Bars on the Disney Dream

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In honor of National Rum Day (yet another ridiculous fake holiday drummed up by marketers on social media), I poured myself a Coco Cadillac – one of the drinks we were taught during our mixology class on the Disney Dream.

It got me thinking about the beautiful bars and adult spaces on the ship. Wish I were there right now.

So on this Saturday night, after a couple of Coco Cadillacs, I thought I’d share a few pics. Enjoy.

Cove Cafe Disney Dream Drinks

After dinner drinks at Cove Cafe

Cove Cafe is ridiculously empty - and cozy

Cove Cafe is ridiculously empty – and cozy

Adults-only pool bar at night

Adults-only Quiet Cove pool bar – great spot to hear some live music

Quiet Cove Pool Bar Disney Dream

Can you believe we were the only ones at this bar? Insane.

Mixology class in the Skyline

Coco Cadillac ingredients in Skyline lounge. (Thanks, Bonnie!)

Champagne cocktails in Pink on Disney Dream

Champagne cocktails in Pink. Great way to end an evening! (It was almost empty, too.)

Animated pics in Cove Cafe

Animated pics in Cove Cafe

Cove Cafe bar Disney Dream

Cove Cafe is a great spot for breakfast the next morning. Very good cappuccino and pastries. And no screaming kids.

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Things I’m looking forward to at Epcot Food & Wine 2013

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year…That’s right, we’re approaching my favorite season at Walt Disney World, the Epcot Food & Wine Festival! For 2013 the festival runs from September 27 – November 11. And I’m incredibly excited, because I just booked my trip! Besides, it’s Wordless Wednesday blog hop time, and the theme is “M”. So my M is for Mmmmmm….

This will be my fourth trip to F&W and I’m starting to feel like I know my way around the festival (a little). There is so much to see and do (and eat and drink!) that it can be hard to truly take it all in the first time you visit. So planning for this visit I’m finding myself really looking forward to eating some past favorites, and getting excited to try some of the things I missed last time as well as the new additions.

So here are some of the things I’m really looking forward to, booth by booth. Not all of the booths mind you – I’m not really looking forward to all of them. Just most. For a full menu listing, check out the excellently curated list at the Disney Food Blog.

Africa:

There’s a Brown Elephant cocktail made with Amarula, milk, and Coke. YUM! I bet it pairs beautifully with the delicious Paneer and Spinach pocket that is returning this year. Loved that pocket!

Spinach and Paneer Pocket at Africa booth

Spicy veggie goodness

Argentina:

Mmmm…Argentinian beef. The beef skewer with chimichurri was mighty delicious last year. It’s making a reappearance – and pairs perfectly with a nice Terrazas Reserva Malbec.

Beef with chimichurri at the Argentina booth

Super tender and garlicky

Australia:

Ooooh, that lamb chop.

Lamb chop from Australia booth

Loved those potato chip crunchies

Brazil:

This year they’ll have a frozen Caipirinha with LeBlon Cachaça. Sign me up!

Canada:

More beef? Yes, please! The “Le Cellier” Filet of Beef with mushrooms and truffle butter sauce is one of the few items we went back for seconds on.

Filet of Beef Canada Booth

I’ll eat anything in a truffle butter sauce

Cheese:

Last year I was pretty disappointed with the fondue at the Cheese stand, though the cheese plate was delish. This year they’re offering an almond crusted blue cheese soufflé with fig jam. Sounds like it could be tough to pull off, but I’m willing to try!

Craft Beers:

I love beer, and can get most of these down at my local shop. But I’ll probably try out the Fall Fest from the Abita Brewing Company. I’m really partial to Abita beers, and I haven’t had this one yet.

Desserts & Champagne:

Skip the desserts. (Trust me on this one.) But I’ll be glad to grab a glass of Möet & Chandon Nectar Impérial Rosé. So civilized!

Giant champagne class at Epcot Food & Wine

The new park icon?

