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Dedicated Readers will know our love for the Food & Wine Classic held annually at the Swan and Dolphin resorts at Walt Disney World.

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The Classic, which is held on one weekend during the Epcot Food & Wine Festival, offers guests unlimited food and wine at over 40 stations featuring culinary selections from the hotel’s restaurants and wine from more than 30 wineries on the hotel’s causeway.

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There are also cocktail and beer selections (including a dedicated beer garden for an additional charge)…

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as well as live entertainment on the causeway during the event.

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In addition are hands-on seminars with the hotel’s chefs and beverage experts.

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Considering that the Classic is over a half-year away why are we talking about it now?

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Well, the official dates for the 2016 Classic were announced a few weeks ago, and it will be held on October 28 & 29. We usually don’t get confirmation of the dates this early…

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and there’s something else we don’t get nearly this soon…

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the menus!

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Yes boys and girls… we were surprised just a few days ago with an email from the events media rep…

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and we already know that 2016 menu will include an American wagyu beef slider with avocado-bacon aioli and Applewood smoked bacon on a toasted brioche from the Fountain; a salt-roasted prime New York strip loin served with mashed potatoes and sauce bordelaise from Shula’s Steak House and seared striped bass with fall artichokes and Nicoise olives in a Spanish caper emulsion from Garden Grove. Returning dishes include the popular shrimp cocktail steamroller from Todd English’s bluezoo and dragon sushi roll from Kimonos.

I’m personally looking forward to the Hand Crafted Bacon with Sweet Corn Puree, Fried Brussel Sprouts and Compressed Heirloom Apple… (see it here).

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The only part of the menu missing are the updated items from the new Carnival Corner section that was very popular last year.

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Funnel cakes with a variety of toppings, corn dogs, and a “Pop-up Mac & Cheese Bar” with do-it-yourself toppings were among the offerings, so we can probably assume similar items will be available this year.

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You can view the 2016 menu (with drool-worthy pics!) at the Swan/Dolphin Classic website.

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The cost for the causeway tickets (which allow you all you want to eat and drink during the event) looks to be the same as last year ($105 per person per day) while the ticket plus the beer garden option has gone up $5.00 to $130 (which is not worth the extra charge in my opinion…).

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Package rates (which include room and causeway ticket) look to have jumped up by at least $40 per night… the “packages” are not really much of a deal (again in my opinion) as you don’t really save any money compared to the regular room cost plus the cost of the event ticket, you just get the convenience of buying them both at the same time (and yes, it is very nice to have a room right there to stagger back to… but it would be nice if they cut a bit of a break on the price for the package or at least throw in one of the seminars for free or at a significantly reduced price…).

You can see the complete rates and details at the Classic site.

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But yeah, we’ll be there one way or another… will we see you there?

It’s almost Classic time!

October 23, 2014

The Fifth Annual Food & Wine Classic at the Swan and Dolphin Resort at Walt Disney World is just around the corner, and I’m getting excited! The event runs on Friday and Saturday with the restaurants from the resorts providing food items (some will change from night-to-night, some remain the same both nights) and tons of wine and other adult beverages being offered. You can buy a wristband that allows you unlimited servings of everything, or buy individual tickets to purchase items as you like (not the best deal). There are also several seminars offered (for an additional fee) during the weekend.

In anticipation of the upcoming weekend (October 31 & November 1, 2014, by the way…) I thought we’d take a pictorial look at last years event to whet our virtual appetites… so let’s dive in!

Classic

Banners on the breezeway heralded the event…

Booths

Booths in the afternoon before the onrush on Friday

The calm before the storm...

The calm before the storm…

Edamame Relish and Lemongrass Foam...

Edamame Relish and Lemongrass Foam…

and grilled chicken...

and grilled chicken…

combine for Cabana's Chicken Yakatori dish

combine for Cabana’s Chicken Yakatori dish

Chefs from Shulas

Chefs from Shula’s served the same item on both Friday and Saturday…

Carved Prime Rib with Roasted Garlic mashed Potatoes, Horseradish Creme Fraiche and Watercress

Carved Prime Rib with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Horseradish Creme Fraiche and Watercress

Wine

There was more wine to try than you could shake a glass at… over thirty (!!!) booths with most offering one red and one white varietal

Big Fish

A Really Big Fish…

sign

outside the Todd English booth.

Prepping the Nitro Miso

Prepping the Nitro Aioli Miso Cracklings…

composing the dish...

that go along with…

the final dish

the final dish of Tuna Tartare.

Happy, happy guests...

Happy, happy guests soon filled the walkways between and around the Swan and Dolphin resorts

Garganelli with Veal Cheek Ragu from Il Mulino

Garganelli with Veal Cheek Ragu from Il Mulino

Chefs from Kimonos preparing Friday nights dish...

