best to keep going on…

Thanks also to those other bloggers, podcasters, etc. that have given your time, advice and encouragement to me (you know how you are), and as well to my friends and family who have done the same… of course it should go without saying (but I will anyway), thanks for all the love and encouragement (and blog material) from my dear wife, “Miss” Bonnie.

I’m going to repost a couple of the first “real” blog posts the next week or so (which not shockingly, are about LaCava del Tequila…) on their five-year anniversaries, I hope you’ll enjoy taking a (tequila-laced) trip down memory lane with me.

Happy Blogiversary to me!

 

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