France:

Somehow last time we totally skipped the France booth. I think we were just too full by the time we made it back there. This time I’m determined to try both the escargots and the Boeuf Bourguignon.

Mexico:

I wish the wonderful taco with pork carnitas and chicharones that we had at the Flower & Garden festival this Spring were back, but alas, it’s not on the list. However there is a Taco de Ribeye with Salsa Chipotle that sounds yummy. But mostly I just want a mango-habanero margarita. Nice!

New Zealand:

Venison sausage with pickled mushrooms, baby arugula and black currant reduction might be the most unusual sounding dish in the whole festival. So of course I must eat that!

Poland:

Last year I once again made the mistake of ordering the pierogi. It’s truly awful. So this year, I’m going to try the zapiekanki which seems to be a cheese bread with toasted mushrooms and caramelized onion served with a house-made ketchup. I’ve heard good things, so it’s going on the list. They’ve also got a drink that sounds intriguing – Frozen Szarlotka. It’s supposed to taste like frozen apple pie. Sounds good to me!

Pierogi at Poland booth

These pierogi may look good, but they’re like little gluey rocks. Don’t bother.

Refreshment Port:

The Refreshment Port will have new offerings for the Food & Wine festival this year, many which feature Dole pineapple. I think I’ll skip the fried pineapple fritters, thanks. And some of you may recall how disappointed I was with the Dole Whip with rum at the Flower & Garden festival. But I’m assuming they’ve learned from their mistakes, so I’m looking forward to trying the new concoction – the Orange Dole Whip with Creme de Cacao. Sounds like it might be a little better conceived – hopefully the execution will be good.

Scotland:

New this year! I’m so intrigued by this entire menu, but especially the Vegetarian Haggis with Neeps and Tatties. So glad to see another vegetarian option! The Scottish salmon sounds lovely too, as does the dessert – a banana/toffee tart. I’m surprised to find out that bananas are indigenous to Scotland… maybe I shouldn’t over think this one. There’s also a Glenfiddich Scotch flight and they’re serving one of my new favorite beers, Innis & Gunn Original. Thanks, Merida, for being popular enough to inspire both an Adventures by Disney tour and a new booth at F&W.

South Korea:

Kimchee dog with spicy mustard sauce. Sounds like the funkiest food on the planet and I must have one.

And saving the best for last, the one dish that I’ve craved all year and can’t wait to try again:

Terra:

Vegan Chili Colorado with House-Made Chips and Cashew Cheese. No joke, this was my absolute favorite dish at last year’s festival and I can not WAIT to eat it again.

Vegan Chili Colorado from the Terra booth

Who would have thunk it? Vegan beef made fabulous

Whew – so that’s it. I’m only at the show for two days this year, so I have no idea how I’m going to possibly eat and drink all of this in two days. I’m working on talking my BFF and Food and Wine Partner in Crime into coming on the trip again. We’re going to need the extra mouth.

So what about you? Planning to visit Food & Wine this year? What do you look forward to? Are you shocked by some of my omissions? Leave me a comment!

Focused on the Magic

Wordless Wednesday – “G” is for Ginga Kogen Beer

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On our most recent trip to Walt Disney World, I was able to introduce my friend Tamara to one of my favorite spots in Epcot – the cute little sake bar in the back of Mitsukoshi in the Japan pavilion. Now, Tamara had been to Mitsukoshi several times before, but had never been able to venture any further than the Pokemon area in the front of the store.

This time, we started at the back (which is the correct way to peruse Mitsukoshi, if you ask me). I had my favorite vintage sake (which you can see here). But this time they were offering something new – Ginga Kogen beer. Frankly, the bottle was so beautiful we had to try it. Plus, it’s a wheat beer, and both Tamara and I are big fans. For $10 a bottle, it had better be damned good.