Chefs from Kimonos preparing Friday nights dish…

Dragon Roll with Crispy Shrimp, Tuna and Avocado

Dragon Roll with Shrimp, Tuna and Avocado

Sake-to-me???

Sake-to-me??? If you didn’t want wine with your sushi, you just had to step next door to sip some sake courtesy of Ty Ku.

Texas-Style Beef Brisket from Cib's Smoke Shop

Texas-Style Beef Brisket from Cib’s Smoke Shop

A selection of sweets from pastry chef Laurent Branlard

A plate of sweets from pastry chef Laurent Branlard on Friday

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Both Friday and Saturday Picabu offered a selection of tacos…

Beef, pork and veggie tacos...

Beef, pork and veggie tacos…

and stuff to spice them up with!

and stuff to spice them up with!

If you don't want wine with your tacos, perhaps beer would pair better.

If you don’t want wine with your tacos, perhaps beer would pair better… there were two beer kiosks with different options each night. There will be a separate beer garden this year with even more brewed selections and food (for an extra charge, of course).

Lamb Gyro from the Fountain

Lamb Gyro from the Fountain

Blackened Fish Sandwich with caramelized onions and old Bay Remoulade from Fresh

Blackened Fish Sandwich with caramelized onions and Old Bay Remoulade from Fresh

On Saturday Garden Grove served Fish 'n' Chips: Beer-battered Sustainable Bass with Tartar Foam and Vinegar "Chips"

On Saturday Garden Grove served Fish ‘n’ Chips: Beer-battered Sustainable Bass with Tartar Foam and Vinegar “Chips”

And yes, there was pork...

And yes, there was pork…

lots and lots of pork!

lots and lots of pork!

Handcrafted Bacon with Black Eyed Pea Puree and Maple Fluid Gel

Handcrafted Bacon with Black Eyed Pea Puree and Maple Fluid Gel from Cib’s was perhaps our favorite item on Saturday… and you could have as much as your arteries could handle!

Yellow Fin Tuna rolls were the Saturday selection from Kimonos

Yellow Fin Tuna rolls were the Saturday selection from Kimonos

Shrimp being seared...

Shrimp being seared…

for the Shrimp "n" Grits from bluezoo

for the Shrimp “n” Grits from bluezoo

And to wrap up the evening...

And to wrap up the evening…

a trio of desserts from Chef Branlard

a trio of desserts from Chef Branlard.

This really is our favorite event during Food & Wine Festival time, and maybe our favorite event of the year period! Bonnie and I will be there for sure (along with other members of the Harem), and we hope to see you there as well! If you’re going to be there, please be sure to say so in the comments below!

For more info on the Classic, go to the event website!

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

 

 

Lets Drink! Caipirinha

October 18, 2013

With the Swan & Dolphin Food & Wine Classic coming up this weekend, I thought it was about time to share a drink recipe that was featured at the Classic last year: the Caipirinha.

Caipirinha Cocktail

Caipirinha Cocktail

Known as the national drink of Brazil, this is a simple, refreshing cocktail – so let’s make one!

Caipirinha Cocktail

Ingredients

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2 oz  Cachaca (Brazilian Rum)

1 oz Simple Syrup (or 1.5 Tbl sugar)

1/2 fresh Lime, cut into quarters (plus a slice for garnish)

Procedure

Fill a rocks glass with ice to chill it.

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Put the lime pieces and the simple syrup (or sugar) into your shaker and muddle to release the limes’ juicy goodness.

Yes, I'm muddling with one of those meat-pounder things...

Yes, I’m muddling with one of those meat-pounder things…

Add the cachaca and the ice from the glass and shake well.

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Pour the contents (including the ice) into your chilled serving glass, garnish with a lime slice…

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and then Let’s Drink!

I really enjoy this beverage, it’s especially great on a hot summer day in Florida (okay, I know it’s getting chilly in a lot of the world right now, but it’s still good in chilly weather)! Give it a try and let everyone know what you think in the comments!

And speaking of the Food & Wine Classic (which I was at the beginning of this post…), if any of you are going to be there, keep an eye for for Miss Bonnie and I!

If you’d like a look at last year’s event, check out Food & Wine Classic 2012: Food Photo Gallery, or click on the Food & Wine Classic category to the right to see all posts about the Classic.

Enjoy the drink, and maybe we’ll see you this weekend at the Classic!

WDW Weekend Eats

September 25, 2013

With the opening of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival just days away, let’s whet your appetite with a very quick look at some other eats from around the World…

If you’ve checked out the last three “Odds & Ends” posts (Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Epcot), you know Miss Bonnie & I made a trip to the World recently, and yes, we also had some things to eat…

"Spider Roll" from the Cabana Bar and Beach Club

“Spider Roll” from the Cabana Bar and Beach Club

We started off the weekend, along with Mama Ginny and Papa Harry, by having a casual dinner at the Cabana Bar and Beach Club.  This location is actually the pool bar/restaurant at the Swan and Dolphin Resort.

