Sunday, November 6, 2011

Food and Wine 2011: The Do's and Don'ts Edition

We all probably know by now that I think the EPCOT Intentional Food and Wine Festival is a huge DO in my book.

I only go every single year, and refer to the festival as it's own season. This year I was getting worried that it was going to be the year that I became the DON'T by missing it for the first time in 6 years! First it rained, then I was sick, and then I ran a triathlon.

But wait, attending a huge food festival is totally a DO after a big race, so bestie Jenna and I loaded up after my tri (and a blessed 2 hour long nap!) and headed out to the Happiest Place on Earth to meet up with a few other friends to eat, drink and be mousey merry all around the world!

Here are a few of my tips to make your experience at F&W a huge DO!

DO stop by the awesome cranberry bog, sponsored by Ocean Spray.

DON'T be too disappointed that the cute Ocean Spray guy (Justin Hagan) isn't there, even if he is your future husband.

Isn't he just the cutest? 
I've heard from sources that in "real life" he is just as goofy as his commerical character!

DO stop by the Canada stand to get a cup of Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup.

This may have possibly been the best batch I've had, as this soup is a staple for me at F&W. 

DON'T mind my chipped "tiger striped" nails, leftover from Homecoming week at my school of employment! 

DON'T bother stopping at "neighboring" Greece, because they took both the Spanikopita and the Boutari Santorini wine off the menu this year. Boo.

DO get your seafood and comfort food fix all in one amazing dish with Ireland's Lobster and Scallop Fisherman's Pie.

This small portion is incredibly filling, has a fantastically complex flavor profile for such a traditional and rustic dish and is even prettier mixed up!

DON'T get suckered into standing in the left hand line at the Ireland is the beer line and all they have is Guinness. I adore Guinny, but I'm not about to stand in line for 25 minutes for a beer I can get at nearly any decent bar/restaurant!

DO brave the line at France. The Escargots Persillade en Brioche and Sparkling Pomegrante Kir are a must every year!

DON'T be sad that the rest of the usual "festival crew" (aka the drunk and rowdy boys) are too busy doing tequila shots in the "not so secret anymore and now packed" taqueria in Mexico to come join you, because you won't have to buy double plates for sharing this year! More for me = a huge DO.

DO get your beer fix at the Belgium stand with a refreshing Hoegaarden because the line is short, the smells of waffles are free (and totally satisfying!) and Belgium beer is delicious! 

DO get excited about the new Portugal stand, at first.

DON'T bother with the Calamari Salad with Fennel, Smoked Paprika and Olive Oil because while it sounds tasty and refreshing, it's just an oily mess with no hint of fennel.

DO recover from the Portuguese mess by stopping at the Hops and Barley stand to pick up the Sam Adams 16th Anniversary Festival Beer-Boston Ale and Pumpkin Mousse with Ocean Spray Craisins and Orange Sauce.

DON'T worry about the let down of the 16th anniversary festival beer, since it tastes just like regular Sam Adams Boston Lager, because the Pumpkin Mousse is really the star of the show.

I would have named the "mousse" a trifle, since it also included some layers of spice cake, but what ever you call it every tiny bite was a tasty combination of classic fall flavors, without being too sweet. I would certainly get this again and am considering making something similar for an upcoming work social.

DO ask a friendly fellow park goer to take the picture of your group, as we all know "if you don't take a picture, it didn't happen."

DON'T forget to jump back up on the bench, since your cute boots won't be shown off if you are standing.

DON'T bother getting the Kiebasa and Potato Pierogie with Caramelized Onions and Sour Cream if you've ever "met" the lovely Mrs. T and her frozen pierogies, because I'm fairly certain that these are the same thing.

I've raved about this dish in the past, but I've declared this year to be the last that I visit the Poland stand.

DO stop at the South Korea stand and get the Lettuce Wrap with Roast Pork and Kimchi Slaw if you've taken my advice and skipped Poland. DO email me to remind me of how wonderful it is, how bright and tasty, the perfect balance of savory, sour and spicy with a wonderful crunch. I knew this dish was a DO when I tasted it for the first time in 2010, so DON'T make my "I ate too much already" rookie mistake.

Any day spent with my best friends, enjoying tasty treats and eats is a DO. So, DON'T miss out on all the yummy tastes and "travels" that EPCOT has to offer during the International Food and Wine Festival.

Love to all,
~the, "I guess all those years of Glamour subscriptions are rubbing off on me" gal, Jess


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