Author Archives: Steve

Sights of the Food and Wine Festival

So if you were out and walking around the Food and Wine Festival, here are a few of the things you’d see.  Or things we saw, anyway!  I didn’t take pictures of even a large percentage of the menus or pavilions, just a random selection.  Who wants Haggis!!!


I ordered the Kalua Pork Slider.  I could eat a bucket of those, no problem.

I also had some pineapple tropical fruit wine that was pretty interesting.  The pineapple flavor was fairly subtle, and it was a sweet wine that was distinctly fruity.  Good to sip, no bucket for me, but I’m glad I tried it.  The best from Hawaii!  Or pretty good, anyway.

This was a potato pancake from Scotland with smoked salmon on it.  Really tasty, good salmon.

So we stopped by the Dominican Republic, which was located where Puerto Rico was last year.  I wonder what happened to Puerto Rico?  Oh well..


This was Lechon Asada, roasted pork with Mangu, pickled red onions and avocado.  Oh and I also had a Frozen Sugar Cane Cocktail featuring Ron Barcelo Blanco rum.  Pretty tasty. 
Here’s an unfortunately blurry picture of the New Zealand menu.  I think it was the rum from the DR.IMG_0320Here’s an interesting selection from Ireland, which, I’m sad to report, I didn’t even sample.

IMG_0318Great Greek food, from the look of it.  Lots of people enjoying it but not me 🙁

IMG_0316So like I said, mostly random, but just a few sights of the festival.  Good eatin’!

A note about technical issues with da blog

I’ve had a WordPress problem for some time that makes uploading pictures difficult.  I found a workaround but as a workflow issue I’m forced to send pictures to the blog throughout the day and then organize them at night.  So if you check in and see a bunch of random looking junk at the top, scroll down a bit and you should start to see organized posts.  There are a couple of ways I could avoid this chaos, but I AM on vacation, so this allows me a good balance between having fun and blogging, which is fun, but you  know what I mean.  So if it looks random and makes no sense, scroll down until it does, and hopefully the next day I’ll impose some kind of order on the photos I’ve uploaded.

Nicholas Crispino prepares Fillet Mignon with Mushrooms and Sauce Ponot Noir

Another cooking demonstration, this one rocked even more than the donut holes.  Nicholas Crispino, who has sizzling cred based on his work at Disney’s most popular restaurant, Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom dished out a great steak, made with fingerling potatoes, asparagus, and a great sauce.  This was a particularly interesting preparation because it only took a few minutes and came out looking and tasting fantastic!  Not only did he serve a great steak, but he also let us in on the fact that BOG is changing their menu substantially in the next few days, and offered some tips on how to get into this ultra-busy restaurant!  


Here is the filet with mushrooms, and arugula and that great sauce.  Seriously fast and fantastic!

Chew Lab

We get some awesome snacks at the chew lab which is just one of the many food and wine stop off at Epcot.  The thing is, there are little pavilions all OVER the place serving fantastic food (and if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan you can get these delicious entrees as a snack on the plan – such a deal!)  Anyway, the Chew lab was one place out of many, but it was awesome.

This was the olive-oil poached salmon with fresh corn, bacon, and pepper jam.  Really one of the best things I tried, and I tried lots.

This was really fantastic too – a chocolate-almond truffle – think really creamy chocolate mousse, with a shell hard frozen in liquid nitrogen, then covered with whiskey caramel sauce.  Man.  I mean I could eat a bucket of this.  And die.  Happy.

Ghirardelli Chocolate

We stopped off at an exhibit that seems to be an annual favorite, especially with Callie and I, the  Ghirardelli Chocolate exhibit.  They have a lot of chocolate, including drinking chocolate, chocolate bars, you name it–if you shouldn’t eat it, they have it!  Callie and I have made chocolate from beans, and she is busy trying to steal trade secrets from Ghirardelli – they’ve been in business over 160 years, they don’t need all that old information anymore!