Tomato Mozzarella Salad

Tomato Mozzarella Salad

Bonnie and I shared the “Spider Roll” to start – unlike a traditional sushi roll, this was actually a cylinder of rice that was then topped with the usual suspects: fried soft shell crab, avocado, etc., and served with a ginger sauce. Maybe not as easy to eat as a regular roll, but  the flavor was good, and it was a unique and attractive presentation.

Chilled Roasted Pepper Soup

Chilled Roasted Pepper Soup

Bonnie had the salad of ripe tomatoes and fresh mozzarella while I chose the combo of a Pork Banh Mi Sandwich with Chilled Roasted Pepper Soup.

Braised Pork Banh Mi

Braised Pork Banh Mi

Bonnie cleaned her plate, and I liked both the sandwich and soup (especially the latter), and at $10 for the combo I thought it was quite a good deal.

Buttermilk Battered Chicken Crisps

Buttermilk Battered Chicken Crisps

Mama Ginny went for the fried chicken crisps, which came with some decent waffle fries, while Papa Harry had the Crab Salad…

Crab Salad

Crab Salad

with compressed watermelon topped with big pieces of lump crab with a lemon vinaigrette.

We all enjoyed our meals, and agreed we’d gladly return. This is a place that definitely falls under the radar of most Disney guests, and I probably never would have found it except for the fact that they have always had some interesting dishes served at the Swan/Dolphin Food & Wine Classic.

This is a casual yet upscale place, with many unique dishes and cocktails, but you can certainly get a standard burger and a Bud if that’s your want… if you’re in the Boardwalk area it’s certainly worth a try… you can check out the Cabana Menu here.

Now let’s venture inside a park…

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over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom this kiosk sits along the path between Africa and Asia, it once served sauced fried chicken pieces, but for now at least, it’s the default location for quick service veggie food.

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We tried the samosas…

Samosas with Mango Chutney

Samosas with Mango Salsa

a traditional Indian fried snack filled with potatoes and peas.

Inside the samosa...

Inside the samosa…

The filling could have been a bit more aggressively seasoned, but the sweet and just-so-slightly spicy salsa added some extra flavor.

We also tried the cold Asian Noodle Salad.

Asian Noodle Salad

Asian Noodle Salad

We both really liked this combo of toothsome noodles with lots of broccoli and snow peas with a sesame dressing.

After some semi-healthy eats at AK, let’s go to the semi-unhealthy in Epcot…

Sommerfest

Sommerfest

The Sommerfest quick-service locale in Germany recently underwent a menu renovation and we went to check out a couple of the new items.

Sommerfest Menu

Sommerfest Menu

Formerly just a brat & weenie joint, now there is much more variety, and lots of fine adult beverages including the grapefruit beer that was uber popular at the Food & Wine Festival last year!

Nudel Kugel (left) and Currywurst

Nudel Gratin (left) and Currywurst

We sampled the Nudel Gratin (basically a German Mac & Cheese), which Bonnie loved, and at $3.49 it’s a good deal.

Currywurst with Chips

Currywurst with Paprika Chips

I really liked the sausage doused in the mild curry-flavored sauce. The freshly-made potato chips were really good – we’ve seen lots of these on property over the past couple of years, and that’s a Good Thing… (channeling my Inner Martha there…).

While at Epcot we grabbed a couple of things to take back to out Beach Club room for later…

Cheese Plate from Boulangerie Patisserie


Cheese Plate from Boulangerie Patisserie

Bonnie is a cheese-fiend and loves to grab the Fromages, along with a baguette or two, from Boulangerie Patisserie in France. Of course you need something sweet to follow…

Peanut Butter Brownie

Peanut Butter Brownie

so we picked up the highly-recommend Peanut Butter Brownie from the new Starbucks location… and the recommendations were right… Bonnie even tried to convince me I didn’t want to finish my share, but I had none of that!

All-in-all some tasty, new and fun eats! Hope you enjoyed!

We’ll be at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival in just a  few short days… will we see you there???

A few days ago I gave you an “Eating-and-Drinking-Around-the-World-Style” look back at some of the goings-on around Walt Disney World in the first half of 2012 (if you neglected to spend your spare time reading around the New Year, you can go back now and peruse WDW Odds & Ends: 2012 Year End Edition, Part One, we’ll wait for you here while you do so…).

So now it’s time to pick back up with our review…

Walk... or fly?... this way...

