Epcot 2017 Food and Wine Festival, Part Two

As the Festival progresses, the weather cools and the crowds heat up. We’d heard how much more crowded it is now than 5 years ago and now we’ve seen it for ourselves. Next year we will stay onsite during the week. Circumstances did not allow it this year.

Still, we enjoyed ourselves, returning to some old favorites like Mexico (loved the Apple Margarita) and China (the Black Pepper Shrimp with Garlic Noodles is to die for) and new favorites like Thailand and Brazil and the Italian Margarita (with Lemoncello) in Italy, Scotland, and Belgium (Belgium Waffle with chocolate sauce).

We’ve planned a third visit in the evening for atmosphere and live music but are unsure about it because the crowds will be unbearable then. And we’d like to get to the Holidays Around Epcot or whatever it’s called this year and must save some of our stamina for that.

It’s difficult to find a time when Epcot is not having a food festival, yet my favorite moment is when we’re relaxing with a regular Margarita al fresco in the Cantina. No Festival necessary.

If it’s Thursday, it must be Wilderness Lodge

Rich has been quite interested in getting back to Territory Lounge, and I’ve been craving their Dirty Martinis so off we went after work last Thursday. Of course, the drive turned out to be hellacious – there’s no good way to get around Orlando these days – even the toll roads are backed up during commute hours.

We arrived eventually and just entering the WL property makes it all worth it. Our favorite tables at TL were not available, but we found another and looked at the menu. Right away we noticed our usual pizza was no longer on the menu and since this would be our dinner, wings just would not do. So we headed for Geyser Point.

The tables were occupied but we were curious about sitting at the bar ala the old Trout Pass Bar. We found two chairs facing the water, offering a gorgeous view at dusk.

We noticed right away that our favorite from our first visit, the Salmon BLT, was no longer on the menu so we shared a Chicken Sandwich with an order of Fried Oysters and two glasses of Sokol Blosser Evolution. Drinking in plastic cups is no way to drink a Dirty Martini so wine was our best option.

We were sipping our wine while waiting for our food. A couple sat down next to us, ordered a couple of sandwiches and were served while we sat there without food. We were getting very hungry and quite miffed. We asked about our food and somebody went to check.

Still no food. We were getting quite annoyed and ravenously hungry so Rich asked again and somebody ran over and said they would look into it. In the meantime, the couple next door finished eating.

The food eventually arrived, we ate, it was quite good, and we were comped the food. We said goodnight to our servers and walked over to get a closer look at the cabins and fell in love with the place. Rich chatted with a guy we’d seen at the bar ordering a double Jameson now enjoying his drink and cigar on a beautiful quiet night.

Overall, it turned out to be a wonderful evening, and we are hoping to stay onsite soon. Day trips from the beach will be too grueling as they almost are from North Orlando.

Photos below (we forgot to capture the food but found one of the oysters – no such luck with the chicken sandwich.)

 

 

First Look at JBs Post Irma

JBs Fish Camp in New Smyrna Beach, with the ocean on one side and the intracoastal on the other, didn’t fare well with Hurricane Irma. In fact, the inside portion of the restaurant, including kitchen, is all being rebuilt. The outside bar with picnic tables is still there and we stopped in last week to get one of their Salted Sea Dogs, my favorite drink. Right away we saw how the parking lot and stage area is still a bit flooded.

The restaurant should reopen in 2 or 3 weeks.

Epcot 2017 Food and Wine Festival, Part One

So we finally made it to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival this year. Actually, it was the traditional kickoff weekend, as well as our tradition, too. And it also aligned with the 35th Anniversary of Epcot’s Opening Day.

In spite of the crowds, we managed to sneak off early and catch a few booths before the rest caught up with us. Everything we tried was tasty, but Rich’s favorite was the chicken with peanut sauce from Thailand. It reminded me of my trip to Thailand several years ago.

We plan to drop in on Epcot a couple of evenings to taste some of our other favorites, to try some new offerings since our last visit, and to enjoy the nighttime atmosphere and live music.

More tasty treats from Africa, Germany, Mexico, Thailand and New Zealand.

Disney World Resort Lounge Hopping, Part 1

We debated on whether to go to the Food & Wine Festival on Saturday, but decided against it because it’s too soon, too hot, and too crowded on this Labor Day weekend. We always thought it was way too hot to enjoy the food and drink when it used to begin the end of September – let alone the beginning of September. So we’ll wait awhile to start our tasting around the World.

Instead, we headed for Wilderness Lodge for drinks and snack in Territory Lounge Saturday evening. Rich dropped me off at the porte cochere and I went in to see if I could snag us a table. I not only found the table we had last time but I found one even better in the corner with two comfy chairs.

After our usual vodka martinis, we had the pizza again but this time also tried the wings – so incredibly tasty. But too much in one sitting so we brought them home for a little snack.

It had been raining quite hard but by the time we were done, it was barely drizzling so we popped into Roaring Forks and got a gingerbread cookie and sat outside in the new covered outdoor seating area and shared it. First we said we’d each have a bite, but one bite became two and we said it would taste far better there than it would at home so we finished it off – lol!

Then we walked down to Geyser Point and noticed how busy it was with families. We continued strolling the grounds and went back in for one more walk through the gift shop, and then headed back home. What fun!

As always, Wilderness Lodge wraps around you like a big bear hug – can’t we just live there while waiting for our house to be built? 🙂

Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ at Disney Springs Feels Like Coming Home

Let’s be honest – when you make a bold change, you turn your life upside down. And I’ve done this more than a few times through marriage, divorce, religious conversion, a quest to find dad, inter state moves, cross country moves, and moves across town. They’re all stressful no matter how much you want or don’t want them.

Art Smith’s Homecomin’ at Disney Springs was exactly what was needed after 16 weeks of living in temporary housing after leaving our home in Las Vegas, no matter how fancy or resort-like this place may be. Along about now, we need a little dose of home.

We arrived early for our 7:40 reservation but as soon as we sat down at an outside table with our beeper, it went off and we were seated on the screened porch at our request. Right away we were immersed in the down home southern hospitality feeling as if we were visiting family.

The Screened Porch Bar

David introduced himself and he was an excellent server, attentive, and genuinely likeable. He told us something about Art Smith, although we were already quite familiar with him, made his recommendations, and took our order.

For our meal, we chose to share a few appetizers and drinks, fully aware of budget and calories, as we must be with frequent trips to Disney as locals.

Rich started with the Bootlegger and I had the Moonshine Margarita, which were tasty twists on a classic Rum Runner and Margarita.

We then shared the Church Lady Deviled Eggs, Fried Green Tomatoes, and the Thigh High Chicken (with Cheddar) Biscuits. All were delicious but the biscuits were our favorite.

It was a fabulous night with great food, drink, atmosphere and company with a nice dose of home, taking me back to my childhood and a southern grandma’s cooking, where you’re always welcome, greeted with hugs and love and good food.

Looking back at the porch, saying our good nights.

We’ll be back, though, because there is just so much more deliciousness to be tasted. But, for now, we’re going to take a break from catching up with these new restaurants and focus on the house build. Oh, yeah, and the Food & Wine Festival, too. 🙂