Here’s Callie stealing corporate secrets:


They also had a number of chocolate sculptures featuring, believe it or not, Disney movies.  I’m told that everything in these is edible, but they wouldn’t let us eat it.  Seems like a rip-off!  See if you can guess the movie:

Now, think back a bit – Pixar, great movie, Ed Asner….

Here’s some no-name superheroes..

If you had trouble with the superheroes, here are a couple of closeup shots:



Epcot Food And Wine, Donut Edition

We would do more of these if we had time, but they have great cooking demonstrations during the Food and Wind Festival (this one is the 20th anniversary event).  This one was by Jason Stricker who is the executive chef of the Production Bakery at Epcot, and he demonstrated Vanilla Bean Donuts with White Coffee Anglaise paired with Martini and Rossi Asti Spumante.  I have the recipe if you want it.  It’s always fun to listen to these guys because they have lots of anecdotes and know their stuff where cooking is involved.  I learned a lot about vanilla sugar, which is actually kind of interesting.  And of course you get to eat the stuff too, which is important to some people, but not me. 🙂

Callie being a professional cake baker had lots of technical questions for him, that put me to sleep, but I think they both enjoyed it.
Oh, and here’s a picture of the donuts.  Had to take it fast because they didn’t last long.  Really more of a donut hole than a donut, but they were liberally covered in hand-made vanilla sugar and the white coffee anglaise was just about lethally rich and tasty!


WDW Day 0.5

We had a great plan to use today as a travel day and maybe do one or two things at WDW just for fun – just a touch of Disney. Great plan, except for the part that wasn’t, which was pretty inconsequential….  So after an interminable amount of time in terminals….IMG_0263We finally arrived at Walt Disney World’s Wilderness Lodge.  This is a fantastic luxury hotel modeled after the National Park Service lodges of the great Northwest, and it’s a beautiful place.  I will post more pictures of it, but for now suffice it to say that we found our room and are glad to have found it!  Here’s Callie lounging on the queen-size bed..

IMG_0262And take a look at the carvings–just one of many cool details on this bed-

IMG_0267Am I easily impressed?  Maybe, but..

IMG_0264And here’s the bunk bed, guess who gets the top bunk?  No, really guess!

IMG_0266Here’s a shot of Nancy and Callie outside near the pool.  Already having fun!  I had some technical problems getting photos to post in WordPress, argh.  I’ll catch up on posting hopefully.  But let me say this about the Wilderness Lodge.  It’s a beautiful hotel, with a fabulous and impressive lobby.  Of all of Disney’s ‘monorail properties’ (meaning that you’re a monorail ride away from the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, which can be worth it’s weight in time and frustration, the Wilderness Lodge offers a unique bargain because although it’s not on the monorail, it’s only a boat ride away from the Magic Kingdom, which DOES connect to both the Resort Monorail and the monorail to the Ticket and Transportation Center which makes it a real gem from a transportation point of view, but it’s typically just a little less expensive than the properties that are truly on the monorail.  And we kind of lucked into the free meal plan promotion, so I’m eating my weight in ‘included’ food!  Here’s one more little detail that is a nice touch for the forest theme – there’s one of these over each bunk bed.

IMG_0268The lobby is most impressive, and has lots of space for lounging, like in front of the seven? story fireplace.




Here’s another shot of the lobby.  Not great photography, but a great subject!IMG_0329



IMG_0273Also there’s a great swimming pool that’s fed from some kind of Disney geological marvel that bubbles up a great quantity of water in the lobby of the hotel, which forms a river that runs into the pool.  Sounds crazy, but it’s pretty cool, here’s a fairly bad shot out there.


On our way, in the air!

We’re all excited to be on our way to Walt Disney World! We’ve been planning for months, and we’re finally on our way! We planned the entire trip with the Disney web site and a restaurant sniping site, and came up with a great itinerary of too much to do!

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