Walk… or fly?… this way…

After we regained our land legs, Miss Bonnie and I took a July trip to check out the further updates to Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom, and the newly reopened (and multiplied) Dumbo was on our list…

We were mostly interested in checking out the new “queue-less-queue”…

we found the indoor play/waiting area to be quite cute and nicely themed…

Dumbo play/waiting area

Dumbo play/waiting area

but our real goal was to “fly high buddy” and get an elephant’s eye view of the construction ongoing at the New Fantasyland…

but even from upon high, the apparently strategically placed foliage prevented us from getting a clear elephant’s-eye-view of the construction…

The mostly obscured view of the New Fantasyland construction from Dumbo

The mostly obscured view of the New Fantasyland construction from Dumbo

And yes, the construction continued behind the walls…

Construction walls in the Magic Kingdom

Construction walls in the Magic Kingdom

With the Agent P Adventure now officially open over in Epcot…

Agent P World Showcase Adventure Kiosk

Agent P World Showcase Adventure Kiosk

floral versions of Phineas and Ferb greet guests on their way to the World Showcase.

A Phineas and Ferb Topiary on the walkway between Future World and the World Showcase in Epcot

Phineas and Ferb Topiary on the walkway between Future World and the World Showcase in Epcot

And yes…

Miss Bonnie's new Happy Place...

Miss Bonnie’s new Happy Place…

there was another visit to Tutto Gusto – it was on this visit we learned about the upcoming menu change – you can see the details on this revelation in the post “Go for the Gusto!“.

Sign at new exhibit in Mexico Pavilion

Sign at new exhibit inside the Mexico Pavilion

The new exhibit on Life in Ancient Mexico was now up inside the Mexican pavilion.

Wanna shoot some hoops?

Wanna shoot some hoops?

How do you spell "H-O-R-S-E" in Spanish?

How do you spell “H-O-R-S-E” in Spanish?

And at the Happiest Place in the Happiest Place on Earth (aka La Cava del Tequila) we found a couple of changes to the specialty Margarita list since our last visit.

La Cava del Tequila Specialty Margarita Menu

La Cava del Tequila Specialty Margarita Menu

The Organic Skinny Lime and Coffee Margaritas were new additions.

Specialty Margarita Menu La Cava del Tequila

La Cava del Tequila Specialty Margarita Menu

We sampled both – the Skinny Lime was fine, but nothing special, but the Coffee was a frozen/slushy concoction that was delicious – especially good on a hot day!

We did eat someplace other than Tutto Gusto in July…

Kouzzina Trio (Cinnamon-stewed Chicken, Greek-style Lasagna and Lamb Burger)

Kouzzina Trio (Cinnamon-stewed Chicken, Greek-style Lasagna and Lamb Burger)

We had a really good meal at Cat Cora’s Kouzzina on the Boardwalk – it was Miss Bonnie’s first visit there and afterwards she dubbed it her New Favorite Restaurant!

Landscape of Flavors Food Court at the new Art of Animation Resort

Landscape of Flavors Food Court at the new Art of Animation Resort

We also got our first chance to eat at the new Landscape of Flavors Food Court.

Indian-inspired eats at the Landscape of Flavors Food Court

Indian-inspired eats at the Landscape of Flavors Food Court

We were very impressed with the Indian-style food offerings at the Art of Animation Resort and looked forward to coming back to try some of the other eats there!

You can see details of our dining from July at Tutto Gusto, Kouzzina and the Landscape of Flavors food court in the post WDW Weekend Eats dated August 5, 2012.

New Wine Flights at Tutto Gusto

New Wine Flights at Tutto Gusto

August again found us at Epcot (is anyone shocked?) and one again at Tutto Gusto to check out the new Wine Flights and “Gusto Plates”.

"La Siciliana" Plate - Caponata, Cacciatorini Sausage & Fresh Mozzarella

“La Siciliana” Plate – Caponata, Cacciatorini Sausage & Fresh Mozzarella

We also checked out some merchandise…

An Eating & Drinking Around the World shirt!

An Eating & Drinking Around the World shirt!

tried a sparkling Sake in Japan…

Hana Awake Sake in Japan

Hana Awaka Sake in Japan

and scoped out the construction walls inside the gift shop in France.

Part of the bakery expansion in France

Part of the bakery expansion in France

Also in August we ventured over to the Hilton Bonnet Creek Resort for their second annual Barbeque Weekend.

There we sampled several types of chili in a competition between chefs from the various restaurants at the resort.

Chili Competition at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort

Chili Competition at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort

We also tried a couple of the specialty cocktails being offered up for the weekend….

Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort Barbeque Weekends Specialty Cocktails

Watermelon Crawlita and BBQ Honey Bacon Bloody Mary

This year each of the bars and restaurants were offering different cocktails for the weekend – last year each of the locations were serving the same drinks – this was a nice change!

