So much food…we spend two afternoons wandering the World Showcase and eating what struck us when it struck us. We didn’t try everything, but I would say we did pretty well. We also got fatter. But that’s sort of the point. I’m going to go through the list country by country. We also didn’t take pictures of the food, we found that the heat, standing and eating and the annoyance of getting out the camera every time to cut into our enjoyment of the food.
Australia: A repeat from last year and still one of my favorites. We had both the Seared Barramundi with Blistered Cherry Tomatoes and Arugla; and the Grilled Lamb Chop with Roasted Potato Salad. Considering that these are mass produced small bites the fish was excellent, a good sear on the outside and still moist. Lamb will always win with me, and the potato salad isn’t like picnic salad, more like a side of fingerling potatoes with a red wine reduction.
Belgium: On the first day I insisted on getting a Freshly Baked Waffle with Berry Compote and Whipped Cream. Jake insisted on dropping his half on the ground. I felt bad enough (and wanted more…) to scoop it up and return to the booth to ask for another. No problem!! On the second day we also tried the Steamed Mussels with Roasted Garlic Cream. Jake likes mussels way more than I do, so I had one and agreed it was good. He had 5 and swooned.
Canada: Cheddar Cheese Soup. Enough said. The other dishes looked good, but I was already stuffed when we got here on day two and managed to force the cheese soup down…
Charcuterie and Cheese: This isn’t a country so much as a way of life for me; cured meats and cheeses! We shared the Applewood Smoked Beef, Duck and Ham. Sadly, they give you one sorry ass little cracker for all this delicious meat. Oh, and three of the tiniest pickles ever.
Desserts and Champagne: I ended up here alone as Jake was getting a beer sampler from the beer tent. For $3.50 I had Strawberry Angel Verrine (like cake and jam), Pear Streusel Pudding Cake (so thick!!), and Dark Chocolate Sensation (a chocolate cake bite topped with dark chocolate and filled with ganache, I think…stupidly good). If only I could have had the champagne…
France: You can’t go to France and not have the Escargots Persillade en Brioche. Before you get all icky about snails, think of them as a vehicle for butter, then put that butter in a sweet little roll: see, yummy!! Jake had the Braised Short Ribs in Cabernet with Mashed Potatoes. This was the day after we went to Victoria and Albert’s and he said he was ruined for short ribs and potatoes and declared them merely ‘good.’
Greece: The thing that will make Jake most sad when we aren’t in Detroit anymore is how much he loves Baklava. This was good, but not according to him, not nearly as good as his favorite bakery on 15 Mile Rd with the two very attractive Lebanese girls at the counter (I’m beginning to think he likes the girls more than the baklava…)
Hops and Barley: This booth is really sort of America #2, or maybe we should just call it the New England booth. It serves pretty much all the Sam Adams flavors and crab and lobster dishes (the lobster roll is the single most expensive taste at the FWF). Jake had the Pecan Bread Pudding. I had none. This getting to be late in our first day of eating and I just couldn’t fit another bite in, but it looked very sticky!
Ireland: This was our first stop on our first day, 11Am and we shared a Guinness (oh my god so good!) and a Lobster and Scallop Fisherman’s Pie. We went to Ireland two years ago and had nothing that tasted this good, so either the Ireland booth was really pouring it on to entice customers or we ate in all the wrong places. This was rich and creamy and had a huge lobster chunk in the middle. For $4 you can’t ask for more.
Japan: Don’t think for one second that I’m skipping a Spicy Tuna Roll. The wasabi was super hot, the ginger fresh and the tuna tender and bright red: perfect!
New Zealand: We shared the Seared Scallop with Vegetable Slaw and Lemon Oil and a Lamb SLider with Tomato Chutney. I’m always impressed at the seafood at FWF; so many restaurants can’t get it right when its indoors with full kitchens and these temporary booths, food trucks without wheels, do it so well. And I need to figure out how to make a lamb burger that juicy.
Poland: Kielbasa and Potato Pierogies with Carmelized Onions and Sour Cream. Jake’s favorite food ever. And this lived up to his standards. The Golabki (pork stuffed cabbage) was also excellent and I’m not much for the cabbage dishes. I could have had seconds of this easily, but South Korea was right next door…
South Africa: Without question our favorite of all was the Seared Beef Tenderloin with Sweet Potato Puree and Mango Barbecue Sauce. The sauce was both sweet and spicy, the tenderloin medium rare and tender and who doesn’t love sweet potatoes? (see Artist Point, two posts ago).
South Korea: I did a fellowship in South Korea two years ago and was really hoping this booth would serve the real flavors of SK and not a Americanized version. I think they did okay, the Short Rib with Steamed Rice and Cucumber Kimchi was spot on, especially the kimchi (although they avoided the super hot kimchi varieties). The Lettuce Wrap with Roast Pork and Kimchi Slaw was good and had flavors that reminded me of SK, but didn’t look like anything I’d eaten while there. I was seriously hoping for BiBimBap, but I’m not even sure how it could be done in small bites…
We skipped Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Spain and the US but not because they didn’t have appealing menus, but because we were full and I’m a pregnant cranky lady after a couple of hours of walking around.
We’ve already planned to return next year, there were so many things we missed this time around: the cooking demonstrations that we loved last time, the concerts (although I’m not sure Taylor Dayne was one we wanted to see anyway) and of course, the booze. My parents already offered to take Beanie for a weekend at the end of October next year so we can celebrate our anniversary (that Mexico thing?) at the Food and Wine Festival. We also are thinking of going towards the end rather than the beginning. It’s still fairly warm in early October and I think we might enjoy the early November weather a bit more. We also discussed making a dinner night out of the samples, rather than eating all day and then planning big meals too (I’ve still go two more meals to add to this trip!!).