Ginga Kogen Beer description

Ginga Kogen Beer

Ginga Kogen bottles

Ginga Kogen bottles

Ginga Kogen served

Ginga Kogen is served

Seriously, the beer is as beautiful as the bottle! It was refreshing and crisp, with a light lemony-banana-clove flavor. Not quite as floral as a German hefeweizen, with more citrus notes. If I find this again, I’ll definitely order it.

Kanpai!

Kanpai!

Have you tried the Ginga Kogen? What did you think?

And thanks to Debs at Focused on the Magic for hosting today’s blog hop!

Focused on the Magic Wordless Wednesday

Epcot Food & Wine 2012 Recap #2 – Caribbean and Argentina

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Continuing our trek clockwise around the World Showcase at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival (we started at Terra), we come to the lovely Caribbean booth. The offerings here were Ropa Vieja with Cilantro Rice, and Jerk Spiced Chicken Drumstick with Mango Chutney. Because I adore jerk rub (tee hee) I decided to try the chicken. Drink options were from Bacardi – a Torched Cherry Frozen Cherry Limeade and Frozen Dragon Berry Colada. I didn’t have either of the drinks – had to pace myself.

Jerk Spiced Chicken Drumstick with Mango Chutney Caribbean Booth Epcot Food & Wine

Jerk Spiced Chicken Drumstick with Mango Chutney

The chicken itself was cooked perfectly – not pink at all, but not overcooked and dry. However if there was any Scotch Bonnet, scallion or thyme flavor in this jerk it missed my piece of chicken. It was truly almost flavorless. The mango salsa was nice and fresh, but very one-dimensionally sweet. It was basically a bust. I wish I’d tried the Ropa Vieja, which the person we shared a table with was enjoying. It looked quite good. (But then my chicken also looked good.)

Next stop on our trip around the World Showcase was Argentina. Here, the choices were Beef Empanada or Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Puree.  The wine options were from Terrazas Reserva – a Torrontes, Chardonnay, Malbec, and Cabernet Sauvignon. I opted for the Malbec. I saw the empanada, and it didn’t look great. I’m super picky about empanadas, and the pastry looked too thick and doughy. The person standing next to me told me it was like a calzone. So I ordered the beef skewer.

Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Puree Argentina Booth Epcot Food & Wine Festival

Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Puree

This was like a perfect mini-meal. The beef was tender, flavorful, and medium rare. The chimichurri was bright and herbaceous, garlicky, with just enough tangy-ness (if you’re not familiar with chimichurri sauce, here is an explanation) And the skewer was on pureed boniato, which basically tasted just like good mashed potatoes. I wasn’t familiar with boniato, so looked it up. It’s what’s sometimes called sweet potato in the caribbean (not the orange sweet potato I was familiar with). It’s got some sweetness, but really just tasted like mashed potatoes. And apparently it’s available year round in Florida, so hopefully it didn’t have to travel far to make it to Epcot.

Oh, and I’ve never met a Malbec I didn’t like.

Did you make it to the Caribbean or Argentina booths? I saw many people who really enjoyed the chicken, and I know I like my food more spicy than most. What did you think?

Memories of the Hollywood Brown Derby

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The food, the atmosphere, the style..I woke up this morning from a dream that involved Cobb salad and grapefruit cake…

Jack Diamond Manhattan

Jack Diamond Manhattan: Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Sweet Vermouth, and Bitters

Side Car

Side Car: Courvoisier VS Cognac, Cointreau, and a splash of Sweet-and-Sour with a Sugared Rim

Cartoonist Portraits

Cartoonist Portraits of semi-famous people

Blue Lump Crab Cake

Blue Lump Crab Cake

Famous Cobb Salad

“Our Famous Cobb Salad” with Finely Chopped Greens, Turkey Breast, Bacon, Egg, Tomatoes, Crumbled Blue Cheese, Avocado, Chives, and Cobb Dressing

View from our back table

View from our secluded table in the back

Grapefruit Cake

Grapefruit Cake—Brown Derby Original! Light Layers of Yellow Cake with fresh Grapefruit-Cream Cheese Icing

A Brown Derby

A Brown Derby