Cocktail Menu at the lobby bar in Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort for Barbeque Weekends

Cocktail Menu at the lobby bar in Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort for Barbeque Weekends

The restaurants were also featuring special BBQ-inspired dishes, unique to each…

Zeta Lounge and Sushi Bar specialty items for Barbeque Weekends

Zeta Lounge and Sushi Bar specialty items for Barbeque Weekends

We also gave the poolside barbeque grill a try….

Barbeque & Bikinis!

Barbeque & Bikinis!

Poolside Barbeque Grill Menu

Poolside Barbeque Grill Menu

and lunched on a couple of the “Gourmet Dogs”.

Brooklyn Dog & Nacho Dog

Brooklyn Dog & Nacho Dog

Back over in the World, we went to check out some merch at Downtown Disney, and at the Team Mickey store we realized that you can’t really escape the Platypus…

Agent P taking it to the hole...

Agent P taking it to the hole…

and that Mickey is a fan of the Crimson Tide!

Roll Tide, Roll!

Roll Tide, Roll!

September found us making our first stay at the new Art of Animation resort as the Little Mermaid section (the only part of the resort with “regular”/non-suite rooms) opened for business the middle of the month.

We loved the decor and detail in the room…

Beds and headboards in Little Mermaid room

Beds and headboards in Little Mermaid room

Sheet Music for "Under the Sea" on table in Little Mermaid room

Sheet Music for “Under the Sea” on table in Little Mermaid room

we even found a couple of Hidden Mickeys!

"Classic" Hidden Mickey in Little Mermaid Room at Art of Animation Resort

“Classic” Hidden Mickey in Little Mermaid Room at Art of Animation Resort

Hidden Mickey Watch in Little Mermaid Room at Art of Animation Resort

Hidden Mickey Watch in Little Mermaid Room at Art of Animation Resort

And where were these Mickeys?

Pull back the curtain...

Pull back the curtain…

In the shower of course!

Inside of the shower in Little Mermaid room

Inside of the shower in Little Mermaid room

The exterior of the resort was pretty cool as well!

A Not-So-Little Mermaid

A Not-So-Little Mermaid

And a big scary !

And a big scary Ursula!

One evening while there we took the bridge over to the food court at Pop Century and partook of an overly indulgent dessert…

"The King"

“The King”

the King – a huge chocolate cupcake in honor of Elvis (Presley, not Costello). Filled with banana custard, glazed with a peanut butter icing and topped with candied bacon (hell yeah!) and chocolate, this is an homage to Elvis’ favorite grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich.

Stir-fried Veggie Noodles at Captain Cook's

Stir-fried Veggie Noodles at Captain Cook’s

One night we went to the Magic Kingdom to check on the construction progress of the New Fantasyland expansion, and on the way we stopped at the Poly for a quick bite at Captain Cook’s.

Hawaiian Flatbread at Captain Cook's

Hawaiian Flatbread at Captain Cook’s

At the Magic Kingdom, we found some of the construction walls down…

and the new walls that mark the entrance to the New Fantasyland were out in the open.

New Fantasyland entrance wall

New Fantasyland entrance wall

Detail on column of New Fantasyland wall

Detail on column of New Fantasyland wall

And a new place to nap...

And a new place to nap…

We once again made our way to Epcot…

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and found a few sultry Princess pics at the Art of Disney Store…

hubba, hubba!

hubba, hubba!

And there was a new Haunted Mansion-inspired figure from  Jim Shore….

So want!

Play that funky music, Ghost-boy!

Play that funky music, Ghost-boy!

Moving out to the World Showcase I kinda got that Special Feeling…

Terra Vegan booth with Craft Beer booth in the background

Terra Vegan booth with Craft Beer booth in the background

as the booths for the 2012 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival had started to go up around the lagoon.

Belgium behind the hedges

Belgium behind the hedges

The official opening of the festival was a couple of weeks later, and there was yet another runDisney race then – the inaugural Tower of Terror 10 Miler.

And once again, those attending the race expo could find plenty of “sustenance”…

Tower of Terror 10K Race Expo cocktails

Tower of Terror 10K Race Expo cocktails

The lines to get into Epcot were predictably long the first weekend…

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but with extra-tasty foods…

Grilled Lamb Chop from Australia Kiosk

Grilled Lamb Chop from Australia Kiosk

and fun in the cranberry bog awaiting…

Having fun Deb?

Having a good time in the bog Deb?

And how about you Ms. Wolfe?

And how about you Ms. Wolfe?

no one was complaining too much… certainly not us!

