Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The 5 Best Dishes From the 2012 Food & Wine Festival (The Better Late Than Never Edition)

A note on the new year: I know the dangers of declaring New Year's resolutions on January 1, but in an effort to maintain a happier, better me, I've decided that, along with the traditional "I will work out and lose 20 pounds this year" spiel, I will also make more of an effort to fill my life with more Disney, hence the reason I started this blog in the first place. I make excuses since my professional life has been so fulfilling, I don't find much need to come home and write more after a long day. But darnit, it's what I love. And as you may have noticed, I always have plenty to say. So, now that I've gotten that out of the way, a happy and healthy new year to all, and here we go!

This is painfully late, somewhat embarrassingly so, but having had an amazing experience at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival this year (or last year, my goodness it's 2013!) I just had to tell you about it. Take a look at what I think were the 5 best eats from the gorge-fest that is the Food & Wine Festival.

Grilled lamb chop with mint pesto and potato crunchies, Australia

I'd hardly consider myself a meat person. In fact, if you had asked me before digging into this dish if I liked lamb, I probably would have said no way. The lamb dish from the Australia booth changed all that in just a few bites. The combination of the salty, crispy potato crunchies (read: crumbled up chips) paired with the zest of the mint pesto was enough to make my taste buds dance. And the lamb itself was cooked perfectly, and not at all fatty or too "meaty," as my sometimes-vegetarian self would say. It was just so perfectly yum.

Mongolian beef in a steamed bun, China

Any way you slice it, one of the dishes from China was bound to be a favorite. Of the three, it just so happened to be the Mongolian beef bun. Here we go again with the meat - but this was tender, and it wasn't the main ingredient that had our tongues wagging. It was the tangy spicy sauce, the crunchy noodles that I rarely eat a salad without, and the slightly sweet bun that made this dish. This paired with China's Happy Lychee vodka concoction, and we were pretty happy indeed. 

Kahlua pork slider with pineapple chutney and spicy mayonnaise, Hawaii

All of the hub-bub about Hawaii's famous pork sliders was 100 percent accurate. The pairing of spicy mayo and sweet pineapple was enough to make me forget I was eating pork (which I could have sworn I didn't love, though I'm starting to notice a pattern here). It's obvious why they brought this back, and I hope it will continue to be a festival mainstay for years to come. 

Belgian waffle with berry compote and whipped cream, Belgium

You might be thinking, "So what? It's just a waffle." Well, that may be. But it was one darn good waffle. These babies were served fresh, and piping hot, with a delectable compote sauce and perfect dollop of whipped cream. And after eating all of those meat dishes, this is just what we needed. Just wonderful.

Beef empanada, Argentina

Here in D.C., we have a place called Julia's Empanadas. It's most often frequented at 3am, when one wants to fill one's tummy with a fried concoction to balance out the night's surplus of cocktails. This was not one of those empanadas. This was an amazing, melt-in-your-mouth dish, with a warm filling and light crispy crust. Muy bien.

Stay tuned for what I thought were the worst dishes from the Food & Wine Festival, if you can forgive my tardiness on the subject!

Happy eating!