Karaage Hand Roll and Spicy Hand Roll from Japan Booth

Karaage Hand Roll and Spicy Hand Roll from Japan Booth

We sampled plenty of foods and beverages…

Fruit Wines at the Florida Local Booth

Fruit Wines at the Florida Local Booth

and checked out the new Chase Lounge (see WDW Odds & Ends: 2012 Year End Edition, Part One to find out what this room formerly looked like!)…

Chase Lounge in the Festival Center of the Epcot Food & Wine Festival

Chase Lounge in the Festival Center of the Epcot Food & Wine Festival

and the merchandise offered up in the Festival Center.

Just some of the merchandise at the 2012 Epcot Food & Wine Festival

Just some of the merchandise at the 2012 Epcot Food & Wine Festival

You can see many more details and my thoughts on the first weekend of the festival in the posts Epcot Food & Wine 2012: First Tastes, First Thoughts… Part One and the cleverly named Epcot Food & Wine 2012: First Tastes, First Thoughts… Part Two.

September also marked the 30th Anniversary of Epcot’s opening day…

Panel of men who were involved with the building and opening of Epcot hosted by Jason Surrell

Panel of men who were involved with the building and opening of Epcot hosted by Jason Surrell

and we had the chance to attend the D23 Anniversary Celebration.

Food & Wine Classic Banner

Food & Wine Classic Banner

October saw more fun at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival, and what has become our favorite event of the fall, the Swan/Dolphin Food & Wine Classic.

Just a few of the booths being set up for the Food & Wine Classic

Just a few of the booths being set up for the Food & Wine Classic

The Classic features beverage seminars, tons of food…

Shrimp Cocktail Shooters

Shrimp Cocktail Shooters

Pork Belly!

Pork Belly!

even more to drink…

Beer anyone?

Beer anyone?

and celebrity chefs… some meet-and-greets are by design…

Yours truly with Big-Time chef and restauranteur Michael Mina

Yours truly with Big-Time chef and restauranteur Michael Mina

and some just a bit of serendipity…

That Retro-Rad Chic Emily Ellyn showed up for the festivities and I quickly accosted her - she got rid of me by giving me a gift of cherry tomatoes to go away...

That Retro-Rad Chic Emily Ellyn showed up for the festivities and I quickly accosted her – she got rid of me by giving me a gift of cherry tomatoes to go away…

all in all, the Food & Wine Classic is a blast! You can see more food pics in the post Food & Wine Classic 2012: Food Photo Gallery, and I will strive to finally get a full post/review up on the event soon… just don’t hold your breath…

The same weekend we also got to check out one of the soft openings (aka “Dress Rehearsal” in Disney-speak) of the Enchanted Forest section of the New Fantasyland expansion…

Part of the mural in the load area of the new Little Mermaid ride

Part of the mural in the load area of the new Little Mermaid ride

The Little Mermaid attraction is a cute dark ride with a great queue…

Hello Ariel...

Hello Ariel…

and after that Miss Bonnie, Mamma Ginny and I got to meet the red-headed-gal-with-a-tail.

Lumiere and Belle

Lumiere and Belle

Enchanted Tales with Belle was a wonderful experience – great effects, fantastic animatronics (especially Lumiere) and lots of guest interaction. The queue and cottage are full of details to keep you busy while waiting to meet the literature-loving Princess.

Entrance to the Beast's Castle and the Be Our Guest Restaurant

Entrance to the Beast’s Castle and the Be Our Guest Restaurant

We also go to poke our heads into the (at the time) yet to open Be Our Guest restaurant….

Lunchtime/quick service ordering area at the Be Our Guest restaurant

Lunchtime/quick service ordering area at the Be Our Guest restaurant

the interior of the restaurant is spectacular, and yes Virginia, there is alcohol…

Beers from France and neighboring Belgium...

Beers from France and neighboring Belgium…

at dinner beer and wine will be served – a first for the Magic Kingdom – and following the theme of the restaurant, the alcoholic beverages are all from France (or beer from nearby Belgium)… with one exception…

this sure is a Conundrum...

this sure is a Conundrum…

the white wine list includes the wine blend Conundrum from Caymus… a wine I actually like quite a bit, but why the inclusion of one single bottle from California in a French restaurant?

Enchanted Forest area of New Fantasyland with the Beast's Castle in the background

Enchanted Forest area of New Fantasyland with the Beast’s Castle in the background

The whole area just looks fantastic – can’t wait to see how it all looks when the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train area is finished!

Who's that guy in the red shirt?

Who’s that guy in the red shirt?

Belle’s Village was also looking good…

Hey Gaston! Watch those hands!

Hey Gaston! Watch those hands!

but you have to watch out for handsome egomaniacs trying to steal your girl!

Exterior of Gaston's Tavern

Exterior of Gaston’s Tavern

Gaston’s Tavern was open and serving that day!

Surprised that Lafeu got that many...

Surprised that Lafou got that many…

Not surprisingly, there are also tons of details in this fairly small quick-service establishment.

Roasted Pork Shank at Gaston's Tavern - tender, juicy meat inside, crispy skin outside!

Roasted Pork Shank at Gaston’s Tavern – tender, juicy meat inside, crispy skin outside!

We tried the roasted pork and gave it two-greasy-thumbs-up!

Another view of pig...

Another view of pig…

This is not a big venue, and the entrance/ordering area is cramped and not easy to get in and out of if there are more than just a few people in line… this is likely to be a popular spot with “Lefou’s Brew” (aka Disney’s answer to Butterbeer) being served there and the cute, detailed seating areas, but it’s gonna be crowded… mark my words…

Seven Dwarves Mine Train construction

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train construction

Work continues on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction…

Seven Dwarves Mine Train construction

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train construction

The construction over at the Storybook Circus section of the expansion looked to be pretty much completed by mid-October…

Storybook Circus Entrance

Storybook Circus Entrance

with the mandatory gift shop, Big Top Souvenirs, now open…

Big Top Souvenirs

Big Top Souvenirs

and inside we found snacks…

Some of the "Big Top Treats"

Some of the “Big Top Treats”

and castmembers eager to teach guests how to juggle!

The new meet-and-greet area, Pete’s Silly Sideshow, was also open.

Entrance to Pete's Silly Sideshow

Entrance to Pete’s Silly Sideshow

Inside you can meet a couple of Lovely Ladies…

Signage inside the Sideshow

Sign inside the Sideshow

or a couple of not-so-lovely Gents…

Sign inside the Sideshow

Sign inside the Sideshow

The characters are in sideshow-appropriate garb and eager to meet their fans.

The Great Goofini in the flesh!

The Great Goofini in the flesh!

There is also a covered Fastpass distribution area with some shaded seating…

Storybook Circus Fastpass area

Storybook Circus Fastpass area

and nearby food carts for the famished while waiting….

Food cart in Storybook Circus

Food cart in Storybook Circus

Anyone for a weenie?

Anyone for a weenie?

A week later we had a step-up from hot dogs and pretzels…

Thanks to Mamma Ginny, Papa Harry and (especially) their Offspring Jen, Miss Bonnie and I got to attend the Party for the Senses for the first time.

A nice selection of cheeses and accompaniments

A nice selection of cheeses and accompaniments

Diver Scallop with Pea Puree and Micro Greens

Diver Scallop with Pea Puree and Micro Greens

This over-the-top event features a great variety of exciting food items…

Fry me a Quail Egg please...

Fry me a Quail Egg please…

to go on top of my Duck Confit Burger

to go on top of my Duck Confit Burger

and great wines and beers…

A really nice Riesling from Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen

A really nice Riesling from Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen

and performances from Cirque du Soleil! Just pretend I got a good picture of them…

To top it off I even got to talk Doctor Who with a real Brit! And speaking of the time-traveling Gallifreyan…

Doctor Who Tee-Shirt in the UK pavilion at Epcot

Doctor Who Tee-Shirt in the UK pavilion at Epcot

that same weekend I found the first evidence of Doctor Who merchandise finally showing up in the United Kingdom at Epcot (see The TARDIS has landed… for more).

The first part of November was filled with more Food & Wine Festival goodness….

Dessert Trio at Epcot Food & Wine Festival

Dessert Trio at Epcot Food & Wine Festival

and another runDisney event, the Wine and Dine Half-Marathon, coincided with the last weekend of the Festival.

Wine & Dine Weekend schedule of events outside the race expo

Wine & Dine Weekend schedule of events outside the race expo

And once again…

Get ready for the race!

Get ready for the race!

those attending the race expo could find plenty of sustenance!

I always enjoy how many revelers at the Food & Wine Festival like to come in special attire…

Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

and I think this might be the favorite shirt I saw this year!

The second weekend of the month marked not only the end of the Food & Wine Festival, but the beginning of the holiday season at the World…

Goodbye Food & Wine Festival - hello Christmas...

Goodbye Food & Wine Festival – hello Christmas – the Epcot Christmas Tree goes up…

and the first night of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Hollywood Studios.

DSCF1973

In addition of the spectacular light display…

and a hidden Purple Cat to find…

Found it!

Found it!

there were some special food items…

"Santa Mickey" Cupcakes

“Santa Mickey” Cupcakes

and cocktails to be had!

Holiday Cocktail Menu at High Octane Refreshments in the Studios

Holiday Cocktail Menu at High Octane Refreshments in the Studios

The Merry Margarita - nothing says the Holidays like Blue Curacao and a Glow Cube!

The Merry Margarita – nothing says the Holidays like Blue Curacao and a Glow Cube!

This would actually be the only Holiday Goodness we’d experience in the Parks for this year, but it wouldn’t be the last Disney Fun w would have in 2012.

The next Disney holiday decorations we’d see would be…

Atrium of the Disney Fantasy decorated for the holidays

Atrium of the Disney Fantasy decorated for the holidays (photo by Miss Bonnie)

on board the Disney Fantasy as we set sail for our second Disney Cruise of the year.

Pool area of the Disney Fantasy at night (photo by Miss Bonnie)

Pool area of the Disney Fantasy at night (photo by Miss Bonnie)

The Fantasy was perhaps even most spectacular than the Dream that we had sailed upon earlier in the year.

Tequila Seminar in the Meridian Bar

Tequila Seminar in the Meridian Bar (photo by Miss Bonnie)

From drink demos…

Beef Tenderloin with twp sauces at Palo

Beef Tenderloin with two sauces at Palo

to fine dining…

Arrrgghhh... come with me wench!

Arrrgghhh… come with me wench!

to the frivolity of Pirate Night…

Mistress of the Fantasy

Mistress of the Fantasy

there’s just way too much to cover about a Disney cruise to squeeze into this already-too-long recap… so someday I’ll try and and give you some more details…

Okay, so there you have it – a look back at 2012 from an Eating (and Drinking) Around the World perspective – hope you enjoyed!

Now what will 2013 hold? We’ll see soon as this year’s Marathon Weekend at WDW is just days away…

Back to the kitchen… and the starting line! See you soon!

Food & Wine Classic Banner in the lobby of the Dolphin Resort

This past weekend was the third (and I’ll go ahead and say now, most successful) incarnation of the Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic.

I’ll give you, Dear Dedicated Readers, a more in-depth look at our weekend there in a future post, but I thought I’d tempt/tease/allow your taste buds to live vicariously through some pictures of the foods served this past Friday and Saturday…

So let’s take a look at the eats!

Carved Prime Rib with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Horseradish Sauce from Shula’s Steakhouse

Jumbo Lump Crab Cake Sliders with Shredded Lettuce, Pickle Chips and Old Bay Aioli on a Sesame Roll from The Garden Grove

Texas-Style Beef Brisket with Fried Pickles and Brioche Puree from Cib’s Smokehouse

Smoked Pork Belly with Texas Toast and Baked Bean Foam from Cib’s Smokehouse

Custom Blended 2 oz. Burger on a Cheddar Cheese Roll with Truffled Aioli and Caramelized Onions from Fresh

Shrimp Cocktail Steam Rollers from bluezoo

Pan Seared Shrimp “n” Grits from bluezoo

Pork Carnitas with Brasied Pork, Sofrito and Pico de Gallo on Pita from Cabana Bar & Beach Club

Blackened Fish Taco from Cabana Bar & Beach Club

Assorted Desserts from pastry chef Laurent Branlard

Assorted Desserts from pastry chef Laurent Branlard

Falafel: Chick Pea Fritters with Tahini from the Fountain

Fried Calamari with Spicy Marinara Sauce from Il Mulino

Traditional Oysters Rockefeller with Creamy Spinach, House Bacon and Parmesan from Todd English

“Six Shooter”: Oyster Shooter with Bloody Cocktail, Horseradish, Celery, Corona, Lemon Foam and Old Bay and a Traditional Raw Oyster on the Half Shell with choice of sauce from Todd English

Crispy Fried Oysters with Old Bay from Todd English

“Frenchy” Oyster with Crème Fraiche, Hackleback Caviar, Pickled Onion and a  Quail Egg from Todd English

Hamachi Parfait with Crispy Rice Cake and Wasabi Tobiko from Chef Michael Mina

Dragon Roll with Crispy Shrimp, Tuna and Avocado from Kimonos

Spicy Yellow Fin Tuna from Kimonos

Okay… so there you have some food pics… but I can’t resist a couple more non-food shots…

as usual, the stalking of Celebrity Chefs continues (there will be more later)…

Yours truly with Emily Ellyn

and this weekend I got to meet the “Retro Rad” (and all-around-fabulous-babe) Emily Ellyn from the Next Food Network Star! I was a bit star-struck, but tried to hold it together… more on the celeb-chefs at this weekend’s Food & Wine Classic later… along with everything else…

Back to the kitchen…

at the Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic….

you might get rained on; or you might get to have your picture made with a handsome, tequila-infused celebrity chef (and if you have the right “equipment”, you may see him checking out your rack in the photo…); you might get an unexpected kiss; but for sure you’ll get to eat a lot of great food and consume mass quantities of adult beverages!

The third annual event will be held this coming weekend, and you can check out all the details at the Swan/Dolphin site.

Most of the Harem will be in attendance (Mama Ginny and Pappa Harry, Lil Sister Lindsay, Miss Bonnie and yours truly, BFF Laura and her Significant Other), so if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and be on the lookout for us!

You never know what might happen….

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